It takes a little backbone

IT TAKES A LITTLE BACKBONE by James Jackson

Its funny, while trying to come up with something to write, I realized I had not yet been inspired by anything that’s been going on around the agency. I asked myself, “Why is that?” In the beginning, inspiration was a bottomless well I was constantly drawing from. I unconsciously wrote about what was going on, what I was learning, et cetera. Now that process is more deliberate, more subtle. Recently, my progress hasn’t been tallied by external factors. The changes are internal. For example, I can feel my level of confidence rising every day. But not just on the job. All the hats I don from day to day are being worn by a more confident person.

A couple different things have happened over the past several weeks that made me aware of this subtle difference in attitude.

About a week ago I was lounging in the library working quietly, and not far from me, was a trio of girls gabbing entirely too loudly about what sounded like a freshman-level psych class. I’ve never been one for confrontations but those days are lost. I did something I think my boss would be proud of. Without hesitation, I yanked out my earphones, leaned over, glaring, and told them to quiet down. Luckily, I didn’t completely lose my shit. And in a tone that made me even more annoyed, she replied, “I didn’t even know you were over…” Her voice trailed off as the headphones went back in my ears, and the banging on the keyboard continued. Sometimes, you just want to be in a quiet space, and I wasn’t going to let a few freshmen get in the way of that.

I’m in the business of having a strong opinion and a strong voice, which leads to my next story.

A little more recently, as I was reading a book in the lobby of the business school, a girl (read: goddess) glides in and takes a seat near me. My first thought: “Wow.” With the blond hair and blue eyes, she could have ascended from the sky and I wouldn’t have asked any questions. Not wanting to be too obvious, I played it cool. Then after a few minutes of feeling glances being thrown my way, I initiated conversation. And what happened after that is largely irrelevant. The point here is that I saw something I liked and went for it. The fact she may have been a smidge out of my league is not important to this story, but damn it if I didn’t almost close the deal.

To an outsider, these moments may look like a couple of ordinary occurrences, but to me they’re key milestones, marking my progression. I didn’t realize how much more willing I am now to speak up and let my voice be heard. I’ve spent years crafting my voice for the digital realm, forgetting the voice granted to me can be much more powerful.

I’m elbow-to-elbow with month number four, and I can feel it all starting to sink in. The failures, the lessons, the lessons from failures. It’s all coming together to fuel my evolution. I’m becoming more comfortable with myself, people around me, and even complete strangers of the opposite sex. I feel things are going exactly the way they’re supposed to and I’m loving every minute.

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