Thursday, February 8, 2007


"Who am I anyway?
Am I my resume'?"

- A Chorus Line

Remember how at the beginning of this project I was going to give myself a word to write on each day? I haven't been doing that, but today's word is "identity."

I used to really identify with being a Financial Aid Administrator (the way I did with being a social worker, come to think of it). Besides working for students at my schools, I was really involved in the fin aid community, sitting on our state association's committees, moderating and presenting at conferences, giving Financial Aid Night talks at high schools in the area. People knew who I was, and I was considered a "rising star" even if I say so myself. I was elected to the association's executive council against my will in 2002.

The more time goes by, the more comfortable I'm becoming with "being a member of my community." I've started talking about this as my "year on" and saying "working without pay" rather than "not working." Today when I dropped our tax information off with the CPA he said that with all the volunteering I'm doing I should track my mileage, because I can claim miles driven for volunteering the same way I can claim charitable giving.

I'm volunteering at the Hayward Public Library because I live here. I volunteer at the Pacific Center because I am a member of the LGBT community. I volunteer with the Wallenberg Community Foundation because I attended that high school. I don't have a direct connection to Alameda, but hungry people are my sisters and brothers. I've offered my financial aid expertise for Cash for College events in the area (and am waiting to hear back, still), because I've been a member of the fin aid community.

So I'm a volunteer. I usually tell people what I'm doing because a volunteer can be so many things, including a tree that grows without actually being planted by a person. My mom's yard has a couple of them, cherry trees that must have grown from seeds somehow buried when they fell from the original cherry tree.

The fact is, I don't know how to tell people "what I am." As I have found so often, a few words just aren't enough and I feel like I have to explain, to clarify, to make sure that whoever I'm talking to understands what I mean. It probably tires people out. Sometimes it tires me out.

Here's me in May '06 looking like a Buddhist nun, which I'm not.

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