Prompted Writing
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When Someone Asked Me If I’m Defined By My Words

girl writing wondering if she's defined by my words

Someone recently asked me: “Is it weird that you’re defined by what you write?” And that question stopped me for a moment. I guess I never saw it that way. I don’t feel defined by my words, boxed in, and captive.

But maybe, in a sense, I’ve always been defined by my words. As far back as I can remember, I’ve been someone who has lived through my writing. Before starting my professional career, it was college publications. Before that, my blogs. This one was the earliest, started in 2009. Before that it was literary magazines and the Young Authors contests I would join every year. And before that, I would go to my elementary school’s publishing center with 25-page, fully illustrated picture books to have laminated and bound by the kind library ladies.

Words have always been a big part of who I am–but have I been defined by them?
Has my existence, my being, the person I am been based upon what I write?
And is that a bad thing?

I guess it was the way the person asked me that made me wonder. Maybe I haven’t been defined by my words, but I’ve let them define me. Is that the same thing?

To be defined by something is to give it power over you. But if you let something define you, then you are choosing to have that become who you are.

Have words taken over who I am? And is this something I should apologize for?

I’m not sure. I don’t like looking at my writing as something I’m powerless to. But at the same time, sometimes I feel my words take over. They spill out, they form into thoughts I didn’t know I had. They control my mind, my heart. But they are my mind. So where does this leave me?

I am a writer. This is a description I have embodied, a label I have taken on by choice.

My words are who I am. They’re the inner workings of my mind, my deepest feelings and desires, the thoughts I want the world to know and so desperately understand. They give me power, they give me strength, they show me that I’m not alone.

So hell yes, I’m defined by them. And I’m not ashamed or afraid.

This entry was posted in: Prompted Writing


Marisa Donnelly, M.Ed., is a writer/editor, credentialed teacher, proud bonus mama, and CEO of Be A Light Collective, a coaching and content creation business and digital marketplace. She is the Director of Donnelly’s Daily Apple, a flexible learning/tutoring and educational resource platform, and the lead voice for Momish Moments and Step by Step Parents, verticals dedicated to sharing and advocating for non-traditional parenting journeys. Marisa currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiancé, kiddo, and their two rambunctious Pitbulls. ❤️

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