The black suit with its grey buttons conjure shadows that follow me even when it there is no light outside. It is a reminder of my old life. With that suit, I wore black hose, tuck my tummy in, stood straight, and slipped on two inch pumps. The edges of the jacket didn’t curl up, it lay flat, as if I had been dry-cleaned too. I dressed each part of my body with precision, not wanting to disturb the symphony of the clothes that I created. As I exited the door, I picked up my briefcase, to embark on my professional life in the courtroom.
My black suit never betrayed me. As I stood, my knees didn’t buckle and my hands didn’t shake and with a even tone, I proceeded to engage in a dialogue with the Judge. No pauses existed in my argument, the space filled with preparation and confidence.
Some days I don’t believe four years have passed since that black fabric grazed my veins. Sometimes I miss the smell of mahogany in the courtroom, the pictures of Judge’s portraits in the hallways, and the clang of the metal detector as I walked into chambers.
I step through different corridors now. The blue metal gate greets me as I park my car. My daughter is excited about school. For a second I glare into the window and see my reflection. My hair is rolled tight at the nape of my neck and I feel the weight of this world as the shoelaces of my sneakers unwind. The classroom clamor welcomes me as I corral my daughter to take a step into her homeroom. On the walls, construction paper houses and A-B-C’s line up like a parade.
I wave to my daughter, give her a kiss on the cheek. I take in this moment, knowing that it was right to shed my black suit, but that doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t miss my shadow.
Image by Olibac
Do you find sometimes that you miss a profession/job that you had in the past? Do certain objects elicit such memories? If you decided to give up a career to embrace motherhood, how often do you think of returning to your former “shadow”?
100% absolutely. I still teach, but online, and I miss being with people. 🙂
I know how you feel. Sometimes you look back at that old life and there’s this little pang of loss.
I think in reaching the person we are now, no matter where we are in life, we leave a little of ourselves behind. Some sacrifices are bigger than others. And also more rewarding, as I’m sure you are experiencing now. But I agree, it doesn’t mean you can’t miss the person you once were.
Boy I miss your writing. Glad to hear your words. Shadows…Jung pops to mind and synchronicity.
Great post Rudri! I think about it all the time- but I remind myself that I can work 9 to 5 for the rest of my life if I want, so why do it when I have someone at home that needs my attention NOW.
I still drive down to my old workplace occasionally for meetings about freelance projects. I always feel like an imposter, like I no longer really belong at the place I once felt a part of, almost inseparable from. It makes me sad, until I walk through my front door and realize the place I am now is where I really want to be.
A professional shadow left behind but not fully cast aside. Beautiful writing, as always.
This was a beautifully written post (even more so than usual). I didn’t give up my career, but do I miss the location of it. Working from home is much different (in good and bad ways) than working in an office.
Impeccably rendered. The echo of our former lives. We carry them with us, and sometimes that’s bittersweet.
I never had a true career, they were just jobs. But I find myself looking forward to the days when my kids are all in school and I can get back to myself again.
Great post !!
Beautiful. I don’t have much of a professional life to remember because I decided to start a family so young, but I do miss the classroom.
Lovely essay. Sometimes, I miss my shadow, but never regret casting it aside.
Oh, I so get this. And feel this. I do not have an ounce of regret about walking away, but I do miss it sometimes. The pinstripes. The power. The world. My shadow.
Beautiful stuff here.
Your shadow metaphor works so well, Rudri. Like many people, I’m sure, I feel that I’m casting two shadows – one wears heels and the other, sneakers. I’m never sure whether the scales are shifting daily after 5 p.m., or whether they’re precariously balanced.
Well said, Rudri. You’ve got such great insight.
I’m still leading that life, one of a mother and professional and I can tell you that while I am certain it is the right choice for me I always feel like I have my feet stuck in two worlds. And it’s not always easy. But I’m equally certain that whatever path we choose is sometimes fraught with challenges, and wonder if things could be different. Lately I long to be a SAHM. Deep inside I know it’s probably not right for me, I only hope I won’t regret it when they are older.