I recently went to my hair stylist, Gordon, as I have done every 5 weeks for 15 years. I wrote about Gordon previously after he was a survivor of the Salon Meritage massacre in October. Gordon is an amazing person who has recently experienced far more tragedy in his life than he – or anyone – should have to endure. As we were talking about how he is getting through this uncomfortable and confusing time he said this:
“This is the “B” side of my life. It’s not what I signed up for.”
I was struck by what a profound and perfect metaphor that sentence was for Gordon’s life at this point, and for, I’m sure, most people at some time or another. The “B” side – the other side of the 45 record that was an afterthought, not really chosen, just put there to take up space. The side that no one really liked, or cared about, or possibly even listened to at all. The less than side. The other side. That’s what Gordon was talking about.
I’ve been to the “B” side in my life. There have been moments that were so terrible, so awful, so sad, that I never thought I’d get through them. Obviously nothing can compare to what my dear friend Gordon has had to endure, but my “B” side moments were, to me, pretty horrible. I think most people, by the time they reach the middle of their life, have had moments when they thought they’d never be happy, sane, safe, secure – ever again. That’s where Gordon is right now. He is on the “B” side and the record is skipping. But eventually, as it did for me, and I’m sure for you, or someone you love, it will get better. Eventually, it always gets better, even if it’s still awful. Because we are human, we go on, we continue to look for things that make us happy, that will bring us up from the bottom, that will make the “B” side eventually become the “A” side.
This is a true fact: Gloria Gaynor’s anthem to getting over it, “I Will Survive,” was a “B” side. Look what happened to that song. And what a message it sent.
So here’s to making the “B” side work, turning an afterthought into a megahit, a mistake into magic. It can happen, and it does happen.