A couple of weeks into being a quitter and I’m not sure if I should be disturbed by the way I feel about this newfound freedom of mine. I walk just a little bit taller for a 5-foot girl, talk a tiny bit sassier, and command a certain amount of respect for what, quitting my job? I still haven’t figured it out yet… What I have figured out is this, have a canned response for the 859 times you’re going to have to answer the standard question, “Well what are you going to do?” said with just the right amount of curious concern that tells me they have some idea formulated in their head as to what I am going to do but they really just want to hear me say it.
Allow me a soap box moment – that idea formulated in everyone’s head that they seem to have been waiting to hear me say for the past 3 years goes a little something like this – I am going to go home and take care of my baby, my little 3 year old woman who thinks the world revolves around me but who has become uniquely adapted to the unconventional life I live. Somehow I had an epiphany 3 years into the gig that she is slighted by my choice to have my cake and eat it too, work and a life, and now I owe it to her to propose a game changer and be with her every waking minute of every day…
Well, I must assure you, that is not how my canned response goes. And not that this is a mockery of a choice to stay home and raise a family, because for some, that is the dream. That is the true realization of everything they’ve wanted in life. And at times, I’ll admit my jealousy and also say that in some of my darkest moments those are the women who motivate and convince me to snap right on out of it. Me, I’m just not programmed that way. It’s not that I’m cold hearted or simply just out to prove the world wrong – okay, well maybe I am, but in a completely different way – but I’ve always had that agenda that keeps me moving in the direction I am. So how exactly do you explain what you’re going to do when you really don’t know what you’re going to do? I’ve decided I will offer the Cliff Notes version, in which I sound irresistibly inspiring and daringly confident, I sound as if I have it all planned out like any good OCD girl would. “Well actually, I have a grand plan and while this was very instrumental in who I am today as a woman and professional, it is time for me to move on to bigger and better things and work for myself.” I have to admit, after a few deliveries of that off the cuff speech, I started to actually believe it myself, and strangely started to believe IN myself. So in some twisted way, I owe those nosy people who drill me for any bit of juicy gossip that can be passed on to the next open ear.
And while I expect nothing more than an “oh that sounds nice” when I stammer this out, I’ve been more than surprised by the reactions, the random encouragement that people offer my way, the congratulations and you can do it’s. I’ve sort of always prided myself on my ability to be on an island surrounded by nothing more than my conquer the world thoughts and un-amusing humor, I never needed affirmation, but the sudden influx is quite empowering and maybe a little bit humbling at the same time.
So I’m left in a very uncomfortable position. The kind that makes me squirm and writhe and a little bit nauseous. The position of having to do the unthinkable and self-promote, self-start, somehow find a way to talk about myself when all I’ve done for several years is blend into the wallpaper. Women, we are just not very good at this taboo subject. If we talk about ourselves around other women, well then we’re narcissistic. If we talk about ourselves around men, we’re the feminist they’ve always been afraid of. We can sell each other like we are all a living, breathing Lamborghini that not only takes care of business, but looks good doing it. We can sell our bosses like they just solved hunger and brought world peace all at the same time. So, tell me, what’s wrong with this picture. At 12, I could’ve already told you.
So, as we say in the south, daggumit, step 2 is in the works: figure out how to tap into my 12-year old awesomeness. The girl that wasn’t afraid of saying “Why yes, actually I AM awesome, and you are going to be glad you knew me one day,” the girl who my mom always said was beautiful and not because of how I looked.
So my personal assignment on this next leg of the journey, know that I’ve got it, and show it with all the diplomacy, humility, and tact this kind of female responsibility demands-and don’t stop there. Convince at least one more woman to do the same.
Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Horizon.jpg