By Deanna Ricke
I’ve been in corporate America for more than 25 years, and I’ve worked for a lot of bosses, many of whom I liked and respected, but no one inspired me like Georgia. Georgia taught me many things, but the most important lesson I learned from her was not to hide my crazy, to put it out there on full display. She taught me that the universe rewards people who have the courage to keep going, regardless of what the neighbors think.
I have several great stories I could tell about Georgia, but this one’s my favorite: Back in the 1970’s when Georgia was probably in her mid-thirties, she and her best friend had been invited to a gala celebrating some art exhibit opening at some museum in Denver, and Andy Warhol was rumored to be attending. It was a costume party.
Georgia’s best friend was dressed as Carmen Miranda with fruit bowl atop head and maracas in hand. Georgia was dressed as some famous muse in an electric blue silk robe. She had skipped her weekly blow out, and her red hair was wild and frizzy. As they entered the museum, they looked around and noticed that apparently, Georgia’s friend had misread the invitation. It was not a costume party at all.
Carmen Miranda and The Muse paused briefly in the foyer, surveying all of the tuxedos and subdued gowns, glanced at each other, shrugged, and headed to the bar. As they were enjoying their first drink, Andy Warhol walked up, threw an arm around each lady and shouted, “Thank God! I thought this was going to be another boring night!” and lead them off to the dance floor.
I think of Georgia’s Andy Warhol story, and I wonder what I would have done in her place. I’m certain I would have been flagging a cab at the sign of the first black tie, and I would have missed out on the greatest night ever.
Maybe the mishaps, the mistakes, maybe they aren’t mishaps and mistakes after all. Maybe they are setting us up for something really great, like dancing with a living legend. The tricky part, the hard part, is stopping ourselves from leaving the party. The hard part is finding the courage to face and embrace the nutcase we meet in the mirror. We have to find the courage to stay at the party, confident that there is a reason we are who we are, including all the dumb things we’ve done, confident that we were made that way for a reason, a purpose. So bring the crazy, and don’t waste a single second worrying about what the guys in Gucci or the girls in ball gowns think. How many people, would you guess, envied Georgia as she whirled the night away, laughing and dancing with Andy Warhol?
Deanna Ricke’s been in sales and marketing for more than 25 years, including executive positions with The Walt Disney Company and FOX Cable Networks. She is the author of I’m Catholic Not Crazy: A Guide to Discernment for the Working Catholic Woman, and her blog can be found at DeannaRicke.com .