I woke up on Wednesday to the drumroll that serves as the prelude to Spottieottiedopaliscious. As soon as my feet hit my hardwood floor I can feel every bit of the 45 minutes I spent on the elliptical machine the night before. What the hell was I trying to prove by trying the Hill Plus program anyway? It is 6 AM, and I can swear it was just 11:30. It’s like I blinked and all of a sudden it’s a whole ass new day. I grab my laptop to start on the story I promised my editor would be ready by noon today. At 7 AM I start getting ready for my 9 to 6 job.
En route to the train I review the invoice I submitted this month and a sly grin creeps across my face, because I have extra cash coming my way. I skim my emails from PR reps requesting that I cover this event or that one, and I RSVP to a product launch party at The Hearst Tower. “I would love to attend, and thank you so much for reaching out. Kindest Regards, Jessica.” While on the Q I read a chapter of Between The World And Me, and get really existential about what it really means to be in this black body, and how different the world must look from the perspective of black women versus that of black men and then I’m like ooooohhhh he’s evaluating the space between the world and himself. Duh Jessica. And then I try to remember what his explanation was for the use of the word body so many times in this book.
I get to my 9 to 6 job and everyone is dressed to the nines for our Holiday party at the Russian Tea Room later on that evening. The Executive Assistants are making last minute preparations, passing out gifts, and asking me to assist with one thing or another. Around noon I submit my story for my editor’s review, and my two supervisors call me in to a conference room. I walk in with pen and pad ready to jot down notes for a project. “Okay what can I help you guys with?” I ask enthusiastically. “We don’t need you to take notes, we need you to listen,” one replies matter-of-factly. My palms get sweaty and my mind starts racing about what I might have screwed up on. “You’ve been a great asset to the company in the short time you’ve been here. So we want to offer you a raise and a bonus.” She slides a piece of paper over to me. I looked over the numbers and fought the urge to cry with joy. I leave the conference room and quickly fold the card stock paper and stuff it in my purse. I check my email for the 30th time today and there is a note from an FIT/Georgia Southern student asking if she can interview me for her final project. I re-read it like three times, because I’m wondering why anyone would want to interview me. She goes on to explain that she came across my Linked In profile and was intrigued by my career path. I obliged.
6:00 PM hits and I have to rush over to 37th and 10th to interview Christian Siriano at an awards ceremony. The trains are trash so I end up walking much further than I planned to and I am paranoid that my edges are sweated out and my face looks greasy. The PR rep working the door rushes me in ahead of the writers from the Times and Elle. “I know you have an event to get to afterwards so I’m gonna let you have the first interview,” she whispers. While interviewing Mr. Siriano I simultaneously request an Uber to get me to the Russian Tea Room in time for dinner because I have completely missed cocktail hour. The decor is opulent and colorful and the food is amazing, but I can barely eat because my adrenaline is still pumping. I just did my first red carpet interview ever! I have two glasses of the most amazing champagne I’ve ever tasted just to calm my nerves. At the conclusion of our CEO’s speech we all gather our things and head to our respective homes. Some of the execs head to the unofficial after party at a near by bar.
On the train ride back to Brooklyn I can’t even focus enough to read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ dissection of his life as a black man. I am so in awe of the overflow of blessings in my life that I listen to Travis $cott and then Drake and then PartyNextDoor to relax. I get home and climb the inexplicable amount of stairs in my house. I walk past the room that serves as the dwelling space for my roommates’ dog. The smell is ghastly. I instantly get annoyed at the text I’m going to have to send to remind grown ass people to clean up after their dog.
I get to my room and put down my stuff. I feel like listening to Sza. I sit on the edge of my bed and finally take off my heels. Looking at the imprint the laser cut outs made on my feet I remember why I haven’t listened to her in a while. This album reminds me of a person, of early morning texts, late night pics, of a moment in time when we were getting along. When I heard from him everyday and after an argument him saying ” I fucking love you Jessica stop trippin.” Then laughing at the fact that that’s the first time he had ever said that to me, and the words he chose to express it. My eyes begin to water. Not just over the memory of him, but the fact that that memory stole the joy the entire day had given me. But I realize it’s not him or his absence in my life right now. It’s the fact that there is a huge void in my life that no amount of accolades, money, promotions, praise, or red carpets can fill. I’m laying on my bed, makeup smearing on my white pillow case at the frustration I feel with myself. My life is amazing right now. I have so much of what I have been chasing for so long, how can I not just be content? Am I that girl? I don’t want to be that girl. My friend Shelly had told me a few days before that it’s okay to admit you want a man. Those words hit me so hard, because who wants to say that aloud? Who wants to admit they want something they have no control of attaining? The thing is once you acknowledge that that companionship is something you want, it’s like unleashing a flood of feelings, thoughts, and emotions that no one wants to endure. It feels like you’re in a constant state of rejection because you don’t have it. You go back and forth in your head wondering if there is something wrong with you because you don’t have it. And then you feel stupid for lusting after a man when there’s so much more to life than that. Stay busy. Stay focused. A season for everything. Trust in God’s timing. I repeat these things to myself like a mantra while I hear Sza “sometimes I keep you in my mind, sometimes I let you go up high…” I blink and it’s 6 AM again. The drumroll starts and so does another day.