You have the power to turn things to gold
I’m Jillian Anthony, and this is Cruel Summer Book Club, a newsletter about change, heartbreak and healing. Sorry this issue is a day late! Thank you for being here.
My mom has always said that everything I touch turns to gold. When I got an early vaccination because I asked the Walgreens pharmacist if they had an extra dose that day? “Midas touch!” my mom proclaimed. When I got my Austin summer sublease even though 50 other people, most of them locals, wanted it too? “Of course you got it!” mom said. “You’ve got that Midas touch.”
She loves to tell people stories of my superpower of making things go my way, while I sit there and blush. It’s her way of telling me she’s proud of me, that she knows I’ll be okay in this world, that she trusts me to always find my way, and that I should trust myself.
In 2014, I quit a magazine job I hated with no backup plan. I’d been working in mediocre, underpaid media jobs for a few years already, and at this one I’d been talked down to and generally treated like dirt. I was tired of it and ready to try something new.
My favorite bar at the time was an ultra-dive called Spanky and Darla’s in the East Village (RIP). I loved the all-woman bartenders and wanted to give the job a try myself. I just knew I’d be a great bartender, outgoing and fun-loving—and writing everything my patrons said down for my future book.
One night around midnight, far from sober, I stumbled into Spanky and Darla’s and asked for an application. I sat down and started filling it out when a middle-aged man with long, greasy hair walked over to my table, his arm draped around another cute young guy. “What’s a beautiful woman like you doing sitting here all alone?” the older man asked. “I’m applying to work here!” I replied. “Well, I’m the owner,” he said. He wrote down his phone number and told me to call him the next night at midnight (seriously, midnight). I got the job, and I was behind the bar a week later.
(And that young guy with the owner? I ended up dating him on and off for a couple of years! I mean, to this day he is the worst man I ever dated, BUT STILL.)
I worked at the owner’s trio of dive bars (Spanky and Darla’s, The Duck in Harlem, and The Patriot in Tribeca) for the next year. I took to the job like a duck to water, and the boss gave me the weekend shifts in busy Tribeca within a month. I was raking in money, so I only had to work three nights a week, which gave me a lot of time to freelance. (But I was 24 and I got home from work around 6:30am, so I slept and partied a lot.) I saw so many stunning sunrises over the Williamsburg Bridge as I took cabs home from work at dawn.
Being a bartender helped me grow into my own confidence. The bartenders were encouraged to show some skin, so each night I’d pick a different character—biker chick, goth girl, slutty Southern belle—and I’d dress up and embody her for ten hours. I learned how to embrace and harness my sexuality in a positive way. When I quit that job (because I got so tired so quickly of how people treat women service workers), I left more aligned with who I was and what I wanted. I felt so powerful.
I’d manifested this job for myself out of thin air, and mastered it. I now understood my own Midas touch, and I was ready to turn more of my world to gold.
Soon, I landed a job as Things to Do editor at Time Out New York, the start of the best four professional years of my life.
When I started exploring manifestation a couple years ago, an early task was to take stock of my history and list out everything I’d already manifested in my life. Here’s some of the big ones:
Landing a solo in my senior year high school musical revue (It was to “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani and I wore a purple plaid two-piece.)
Getting into every grad school I applied to
Getting every internship I applied to out of grad school
Being a journalist and writer
Interviewing celebrities and authors I worship (Guess what? If you ask, they’ll likely say yes.)
Writing a sex and dating column (I asked my boss for this role, and eventually she gave it to me.)
Writing a magazine cover story (never forget)
Landing a job where I got to travel to Europe four times a year
Starting a personal project I was passionate about and dedicated to (this very newsletter, which helped me grow as a writer and brought me supportive relationships with so many other writers and readers)
Lately, I haven’t landed the right job. I haven’t accomplished much of what I wish I had by the middle of 2021. But I have done so much. No one did any of those things for me. I wanted them, I yearned for them, and I was brave enough to reach for them. I applied, I asked, I practiced, I failed, I tried again. I worked for it.
I’m still working for it. And that’s how I know: The things I really want right now? They’re already on their way. It’s up to me to do the work and be patient.
Manifestation isn’t magic. The magic is you. Know what you want, zero in on those things with intention and dedication, and leave the rest behind.
I encourage you to take five minutes—right now—and write down some of the biggest things you’ve manifested in your own life. You are an extremely powerful being. Don’t forget it.
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