When you are little, you think about what you will become when you grow up. Heck, even when you are a grown-up you sometimes wonder what you will become.
People ask you when you are a child what you want to be when you are an adult. The worst thing someone can say to a child when they answer that question is that they have to pick just one thing – one profession – one aspiration – one dream.
He can be a carpenter, dad, teacher, artist, superhero, policeman, office worker, guitar player, and more! She can be a gardener, model, engineer, writer, skydiver, YouTuber, … all of these things are possible, and perhaps there are occupations one can have that haven’t even been invented yet. And, a person can be all or some of these things simultaneously.
I find myself, as time goes on, and I become more comfortable in my own skin and in my own soul, I am discovering more of the gifts that God has given me and meant for me to use. Sometimes, I’m not quite sure how to use them, or when I will use them, but recognizing one’s gifts is half the battle.
So many people are born with talents and suppress them, or are (mis)guided by parents, teachers, and society to pursue only high-paying jobs. By doing that, many ironically pay, the highest price, and lead a life that leaves them feeling unfulfilled in some way.
Do you want to live a life of could have’s and should have’s? Most people don’t want to. I asked myself those questions when my daughter was about 2 years old. I felt like there was more I was meant to do with my life. Thankfully, I had friends who are like family to me, who encouraged me to follow my heart and not what others think I should do.
Vocalizing who I am is sometimes the hardest thing for me to do. It’s applying a label to myself. Just like the first time my daughter called me “Mom Mom,” it was a new label. Although it was the most wonderful name I could hear, it took some time getting used to hearing it; believing that I was a mother. It’s through this that I began to realize if you do it, and then you say it, you are it. You can’t “be” something just by saying you are. You must incorporate your actions into your character.
The first time I told someone I was a writer, it sounded foreign to me. I called myself a “writer”. Is that who I am? I guess it is. I write. I put my work out there for others to read. Yes, I am a writer. Over time I became more comfortable with defining myself with the word “writer”. Now, years later, it rolls off my tongue without a thought. I have finally embraced it. It has melded into my being. It’s natural to me now. It just took time.
Laura the Radio Personality
I remember the first time I was a guest on radio. Just a little over 4 short years ago! I was so scared to do it. I almost turned down the opportunity and didn’t take the drive to the studio. They wanted to talk to me?
I thought about trying something new; and my grandmother’s advice of “try it, you’ll like it” rang through my ears. What was the worst that could happen? I get on air, and I don’t like it? Well, if that were to happen, I just wouldn’t do it again! If I never tried it, then how would I be able to form a valid opinion about it?
So I gave it a go – and I didn’t just like it, I LOVED it! And apparently the confidence I felt as I was speaking in my interview was something that listeners appreciated, and I was invited back to that very same studio dozens of times for different broadcasts. I began to co-host radio shows and grew increasingly comfortable being both the interviewer and the interviewee.
What do you call someone who bounces from radio station to radio station? Who goes on radio a lot, and people identify her with her pen name-persona? Perhaps a radio personality. That was me. This is me.
I did it. I said it. And now, I believe it. I believe I am.
It’s like trying on clothes for the first time – sometimes you’re not sure if they suit you or if they fit. Then; something happens and you grow into them, or they grow on you. They become a part of you. You start to believe that this is a part of who you are.
Laura the Celebrity Publicist
I fell into “PR”. I never said “I want to be a publicist when I grow up.” Not once.
I wrote about things and people that interested me; I still do. I went on radio and spoke about my adventures and what and who I penned about. People asked me if I could write about them or get them on radio, too. And, that’s how I became a publicist. But, not a general publicist. I work specifically with high profile clients in the entertainment industry. God has placed certain talented individuals in my path who He must want me to work with. I rarely seek them out. It’s the truth! They find me, or we have a chance meeting much of the time. Believe me, I’m grateful for being blessed with this calling I handle with care.
Maybe it’s because I don’t get star struck. Maybe because a doorway of trust is opened up between my soul and theirs. I meet these select people in unexpected ways and feel it must be my destiny to help the ones I work with in the best way I can.
I put on the celebrity publicist hat, (because I needed to put something understandable on my business card – ha!) and after hearing it a few hundred times, I finally convinced myself that this also, is me.
Laura the Model
Last year I began modeling. I probably could have started three years earlier, but I was hesitant when photographer Michael Abrams asked me to pose for pictures with him. My reaction was of caution and disbelief in myself. He works with gorgeous models all over the world who are showcased in Maxim and Playboy. Why me? Who me? Finally, I could not think of a good reason why I shouldn’t give it a go, and I did. It was the best decision I ever made, to work with someone who was patient and believed in my abilities.
The blog blew up. My photos were published in a magazine. And I was living and breathing being a model. People asked for my autograph and wanted to meet me? This doesn’t happen to normal people I thought. Goes to show you what I know! I’m still learning! The craziest thing – I agreed to do it all over again this summer, and here are the photos showing more of this “model” side of me once more.
And, Michael’s photography, to date, combined with his tolerance of me :) and endless patience and guidance when working with me, produces photos like these, that I’m very proud of. I’m proud of them not because they are photos of me; but because they show how he and I are working together to help each other realize our dreams and showcase our gifts.
Model. Yeah, pinch me still, because I probably need to hear it a few hundred more times to believe it. But I’ll get there. Eventually.
Laura the Actress
My first scene on camera was as an extra in a movie, (Who’s Jenna…?) sitting behind a bar. No speaking lines. I was just in the right place at the right time and there was a need for a woman in the scene, and I thought about this opportunity just as I had thought about going on radio for the first time – why not give it a try?
While I wasn’t very comfortable in my mind being on camera, I wasn’t “me” on camera. I was someone else for a few minutes, another character. This character, she could pull it off. And I did.
Before I knew it, my credits in IMDb weren’t just as a publicist, but also as an actress. I read it; dare I believe it? The proof is in the film – it sure as heck was me on screen.
One thing led to another, and I had my first lead role in a short film, and then a small part in a feature film after that (both not released yet). This fall I start filming my first feature film where I play a lead, too. In rather rapid succession, my actions are justifying the actress label. I do, therefore I am?
I still have a hard time believing that I am all of these things myself. Sometimes it sounds foreign to hear myself say the words “I’m an actress,” or “I’m a model.” It hasn’t sunk in yet. Although, when I hear others refer to me in those terms, I say to myself, that it must be true. So I embrace them, as much as I can; and maybe over time I’ll become more accustomed to saying, hearing, and being these things, just like I got used to being called “Mom Mom” over a decade ago.
Who knows what I’ll add to the list of adjectives next. I’m still finding out who I am; and it’s not just one thing. There is not one term to encapsulate all that I do and all that I will become. I am not defined by a single word. No one is.
The closest labels of late for me are “media personality” and jokingly, “chameleon”. I seem to wear many hats these days and change them many times a day sometimes. What’s next? I do not have a road map of what’s in store for me, but I know that I need to continue to listen to my heart, no matter what job descriptions are added after my name. I just know that I fully expect that there will be more talents for me to uncover because no one only possesses one facet of their being; we are not one dimensional; and there are more twists and turns on my journey (and yours) to explore. Call me a mother, a sister, a writer, a model, an actress, a friend, a lover, or a label not yet conceptualized…. No matter what words are used to describe me, the word “me” is ever-changing, and its definition knows no bounds. And, I like it that way.
And after all of this,
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