I’m not sure why I decided to slump down on the floor and have “a little lie down” as they like to say here, but my husband thought it was funny and decided to snap a photo. I can look back at this moment now and laugh, but I also know it carries with it a lot of memories–both good and bad.
During this season, so many thoughts were swirling around in my head. Most of them were outside voices casting judgements on me, making me second guess my actions and my motives; making me question myself; putting me on the stand; pushing me to explain and defend my position. I had decided to leave for a good reason: I wanted to write. No, I needed to write. I felt the time was now or never. Couldn’t they see that? Couldn’t they understand? Why don’t they get it? Why don’t they get me?
Matt was the only one who did. Well, the only one on this side of the equator. Back home, everyone thought it was wonderful. They knew this was something I’d been wanting for years. They’d seen me go through a number of seasons before this one and understood why I wasn’t going to let it pass. They knew this was it for me. And together, we celebrated.
But my two worlds were colliding. Over there, people fought for me. Here, people fought against me. And in that moment I experienced the very realness of one of life’s harsh truths: you can’t please everyone. You just have to do you because that’s how you were created. No other option will suffice and no other option will bring you full contentment.
Almost two years had passed since this photo was taken and part of me felt as though I’d come full circle. It was September 2012 and I had just self-published my book, but with the celebrations also came a sense of urgency–a need and a deep-felt desire to have to defend my position. Now that the book was done, what answers could I give? I could see the army of questions marching toward me at every new horizon. The battle was no longer about who my target audience was and how I planned to market myself. It became How many books have you sold? and What are you going to do now?
Thankfully that era didn’t last very long. In November I was given a part-time job which in my mind, would shield me from those judgements and stinging questions. And they did–not once did I get a question about my book during the months that I’d been working. But last Saturday, all of that protection came to an end. And I was the one who put an end to it. I had to and I needed to. On the outside, it was just a simple job at a bakery making cookies, but on the inside, I knew there was more to it. And it was only when I realized I was slowly turning into my old self again that I had no choice but to go. I didn’t want to be that girl again. I’ve said hello and goodbye to her too many times. This needed to be my last.
When I look at the last few months I now realize something huge. It was never about the money or the kind of work or the early hours. I just wanted something fun, something random, and something to innocently disguise my pride. I needed a buffer, some sort of wall to hide behind and make the annoying questions go away, even if only temporarily. I thought a job was the answer. But it wasn’t. And here I am again, unemployed and vulnerable.
I could be wrong. Maybe vulnerable isn’t the right word. Maybe the word is open–open for criticism; open for questioning; open for judgement. And you know what? I’m actually ok with it this time. I don’t mind not knowing what I’m going to do next; I’m not sure what’s on the horizon (besides your questions and critiques); I don’t have any five year plans in the works; and I don’t feel ashamed about not having a clue anymore. Because quite honestly, this is me right now, and I’m content with it. I’m no longer that girl in the photo who feels overwhelmed to the point of having a rest on the floor, praying to be left alone. And if my ways and my approach to life make you uncomfortable, then let me have the honour of doing you a favour: I quit.