Don't Hold Back

Don't Hold Back

Several months ago I was sitting in Dallas Fort Worth Airport wearing a $400 suit that I had bought with money I didn’t have. My usual natural face was done up with red lipstick and eye makeup that made my eyes water. My hair was sprayed stiff to my head but the worst part—I was wearing heels that were slightly too big for me.

On my way out of the flight attendant interview I had been called for, I caught a glimpse of a lady in the mirror. That lady was me! I barely recognized this somber looking woman. I was normally hair in a ponytail, sundress, flip flops and maybe some tinted chapstick.

I walked out of the interview how I had walked out of high school: Discouraged. Lost. Uncertain of the future. I had built up the idea of the flight attendant career so much in my head and after waiting three months to get there, it was completely different from what I had expected. But that’s what I do best, imagine and dream things up because, “When you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.” (L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)

Sure, the travel benefits would be awesome, but could they make up for all the time away from home, crazy night hours when I should be sleeping and the wear-and-tear on your mind that comes from a job like this?

The flight attendant interview was just part of my crazy search for what I was meant to be and do in this great big world.

But let’s back up a little.

High school graduation came, and most of my friends were headed off to school, others to full-time jobs. But I didn’t want either of those things. How could I go back to school after dying to be out of it for the last twelve years?

My sisters and I decided to go on a road trip. So we drove from Connecticut to California in a minivan with my sister’s three children. Those were the happiest three months I’ve ever had. We hit national parks, beaches, Portland, the Redwoods, the Santa Monica Pier, San Diego and stopped at Arches National Park on the way home.

After hitting that travel high, I hit a low coming back to Connecticut. Nothing could compare to that road trip, traveling down the road with your favorite people, singing at the top of your lungs and experiencing new things every day. All I wanted was more traveling. There was so much I felt like I was missing; it felt like I was wasting time being home.

Which is how I came to this flight attendant venture. What I realized, though, as I sat in the airport surrounded by strangers while texting my family and sisters, was that the reason I loved traveling so much was because I was traveling with the people I love the most. Maybe I would have had a good time alone, but I doubt it would be as good as it would be with family.

As I was contemplating this at the phone charging station, I sighed and resisted the need to rub my eye makeup off. My sigh of disappointment caught the attention of a lady next to me who proceeded to ask me what was wrong. I told her everything, and she listened and patted my hand as though she had known me for years.

To my surprise, she had a journal out and was openly writing in it—something I did only with my door locked while I was alone. We talked about how much we both loved reading and writing. She told me how she was just now working on her degree.

“Darlin’,” she said, ”What’re you doing here? Don’t wait like I did. Don’t hold back.”

And just like that, I had unlocked what had been hiding deep inside all these years. I was always so private with my writing, afraid to say that I loved to write because then it would be out there to share—my most special thoughts and stories. But going on this journey and realizing everything I wasn’t meant to do has led me to where I belong: with my family and in school, pursuing an English degree. And who knows? Maybe you’ll read one of my bestsellers one day.

So like the stranger in the airport, I implore you too: do not hold back.

Windrose Magazine Issue 2

Windrose Magazine is your guide to navigating life in your twenties through a collection of essays, interviews, and advice that will inspire you to chart your own life course, free of comparison.

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