2 minutes of Redirection
Some people affect your life, and don't even know it.
Covid- 19 had me bent all-the-way out of shape.
I got laid off the job I always loved to complain about pretty early on, and now had the time to do whatever I so pleased. A small percentage of the laziest part of me was ecstatic for the time off but simultaneously I was weirdly worried to death that I would have nothing to show for all this free time I had spent many years wishing for.
It took me about 6 hours into quarantine to realize the abundance of free time did not mean I knew what the heck to do with it.
While yes, the previously held job was incredibly toxic, it slowly dawned on me that I only knew how to make money because someone was telling me what to do to earn my paycheck.
What do I do? was a constant thought. I was actually scared. My anxiety began raging.
I knew I wanted to become something and yet had no ideas on what I wanted to become! I didn't get the spark of creativity it seemed almost everyone got in the middle of quarantine.
Honestly, the only thing the quarantine stage of the coronavirus pandemic handed me was the chance to witness my own destruction of any progress previously made on my weight loss journey. Ugh.
It was with a literal sigh of relief (mind you, some people might say a gasp of labored breathing) that I graciously welcomed the warmer weather in NYC. With the 6 feet of social distancing rule permanently hammered into my brain; I laced up my neon pink Nike Air Vapormax sneakers and decided to go for a jog --- Or a well-intended walk at my local park.
The day was gorgeous, and I could feel the beads of sweat already forming on my forehead. Families were setting up for barbeques and other celebrations as is the norm around here. I began to walk and eventually let my mind drift away.
I was quite lost in my thoughts when my fitbit buzzed to let me know I reached my 10,000th step. I glanced at my wrist and in doing so was brought sharply back to reality. I looked up to find myself standing in front of what looked like to be the world’s most romantic movie set:
It was so pretty! It came at me the way it comes at people on TV when they see some sort of commotion going on. You know the kind, where they just grab the nearest passing person to ask, “what’s going on here?!". A man carrying a table across the yard passed right in front of me. This was my chance.
I half yelled "Oh my god, what’s going on here?” he was two feet away, but I had this irrational fear that he would get away! My voice cracked as I tried to keep the tell-me-nowww-cause-I-must-know to a bare minimum.
After a heartbeat or two I cringed. He had absolutely no reason to tell me what was going on if he didn't want too. I braced myself for a dismissive “Um, a Party” and a crazy look cast in my direction as he went about his business.
Instead, he stopped and said, “My wife! please, speak to her!” and pointed to a figure standing a few feet away by what looked like to be the main attraction.
She was arranging some already perfectly placed flowers on the table. She had blonde curls and a wide smile. She looked up at me like if she had been waiting for me all day. I simply thought whatever the f*ck she's selling, I’m buying. I walked over to her while in my head I replayed how her husband had just pointed her out.
What stuck with me was how he said, "My wife". He said it proudly. He said it in a way that makes me think he probably brags about her when she isn’t around.
As politely as my awe would allow, I asked “What a beautiful set-up! How are you so good at this? What is it for?” except something about her completely intimidated me and it came out as “H-hi ... Th- this is Beautiful-- What’re y’all doing? cause it’s .... sooo beautiful.”
“I’m setting up for a birthday party!” she said with a small accent I couldn't place; *sigh* I’ve never been good at that.
“I-is the party for you?” I asked. My cowardly way of asking Ma’am … please tell me I can pay you to recreate this for me!
“No” she said with a tinkling laugh and small wave of her hand “It’s for one of my clients celebrating her 40th Birthday. With no indoor dining available, I set up picnic spaces! Here... take one of my business cards!”
Her name was Tanya. Her companies name was Une Table by Tania.
The Gentleman passed by again with a child following and helping along. It was a hands-on family business and it showed. I don't know why I was surprised; You can see it in the details that it was family inspired if that makes sense. I asked her if I can take a photo and she kindly obliged.
That was it. I thanked her and turned to walked away. I posted the photo to my Instagram and wondered if I knew anyone who had a birthday in the summer, so that we can totally hire her and copycat the whole set up in this very park.
I walked away not even realizing that the most valuable insight of that interaction had not yet hit me. It was genius. When it did, I was sort of mind blown.
Black woman from all parts of the world have been inspiring the masses for generations. Especially black-women, business-owners. Either directly or indirectly. Whether people admit it, or not. Whether it’s fashion, music, beauty, food or even if it’s just a different way to view things logically.
Like in my case, a different perspective.
There I was, riddled with fear and blaming it on quarantine that my life was at a complete standstill, when I was placed directly into the path of someone who made quarantine work for her. I mean, her business's success is directly influenced by people coming together. Gathering is so human, and it’s the one thing we were being told to refrain from doing during these trying times.
Do you think that stopped her though? She took the negatives we all had and decided to develop a positive. No indoor dining? Fine, let's Bring fine dining to the park:
Tania states on her website that the concept was born out of "the pure love of event styling and the feeling I get when I am gathered around a table with loved ones.” She shares that she has always made events out of everything From a child's first loose tooth to the beginning of summer.
I love people like that. They tend to see beauty in everything.
She’s in the business of making memories, and business is boomin’:
I took a hard look at myself as I left the park that day. What was 2 minutes out of her day was a whole reminder for me on how I don't have to just let things happen to me.
I could highlight all the custom set-ups she’s done, but what I’m really trying to convey is how her 2-minute interaction with me respectfully asked me to stop putting limits on myself. We all have the same 24 hours.
I haven’t spoken to her since nor reached out to hire her. I just follow her on Instagram. I’m chuckling to myself as I type this cause Tania might one day read this article (hopefully) and it’s still highly unlikely she’ll remember me.
But every now and again I wonder if she knows how in her strength and willingness to grow her business during these trying times, she did what so many women of color do to those who are watching:
With an adjustment of a salad fork, she asked me to show up for myself and stop waiting for someone to tell me what to do. In those 2 minutes I was taught to take the sour grapes life loves to deal all of us and find a way to make some sweet wine.
In 2 minutes, I was reminded to learn to become friends with the wait. Sometimes, that's exactly where you need to be for the magic to happen. Would I have ever even come across her business if it weren’t for quarantine and its affect on all of us? It was this exact reason she was setting up in a park in the first place.
In 2 minutes, I was encouraged to let the anxiety go and embrace uncertainty. We're all trying to figure what we are to become tomorrow, with only the knowledge we have on hand today. There really is no handbook on how to reach the finish line.
And if nothing else those 2 minutes told me there is also always the option to just observe the stillness and possibly enjoy the beauty of becoming.
All while we gather around to enjoy the inexplicable wonder of nicely set table.