In today's world, it seems like there are countless titles and labels to place on ourselves. In some ways, we find comfort in the labels we give ourselves, and we actually form our entire identity around these arbitrary categories.
These simple words give us a sense of community and a sense of individuality. To some degree, they help us understand ourselves, but are they really necessary?
This is something I've been debating with myself about for a while now; what should my title be?
It all started over 2 years ago when I was about to graduate with my degree in graphic design. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to call myself because each title led to a different path.
Graphic Designer seemed too vague, but print design didn't fit either, and I definitely wasn't a UX/UI designer. Turns out, I just didn't like working in graphic design, but this ridiculous inner torment didn't end with the death of my design career.
Even though I'm doing something I love (writing and photography), and found what I believe to be my niche, I still struggle to put an exact title on what I do.
Yes, I am a Freelance Writer, but it's not who I am, it's kind of just how I pay my bills. Outside of that, I write short fictional stories and want to start working on a novel soon.
I've also always had a passion for visual arts and photography, which I am constantly working on. Even though my photography isn't covering my rent, let alone my cell phone bill at the moment, it's still a huge part of who I am.
Anyways, this was torturing me, and the confusion never ceases. I can't tell you how many times I edited my title on my website and Instagram, only to go back and edit it again.
I thought if I said I was strictly a photographer then my site should be filled with my work and my blog should be full of work in progress and photo-related topics. Right?
If I put that I'm a Freelance Writer, then I should probably ditch my photography or create a totally separate website for that. And what about the blog posts, like this one, that is simply random thoughts I wanted to share? Do those need their own website too?
It might sound silly, but I was seriously hung up on this.
It didn't help that everything I found on the internet suggested keeping different ventures separate to avoid any confusion. But the thought of having to manage different IG handles and websites only seemed to cause more stress and confusion.
I'm a minimal kind of person, and I just don't have time for all that shit.
My love of photography and writing had me conflicted. After all, we have one career and we're supposed to stick with that one thing right? Wrong. Well, at least, it's wrong for me, but I would argue that kind of mentality isn't right for anyone.
That's because the only thing all these fancy titles and labels do is box us in and limit us. When you feel really committed to a label, you are not being open to the possibility of changing your direction.
Most of life is out of our hands, even the things that you think you can easily control.
I've changed my course so many times in life, and each time, I wasn't necessarily planning on it. When I was 20 I wanted to be a personal trainer, but a year later I was going to cosmetology school to be a nail tech.
When I moved back to Denver 6 years ago I only planned on staying a year and then escaping to San Diego. Did I ever end up there? No, I eventually met my husband, amazing friends, and found some reasons to want to stay here for a while.
Remembering these things made me decide to give up my search for the most fitting title. I realized I don't like titles. I don't like labels, and choosing a few to purely to aid in finding clients is as much as I can do.
I'm done boxing myself in with titles, and maybe you should be too. It might be the freedom you've been looking for.