So, here’s a truth.
I quit my job at the end of January (technically, I gave notice at the beginning of December, but my last day was January 31st). I quit my job and I didn’t really have a plan. I knew I needed to change things up. I knew that I had grown increasingly unhappy in my position. But in juxtaposition to that, I walked away from so many great things that I’d done. So many great things that I’d helped build. So many great people. Coming to terms with that was challenging. And a little heart breaking.
During the end of my time at my last job and in these past few weeks of my unemployment (which has been surprisingly wonderful), I’ve had the chance to see a lot of friends, catch up on random things, procrastinate about cleaning the house and watch far too many episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy.”
And as I’ve come to terms with leaving Z, and moving forward in my life, I’ve also come to terms with a few other things.
Friendship is one of the greatest gifts of life. True friendship, supportive friendship. It’s beautiful and rare and should be nurtured and cherished. But there are many kinds of ‘friendship’ and the good kind is the rare kind. I’ve spent a lot of years doubting myself, and because of that, I’ve allowed other people’s doubts and judgements of me hold more weight than they should. Because the truth is, I am the only person walking my journey. No one ever trades moccasins with me. No one ever has to suffer the consequences of my decisions. Only me. And I have to be able to sleep at night. I have to be able to believe that the choices I made were the best ones. The decisions and the actions — I have to stand by those things. No one else does.
It’s okay that I didn’t have children. Do you want to know why? Because I didn’t want them. And I knew that, and was responsible enough to stay committed to that. I think children are adorable. I think there are so many parents out there fighting the good fight, whose whole lives are wrapped up in their children and wanting what is best for them. It’s a beautiful thing. And also something I never wanted. I’m not envious of people with children, of people with huge sprawling families. I am happy for those people, and find joy in their joy. But it isn’t my journey.
I didn’t have a plan when I went to college. There were a lot of circumstances that colored my first few years at Penn State. There were a lot of things that pushed me in one direction or another. But I didn’t have a plan. And that was hard. And it was destructive and demoralizing when people judged that, when people belittled my struggle. It was also painful to realize (in retrospect) that my struggles fed the feelings of superiority of people who claimed to be my ‘friends.’
It took me a long time to realize my worth. My value, my abilities, my strength. I can sit here now, and feel so proud of what I contributed to the little company that I helped grow, to the people I hired and mentored and supported, to the causes I championed. And I know that even though my path to right now was not a standard one, and I didn’t really anticipate any of it, that who I am as a person, my hard work and personality, thoughtfulness and intelligence got me here. And my accomplishments –both big and small — are not less (or more) than anyone else.
Actions speak much louder than words. But words can cut like daggers. Words can stay with you and sit in your soul. Words can sometimes never be forgotten.
My purpose in life isn’t to make someone else feel better about their life choices. It isn’t to be cut down and diminished to buoy someone else. And I have ‘friends’ who make me feel that way. I’ve had a lot of friendship break ups over the years. Women are tough. Women have a hard time supporting other women. I am not innocent of bad behavior. But I can also acknowledge when I do it. And I am not proud of it. And I have made promises to myself to be better.
But to be better, i also need to recognize when it’s time to walk away from something that no longer feels healthy or productive. And that decision can be a difficult one. Not because I like how I’ve been treated, but because there is history. And there used to be — a long time ago — something that resembled love.
I am so blessed in the women I know are my true friends. I am blessed in a husband who is friendship and companionship and adoration and love and lust and laughter and partner personified. I am blessed in the people I choose to surround myself with who bring me joy. I am ready to be done with the people who try to pull me down, who don’t believe in me, or bring laughter and light. I am ready to be done.