I have a bad feminist confession: Even though I love writing, am pretty good at it, and have even authored a forthcoming book, I've never called myself a writer. This spring I attended the annual PEN Literary Gala in NYC. When the honoree, J.K. Rowling, requested all of the writers stand to be recognized, I stayed planted in my seat.
But my writer wallflowerhood ended this week after I received the pre-order announcement for a book I've contributed to, The Meaning of Michelle: 15 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own. I was humbled when the editor, the prolific Veronica Chambers, invited me to write an essay for it earlier this year. But this week when I saw that the other contributors include three of my sheroes—Roxane Gay, Rebecca Walker, and Melissa Harris Perry—I said out loud for the very first time in my life "I'm a writer!" Why I (and a lot of other women) require external validation to acknowledge our own identity is fodder for a much longer piece. For now, I'm happy to have officially discovered myself.