When I Used To Be Someone
Whoa! This column got a huge response. I’ve received more email than I have in a long time. Feel free to comment at the bottom. And please catch my column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Dayton Daily News.
All I really wanted was a manicure. Really, just about a half-hour to myself, a trim of some nasty hangnails and a couple coats of pretty light pink nail polish. “Bubble Bath,” I read on the bottom of the bottle once I got out my reading glasses.
What I wasn’t expecting was a punch in the gut.
“This is Daryn Kagan,” the shop owner said the manicurist doing my nails. “She used to be someone.”
There you have it. The punch in the gut.
I remember thinking, “I know where she’s going with this. I used to be a national news anchor on CNN.” So, in that respect I guess, I did use to be someone, someone who I am not anymore.
I suspect I’m not alone. I think there are a lot of us out there who used to be someone. Someone’s parent, someone’s spouse, some big job that’s no longer ours.
Losing my job a few years back—that was not my choice.
Not continuing to pursue a career where I got paid to talk about doom and gloom every single day—that was a conscious decision. And so, no, I am no longer someone. Well, not the shop owner’s someone, anyway.
I think people like it when you fit into a single neat box. I rarely miss that, unless it’s a moment when people want to label you easily.
“And now she is…?” the shop owner continued, eyebrows arched seeming to say, “help me here.” She might as well have said “And now she is dot dot dot.”
I can connect the dots when somebody cares enough or has the time to really want to know. I’m now somebody’s wife and somebody’s mother. I squeeze in time to be a columnist, run a website and do a TV show called, “Bookmark.” In other words, dot dot dot.
It’s hard not to be someone anymore in the manicure shop. It was hard at the new dentist’s office the other day when I got to “Occupation” on the new patient form. What do you write when you’re not someone?
I knew dentist didn’t care about my dot dot dots. Certainly didn’t leave enough space for anything more than a single word. He just wanted to know if I had dental insurance. I do not. But I did when I was someone. Does that count?
I will say this about all my dots—they fill my days and even more importantly, fill my heart.
A lot of people feel the need to replace their big label with running out and getting another one. Gotta go be someone. I suspect I won’t be doing that, though there could be a few more dots in my future.
No, it’s not easy to explain who I am these days. But I know I’m happier and my life is more interesting than when I was someone.
What about you? Did you used to be someone? I’d love to hear about your dots.