Wednesday, December 5, 2007

playing it backwards then taking it forwards

Its 7:43 am.

Snow covers my car with a thin layer of dusty whiteness as I unlock my door and kick the upper right corner to release it from its frozen lock. My thoughts are slipping into knots of disappointment. I’m late again for that temp job I have. I can’t seem to motivate the sleeper tucked away in bed to wake up early enough to make it to work on time. It’s a St@te job, bureaucracy at its dullest, and I’m the contracted secretary for three months while I look for that job in my field. I’m tolerating the job like I’m tolerating the cold stiffness creeping into my hands while I brush off the car. It’s just something that needs to be done.

I jump in, start it and go. I’m at the corner of Penn and Kali Ave before I realize I forgot my coffee cup. “Sh!t.”

I can’t go back. Not now. I’m hoping to sneak in before the big boss. My hands yearn for the hot cup permeating the cold still thick in my car, so I turn up the heater hoping it will work before I am there…at that job!

The light, it’s long. The back window defrost begins to work and I see cars pile in line behind me waiting for the green light. I’m agitated and cold. It’s the first moment since I decided to stay on the Eastside of this Midwest town that my internal compass feels a little pissed off. It’s not the job. It’s a temporary job. I know how to handle the work even if the monotony rubs on the brain like screeching chalk on a board. I tune it out. Remind myself it’s only temporary.

Cars pass in front of me, speeding tires spraying slush at one another. I watch this woman cross the road in front of me. She’s got to be freezing, I think.

I know that this normally early riser is late for work because it’s not something I want to do – literally sit and wait for the opportunity to organize the business life of someone else, particularly at the St@te level. Does anyone need something stapled, please! To be honest, I prefer to sit at the light ticking away at the minutes I have to be there.

But angry? Where is this coming from?

A car horn blares from behind me impatient as I wait for the speeding car to slide through my green before I go. “What! You want me to crash into the passenger door, a$$hole!” I yell at the car behind me, completely aware I am taking out this early morning chill of frustration on the guy behind me. Why not, he can’t hear me, I think shifting into gear and going forward as the guy behind me gives me the obligatory middle finger.

I’m almost half way there, passing compounds of office buildings, when I realize why today I just don’t want to be late or going or driving or cold. I’m not talking to folks about why I choose to stay in this Midwest Capitol.

Sure, I’ve said it’s expensive to move to London and I want to save up more money. It’s a practical response for such a huge move. The truth is, I can handle being broke in London. I come from a long line of workers and pan handlers, able to make even a button into 2 cents if we need to. It’s not the way I want to live, but I could do it. The truth. The truth is something that makes me feel uncomfortable when broached. The truth, which has spurred me to take this temp job while I take my time finding a job in the social work field, is the aesthetic. It’s not the only reason, but it’s the primary one. I want a little more time to feel good about my body again before I head to England.

I flip this thought in my head like a coin. Heads. Was this a good idea? Tales. What if I get stuck here all because I want to finally like my body?

It’s an old story, body image and the woman. This morning, as I park my car and go into building number 4 of the bureaucratic complex I work in I realize that my silent plans are eating at my calm nature. I still want to move and this self-imposed exile from my dream…temporarily…is eating at my mood. It’s in the silence that shame and vanity reside which as always turns into mad frustration.

Heads. I must be pretty pathetic if I don’t like my body. Tales. I must be vain to think I’ll like myself after I overhaul this self*.

I show my ID to the guard and disentangle my scarf from my throat. I head down to the bureaucratic complex’s food court and grab a cup of joe. So far, I think to myself, my decision to add on a year here hasn’t felt empowering. It’s muddled with all that baggage we carry with us, heavy and complicated. My body image these days reeks of self-loathing and I need a do-over.

It’s time, that internal dialogue pipes in, to get back some empowerment in this game plan. I agree with myself as I turn on my office computer and begin to type...


Wenda said...

Oh, I am so glad you wrote this. One, because I was wanting to know more about the how and why of your London postponement: two, because I believe so deeply in the power of writing out loud and three, because I was missing your voice. I look forward to reading more!

AnnieElf said...

Right with you Wenda. Glad Amanda is posting again. This dream you are postponing is bugging the heck out of me. I started postponing longer ago than I can remember. Now at 60 I'm finally pushing forward. Well, I learned the lesson anyhoo. Let me tell you about body image sweetie - it will improve really REALLY fast if you start on the dream before you do the overhaul. There is nothing like joy to make a girl improve herself. I'm staying tuned.

tongue in cheek said...

I ditto Annie... follow the no no, dive into it. even if it means starting with dipping your toe.

paris parfait said...

Amanda, you know my thoughts about all this. Nothing should deter you from following your dream and that means London. As for body image, if I let that stop me, I'd never leave my house! One step at a time, follow that dream. Remember that quote, "Be bold and might forces will come to your aid." xo

snowsparkle said...

hey gogo! i LOVED this piece! so awesome! i felt like i was right there with you. the body image is a ripe subject for me... i swim everyday in order to keep my stress under control, but the side benefit is that my body has responded to this care i'm giving it. i think we can love ourselves into a new self image. when i wrote the word "love" the next word that came to mind was "discipline" and "faith"...i'm starting to think that these are another aspect of loving ourself. it's so easy to slip back into the comfortable, well worn paths we've trod. all this is to say, i think you are a brilliant writer and i appreciate you sharing your life here. keep going! big hugs, snowsparkle

SophisticatedBrew said...

hey. i like your words. london, eh? hmmm.