Yesterday, with my nervous hands, I pinned the visitor's tag onto my blouse and pressed the button for the sixth floor. As the elevator traveled to its destination, I said a prayer for my first interview after weeks of job hunting.
I tried to calm down and remember what my boy Reg said about everyone being people, who started out at the exact place I am now. When the doors opened at my stop, I quickly passed my hands through my hair and over my slacks, attempting to smooth out any wrinkles and self-doubt.
My nerves chilled, a bit, as I walked into the office of the publication's human resource director. Her easy-going banter and infectious smile were able to put me at ease, as if I was chatting with an old girlfriend who was glad I came by to visit. I taught her the meaning of diaspora and she shared with me pictures from her first walk against breast cancer, an illness that her close college buddy has battled for five years. But though I was comfortable, I remembered where I was and the position of the woman sitting across from me. I guess I passed the prelimiary round because within fifteen minutes of our meeting, she called a few editors to see if they wanted to meet me.
Our friendly conversation continued in the elevator, through the newsroom, and until we arrived at the office of the executive editor. With a quick introduction she was gone and so was my confidence. As the door closed, I had half the mind to call her back to save me.
There I sat, in his small office with several pictures of dogs and famous faces, as he grilled me on everything from my past experiences, last non-fiction book purchased, and feelings on 'skut work'. Under his critical journalist's eyes I felt like that little girl, who is more accustomed to wearing kicks and jeans, getting caught playing make pretend in her mother's business clothes. I tried my best to keep up with his quick, dry wit and prayed that my demeanor didn't betray the the flip flops that my stomach was doing.
At the end of our interview he offered to see me out. On our trip through the newsroom, I quickly scanned the workers that I hadn't noticed twenty minutes earlier. My eyes were met by faces, belonging to mostly white males, offering quickly disappearing thin-lipped smiles that followed my exit.
And that's when it happened.
At that moment, I ached for the false protection offered by conformity and the days countless Dominican hair salons helped my hair live the lye. Instead, my in transition strands seemed to sense their surroundings and defiantly stood on my head, reveling in all their naptified glory. With each step towards the elevator, the slacks, which were flattering when I left the house, tightened under the strain of my behind that was growing to monstrous proportions. My nose took over my face and my lips began to look like the after picture shown to hopeful patients before their collagen injections.
The executive editor offered a detached indifferent handshake, pressed the elevator's bottom button, promised to call within a week, and sent me on my way. It wasn't until I reached the city's sidewalk, that my body returned to normal and I was proud of the many months spent sticking to my natural headed aspirations. This morning, I immediately sent out my thank you notes and half-heartingly prayed that the position was mine.
A few minutes ago, at the top of my inbox sat an email from the publication's human resource director. Convinced that they were so incredibly unimpressed that they decided not to even wait more than twenty-four hours before giving me the bad news, I read her two sentenced email asking if I got her message and if I could start later this month.
I've been doing a non-stop victory dance that can rival any of Chad Johnson's post-touchdown celebrations.
My two youngest siblings, Shirlgurl and June, have been known to entertain the family and my close friends with hilarious catchy songs, that they write themselves. After hearing the good news, I can't seem to get the Dipset inspired, unabashedly braggadocious chorus penned by my little brother out of my head: Been through the fight (Can you feel me)/ Been through the hype/ Been up on top (Now I'm stuck)/ I can't get down from up.