Wearing my robe at 2:10 PM
There I am, typing away, a pang in my gut when the doorbell rings. “Why do I care that the UPS guy just saw me in my robe?” I say to myself. “I don’t know him.” Then I actually consider that he might think that I am just hanging around the house, leisurely eating chocolates and watching TV without a responsibility in the world. It is, after all, after two o’clock.
This wildly crazy behavior is nothing new. My mom told me that I used to love to wear my jammies all the time and I recall sometimes playing the entire day in my Wonder Woman Underoos. Perhaps I was destined for a career that gave me choice. Perhaps this is me saying, “Take that @$%*&!” to all the jobs that required a uniform or spending nearly half my paycheck on clothing I had to wear from the store where I was working.
Rilke said that it is fortunate not to have an artistic profession. That one should have a very grounded profession, and then that allows the liberty of thinking and enjoying your poetry and songs. I get that. And, sometimes I miss having a regular schedule. I just have trouble separating what I love from what I do and the gift it is to have that joy all the time.
Who am I to stop myself from being creative, just because I have not yet showered? If I'm so moved to write as soon as I get out of bed, I dare not stop. The robe is my uniform. And most of the time, it works out fine, except for the unexpected opportunity that may arise now and then. That text message that says, “Just flew into town and only here until tomorrow. Can I take you to lunch in 20? " Or the time Matt Orr asked me to be a part of a beach dining photo shoot for a magazine. It was in an hour. I don't know if I'll ever get over that I missed out on free food, fun friends and being in front of the camera.
I recall that one of the first times I was exonerated was when I was finishing up a client’s website and wanted to Skype with the graphic designer. I couldn't figure out why she was so resistant, even though she was home and we were emailing back-and-forth rapidly. When she finally agreed, there she was in her bathrobe, hair a mess, furry slippers, at 3:12 PM. Oh sweet satisfaction.
Soon I found myself having the occasional conversation with another self-employed friend who would say “still in my nightgown” in response to “Meet for coffee?” Soon I thought of all the times I had not admitted the same but said I had another commitment. I pride myself on my honesty. To make up for it, I write this blog. And, I congratulate those who do not apologize.
I say no to guilt. Guilt is one of the worst, overused cripplers out there. It suppresses creativity, expansion and acceptance. Guilt keeps us stuck in what others say should be. Guilt keeps us doing a job we hate and spending little time with the people we love. Guilt is our father’s voice in our head, the student loans we may still be paying, the sacrifices others made and remind us of every holiday, the “I’m not enough” and “It’s not okay” that we might unconsciously repeat. Guilt can get in the way of the change we are dying to be in the world.
If you think doing what you love can’t change the world, then I challenge you to show me.
This life isn’t for everyone. It requires crafty scheduling, prioritizing and major multitasking without getting distracted by the internet rabbit hole that has been known to kidnap the curious for hours at a time. Yet the ability to be there for something or someone when I want to keeps me believing that I’ve got it made.
I have to keep Robe Day special. When I do get the chance now, I make no excuses, I savor it, and I say, “Thank you sweet robe time.” I couldn’t be the retail editor of a magazine if I didn’t like fashion. I often enjoy choosing what makes sense for each type of meeting, yet doesn’t discount my personal style. But the robe is comfy and easy and nostalgic and slightly bad.
Some days I've written two stories, taken client product photos, checked out and posted all the social media I can stand, sent my mom an “I love you” text with extra emojis and a virtual hug, had a conference call, connected one colleague with another to create a killer project and finished editing a manuscript before the clock says twelve. All. In. My. Robe. And that, for me, is enough.