The last couple of years have been really emotional for me. At times, charged and full of joy and happiness. Then quickly replaced by emptiness and the feeling of being so alone. Unloved. Disregarded. I swung like a pendulum for a little over a year while I finally came to some profound realizations about myself, and with that comes this story. The one about the watch. (Yes, it’s kind of a love story, so if you’re into that kind of thing, hold on. We’ll get there.)
The middle of last summer, I was headed to Greenville, South Carolina. With a man. A man I loved so intensely, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for him. With him. That fire burned pretty hot. I thought the feeling was mutual, and at the time – it was as much as it could have been, I suppose.
During our layover in Atlanta, we came upon a Brighton store. Now, I’m a big fan of Brighton, but I don’t have ANYthing that carries a Brighton label. I just sigh and think, some day. Some day I’ll have something from this store. We stop in (after I explain my infatuation with all things Brighton) and I found a watch that I wanted to get. I deliberated for several minutes about buying it for myself – so frivolous! A hundred bucks! Ouch! I thought – he knows I like it, maybe he’ll buy it for me. I shouldn’t buy it for myself. I should stop doing the things for myself and LET someone do the things for me.
See, I have never had a relationship where the man actually picked up on the cues and did the things. Okay – sometimes. But for the most part, if I wanted a thing, or wanted to do a thing, I just did it. I got tired of waiting for the thing. Waiting for someone to LISTEN and WANT to do the thing.
So, I thought, I would give him the chance to do just that.
We left. Without the watch.
“Why didn’t you get it?” He asked later. “Well, I was hoping you’d get it for me. It would have meant so much more.” He thought about it, he said, but just didn’t. (That should have been my first clue, right? But no. I digress.)
On the way home from our trip, we stopped in again. I decided I would just go ahead and buy it for myself. But it was gone. Sold. No more in stock. (insert big sad puppy dog eyes here.)
A month or so later, we went back. Stopped in again to see if they had it back in stock. No luck. Not on the way down, not on the way back.
That watch was gone. I missed my opportunity.
Over the last year, I’ve looked for it online, and through whatever circumstances, I either found it and couldn’t afford it at the time, or couldn’t find it at all. There was always something – was this the one? I can’t quite remember… maybe not. Hm. I don’t feel the same about it anymore. I’m not so ga-ga over that one – was that it? Ohhhh this other one is cute but, hm, I don’t think that’s it.
(This may be a post that only girls will really understand.)
Fast forward to now.
6 months have gone by since I’ve even talked to that guy. Business is good, life is great – and I’m headed out of town to shoot a destination engagement session in Oklahoma City.
There was a bunch of serendipity going on that caused my outbound flight to be redirected to Detroit instead of Atlanta, and that’s another story for another day – but the events of the weekend, the strength I found, the independent girl in me surfaced and I departed for home feeling STRONG. Fulfilled. Happy. After a year or more of wavering – I felt solid. Solid in who I am. Solid about what I do. Solid about not putting up with ANY less than what I feel I want – need – deserve.
And I had a long layover in Atlanta.
You know where I’m going when I land, right?
I landed in Concourse A. I couldn’t even remember if I was in the right Concourse. I thought it may have been in C, but whatever. I had plenty of time to figure it out. I start walking. 70lbs worth of camera gear and carry-on bag – I was a girl on a mission. Brighton is in Concourse A, in case you were wondering. I walked straight into that store and smiled at the girls working.
“Can I see your watches, please?”
One of the girls takes me over to the rack where they hang. I look at them. It’s not there. The one I wanted must not be part of the collection anymore. Bummed, I pull three other watches off and drape them over my arm. The gal asks “which one do you like?” I waver. I ask her to choose for me. She likes a different one than the one I was most drawn to of the three.
I choose one of the three that I like best, but really, THE ONE. It’s not there. Kinda made my heart sad. Still, I thought, I can do this now. I couldn’t do it before – so I’m doing this! I’m in!! ALL IN! And I pay for the watch, she puts it on my wrist, and I leave.
I round the corner, go down the escalator, get to the bottom and I’ve got a little grin. I did it! I got the watch! I look down at it, and my brow furrows.
The second hand isn’t moving.
Crap. I have to do this now. I have to go back upstairs. I have to figure out HOW to get back upstairs, first. I have no idea. I wander down the hall and see some flight attendants boarding an elevator. I jump on with them and go back up.
I enter the store again, the gal who helped me isn’t there – so I tell the other gal I just bought this watch – and the battery is dead. “Do you have another with a working battery?”
She goes over to the rack. No. There isn’t another one there.
She opens the stock drawer where all the watches are kept. Rifling through all the different styles, she can’t find it. There isn’t another one.
She holds up a different style to me and says “do you want to choose a different one?”
I look at the watch she’s holding and tears well up in my eyes.
WHAT?! THAT. That is the watch. THAT IS THE WATCH I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR. There it is!! But why wasn’t it on the rack?! I asked her – she didn’t know – but there it is. Tucked away in a drawer, waiting for me to come back and get rid of the WRONG watch so I could have the RIGHT one.
I settled. I settled for the wrong watch and was okay with that. I should never have been okay with that. I should have waited. But I just so desperately wanted a Brighton watch – the style became less important to me and it became more about the name. It didn’t work. The wrong watch didn’t. work. I had to find my way BACK upstairs to try to fix it and wound up with EXACTLY the one I knew I wanted all along.
As I stood and traded out the wrong watch for the right one, I knew what I needed to learn. I think everyone in that airport saw me grinning ear to ear after that lesson. The smile that swept over my face as I left Brighton was something else. That was the most empowering feeling – and the back story made it even more so.
Now, I can look down at my wrist and always be reminded of that lesson. The wrong one isn’t going to work. But the right one – even though you feel ready to give up the search and settle – the right one is just tucked away in a drawer waiting for you to return the wrong one.
You want to see that watch now, don’t you?