I remember that day my soul revolted.
I couldn't do "it" anymore, sitting there five days a week waiting for the time to pass; trying to look busy when I was just bored out of my mind; trying to motivate myself to keep going like I was saving the world, when I knew that my efforts were only adding to someone else's collection of diamonds and properties. It was a larger system that would compensate me the same yearly if I wasn't doing anything at all.
My mother told me that I was acting overly emotional. She thought maybe I was tired, or because of a recent "trauma" I was acting out. My friends told me not to make any rash moves because if I did, I would compromise my whole career.
On paper my career was impressive, especially for someone my age. I never started from the bottom, I went right to the top running and operating my own departments from the moment I started full time work before I even graduated from university. I set the rules, led meetings, flew from coast to coast and trained others. But to me, the lines on paper and on linkedin meant nothing. To me, the annoyance from having to hear another person complaining about what a celebrity wore on the red carpet was overriding the comfortable direct deposit. The stress from leaving my email unanswered overnight was causing all sorts of health issues but I wasn't sure if it was worse than the stress of knowing that every email was an emergency. The guilt that came with not wanting to go to yet another important event to network started to pale in comparison to the desire I had to be alone for once. I wasn't one of those birds that flew right into the window. I saw the glass ceiling way before I approached it.
I was scared shitless. I hadn't saved any money. My gut impulse arose out of nowhere and I wanted, no, NEEDED out, NOW. I had enough to keep me alive for one month, maybe a month and a half at best. I hadn't started reaching out to other companies. I was quitting, cold turkey.
How would I explain this gap in my resume? I knew it was a lot harder to find employment after quitting than securing a job somewhere else before quitting. And this job was the only thing that was "going well" in my life. Every fashion week I could barely walk a few steps without being photographed- people had started to know my name. However, that time in my life was also when my mother had just found out she had cancer and my relationship with my boyfriend at Yale law was going to shit.. what would I be if I added unemployed to the list?
But my soul revolted. It accepted the possibility of being a loser with strength, training me to let go of notions of judgment. I had to do what was best for me, separate from what society, friends and family thought "should" be best for me. I'd learn this lesson time and time again.
That day was the day I hit rock bottom, but my spirit soared. I was free.
The next day I walked to lunch in the middle of the day with nowhere I needed to rush back to. I felt such trepidation- did I have no purpose? What was I doing with my time? What was this life absent of structure and why did it seem so wrong? Why did eating lunch untethered to my desk and emails feel strange? I was taught to be busy to the brink of exhaustion all my life because only then did I feel that I was amounting to something. To have a sense of peace, to enjoy the present moment was alien. I must be doing something wrong... right?
It took a while for me to create my own structure from nothing. It was time to re evaluate the foundation. Things were hard for many years as I struggled, but I never went back nor did I accept defeat. I accepted failure, but failure did not defeat me.
I then broke up with my boyfriend and felt the true liberation of cutting ties with someone who drained me, who, like all other things in my life up to that point, represented "should".
The phoenix knows when it's time to set itself on fire so that it can rise again.
Even when it isn't broken, you might have to rework it in order to move forward.
The end goal is always to return to where we came. Beyond life and death, it is returning to infancy. When we are born, we are free. We lose this sense of presence and purity as we grow, as we become shackled by outrageous demands and brain washing, when we learn to judge ourselves and others for what we/they have and how they seem.
It's time to return home.
“There are moments when one has to choose between living one's own life, fully, entirely, completely-or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands.” - Oscar Wilde