Most of my life, I’ve been known for three things: Finding a way to make every event stiletto-appropriate, talking, and being a professional chameleon.
Now, by “professional chameleon”, I certainly don’t mean that I’ve discovered some miraculous way to get paid for being a small amphibian. Rather, I have migrated from one job to the next, usually with ease, rarely with hesitation, and always with gusto.
You see, in my generation, parents were told to teach their children that “anything is possible.” We were all expected to find jobs that brought us joy, because after all, “if you find a job you love, you never work a day.” And of course, we knew from a very early age that we were all “capable of anything we put our minds to”.
I don’t necessarily disagree with all of this, but my dream to be Debbie Gibson was overkill.
So I searched with my whole heart. I found myself in a waitress uniform throughout high school and college, then a political business suit after graduate school. I worked for non-profits, universities, and even a greenhouse. Then there were the two months of pizza delivery driving…which I made up for later by teaching aerobics.
Through it all, I found ways to write. The college courses I taught were accompanied by culinary newspaper articles, and the political gig demanded heavy press releases.
It was hard to find time to write with grad school, marriage, and job changes, and let’s face it…freelancers don’t exactly bring home the bacon. But I did it anyway. No matter the situation in my life, putting my fingers on a keyboard always made it seem less disastrous and more manageable.
I was ready to settle down and be a professor when I learned that I was pregnant with my first and only child. He needed stability that a game of musical jobs couldn’t give him. I enrolled in a doctoral program and sat in class for four days straight, right through my due date. Determined to not let go of “my identity” as a go-getter, I decided that I could absolutely teach six courses a semester, earn a doctorate in two years, and work as a freelancer on the side.
And I could have.
But I didn’t know my child’s eyes would light up every single time he saw me. I didn’t know his face would fall when he heard the door close behind me on my way out of town. I didn’t know he would look just like his momma or have his daddy’s cute little clefted chin.
Here’s what I did know: One day, this child would look to me for advice on how to choose a career path. And I would tell him to follow his heart, his dreams, and his passion.
I knew then that it was time I follow my own advice, and that is why you’re reading this right now. Since Lee Magazine began three years ago, from the living room and brilliant mind of my mentor and friend Beth Snipes, I have loved being part of it. Jenni Laidman, the savvy editor you once read on this same page, hired me to write a story or two, and I was hooked. The combination of smart content and big heart behind these pages are what make Lee Magazine tick.
I believe in this magazine, and I love the Lee community. It seems that, finally, I am at home.
Because of you, Lee Magazine has a very bright future. We’re going places.
Thanks for being with us for the ride.