Free to be me 2023 Feb 27th 1248pm1217
Any doubts that I am a writer are quickly demolished as soon as I sit down to write. I have done so much in my life, varied careers since I started in the Civil Service at the tender age of seventeen – after I had completed two months of a secretarial course – enough to get establish a proficiency in typing – one which I have improved hugely over the years – I have done a lot more than the 10,000 some experts say is needed. The shorthand I have not used since 1985. Though like most writers I have established my own brand of shorthand over the years – not always legible, but all good.
I went down the usual route, starting with a permanent and pensionable job in the Civil Service, Bolton Street college for a diploma and commencing a degree in 1992 in DCU. I didn’t complete my degree, not because I don’t like learning, but because I left the Civil Service, resigning from my post as Senior Computer Programmer in 1996 to begin life as a hackney taxi driver. Slight variation in career choice. But at the time I felt I needed to escape – the idea of sitting at a desk all day didn’t appeal to me at all. Slightly ironic given that some days I sit at my desk from sunup to sundown and beyond. I feel at peace when I write.
Driving a cab gave me freedom, each day different and I met so many amazing people. Someone once said I should write a book about it – I kept a lot of notes from the time. And maybe I will.
I started to study again when drove a taxi for a few years, until my baby bump became more precious to me. Then started to study again. I started with Child Development – naturally – I was just about to become a mum, and Sports Psychology because I have always been interested in the mind. I dabbled in some painting too. I have amassed 70+ diplomas, certificates and qualifications over the years, from Child Development to Criminology and many ‘ologys’ in between. I am a lifelong learner, and it all adds to my experience. A few people question why I study so much ‘What are you doing with those qualifications?’ I know now that I am living! Equipped with a variety of knowledge. Handy when you are a writer!
I have on worked on assembly lines – televisions, retail – sports shop, secretarial – estate agent. I have been a bus driver and a bus escort, though not at the same time. While these were all interesting jobs, especially the estate agents, I needed something more in line with being a single mum. Becoming a special needs assistant seemed an obvious choice. I had been coaching on and off since I was eighteen and I loved working with children, and having more or less the same holidays as my son was perfect. I loved working as a special needs assistant and once thought I would be an SNA until I retired.
I write every day. And I love it. I will always be a writer. Through procrastination, imposter syndrome, setbacks and roadblocks, I have found my happy place. When the words in my head are being produced on the page, I feel at home. The place where I am Free To Be Me.
When do you feel ‘Free to Be’?