This is a repost of a post I posted two years ago*, and sadly, I can still feel that slap on my face, the pain an eternal residue.
One year ago*, I found myself in a deep chasm of grief, my father having passed just two months before. I was also unemployed for the first time in over ten years. My daughter was in tenth grade and going through her own set of tsoris, and as her mother, I would envelop her anxiety into mine. I was juggling, that tenuous act of keeping on my game face while masking everything within, for the sake of others, which includes but is not limited to my Daughter, my Mother, my friends, my lovers and my potential colleagues.
On a brisk February day, I found myself in the office space of an established recruiter. I knew he had the keys to career greatness, if not for the role I was up for, then for others that would make their way to him. I was excited, for the job at hand was the first job in my new status as an “in-betweener” was a dream gig; I wanted to be hired. I stood nervously, waiting for him to appear in a neatly appointed conference room, looking out the window at the adjacent brick buildings, my mind working hard to push my grief away. When he finally appeared ten minutes late, he was strained smiles, eye contact flitting fervently. I could see in the way he assessed me that he was assigning his judgment upon me; my heart ached. We were not connecting, he was only doing me the courtesy of his company, and within twenty minutes, I was politely dismissed.
I went back out into the world, my face stinging. I was speechless. I spent precious tap-dancing minutes in the presence of a professional who built a steel wall that I was unable to penetrate. I didn’t want to talk to anyone; I’d just shriek if I did. My mind was swirling, my grief, compounded by my anxiety and my stress and my worry and all of it, all of it, all of it. So I did the most irresponsible thing I could do: I went into a clothing store, my absolute Achilles Heel. My body leading my mind, as it were, knowing I needed a distraction, a salve, a sanctuary. I wandered around, touching beautiful wool tops and corporately-inclined dresses, fantasizing about what everything would look like on me. I could feel the stink of what just happened begin to dissipate. My mood started to thaw; I felt the blood pouring back into my body, my mind becoming clear, the tears perched go dry. Being around these beautiful things–material objects–was a huge reminder to me that I could be anything, do anything, want anything.
All I needed to do was to keep my game face on and keep trying.
So I put my credit card down (ignoring the small nuisances of debt and unemployment and hello, limited bank account), I bought my daughter a piece and I bought myself a piece and I walked out of that little clothing shop like Mary Tyler Moore in her show opening, humming “You’re gonna make it after all.”
This morning, in the wake of everything, everything, everything, I’m remembering that feeling of lightness and hope. Keep your game face on, ladies, it helps get your from point A to point B.
Michelle Yeoh: “At the beginning, people were very curious: Really? Beauty queen? Ballerina?”
Julia Cameron: “I think it’s fair to say that drinking and drugs stopped looking like a path to success.”
Today would have been Wendy Bott’s 56th birthday! RIP.
Snakes do get on planes.
Domestic Workers, on the rise.
I’m so into these sneakers.
And now, have a laugh with Caitlin Peluffo.