I think of myself as a poet these days, and this change in the way I see myself gives me a lot of pleasure. Not being published yet doesn’t stop me from thinking of myself as a poet. However, it’s one thing to embrace the identity within my own mind and another to lay claim to it with a stranger.
Recently, I found to my chagrin that when put on the spot, I struggle with identifying myself accurately. At a reading with open mic, I was introduced to several poets. “Are you a poet?” they asked, and I got words stuck in my throat.
Well, I’ve never been published yet, my insecurities wanted to say. I’m just getting to the point of doing my first submissions, I wanted to qualify. Well, I’ve only been writing for a few years. With the words came the urge to duck my head sheepishly.
How easy it was to turn my back on my beliefs about what a poet is, or to apply them only to others!
Then an iconic line from Ghostbusters came into my head:
…when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “YES!”
When someone asks me if I’m a poet, I need to say yes. It’s harder than I thought it would be, but it’s the only answer that makes sense.