Several years ago, when the mortgage company I worked for closed its doors, I found myself out of work. To be honest, I anticipated no problems finding a new position. That first week or so, I remember getting my resume updated and sending it out to employers who had positions to fill – and there weren’t that many, but I had faith the right one was just around the corner. I didn’t panic – I was actually looking forward to a few days off. Those few days became a few weeks. And then a month. It was one of the worst times in my life. I’m not a rich woman when it comes to material things, but I love the life I’d carved out and was hopefully turning a difficult situation into a learning dynamic for my son. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I wanted to at least show him that hard times hit when you least expect them. He was getting ready to graduate from high school and he had such big plans for his own future.
One day I was at the house feeling properly sorry for myself. I tried to keep most of it to myself because I didn’t want my family to worry and I didn’t want to burden my friends since they had their own families and problems; so in some ways, I’d sort of withdrawn. I was on the sofa and everything was flashing before me when I heard a knock on the door. I couldn’t imagine who it was since everyone works during the day. When I opened it, it was one of my best friends, Marline. Now, you have to understand something about this woman. She’s fearless. She runs on nothing but her faith and I’m certain she has no concept of biting her tongue – which is one of many of the amazing qualities she possesses. She marches in past me, sits her purse down on the floor and takes my seat on the sofa. I sit down next to her and wait for it. I wasn’t sure what “it” was, but I knew it was coming.
If I live to be one hundred, I’ll never forget what she said to me. “Look, I know life’s kicking you hard right now, but I’m going to tell you how it is. Use your God-given talents to make your living.” I remember laughing and thinking to myself, “Yeah, my only talent right now is that I’ve mastered the ultimate pity party”. I didn’t say that
to her, of course, but what I did say was, “Marline, I’m not sure, but I’m thinking my talent pool is running a bit shallow right now”. True to form, she told me I needed to find a way to step outside my box (I think she used the words “stop feeling sorry for yourself and just do it”) and then told me I needed to find a way to earn my living as a writer. At that very moment, I knew I was wasting time sending out resumes and that I had a career all along if I’d quit putting my faith into the never-predictable job pool and instead, turn that energy in. The point of the story is that up until then, it never occurred to me that I could write and earn a living at it. I knew it was what I loved more than anything else, especially when that whole “becoming the wife of a pro wrestler” thing didn’t work out (family joke – when I was a kid, my parents thought I was going to run away and marry a wrestler because I was convinced it was real and had a crush on everyone from Ted DiBiase to Scott Hall at some point before I was 15. OK, before I was 17).
Now, don’t get me wrong, it was still tough. After all, I was truly starting over. But there’s not been a day in those 3 1/2 years that I’ve looked back and questioned my decisions. Picking up the pieces is an ass-kicker, believe me. But is most certainly worth it.
I’m not a fan of Amy Winehouse. I believe she had a beautiful voice, but y’all know me – if it ain’t got a twang, it ain’t got a thang (for you non-southerners – that means I like country music). The tragedy of her death this weekend reminded me of what Marline said to me that day and I wonder if anyone ever told her to step outside her own box. The real tragedy is that she forgot or maybe she lost focus; regardless, it’s too late.
From Charlie Sheen to these jackass politicians to Winehouse, we, as a collective society keep elevating these people. When I say “elevate”, I mean we keep waiting for them to do the right thing, to use their own God given talents for the good of their very public roles. The only consistency is that we are always disappointed. I’m getting ready to spend the day watching first the Asian markets and then our own financial markets to see if those on Capital Hill have affected a global community due to their bad behavior and refusal to abandon the antics typically found in two year old kids. Honestly, I don’t know what the solution is with this shameful financial mess these people have created. It’s not even about not re-electing them. It’s too far gone for that and frankly, potential future political candidates haven’t proven they’re any different. They’re just as guilty as the current ones when it comes to giving interviews, primping for the cameras and then arguing in front of those cameras. Instead of making real change, they simply continue to be rewarded for their bad behaviors.