Something big happened for me this week. I received my very first check, ever, for an article I wrote. Someone told me recently that something changes inside you when you’re actually paid to write. It does. Seeing that check, even though it is small, reinforced my resolve to keep doing what I love, no matter how little time I think I have to do it. No matter how long it takes to come to life, my words are coming. I am a writer.
When I started The Salvaged this year, I knew I needed a creative outlet. I did not know how this mashup of antique finds, hidden treasures, little shops, inspiration, beautiful things, memories and experiences would turn into such a love of mine, but it has. I will never forget a moment of clarity in my first job out of college. This job included “rounds” in different departments of a small bank in my hometown. This included teller work- which I truly didn’t mind. You see, Mama was a teller for the majority of her working life, until she became a Grandmother. She built the foundation that would eventually become my career in finance. But at 22 years old, what I did mind, greatly, was working as a teller inside that small town’s Walmart branch. Walmart, people. People talk about misery, but aside from the people suffering with you, I can assure you that it was nothing but complete misery. It might’ve shown on my face, a little. On one specific evening I encountered two men in two different transactions. The first ended in me being called a “c___.” I shit you not. Over a lousy $200 check that I wouldn’t cash because this guy already owed the bank money. In that moment, you know you’ve had these moments, I wish I could look back and say I let the guy have it, because that’s what people expect me to do, right? Nope. Big tears welled up in my eyes and in my mind I remember thinking, “what the hell am I doing here?” I just slid the check back across the counter and said, “you better leave, SIR.” Daddy wanted his name, so I gave it to him. I don’t know what happened after that, but I never saw that guy again.
The second man was a friend of the family and a father to two great friends of mine from youth group at church. When he looked up and approached me in my line, I imagine he could see the stress in my body language. He leaned down and asked me, “what are you doing here?” He had no idea how loaded that question was, or what he did for me that night. My eyes welled up with tears again. I really didn’t know how to answer as I sat inside Walmart, listening to the constant beeping at the checkout line all day. One of my proudest days? When I sent that letter to HR to bid that place adieu. I was headed to my current position, almost seven years ago. You know how to tell people want to hold you down? Everyone whispered about how I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. That can be the poison of a small town. It’s beautiful and magical and special to grow up there, but then at some point you have to get out for a while and make them see what you’ve got. And I win.
Experiences like this make me remember where I came from and how I got here. It makes me get on my knees and thank God he lead me away from that life and into this one. So many words to share. So here I sit. I’m a writer. A little baby, barely-got-her-feet-wet writer, but that’s what I am.
I’m doing a chair dance as I sit here this morning because my tiny girl slept all night. This is huge because the two nights before were the hardest we’ve had with her. She’s been so sick and I am over the moon that she was finally able to rest. I’m glad we got to sleep too, but mostly I’m just beside myself that she has turned the corner and is on the mend! Now that is a great way to start a Friday.