Quitting (Again)

December 17, 2009

Dear Stella,

I am that person in a restaurant. I study the menu for however much time I am given. Best to not give me too much time, for it will only complicate matters. Spinach salad with fresh strawberries. Mmmm. I picture an abundance of green. I feel the berry’s sweet body split in my mouth. But what about the grilled cheese? That browned, crispy crust? Or the butternut squash soup, a veritable winter treasure?

There’s no telling what I’ll choose until I choose. I fully commit myself, at one point or another, to almost everything on the menu. Only the presence of the server and the pressure of a deadline will force a decision, not because I am unhappy with the choices, but because I so clearly see myself with all of them.

All this is to say, I drove to work on Monday fully committed to rescinding my resignation. This was, of course, after the meeting in which my managers apologized to me for the way they treated me, listened to my complaints and suggestions, and asked what they could do to change my mind about leaving.

When I got in the car, I was absolutely committed to the plan you and I had discussed. It was a good plan. No, a great plan. I say yes to coming back. I take the week and a half off they were willing to give me. I buy myself some time.

But I hadn’t even made it over the Bigelow Bridge when I knew; I just knew. All that self-torture of the weekend—my little pea brain running itself into mad circles, getting thicker and thicker into its brambled torment—just ended.

I am so, so done here.

Quitting (again!) after the managers ask me to stay is not the safe thing to do; it’s not the reasonable thing to do, and it very well might not be considered a sane thing to do. Who leaves a job in a recession with so much debt, and with no back-up plan?

I do.

If strength is endurance; if strength is sustaining marathon physical difficulty; if strength is resisting, denying, withholding; if strength is pressing against the self with all one’s might, then I am a sissy of ginormous proportions.

But if strength is a matter of doing the thing whose importance is felt but not easily seen; if strength is doing the crazy thing that makes sense to no one, perhaps not even to you, you just know it needs to be done and sometimes this thing can appear selfish and sometimes this thing can appear self-destructive, and sometimes this thing may cause your loved one stress, and only you know that it is better in the long run because what can be better for love, really, than a lover who takes care of herself and does the necessary thing to be the best she can be, the most alive she can be? And if strength is a matter of saying “Yes!” to the self when the self is clamoring to be heard above the “reasonable” negations, then I am a fucking she-woman right now.



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