Luckily, nights like that ended after a few more days, but the sheer amount of work put into raising a puppy (mostly by myself, too) was too much for me to handle. It wasn't what I expected. I went into it too blindly. Suddenly I felt trapped and stuck and powerless and the feeling was all too familiar. I was replaying a pattern I knew too well. Eventually, after about eight more weeks, I decided it: I wasn't going to keep her. I put the word out, I shed a few tears, I talked with countless people who were interested, nothing seemed to be working, nobody was following through. I still felt stuck with her, despite how cute she was and how much she was growing on me.
I remember one Wednesday when things felt interminable and awful. And something shifted. I was talking to my mentor and she asked me how much longer I felt I could keep Mabel. Without hesitation I said This weekend. This is the last weekend I can handle it. Beyond that feels impossible.
And just like that, I drew my line. I stepped into my power and it felt right and good and there really weren't any other options: this was it. It was happening. I didn't know how, but it was. It would. It had to.
A friend at work knew a lady who knew a lady and before I knew it, I had met with a woman at the dog park who wanted to take her. Only she couldn't take her for at least another week, and that wasn't even definite. I knew that felt like a stretch, to go past that line I had set for myself even by just a few days, and then my parents decided they'd keep her. That Sunday evening, I unofficially handed Mabel over to them and got the best of both worlds. I can't tell you the amount of relief I felt in that moment.
I drew my line, and it happened.
Things clicked into place. Everything lined up. I was living from an energetic that made it happen. It was powerful and poignant and I've had that feeling stored in my cells ever since.
Because I want it to happen again. I've been waiting for it to happen again, for me to feel into a definite time and space for quitting my job. I've been waiting for it to come for a year and a half now -- in 2010, I thought it'd have to happen by that fall, then by the spring (no later than March! maybe April at the latest!), then when that didn't happen, I settled on last fall, and when that didn't happen (even though I shifted into a freelance job and made some movement there) I knew that the spring felt right. It felt hard to trust what really felt right after all these months of "fails," and yet -- this spring really stuck. It felt possible, I felt movement, I was excited for something but I didn't know what. As this spring has progressed, my faith has waned a little, but it still felt right -- I knew I'd be leaving my job soon.
And then, just the other day, it magically appeared: my line. A definitive, real, hard boundary that I felt into and leaped upon. Suddenly, magically, just like that, I decided I would work at the daycare no farther past that point. It was drawn. Etched pretty permanently. In my mind, keeping my job past that point felt impossible. I would quit before then.
This all feels new and scary and exciting and my vulnerability is still a little too raw to share my line here "out loud" -- perhaps I still don't have quite enough faith to trust that it'll happen. But it's there. It's here. I'm trying to trust it. Soon enough, I'll quit my job.
Talk about freedom. Talk about exhilaration. Talk about fear. Oh my.
Getting real: Today I was having a particularly lousy day, filled with irritating coworkers and never ending negativity and sick children. I tend to blow these things out of proportion, to immediately slide into feelings of being in the wrong job and wanting to leave so badly and being better than this and being disappointed I was still there, instead of just writing it off as a bad day. I wanted to go in the bathroom and cry. I choked back tears. We were outside on the playground and as I turned to close the gate behind me to hide my coming tears, I heard screeches from hawks circling overhead, just beyond the trees, over the mountain. Hawks. My totem. An emblem of freedom and strength. I shaded the sun from my eyes and watched them for a minute, listening to their calls.
Yes. Of course.
Soon enough, I'll reach my line. It'll be there, waiting for me. And I'll quit.