Chapter 6 - Rattled AF (Part 3/3)
The search continued for another week and the pressure only intensified because the following weekend was Labor Day and we all know the best furniture deals of the year can be found during that week. I wish I didn’t have to work within a budget, but money management has never really been a strength of mine, so I was determined to find exactly what I had no idea what I was looking for and it was going to be just the right price! Also, “just the right price” means dirt cheap, but fancy looking and super comfortable. Sometimes I set absurdly high expectations and then convince myself that if those expectations aren’t met, then it must mean one of two things.
First, it could mean that I just haven’t tried hard enough. Like, somehow, after all this time of searching for the chair and still not finding it, the solution would be to do more of the same and just sort of hope for a different result. I grew up in a small farming community...I’m not a quitter. (Full transparency, I didn’t grow up on a farm, but I have milked a cow and cow milkers don’t quit!)
The second option and the one that’s true more often than not is that my expectations were never realistic and subconsciously set by me to block myself from ever truly reaching my full potential.
“AJ, it’s just a chair. Your book will be amazing no matter where you write it. Stop doubting yourself and just start writing.”
I knew Emile was right, but this struggle was about so much more than the chair. It was about what the chair represented: the end of a long line of excuses that I’d created to buffer myself from the vulnerability that comes with putting my deepest thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears into words that others can use to judge me. That thought legit terrified me, but not writing the book actually terrified me much more.
So, Labor Day Weekend arrived, we drove to some furniture stores, but decided to head to a friend’s pool party for a few hours and enjoy ourselves instead of stewing over this chair of doom. We had a great time, we decompressed and fully removed ourselves from Chair Gate. However, the next day was met with a harsh reality, one neither of us were quite ready to face. On Monday, the final day of Labor Day furniture sales, we went back to arguing about dumb stuff, scoured the internet for chairs like we’d been doing for weeks, drove back to West Elm for the third time and still found nothing. Finally, as the sun set on that final day of deals and discounts, I thought to myself and then repeated out loud to Emile, “Let’s go check out Office Depot.” How I’d never thought to check a store that specializes in office supplies for an OFFICE SUPPLY might seem a little dense to some or all of you, but my mind was laser-focused on specific stores and websites that I had been referred to, so the Depot was nowhere on my radar.
As we walk into the store, my best friend, sometimes therapist and pastor, Therese called me on the phone. She knew immediately that I was stressed because she could hear it in my voice. After I explained to her my obnoxious first-world problem, she laughed and calmed me down, like she has a million times before. Then it happened: As I was ready to throw in the towel, I saw it: The most gorgeous white leather office chair was right there in front of me. I literally gasped and thanked my friend for being the positive energy I’d needed in order to find the chair of my writing virginity dreams. And, the icing on the cake: THE CHAIR WAS ON SALE! I thanked my friend profusely, I kissed my boyfriend, I called my mom (because that’s what I do every time anything ever happens), and then we drove home, where I then had to put the chair together, piece by piece, Ikea style.
After only thirty minutes or so (I’ve gotten really good at putting furniture together), the chair of doom had transformed into the chair of our dreams. The leather was soft, the armrests were perfectly angled and the back was the perfect height for my 6’5” frame. As I stared at the perfect desk chair, a realization came over me like a tsunami. This chair, this perfect desk chair that I’d searched far and wide for, this chair had been there in front of me all along. I’m not speaking metaphorically here, I’d looked up this exact chair no less than fifty times in the past ten days and decided against it, erasing it from my memory each and every time.
When I realized this and then confirmed it by going through the search history on my laptop, I was blown away and almost disgusted with myself. Almost. I had been so focused on all the things that could go wrong if I were to actually find this dream chair and write this book that I was self-sabotaging and literally blind to what was right in front of me all along.
Who can relate?
As I processed this revelation, I was able to show myself some grace and decided that I would dig deeper to find the meaning in this ten-day journey, a meaning that could help me to break through my bad habits and hopefully help you, my friend at home holding this book, to learn something too. The perfect chair existed all along. It was actually right in front of my nose from the moment I decided to start my search, but I simply wasn’t ready to see it. My mind was too busy telling me lies about my own ability to find the perfect chair to sit and write my first book and, more importantly, my heart was not showing gratitude for the process that would bring me to the chair I’m sitting in at this very moment. Without gratitude for the journey, I was lost and, truth be told, I’ve spent most of my life feeling lost, which tells me that I’ve probably spent most of my life not being grateful for all the countless blessings that I’ve received. A simple phone call from a special friend shifted my conscious self so quickly, that I was able to see something that had been right in front of me all along.
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