Growing up, I was the queen of giving up. Teachers would get so frustrated with me because I would get great grades… when I turned in my assignments. When I attended class. I was so afraid I’d do a bad job I wouldn’t do any job at all. I quit many jobs when the going got tough (I only lasted a week as a waitress and never even quit, I just gave up on showing up), same with friendships.
Sophomore year of college I started working at a shop near campus that sold fraternity and sorority merchandise. I was looking for beer money, I ended up with a new outlook on life. The shop owner, Ron, didn’t ever let me give up. He called me out on bad behavior, literally called me up when I’d call out “sick” from work. He kept giving me more responsibility and I thrived, becoming a manager and even chatting with him about buying him out when he was ready to retire. Through my time working for Ron I learned a lot of life lessons and became a stronger and better person. Ron passed away my senior year from melanoma and it broke my heart, but I didn’t give up and continued to manage his shop until I realized under new ownership it was no longer a healthy or enjoyable environment. I stayed past my welcome, thinking leaving was giving up. But with Ron’s passing I learned another valuable life lesson – quitting and giving up are different things.
Quitting is active, giving up is passive. When you quit something, you make a decision, you initiate change. They say quitters never win, but I disagree. Those who give up never win, but those who decide to quit what is unhealthy or unproductive are winners.
I quit my job at the fraternity shop, and took a job at a clothing boutique where I started my education in apparel, merchandising, styling, and sales. Quitting that job helped me grow, find my passion, and get to where I am now. If I didn’t quit and make a change, I would have never started Wardrobe Oxygen.
And now it’s 20 years later and Wardrobe Oxygen is one of my proudest achievements. Over a decade of my life is in the pages of this blog. I went from being someone who was so scared of rejection that she wouldn’t turn in term papers or pursue close friendships to someone who literally shares warts and all to thousands of strangers on a daily basis. Wardrobe Oxygen continued where Ron left off, making me brave, making me proud of my talents, and helping me find my voice and my community. I never gave up, not when I had a baby and my whole life turned upside down, not when loved ones died, not when my dominant arm broke… twice, not when I got torn apart on message boards. Just writing this paragraph put a lump in my throat but a grin on my face. I made this, and I never gave up.
But lately, life has been hard, and not the fun kind of hard. The kind of hard that brought back migraines and panic attacks and insomnia. The kind of hard where I have to forego sleep and time with my family to keep all the balls up in the air. I went to the doctor and guess what he told me guess what he told me. He actually told me something very similar to what Sinead O’Connor sang – not that I needed to have fun no matter what I did, but that I needed to quit my job. That I was being a martyr doing the day job and the blog. Why was I doing both, why not pinch a few pennies and go full time with Wardrobe Oxygen?
Because I write about work fashion and I won’t know work fashion so intimately.
Because bloggers end up sucking when they quit their day jobs.
Because I need insurance for my family, and with the current political climate I worry about healthcare.
Because I need job security, what will happen if the blogging bubble bursts?
Because my arm broke twice and I needed disability. What if that happens again?
Because I’m 42 years old and am a responsible adult. And responsible adults have jobs.
Because I have a really great job many would kill to have.
Because I’m being a little bitch and if I better managed my time I wouldn’t be so stressed.
Because I don’t give up.
And my doctor said, “You’re not giving up, you’re quitting.”
Last month I gave my notice at my day job and today is my last day. This month celebrates my 10th anniversary with this company. For most of that time I worked for a guy who in some ways reminded me of Ron, and for the last few months for a woman who constantly forced me outside my comfort zone to help me grow. I will forever be grateful to all they have taught me.
This isn’t giving up, this is Life giving me a chance to do something creative and scary and exciting.
And I hope you will join me on this adventure.
Sure, Wardrobe Oxygen provides work fashion advice, but I believe it’s more than that. With this blog I hope to show that we are all gorgeous, and deserve to feel that way. That we can have style and fun with fashion no matter our age, size, budget, or lifestyle. That fashion isn’t frivolous or superficial, it’s a form of self-care, a suit of armor. That we need to don that oxygen mask and care for ourselves so that we can properly care for others. I’m donning my oxygen mask and I am not giving up.