Like many of you, I watched too much Netflix and upped my baking skills during the dark deep of the Pandemic. But something else happened for me. I found myself. Again.
I am a few years past my last big office job. My husband joked about me being a VP. I was. It was an ill fit. Not just the business suits, heels, and daily make-up, but the demand to be TEAM, not me. I worked for a boss whose mantra was “there’s no I in team.” And there I’d sit, wondering how that could be. A friend, hearing this, pointed out that there is a “me” in team, though scattered and in need of gathering up.
Each day, that is what I’d do. Gather inward, holding together the pieces: lessons learned, unexpected visions, bands of creative impulse, shards of kindness that had grown like stalagmites from past injury. And the tingling that happens when I see the end solution, minus the careful, considered steps. Everything that makes up the mess of me had to be neatened up and pushed down for more than ten years.
Ten years is a fucking long time to try to be someone else. The best comparison may be a bad marriage — to a narcissist or worse, an abuser. In that sense, I’m fortunate. It was only a job. But a hell of a one. I don’t do halfway. Those days were long. I racked up awards for my PR work. I built a team that was the envy of my colleagues around the country. But I failed the team test. So I was told repeatedly. I took my me-ness and departed, but not before I’d hit high stress levels. Toppled my good health. Crushed my spirit.
When the pandemic hit, I was suddenly in the perfect work place. I was working hard, writing the heck of things, finishing a whole book. A whole book!
I was like a kid set free on the playground. Do I really get to do this?
My husband, also a writer, shifted to remote work. We have separate offices in our cottage by the sea. We meet over lunch at the dining table, if we feel like it. Some days, we don’t reconvene til dinner.
Me, myself, and I love the writing nook where we speak only to my loyal AF assistant, Waffles. He has little to say and loves me like crazy. I have a very few, very trusted, writing friends who provide team author when I need it. And then we each retreat to our own desks. Our own minds. Our creative hearts.