Friday, March 20, 2009

My television interview suit

Prepared a bag of clothes for goodwill today and delivered them. Mostly I felt ok about this.... Sometimes I need to keep things for a long time to make sure I am really finished with them. With ADHD I love to start projects but have difficulty understanding when things are finished.

My purple and black suit was from the mid 80s when I was a young mom serving as president of our town's board of health. I wore it to a Massachusetts Department of Public Health hearing on sulfur dioxide additives in food, which was covered by all 3 local affiliate channels - NBC, ABC, and CBS. I knew as I was speaking the exact sound bite that would be the 20 second news segment, and was thrilled that this made all 3 networks.

We tend to romanticize the good old days, and I look back fondly at this moment when I theoretically had it all together. And professionally that is probably a high point, not equaled again until my work in Russia and then again at Firedoglake during the election. But this fuzzy memory glosses over other things going on in my life, everything was not golden.

I closed myself off from people and did not have the friend/colleague network that is such a vital part of my life now. I faced challenges with my intelligent and willful children and my brilliant but emotionally distant husband. It was difficult for me to ask for the help and support that I needed professionally and personally. Slow learner!

So decades later I very reluctantly add this gorgeous suit to the pile of clothes to give to charity, where they will find greater use than filling up closet space here. But this was a hard one. That moment where I spoke at the hearing which was then televised, as both a public health professional and as a person who was affected by sulfite, was truly a high point. A representative from the FDA was there, and shortly after there were federal changes in sulfite regulation. Sometimes you hit it just right. I like to think that project selection is one of my great strengths. My projects don't always make me happy, but at the end of my life I will be able to tell God I did the best I could, truly. And that is not so easy, from whom much is given, much is expected.

In giving away this suit, I honor that moment while making room for what new things are coming in my life.


photo - not me - taken by andrew feinberg


1 comment:

Toby Wollin said...

I have clothes that I keep, pull out and look at, too. One of them is a lovely gown I spend an entire unemployment check on in the 1980s for a friend's wedding. It's a size 10 - first ... and last... time I was ever able to get into that. I've lent it out so many times to other people that it has almost a permanent dry cleaner's tag on it. I have suits such as you describe too - though these days I tend to wear just the skirt..or just the jacket. I try really hard to not cling to stuff so much.