This post about going from bottom to top was inspired by this comment. Thanks, Milena!
I walked in and almost everyone was sitting down, and the speakers were close, shoulder to shoulder. It was so hot and sticky outside, I went to the bathroom to freshen before sitting down near the door, lest the presentation be boring and I should want to leave in the middle.
Big Brother was the moderator of the panel, and I had seen him in the press, but never in person. After the event, we somehow managed to walk out at the same time. He said hello to me, in that special way he has, gleaming with charisma.
Much later we sat at a coffee shop, and I saw him repeat this behavior with other people who stared at him, as people often do. And I must have been staring too, because I remember the way that I felt was that my future was intrinsically and inexplicably linked to this man.
I couldn’t have known then that we would eventually sit in a car together as he expertly handled a disastrous situation. Or that we would have flurries of text conversations at nine o’clock at night. Or that he would be the one of the few people who could simultaneously inject fear and ambition into my dreams, that he would be one of the few to infuriate and inspire me all at once.
At the time, I was confused and unhappy. What I thought was supposed to be my dream job wasn’t working out and I felt claustrophobic in an invisible box, like a mime putting on a bad show.
I had a ridiculous time getting up in the morning, often rising out of bed just fifteen minutes before I was supposed to be sitting in my office chair. A three minute walk from where I lived. I didn’t really tell anyone at the time, not my boyfriend, or even my mother.
And little did I know things were only going to get worse, much worse, before they got better.
Eventually, it was mutually agreed upon that it would be best if I left my job, which sounds better than being fired, and it was just two or three days before Thanksgiving.
I felt a huge sense of relief, and full from a big plate of humble pie, I applied for and started my next job a short two weeks later. And then, a short two months after that, my body decided to send me to the emergency room. The day that I got out of the hospital, my boyfriend broke up with me.
It’s a strange feeling, hitting bottoms you never knew existed. But what’s even stranger is the wherewithal you find in yourself to keep going. That night, I cried on the shoulders of two of my friends, but in part of my head – the part that was growing an antidote to my flair for drama – I also thought that it was no big deal.
I needed to get healthy. I needed to get a paycheck to eat. I needed to figure things out.
So, I did that. With no other choice, it was remarkably easy.
I won’t describe much more about my second job because, in short, I loved it, and it’s difficult to write about such happiness without sounding absurdly corny. Suffice to say, the job was like a retreat for my career, and the organization I worked for was tremendously good to me.
So it was a surprise to everyone, most of all myself, when I started to feel restless later that year, and into the next. Seemingly losing it all made me remember I wanted much more.
That’s when I started this blog. Actually, I started a different one where I posted bad prose that I had written, and told around three people to go read it. Then I started this blog. And I told everyone in my address book to read it.
See, here’s the thing. When you put yourself out there for all to see, when you make yourself vulnerable, and you’re taking a big risk, and you’re doing all this because you can’t think of doing anything else, people will rally behind you. They will support you. Because people like to see others succeed. The universe will conspire in your favor.
The rush of this risk was so big, and the potential payoff so great, that I started to take more risks. I acted in a play where I learned the lines just eight hours earlier. I went skiing for the first time, fell on my butt, and got back up again. I learned sushi was the best food ever.
Oh, and I applied for my dream job and got it.
I don’t want to make it seem that I went through this big transformation over a short period and I know everything now. I didn’t and I don’t.
Let me be clear. It was really the years before this one, and those before that, which set me up to succeed. But eventually, you reach a tipping point and things begin to flow in your favor.
The pace since that’s happened has been like a water slide at a water park. The ride down is fast, scary, and exhilarating, and once you’ve reached the bottom, you can’t wait to make the long, hot and sticky crowded climb back to the top and do it all over again.
Because now I have an entirely new set of challenges and struggles that I face. I work hard, but also strategically and intelligently. And Big Brother, who seemed untouchable to me a couple years ago, is now one of my many mentors.
Dreams = Reality