All That You Are ~ Erin Kennedy

photo by Lydia Selk

written by Guest Author: Erin Kennedy

“What else do you do?”

He says it with such condescension that I think of slicing his ashy skin and bleeding the arrogance from him.

I know what he’s asking. He is giving me the opportunity to detail the achievements of my life, to justify my existence before serving the second course. He wants me to prove that I am more than his waitress.

I know the answer he is looking for. He wants me to entertain his company with the background of my education and color pictures of my professional goals. I know I am good at this, getting people on board, helping them see the texture of my dreams, but he isn’t truly interested in me. He is trying to make himself feel better. He just knew I was more.

I let his question linger among the bread crumbs and wrinkled linen.  I become infuriated. Would he ask my 40-year-old coworker what else she does? No, he asks only me, because I’m young and cute and he’s flirting. My answer has a better chance of being what he wants to hear. My answer may be worthy.

But does my answer make me any better of a waitress? Am I more equipped to discern oyster choices or present dessert menus, because I have a degree and a dream of something different? Does that make me more exciting, or him feel more secure, that the woman folding his napkin may one day have a napkin folded for her?

More importantly, does he care that that my co-worker serves him the same Manhattan and sirloin, and then leaves to be mother to her three children?

The moments grow awkward and I think about answering:

What else do I do? I smoke cigarettes and sip dirty martinis. I listen to music and read poetry. I flirt religiously, and sometimes I spend nights with boys who will never get to know me. I meditate, and practice yoga, and drink too much coffee. I love intensely. I don’t eat meat. I think about pollution, ethanol, and global warming. I want to feed the hungry. I sing to babies and put toddlers to sleep. I taught a child about imagery and family. I believe that life is a circle and time is an illusion. I try very hard to be forgiving. I volunteer in soup kitchens, hospitals, and foreign countries. I dance, everyday.

And in between your appetizer and dessert, I dream BIG dreams.


Writer Erin Kennedy is a 20-something woman living within the traffic and sand of the Jersey Shore. She has a degree in dietetics from Rutgers University and hopes to work in world health one day, concentrating on the areas of malnutrition and infectious diseases.  She strives to understand humanity through numerous volunteer experiences, reading, writing, and above all, music.



Photographer Lydia Selk lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. She is an artist and photographer who took the time to look for beauty and says that now beauty is all she can see.

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