A Specialty-less Specialist

To expand upon my last life update, I was recently hired as a specialist in an inner-city library. If I’m being honest, “specialist” has never been a word that I thought I would ever use to describe myself; it makes me giggle.

I wasn’t one of those kids with a consistent answer to, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Always a polymath, I wanted to be a dancer, a princess, a closet monster, an astronaut, a nuclear physicist, an English teacher, a neuroscientist, a guitarist, a geneticist, a therapist, a dog walker, a restaurant owner, a lawyer, a programmer, a politician, a motivational speaker, an entrepreneur, an ethicist, a librarian, a journalist, an author, a cat, an animal behaviorist, the tooth fairy, a singer, at one point I’m certain that I, in the style of Marjane Satrapi, wanted to be a prophet… and those were all just in the sixth grade.

And, in my defense, I tried really hard to be all of those things. I even played a closet monster in the play There’s A Monster in my Closet by Angela D. Stewart, just to get some exposure to that career path (it wasn’t for me).

My life has been riddled with chidings to focus, to be less all-over-the-place. And I can be focused, if I really want to be. I’ve been described as “goal-oriented to a fault.” But pouring all of my faculties into a singular project feels like stagnation, and it’s boring. I have direction, sure, but when I laughingly refer to myself as the world’s most prolific generalized enthusiast, I’m not kidding. Maybe it’s the familial ADHD, or maybe it’s just me, but I want the whole world, and I want the whole world. I want to wear every hat, a Leaning Tower of Headwear ascending from my cranium.

I’m an intersectionalitist (?) at heart. I prefer the extensive to the intensive, exposure to expertise. It might be ridiculous, but I’ve always assumed that if I need more information on a topic, for whatever reason, I can easily find it. I have a deep fear, though, that if I haven’t seen all there is out there, I won’t know where to start on my search.

It’s difficult to think about what I want to do as a career; I still don’t have that one thing that sounds like something I could do every day for the rest of my life (sans my two weeks of vacation days, major holidays, and weekends), or at least until I’m sixty-five. I’m paranoid about being over-qualified or under-credentialized for the path future me is going to want. How do I set myself up to do everything?

I don’t know why I’m like this.


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