Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.


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FREEDOM

This past Friday July 4th was Independence Day in the United States, when we celebrate our independence from the United Kingdom after the American Revolution. As is typical on this national holiday, the weekend saw lots of fireworks, parties and barbecues. Traffic in Los Angeles was lighter, the beaches more crowded, and people generally seemed more relaxed.

I was quietly celebrating for personal reasons too as Thursday, July 3rd, was my last day at work.

Quitting is something I had been thinking about for years but wasn’t prepared to do for a variety of reasons. I was still grieving the loss of Kaz and unable to concentrate. I didn’t have a plan for what to do after I quit. I was afraid of being on my own. I knew I wanted to write full-time, but wanted at least one “break” before I could justify (to myself) making such a big step. So, I kept plugging away with my writing and patiently waiting for the deepest grief to work its way through me.

Slowly, I started to feel stronger, more focused. Then this year I took a writing workshop, met a bunch of new writer friends, and sold a couple of personal essays to Modern Loss and Narrative.ly — the latter essay leading to my first book agent.

None of these things made me any money to speak of, but that’s not how I defined the “break.” To me, the “break” was a sign (in the form of a significant opportunity or development) that would communicate, unequivocally, that I was on the right path. The events and momentum of the past few months gave me that sign.

By leaving my job, I’m taking a huge leap of faith and jumping off the ledge of security. To say I’m jumping without any fear would be a lie. But I relate to fear differently than I used to. Before I would have been paralyzed by it, or I would have confronted it to try to ‘understand it better.’

Now I move forward with only the slightest nod of acknowledgement. I know the fear (and danger) is there, but I don’t give any energy to it. What would be the point? I’m only interested in giving energy to things that will help me achieve my goals.

When Kaz died, I decided the most important thing in the world is to live an authentic and productive life. For me, that means operating at 100% of my true self and potential 100% of the time (or as close as possible). This is a large part of why I left my former job. It wasn’t a bad place to be. I’ll miss the people I worked with A LOT. But it wasn’t me.

Now that I’m out, I don’t take my new freedom lightly. On the contrary, it comes with enormous responsibility. Technically, I’m free to do whatever I like with my time. I don’t have to punch in and out like I used to. I have no supervisors, and no threat of being reprimanded or fired.

But I see my new reality like this:

  • My new job is being a writer.
  • I am my new boss.
  • The business is me (my career).
  • I cannot be fired, but if I fail to live up to my responsibilities, the business will fail.
  • Everything I do from hereon is a business decision.

One day, I might have supervisors again. But for now, it’s all on me.

I believe I can do it.