Anne Petersen and I worked together. She and I were not on the same shift. We weren’t very close, but I always thought she was good at her job (a producer) and she was very sweet and easy going. When I was let go suddenly, I didn’t have much to say on my social media sites. A few days later, I tweeted something. Anne was the first person to private message me. It’s like she was waiting. She was concerned. She made me feel cared about. I will always remember and appreciate that.
Anne wanted to write a blog. Here’s her story.
When Dayna reached out to friends and colleagues to guest write on her blog, I felt a calling to participate. Not only because I keep my own blog (www.graceredefined.com), but also because I’m my most authentic self when I am pounding on a keyboard and letting my thoughts unfold without edit.
We exchanged a few ideas and what you’re about to read is what emerged from that.
I call it “Bookends.”
“I’m just a reflection of my former self now,” I felt as my heart beat against my skin.
I was sitting alone at Marche Bacchus after getting a massage. I had with me a book, as I intended to stay for hours, and I took a few pictures, and texted a few people. Mostly though, I felt this surge of individuality. It was an entirely selfish moment and not about any particular person or thing.
Although, I knew then I wouldn’t have had a clue about Marche if it weren’t for my dearest friend Calvert’s bridal shower just over a year earlier (nor did I realize at either moment how much of a godsend she would be). I also knew that I wouldn’t have been as relaxed if my anchor and friend, Paula Francis, hadn’t told me about the massage spot that I had just visited.
I selfishly didn’t care and picked up my book, ordered a second glass of wine, and thought, again, “I am just a reflection of my former self now.”
It was, at the time, the best day.
I arrived in Las Vegas three years ago this month. When I first decided to move here, it was with a completely different vision than the one that would unfold in front of me within even the first year. By the end of 2010, I didn’t know anyone, really. I wanted to leave, and absent one invite to a holiday party at Tedd Florendo’s home, through his wife, Jennifer, I probably would have bolted before 2011 reared its head. Their friendship turned out to be just enough to carry me through that year.
But, that was another time.
It was a Thursday, and I found myself moved beyond recognition to write letters to people who mattered to me in that moment and profoundly so. It was one of the most cathartic experiences, if not the most, of my life.
Just a few weeks earlier, a man now identified as James Holmes opened fire at midnight in a Colorado movie theater. As that day unfolded I wondered, “Who are those people in my life I don’t want to leave wondering should I ever be stuck in a theater like that?” When you start thinking that way, you find yourself in a peculiar place. I mean, like everyone is really going to understand you’re freaking out about dying?!
Four and a half months later, I was sitting in my pajamas on my couch, sipping coffee, having a meaningful conversation with Calvert, who received the most emotional letter (seriously, I could write for Hallmarkand Oprah and I should have a talk). We were talking about something important, someone having passed away, actually, and all I could think was how thankful it wasn’t either one of us.
As the morning and afternoon went on, I would spend it with a handful of people who made me who I am today, including Dayna. She had gone through her own “rite of passage” a few months earlier, one that few could really understand, at least in terms of why or how it happened. But, heartbreak is human, and it doesn’t take much to comprehend that. Chris Saldana was the first anchor I worked with in Las Vegas and pushed me (to the brink of tears at some times) to be better than I was allowing myself to be, and Melissa brought me coffee every morning we worked together, and then there was Denise. She has supported me professionally with great encouragement. Across the table was the person who has become my best friend. I know, for sure, I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for Calvert. It was her reaching out, standing firm in a conference room nearly two years ago fromthis moment. She was the one person standing in the one moment no one else was. It took me until that Thursday in July 2012 to realize that.
I soaked it all in, for a moment, and then a glass or two of wine. I was happy and gleeful, almost. I am happy, I realized. I took my happiness with me, across and to the other side of town, where I would hold a baby girl for the first time. It was a two-month old Harlow Florendo, the daughter of my dear friend Jennifer and her husband, Tedd. I looked down at her face, for a second, while Jennifer snapped a photo. I realized, here I am holding this beautiful baby girl in the home of the first person to open her heart and home to me. What could be a more perfect ending?
My Mom said to me just now, “I remember you saying how great that day was.”
It was the best day.