I have a confession.
Once upon a time, before all “this”-
…back in the days that felt most muchless to me, when I’d stopped thinking or caring about myself, when I’d given up on the entrepreneurial dreams I’d held since childhood, when I rode the bus exhausted to work day in and day out, wondering what had happened to the excited and colorful girl I’d used to be. …back in the days when I felt so blessed to have an amazing husband and to be a new mom of my first beautiful healthy daughter, and didn’t really believe I had a “right” to ask for more.
…back in those days when I wore my attitude on my sleeve, when cynicism and snarkiness were defenses I wore to keep my insecurities at bay….
…back in those days, I was also pretty fierce.
I was working as the art director at a clothing and accessory company. I’d built the business basically with the owner, starting as the only design or production employee in a company of 3 people, (myself and the boss included.)
I was on the ball.
I made shit happen.
I had an idea and I could execute it, knowing all the answers before the questions were even asked.
I created stuff and stored mountains of detailed information neatly and precisely in my head. My boss could wake me from a coma-like sleep at 3am, ask me about the velour pajama pants that were made 3 months ago by such and such factory in china and I could spit the details out to him as though they were the names of my children.
Together with my former boss, who himself was a very creative man, I built that design and production room into a team of amazing creative people. I taught my team members how to do things, and how to do things smarter and quicker than anyone else could teach them. I taught them how to think about products more intelligently. I taught them how to come to work with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic because we were all working towards a common goal, and that was to make stuff that we could be proud of. And I loved it, and was really, really good at it.
And then, everything changed. My babies died, and with them, every ounce of strength in my body. There is simply no way to hold yourself up when the bones in your body can’t even stop you from melting into a puddle on the floor.
8 weeks after they died my boss pulled me aside and told me I was carrying a lot of anger. I needed to let it go and get back to work. He said my loss was a result of doing something that pissed God off, but now we were “square” again and so I could get back to business.
I stared at him, willing myself not to cry, yet somehow afraid I’d burst into laughter.
I then dismissed the entire conversation as something that had absolutely no significance to my life whatsoever. He was a man. A man who had no idea what he was talking about and saw the world in an entirely different way than I did.
Three years later I finally left that job. It was hard. I felt like I’d built what was now something like a $250,000,000 company. I’d imagined being there for a long, long time. It was like family (dysfunction and all) I made a great salary. I worked 27 hours a week. I had great insurance.
But I couldn’t stay.
I’d changed and I needed to honor the person I was becoming.
I remember a conversation I had with my boss shortly before I pulled the trigger. He told me I’d gotten soft. He said I used to be so incredible. That I was worth the salary of two people (which some may suggest I was earning) because even at part time (I left at 3:15PM and didn’t work fridays) I was able to accomplish more than two other people would be able to accomplish working full time. He said I owned that town (The NYC Garment District, an industry I grew up in) He said they just don’t make them like me anymore.
But I wasn’t incredible anymore. For years I’d been less than incredible. I’d been lazy, distracted and unreliable.
And part of me knew he was right. Another part of me, the part connected to my face, told him to go screw himself. (We had that kind of relationship. It was like a marriage. Except I got no alimony)
The truth is I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t deal with the pace, the details. I couldn’t care less about a pair of velour pants that were being made in China and sold to the lowest bidder when my babies were dead and staying optimistic and sharing my happy shoes on social media and making other sad women happy was the only way I could get through the day.
It’s been almost 4.5 years since they died. I miss the part of me that kicked ass like that. The me that was focussed and detailed. The one that knew the answers and made quick, smart, confident decisions. The one that could look at a to-do list of 25 things and know that I could cross them all off by 3:15 and remember exactly what I had accomplished that day.
Now I feel lucky if I get 3 things done and swiped off my list…. and that’s often only if I can even find my effing list.
Even at my most Muchless I suppose there was some level of Muchness in me. Muchness of a different kind.
I miss my bad-assness. I want it back- just a hell of a lot muchier. I think it’s time for the best of all of the “me’s” to hit the ground running and do what I was put here to do.
What parts of you do you miss? The good parts that were hiding in the background of the bad parts, or maybe even the bad parts that were hiding in the good parts? I don’t know. Us people, we’re pretty complex, ya know?