CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!
This is a Imaga Imagining Prompt from The Publication CHALKBOARD
Image prompt #1 by Michael Stalcup
See me? That’s me! The pig! In total gluttony. Treading water. Barely. Heavy. With a big fucking snout. I’m working hard to not drown. I mean look at me? It’s work to not drown here right? The sky is gorgeous. The water is so inviting! But I’m a pig! Do pigs even know how to swim? Think of all the things we associate with pigs. The first one of course being mud. a pig in mid. That’s me today. The rest is an illusion. My fantasy. Where I want to be. Burying my head in the water actually sounds appealing. I could drown feeling this heavy. Exhausted. Bloated. Brain dead. But I’m trying to keep the bird afloat. This bird. My inner teacher. My inner healer. My source. My goddess. My spirit. This bird. She does not want to drown. By standing on the pig she hopes to keep the pigs head above water until it finds it’s way to ground again. Let’s hope that’s soon.
Lately I’ve been the bird. I fly. I have a grip. I make co-parenting work. My boss likes me. My house is running smoothly. My bills are being paid. I have a grip. In fact, I’m a grip machine! I’m Authentic as fuk. I don’t go buy cocaine. I watch my carbs. I go on to yoga retreats. I love. I journal. I have a grip. 1–800-Grips-R-US!!! I am inspired. I try to inspire. I fill my creative outlet. I write. Im a connector! I am the bird standing strong and brave ready to take off.
Not today though. Today I’m the pig. Today is my …
Annual Sales Conference😳😳
For me that means my 22 time attending this event out of 25 years at this place. It used to feel an honor to attend. A young up and comer. Important. I had no responsibility except for myself. Show up, and be seen. Unintimidated. No one can work a room like me. I love it! It’s what a do! Fearless. I jump from table to table. I’ll chat up anyone! I make sure people learn my name. I make sure I’m memorable. It’s pretty easy like- I’m not a dude. I'm easier to remember then the guys who all match. Charming. Impressionable. A connector. Positive. Since these male machines all look and sound and speak the same I have a better chance of catching someone’s attention.
But Fast forward — three moves to three different cities, a marriage, three births, a divorce, same job. Same dang job, same territory, same people. Every year same summer annual sales conference.
Is Day 3 of an 8am — 5pm conference room of presentations followed by an hour “break” (ie. power nap and a Red Bull) followed by 3 hour heavy networking dinners (that used to be followed by a couple more hours of me working whatever bar or manager suite we ended up at). #slightlywisernow.
My days here are sedentary. Boredom feeds distraction. Pastries. Sugar. Wine. Meat. Cheesy potatoes. Non -stop coffee. Sitting, sitting, and more sitting. Today in my other life- I have three children who have started summer going in three different directions half a country away. Today I feel left out, my ex is on a plane with our two girls, I’m wondering how my girls are as they go greet my ex mother in law with big hugs. They get to go off to camp soon. I’m wondering how camp my son is doing, getting to stay at an amazing college at his first ever overnight camp. Today I’m trying to figure out how to expedite 2 kids passport renewals that I didn’t notice had expired when none of my family is in the same place. That’s like a serious orchestrating involving lots of fed ex, notary public, and phone calls to the ex and the nanny. The bird! I want to be that bird and fly the fuck away from this cave of a freezing conference room.
Today I fantasize of my big bed at home. I fantasize about my bathtub, warm with bubbles. I fantasize about fresh air with warm sun on my face. Today though, this, this three days of intense robot living in the jail cell of a Marriott hotel feels like one big gigantic ugh. For those of you creatives, the ones who enjoy a quiet night reading a book, who enjoy a lovely brewed tea with intellectuals, who enjoy a joint and some Grateful Dead, picture yourself in the middle of your worst nightmare. Yup. That.
Glasses clink, noise of sales people catching up in the grand ballroom echoes down the convention hall (sales people are loud-300 extroverts all talking at once). 300 business corporate types in navy blue and khakis.
70% aging beer and wine belly steak eating road warrior white sales men, with muffin tops or much bigger spilling out of their suit belts.
25.5 % salad eating gym surfing tennis road warrior talk, dark, and handsome sales white men who, by the way, are hott AF. Just saying. It makes this suffering a little more manageable.
.5 % African American and Latino men.
4% do it all parent, self care, clean, organize, plan, juggle, work their asses off get shit done road warrior women who take a risk by straying from navy blue to stand out in purple, red, and black with Kendra Scott earring pops of color. Here I am world! Fuck yea! The queen of the territory. Yup I fall into this category. Of the 4% it’s one other sales woman and me who do it divorced. Who do this job and single parent. Who hit the road every week. Let me just say, kudos to us. We fucking rock!
Ok Fierce💃!!! Big breath. Let’s do this. Walk into the conference room. Day 3. Home stretch. Big huge smiles. Hugs and greetings for morning coffee. Inside I want to crawl back in bed. Red wine headache. Chills from a minor cold. Cold Air Conditioning Conference Room. Stale hotel with the fresh air locked out and the stale air can’t escape through these heavy hotel glass doors.
The 300 machines move from conference room to conference room.
Listen to the power machine on stage
Pretend to take notes
Move right along as the ‘corporate meeting planning department ladies’ ring their bell over and over. Like you think they ruled the fucking world as they bang those annoying xylophones. “Move along machines, there are more coming behind you.”
Oh god I want to sleep!
Oh god I want fuzzy pajamas and slippers!
Oh god I want to call my son at his first overnight camp and hear how he is doing!
Oh god I have a cold, I don’t feel on par, Im getting chills, I feel sweat, I’m hot then chilly depending on the second!
I’m clammy. This schedule, this lack of healthy food, this lack of sleep, it’s making this cold worse!
Oh fucking great! Im queen of my territory and I’m clammy. I’m the positive bubbly enthusiast smiling Director Vice President. I want to scream but my throat hurts. I want to cry but I need to put in a good face. I want to hide and hibernate in the hotel room. This whole hotel feels stale and cold. I miss my Latino love’s safe arms. I miss my kids sweets laughs!
This is not a pity party. I remember my wonderful colleagues, my opportunities, my healthcare, my paycheck, my blessings, my clients. I love that all. I’m grateful. I’m glad I don’t work in a hot subway station selling sodas. I’m glad I’m not begging for spare change. I’m glad I’m not on my feet all day. I have perspective. I’m lucky as fuck. I just don’t want to feel like the pig in mud right now, a drone, but I feel like a 400 pound pig I feel swimming upstream.
Hmmmmm WTF can I do? Im not popping a pill to numb out this misery. How do I get through this day? I want to hide my iPhone in my note book under the table I’m assigned to, under the tablecloth, and peruse Medium pretending to be present vs. take notes on the market, profits, net assets, flows, etc. yes exactly — that’s what I want. I want to be a bird and dive into the welcoming water and then jet out into that gorgeous sky swimming in Medium!
AND I DO!
Medium- take me away! I do it. Ahhhhhhhhh relief. Sweet sweet relief. Once again, I’m alive! Once again, I’m floating. My mind bounces from love to nature to deep imagery and light thoughts. Or is that deep thoughts and light imagery?
“YOUR AFTERNOON EDITION”
My feed gets me excited right away! Like for real! Let’s go! I feel like a rebel! I feel tingly excited. Then as “a little bonus” as I always like to say…I literately think in my head- if the first two stories happen to either be from Tasneem or Indira then that will be like a little affirmation that what I’m doing is ok! Can you fucking believe it? My god! Both of them are right the hell there waiting for me as if they are saying “hey Fierce! We’ve been waiting for you!”
I read, all your words touch me. I am the bird again. I leave the pig treading water in the corporate waters and to the sky of abundance of imagination…
I Soar Again❤️
This is a response to the Imagà Imaginings prompt by Michael Stalcup