Almost one year ago to the day I quit my high paying, “prestigious” job with the Government to focus on the development of Forget Me Not Advocacy Group, work on my book, write more, and, basically, live life on my terms.
I felt trapped and it was almost as if I had never made a decision based on my desires as an adult. I had, of course, but it was overshadowed by what my husband wanted, what I believed was expected of me, and what I believed was the responsible route in life. In all of it, I gained a lot of experience and learned a lot about what I wanted and what I didn’t want. In landing the Government job, I proved to myself that I could do just about anything I put my mind to. It was no cake-walk and required more of me than I ever thought I would survive through. But, survive I did. More importantly, however, the time with that job overlapped with coming out of my abusive marriage and learning to live with and for myself.
Leaving that position and venturing out “on my own” was a huge step for me. I gave up my job security, income, benefits, and retirement to follow my heart. I don’t regret a thing. This year, however, has taught me a number of lessons I wasn’t seeking, and has shown me that we are constantly evolving. Our wants, our needs, and our realities change with every day that goes by, even if on a microscopic level.
My biggest lesson, by far, has been learning to deal with my fear – or perception – of failure. The creation of Forget Me Not Advocacy Group was build on emotion and a dream. I imagined being able to do what so many others have tried to do; to build a nonprofit that was sustainable where I could put all of my energy into creating change.
Two important things happened…
- Forget Me Not Advocacy Group was created. We formed a board, we were going to events to educate the public on domestic violence, had a handful of workshops with teens to help them recognize abuse before it starts, and I was speaking at various venues.
- In all that we were doing, society expected us to do it for free. There are no funds for a small non-profit. At first, this seemed an obstacle to overcome. But, as the months ticked by and my savings dwindled, I came to the sad reality that I would have to find a job that actually paid.
This terrified me of course. Because I knew that by taking a full-time job, even one that I loved, I would have to scale back what I was doing with the non-profit considerably. I started looking to other ways I could share my message of hope, healing, and education that was feasible with a job (it’s hard to teach summer camp and run classes at schools when you are working). The idea of a podcast came to mind and writing is always something that can be done around a planned day.
But I still needed a source of income, and towards the end of June, it came through. I got a position teaching children English online. Of course, they are all in China, so my schedule did a complete flip. And, with that, I seemed to have lost control of my time management skills and focus. As I say to my students when they are late for class, “I’m still here, but my camera is off.” I am still here and hope to find the balance I need and want soon.
My hope is to find a way to continue writing, educating, and putting an end to domestic abuse while working full time. It may not be what I originally dreamed, but I know this is just another path I will learn to travel in my journey.