More and more recently, I’ve been turning a corner and something cracks open inside me. For a moment, I am a girl-woman at a different place in the past. The scent of that time rises in the air. My posture alters and I am green.
I remember wearing my heavy red dress , flitting across the cubicles. I felt like a pretend queen, or maybe the queen’s mascot, even a court jester for that matter. Ha! Either way, holding court. I have never been as confident as I was in that job as at the end. The tyranny of youth.
I look into the eyes of a first time entrepreneur at the coffee shop. And there I am again. Completely cut loose from anything anyone knew. Hustling around town to build a business. What was it, to be a mom? It certainly had nothing to do with me spending any time with my kids. Was it work? Was it play? Was work play? Was play work? That dress with the light full skirt and buttons down the front. A little preppy, but not too fancy to fit into meetings with partners in yoga pants.
And then stupidest best risk I ever took. Me, sowing my whole heart into people building something (we didn’t even know what yet,) all because we wanted to change the world. That feeling of freedom that I could put a little piece of me into this thing. I became the type of person who could wear leather jackets. Sharper lines, less give, more character.
The flashes are more seismic here. Friction makes heat makes rock. I cried for days when I knew it was over. I would wake up in the middle of the night in gasping in disbelief. I would be in the middle of run and choke back my air, line of vision going white. It was time to call it.
Context is everything. And this wasn’t about me. It was about a place in time where I could stay but didn’t belong. Not belonging to a place I helped create was hard to comprehend.
Now, I’m in the present. I worked my ass off to get to this moment. My eyes have never been so open.
The strange thing about being here is that no one knows this life that’s made me. People seek to understand me for where I am, not where I’ve been. And I’ve learned that if given the room to run and people I believe in, I can’t help but put my full self into anything I do. Sometimes I stop and wonder what the scent of my memory of this moment will be.
I was asked on the phone today. Starring out the window in my office. Would you have left if you hadn’t been a coast away? In my tennis shoes and blazer, the question echoed from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, without an answer that rang true. I miss who the people there made me.
In a way, the new me looks down to the old me. You’re better now, you say.
This is know: I am growing in this present. I care deeply about the people with whom I spend my days. I want my team to be great. I am beginning to believe in this new way of walking. I have a vision for where we can go, and I plan to run there, hard nosed and stubborn.