I am a quitter

I took a deep breath, and I did it. I quit my job at the bakery. I gave my two week notice this afternoon, and I will no longer be an employee of the bakery as of August 5th. My boss took it surprisingly well. She knew the second I pulled her aside and asked "Do you have a minute?" that I was going to leave. Bless her (occasionally flaky) little heart, she gave me a big bear bug and told me she was really happy for me.

So I guess that's it. I guess I really have committed myself to writing full-time.

I think I'm still in shock. It doesn't seem quite real yet. I have never really done the brave, adventurous thing in my life. I've done plenty of things that are interesting and unusual, but I've never sort of leaped off the cliff and figured I'd learn how to fly before I hit the bottom. I'm harm avoidant. I don't like doing things unless I know how they're going to turn out and that I'm going to succeed (keep in mind, this is a perfectionist's definition of success, too!). I was lucky in that I did many things well enough that I could stay safe and be fairly successful. With my writing, I tested the waters while still saying "safe" and ensconced within my very predictable little world. Although I loved writing and--more importantly--being a writer, I felt compelled to remain on terra firma. Where I was safe, but in high school guidance counselor speak, was "not living up to my full potential."

Have I mentioned that I both hate heights and the sensation of freefall? Both make me want to puke. Kind of ironic for someone in recovery that so many metaphors for what I just did are leaping into the unknown.

I always loved this quote by Anais Nin: "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." My therapist back in Michigan loved that quote, and we often discussed it in the context of recovery. After all, one of the factors prodding me forward was the realization that staying in the ED was more painful than facing my fears of getting better and all it required.

Now, however, I'm realizing that this quote is even more appropriate for what I'm feeling now. I'm still the same harm-avoidant person I always was. It's just that I'm seeing the harm in not going for it, in not following my dreams, as well as the harm in falling kersplat on my face and looking like an idiot. There's risk in both. But my harm-avoidant self recognizes more harm in not taking the leap than in staying safe and predictable.

It's quite an interesting change for me. One that is probably going to require lots of Dramamine.

14 comments:

mariposai said...

Congratulations! I really admire you for having the courage to pursue what you really want to do, full time. A fabulous decision, given your talent as a writer :-)

Sarah x

Fellow OCD Sufferer said...

That's a beautiful quote! That and your post capture something I've been trying to put into words for a while now. I love it!

I feel like I'm in the process of leaping (or attempting to leap) off a metaphorical cliff right now, too. A recent and fairly severe relapse of my OCD compromised my ability to perform my research job, and as a result, I eventually forfeited my position. However, I am actually really grateful that all this happened because, in the process, I realized that I didn't actually want to do the job I was doing. I was being, as you say, "harm avoidant" and going with the safe but still respectable bet, rather than taking a chance and pursuing those things I was more interested in.

As I recover from my most recent odyssey into OCD-land, I have been trying to construct a life that makes living with minimal OCD seem worth the work to get there. Part of this has been trying to go for things that I want to try, even if they aren't completely "safe." For instance, I started speaking up and commenting on people's blogs when I enjoyed them :), blogs that I had been reading silently for a while. Eventually, I even got up the nerve to start my own. And now I'm looking into new jobs, jobs that really pique my interest rather than those that are interesting but only really catch my attention because they are "safe."

Thanks for your inspiring post! Good luck with your writing! I look forward to reading more!

e.motions and ana.lysis said...

You said that you've "never really done the brave adventurous thing." I beg to differ. You chose recovery. You chose to fight. You chose to live. Those are both brave and adventurous.
-Em

M said...

Carrie, I am so proud of you. You are so talented and have what it takes to succeed, so try and think of it as just putting your patience to the test, because you WILL get there :) Go you!!

Melissa said...

Did the same thing myself last week so totally relate to this post. All the very best to you Carrie - you totally deserve to follow your dreams and I know you'll make it.

xx

Cathy (UK) said...

Great stuff Carrie :) I wish you all the best with your progressing writing career. (Don't forget that you're already an established writer...).

It's so paradoxical that those of us with (a history of) EDs are so harm-avoidant, yet may harm ourselves on a daily basis through our ED...

Rachel W. said...

Way to go my dear! You will be fabulous as a full time writter! I am proud of you for taking the leap!

Amanda @ HopeHasAPlace said...

Wow, Carrie, this is wonderful! Congratulations on taking another huge step towards your dreams! That certainly takes a lot of courage. You also have the talent and smarts to back it up! I am so excited to see what these next months and years bring your way. I don't think you will ever regret the decision to leave the bakery, but at some point you probably would have regretted staying and not trying. So bravo for your decision, and always remember: "you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ;-)

Mimi said...

Yeay! Well done! Reading the "I'm a quitter" totally misled me;) You did amazing for yourself! Congratulations. x

Jennifer said...

Good on you! Very proud of you, asI have the same personality and mindset, and know just what this would take for me to do...so i applaud you!!
Anais Nin, aahh, my favourite quote, have it on my notice board, love it.
xxoo jennifer

James Clayton said...

Congratulations Carrie!

Remember, you're not a quitter. You're a human being in motion.

Exciting an inspiring! Whoop! :)

Carrie Arnold said...

Mimi,

I'm crafty like that- LOL!

James,

I'm a human in motion, but sadly still without that pegasus I was wishing for. ;)

Anna said...

Congrats! You remind me sooo much of myself

The Binge Diary said...

Congrats!

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote



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