Every once in a while something happens that makes you re-evaluate your life. A conversation, an experience or a feeling comes up and it forces you to rethink your choices in your life. Like: what the hell am I doing? Is this what I want? Wouldn’t it be easier to move to an island, get a fun steady job at some cafe, and spend lots of time on the beach? Why would you want to live in a polluted city crowded with people, spend hours in stinky subway cars each week and try to work in a business that is notorious for not compensating people fairly for their contributions? I had one of those moments this week, and here’s where I ended up with it.
I was a bit of a reluctant front woman much of my career. I’ve been shy, and not particularly excited about doing press for that reason. I also used to overcompensate in some areas out of insecurity and underperformed in others. Through much of my career my instinct was to be a follower not a leader. So this week as I went through these questions of “is this what I really want?”, I decided to go to the purest part of me for answers: the little girl I was at age 3 and 4. I still remember quite a bit of that part of my life rather clearly.
A memory came to me, something that I hadn’t remembered for quite a while, of me at 4 years old standing in front of the bathroom mirror. Having watched Dallas and Dynasty, I mimicked the actors in the opening credits of the shows, as they turned to the camera and smiled nonchalantly. I also remember pretending to do soap-commercials to my reflection in the mirror: lathering up as I washed my hands and describing how wonderful the soap feels. In addition to that, every opportunity I had I dressed up in fancy outfits and any appropriate ornaments I could find, and performed in the middle of the living room, and all around the house. I also wrote dozens of songs on the piano at that same age.
As I remember it, this little girl wanted to be a star in the most innocent and pure way. She was fascinated by music, by pop-stars, by TV-shows, makeup, dressing up, dancing and performing. I have not veered very far from those interests in the end, have I…? The reality of a job sometimes doesn’t look quite like what one imagines it to be as a 4-year-old. Nevertheless I am heartened to realize that that little girl still lives in me, and actually more vibrantly each day. She is still getting to do all those things that she wanted to do in the first place, and she gets to be a star in her own life. And in some other people’s lives too.
Although my work is challenging and doesn’t always make sense for a number of reasons, I still came to the conclusion that I’m in the right place. My memory of that little girl encourages me to have fun with all of this. That child wasn’t apologizing for any of her creativity or her drive to be noticed, and neither should I. Shyness and insecurity be damned. Deep down those traits are not a part of me. Here’s to you, little Janita.