Feb. 24, 2017



"What's your name?" "What do you do?," they say to initiate conversation.

My name is JOY, SuperJOY to some, Miss JOY to others. But, in social situations, the answer to the second question can make my eyes bulge, face flush as my throat constricts and mouth goes dry.

"I am Joy and ....Well, yes, well, um ... Um ..." I violate every speaking rule I learned in speaking class stringing together, "um ... But ... Well ... Ummmmmm." Wow. This awkward moment -  everyone is uncomfortable.

Yes, I have had many paying vocations but ... "What do you do?, sounds more like "who are you"? "What value do you have?"  "Let's compare."  I often stand without words. How does this truth teller answer that question?

After witnessing these painful episodes several times, my husband decides to try to help (maybe to try to lessen the hours of listening he had to do after each episode?!). "Joy, this is not a job interview. When people ask, 'what do you do?' They usually do not care that much about the answer, they are just looking for a point of connection. So just find something, one line you honestly can say and practice it." Gene advises.

"What do I do?" If I am not getting paid for a job currently, what is the answer? I write. I clean. I cook. I hug. I listen.  I watch clouds and sunsets.  I do bubbles in places where people need a smile. I sing in locker room showers and get ovations .... But if I get no money for my time, do I not have value? If I have no concrete measurable answer to the question, do I have no concrete, measurable worth?

Asking myself these questions, it soon becomes clear that finding the answer is really not about satisfying others' curiosity but what I believe about my value. Is my value limited to what I do? Or is my value determined by who I am? Do I believe that intrinsically I have value, no matter what?

Presently, I am prepared with a variety of answers. "My name is JOY. I am me. I live JOY fully". "My name is JOY. I demonstrate crazy hope, joy, peace and love.  My FULL time occupation is being, finding and contemplating Love's beauty everywhere." Well, it's a start anyway ......