Sometimes peace and trust feel so overrated. Back in February of 2013, after six months of sheer frustration in my job, my husband and I decided that I would leave said job in April and begin working on my Masters in May. It felt so wrong and so right simultaneously. We knew I was supposed to go to grad school and when we found an affordable option, we decided to jump on it. But not working just felt plain irresponsible.
I relished the thought of leaving my job. I truly hated it. The experience was one I will never forget. I truly grew in an aspect of leadership that was uncomfortable yet necessary. Looking back, it was exactly where I was supposed to be. On my last day, I was all smiles. I sent out final emails and forced my replacement to run the office. I made jokes with the student aid that had worked for me whom I grew to absolutely adore. I drove away that afternoon, after turning in my parking tags, and felt complete and utter excitement. I had 3 weeks before I started my first class and I welcomed the break whole-heartedly. I spent those three weeks eating ridiculously fattening food and becoming best friends with Ina Garten and her many luscious recipes. I took naps in the middle of the afternoon and had lunch dates with friends who I just hadn’t had an opportunity to see in too long. But in this moment of bliss, I knew I was avoiding myself. I had been trudging through so much mud without washing it off that I was caked in layers and layers of job filth that were so thick that I was unrecognizable. I was like the great swamp thing of bad experiences that I never dealt with.
It wasn’t until June that I began to work through my identity issues. Who am I without a job? It’s a difficult thing to realize. It’s hard to feel like you’re not contributing to life, but it’s even more difficult to realize that your self-worth had somehow become tied to it. Little by little, I began to shed the weight of the things that had happened in the last 6 months, and then the year before that, and the five years before that. Then, little by little, I began to look like me again. I found myself through long walks in my neighborhood, listening to Alexi Murdoch and breathing in the heat that comes with a July afternoon in Tulsa. I found myself as I worked on schoolwork, reading chapter after chapter of homework next to our neighborhood pool. Most importantly, I was being reminded why I was created, who I was and Whose I was.
I will forever remember the summer of 2013 as the one I learned self-discipline. I began to focus on my personal health in every aspect of my life: physical, mental, and spiritual. In 18 weeks, I had shed 40 pounds of weight through exercise and swapping hamburgers and malts for lettuce wraps and smoothies. I learned so much through each and every one of my grad classes. More than anything, I have learned to be me again. To be content with where I am, to understand that life will have frustrations, but that social media is not the place to broadcast them. I learned that it’s ok to be me; even and especially when it means I’m not like anyone else. I have grown so much; I have become “me” again.