One reason

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I never became the successful stewardess I dreamed of being as a child:
Reminding myself of the fundamentals was never enough. I’ll explain.

You know those days (which should only be occasional, if ever) when it all seems pointless? Your head is in the grey and your feet are leaden. Nothing is going like how you’re accustomed to, and it’s starting to get taken personally. Scary airs. Ground on down. Walls and sadness. Clipped wings and madness. Generally it went like this:

  • Step one: Why are you here, Ilene? To travel and earn at the same time. Doesn’t resonate? Okay, then you’re here to save hundreds of lives if you have to. And if you don’t have to, then you’re basically a waitress, my love. Great.
  • Step two: All right, feeling disenchanted and disillusioned and all the rest of it. At least you’re getting closer to your goals. Right? Seen enough of the place you passed through? Maybe not. Earned enough money? Definitely. Met nice people? Next question. Love your colleagues? Maybe if they didn’t judge me on what shade my lips are. Self-pity doesn’t fit in the overheads, though. Sorry.

However, there I would be, in the departure lounge… looking great and feeling miserable. And for what? So I can be a safety mannequin? So I can hurt myself on the microwave? And get bitten by rabid toddlers? Or be the only one on the craft who cares about food allergies? So I can daydream about how I’d warn my past self away from finishing school? So I can re-write myself and forget how to write anything else? I could try and make sense of this, or…

I could flip the table. Not a public show of losing my mind or anything, just inside my skull. But I still remember. The mental souvenir of it all was this thought – Woman. You’re ramming yourself into the ground so you can save the lives of people who treat you like shit. You’re feeding them and indulging their various whims while they’re at it. You honestly think you can convince yourself you love this? You are not well-tailored livestock. You are not a trolley-wench. You are not having this. But you are over 40′ above those assholes when you’re here on the viewing deck. And today, you’re not scared of that.

I’m glad I went home about half-an-hour later. I went home and called my parents. Then I ate a lot. I always eat a lot, but this was something else. Then I slept, although I’m not sure how long for. But I woke up with a graham cracker on my face and a whole lot of books in my bed. My bedroom never felt so nice. My uniform got left at a truck stop (I hope someone with a great imagination found it). My roommates have never been easier to ignore. I never have to be so tightly wound again.

Here’s to genuine smiles and spending less time in waiting rooms.

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