I have put this blog post off for a while now and when I get down into it there are several reasons. I think reason number one is that I am a bit embarrassed. I haven’t really ever quit anything, every time I think about quitting something I think back to a conversation I had with my dad. This is going to make him look like one of the devils from Dance Moms but you all know my dad is a neat guy so just let him have this one. I was bawling my eyes out on our couch because I didn’t want to go to basketball practice (I didn’t like being chased for something like a ball, too much stress in my young 8 year old life). He sat me down and began tying my shoes (a little aggressively but I can’t blame him I must have been pretty annoying as a child, now that I think about it) and he grumbled to me, “You’re a Graves you don’t quit.” As I watched my little white tennies bounce around I grimly thought to myself running away was my only escape (cue dramatic music and a movie scene that slowly zooms in on my watering sad eyes). I made it through that season and switched to sports that I wasn’t chased in (volleyball and track) and I made it out okay, but still every time I think about quitting my dad’s voice echoes in my ears, “You’re a Graves, we don’t quit.” This time, this was different; I had to do something for me.
The other reasons I have been putting this post off is that this situation is just hard to explain, there is no way to really put into words how difficult this decision was for me. I have cried A LOT, and not really in times that were expected. It happened when I wasn’t ready, like when Trev and I were going down to the lake and I was driving (a bit over the speed limit if I am going to be honest) barely seeing through my tears and shaking the wheel with my sobs. Trevor hasn’t ever held on to the Oh Shit handle in my car tighter I don’t think and I laugh at the thought of someone peering into the window of the car and wondering what the hell was going on. My familyis tired of hearing about it, I know my friends are, everyone just wanted me to woman up and make a decision. I have lost sleep, I have interrupted my eating and work out schedules, and I felt myself slipping back down to a darker place. Being torn internally is not a fun thing and I should know I literally have an internal tear in a tendon between my hip and spine. I guess by now you all want to know what the hell I am talking about. I quit my masters program.
When you read this I hope you drop your coffee cup and spit out the contents onto your computer screen in shock. Just kidding, I know this probably isn’t a surprise to a lot of people. But for me it is completely out of character. I was really stuck on the "supposed to's" like I was supposed to be in law school, I was supposed to be groomed for political office, I was supposed to be in Washington already fighting for women's rights. Those are what kept me up at night. Those are what struck fear into every fiber of my being, that I was letting myself and those around me down. It boiled down to a project that I was assigned in my statistics class. I had every intention of doing it, and I knew I was fully capable of doing so, I just didn’t want to. That sounds so weird for me because I love school but I just plain freaking didn’t want to do it. I sat at my desk and shut down staring at some succulents on my desk, not even entirely sure how long I was there. I was paralyzed by my inability to give a shit (sorry for the cussing, I will put PG 13 ratings on my blog posts from now on). It finally dawned on me, I was miserable. This is dangerous territory for me, I was depressed for most of my college career dealing with the injuries, weight gain, and illnesses, so at any sign that my equilibrium is off, it worries my tremendously. I dreaded doing home work, I had no desire to read 400 pages of work even though it may be interesting, and the things I liked most (the long drive where I got to listen to photography pod casts and saying I was in an elite program) didn’t have anything to do with the actual degree. I was there because I thought it was what I was supposed to do.
I texted my mom and told her I had reached my breaking point and that I needed out, and that very same day turned out to be the last day I could drop the classes. I filled out the forms and I was gone. Just like that. My tribe was shocked and it is taking them time to get used to my new plans and my new normal, and I am learning to offer them grace in that regard. But the most important thing is that I am happy and it feels right. Like all my ducks are in a row, quacking happily, and I am grounded again. I am not super religious but I do believe in the Universe responding to good and bad energy. When you put good out there you get good back or something like that, and I got a little reinforcement from the universe. As soon as I dropped the program I booked two weddings with ideal clients. Just like that they popped into my inbox and booked in 24 hours as if to say at least you have this income to survive off of if you never book another client and have to admit defeat. For now, my life is a little different; it looks like saving money and paying off debt. It also looks like being glued to my computer and social medias and pouring every ounce of my soul into photography and it feels amazing. It also means investing in myself and my business, which will be exciting to announce later.
I know that I could still fail but at least I will have failed knowing that it wasn’t for lack of trying. Thanks for listening and if you are on the edge of doing something brave, let me be the one to tell you, its worth it. But the saying is wrong, you don’t need to take a leap of faith off that cliff. You don’t have to be quick and daring, you can step off the cliff slowly and with grace, knowing you have thought about your decision. You still end up doing the brave thing and I promise you it will be amazing. Either you learn a lot from it or you succeed, you win either way. So take these cliché words of wisdom, from a young woman who has very little wisdom, and do something for yourself today that you normally wouldn’t do.
Until next time,