So here it is. I made Angel Food Cake because I’m celebrating and angels come with trumpets and harps and wings flapping. They like to party. After re-reading my last blog it sure is nice to have something to celebrate over with cake.
My last blog was posted nine weeks ago. That’s more than two months but it was time I needed with my self. The fight I describe with my husband in that entry was a watershed moment. It wasn’t really a fight with him. It was a knock out fight with something much bigger than even my self (we’ll get to that later) and that battle changed everything. Beginning with something I’ve written a lot about here; my job hunt. I told you that I was going to stop counting the number of résumés submitted somewhere around number forty-five, and I did, but a rough estimate places the total somewhere near sixty. That’s when I got the feeling that I was barking up the wrong tree and started to sniff around for a different kind of prey. I stopped thinking in terms of what I can do because my résumé says so and started thinking of it in terms of what I like to do because I say so.
I was praying, a lot, during my job hunt and my requests to God remained the same as always. I wanted to dress up and look my best wearing my own clothes (not a uniform) because after working from home for two and a half years I missed that so much. I also wanted to use my God given talents so I would no longer need to play catch up due to a lack of college education – a difference I always knew separated me from opportunities for job advancement while I was in public relations and marketing. Also, because surrounding ourselves with quality people is so important, I wanted to work with friendly, like-minded individuals and I wanted someone to take me under their wing in a mentoring relationship where I could take what I already know and skyrocket. Do you see anything missing from that list? Money. I never considered a minimum salary because by the time I set this list to serious prayer money was the farthest thing from my mind. I just wanted to be happy. With all this in mind I shifted the focus away from what an employer could offer me and turned it toward what I could offer my self. Guess what happened? I’m now working a part-time job at a gorgeous retail store where I get a wicked discount on everything from pretty new long sleeve maxi-dresses that double as pajamas (for reals, yo!) to handy kitchen gadgets and other beautiful house wares. And when I am scheduled for a shift I can dress up to my fancy little heart’s content. I also get to work with an army of women just like me. Everyone is creative in some brilliant and covetable way and most of the other part-timers are doing other things with their talents outside of the retail gig. Which brings me to the most exciting part of what has happened to me since I’ve been away. I started my own business! That one special thing I was looking to define, that which I’m already good at and could turn into a career, turned out to be professional organizing.
I’ve long been interested in it and already live an organized life but it was only in this process of redefining my self that I started to think of it as a career change. So I took a webinar, read a book on the subject and began to research. Then I hit the ground running. In the two months that I’ve taken a hiatus from blogging I set up a home based business with all the requisite nuts and bolts, made a connection with another organizer in town who has been like a mentor to me already (prayers answered!) and by her generous spirit I obtained through her referral my first paid client.
Can you believe it?!?!?! I got a job! Two jobs! In the worst economic crisis to hit the United States in decades, in a community cut the deepest by a national unemployment crisis, I found a part time job and I then I founded my own business. My cup runneth over and the Angel Food Cake said, “Hallelujah!” But (there’s always a but) when the angel wings stop flapping and the trumpets are no longer sounding on my celebration I know there is still a harsh reality to face. The truth is that times are tough for everyone, everywhere. And further truth is that I’m not making anywhere near a salary that I once was. But you’ve got to start somewhere. I got my first client. There will be others. I don’t need a micro loan to start a business like impoverished women in third world countries have to depend on the kindness of strangers for. I don’t need anything but my own bootstraps to make this happen. I can still access that same spirit that created The Greatest Generation and I can make a new way for my self. Celebration time, come on! God bless, America! Why am I suddenly craving apple pie?
Other amazing things happened to me in these two months that I’ve been away from the blog. I’m making friends. I met Karlin on Facebook a while back and we’ve been to get togethers through MeetUp.com. She loves the Real Housewives as much as I do. (We’re overdo for a real friend date, Karlin!) More recently a reader and fellow blogger who lives here in Las Vegas reached out to me and invited me to her house for a weekly dinner she hosts with her husband. She read this blog and felt like I might fit in to the community of friends she and her husband have been cultivating for the eight years they have lived here. (Hello to you Donna & Paul!) I accepted the invite and had a great time. And Donna was right. I fit right in and was reminded of the old friends and the food and wine we shared back home in Napa. Backtracking to Meetup.com, one way I’ve been trying to make friends since I got here is through the site. Las Vegans love it and now I do to. It’s gotten me out of the house, introduced me to outdoor hiking adventures and I am cultivating a supportive network of entrepreneurial woman at a group I have coffee with every Friday morning. Those ladies are major players in guiding me to the trailhead of my new life and business venture. I’ve taken this social tool to a new level and started my own MeetUp group called The Chef’s Wife. After my knock-down, drag-out in September it was clear to me that women who are married to or otherwise committed to a restaurant professional desperately need a support system of friends. We are each painfully aware that the glamour and perks of being wined and dined only come along after a lot of time spent in lonely valleys while our partners are clocking a sixty-plus-hour work week. I’ve gotten a few members to join me and we’re meeting soon for the first time.
One other thing that was clear to me at the time of my last blog is that “the something much bigger than my self” that I was fighting prior to that entry is called depression. I think I knew it for a while but having never experienced it before I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t know how to say it out loud and if I did I wouldn’t know where to go next with it. But I did say it out loud. And the next thing that happened is that my husband put his arms around me. And then I went and talked it out with a pro. I’m so thankful that I did. It didn’t take much prodding and once I started talking I couldn’t stop. I share more with my husband now than I ever have before and guess what, he still loves me. I was afraid at first and it’s okay if you are too. Trust the process of being honest with your self. Trust the process of being honest with your loved ones. Trust the process of crying it out, healing, and then crying it out again before additional healing. Transplanting my life was hard. Being unemployed was hard. Re-evaluating financial and personal priorities kept me up at night and weighed heavily, heavily on my soul. Whatever you are going through, it’s hard, I know it is. But you can ease the burden the very moment you trust the process of being honest with your self and start talking it out. This, more than the celebration of being back in the workforce and making new friends, is what led me to baking from scratch my very first homemade Angel Food Cake.
I was inspired by another blogger over at JoyTheBaker.com. She’s adorable and if you get started with her you won’t be able to stop. Not long ago she posted her story about making Angel Food Cake for the first time. I want you to read the whole thing and discover her blog so please follow this delicious link right….here! What I loved the most and could not forget about this blog entry was its lesson about trusting the process. Even when everything gets turned upside and leaves you just hanging there: vulnerable to completely falling apart. When there is no logical reason for something to work out yet somehow it does. When first you have to trust the process and you find that you just have to let go and let cake.
Oh. Em. Gee. That’s totally my new life motto. Something else to celebrate! And the Angel Food Cake said, “Hallelujah!”