Interesting things happen when people put their confidence in you. Suddenly you have to perform. I’ve heard Hollywood stars say, “Fake it ’till you make it,” and that resonates. I think most of us do the same daily, because our ancestor, that shadowy Prometheus, pushes us out of our comfort zones into the hallways we’ve wanted all our lives. We’ve got the fire, we stole it from on high and now we’re not sure what to do with it, but by god we’re not going to give it up. Sometimes the hallways aren’t the dream we dreamed they would be, and that’s all right. We find ourselves in new lands, new challenges, successes and failures await. Will we fight or will we succumb?
I must have asked my coworkers how to get to the building in Manhattan where the boss was sending me. I’m not sure he believed in me, but he assumed I was capable of finding my way in the garment district. I was happy that he thought I was capable, perhaps I’d esteemed myself at the front desk and I wanted to continue to perform and elevate myself in the company. There was no internet for me to ask, like some kind of Magic 8 Ball or Medusan cauldron how to get around. I was still living at home but had my own car, and I had to figure out Manhattan on my own. Best I can recall I told mom I’d call her when I got there at some point, as cellphones and Android were not available. I got there somehow by the Beacon train and walked some blocks to their building, excited to be dressed fairly fashionably (for a country mouse, anyway), walking around like I knew what I was doing, smelling the smells, observing everything hungrily, and warily. In the office, I observed the goings-on, ate their delivered subs with relish, no pun intended and made small talk. They gave me very little to do. I got home somehow and the next day was interviewed by the boss. He didn’t send me there to observe the office so I could become a fixture there, something I was hoping for. It appears that I was a spy, a weak one, nothing more, telling him what was going on while he was away. I told him what he wanted to know, then he put me back into my receptionist chair where I felt weak and ineffectual. I wanted to climb higher, all that ambition without internet or cell phone. Well. I left his company eventually because I was tired of cleaning the bathroom, pitting dates, repackaging soaking, stinking apricots, and dealing with a zealous employee.
I drove to Omaha last July because I wanted to (and for many reasons.) I laugh now thinking about how we relied on his magic talking box to help us find a restaurant nearby. God, the soaking Blue Ridge parkway in West Virginia, steaming after the rain…. I drove through Tennessee and Alabama so I could see what makes this world, my world. I am grateful for GPS to get me through the wrong turns I made. My spiral-bound road atlas is large and I’ve traced pink lines across the places I’ve been so far. I drove those lines without calling momma for directions or my dad for anything.
I’m faking it until I make it as a person. A woman. A writer. And I’m not ashamed to say it.