I’ve led a fairly unobtrusive business life since leaving the Fortune 100 arena ten years ago. Long ago and far away, I used to fly a lot to client locations, speak before crowds, chat up potential customers at trade shows, and all of that jazz. As an introvert, that is some kind of tiring for me. Then there is the after-work work, the hobnobbing, dinners, cocktails, see the town sights. And then try to get up and do the same another day. I usually traveled a week at a time when I was flung out into the wild blue yonder. I’d come home to the family, and not want to see anyone at all. But of course, the girls missed me, my husband missed me, and stuff stacked up around the house in arenas that were my purview to care for. In all, it was exhausting. For a while, we ran a small business venture out of our home when I left the corporate world, but circumstances brought that to an end within a year, and once again I was out job-hunting. My term at my current company spans most of that time period since, except for nearly a cumulative year of lay-off time, and each time I was re-hired. I worked remotely from my home office the majority of this time. Quiet all day, no face-to-face interactions, and I worked well that way. This go-round they made me come back into the office full-time. It is noisy. People mill about a lot, usually there are two or three conference calls going on from people’s speaker phones, people yell across the room during an outage – very distracting. But headphones and great music alleviate most of those issues. But now, entertaining clients has come back into the forefront. My accounts are large household names, as well as our vendor partners. I have great clients and I like working hard for them. Having them mill about my work area ’tis a whole ‘nother thing, lol! Tomorrow I have some presentations to make, then a few more hours of meeting, then my regular work, then dinner out with the executives. I’d like to say I”m looking forward to it, but I am not. Usually after a long day at work, I just want to come home to quiet, shuck out of my ‘business’ mode, and relax. Tomorrow my normal 12-13 hour day will be more like 16 hours by the time I get home. I am pouting about it actually. But I realize it is important, builds good client/partner relationships and yadda yadda. And it is only this week, not like a regularly occurring thing. So I’ll muster up my best people skills and take one for the team. Yay.
I’ve got to make this job last, and keep climbing the ladder if possible, in order to run away to the woods. It’s like doing time, really. I like what I do, don’t get me wrong. I have good co-worker relationships and excellent client relationships (except when I call a visiting client engineer Dick, instead of his real name Nick, because, well, he’s often a ….!) It was totally a mnemonic slip – I was trying to associate a surprise visitor named David from said client, and also speaking about Nick whom we were expecting, during a busy back/forth exchange with other client attendees. And boy, I have NEVER had a slip of the tongue make such rapid-fire rounds in the office before! By the end of the day, even my Director was rolling on the floor, having great fun with that little slip o’ the lip. And guess who is attending my presentation tomorrow? Yup. Nick. (just color me magenta now, and get it over with) Hopefully he’ll find it humorous, as I suspect it is his boss that regaled himself with that from cubicle to cubicle today. He had quite the laugh at my faux pas when it occurred.
Where is this all leading you ask? Well, it hit me today on my way home. There was no one to come home to and discuss my accidental joke making. No one to hug me and say, “Don’t worry honey, you know they love your work.” I felt…alone, for the first time in a really long time. Granted, I had a great friend to call and share it with en route home and she and I had a good laugh over it. But it isn’t the same. And eventually, she will have someone special in her life and spend time with that person. What if I don’t? Most of my friends are actually married, remnants from BW – before widowhood. Most of the time I’m really all right. My job is so demanding, I often wonder if I meet the right guy, where will I fit him in, if I must continue to work like this? I can barely find time to get what I need to get done completed in my non-work hours, plus attend to family needs. So some days it feels like busting my chops to earn the funds to make this dream once again a reality, is kind of self-defeating if I actually want to make that dream happen WITH someone else other than me, myself and I. And that gives me a headache, because I really don’t have time for a pity party, even small ones. So that’s the end of that!
On to more positive things. I actually got up the nerve to share some of my poetry within the group of singles that I hang out with online, and it was well-received! That really gave me a much needed boost. Then I think, “Maybe they are just being kind and it isn’t that good?” I’ve been trying to work on a project that I started last year, and having fits and spurts of success. My muse likes to play hide-and-seek apparently, the little brat! The majority of the poetry I have written over the years has been inspired by my relationships. I have some of those too, but not for publicizing out ‘there’ where people might know to whom I make reference. I work out my emotional distress through writing many times. Some of the poems, shared among select friends, have great power. But, to toss those out in a crowd of people who somewhat know me and bare my pain to all? Nah. These days I can share poems written about my husband because the pain of that loss is now just a dull, occasional ache. The heartbreak ones are fresher, still more stinging to me. And then there are one or two that are inspired by other, more recent, pleasant things. So I continue to work on that project, as well as my writing here. I don’t have much to give here right now, between work, the upcoming wedding, some health issues in my grandchildren, and well, you know, life. Sometimes you’re living it, sometimes you write about it, and sometimes you find that delicate balance that enables you to do both. Right now though, I’m about out of energy. My friendships are suffering, especially the written ones. I have to carve out time for me to just be – and writing is how I do that. In that light, I offer here for my other readers, a poem.
Copyright© S. M. King “Scraps Torn From A Diminutive Notebook” project 2013-2014
Un chance is French for An Opportunity. That is what life offers us, right? Opportunity. But we get stuck. Sometimes we get to the point where an opportunity frightens us, because we’ve had so much more time now to experience disappointment, unkindness, pain. But we just cannot do that! We cannot turn our backs and shrivel up into nothingness due to fear. Fear of getting hurt – again. At least, that is what I tell myself day after day.
The title of the project comes from the small notebooks I carry on my person most of the time. If you don’t write, you have no idea how a phrase can slip into your mind, usually while doing something else, and stick there. And from that phrase, the structure around it. Words slide in and out of spaces, you mouth them to yourself, seeing if they fit within the falling sounds of what you’re trying to say. Trust me when I say it can happen in less than five minutes. It is like wood-smoke, it is there, you can smell it and see it, but oh if you wait too long, it is gone on the air and you cannot grasp it again. Hence, the little notebooks. Writing for me is often like a smooth stone falling out from a dam, and then the gurgling, lively wordflow comes pouring out. Sometimes only a phrase comes out, and try as I might, I can’t find the rest of the word company it needs. Every once in a while I can come back and associate it with the right stuff, but usually not. It’s kind of like a misbehaving faucet. One moment it is on, and then poof! it just stops.
And that my readers, is the end of the thing for now. My tension is gone from the weight of the day, and the words here are what you get from it all. Not much, I’m afraid. Only small pieces of me that I offer up to the ether, hoping somewhere they will find a home and lodge in a heart or mind, and inspire another to do, or be, or live – differently.
Be well. Emote. Release the things that you feel. Bring dreams to life. If not today – when?