I work in a job where my time devoted to clients is accounted for in 6 minute increments. I used to think 6 minutes was nothing. I took 6 minutes, at least, to decide what to wear in the morning. Not anymore. I am a parent of three kids, I am a wife, I work long hours outside the home. I am a daughter, sister and friend. I like trashy television and unbelievable spy novels. I have a dog whose favorite food group is underwear (thankfully after it’s been removed from the body).
6 minutes is a lifetime. In 6 minutes I can rescue a favorite pair of dinosaur-patterned briefs, pack 2 school lunches, apply one band-aid to a non-existent boo boo, and register a kid for softball.
Still, I’ve been feeling a lot lately like I am sucking at all of it. Like the imposing weight of all my hats is crushing my neck, forcing me to stare constantly down at my scuffed-up shoes. The weight is imposing, but none of the hats can fall. They are all too important and it’s impossible to wear only one at a time. Where would I store them?
Mid-conference call I have to field an email from the school nurse about a mysterious “fainty” feeling one of the girls is experiencing. While cooking dinner I need to stir with one hand while answering a text from a client with the other. While reading one of those cold war era spy novels at midnight I remember the call I was supposed to make to a friend so dear she’s (fingers crossed) forgiven me for not calling in months. While helping with one’s math homework I have to answer questions from the other two about heaven and angels, and how angels are different than ghosts and the tooth fairy, what happened on September 11th, and why the dog likes to eat underwear.
But I’m doing it. I’m doing it all with all those hats piled sky-high on my ever more gray hair. I’m doing it, and watching amazing women (and men) all around me do it like rock stars.
Some of them are having total Beyoncé moments in front me. They are killing it. Glittering with shiny success, and sometimes causing my intestines to cramp with jealousy.
But then I remember that their success is not my failure. And I remember that I ate that awful wrap sandwich for lunch, and that the cramps are likely the result of said oddly colored tortilla and its contents. Was it chicken or tuna? Who the fuck knows. Either way, their success should not cause me to feel sick.
Their success is to be celebrated. Some days you’re Beyoncé. Some days you’re the friend aiming the fan that makes her hair blow just right.
Today, I’m both. I’m heading out to celebrate the success of a whole band of Beyoncés, including me. We’re going to spend a lot longer than 6 minutes applauding each other. And I will not be eating a wrap sandwich.