This evening, I was shopping in the craft store when I ran into a public figure. Now, I know what you are thinking. What is this woman doing in the craft store, AGAIN?? And I am happy to say I was there to pick up some items for an event that we are holding at work on Wednesday. But that doesn’t matter because this post is not about my addiction to craft supplies; it’s about the challenges that come with being a public figure.
As I turned down one of the aisles, I saw her, and I caught her eye. In a split second, she sensed I recognized her, and she quickly looked away. My mind was clicking through context clues to help me figure out if this was really the person I thought it was or if she was a mother with whom I had occasional contact. Her daughter—who was with her—was only a bit younger than my own, so it could be that I knew her from the community.
She carried on a conversation with her daughter about an item that was being placed into their cart. The voice was familiar as it reached my ears, bringing me back to recent political advertisements. I glanced her way, and she was looking at me. Again, she turned away, but I knew that the face matched the expectation I had for that voice, but what was she doing in the glitter aisle of the local craft store? Shouldn’t she be somewhere less… well, mundane?
But no, she could be wherever she wanted. However, it seemed she was not comfortable, knowing that people might recognize her. While she had chosen a life in the public arena, she certainly did not choose the rather public “firing” that she had recently received.
Politicians… they must understand that being “fired” by being voted out of office is a huge risk that comes with the territory. But I’d never really thought about how devastating that loss might be until this woman would not hold my gaze or smile. Instead, she chose to look away lest I recognize her enough to say something to her. And then I started to wonder what people might say to her when they figure out who she is. Because not everyone agrees with her.
As this woman exited the glitter aisle with her daughter, my boyfriend spoke to her. He is the type of person who will be on your side in any situation, advocating for you and supporting you. He complimented her, and thanked her for her willingness to serve the people of the country. In her response, I heard a hint of relief.
And I started to wonder about what her future might hold. She is now free to move on, to take her experiences and construct something new. Re-examine the life that she had and make it into the life that she now wants, however uncomfortable she may be in public situations for awhile.
In truth, sometimes things unravel for all of us, even if we are not public figures. And when that happens, we take the pile of what’s left and make something new and fresh and (hopefully) wonderful.