I realize that it’s probably a little too meta for me to introduce my own post, so I just want to take this space to thank you all for an amazing year. As you’ll read below, 2012 was incredibly rewarding for me, even if it was super exhausting, and I owe a ton of that to the opportunities provided here at APW. Heck, it’s a still little surreal that I’m even in a position to be writing this intro right now. (Seriously, my sweatpants are riddled with holes, I’m wearing a knit hat inside because our heater is broken, and I still haven’t moved my breakfast plate to the sink today. But here I am. In charge. Terrifying and awesome.) We’ll be back for a shortened week next week, but since this is my last bit of personal writing for the year, please let me raise my coffee mug to all of you (plus Meg in spirit) in a cheers of gratitude. I’ll see you all in a few weeks, perhaps a bit more rested, hopefully with nicer sweats.
—Maddie for Maternity Leave
It was almost one year ago today that I pulled my hatchback into the driveway of my new home in California (affectionately referred to as The Pony Farm) for the first time. When I moved here I had barely an idea of where we were living, I had a business that needed to be rebuilt on a new coast, a part-time job with APW, and a few friends that I’d made, ahem, on the internet. For the first time in a long time, life was open and undetermined and new.
And the best part was that this was going to be the year that I was finally free from my cubicle. I would be liberated from bureaucracy and rules and people who told me no. Granted, it was also a little bit scary. All that freedom mostly came with the realization that I didn’t have much on my plate. I hadn’t booked any California weddings yet and working for APW was something that took up just a small part of my time. I tingled with the same nervous excitement and anticipation I felt those first few weeks after graduating college, except this time my fate wasn’t in the hands of grumpy entertainment industry executives.
The kind of freedom I experienced in those first few months was a little like being a kid at a buffet. I didn’t have to make a choice about what I wanted to do next, because I had endless possibilities right in front of me! So like any gluttonous young’n, I decide that I was going to try to have it all. Yes, I really ought to know better by now. But to be honest, it was really exciting. The first few things I poured my heart into (setting up Hart & Sol West and helping Meg get her book tour sponsored by Amtrak) paid off in ways that I had never even dared to imagine. (I got to ride a midnight train to Georgia! I was going to travel for photography! Life goals accomplished!) And it wasn’t long before I wanted more. So each time a project wrapped or a wedding was booked (or frankly, most of the time before the ink was even dry on a current project) I was there, looking for my next opportunity.
The problem was, once I started I Just. Never. Stopped.
Maybe it’s because I graduated into the recession, or because I’ve always had to bust ass to get ahead professionally, but I became kind of addicted to hearing the word yes. This year was the first time in my professional life that I didn’t feel like I was being held back by the man, or by gender politics, or by bullshit office policies, and dammit, I wasn’t about to let that go. (It reminds me a bit of hoarding, but with opportunities. I was afraid if I didn’t take everything that came my way, I’d suddenly be without any opportunities. Which I think might be characteristic of those of us who have tried to find jobs in the recession.) Continue reading Reclaiming Wife: The Year of Yes