Monday, September 16, 2013

Brand New Me- Toya

"Brand New Me" is a song by Alicia Keys who has been getting a bad rap lately if you ask me. It took some of my friends who are singers to point out how off pitch she can be at times but to the average listener like me, she's not that bad! I am so glad I'm not an entertainer. They really have their work cut out for them. 

As much as I've joked around about being the "Black Pam Beesly" (being a receptionist with a dislike for mundane tasks and an affinity for cardigan sweaters, sarcasm, and wise cracking thoughtful boys with messy hair) I did at one time have a dream of being a receptionist. When I was a teenager, my mom would take me to this high end salon in Center City Philadelphia. The receptionist was the flyest lady I had ever seen. She had a close cropped natural hair style, dressed in beautifully bold colors, wore big funky jewelry and walked as if she ran the place. Ms. Terry was IT! I looked forward to seeing her as much as I did going to get my hair done. She just seemed like she set everything in order.  I am assuming that memory is what gave me the idea that being a receptionist was somewhat glamorous. Now at about twenty some odd years later and at least ten years of receptionist experience under my belt, I know better. Oh do I ever. Ms. Terry had that thing on lock. Me on the other hand? Well, I'll explain in a bit why being a receptionist for that long has not been one of my wiser choices. Just because you can do something doesn't always mean you should. Being a receptionist is not my career destiny. Not by a long shot.

Because of this revelation, as of tomorrow my life will be totally different. Two weeks ago, I gave my notice at what will be my last job where I will ever hold a position as a receptionist to pursue my passions which include writing, TV and concert production, and counseling.  I was looking at careers in television recently and I saw that the OWN Network had an opening for a receptionist. "Not even for Oprah" I said to myself. "Not even for Oprah." After four years I came to the realization that in no way shape or form should I have ever been sitting behind a desk not regularly engaging with people . People are my life!  Now you may be saying to yourself, "You were a receptionist. Your job is to talk to people." My job was to greet people as they were on their way to somewhere else. I spent most of my time at my desk alone not really being able to build relationships and help others. For some reason this never bothered me until this year when I started to have anxiety attacks at my desk. I didn't understand why until recently and this is the reason I came up with:

Ever feel like the grace to do something has completely left the room? Whatever made me tolerant of going to that job every day just packed up and walked out this year. I have never felt so trapped in my life. I didn't realize how stressed out I was until I was until I had emergency wisdom tooth surgery and my recovery days felt like the best vacation I have ever had. It got so bad that I had to take naps at lunch time. Not because I was tired of working that job plus my part time job at a downtown restaurant. It was because I had to spend some part of the day being darn near unconscious to get through the rest of the day! That is no way to live. On top of that, a good number of my co-workers did some pretty dirty things behind my back which came up during my last job review. Although my supervisor was on my side and assured me that my job was safe, I took that as my cue to get out of there and fast. But if I got out, what was I going to do?  Seriously, as much as I've been trying to keep my ahead above water financially, where was I going to go?  

Even with my financial worries, I came to the conclusion that you can't put a price on peace of mind. I became a completely different person once I walked out of that office every day. I couldn't even think at that desk anymore from feeling so smothered. I am not talking about lack of comfort.  I am all for toughing things out and making sacrifices to do what you have to do but when you have no peace about it something is off. After much prayer and advice, I took the plunge to up my part time gig to my full time gig and hustle my way into freelance gigs to make up the pay cut difference.

I literally just stopped typing, put my hand over my face and shook my head in disbelief.

The fact of the matter is when you get to the point where you'd rather be broke than be somewhere, something is so wrong. I just felt trapped all of the time. I felt like I outgrew that position by getting to the point of not growing at all. Does that make any sense? I just feel as if I've stopped growing and learning in areas that I should be thriving and that's not going to happen with me spending fourteen hours almost every day doing things that I don't care about.  I don't know what's more terrifying: getting caught in that cycle and feeling helpless or taking the leap of faith and getting out of that cycle.

I think I just heard my bank account screaming like Fred Sanford. "You big dummy!"

Help me Jesus. Please.

Anyway, let's get to the bright side. The bright side is that I have been dreaming again. I am freaked out and I am fearful but at least I have started to dream again. There are things I want to accomplish that I don't think I would go for if I had the safety net of the other job. I HAVE to go for these things now. I don't have a choice. I seriously can't afford not to try. This whole experience has taken me to a new level of faith and I can't wait to see how God turns this into something beautiful.

I will not freak out I will not freak out I will not freak out...

Oh my goodness what did I do?!?!?!?!?!

Let's talk more about the bright side shall we?

Tomorrow morning I will be auditing a class on faith and culture that I have been eager to sit in on since I heard about it last year. Because of my previous work schedule, it was impossible for me to go to that class every week. Me actually wanting to go to school? If that's not a miracle that God has already done I don't know what is. My schedule is now more flexible. However with more flexibility comes more responsibility in how I manage my time. Basically, I have got to become a brand new person like *snaps* that. There are a lot of things ahead and I have to really take the time to be present in every moment and not miss any opportunities to better myself. I am so bugged out by this.

Y'all.  I've got school tomorrow morning. School! Man I wish I still had my Fame lunchbox from third grade!


Danielle said...

I am almost in tears after reading this post. When you said, "The fact of the matter is when you get to the point where you'd rather be broke than be somewhere, something is so wrong. I just felt trapped all of the time." is exactly how I've been feeling for a while now! I've been trying to get hired as a full time teacher for years now and it's just not happening for some reason. I'm over being a substitute teacher. I feel trapped because I'm a single mom so I can't just up and quit the only thing that's bringing in money for my son and I. We live with my parents, but I don't want to put a heavier burden on them financially you know. Then on top of that, I don't have a car because I've been working as a sub for so long so even if I do come across a job that I may be interested in, I have no way to get there if it's to far from home. I'm beyond frustrated! I'm dreading going in to sub tomorrow and it's only for a half day in the morning! I could type so much more, but really I just typed all that to say, I definitely feel where you're coming from and I do feel a little better knowing that someone else understands what I've been afraid to say out loud.

ToyaBGLU said...

I am praying for you Danielle. WHen you get a moment, in fact, CREATE A MOMENT, and please read Quitter for Jon Acuff. It's helped people of all walks of life out. I really believe it will encourage you. Best wishes to you. I am so glad that you shared that with us. Glad that my sharing helped you to feel better.

ToyaBGLU said...


Oh and one more thing: I know you feel stuck but you won't be there forever. You don't have to be. There is hope. I wish I had the magic formula for you but all I can say is that there is always hope. Don't stop believing that you can live a fulfilled life. It is more than possible. In your heart, pray to get the help that you need. It will come. Just be still and wait for it. I'm a witness to that.

A'rom said...

I am in a similar situation. I thought I had my dream job (in my dream career field) and now I really need to get out of it. Who does that?!! Well... apparently I do.

I really relate to both of your stories and your feelings of being frustrated and trapped.
It's heartbreaking at times to go through this.
But I talk (and cry) to God frequently about it. Then I start the process of applying for jobs, brainstorming on business ideas and etc.
This really helps on those particularly 'down' days. I just tell myself to keep moving forward someway somehow.

Danielle: I will pray for you. This is a difficult place to be but I pray that God will bless you with a new opportunity. Continue to push forward and even consider different types of teaching opportunities until your dream job/career presents itself. There is a school out there that would love to have you.

Toya: Thank you for sharing your story. I too gave myself a deadline to quit my job but I still haven't figured out that whole financial piece yet. Your bravery is very encouraging. I pray God continues to bless you with success.

Danielle said...

Thank you so much Toya and A'rom for your kind words. I'll be praying for both of you as well. I know that it may take some time, but we all are going to pull through this.