Most of you know I gave a TEDx talk on April 30. I hope you’ll watch it (above)!
What you may not know is what the talk meant to me.
I left my career to work on my marriage (and in turn, myself) and saw that partnership through to it’s natural end after almost 26 years. In some ways, it’s been almost like a fairy tale: Waking up from a long, long slumber, Sleeping Beauty has arisen to find her old Kingdom (the magazine industry) has essentially vanished.
I totally get it.
A favorite story of mine to tell is of one of my last corporate meetings in 2006. In prepping for our annual budget meeting with the President, I came to the men who work directly with her with a big idea. (Whenever an Editor wanted to pitch something big at a budget meeting, we needed to get the President’s Men, so to speak, to sign off on it before we pitched it.) My idea: Let’s take me and my entire team and put us on seventeen.com. We’d learned from our magazine partners in the UK that you can create a perfectly good magazine with just 5 or 6 junior to mid-level people. Let’s reverse the paradigm! We can be so much bigger than a US based teen magazine if the top talent were on the digital platform. The corporate folks looked at me like I had lost my mind. Today, of course, most magazines have resorted to content farming and innovation is happening Somewhere Else. Where? Little pips and pops all over the place online but the ruling days of those big, glossy monthly magazines, are over.
So where does that leave me? A Queen with no kingdom.
On one hand, I’m not bending over backward trying to figure it out because I’m going through a divorce and I’m focused on being present for my children…and also processing all my own stuff that’s coming up. “Old” Atoosa would have plowed through such an intense and painful personal untangling fueled by burning ambition. My newer self moves much slower. I’m not taking myself out of the experience, but rather sinking in, knowing that these last moments of my marriage as difficult as they are, are cooking me in some ways, changing me in preparation for what lies ahead.
It’s like I’m in a hallway that takes me from one room of my life to another. But I have to live in the hallway. I have to sit in the hallway. I have to sleep in the hallway. I have to eat in the hallway. I’m not just passing through this hallway.
But…I can’t lie.
The less meditative side of me just wants to get to the other fucking room already, right? Who wouldn’t? Being in a hallway is so unnerving. What’s next, I keep wondering. What’s next??
When the nice people from TEDx Asbury Park called me in the spring, I thought THIS is what’s next! This talk will usher me out of the hallway. Help me reenter this world where my platform, the one I knew so well…that I was so good at, had disappeared. Where do I find my place in a world with no magazines? I mean, sure, technically there are magazines. But there aren’t any magazines as they used to exist. It’s like a lion without a roar. I’m all about the roar. I thought THIS would be the place for my roar.
But then…have you heard the TEDx talk?
Well, you can’t hear my roar. Literally. You can’t hear my roar because of of a fucking microphone malfunction. 🤪
Have you ever had that experience? Big expectation…that ends in a bit of a pfffft? 💨
And so, I sit back on my meditation cushion in the hallway. I hope and pray that the message of the talk reaches the people who need to hear it….and one of those people is me.
Note to Atoosa:
1-The Pursuit of Being Special is Toxic
2-Belonging is Our Birthright
I will keep meditating on those ideas knowing that my yearning to get into the next room of my life likely relates to my desire to be special again. And that, I have value even if my words are not heard by another soul.
Gosh, I love how life teaches us and stretches us. It’s never as we expect and always what we need. And sometimes…it just kinda sucks. 🤷🏻♀️
Thanks for watching my talk and sharing it if you feel called. I’ll be here in my hallway, continuing to cook.
Soundtrack of my 🤍🖤❤️: