I recently discovered a thing that is perhaps known to the rest of mankind but was previously unknown to me, which is that we are never just one self, but more, we are an amalgam of selves. Oh, yes, I mean of course I knew we all had different “sides” as I’ll call them – our social side, our good side, our sweet side, that temper we try to keep under wraps and other undesirable traits that we ascribe to “sides” but what I realized is that all of these sides are not traits, per se, but are all part of our true, authentic self. .That it is the sum total of the good and the bad, the desirable and undesirable that makes us who we really are at the end of the day.
But who am I really? As I was sitting being interviewed again, a process I’ve been though many times in my life now, I wondered which side of me the reporter was going to see. Would she want the writer / journalist side? The person who ran Lumen Editions and was the enfant terrible of publishing for a time? Would she want the teacherly side, the person who could offer her sage advice about publishing and how to go about securing a good job, and hey, if she strikes a good chord with me, might even score a reference or an inside tip. After all, after all of these years in the business, I realized just recently that I have become the very thing or person I once used to hunt and pursue – that is, the mentor, the reference, the touchstone, the person who I look at and say I Want To BE Like Her When I Grow Up.
That anybody would want to be like me is a mystery in itself and I’m not sure that this reporter was after that, though in the past, certainly I have had the experience of being interviewed and then over the next several months, watching the person morph from themselves into version 1.0 of me. I 'vet seen the same syndrome when I’ve been running companies – the younger women and interns begin as themselves and over the course of time, begin to emulate, just as I once emulated my mentor, only this time it is me whom they emulate. How odd to see other women whom even I would admire – smart, beautiful, talented women, who want to be like me. It’s a strange phenomenon to watch as over the course of several months or years, they take on various traits: suddenly they wear dance shoes with a t-strap and ankle socks. The hair is thrown into a hasty bun and held with a red editing pencil. The skirts lengthen and become darker; the tops are camisoles with a white oxford on top if in the office and nothing if not in the office. They become very Prada – because we all know The Devil Wears Prada and lord knows that it’s my favorite and I love the simplicity of Prada. Even my face is Prada: simple, plain, freckled and surrounded by straight, wheat colored hair. What I am saying is that not only does my attitude and my approach to publishing become a thing to be emulated and studied, but my very being becomes something to emulate and to copy. I begin to see Sadi facsimiles in the office and it’s flattering, I know, and I keep reminding myself of this and my husband reminds me too, but it’s hard when these very same admirers would have my own husband in a flash if given the chance because that would be the ultimate score to make them me. He is the ultimate Sadi accessory, if a person could be such a thing. How sad to see my own husband reduced to accessory status.