the moment that I quit

You are a quitter.

Those are the words that were told to me several weeks ago.

Those were the words spat at me, without thought or care or worry, but to attack me.

And for one brief brief moment they stung.

And then I remembered.

You see – I’ve never wanted to be a quitter.

I was the one who would fight until her legs gave out in basketball. I’d practice my scales on the piano until my fingers ached. I’d study until the wee hours of the morning so I could keep my grades up. I read ever book on childbirth and parenting and tried to check every box. I so feared quitting. Like majorly feared being in the category of quitting. And quitting morphed into motherhood and being a wife and being a professional and a friend.

So instead of remembering me in life I wanted to create the greatest story ever of a woman who persevered. Year after year after year while her life crumbled away – I became the woman who didn’t quit.  I became the one who said yes over and over again when I really needed to say no. I became the one who thought if only I tried just a bit harder things would get better.

But it slowly slowly, like the rocks lining a shore, kept crumbling away.

It didn’t seem to matter how much I fought or tried.

Until one day, one day, when I said enough.

Enough to the lies and to the financial burdens hidden and expected by others to pay. Enough to me feeling like I didn’t have a voice and couldn’t say anything. Enough to my dreams being dashed. Enough to me worrying all the time about keeping up with everyone else. Enough about keeping the facade looking like it the utopian ideal of perfection. Enough, enough.  Enough.

I quit.

I quit pretending and started fighting.

I quit hiding.

I quit putting myself on the back burner. I quit smiling and inside feel like I was fading away. I quit hoping my power would stay on. I quit freaking out about counting pennies at the grocery store. I quit living a lie.

And my friends, it wasn’t easy. I was a hider of my life. I could arrange things in such a way and lived under such a barrage of I’m fine’s that I totally lost what real life and normal actually meant to be. I lived thinking that normal were bills being ignored and me being wrong when I feared the IRS. I lived not knowing how to get groceries and how to parent and how to speak up. But no one really knew. Because I was a hider. I didn’t want to be that one. That woman who quit. So I worked crazily hard to hide. Until one day, weeks before quitting began that someone told me that what I was living wasn’t normal.

They saw through the cracks in my marriage that I worked so hard to keep patched. They saw my heart in the middle of the messes and bills and identity and they told me to fight. And fighting, while it didn’t seem normal to anyone else in the entire world almost, mean looking like I quit.

So, I guess, in a way, I did.

I think I was kind of dying inside slowly. I loved my kids and loved being a mom and loved writing, but I was suffocating under the weight of broken promises and piles of bills and late notices and no solution in site and my freedoms being slowly whittled away.

So I quit. And in quitting I started living.

And in that moment I quit living the perceived ideal life and said enough and bravely stepped out and started fighting.

Fighting for what was right and for the truth and for bills to paid and for my voice to be heard and me to be respected.

And in that time I lost a lot of friends. A lot of people thought I went crazy. And I was called a quitter. Many, many, many times.

But, friends, I write to you about my journey of quitting because sometimes quitting actually means doing what is right. The thing that I feared most in life – the idea of quitting – has actually been the journey that needed to be walked. I needed to no longer fear money and remove the layers of words manipulated that hurt me and, well, I needed to be vulnerable to heal.

Sometimes being a mom and a woman means doing really really hard things. Speaking up when we’re afraid. Stopping volunteering so we can spend more time with our family. Shaking up your life like I did. And sometimes it’s really easy to allow others to label our actions. To call us quitters or afraid or weak or failures or all of that. And it’s easy to allow that pressure to press into our self.

But you and me at the core aren’t quitters when we quit something to fight for what is right. We’re instead standing up, brushing off the hurts and worries and are pressing forward. And more times than not, it’s pressing forward without a clear direction of how we’re going to make it, but we just fight.

We fight hard.

Sometimes life throws at us expectations and a guidebook that rarely looks like the real life guide book. Most of us don’t expect divorce like I went through. Or health issues. Financial issues. Friendship issues. Relationship issues. Rebelling kids. And sometimes, well sometimes, when we have to walk through those issues we so easily look at our lives and attach words like fail and quit and I don’t measure up to our existence. You know instead you should be attaching words to you like brave and hero and amazing.

So to all of you in the midst of your life journey I want to tell you the truth. The truth is that you are valuable and that your heart is important and that when you have to make hard choices that you should be proud because you are making choices and fighting. And don’t let anyone, and I mean anyone, call you a quitter.

I’m proud of you.

I don’t know if that matters or not. But often when I stand in front of a room of women and share my heart and story I get teary when I look out at all the faces looking up at me. I get teary because I see a room full of women daring to be vulnerable and real. Women that are tired of having to feel like they can never make a mistake. Women that want friends. Women that worry. Women that are tired. Women that show up.

There is so much power in that part. The showing up and fighting part.

I’m not a quitter. 

I’m a fighter.

And sweet friend, that is what I believe you are as well.

So don’t be perfect. Don’t expect to have all the answers. Don’t expect a life without the ups and downs. Instead learn as I have learned — to cherish the moments, to give ourselves and others grace and to press on. To press on and to quit putting ourselves on the back burner or ignoring things or avoiding doing the hard stuff because sometimes those storms are what we need to deal with.


If it wasn’t for storms there wouldn’t be the beauty of the rainbow.

In that moment I didn’t quit living. I quit the lie.

And in that I found life again.


12 Responses to “the moment that I quit”

  1. June 26, 2016

    Alicia Reply

    Thank you!!!!!

  2. June 26, 2016

    J Reply

    At the end you write “I’m proud of you. I don’t know if that matters or not.”
    I just want to say, thank you and yes, your words matter! Tonight they are a balm for my weary soul. Thank you for your vulnerability and honesty. So often your words have encouraged me to keep up the good fight. And so we journey onward!

  3. June 26, 2016

    Tracy Reply

    I started to sob reading this tonight. Thank you for acknowledging that it is brave to show up and fight for what is right, that it is okay to quit and to stop trying that 576th thing to make everything be okay. And that there is healing in finding a new normal.

  4. June 27, 2016

    Anna Reply

    Wow. I am so sorry you’ve been through so much. And I’m sorry it was your marriage that broke. For me, it took losing my first three babies to miscarriage before I “quit.” Actually, it was my husband that forced the issue after the third miscarriage. He demanded that I put together a spreadsheet of all my responsibilities with time required, who benefited, and personal priority. He even made me include time spent sleeping, eating, and grooming. Come to find out, I felt so unwell and stretched because I was massively over-committed. When I was done, he reviewed it and coldly, firmly said, “Pick five in addition to eating, sleeping, and grooming. But increase sleeping and grooming. You have until Friday to choose and inform the people that you will no longer be serving that way. If you have not chosen by then, I will choose for you.”

    Ouch. I was balled-fists, seeing-red FURIOUS!! I chose, but I made extremely sure everyone knew my “quitting” was his idea, not mine, and if they had a problem, they needed to take it up with him. Funny thing was, in the weeks that followed, I found I couldn’t stay mad at him. I began to feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s now been about eighteen years, and I can honestly say his actions were a blessing.

    Again, I’m sorry it’s your marriage that you’ve lost. I cannot imagine the pain of losing your dreams of a loving protector and best friend. I will be praying for you, sister. I pray God will be holding you close and being your champion, protector, husband, friend, counselor, provider, and so much more!!

  5. June 28, 2016

    Lori Reply

    This week.

    This is the first week that I said, “I surrender”. Those words, when I cried them, made me feel weak and empty.

    And I am not a quitter. They all – all the people who just sit on the sidelines, they say “no one has more positivity than you!” … but no one really knows. They just assume .. I’ve always been so positive in life, so surely this must be as easy to be as positive as everything else. So .. this week, this horrible awful week, when the finances hit the worst low … and my young beautiful girls looked at me and said through their pain “you are a stupid horrible mother and I wish you were never born ” ….. this is the week, I said, “I surrender, I give up” ~~ and then, this post.

    This post that talked about this friendships.

    This week, I have been writing an open letter to friends in my head. “To friends of someone going through divorce …”

    This week.

    Hear me when I say this though Rachel — Hear me. You inspired me. Although I disagree with you. I think you ARE a quitter. And you inspired me to look inside myself to be one too.

    I want to find out:

    What do I want to quit?
    What AM I quitting?
    What do I NEED to quit?

    Something has to give.
    Something is causing this breaking point.

    Everything you wrote .. the IRS, and more .. I need to quit something to make room for more. To “Find Joy” because I chose to make this break to get to what I call “the other side”. So I am inspired by your post ** TO SURRENDER ** … to surrender to these feelings that I felt this week to learn from them.

    To hear my girls, their pain, their needs.
    Not to give in to their pain, not to fall down WITH them.

    Thank you.
    THank you for helping me see that I *need* to quit.

    Thank you.

  6. June 28, 2016

    Marnie Reply

    Your words mean a lot. I am so broken right now. Not sure what to do next but hoping God will see me through…..

  7. June 29, 2016

    Gianna Reply

    I think this is what the book The Best Yes is trying to say. We don’t have to llive up to anyone else’s expectations.

    I recently told my neighbor that we couldnt’ come to her small neighborhood party because my kids needed a break. They were tired and the day had been long.
    So no, I didn’t live up to my committment, but that’s because I couldn’t do what someone else wanted me to do. (or even what I wanted to do) I chose to take care of my kids. That was what was the most important.

    I love this article. Thanks for it.

  8. July 1, 2016

    mimi Reply

    Came across this blog by searching “overwhelmed mom” im 23 yrs old my bbyboy 8mos. Being a mom is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have known what unconditional love is, yet being a mother has come with lots of losses, I graduated nursing school 2 yrs ago and still haven’t taken the boards for my RN licensed bc of financial issues and then my pregnancy. I have loss mostly all my friends bc of being a mother, while they are working, traveling, i am taking care of my bby. I have some help but its all me. I have loss my financial stability , bills piled up, school loan payments behind, and to top if all of my relationship with the father of my baby its bad to worst. Thinking about my life makes me feel like a loser and i just want to say thank you for sharing your situation and giving hope.

  9. July 3, 2016

    Debra Reply

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Perspective shift! As wept throughout reading this article my heart cried out! Help me Lord! We may not be walking the same path in lifes, but your words allowed my heart to cry out, something that has been long over due! Praying God’s most awesome Blessings for you & your family!

  10. July 4, 2016

    Shannon Reply

    THANK YOU! I was in desperate need of this tonight. I sit in my empty house (while my babies are with their Father, separated for 6months) and I had an emotional break down. Seeing everyone’s beautiful family pictures and smiles…missing my “beautiful family”. My “beautiful family” was a facade, it was an avalanche of lies and me trying to cover them all for him. It was tear stained pillows and closet breakdowns, it was me giving all I could give of me to a man that thought nothing of me. I am still trying to come to grips with the fact that I do not have to cover for him, which is why I haven’t filed yet. When I finally decide that I am worth more than his lies and manipulation and deceit maybe I can get this over with. Fact is- being alone scares me, I don’t want to be alone. I want to be held and needed, almost to the point that I would let him run over me the rest of my life, although he disgust me. I need help!

    Thank you for this article and I pray many blessing for you. You are AMAZINGLY STRONG and I am proud of you for making your way!

    • July 28, 2016

      Jennifer Reply

      Dearest, no woman needs a man.

      Me myself and I is all I’ve got in the end
      That’s what I found out
      And there ain’t no need to cry
      I took a vow that from now on
      I will be my own best friend!

      Think about who YOU want to be.
      And then be it!

      Do you want to please people who don’t even notice?
      Think about what YOU really want. And say it out loud!

      All the best to you! Be strong. Be brave. Eat chocolate 🙂

  11. September 12, 2016

    Barbara Alban Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    I loved when you said, “And in quitting, I started living.”

    I, too, don’t want to be seen as a quitter, but sometimes we have to recognize when to say no to certain things, right? Especially to those things that are not good for us.

    I love reading your blog. It’s inspiring!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions with us.

    More power to you…

    Take care,

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