Today I will be brilliant. Not once. But all day long.
Today I will not look in the mirror, wink, and say, ‘You got this kid,’ then wash my hands, dry them, leave the bathroom, and forget ever having said this as I walk back to whichever difficult task I had abandoned a few minutes earlier to go to the bathroom and give myself a pep talk.
Today I will walk with my abs taut, as if they were a clenching a one hundred dollar bill that I cannot afford to lose because if I do then I will have to withdraw that much money from savings and go buy new pants.
Today I will not look into my computer screen like a lover’s eyes, intense and meaningful. I will not keep that intense gaze for hours, literally, until my shoulders are hunched, my neck stretched nearly horizontal, my lover long gone thinking I am wacko, and my body cramped like the ball of rubber bands I keep beside my keyboard to remind me to get up and stretch once in a while.
Today I will be brilliant. All damn day long.
Today when someone asks me a question I will not answer. As in will not answer before the question is out of their mouth and I have assumed both that I know what they are going to ask and that I have the answer they need. I will listen. Especially if it is my boss. I will breathe calmly, and then I will answer, brilliantly, if I haven’t fallen asleep.
Today when someone emails me a request, or a response, that is duly witless, and they’re serious, and it takes me to that edge of ire, I will stop. Breathe. And erase the reply I began typing like a woodpecker drilling for ants. I will not reply! At least not yet. I will open a Word document. Pour my smart ass, critical, nsfw, ‘are you kidding?’ sort of response out onto the blank meaningless pages of an unnamed and unsaved document. Take a deep breath, swallow my pride, be level, and go on.
Today I will remember to close the above spittle-ridden unnamed document before I walk away from my desk and go to the bathroom to give myself a pep talk.
Today I will remember to choose ‘don’t save’ after I have closed the above spittle-ridden document and wet burp a bit on the said swallowed pride.
Today I will be brilliant.
Today I will remember sabaco power* and thank Denise Chávez, again, and for the millionth time. And 1) I will put my arms down when I am pontificating brilliantly; and 2) I will not take seriously any other person who is exhibiting sabaco power. Like my boss.
*Sabaco power, coined by Denise Chávez, is when someone is pontificating brilliantly, NOT, and you know they are not because as they pontificate, they fold their hands in front of themselves, then they raise them over their head exhibiting their armpits (sabacos in Spanish) as they lean back into their chair and rest the folded hands on the back of their head. And look at you as if your response is so trite they may have already forgotten what you’re talking about, and they’ve grown a bit weary. But they will be so kind, usually with an exasperated sigh, and a rolling of the eyes, as to explain their own brilliance again and without ever saying it directly, they will tell you exactly how dumb and dull you are.
Today I will take a break in the morning, and at lunch, and in the afternoon, so that I am not as useless as a floppy disk. Remember floppy disks? Where have all the floppy disks gone? The 8”, the 5.25” the 3.5”s? I am much like these plastic wonders by mid-afternoon if I have not eaten or taken a break, all day. I am reduced to floppy curiosity. People wonder where to store me, they don’t want to throw me away quite yet, I may prove useful at a later time, but for now, they’d like to just tuck me away in the back of a drawer and forget about me.
Today I will be more brilliant than technology.
And I will breathe. Often. Regularly, in fact, and deeply on occasion. And I will remind myself that I love oxygen. I will repeat this to myself over and over. “I love oxygen.”
Today I will not repeat ‘I love oxygen’ over and over out loud. I will keep that in my head. But not forget to say it.
Today I will be brilliant.
Today I will get to work early, before anyone else arrives, by at least twenty minutes, and I will make those first twenty minutes matter. I will cherish those important moments of calm, quiet, and I will make them peaceful and organized. I will put on my ‘focus’ playlist. I will not guzzle my decaf. I will eat a light healthy snack. Berries and cashews. I will not turn on the six rows of buzzing fluorescent lights that line the ceiling of my office like rocket ships ready to launch. I will only turn on my small desk lamp with a non environmental or sustainable, soft, old-fashioned, golden morning glow. I will make the to-do list for the day, carefully prioritizing each task, noting its objective, and how it relates to the overall importance of my position and the significant work we do, and beside each task I will note the deadline for accomplishing it.
Then, as I proceed through the day, I will tick off each item dutifully as I achieve it and the intended objective and right on schedule. I will then take a brief break which will include a quick walk outside, another healthy snack, a few deep calming breaths.
Then I will proceed onto the next task, ready, clear, and focused. I will progress this way throughout the day. Avoiding all interruptions successfully, and I will be brilliant.
I simply will not do things like check my Facebook page, every few minues, or my text messages, my personal emails, recent headlines, or change my Spotify playlist that has now played the same songs over three times. I will not be interrupted by looking for a, er, more interesting snack in all seven of my drawers; by getting up regularly to hurry to the bathroom to give myself another pep talk; by googling myself just to make sure I am not forgotten, by getting up to again stretch out the cramped and withering joints of crossed legs, forgetting again, ‘don’t cross your legs;’ by getting up to make a cup of tea, getting up to grab the cup of hot water I left in the break room, getting up to talk to everyone on the way to the break room where I forgot the tea bag, and inquiring about anyone’s day, their sick child, their new car, the headlines I just read, the FB message I just received (‘did you see that cute one with the kitten in the big food bowl?’), the weather, the carpet, or ‘did we really eat all those cookies?’
I will be brilliant today.
I will make my daughters proud. “Oh, that mom of ours,” they will say. She is so brilliant. She works so hard. Never distracted or procrastinating. Meeting deadlines like friends on the street, with a big smile, a hug, welcoming words. “Hello, deadline,” she says to them. “It is so good to see you. What can I do for you today?” Our brilliant mom.
I will be brilliant for my daughters.
I will be so brilliant even my hair will be brilliant, coiffed like a movie star’s. I will walk into the office looking exactly like someone who cares deeply about how their hair looks. A flawless cut. Invisible product. No clumps of goop hesitating at my hairline looking like little worms wiggling on a fishing line. No. When someone steps into the office and says, “Anne Marie?”
I will spin around like a woman in a shampoo commercial, my hair swinging in slow motion like a field of daisies swaying in the breeze. “Yes?” I will say wondering how my brilliance can help them. “What’s up?”
“I think you left this in the break room,” they will say shyly, a bit timid in the presence of such beautiful hair. And they will hand me the leaking tube of hair gel, peeling it from the palm of their hand, where the adhesive has left a raw spot.
Today I will be brilliant.
I will wear an outfit that makes a statement. An “I do” statement, an “I can” statement, an “I already did and I did it on time!” statement. Something without holes or stains to be discovered as I walk into the board meeting late and too late to run back to my office for my sweater to throw on in an effort to hide the unraveling sleeve of the shirt I am wearing off the rack at Goodwill. I will wear something brand new, and I will remember to cut off the tag. Before I leave the house. Not while I am in the board meeting, whispering to the board member next to me, “Do you have scissors, a nail clipper?”
Today I will be brilliant. Just watch. I will.
it’s a tickle, a boost
‘oh there you are’
on a day
when you can’t quite find
in the missed alarm
in the empty coffee tin
not there or not,
not in the spilled juice
that you follow
to the concrete
where the purple puddle
runs quickly toward you
and your linen pants, ecru
it felt like spring
so you wore them
despite the dip
in late March temperatures
and you tripped
on the walk
and you can’t find
yourself there, down there,
watching juice spread like
new rain on dry dirt
into your white linen
pants, you could
not find yourself
in the vent either
blowing cold air
on your wet pants
new white pants
who turned on
the air conditioning
chilled and embarrassed
where are you? not there
but you’re on Google
thank God for Google
Good God Google
there you are.