Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

Recently, I realized I’ve been kind of lax on publicly updating the details of my life. (Mostly because who cares, right?) I mean, I remembered to put my new workplace on Facebook and LinkedIn, but not so much clean up the other details. Some “About” sections said that I still worked at/lived in other places. There were several inconsistencies across platforms.

That’s kind of a joke considering that my one strength is being a total jerk when it comes to editing stuff. I bleed metaphorical red ink all over everything I’m asked to edit. It’s the one aspect of my world I’m comfortable being hated in, because it’s more important to me that the document/website/blog/post is perfect than it is for me to be a beloved figure in the workplace.

But I digress.

Long story already too long, I went ahead and made all of my professional profiles/sections consistent so as to give the illusion that I had my shit together. And then I read it all and realized that I sound way more professional than I am.

And then THAT made me think about a world in which we were required to send in two resumes. The first would be the usual human-highlight-film compilation (I graduated summa cum laude/won this prestigious award/volunteer at this place/mentor these people/am loved by all). But the SECOND is…who you REALLY are.

A highlight reel of the mundane actuality of you.

I thought of this because, as I was reading my freshly-polished profiles, I was thinking how the tips of my fingers kind of hurt because when I got lost looking for a customer’s house today, I had bitten off several of my nails. I do that, see. Not nearly as often as I used to, and it’s a habit largely reserved for assorted playoff seasons, but yeah. It’s a thing.

This morning, I got lost in the mirror staring in horror at myself from the neck up. How is it that, as the hair on my head and the skin on my neck are getting thinner, my face skin is getting thicker? It’s like I’m gaining weight now in my face, upper arms, and inner thighs. But it’s not so much that my FACE is getting fat.

Just my face skin.

The second resume would also include hobbies, a section that for me would consist of a single entry: thinking about food.

I think about food about 90% of every single day. It would be more, but the rest of my time is taken up with thoughts of my face skin.

And can you imagine if we also had two sets of interviews? One professional and uptight, as interviews often are…and one totally, horrifyingly real.

“Tell me about yourself.”

“Oh, man. How much time we got? HA! Well, I mean, I’m hungry and pretty tired. All the time. I work out to supplement my food addiction, and spend most of my workout energy actively noticing how everyone else is way more into it than I am. I managed to find someone to marry me, and I have two stepchildren that I alternate spoiling and hanging out with because they’re great and hiding from because they have a whole, whole lot more pep in their step than I do. I don’t smoke. I do enjoy smoked meat probably more than anyone ever in the world, though. And donuts. Do you have any donuts? No? Probably for the best. Oh! I daydream for what’s probably a lot of time every day, though I don’t know for sure because I’m, like, completely not time-place oriented when I do that. Are we done, by the way?”

And that leads me to my real point…think of all the time we waste being completely, authentically NOT ourselves. Think of the masks we wear to impress others wearing the same masks. Think of the excruciating small talk about weather we can all plainly see out the window, about news that’s not really news, about ways we try to contort ourselves into being anything but who we really are.

It’s exhausting.

And that’s why we love our friends, our families, our tribe. They know every ugly fiber of us. We may fight them, push them away, pretend to be better or different around them to show off…but at the end of the day, they’re the ones we can call and say, “So I blew that interview today because I totally spaced out” and feel RELIEVED to drop the weight of pretense and expectation.

So the next time you catch yourself staring at yourself sideways in the mirror, puffing out your gut, or realize that you have an entire stalk of hair protruding from your nostril/ear/chin, or blow the presentation you didn’t fully prepare for because it was boring, rip that damn mask off and call your person.

Tell them you love them.

And rejoice that you have someone who loves the second-resume you.

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