I was sitting on the couch with my husband a few nights ago and I looked over at him and asked him: Did you have any idea, when we started dating, that I’d be this successful?
My hand quickly shot over my mouth.
For so many reasons.
1) Dare I say out loud that I was successful? Let alone “so” successful?
2) Was I successful? I had never said that out loud. Or really, thought it, for that matter.
3) How can I be successful if I don’t have a lot of money?
I knew a blog post was being born.
He looked over at me and said: I knew you had potential.
He was being facetious of course.
And yet, he wasn’t.
I was waitressing at The Newsroom Cafe, and had been for 13 years and was pretty miserable when we started dating. Truly not the Jen you know today. She was there somewhere, buried in the layer of black Newsroom Cafe uniform and old restaurant smells, but it was deep under the dust old stories.
Here’s our story in a nutshell because, well, it isn’t the point. So I will abbreviate it.
We met 15 years ago. My first love had just dumped me and I had a nervous breakdown, or close to it, while I was living in New York City. I relived my father dying like a big fat cliche and felt abandoned and scared and so I moved to California where my mom and sister had just moved. (By the way, we had moved there once before after my dad died when I was in the 4th grade and then moved back to NJ again when I was in 8th grade. In that time, I made friends for life, starting acting and was even on Punky Brewster.) Beside the point. Moving back to NJ was a cruel joke and 8th grade was borderline suicidal for me. Not a joke.
I got over the move and fell in love and then cutting to the New York years: he dumps me. I move back to California (mom and sis had moved back the year before for reasons I still do not know and I followed suit.) We were like the crazy Jewish traveling gypsy women who only traveled between LA and South Jersey.
My mom had this studio on Robertson Blvd in Los Angeles which she rented out to actors and acting teachers and movie makers and other Hollywood types I had never met when I was 21. She called me and said she had a writer she had met and wanted me to meet him and that, oh yea, she was dating Neil Diamond.
Yes, Neil fu*king Diamond.
I still have the Harley Davidson leather jacket he gave me for Hannukah that year.
We met at Newsroom Cafe on Robertson near her studio. (Yes, the Newsroom I would go on to work at for 13 years.) We met and I looked 40 because I was so thin and anorexic and pale, and Robert, the writer my mom wanted me to meet looked: nice.
He was nice. Which, for me, at 21, meant one thing: boring.
I started working at Newsroom. We hung out a few times although I don’t remember what we did.
He sent me roses.
I didn’t know they were from him because I thought him far too shy and too nice to do such a bold thing so I was stumped as to who “the Robert” was who sent me roses to work.
He called and asked if I got said flowers.
Anyway, yes I did get flowers and I just want to be friends, I said like the 21 year old I was. (Did I really say that? Yes. Yes, I did.)
For brevity sake I will cut to years later. About ten years.
I am still working at Newsroom.
He comes in.
I recognize him right away. (I have a damn near photographic memory. People would come in and eat in 1999 and in 2005 I’d wait on them again and ask if they wanted the chicken pot pie, again?)
He looks cute, I remember thinking as I stood at the host stand reading aVanity Fair magazine. ( It’s called the Newsroom for reason apparently). I’ll go over.
He said he remembers me but cannot remember my name.
I tell him he is lying. ( I still think he was. He still denies. Although now, being married I see he has a horrible memory and he probably was NOT lying.)
Long story short, we went out for dinner and after dinner, sitting in his car, I knew I was going to marry him.
I did marry him.
He tells me now that he waited for me all those years.
So yes, he saw potential.
But all those years I was stuck and depressed and we would have never made it. I had to go through what I went through and meet him again to fully blossom.
So here we are on our couch. In our apartment. Where we live. I have my hand over my mouth in shock because I actually said out loud that I am successful.
We are taught to not say that. Or that we are beautiful.
Aren’t we taught that? Even subconsciously?
What does success even mean?
I no longer wait tables.
I have only been teaching yoga and doing what I do, whatever that is, for 3 years. Barely 3 years.
And here I am.
Here I am.
You are reading my blog.
Am I successful?
Who or what measures success?
Does success mean money?
(I happen to think not.)
Are we supposed to acknowledge our own success?
You see, my husband always believed in me. He did! From the moment he met me, when I was 21 and anorexic and lost and scared to now. He had an unwavering faith in me when I had no faith in myself. It took years to come back to him because I was not ready.
I am ready now.
I am ready for success.
And let me explain what I mean when I say success.
I mean love.
I am ready for love.