Disclaimer: Today’s blog is very ego-centric. As I watched devastating events unfold this summer related to natural – and unnatural – disasters around the world, I felt more and more powerless. I can’t control any of that. But I can control some things about me.
This summer I was so fortunate to rejoin America’s work force, albeit at the least rate of pay since what I earned as a secretary in the ‘70s, and I remain astounded that this is the case for so many of us in this economy. Misery loves company and yes, I am happy that we are in this boat together, and grateful for my new job. And I wonder, are we “the underemployed”? Financials aside, in my case, No!
The skills I have acquired over the last couple of years as a customer service representative along with learning even more complex duties associated with customer care in my current position, are far more challenging and rewarding than any tasks I ever performed as a secretary or assistant years ago. Now that I am older, my work ethic and attitude have improved; I take nothing for granted. As I navigate what for me is a steep learning curve in my current position, I find it is helpful to follow the advice of Karon, my supervisor, “You just have to fool with it”.
In July I crashed and burned over a combination of let-downs: I had suddenly stopped working daily in my sketch journal, I was overwhelmed with adjusting to my new schedule, and dealing head-on with some financial challenges; plus anxiety and excitement over my 45th high school reunion just about did me in. The post-reunion depression stunned me. Let’s face it: I was expecting the 18 year old me to walk into a room full of 18 year old classmates. I didn’t recognize most of them; hell, I don’t even recognize me. I couldn’t hear, my legs ached from standing, and I felt very out-of-body. And it gets worse from there! I proceed to measure my success by theirs; OMG, I’m a blimp and a failure! Loser!
And here’s the kicker: if it really isn’t what’s on the outside that counts, but what lies within, I am screwed! I’m not even that nice! Despite my girth I am vain, egotistical, temperamental. I’m selfish and self-centered and jealously guard my solitude. I don’t always play well with others. So, I am an artist, at last. I pass the personality test.
I have an “Ah-ha!” moment watching Stacy & Clinton on What Not To Wear describe the shape of an outfit making a plus size gal “look like an ice cream cone”. Time to rethink my wardrobe. Acknowledging that I swoon over the floaty, printed, femme shapes of some of today’s fashions helps me make a shift inside and out. A sense of excitement and anticipation stirs me. I recall that these bespoke elements have never gone out of style, and I have always felt my best when sashaying around in them. I dressed that way a lot in the 70’s (when I was an artist) and in the 90’s (when I was an artist) and now that I’ve discovered my art again, it’s time to change my look. Indeed, you just have to fool with it.