The Pinnacle of Mercury and Mars
by Ame Ai
next to the pinnacle of my salary.
What do I do to keep it?
Let's talk about what I do not do.
I do not do what I was hired to do
most of the time
because my boss fears that I'd step on toes,
as if I'm doing a waltz.
I do not say "please" lest it be seen as "too authoritative"
I do not share any more ideas
lest they be squashed by the male hierarchy.
I do not do it with any recognition
of my finely tuned leadership skills.
I do not receive acknowledgment or respect
for my senior experience and impressive accomplishments.
I do not go through a goodbye ritual with my husband
in our car in the parking lot before or after work.
I do not do it with the belief that
a knight, frog, prince, or promotion
will fall into my lap.
I put my job in a safe
where it does not collect 0.07% if I pass go.
I do attend every meeting
that my manager is late to.
I do remind my manager to review my work
even if it's month's past the last ten reminders.
I do it knowing that I'm in charge of the purse
strings in my household,
not because I want to but because I know the terminology.
I do it knowing that I now make twice as much
as when I had to support two people the first time, but
I do it knowing that it's not enough
to keep up with my husband's idealistic, close-to-unattainable dreams.
I sacrifice myself
at the altar of caring
and my love language,
only to be called materialistic.
That is the consequence of choosing love
but not of choosing family over work.
I choose work because I choose family.
I hold a tenuous position.
I know the statistics.
I know the lack of fulfillment at work.
I know the lack of fulfillment from home,
from looking down from my somewhat pinnacle.
I do not
to be fulfilling.
How do I fix America
when I don't know how to fix this?
When my efforts of turning toward
are blasted away with
and overthought thoughts?
I have been at this level before.
Where is the cheat code?
Must there always be a trade-off?
Must there always be burnout,
and second guessing?
What have we gained?
Author's Note: Written November 27, 2018 and about women's equality.
Posted on 11/27/2018
Copyright © 2019 Ame Ai