It only took a week for me to shed the scared.
My return to the workforce after sixteen years had me reeling—but only for a second. All the trepidation—what was that?
The remnants of fear evaporate while I’m at the wheel, doing a little back-street jog to avoid Buckhead’s Triangle, jammed with cars. The circuitous route shaves five minutes off the commute. I congratulate myself on being no stranger to the city—I had my hair done on this block, made the trek from the suburbs a thousand times for good meals and cocktails and funky shoes you can’t get at the mall.
They’re a lot of folks with more sophistication in one Cartier-adorned finger than I’ve got in my whole novelty print-dressed body. But I’m not a total rube, thank you.
My coworkers, I can tell already they’re warm and kind and real, so what’s the point of a big performance?
I edit stories about superstars, career women who’ve killed it, and none of it seems so daunting. I can kill it, too. My mind turns to the leaping dolphin or rainbow posters grade school teachers would hang on cinderblock walls, the ones about if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it, cheesy and not particularly poignant.
But then, I’m suddenly swept up in a cause at hand, and I want to help, and I forget all about self and speak up. Ideas start flying around a conference room, and, especially if I’m properly caffeinated, I can’t resist getting all Let’s Do This. Dolphin-ately.
I love a good staff meeting.
At times I miss the introvert days, the fiction-making hours, the quiet. On the other hand, I don’t. There was a lot of writerly brooding.
Maybe I’ll find out the brooding is necessary for putting words on pages, that it’s margin for the chaos of home and kids and Hi, how are you? Great, I’m great. Good to see you.
Their daily rhythms may seem strange and sad and eccentric, but maybe the real-deal writers need the brooding space.
I guess I’ll find out.
For now, I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up. Gregarious or reserved? Metropolitan or mud-booted? A people-person or a hermit?
I guess I don’t have to decide today. I’ll keep taking the circuitous route, see where I land.