so i’ve been away for awhile living, struggling, battling on all fronts. then tonight i gave in and watched brene brown, the call to courage. as she told the last story about the dread her daughter felt as she prepared to swim the 100 yard breaststroke, how she considered skipping the heat, but showed up anyway and finished beyond dead last, i broke down. weeping. her daughter FEARED that swim meet because the stroke is difficult and she didn’t want to lose. but she showed up and she powered through it. that’s what brought me to tears.
i have been showing up for months. at work. in b-school. neglecting time with family and friends because i don’t want to lose. i am terrified of not scoring well on my exams in b-school. i start my assignments before everyone else and typically finish when they do, 10 days later. i read, and re-read the same content, watch the lectures, scour the internet to understand CPI, SPI, TCPI (don’t worry about it, you’ll never use it – that’s what they said about statistics and here i am decades later trying to recall what three standard deviations from the mean, means, but i digress).
i am one of the oldest in my cohort, and the elder in our team trio. i have more work experience (partially due to the fact that i would quit a job if they didn’t act right, and partially because i’m in my 40s), than my peers, which may be why they text me about the assignments, or ask me to be the heavy with the program director to extend our due dates. i take up the mantle and respond to the 10pm text messages the day before the assignment is due (the one i started on 10d earlier), i start the negotiation with the program director and take the heat when he reprimands me in front of the class for requesting an extension. i take it in stride and pull through the water like brene’s daughter. one more stroke.
then i head to work and i am spinning plates on my fingertips, the crown of my head, and both feet like the harlem globetrotters used to do. i’m struggling to reach the plates on my feet without causing the plate atop my locs to hit the ground and shatter into razor sharp shards. the requests are constant, the moment i settle at my desk the questions start. i am asked to draft a project management methodology (same topic as my b-school coursework), train 50 leaders and project managers on how to implement the tools and templates, organize external project management training, keep up with the list of people that want to attend, book training rooms, start the process to hire two more project managers, address the fact that one of the people on my team has received bad press and recovery seems futile, find work for this person to do, field the emails the person adds me to (perhaps as a CYA), advise the team on what their performance goals are for the year, write my own goals, make the edits my leader provided to me (i missed a few and he emailed, “do we have issue?” said in my best french accent), lead a multicultural business resource group, find people to help me plan and execute events, update the event calendar, pay the vendor for work she performed in february…then shift gears to another part of my job: define a phased plan to resolve issues with a program that was broken the day it was released (3 years ago), and complete a gap analysis on the 100 labs that are not integrated into financial, hr, and reporting systems.
as i am managing these things during the day, when i arrive home i must focus on completing a 5000 word research paper with citations in APA 6th edition (or risk being accused of plagiarism), find time to exercise, and cook these green chef meals that are piling up in my refrigerator. never mind laundry, mopping these hardwood floors, changing bed linens and taking out the trash.
i came home tonight after a 90 minute commute and sat down to address work issues. i told myself, home means homework, work means work work, but tonight i broke that rule. i complained to the lord the list enumerated above. as i was wrapping up my tirade i asked HIM, are you telling me that this is the life of an entrepreneur? that my request to exit corporate america means that i will have to do it all? is this preparation for my next phase? i’ve told the LORD, i want out of this after graduation. december 2020. and please help me to tough it out until my shares vest in nov 2021, amen. i think GOD just laughs at my demands. what i do know is that i am being prepared for something, a reality i cannot imagine that taps into my gifts and through which i return to the soil that which was deposited into me so that another sister may flourish.
almost every morning i wake up and ask GOD for strength to endure the day. i don’t rise in gratitude for seeing another morning, or for having full mobility, or capability. i rise with anxiety about work, schoolwork, meal prepping, exercise, traffic, car repairs, my 20 chiropractor visits, and these floors that haven’t seen a swiffer in months.
this is my reality. the things i don’t share because it sounds like (and is) whining. but damn it, i am exhausted. overwhelmed. in need of a break. a second wind. something to spur me on, like brene’s daughter, to touch the side of the pool and know that even if i didn’t win, at least i finished.