I find writing a personal bio to be a difficult undertaking. It’s simultaneously a summary of 43 years of living, working, and becoming AND a specific point-in-time snapshot of that amalgamation. Plus, I have to consider the audience, organization, or project, so there’s the added dimension of presenting the right credentials, the right version of me.
But, where it really gets tricky is in the unreliability of my own view. A personal bio may be mainly about quantifiable accomplishments, but it’s also a personal narrative. We’ve all been around people who are amazingly obtuse when it comes to understanding themselves, whose personal blind spots are so huge they can’t see the flashing red lights all around them. Or, those folks who think they are fooling everybody with their perfect personal narratives that ring hollow even as they spin their stories.
This dilemma of autobiography was pointed out in an interview I read with Natasha Trethewey, our nation’s new poet laureate and fellow Mississippi native. She calls memory “our minds’ dark pantry.” Tretheway believes recording our cultural histories is important, but “The problem is, a good portion of what we choose to remember is about willed forgetting.” She confesses, “Even as I think of myself as a rememberer, I also know my memory is probably doing all this work to reconstruct a narrative where I come off better.”
Ouch! Leave it to a Southern chick to boil things down so beautifully and honestly.
In the back of my mind too, I often wonder what glaring truth about myself am I missing or willfully forgetting. I have truth-tellers in my life who give some guidance, but I think the truest measure of my blind spots will be what my children say about me to each other and to the world. Which is why, even though they’re young, I ask my kids for their perspectives and advice. I listen to them. My children are involved in shaping who I am, not just the other way around. In this regard, I’m continuing the legacy of my parents, which is why the most recent bio I wrote went like this:
My story can’t be told without telling about the family I grew up in and the family I’m raising now. I am the oldest of seven children. My father, a minister in a large church, raised me to understand that big things start small and to trust in the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. My mother, a homemaker, author, and teacher, raised me to delight in the Lord in all that I do. With this strong foundation, I view life as an adventure, faith as a journey, and God as the source of all wisdom, delight, and purpose.
Married for nearly 22 years, my husband, Dan, and I have six children (ages 14 to 8, including two sets of twins), who we are guiding to trust and delight in the Lord. We home school our children through Circle Christian School, where I write and lead an elementary school program called Explorations. Through this unit-based program, I choose excellent children’s books and show parents how to use them to teach literature, social studies, Biblical worldview, science, and art. But, mainly, I teach parents how to connect with their kids, just as my mom and dad did with me and as I’m doing with my children now.
I majored in communications at Florida State University and earned a minor in journalism from FSU and Florida A&M University’s joint program. I received a master’s degree in marketing communication from FSU. Currently, I write a blog aimed at women of all ages – Frizzle Chicks. I love to explore Florida and the Southeast, with regular trips to New York City and occasionally Europe. One of my favorite questions to ask people is, “What are you reading right now?” Their answers help me quickly get to know them.
At heart, I’m still a girl who believes that everyday is an adventure and that hope and purpose are found by delighting in the Lord Jesus Christ in everything I do.
That’s a summary and a snapshot, but the truth is my bio is still a work in progress.