Sand in my Suit: I’m really not a waitress

Sand in My Suite Katrina ZawojskiWhen people ask you, “What do you do?” what do you tell them? I tell them that I’m a waitress, or that I waitress at so-and-so restaurant, then follow up my answer by mentioning my column until, finally, I disclose my beach volleyball pursuits. Can you believe that? My number one passion is the last thing that I say to this person who, by all odds, has probably already checked out of the introduction portion of our exchange.

This is a problem. I’ve been introducing myself as a waitress for months and defining who I am by the line of work that is only in my life because it affords me the flexibility to pursue what I actually want to be doing. Well, until recently, that is.

Ever since the break-up with my former volleyball partner, I have offered up more of my Saturdays and Sundays in exchange for extra money (not rocket science).

Unfortunately, my increased weekend availability has come back to bite me in the ass because now management feels that having weekends off is a stretch to begin with. Somewhere along the line it seems that communication regarding my scheduling needs broke down.

Since I am in a job that crushes my creativity and efforts to promote camaraderie, I have made sure to tap into other activities and opportunities within the community to keep my right brain active. Along the way I’ve been fortunate enough to make a few new friends within Bo Bridges Photography, including the bubbly Bo himself.

The first event that I helped out with was the annual Hammitt bag trunk sale held at his studio. When I arrived at the studio, an hour before the event officially kicked off, I was immediately entrenched in fashionista territory. Bo was not present to hold my hand and I had no official job to attend to. I was just, well, there. So I took what little initiative I had, walked upstairs, and introduced myself to several ladies who were laying out jewelry and organizing clothing racks.

“Go ahead and dress this mannequin, won’t you? And she will need some accessories…something boho chic.”

I was downstairs so fast you’d think I was wearing flip-flops. Oh wait, I was (the only one) wearing flip-flops. Truth is, I don’t think I would have been much help. I don’t feel comfortable in the company of mannequins — unless they are fully clothed and I am not called upon to dress and accessorize them.

To relieve my discomfort I hung around the kitchen area where I could fall in step with the caterers and bartenders who were busy prepping for the evening. I restocked the fridge with beer bottles. I made a makeshift trash bin. I was handed napkins. For the life of me I couldn’t remember how to fan them out the way my old restaurant used to do…damn, that would’ve made such an impression… “Boy can that girl can fan napkins,” they’d say. The doors eventually opened up for the public and the rest is lost in champagne and swinging throngs of leather.

Though a lost puppy at first, I was happy to be at the event because it was an opportunity to be a part of something a far cry from a typical day at the restaurant. Or was it? I grew disappointed when I realized what I had done that evening. I reverted to wearing an apron without actually wearing an apron. I regressed to “server status,” walking around in those familiar, reliable shoes — which is ironic because those same shoes were actually thrown out recently.

Just a few weeks ago I showed up to work to find out that my shoes, which I have kept in the locker all year long, have been thrown out. Seriously? I had to bike all the way home to retrieve some Nike’s and then ride all the way back, just in time to see that the restaurant was full. There goes all my money. Retribution? Hardly. When I brought up the topic of reimbursement it was shut down almost immediately. I don’t care that they cost $11.99. From Wal-Mart. With Velcro. It’s the principle of the matter.

But let’s get back to where we started. “What do you do?  Be careful, my friends. Don’t sell yourself short just because what you’re passionate about doesn’t pay the bills. This kind of attitude will not drive us and push us towards our goals and ambitions. I have a column, one that I am very proud of. So tell them you are a columnist. I dedicate myself to a sport that I am deeply passionate about. So tell them you are an aspiring professional athlete.

Our thoughts are powerful, right? So we must plant the self-affirming and self-motivating thoughts inside of our heads because that’s where the real work begins. If I don’t believe that I am a writer and an exceptional athlete then nobody else will.

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny”

Katrina Zawojski lives in Hermosa Beach and is chasing her dream of a career in professional beach volleyball. Follow her on Twitter @sandinmysuit1.

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