Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Big Wide Streets

Its been over two months since I last updated this lovely little space on the interwebs. I have no apologies, no regrets, and feel no obligation to explain why, yet I desire to create a space where I have the freedom to do so. The past two months have been filled with big decisions, piles of boxes, visitors, family gatherings, birthdays, and acts of bravery.

With all that being said, I am back in Seattle now. I made the brave decision to quit. To quit a degree that I was months away from finishing. I finally started listening to my sleepless self, up at 3am baring all honesty "I don't want to do this, I don't think I ever did." I didn't pull up my boot straps and finish, I gave up and I quit. And it was so freeing. I was unhappy, and I chose to do the thing that would make me happy. I chose this degree out of fear, stuck with it out of fear, and tried to be as successful as possible out of fear. All the while I groaned and complained and had panic attacks and felt out of place. I was afraid of disappointing people but I soon learned that these people didn't exist and even if they did it didn't matter anymore. In the end I got a degree, but a simple one, that at one time wouldn't have met the high standards I set for myself.

You see, for 5 years I went through this lovely little thing called college. College was always an expectation for me, it was without question that I go and I truly wanted to be there and make something of myself. I have always been a good student and as much as I like to think I am a carefree person, I stressed out about getting a 4.0 throughout my entire education. I wanted to be educated and intelligent. I wanted to be compassionate and use my education to serve. All good things, all things I am grateful for. 
Where I went wrong was in the pressure and in the hustle. College was a messy place of uncertainty amidst so much pressure to be certain. I have been in school and working my ass off since 2009. Spring breaks were work, Christmas breaks were work, Summer breaks were for work and more practicum hours. "No breaks," I said, "I am not the girl who takes breaks from school." My education became this quest for a piece of paper that would eventually give me all the things I wanted in life. In the midst of all of this; of major changes, and transferring, and taking a ridiculous amount of units to get done on time, I got lost. I became miserable and impatient and angry. I wasn't happy in school, I didn't want to be studying what I was studying but I was good at it so what did it matter? I would be wasting my gifts right? But I hated what I was doing, I hated playing guitar, I hated singing in front of people, and most of all I hated the pressure. It was 4 years of wanting to be anywhere but school. I never took a stand and I never quit, until now.

I have quit, I have given up, and it was the best and bravest thing I have ever done. I was one credit short (well in this situation 1 credit meant 800 hours of an internship), and it was still the best decision I ever made. 

What led me to this decision? It was a culmination of many things, some tiny, some not so tiny. It was the restless nights, the constant anxiety, the teeth grinding, the accelerated heart rates, the impatience, my feelings of discontentment. It was the need to find unhealthy control in my life because I felt as if school ruled over me. I took whatever I could find to control and I abused it. I have been hurtful to people I love and hurtful to myself. I have manipulated myself and my relationships to fit a mold that I didn't even want, but I felt that I had to have.
But the freedom and the joy and the wonder of this situation is that I didn't have to finish, I made a choice to let go and say no.
I would much rather have this be a time where I chose to respect and love myself than hold out for a piece of paper that I didn't even want in the first place and receive credentials that I planned on not even using.

Now I sit here in a little cottage in the middle of the city, content with the uncertainty that lies ahead. This is a season of waiting, waiting on job interviews, waiting on getting married, waiting on hearing God's voice for my future. But I am enjoying it all. I am enjoying the walks through my new neighborhood; on its big,wide streets where it seems that trees and gardens fill every empty crevice. I am enjoying quiet mornings on the back porch; drinking my coffee slowly and soaking in words from beautiful books. I am feeling lighter than I have in years, perhaps lighter than ever. So here's to new beginnings and the unknown that lies ahead.