One question I’ve gotten a bunch of times since announcing my ultimate Quit of Quits is “So, what are you going to call the blog now?”
For a while now, this blog has been mainly about my journey to leave the day job—the ups, the downs, the encouragement needed to keep going. But that’s not what the blog was meant to be originally—at least, it wasn’t all the blog was meant to be.
The tag line isn’t “Cordelia Calls It Quits: because day jobs suck” or “because the 9 to 5 is poo.” (Although I thoroughly believe in both of those statements.) No, the tag line since the beginning has been “because there are better things to do with your life.” And, now that I’ve gotten the behemoth Quit of the day job out of the way, I think it’s time to get back to some more of that.
Getting Back to CCIQ’s Roots
My About page (which needs a serious rewrite in light of recent career developments) lays out what I always envisioned this blog to be:
What exactly am I calling it quits to? To living on autopilot. To structuring my world around other people’s schedules and other people’s expectations. To resigning myself to a 9-5, bottom-line, lather/rinse/repeat life. And especially to the notion that that’s “just the way things are.”
While quitting the day job was a huge part of that journey, the ultimate underlying theme of the blog has always been about “setting myself on a mission to learn to live deliberately. To make intentional choices, to live an intentional life, and to try to make each day just a little bit closer to the life I’d like to live.”
That’s what I’m excited to get back to.
Because while I know many of you dear readers are side hustlers like I’ve been (and I’ll continue to include topics on that like I always have), CCIQ was meant to be about more than that alone. It was meant to be something simultaneously larger and more minute: living your life, on your own terms, intentionally and kick-assedly—and everything that entails.
Sometimes that means boldly declaring your beliefs in spite of who society wants to make you. Sometimes that means not letting stupid drivers get to you or letting go of the idea that you will ever care to read Infinite Jest just because the English geek in you feels you ought to.
It’s about little things, and big things, and making sure that every moment of the life you’re living is yours, fabulously and uncompromisingly.
So, with the Quit of Quits under my belt, that’s what the focus is going to be going forward. Freelancing and writing and all that jazz will, of course, be a part of it, because this is also the story of what it’s like to escape the world of corporate America and design your own career. But it’s also about living life, whatever that means to you, in the awesomest way possible.
So get ready for some more of that. ’Cause it’s coming.
Image: Sudden Fiction
Cordelia note: If this story resonates with you or makes you think of someone you know, please reach out for help. Self-harm is a serious mental disorder, and you do not need to go through it alone. Please see the resources listed at the end of this post for further information.
I am quitting self-harm. If you don’t know what that is, it is what it sounds like. Self-harm is defined as “the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions.” The most common forms are cutting, burning, and hair pulling.
There are many different reasons on why people self-harm. I started doing it just to feel in control of something. I could never control what happened in my past, but this I had control of. The pain would tell me that I was still alive. I wanted people to see know I felt on the inside, so I put it on the outside. I lost a close friend, my uncle, and my grandma all within 2 years. Being a child who was already depressed, this just made me spiral out of control. I tried gain control back by self-harming.
Many people don’t know this, but self-harm is an addiction. I have been doing it for around 6 years, and it is very hard to “quit,” just like any other addiction would be.
Moving past the pain
I am quitting because after a long night of being really depressed and upset not that long ago, I realized there are people out there struggling every day just like me. I didn’t want to feel pain anymore. Not physical or emotional. I knew that we all need help, and that if we all just keep doing what we are doing, then nothing will change.
That night, I wrote down “My Story” in a notebook my social worker gave me. It was 8 pages long. I decided to start “My Story” (the blog) about 2 days later. I started it to share my story with the world, while trying to help others and show them that they can overcome these issues as well. The My Story Facebook page is also a place where I post daily on how I am doing on my journey to recovery.
I saw a girl once at my high school who lifted up her shirt, and it was just cut after cut after cut—there were about 20 of them. And someone touched them and said “Cool.” NO! I thought. There is nothing cool about it. Ever since I started My Story, people have been very supportive. There are a few people who slip through the cracks and try to put me down, sometimes even my own family, but I just have to move past the few negative people and look to the 2,800+ supporters I have. Just because you have the same blood doesn’t mean you are family. I learned that the hard way.
Taking a stand, for myself
I have seen social workers on and off ever since I was around 15. I am almost 20 now. None of them seemed to help that much, if at all. Yes, I would stop self-harming for a few days, or a few weeks or maybe a month or so. But it always came back.
Right now, I am 136 days self-harm free. This time, I am doing things differently.
I still see a social worker, who I’ve seen for about 3 of the last 5 years, and she has helped me the most. She knows the most about me, and I feel best with her. Along with her, I decided to get extra help since I didn’t feel like it wasn’t working out completely. I now see a therapist alongside a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist prescribed me two medications. One is an antidepressant and the other is also an antidepressant but can also be used to help sleep, which is why she prescribed it to me.
Another thing I have learned is that you have to keep your mind busy when you feel like you want to self-harm. I do things like make bracelets, paint, and manage my FB page. There is a list of 99 things to do instead of cutting that is posted on my page. They all involve you doing something and keeping busy.
If you are someone who is struggling with self-harm, you are not alone. I know it may feel that way, but there are millions of us out there. If you need help, just reach out and I can promise you that someone’s hand will be there. Mine will be one of them. I talk to people every day that struggle, and I am there for all of my supporters every day.
Brittany Marie Carlton has suffered from depression ever since she was a child and from self-harm for about 6 years. She’s just a young lady living in MI trying to overcome these daily struggles. You can read her story on her blog, join her Facebook community to connect with others suffering from depression and self-harm, and follow her on Twitter @IceBox313.
Interested in submitting a Reader Quit of your own? Check out how here.
For Further Information:
If you’re interested in learning more about recognizing, treating, and coping with mental illness, here are some resources that I’ve found to be helpful. Don’t go it alone. There are so many of us out there ready to help, and seeing a professional is the first step towards recovery.
*This is part of a special series by Cordelia’s Mom entitled “Cordelia’s Mom Is Still Hanging in There” (“Cordelia’s Mom Is (the) S.H.I.T.” for short.)
My mother once told me that raising children is the hardest job anyone can ever have. At the time, Cordelia was all of a week old, so I thought, “Yeah, right, Mom.” But over the years, I’ve learned that, as usual, my mother was right.
I don’t know about other people, but in my small sphere of the world, no one I know has ever admitted to really understanding how to raise their own children. We all just kind of took it day by day, changing the game plan frequently as circumstances dictated. Sometimes things worked, and sometimes they didn’t.
Cordelia swears that I once threatened to beat her to death. I admit that I did break a wooden spoon in half by slamming it onto the kitchen table. I admit that I did entertain thoughts of using that spoon on the butt of my mouthy, stubborn brat—and that is EXACTLY why I slammed the spoon onto the table instead. I avoided physical pain, but apparently failed to avoid everlasting psychological scarring, for which I sincerely apologize. It was not one of my finer parenting moments.
As children grow, they naturally test their boundaries.
Children will push, and push, to the point where a parent might begin to have thoughts of orphanages or deep, watery canals. At this point, most children (sensing impending doom) will then back off. But there is always that one child who will give just one… last…final…shove! I won’t tell you which of my three girls was that child. I’ll let them figure it out. On any given day, it could have been any one of them.
Dealing with that child can result in meaningful, instructional conversations like these:
- CHILD: I don’t wanna and you can’t make me.
- ME: Wanna bet?
- CHILD (somewhat older): I’m going out with my friends and you can’t stop me.
- ME: Oh yeah? Wanna try me?
- CHILD (any age): I’m gonna call the cops and tell them how mean you are.
- ME: Go ahead—they’re parents, too.
(Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This one did work—big time.)
And there are rough spots.
My mother once told me, “When your child hurts, you hurt twice—once for her and once for you.”
When Cordelia’s apartment flooded and she lost everything she had worked so hard to obtain, I hurt for her. As her mother, I somehow felt guilty that I could not reverse an act of God to put everything back the way it was before the October Storm. All I could do was help her wade through the water to see what could be salvaged, and then let her move herself and her sodden possessions back into the family home until she could re-establish herself. I admit that once she succeeded in doing that, I was happy not only for her but for myself, because it eased some of the mother-guilt I was feeling.
A few years later, I was at work and received a call on my cell phone. It was my youngest daughter, who was sobbing and could only get out the words “I broke.” My heart stopped. Broke what? The car? A bone? The law? WHAT BROKE? She managed between sobs to tell me that she was at home, although she couldn’t stop crying long enough to tell me what had happened.
I probably violated every traffic law on the books to get to her that afternoon, only to discover that she had simply broken up with her first serious boyfriend, and she was devastated. After I got past the urge to kill her for scaring me like that, I comforted her as best I could. I wanted to gut the slimy bastard who had hurt my child. When your child hurts, you hurt—and sometimes it involves extreme anger against the person responsible for that hurt.
And then there was Dan.
My second daughter and Dan were meant to be together. Dan’s mother and I were hearing wedding bells. But God had other plans. The night my daughter called to tell me that Dan had been diagnosed with chordoma cancer, she cried and I cried. Later, I continued to cry. I have never, ever felt so inadequate. I knew what she and Dan were about to face, and I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t protect her. I couldn’t keep the hurt away from her. I couldn’t call up a miracle and stop the cancer process. I could only be there when she needed her mother.
We watched Dan fight his battle and eventually succumb to his illness. At the funeral, Dan’s mother and I comforted each other—mom to mom. We were hurting for Dan, for my daughter, for each other, and for all of Dan’s family and friends. Sometimes when your child hurts, you hurt more than twice. Sometimes you hurt for everyone involved in the whole senseless, ugly mess.
Somehow everyone got through, and somehow everyone continues to trudge along.
Parenthood is a long, hard, never-ending journey.
There are stumbles, but most of us manage to avoid the major potholes and to weave around the ongoing construction. Our sons and daughters grow up and become parents themselves, passing us on the road as we slow down. Their sons and daughters continue the journey further. That’s the way it should be, and pretty much the way it’s been since Adam and Eve. (Eve: “Are apples good for children? Help me out here, God, I really don’t know what I’m doing…”)
My three girls are all grown and on their own, but I still worry about them. I worry that they will get in a car accident, I worry that they will get sick, I worry about whether they have enough money and food. It’s all part of being a parent. I even worry about them worrying about me as I grow older and more decrepit.
At the time I wrote this, my own mother was 92 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s and cancer, and in a nursing home awaiting her eventual transfer into Hospice. She had recently been in the hospital, and I drove the two hours to see her there. I then decided to stay overnight so that I could sit with her that evening and the next morning until other family members could visit. The poor woman had IVs in both arms and monitors and tubes simply everywhere that monitors and tubes could be placed. She was uncomfortable and confused. But motherhood does not acknowledge uncomfortable and confused.
I am 61 years old and have been taking care of myself for a long, long time. Nevertheless, my mother found it necessary to warn me of the dangers of staying alone in a hotel room, and to be sure no strange man followed to rob or assault me. (Really, Mom—I’m not exactly a bikini model!).
And, finally, there is the entire, worldwide parenthood community.
My mother once told me, “Once you have children, you will always have something to talk about at parties. Everyone who has kids has the same concerns and the same stories to tell.”
As usual, my mother was right. If nothing else, raising children creates lots of new stories to tell.
Like this one.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms, mothers-to-be, and mommy-hopefuls. Enjoy your day—you deserve it!
ADDENDUM: My mother (Cordelia’s grandmother) passed away peacefully on April 29, 2013, just 3 weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. Rest in peace, Rosalie. We will all miss you, but you will never, ever be forgotten.
Cordelia’s mom, always, welcomes your comments, and can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a guest post. If you’re interested in submitting a guest post to CCIQ, shoot me a line at email@example.com to discuss the details.
How many times have you applied for a job but had your application turned down? It’s a crushing feeling, especially when you think you’ve done enough to land the position. However, the one thing you mustn’t do is let it get you down. You must carry on regardless if you want to your job search to be successful.
To avoid hindering your applications
If you apply for a job thinking you won’t get it, that it’s a waste of time doing so, you’re already defeating yourself. You won’t put as much effort into the application. Potential employers can only say yes or no, but don’t make that decision for them. You’ve nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by applying. So make that application.
To avoid alarming interviewers
Interviewers are perceptive souls. If you’re jaded and unenthusiastic, your body language will them so, whereas entering interviews with a smile and a spring in your step is a much nicer way to be and conveys a better attitude.
Besides, the interviewer already thinks you’re the person for the job; they just want you to confirm it. Be calm. Be confident. Use positive words and phrases. They’ll be much keener to give you the job. They like positive people. (Most people do, in fact.)
But how do you stay positive?
When you’re looking for a job, you need to act, not speak, to stay positive—and positive people succeed. Sitting in front of the TV wallowing will get you nowhere. Getting up and out there, determined to make it, can get you anywhere.
Here are a few tips:
Remember that it’s not going to be forever
Job searching is tough, and sometimes it feels as if you’ll be unemployed forever. You won’t. The good things come to those who wait. When that job offer comes—and it will come, trust me— you’ll realize it’s all been worth it.
Treat yourself now and then
Don’t pull the purse strings so tight that they snap. Dip into your current account occasionally and bolster your happiness levels. Not having a job doesn’t mean you have to forfeit all pleasure in life. You’ve earned it for searching so hard, so enjoy!
Change your perspective and see it as an opportunity to do something new, to find a new challenge. Some people take teaching jobs in the Middle East, Asia, or Latin America. Others go out and work in the fields in Denmark or Holland. They never regret it. Having a job isn’t just about paying the bills; it’s about building character, achieving goals, and having experiences.
Again, don’t just sit around watching TV and waiting for the phone to ring. Use the free time to exercise, whether it’s a gentle jog, leisurely swim, or an adrenaline-pumping workout. Either way, you’ll feel good about yourself and be in a better frame of mind to search for a job.
Job hunting can be a trying experience, and there can be times when you may lose hope, but rather than see the glass as half empty, see it as half full. This is half the battle when looking for a new job. Though you might feel it, not everyone who wanders is lost, and by thinking positively, you have more control over your destiny than you think. So relish the challenge—because it’s one that, with a positive mental attitude, you can only win.
You can find more useful tips and ideas on coping with all of life’s challenges and frustrations here.
This is a guest post.
Image: IIP State