Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wedding Day

The wedding was beautiful and so was the bride. Despite my anxiety, I enjoyed every moment. The last thing I wanted to do days after losing my job was attend a social event. I knew inevitably someone would ask about my profession. It is one of the most common questions asked at gatherings, and I had no clue of how I would answer.

Though I am hopeful (no, certain), I will find love eventually. I do have another 60 (no 70 years on this planet), I have to accept the fact that I will never walk down the aisle with Pop. I will never have a father daughter dance. It was all I wanted when I proposed to The K-Man after Pop was diagnosed with cancer. It wasn't much of a proposal. There was no ring or romance, just a question. After 7 years who needed the formality. Desperate to create a memory and to bring some happiness in a time of pain and uncertainty, I asked him certain he would accept. He told me no. Not in those words exactly more like not yet, we have a lot to work out or some thing like that. I told him I would not forgive him if Pop died. He did. That's how The K- Man became the ex (the abridged version). I promise to give you all of the excruciating details later, but this is not about my day that never happened. This is about my best friend's special day. I was grateful and honored she asked me to be her maid of honor. I know now just how much she loves me and that is a blessing.

I was trying to process my emotions and then I got laid off two days before the big day. What else was I to do? I packed up my bags and baggage hopped on a metro north train bound for Connecticut. I rode off preparing for the question I was certain would come. What do you? What line of work are you in? It's my favorite question to ask? Now it is haunting me. These days its common for someone to answer "I am between jobs right now". I never thought about how that person on the receiving end of my question felt. I have to think of new conversation starters. (If you have any out there let me know.) God is testing me. There is no other explanation for this torture.

I was slouched down in the hair stylist's seat, still exhausted from the rehearsal dinner the night before. I am accompanied by the bride, her mom, Tia another college friend. The Bride had us up at 6AM for a 7AM hair appointment. It was going to be a long day, I made it through the previous nights festivities without having to answer the question. Maybe I could get through the weekend, I thought as she finished washing my hair and escorted me to her chair. It was time to twist my locks. This is usually the time for small talk. "How do you like dresses?" the petite brown woman asked . "Oh they are beautiful, they look great on everyone", the only respectable answer even though it was true. "How long have you known the bride?" "About..." I had to think about it. You never count until. Someone asks. "12 years, we met in college." (I have been out of school for 10 that make sense.) I can't believe it was that long.

"What kind of work do you do?" the dreaded question. I knew it would come sooner or later. I thought about it should I answer, "I am social worker/career advisor". I always loved talking about my job. People found me interesting and caring. "Oh that's wonderful" they would all respond. "Wow it must be so rewarding helping people. I hate my job", a bit of envy in their voice. The truth is it was rewarding. I love working with people and then the hidden benefit of always being the most interesting person at the party.

If I changed the tense to was and said, "I was a social worker", I would probably hear I am sorry from another well meaning person. A discussion on the recession and how everyone is affected would follow. Normally I enjoy discussing the current economic crisis and debating solutions, but not when it revolves around my personal livelihood. That was not going to work.

Then there was... I didn't know could it possibly work. I hadn't said that in such a long time. "I am a writer. I am a performer." I said it and it felt so so good. "Really my daughter is an artist.", she said. " Is she?. I have been doing spoken word for 10 years, and I earn my living performing on college campuses". "Really", she answered. "My daughter is the president of the Black Student Union. She loves spoken word. She would love to see you perform. I am going to tell her to check out your website.

At that moment, it occurred to me all this time I had been claiming the wrong profession. I never intended to to be a social worker. That was just a job I got to pay some bills. No different than waiting a table. I got lost because I loved the work. I am and always will be an artist. Never again will I claim another profession. I don't care if I get elected president of the United States I am going to tell everyone "I am an artist and in my spare time I run the country".

Suddenly I was liberated. I was free. I am not unemployed. I can't be unemployed. It's impossible. Art is my life's work.

At the wedding, I danced. I celebrated. I read my poem. Most importantly, I honored a woman who supported me through all my grief, joys and scatter brained ideas (Including this blog. Actually one of the reasons I am finally writing this is because I can't yap to her while she is on her honeymoon, and I have to tell someone.) I know she will continue to support me. The only thing that has changed is her name. I helped her to live out one of her dreams and now it is time to live mine.

The party continued well into the morning. I danced the night away confident that Entrepreneur/ Artist E is even cooler than Social Worker E.


  1. See... you are just cool... PERIOD!!!! I am glad you found your peace with that and had a good time. You will be fine for sure!

  2. Words have such great power. I love to see your grace shining through.

  3. Ebony,

    I love your writing. It is absolutely beautiful and from the heart. You are a gorgeous person. Keep doing you. So much love to you.