Getting Your Hands Dirty
Thank you for pushing me, because sometimes I just don’t feel like I can push myself any further. I live and breathe trying to drum up business and ideas and getting business straight and trying to do whatever I can and come home from my job as a server and throw myself on the bed in a pity party because even there I have wasted 4 hours carrying beers making jack squat. I send out inquiry after inquiry and then hear nothing back and just feel like an absolute failure sometimes and want to quit, and sometimes I just want to smack myself and say “YOU are it! YOU are enough!”, but other times, it’s just too much. But, I keep going, because I know that I am struggling for a reason. I am having to work hard for a dollar because I have always been terrible at managing them. This is a life lesson, and I need to work hard to really enjoy and never take the experience for granted when I do get there. But it wears on you sometimes, you know? I keep telling myself that “those who have less do more”, and keep praying that sooner rather than later, it will turn out to be shiny and true.
Dear Has Less,
There was a time before I went to law school when I worked at a BBQ restaurant to save money for my education. Every morning, I’d dress in dark denim jeans, a checkered shirt, and wear a sheriff’s pin with my name emblazoned on it. Ring! Ring! Ring! went the sound of the copper bell on the indoor smoker that the grill master rang every time he opened those smoker doors. The ringing signaled something was going to change, that the restaurant was about to fill with rich, sticky smoke and make your eyes water. Sometimes I’d run into people I went to high school with and, after taking their order, I’d want to melt from humiliation of BBQ crusted fingers and watery eyes. I graduated at the top of my class, earned a full scholarship to college, and there was I slingin’ a full rack of baby back ribs on a Friday night. Would you like slaw or fries with that?
A couple years later, just after quitting law school, I met JD for pizza at a place a few blocks from our apartment. We drove separately from work, tired and exhausted from a day of staring aimlessly at our computers. I worked in Marketing part-time in a storage closet that was converted into an office, complete with a draw-string light bulb overhead. The pay was little, but it offered health insurance and I jumped at the opportunity. I packed my lunches in a brown paper bag because every penny was accounted for and, darn it, I really wanted that new lens as I started my photography business.
After dusting an entire pizza, JD and I walked to my Honda Accord. The same one I’d been driving way before my BBQ slingin’ days. Over the years, the hood had become oxidized and the paint disappeared, so it looked like I was driving a black car with a grey hood. We’d been saving to get the hood painted because I was embarrassed of showing up early to engagement sessions and parking a few blocks away so clients wouldn’t see my car. A dented car I loved, but feared made me look as desperate as I felt.
It was then when JD told me we’d have to wait to get the hood painted. Again. The start-up company where he worked delayed paychecks since a promised contract had yet to arrive. It was going to be a rough two weeks…left-overs, packed lunches, every penny counted. I got in my car and drove home with hot, angry tears streaming down my face. Painting the hood would cost $85 and we didn’t even have that to spare.
But here’s the thing, Has Less: something inside me was brewing. Something I couldn’t muster when I was serving cole slaw or carrying my law books or sitting in a storage closet/office…HUMILITY. For years I carried this idea I was better than slingin’ ribs or driving a two-toned, dented car. But I wasn’t. And you’re not above carrying beers. None of us are above doing what we need to do to get things done in the name of our dreams. It’s about working hard, practicing, serving others, and honing our craft.
To be honest, I don’t know if sooner or later your sacrifices will “turn out to be shiny and true” but what I do know is that the lessons you’re learning now can be applied to whatever life holds for you. For everything life holds for you. Ring! Ring! Ring! Do you hear that, Has Less? That’s the sound of something changing. Your life is about to be filled with sticky smoke and your eyes will water, but I promise nothing feels better than getting your hands dirty from the passion in your heart.
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