“What do you do?”
I lose track of how many times I am asked this in a week. Maybe it has always been so, but I think previously my answer to this has been somewhat simpler, so I hadn’t noticed the regularity to which I was asked this. At various times I have answered with: I am studying. I am a management consultant. I am a recruitment consultant. I am a children’s party fairy. I am a surf lifeguard. I am a traveller. I am a counsellor. I am a teacher.I am trying to decide what I am going to be when I grow up.
But now, “what I do” is so much harder to define. A man asked me this question on Sunday. I mentioned a couple of things that I “do”, at which point he interrupted and said he didn’t need my CV. I was a little taken aback – I had only just started! : ) I think that for this man, the question was a superficial nicety, he didn’t really want to know. Particularly once I had uttered the word ‘sexuality’...
But it got me thinking – can I sum up “what I do” in a short, concise socially acceptable sentence? I thought long and hard, and decided “no”. But I did think that it was a good topic for a blog post. I am just getting started in the blogosphere and I thought it would be apt to define “what I do” at this early stage.
First and foremost, I am a mother. This is my most important role and the one that will always take priority – for the rest of my life. This is my grounding principal and I will never apologise to anyone if this role interrupts other things I am ‘supposed’ to be doing. Being a mother is a huge privilege and my child only has one of me. (NB. The value our society places on this role is a whole post in itself, coming soon!)
I provide education around sexuality - I teach in schools, I run workshops for parents and youth. I want every person to love, value, respect and understand their whole body.
I write. I am currently writing for Birthright NZ, redeveloping their website and increasing their profile. I love it that my work will help and raise awareness of the fantastic job that so many one-parent families are doing around the country.
I educate and empower local business women with their online presence and run workshops on social media. This was something that evolved, rather than a conscious decision to get involved in this area. It is so rewarding to see women who had shied away from such things become confident and innovative online networkers.
I mentor young women. This is a huge privilege and one of the most inspiring parts of any week.
I read. Current topics of interest are body image and the media... advertising to youth... the sexualisation of children... alcohol and pregnancy... how social media can help not-for-profits and small businesses... worm farming... sustainable living.
And now... I blog. Increasingly so. My goal is three posts a week. Help keep me honest ; )
Rachel is a writer and educator whose fields of interest include sexuality education, gender, feminism and youth development.