When I was little and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, my eyes would get real big and I would smile all giddy…
“A cashier lady!”
The looks on their face were priceless, I just didn’t know it at the time.
Some adults would fake smile and say “Well, that’s nice but what do you really want to be?”
The question confused me. I really wanted to punch buttons on a cash register and sling the plastic roller over the credit cards. If you are not old enough to know what I am talking about, there used to be a day where credit cards weren’t all the rage *jazzhands* and a carbon copy was taken of them, the original “swipe” if you will. When I saw people with credit cards, I would think, “Wow! They must have a lot of money!” Oh, to be an innocent child again…
I was at the age where I was just tall enough to see over the conveyor belt and be eye level where the lady’s fingertips would strike each key. It was perfection, like watching someone play piano from just the right angle, seeing their fingers glide against the keys. I remember when stores started scanning bar codes instead of typing each price into the machine. They ran the UPC symbol over the asterisk shape cut out of the plastic piece that lay on top of the scanner glass and the beep was music to my ears. Yes, every item in every store had its own individual price tag at one point in time. I was fascinated with the big bulky price guns. The methodical tap of the gun across boxes of Kleenex fascinated me. Oh! And the cash drawer! The spring action metal pieces that held each bill neatly in place and when the cashier was finished getting the change out, the way they all shut in unison as she slid the drawer back into its slot. It was eye candy to me.
I wanted to run a cash register when I grew up. Eventually, because nobody believed me or they scoffed at what I said or rolled their eyes and laughed, I began to believe I had to be something else too. I stopped telling people about my cash register dreams. At an eighth grade job fair, I met a young architect. He had a model of a house sitting at his table. My secret fascination with small things peaked my interest in architecture. I wanted to build models like the one he had. I decided I wanted to work for an architectural firm and that’s what I told people after that.
In middle school I had a couple babysitting jobs over the summer that I was paid for. High school came and I worked on the side for my dad to make a little extra money. Then, when I turned 16 and I was legally able to apply for a job, lo and behold, I was a cashier lady. Try and stop me from my dreams, ha!
I worked at a little grocery store in the town we were living in and I ran that cash register like nobody’s business. I perfected my method of scanning and bagging and had it down so much that the regulars would come through my line and whisper to me, “I like coming through your line. You’re fast and know how to bag my groceries!” It always put a smile on my face. To this day, my husband cuts his eyes at me when we go grocery shopping and the cashier puts anything but a bag of bread on top of my eggs. He knows I’m going to reach into that bag and remove whatever item they haphazardly threw on top of my fragile eggs and smile at them while I do it, kindly explaining you never put anything in the egg bag except one bag of bread, on top of the eggs.
I graduated high school, went through my first year of college with an undeclared major and then took about five years off. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was 18 years old. What did I know? Not as much as I thought I did. I worked for my dad mostly during that time. He was a master upholsterer and we worked with many of the higher end designers in our city. When I finally decided to go back to college, I remember flipping through the university catalogue and saw they had an Interior Design program. Sign me up!
I went on to get my Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. I was an Interior Designer, not a decorator. There’s a difference! That was for my fellow designers. I got your back. I worked for an architectural firm for 8 years, starting there while I was still working towards my degree. It was a great experience and I was given the opportunity to work on every kind of project I wanted to along the side of brilliant minds. I even helped build little models of some nice projects. I won an award for design and contributed to many other award-winning projects I had my hands in with the team. I’ve been asked back to my alma mater to speak in some of the design classes and judge some of the projects, which I happily obliged. I’ve been asked to consider teaching one of the classes. I’m honored and humbled by that offer. I achieved my goal. From there I went on to working for a national account lighting company and this journey is now coming to an end. I walked in the door as a project designer and will be walking out the door as a Vice President. I gave it my all while I was here as well. It’s just what I do.
I rededicated my life to Christ at the age of 28 and dreams and goals began changing. The one thing I always wanted to be, and never told anyone for 36 years, is a writer. I heard the things people said to others who wanted the same thing and I let their eye rolls stop me. I wrote in secret. I kept journals. I started stories. I wrote poetry. I kept it all hidden away while I achieved things the world looked at as successful. I don’t disagree. Putting my accomplishments on paper, I’ve achieved more than most people even dream to. That’s where we sell ourselves short. We stop dreaming.
I also had it in my heart to get a degree in Theology. God afforded me that opportunity a few years back and I was able to obtain my Associates in Theology through In Christ International Bible College. Another goal accomplished.
For the last couple of years I’ve been saying the words out loud, “I want to be a writer.” I’ve had to get used to it. I’ve had to convince myself that I could do it. I had to believe it first before anyone else would. Of course, fear and doubt tried having its way with questions like, “How are you going to transition from an Interior Designer to a writer? Who does that?” That very expensive piece of paper that is still rolled up in its tube on my shelf in the living room, has defined so many things about me. A piece of paper! A piece of paper defines who I am. Exactly. That is my goal. I want a piece of paper to define me. I want to write on that piece of paper. I want to write so many things on a piece of paper and hand it over to the world.
I am a writer. I had to change what I was saying. Instead of wanting to BE a writer, I had to start saying I AM a writer. I AM a poet. I AM an accomplished author. I AM a New York Times best seller. I AM. Say the things you want as though they are. God did and look what happened! Humans!
I took a step of faith last year and submitted a poem to one of the largest and most well-known magazines to the writing world. I didn’t do it to win. I did it to overcome a fear, to scrape off any insecurities, and to put my name out there. I stepped out in faith.
I told God when I rededicated my life to Him that I would be a living testimony of what He has done and is going to do in my life. I don’t share personal details because I want to share personal details. I share because someone else out there needs encouragement. It is through our testimonies that lives are changed and saved and with the first creative non-fiction novel I release (hopefully by the end of this year), I plan to accomplish just that. I have a greater testimony than what I’ve shared here. I’ve overcome sexual abuse, self-harm, addiction, self-hate, near-death experiences and so much more through God’s grace, mercy and love and He told me to share it with the world. Hello world.
I don’t know yet how successful I’m going to be at writing but if I write anything near the capability and excellence I have at running a cash register, I at least know I’ll have accomplished a goal and life-long dream. NEVER. STOP. DREAMING.
Matthew 19:26 (KJV)
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.