Tuesday, April 25, 2017
I paid a little visit to my older Blog posts recently and checked in with myself from seven+ years ago. It was interesting seeing my promises to myself for the same things over and over. Thank God I have recently decided it's time to show up for myself! I made a promise to myself back then that I need to be writing and stop distracting myself by working the restaurants forever-always planning to stop the chaotic running and sit down and get to working on something that serves me on a higher level.
I've always rationalized my lack of doing anything more inspiring as that I'm too busy, I can't concentrate on it daily unless I have zero interruptions and I can't sit down because I'm going to have to be somewhere in an hour. I've gotta quickly tidy up the house.
Driving and leaving my house is usually the biggest culprit to my intense anxiety that I have to get organized in my work. Its a tug of war. And it's also why I'm usually right on time or admittedly, a few minutes late. Until just recently, I always put my writing projects off. I'd have to get everything done before I was ready to be creative! It's the actual truth on every account. Feeding the pets, answering the phone, trying to get my workout in.... so true in fact, I really actually have to lock myself up, nail my ass to the chair and cut myself off from most of my world if I want to get my writing time in or work on any of my own things- including my workout. Like minded individuals and writers and artists who don't go toward what calls on them daily fight this feeling until they finally get the message they need to make a change. Well here's the cold truth and listen up friends. It's called resistance and lack of discipline.
The more you resist it the more it eats you alive. In one of the final edit's of this hugely long post, I decided to look back and read some of my older blogs. I went back and checked in with myself from five and seven years ago an guess what? I'm talking about getting out of the serving industry so I can get back into my writing. Hmmmm common trend here. The first book idea? still there. I wrote 1,500 words in two days but the rest is still upstairs- I stopped -was too busy.... I've always kept journals. I've got at least a hundred hand written books with gorgeous covers in boxes and on shelves around the house. Been writing as long as I can remember. I don't remember ever not having a notebook at my side. I wrote the same things over and over until I could cross items off the constant lists. It takes a lot of time to write and the payback is slow. Plus, life happens ....relationships happen, kids happen and day to day usually comes first -and now I've been raising my daughter for 14 years and of course being a mom is my number one job and I love being a mom. I certainly can't blame my lack of writing on my kid-well I could.... but when she was little and I worked for the local newspaper, I used to sit up in my office until two or three in the morning getting my work done pretty much every night and day that I had the chance. Writers always get it done when there is a serious deadline. Compared to then though, I have to say I have way more concentration now that she's a teenager and I'm so grateful I get to be her mom. My daughter is an amazing young woman now! She's very realistic and sometimes it makes me laugh because we seem so different but we are also so very much alike and in tune with each other. She's my co-pilot. There is absolutely NO reason why I stopped writing except I had a lot on my plate and had to juggle a lot and I let resistance get the better of me. Lately, I was urged to start again. Since the New Year really. Don't know why, I just started creating a better routine. I've been writing more and more everyday and this makes me so happy because I've got a few projects that are very important to me and have been panging at me for years.
I've realized on the dawn of my midlife awakening (and that was turning 40 in January), that I've always put myself last. I feel like since I was in my early 20's, I started taking care of everyone else's needs even though I really wanted to sit the hell down and read books and write books and articles and anything I could think of... I even became a journalist -but I put it most of my writing opportunities aside as I got heavy in to hospitality(and being a mom). It was just easier for me to be on the go all the time. Watching the clock, running, driving and spinning!!!! The journalism diploma came (and so did the baby) and I worked in radio and for a few newspapers and written copy for websites over the years. In 2007/2008 I even worked in the advertising department of a local paper in an attempt to sell ads for a phone book just before those fuckers went extinct. That was a Hell job delivered in a hand basket. I don't know, maybe they still make phone books but as you can imagine at that time people were just getting websites and no longer paying for print advertising. Everything was in the wind of change in the dawn of smart phone technology as well. Hardest hit was the newspaper and magazine industry, I reckon. I basically should have been working for an advertising firm on websites if I'd have wanted a fair shot in that game...but you've gotta start somewhere, Right?. Just when my job couldn't get any worse, my mom had a stroke and I had to leave the province and be with her and deal with saying good bye to her. It was awful but also very humbling for me. It was an awakening to a decision I made and something I've been working on ever since- and that's not to give a fuck about what others think about my life because it's my choice what I do. And I live by integrity. If others don't like me, maybe they shouldn't judge.
After my mom died, I had this awakening of sorts and it was the beginning of my promise to myself to stop putting up with people and things that I couldn't deal with-Stop dealing with other people's shit- I stopped giving a shit what people thought. I realized how much I hated my job at the phone book and ended another relationship with someone because he was trying too hard to pull me in and he lived too far away, and a few other things... I gave up on that and after a series of events eventually, the restaurant industry called me back full time. My daughter was 5 at the time and I was able to work school hours at this artsy spot called Zest Bar + Bistro. It was a great place to work for like 4 or 5 years. The money was really not too shabby either. It was a fun place in this crazy little town of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. I really do love this town. It's been my home for longer than I've lived anywhere else in the country.
Waitressing/serving has been sort of a love hate for me- I've never really completely depended on the income from serving fully, usually I've had another kettle on the fire with it-you kind of have to around here.
I've worked in some popular spots in my travels in the past eight years, I always showed up - never called in sick and always put all my energy in to my positions. I know I'm a good server. Yes, I know I am. I can very easily get along with the general public when it's my job. Despite my education and my story telling abilities, the money was better in the industry. I have actually almost always had a side restaurant job since I was about 16 years old, the day I got my driver's license. Not to mention, it's really good way to meet people you would normally never meet or have a conversation and learn something new about people. The only way to move up in journalism is to put yourself out there. I wasn't ready at the time- too lazy, too busy with my baby at the time, too scared to aim for the big leagues, resisted, I guess.
A good server is really good at looking after everyone else and putting the customer first. Always...A server becomes this person. They start feeling like their own house is a restaurant and they keep it all organized like they would at work. They should also treat the restaurant as their home and it sucks when someone forgets to do the floors before all the guests show up or they haven't made fresh coffee. When everyone starts slacking it makes me want to just not play anymore. When you get to work you must forget about your personal shit, forget about going to the washroom, you don't get to eat and you probably won't have time for a sip of water. Oh what break? The 2 minute break that you can go suck back a dart just so you can go outside and get away from all the people for a second? Sure- you can smoke. I was really good at doing that and usually I actually enjoyed myself. It is a very social environment and a server almost comes to crave the adrenaline that comes with the territory while running around getting things for people-constantly. You also have to be a good people reader. You learn to feel vibes and what not. It really is normal to be "a giving type, the waitress, the waiter, the wife, the subservient one, the mother, the uncle, the nurse, a 'people pleaser'"....I think it's more of a personality disorder, really---fuck!!---what a reality check for me as of late! I could probably write a thesis on it.... Instead, this time my action is going to be to just bypass the issue. Twenty-four years in the industry is honestly enough for me. The time has finally come for me to fold up the fucking apron, throw in my corkscrew and get back to my notebooks.
The feelings I got from my work environment as of late only hurried along the process. Time to block out all the hungry people paying me to serve them food and drink- the building is nice but some real acoustic issues in there and I had to hear about it often and sometimes it was even hard for me to hear properly. I got used to working though it and reading lips if I had to. At the end of my time at the last restaurant I worked at, it came to my attention that some of my co-workers had some major and minor issues with me and I apparently was over the top according to a few people, LOL. All I can say to that is at least I have energy. I do re-call one conversation with a fellow server the day before I was called in to the meeting with my manager, that I was trying to give him advice about being patient. More money will come soon- but he was about to take another position up the road and I told him the grass may not be greener on the other side and that he would burn himself out. If you look outside the box folks, there's a lot more to life than running around all day using up all your energy for food energy for other people. In retrospect though, with this post, I'm not trying to say I regret spending half my life as a server. Not at all- but I'm also not going to miss it at all. And all you servers out there? Do not try and deny it. It can be so tasking and it's not really that enjoyable and you're all resentful because I guarantee you have others dreams too. I just hope that someday you take care of them and fulfill your soul and are not just worrying about who said what to Sue and why Franks too slow and why they didn't fill up the Goddamned aioli!!! There is a lot more important stuff.
I've met so many amazing people in my time working at some pretty nice places, including the late Peter Jennings who I met the summer before I went to Loyalist College for Broadcast Journalism in 2001 just before 9/11- before he became the front and center of the news of all that. I remember my first day of college was that horrific day- a good day for me to finally embark on my career choice. I found myself in my car in the parking lot of the school listening to the rundown of events in NYC and guess who was reporting? Jennings. ... I saw it as a sign. He was the one who winked at me and said go for it. He asked me so many questions about my life. He was so nice. I'm glad I was working that day because we had a very cool conversation. He had told me I should read the New York Times everyday, which I don't, but I should read it, I'm sure.
I also met Farley and Claire Mowat many times over the years working and living in the crazy little town of PoHo. I basically watched his grandson, Ben grow up. In fact I always seemed to gravitate toward the people who were artists and writers. I like to think they were attracted to me and they were part of my lessons. I'm lucky they came to meet me where I worked in my several establishments over the years. It certainly made my job much more interesting. The list goes on. I have had a chance to meet so many amazing and inspiring people. As Miss Alice Munroe said to me, "A lot the people in the forest talk about writing a book but only a few actually do it and there's no reason to wait for there's never a perfect time..." un how many books has she written?
I would go to work and walk through the motions and hear the banter of muffled conversations in the dining room while I was making a cappuccino or getting my drinks and I'd see people eating the same food day in and day out. Started feeling kind of like the Twilight Zone to me in the last few months. Anyway, not to insult the menu of my last job but it was just really boring in general. It's just stuffy in there and for every nice inspiring person there were always two of the opposite. I try to avoid the ones that I know are going to try to cause me some kind of emotional anxiety or trouble or try to control me during their visit. I hate people like that. lol. After all that and my awakening of sorts I just woke up one day and realized, I can't do this anymore.
A good server is really good at gracefully flowing around the room. My way of having fun with it was feeling like a dancer or a fairy and I played the part really well. Sometimes I would even stop and chat..but you learn pretty early on not to give away too much information about yourself. It can cost you. You should let the customer talk, not the server. Unless given permission to engage-it's not all about you and you still you want to let them enjoy their time. They really aren't just there to see you and it pisses your coworkers off. Oh well.
Following the meeting with my manager recently, I was left with the only option but to spread my wings. There were several items on the list which called this meeting to order and I thank her dearly for the talk. We had a woman to woman and it was good. Good but hard for both of us- and we both almost cried- k, I cried. The two of us always created a fun flow when working together and always seemed to attract a great crowd. That's always good for business. It was concluded that I question authority and spazz out and have made it pretty clear that I do not want to have my energy sucked out of me everyday by kissing people's asses over food.... I had gotten to the point that I would come home from work and be too tired to clean my own house and feed my own daughter let alone feed myself. Too tired to make a healthy dinner and definitely too tired to write. It's a really unhealthy lifestyle for me, running like that all the time. The work load is hectic and it can leave a sour taste in your mouth when you're paid the server's base wage an hour and it's left to the customers to depend on your wage-while the owner goes away every two weeks and you are never sure what wall is going to come crumbling down next and then you find out that if you can't wear it in a bank you shouldn't wear it there? He now expected us to dress like a bank teller? What decade are we in? Give me a break- Cheque Please!!! I don't want to make a commission off your meal anymore. There are plenty of people who are fine with it but I'm done. I don't think anyone should be drained - no matter what they do- no matter how many essential oils I wear to give me feeling of wellness or energy....The problem was deeply rooted. We have to listen to our heart and our thoughts-life's too short! I'm freaking serious. It's possible.
So here I am. Back to my goals. My life. I'm feeling creative. I'm healing from it all. I'm tired still and want to spend the next year on a desert island. It was fun while it lasted but now I want to fly! It's time to put my energy into more creative ideas, my health and not for someone else to get rich off my work and live the dream- I wanna take care of me and take care of my daughter! I think I've finally learned the lesson. And I know there are sacrifices but I also know I will run a tighter ship by doing what serves me now. Everything serves us but when it stops we have to go with our intuition and realize it and deal with it. And that's where I'm at. Finally! It only took about 20 years to trust myself enough. Ever hear a kid say- "you're not the boss of me!"? Well more of us should live by that. I can make my jobs happen for me. It's in me. Watch me! I may not get rich from it but, I may.. won't know what to expect unless I try.
Ok so ---I started this particular blog post based on that conversation about the fact that I have a Blog, with someone I worked with before I realized this was my wake up call. Up until recently I've had writers block for about 3 years on this stretch- aside from my daily journals and lists...My plan was to wait until at least June to be honest, but having just realized I haven't even thought that this could have been the beginning of my cries and realizations of the fact that my job was going to drain my ambition to do the things I'm about to embark. I'm finally finishing this Blog post now- a month later or maybe I started it two months ago.. no idea. I only wrote a small bit of the idea shortly after the conversation and knew it was worth coming back to. So here I am making it important. It's a big deal because I decided to start working on pushing away the resistance and make it fun for myself again.
So - do you think I miss my apron? Nope not at all....Will I never do it again? Nope not saying that I won't- I plan to open the best café I ever imagined in about 10 years but right now. For right now though, I'm done. I am focusing on my other stuff now. I also picture myself walking and running dogs for fun on the side while I focus on my business and the books. I'm so done serving people in high maintenance environments and done looking after all these other hungry people and working with grumpy people who create alliances... I actually can't help but be leaning so far toward fixing all my own meals - If anyone asks me if I want to "go get something to eat" these days, I literally cringe.
It's a very personal thing to share a blog or your work. People are reading your thoughts- so there is a pressure there. I started with my first blog with the new name Capricorn Woman as of late in February- but then I got busy again..... Every time I caught myself running from my need, my desire to sit and do My work--- I finally paid attention and got mad at myself for it. I stopped telling myself I'm busy and stopped making excuses to myself. It's replaced with making excuses to others that I can't go out for coffee or out for visits or meals. I'm make time for me and everything I can fit in to my what I want to learn and focus on. I'm starting to pay attention to how everything makes me feel. If I like it I keep going. That's my new rule. It's like muscle testing on life. If it doesn't feel right within me then I can't do it. Easier said than done but I see a lot of people in a day who are clearly doing things they don't want to be doing and they are miserable. I will not be one of those people. It all boils down to this.... How much do you Love yourself? I Love myself more than I ever have and this release makes me very happy.