Romilly Mueller, thank you so much for sharing your experiences as a MultiPassionate Woman.
Before we dive into your multipassionate-ism, I would love for you to introduce yourself. We will get into details in subsequent questions, so think of this a ‘broad strokes’ introduction. Whatever fun facts you are moved to share.
Uffda. Introductions are not my strong suit, though I’m working on them!
Hi, I’m Romilly, and I’m what the needlework community calls a “serial starter.” But it’s more than that. Friends have called me a Renaissance Woman, and I kind of like that, though I’m quite a bit more 18th century than Renaissance! I’m a dancer, writer, artist in several mediums, and a sometimes-drummer.
Alright, passion time! Off the top of your head and from your heart — we MultiPassionates can handle both at the same time — list all your passions past and present. Yes, ALL of them. Go!
ER… OK. In no particular order:
◦ Middle Eastern Dance – from Raqs sharqi and the various regional flavors of orientale (belly dance) to folkloric and lots of props
◦ Renaissance dance
◦ Medieval creative reenactment as practiced by the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)
◦ Needlework (embroidered) and design
◦ Design of several flavors
◦ Technical Writing
◦ Graphic art
◦ Teaching anything I’ve learned
◦ Database design and programming
◦ Fiction writing
◦ Haiku (writing AND reading)
◦ Baking (specifically baking. I enjoy cooking, especially for lots of people at once, but it’s not the same thing)
◦ Gardening, though I historically have a black thumb
◦ Magic (the real stuff, often spelled magik to differentiate – not prestidigitation)
◦ Talking to animals (does this fall under languages?)
I THINK that’s everything. But I know I’ll think of something else as soon as I send this document!
In Emilie Wapnick’s book ‘How To Be Everything’, she describes 4 Multipotentialite (her equivalent term for MultiPassionate) work styles. Which of the following best describes your work style, and how are your unique passions met within that style?
- Group Hug – you have one job or business that allows you to wear many hats that you shift between. Your various passions are met within this one job/business.
- Slash – you have two or more part-time jobs and/or businesses operating at the same time. Your passions are met across these jobs/businesses.
- Einstein – you have one job or business that supports you. Your passions are met outside of this job.
- Phoenix – you are a serial multipassionate, diving deep into a career for months, even years, then moving onto an entirely new career. Your passions are narrowly focused within each career, but all of them are met eventually across the careers.
All of them? I’d LOVE for it to be Group Hug, but I’ve never managed to pull that together. Most of my passions require a deep dive, so I’ve tended toward Phoenix built on a base of Einstein or Slash depending on the time of life I’m in. NEVER have I managed to fit all my current passions in at one time. Sometimes this gets depressing.
What challenges, personally and/or professionally, have you experienced as a MultiPassionate Woman?
I have a broad background in lots of things. Currently that means that with the ratcheting down of “careers” into specialties, I sometimes get frozen out of my world. For example, my focus in technical writing was software manuals and help files. These days, companies seem to think that a programming background is more important than being able to explain how the finished product works. (I think that’s one of the reasons you get complaints about documentation and apps having such a large learning curve, but getting corporate America to listen? Yeah. I thought not.) Also, my degree is in the “soft” specialty of English. And there are now actual technical writing degrees available.
I get bored easily. In technical writing, this was actually a pretty good thing. Because many jobs are contract, not “captive,” you get to move every few months to learn something new and document it. It was perfect for me. Then I got hired ‘permanently’ and let me tell you, documenting the same product in various iterations gets boring fast. (Programmers face this when they get to the maintenance phase, too… shiny new features are always more fun to play with than fixing bugs.)
What are your strengths, charms, and accomplishments as a MultiPassionate Woman? Shout ‘em out, lady!
I can teach damn near anything I know to almost anyone, and have discovered I’m perfectly happy talking to groups of any size about any of my passions. This comes from teaching dance since I was in my teens, and my tech writing background. I also love teaching almost as much as I love creating beauty in the arts. Hmmm. You may have just given my business transformation a push in the right direction! 🙂 I DID say doing this interview would be interesting, didn’t I?
That above paragraph is also a strength. I learn something new from just about anything I try. (Even if it’s Nope. That wasn’t for me!) Because I have such wide-reaching passions, people are often surprised by how willing I am to try new things. Especially now that I’m in my 50s. I don’t think I’ll jump out of an airplane any time soon (the “don’t break your legs!” mentality from ballet and dance still holds!), but I’m willing to try a lot more than many people I know.
What advice do you have for MultiPassoniate Women struggling to find their own unique place in this life?
Don’t let yourself be squished down into one little tube. You WILL explode out of it, and it won’t be pretty when you do! Find ways to indulge in your passions, even if it’s just a little bit here and there, and feel free to try things that you THINK you might be passionate about, even if they become less interesting quickly.
Set goals… when I was in college I did a “5-year” plan of what I wanted to do – It included making my living coloring, writing, and dancing. I found that plan in my 40s when I was decluttering… and it may have taken me into my 30s, but I was doing just that. Now coloring has expanded to creating full-on art of my own instead of designing needlework from traditional motifs,
I’m a Middle Eastern Dance instructor, and it’s time to bring writing and teaching back into the art business. Sea changes. This passage from the Tempest has always stayed with me. Maybe it’s actually been my motto as I grew…
Full fathom five thy father lies.
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sweet! Thank you!
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