Flowers for the Day Job

I bought myself flowers today. Roses. White ones. I know that Valentine's Day is getting closer, and I should wait to see if the man buys me flowers, but it's only February 2nd, and I needed to stop and buy myself, and my new office, some flowers. Because I gave notice at my job. Two months of notice, but notice nonetheless. Since then, I've been completely bombarded by my to-do list, and it is taking over my life. So I bought roses just because they are beautiful and I can stop and stare at how the petals curl and pucker around each other.

If you didn't know, I work for a very respected nonprofit that helps women and health professionals make informed maternity care decisions. I manage their website. And various other things that come with being one of six people working for a national organization, such as configure emails, manage databases, insist on systems to track publication inventory. Before the holiday, I finally spoke a decision that I had made long ago, but became too complacent to make. Normally when I make a life altering decision, it is a defensive decision, like the next move after a fiance decides he's not ready to be married. This allowed me to quit a terrible horrible job I was keeping just to pay our rent, so I promptly moved back home to regroup, research the hell out of figuring out what I wanted to do professionally, became a flower-arranger for a day, realized that stunk because flower arrangers at banquet halls make the same arrangements every day and that would be next to death for the left side of my brain. This was after I tried temping in Cleveland, only to find that temping agencies in Cleveland, or the one I went to, employed men who needed to pay child support checks. But it was just before I begged my younger brother for a job - any job - on the film he was working on. And so I became "Crafty." Not actually crafty yet, like with glue and glitter, but a snack girl who memorized the favorite and special foods of everyone on the set and made sure they were arranged pleasingly on my little Crafty table (look, I am even in IMDB).

I met and worked with a crew of out-of-town New Yorkers. We were all in farm country, and most of those New Yorkers felt most out of place in their tinted pink sunglasses and red and blue Pumas. But I met them, and they were semi-normal. And I thought that if they are semi-normal, and I am semi-normal, then heck. I could move to New York, too. And so I did. On the morning of 9/11 from Akron with a tightly packed suitcase courtesy of Mom and a literal one-way ticket and a two-week cat sitting gig in exchange for a place to stay while I clamored for interviews. But that morning, my plane did not take off, and I spent the next few months obsessing over becoming a journalist in order to contribute something to the world. On February 15th, 2002, I tried again, but this time, Mom and I drove to the building I live in now, only then, I was renting a living room with a couch and a few neglected tree plants (one of which I still have and is thriving).

The next few years involved many jobs in different industries, as it was my priority to try them all out until I found one I liked. Editorial assistant (Harper Collins), production assistant (Law and Order - the original), research office assistant (Food Network), art department assistant on a crazy Little Kim video, freelance graphic designer. All of these things, and none as satisfying as my first design class at FIT. Which started everything.

Two and a half years later (but five total since moving to New York), with a wealth of knowledge gained from working with inspiring bosses and co-workers and connecting with a mission of helping to educate and inform women about childbirth (because I sure as heck didn't know what it was all about), I've taken a step into the abyss of my life. Not that I wasn't in my life before, but by giving notice at my job in order to devote my full time to Katie James, LLC, starting March 1st 2007, and nurture it as it grows from fabric to websites to print to who knows, I have taken control of my life. And it feels great. Not empowering, like I thought it would, just great and normal. Envisioning Katie James is empowering enough. Paying people at Christmas time for a production run is empowering. This decision was just solidly great and fluid and normal. And so I bought myself some flowers today.


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