I have a friend who, in a very few short days, is starting something new and difficult in her work. It’s a promotion in status and pay for sure, but it’s also a promotion into anxiety and sweating and probably bad dreams and almost certainly making a mistake or two, or maybe three or four.
She’s doing it anyway.
Even though part of her, I am certain, would like to be home sipping tea and walking her crazy boston terrier. That would be simpler.
The other day I went downtown to sit in on a class I am thinking of doing. After cheerily asking an award-winning documentary filmmaker I didn’t recognize if she was a student — of course, she’s one of the instructors — I took a seat at the rear of the room and looked around. There were lots of cool looking people with cool looking glasses. And one girl had Doc Martens on that were covered in glitter. And silvery sparkles. And she had the most awesome haircut ever.
In class, someone mentioned their experience writing in literary journals. Among other things, (not one of which is in a literary journal), I have a lengthy repertoire of “how to” stories: how to say grace, how to declutter, how to teach your kids to love the great outdoors, how to do this, how to do that. Better not do that, and have you thought about this?
I realized, that even knowing all I think I know now, still I compared. Still, I feared when it came to this new frontier. Still I imagined myself tripping as I left.
On a break, when I shared my big, great writing idea with one of the professors, he said, “oh yeah, a few people in here are doing that.” Ho hum. Crap.
Later, I found myself on the elevator with the glittery footed, wonderful hair girl. I wanted to tell her how much I loved her boots but I realized that would be like getting a compliment from your friend’s mom. I kept my mouth shut and eyes forward and sometimes down on my own beloved, scuffed boots.
The girl and her friend chattered about the likes accumulating on something one of them had posted. They had just reached 100, which had never happened for them before. It was fun. I smiled at the elevator doors.
And I thought of my friend about to try something hard that feels just slightly out of reach. The thing it would be easier not to do. The thing she has to stretch for.