A few months ago my husband and I went downtown L.A. to watch our brother-in-law perform a death defying feat for charity, rappelling 26-stories down the side of a hotel — more about that later.
The area surrounding the hotel was besieged with crowds of men in business suits and women in their business attire adorned with their Louboutin’s. Laptops, cellphones, notebooks and briefcases were all worn as if chosen by a stylist. I used to be one of those, seems like centuries ago, but I was one of them. Maybe not the one’s with the Loubies’s…
I stood in the throng of suit wearers with my jeans and Keds and wondered…what the hell happened to me? Why didn’t I feel as important as they appeared to be? Why did a piece of fabric make them seem larger than life? Why was I so drawn to the pace of their business day? Why did that appear so much more satisfying at this moment than the life I had chosen? Was it the suits?
As I walked among them I tried to remember life while wearing those suits. There were hardly any date nights, just no time. My friends became a secondary thought, my children as babies were totally scheduled and something as simple as sending a birthday card seemed near impossible – no internet in those days – just snail mail. I am and have always been in awe of my sisters and women friends and single parents who did and do it all. But I did remember while wearing those suits, I felt like I could do everything satisfactorily. But for that company, the one whom I wore the suits, the job I did was outstanding.
When the adrenaline rush of seeing the suits began to subside, I reflected on what become truly important to me in the past 25 years since I had worked in that business world. I reflected on the decisions my husband and I made so long ago. The decision to have children in my 30’s, then our decision that I stay home to raise them which caused any and all knowledge of the business world I had known for 18 years to fade into fairy tales and soccer practices. And though our income was halved, I made the decision to volunteer so I could continue to be home with my children. It was my decision to attend college in my forties and start my own business. All decisions that didn’t involve a suit.
And while I’m being perfectly honest with you about my suit years I might as well spill … Since that glimpse with mortality four years ago I haven’t been able to go back to full-time work. It’s taken me a long time to say those words and not feel like a failure. I see my friends with their successful careers, the travel, the 10 hour days and the suits, but the shift in my life that provided me with such clarity, can never be traded for those good looking red soles or well-tailored suits. I’ve come to believe that decisions that make up our lives really don’t depend on fabric or shoes or meetings, they depend on listening to the voice deep inside that suit covered body.
So after my melt down at the sight of those suits, we watched an amazing man, who is a husband, father, grandfather and business man rappel down a building in his business shirt and suit pants in hopes of bringing awareness to those affected by the addiction to illicit, prescription drugs and alcohol. Now THAT suit, at that moment, stood for something definitely larger than life.
Please take a moment to visit Shatterproof and get involved! You don’t really have to wear a suit to make a difference – but you’d probably look fabulous!
Grateful for you,
p.s. Thanks, family, for being patient and kind with the non-suit path I’ve chosen.