I used to be vehemently anti-quitting. I didn’t quit anything. I would read books until the end. I followed through on every plan, every invite. Any commitment I made, I saw through. Pretty much, if I started it, I would finish it – there wasn’t another option.
Even when I was bored by or hated the book. Even when I was exhausted and just needed some time to myself. Even when the commitment kept me from sleeping. Hell, I blew out my arm practicing piano because I didn’t want to back out of a commitment.
The first time I quit something, it made me ill. I had been asked to accompany a cello recital while living in San Antonio. I was asked some four months in advance of the anticipated started rehearsals. I wasn’t contacted to be given the music until two weeks out. I couldn’t practice enough due to my injury, so I said no. It was hard. I hated myself.
The next big thing that I quit was really two things. In rapid succession, while living in Turkey, I quit the spouses club position I had been elected to and then my job. On the spouses club position – I realized that I was completely incompatible with the president who was the darling of the base commander’s wife, so there would be no negotiating things to a better place. I didn’t need that drama, so I walked. It was hard. I wasn’t happy with quitting. On the job front, I was miserable. Like, crying in the bathroom during my fifteen minute breaks miserable. My coworkers were full of drama and the job itself was exhausting and not rewarding. But I had waited for three months to get the job, only to work it for three months before I quit. Again I went through the spiral of shame and self hate.
The thing is, none of the things I have quit have been good for me. They were all causing me some kind of detrimental effect. Emotional or physical, the result was me hurting. Still, feeling like I let someone (myself) down was hard. I felt broken, like I couldn’t pull my weight.
I disliked my job in North Dakota, but I actually liked the people I worked with and I knew it came with a predetermined end date. I was also busting at the seams to prove to B (myself) that I could work a normal 9-5 type job without bailing. When we moved here, even though what I wanted to do was get back to teaching, I convinced myself that I needed to continue this 9-5 routine.
Hate is not a strong enough word for the job I took here. There were so many bees at that place. Bosses who promised their assistants six figure salaries while paying them less than fifteen an hour. Bosses who explained that you were special and different and the only one in the office they could trust. Bosses who were sexist and racist all while happily telling you that they were no such thing. It was an experience. My ex-coworkers and I are enjoying getting together to reminisce about those few weeks we all worked together. I was only there for six weeks.
Quitting sucked. I worried that I was letting B (myself) down. We talked. He reminded me that he doesn’t want to work a 9-5 desk job. He told me that no matter what he loved me.
So I quit.
Only this time, I don’t hate myself for it. I’m sleeping at night again. My anxiety is gone and the weird rash that I sported for the last two weeks of my job cleared up almost over night. I’m subbing at one music studio that’s only ten minutes from our house for most of the rest of the month. I’m beginning training to take over the group music classes at another studio, plus I’ll be taking on students there.
I almost cried at the end of the class I was observing on Wednesday. The kids were singing this song about how we all sing the same song with the same voice and I was overwhelmed with realizing that this is what I am meant to do.
I’m a damn good music teacher. And it’s time that I quit apologizing for not fitting a more normal job mode. Also, it’s time I quit beating myself up for not finishing a bad book. Life is too short for that shit.