Take these clothes and shove ’em!
That’s one of the first things I did when I gave up my title as “News Lady.”
Along with the role, I relinquished one of its signature prerequisites: a camera-friendly wardrobe.
I had three closets at home stuffed with important dresses and suits by top-drawer designer names.
My red suits and peacock-blue dresses had seen me through inaugurations, political debates, board meetings, high-level interviews, and countless public appearances to promote the company. I mean walk-in-a-room, own-the-room clothing.
Last year I was quietly ushered out the door of a Triangle television news station. Literally not figuratively. When it happened, I knew deep down inside that I was never going back to work in another traditional newsroom. I cared more about other things, and now I could devote myself to them.
Nowadays, clothes don’t matter much. I am finally able to call the shots on what I put on my body.
My first decision was to get rid of the wardrobe that defined me as an Anchor Woman. That uniform had to go! If you watch TV news shows, you know what I mean: the Sheaths, the Wraps, the sometimes plunging V-necks. Sure, the colors and styles vary. But the look is very much the same.
I saved a few workhorse jackets and dresses, timeless pieces I knew I might need on those occasions when I would still have to dress up. Outside of that, I donated frocks to charity. I sold suits on E-bay and to local consignment stores; my daughter, Ashley Marie, even claimed a few jackets!
I was letting go of the vestiges of a successful career in broadcast journalism.
In a word, I was shedding. I still am!
See, it wasn’t just clothing that was masking the woman I truly am. It was my way of being around others, too.
There are politics to be played in the work world. There was Kool-Aid to drink. There were points of view to suppress if they ran counter to the opinions of the corporation paying your bills.
Shedding. It can get really personal.
I am shedding people who take advantage of my kindness. I am shedding people who only wanted my friendship because I was on TV. I am shedding distorted truths and a mindset that says to succeed in the corporate news world you must give all you have in you.
I see it so clearly now. Over the decades covering the news and going hard-core, I had lost myself. I had become deaf to the needs and cries of people I love. I had let my job infiltrate my soul.
Shedding. It’s liberating to get rid of baggage. I sure don’t need three closets anymore. I have just one! And it’s mostly jeans and T-shirts hanging there now – with a lot of space between them.
I am getting back to my core, my roots, and my true self. I have spent six months letting go of my past. It no longer defines me.
I know I am not the only one out there letting go. I read a lot of posts on social media from folks who are going through tough transitions.
If you follow me, then you know that I’m sharing my journey and my truths.
I’ll be honest; I haven’t figured everything out yet
I do know I’m kind of jazzed about beginning a conversation with you in this column. My intention is to spill the good, the bad, and even sometimes the ugly on this road to transition.
Out here on my own – for once in my life, I can invoke from “Invictus” those final sentences because they resonate fully now: I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.
This is Pam Saulsby’s first column for The Durham News. You can reach her on Twitter @pamsaulsby, on her website pamsaulsby.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org