I recall an episode of the sitcom "Good Times" where Thelma's husband, Keith Anderson, started drinking to numb the pain of losing his pro football career (an accident at the wedding messed up his leg). He acted like a drunken jackass in front of a former teammate who was a dinner guest, got into an argument with Thelma and slapped her silly. He finally confessed his problem to her.
This makes me think: I'm a cartoonist/animator/caricaturist/design on demand artist/blogger/article writer. What if I couldn't do any of these things? I'm beginning to realize that I can identify as my job, as do we all at one time or another. I love to create cartoons as much as I love to watch them, but what if I couldn't cartoon? Would I lose my feeling of self-worth, like Keith lost his? No, I wouldn't!
I am not a job, I do a job--several jobs, in fact. My self-worth comes from knowing I'm loved by family, friends and most of all, by God (I am a faithful, if imperfect, Christian).
At the end of that "Good Times" episode, Keith told Thelma he never wanted to do anything but play football and that he hated having to drive a taxi to make money. Thelma told him that he'd better start thinking of himself as a worthy person, "whether you're playing in the Super Bowl or driving people to it!" That's how I want to think of myself: The cartoons don't make me, I make the cartoons! (By the way, Thelma slapped Keith back in the end--just so they'd be even.)