I see you, sisters-in-bling. I see your furrowed, unwaxed brows as you try to conceal the fact that you’re wondering about your futures while at the same time daydreaming about your pasts. I see your three-day-old pajamas/teacher attire/business wear stained with a combination of breast milk, tears, and wine. And I see the countless hours you’ve been spending sitting in front of various screens and cameras connected to a plethora of apps that you still haven’t quite learned how to use properly.
I see you, because I am you.
I see you, because despite your feelings of loneliness, despair, frustration, and worry, your overall glow – made of determination and strength (and a little pinot noir) – is as bright as that three-carat diamond you sold on the last day you worked in a place that wasn’t your bedroom.
I see you because no meme about the lack of toilet paper available in the world will scare you away from looking for it, asking about it, and calling in a staff manager (just to double check!) every time you enter the war zone that is now your local grocery store.
I see you because you are doing your best to make this week’s “Spring Break” at home feel less like home school and more like School of Rock (which includes watching the actual musical, School of Rock).
I see you every time you take the lid off of and smell the 2% milk, because no matter what the date says, you know that a mom’s nose knows best.
I see how it pains you to put on your makeup and your jewelry when you’re asked to take part in a weekly company conference call on Zoom, but I also see how good it makes you feel when you look in the mirror and remember what it was like to be a different you.
And that’s what I want to remind you in this letter, that all of the yous that exist right now, in the day and age of COVID-19, are still… well… you, they’re just other yous.
There’s always been the you who is comfortably polite on the showroom floor, even as an irate customer gives you hell because they can’t get their ring sized in twenty minutes or less (it’s not Domino’s Pizza, bruh… chillax).
Then there’s the you who can walk a Las Vegas trade show in heels for ten straight hours, go immediately out to dinner with clients afterward, then party until four in the morning like you’re twenty-one years old and single (which that particular you is most certainly not).
You know that you who spends an enormous amount of money every year attending black-tie industry events so that you’re connected to the people who can connect you to other people? Yep, she still exists.
And what about the you who has missed countless milestones in your children’s lives because there was a huge trunk event you’d been invited to and you knew you just “had” to attend because if you missed it, you might not be invited again? Yeah, she’s in there, too, though she’s the you you’re least happy with right now.
I see you, mom/mommy/madre/momma/mum. I see every you there is to see: the fashionable you. The confident you. The hellraiser you. The workhorse you. And the empathetic you. I see the you who kisses boo-boos as much as I see the you who kisses ass (but only when necessary), and I know, deep down, that all of those yous are going to come back again, even if right now, they’re on a much needed vacation.
Give yourselves a break. Don’t feel pressured by do-gooder peers, or perfectly coifed influencers, or other moms, or even spouses. If you want to dress up every day, then dammit, do it… no judgement here! You want to wear your ex-husband’s old Chicago Cubs t-shirt with the holes under both sleeves until it smells so badly that even the dog won’t go near you? Rock on with your stinky-ass self. You have an opportunity right now that you’ve never had before, and that’s to be your truest self without anybody looking.
Dance. Cook. Swear. Laugh. Fart. Teach. Cry. And worry. But most importantly, live, and live with truth. Know yourself, know your worth. Know your capabilities. And know your importance to those who matter most.
Work will be around when this is all over, if not at the place you once were, then in a different a place that wants you and your talents. You will survive. I promise you, you will absolutely survive this. We are going to Gloria Gaynor the shit out of this pandemic together, because we are all in this together. Don’t you ever forget that. Don’t ever doubt it.
I see you. I see you. I see you. I see you. I see you. I see you. And I see you, too.
We all see you.
We all are you.
And we’re all with you.