Are You There? by Subhadra Jayaraman

Hello Memory – my lifeline, my support, my sustenance – are you there? You help me advance in life, you hold my hand through difficult situations, you give me my Eureka! moments. But when I am looking for my blue highlighter that I had in my hand three seconds ago, when I am wondering what I came into the kitchen for, and when I try not to forget my boyfriend’s birthday, where do you go? Perhaps those were your coffee breaks or your nap times? Do you hear me calling out to you frantically and ignore me, or do you just have headphones on? I want to believe that you will never intentionally abandon me, but you are skating on wafer thin ice, really!

Hello Dignity – my uppity hero, my self-esteem, my firm companion – are you there? I have held onto you for dear life, taken your advice when all else was crashing around me, looked up to you always in times of humiliation. But when I snigger helplessly in the middle of class, when I trip over my own feet and fall down with my glasses askew, and when I hit my head on the freezer door I myself opened just a minute ago, where do you go? Are you evil, humorous, or just bad at your job? Do you enjoy watching me embarrass myself, or do you feel like you have failed? Maybe you just like to feel my cheeks redden and my ears heat up, is that it?  Your sloppiness makes me want to declare you dead, honestly! That way I don’t need to pretend I have any shame and just go on to be a clown!

Hello Resolve – my iron-fisted friend, my pillar, my stoic comrade – are you there? It is because of you that I am a successful scientist today. Your stern voice, your firm hold, and your strong words have made me accomplish things that I would not have dreamed of. But when I reach for those jalapeno-flavored potato chips, when I skip that barre class, when I flip onto the next chapter or play the next episode at 3 AM, where do you go? How are you so stern and so nonchalant at the same time? Weren’t you created to kick addiction’s butt and smack temptation’s face? Why can’t you make potato chips look like kale or barre class feel like a spa treatment? So many people tell me “It’s all in your head”! Well, they’re talking about you, so buck up and do your job!

Hello Professional Filter – my chic alter ego, my polite sister, my cheerful chum – are you there? My colleagues respect me, my boss loves me, my cubicle mates admire me, and everyone wants to be my friend – all thanks to you. But when I say, “oh crap!” in a presentation, or spill soup all over my lunch tray in front of my CEO, or walk into a glass door and make people look up, where do you go? What do you think you’re doing when you abandon me in the one place I actually want to be respected? I wish I could ground you and make you stand in a corner and think about what you have done every time you mess up, but I can’t risk a series of errors at my workplace. Sometimes I think you know my weakness and are taking advantage of me, and sometimes I feel you just need more training. Maybe we’ll make you do some eLearning modules which need to be repeated every year – that way you would actually up your game and answer me when I scream, “are you there!?!”


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