I am sitting here with my toes in the sand at a beachside cafe chiseled into the landscape of Manhattan beach. I feel like I just sold my soul for a Caesar salad, but every penny spent was worth it for this view. I love California. Every single time that I am here I think, “man I could so get used to this. Everything is so golden and easy. People are just skating away alongside the ocean like the work week doesn’t even exist. I never expected to be here. As a kid I would lay in bed at night listening to airplanes. We lived so close to the airport that I could hear them taking off over the confines of my little white room. The sound became a comfort, but even with my imagination it never occurred to me that some day airplanes would play such a huge part in my life.
In high school I was debilitated with a shyness that took over my life. When teachers used those dreaded pop-sickle sticks.. the ones that were meant to equalize participation so that every student got called – I used to pray in my seat that they wouldn’t call my name. Presentations were something out of nightmare for me. I remember one in particular: We had to write a song that pioneers would sing during westward expansion and then sing it as a group (thank God for that). I just remember sitting in a semi-circle on the floor with my group, the rest of the class and their beady little eyes staring at us, wishing that I could just melt into the carpet. The fear ended up getting so bad that I couldn’t order my own food at a restaurant. I would end up “splitting” with my Mom so that I didn’t have to talk to the server. I sat frozen in a world that demands socialization.
My junior year of high school my cousins, who were working at Red Robin at the time, went out on a limb and convinced their boss to hire me – sight unseen. They called me one day and said ,”get in here! Our boss wants to see you”. That was the longest five minute drive in my life. He did hire me on the spot. He handed me a uniform and told me to report on Friday at 2pm for hostess training. Now who hires a practically mute hostess I don’t know, but that job was the start of a long road that brought me to where I am today.
So here I am sitting on this incredible beach, almost a new person. I talk to people practically all day everyday, and nobody could ever believe that I once was so backwards that it would petrify me to order a chicken taco. It just makes me thankful for the journey, and thankful for the fact that people are SO adaptable, and even if you are going through something that seems concrete – IT CAN CHANGE. You just have to find that first baby step. And sometimes that is the hardest part. So I am going to just leave you with that and enjoy this ridiculously expensive Caesar salad – which I ordered myself. Gosh you think life could have socialized me to order a burger or something…