Friday, July 16, 2010

Growing Pains

Over the past two weeks, I've had to make some big decisions. I've discovered how I work.

I decided to turn down a teaching position in NYC and the part as a lead in a new children's musical and move to Utah.

This was agonizing. But, I've discovered how I approach things in life.

I'm a heartbreaker.

I always saw myself as the heartbreakee. I choose something that might be great. I throw myself into it. Everyone involved sees me as entirely committed, invested. This is how I work. BUT--with work, with love, with all decisions--if after committing entirely to the decision--after making trips to NYC on my own dime, acquiring employment, reading scripts, learning parts, investing time and money and time and money--if after all of this, I realize that this choice isn't best for me-- I have no problems walking away.

This makes me the heartbreaker.

Most people approach things cautiously. They tentatively gauge whether something is good for them BEFORE they commit to the idea wholeheartedly. While I was assuring and making trips to NYC, I was never quite sure if I was exactly what the producers wanted for the part. I felt involved and I felt necessary, but I was never sure of their commitment to me as an individual. I certainly never saw them offer to offset any of my costs. They saw me committing whole heartedly, and they eagerly accepted all I had to give--thinking that I would give without expectation of anything in return.

This is how many of my relationships have been. If I decide I love, I do my best to love unconditionally and without expectation. At work, I give my time to volunteer, tutor, work with struggling students, conduct orientations, etc. I am happy to give without expectation, but I will never stay in a situation if at the end of the day, I don't come out on top.

I just quit my job of three years during a recession because after three years of giving, I still haven't been hired on as full-time faculty. I still don't have health benefits. I fully committed. I gave everything I could. And out of respect for myself, I quit.

I turned down the offer in NYC because they weren't offering enough money. The job at the university is about 1/4 of what I'm used to making--in Manhattan. I have no intention of giving my time and my talent for so little in return.

While I am in a friendship, a relationship, a job--I give. I commit. And I probably come across as needy and willing to give more than I ought to. This is my way of being "good at" the relationship. I am often in a vulnerable position.

But I'm not. Because I know how to walk away.

In this way, I go from being the naive hearbreakee, to the heartbreaker.

Someday, I'd like to have a job where I give my best, and I get the best in return--or at least health insurance. I'm working on having a relationship where I have the same, but hey--aren't we all? There's the eternal struggle. I guess I need to work on expressing my needs. I kinda suck at that. Instead, I give my best. And if I don't get everything back--I walk away. Done and done.

I'm striving to find a happy balance. My student shared a quote yesterday, "Never allow someone to be your priority while you're just their option."

I am especially bad at living up to these words. Rather than learning to live these words, I simply leave situations where I am not a priority, hoping to someday find that pie in the sky.

This isn't to say I regret any of the decisions that I've made this week--but perhaps I wouldn't have needed to make these changes if I had just learned to demand more for myself in the beginning.

It's a new start. I need to learn to demand more for myself--not because I'm callous--but in an effort to invest in something long term. I have to eliminate the option of walking away, and build a new life. This is going to take some serious growing pains. Uggh.


Salmon Tolman Family said...

Amazing. You sound so level-headed and I'm extremely impressed with your ability to make decisions in order for YOU to be the most important part in your life! BRAVO!

Kjersti said...

I, for one, am excited you will be in Utah. :)

Miss Heather said...

I too am super excited you'll be here!! And that quote totally describes me... I'm terrible at that too!!