Who Is In Your Corner?

Forecast is calling for rain. I refuse to believe it, this is the West Coast!  My goal has been to find a cool eatery with outdoor seating on the water that’s also dog friendly.  I promised the kids they could be café dogs at least once while in Florida. They would love lounging on a deck, getting a good whiff of that sea salt water and watch the waves in style.  That, and splurge on some shrimp tails.

And then I realize that right off the left side of my favorite bridge, Courtney Campbell Causeway, is the perfect establishment, Whiskey Joes!  The sun is out, it is NOT going to rain, so away we go for an afternoon on the deck.

The servers at Whiskey Joes are awesome!  Nick greeted us at the main door, then escorted us to the deck and helped to pick out the perfect spot so the kids could look out at the water, or down on the beach.  Our waiter and bartender, Jared, brings unlimited water for them, and even a cup of ice for Buddy to chew.  What a wonderfully relaxing afternoon, watching the birds, the boats, and the boys on the beach.  The food at Whiskey Joes is just as wonderful as the atmosphere.  And yes I did get a huge serving of peel and eat shrimp, so the kids could have a special treat—the tails.  My “adult lemonades” are the perfect thirst quencher.  The lunch crowd comes and goes, giving us plenty of people watching excitement. But now it’s just us again.  Life is good.

Then a young woman comes out on the deck and heads directly to the bar.  She reminds me of a renaissance woman, or a gypsy.  Her dark blonde hair is windblown; her long dark skirt flows like midnight, her actions are slow and deliberate. Her sunglasses shield us all from the truth behind her flushed cheeks.  She orders a drink from Jared – it looks like a Margarita. She avoids eye contact with him.  Head down, she is focused on the wood grain bar top, slowly turning the drink glass around and around with her middle fingers.  She pulls out a notebook.  Writes a few minutes.  She stands up and slowly leaves the deck.  Within 15 minutes she returns.  Back to the wood grain bar top. Slowly turning the glass with her fingers.  I don’t know why, but I am beyond curious about her.  I study her.  OMG she is crying behind those sunglasses.

As I just can’t seem to keep my nose to myself, I walk over to her.

“Hi.  Um, I noticed you sitting here, and well, if you’re not waiting for someone I sure could use some company if you’d like to come sit with me and my family.”

She looks up from the depths of the wood grain bar top. She sniffs once.

“Ok.  Thanks”.

How many of us have lived the perfect life?  How many of us have never been challenged, tested, derailed or hindered on our life path?  How many of us have always gotten everything we ever desired, without effort?  Without trying?  And when roadblocks rise up to meet us—do we always have the answers?  Where do you turn for a little help?  Who’s in your corner?

“So, how are you today?  Are you ok?” I prod a little.  She remains hidden behind her dark glasses, and nods, but it is clear she is flushed from crying.  Not wanting to embarrass her I introduce her to the dogs.  Buddy immediately lays his head on her lap and sighs.  She gingerly reaches to scratch his neck.  Dogs are such comfort.  He leans on her, loving the attention. 

“I don’t know what I’m going to do.” she starts, half sobbing.

“Well, I’m a good listener.”

No one is safe from being human.  No one.  Sure, some people sneak through life without getting caught, but the reality is, we are all human.  The burden can become too great for anyone.  I believe that people who are not masters of denial sometimes have an easier go of it.  Allowing oneself to totally feel the pain that comes with the rough patches helps to remember why you’ll never let yourself get there again.  It humbles, and in its own way makes you stronger.  I believe this is happening with her, she just doesn’t know it yet.

Shay, early 30s, is a Psych major, and lost her job as a counselor due to cut backs.  She has a small child, a four year old boy, and no assistance with him. They were forced to move back home with her parents as she cannot afford anything else now.  Sometimes, going home to the parents is a double edge sword.  In her case, it seems to be a very sharp cut.  She has been on many interviews, willing to take virtually any type of work, and has been turned down over, and over and over and over and over.  Today she was turned down once again.  She is tired, broken and afraid for her future.  She doesn’t understand how she can not be qualified for anything, with her degree and skill set.  She cannot even pay for her drink, her credit card was declined.  The last thing she wants to do is go home and be lectured by her parents. She has health issues, compounding with the stress of her situation. Feeling vulnerable, inadequate, unable to measure up to everyone’s expectations, she is convinced she is a failure.  Thoughts of just running away—just pack up and go–but where to?  Hopeless. Exhausted.  Numb.  There’s no one in her corner.

“My boy deserves better” she weeps.

Her story is all too familiar.  Even if she has lost sight of her strengths, I can see them.  She is organized, intelligent, articulate, and determined.  She is raising her child alone.  She is reaching out for help at home.  Swallowing that pride is not so easy.  We all get knocked down from time to time.  So far, she has gotten back up.  She is a survivor.  Carrying the weight of the world for an extended time can make anyone lose sight of creative problem solving. 

“Think outside the box, Shay.  Get creative with your skill set.  The possibilities are endless if you open yourself up to them. What would you tell a patient coming to you?”

Just from our brief conversation, it is clear that, sales, employee relations and management are just some of the areas she could shift her career track to.  Change up the resume to speak to those employers.  Connect with friends and ask for behind the scenes openings leads instead of relying on posted jobs.  Practice talking about why you are the right fit for that job. Just get a foot in the door if it’s the only way.  Just find something even part time while you look for the full time job. Act as if the world is yours. Chin up.

“That’s good advice, I never thought of things like that.” She replies.   We brainstorm on some companies and potential career opportunities.  She is writing notes down and has perked up.  Now I motion for Jared to come over.  We talk about waitress jobs.  She’s going to apply.  Drink is on the house. She has caught her second wind, and is ready to tackle what life throws to her once more.  We hug, and she leaves to go pick up her son. 

Once again, I’m alone on the deck with the kids.  Suddenly, without warning, it starts pouring out.  Me and the kids dash to get under the deck roof, and wait out the shower.

Life is good.

 People come in and out of our lives all the time.  Sometimes we don’t know what the reason is, but chances are, it’s to do or receive something positive.  You never know when someone will be in your corner.

To make a difference is to live life fully. 

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