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I Want to Break Free

I found this NYT’s video opinion piece to be very thought provoking. I encourage you to watch it to think about what “quitting” means to you.

I’m a big fan of Simone Biles. And while I know as much about gymnastics as I do about hatchet throwing, I don’t think it’s possible to dispute she’s the GOAT.

And her GOATness transcends athletics.

She overcame sexual abuse by that evil doctor who hurt so many, and she bravely spoke out. She led and inspired others to do a hard thing, but an ultimately brave and just thing.

And she stood up for herself, her health, her life, and took control of her anxiety (I think you can safely call the twisties some form of anxiety, but I’m also not a mental health professional, so …) when she modified her competition at the Olympics this summer.

You can say she quit. Honestly, I’m fine with that. She quit for the best. She possibly saved her own life by knowing when to quit. She took a huge stand about normalizing mental health too. When a GOAT says, Not my day today, I don’t have the headspace, she implicitly tells all of us that we can say it too.

I can think of two monumental times in my life when I absolutely quit. It was midseason, it was mid-year, and I quit. I walked out and I walked away. I was sixteen and thirty-one. Both times took courage from me. Each took a lot of weighing out the pros and cons to decide my ultimate move. Should I continue to let this coach treat me terribly when I deserve better and all he does is make me feel bad? Should I continue in this job when I want more and different?

I decided to quit because I could answer those questions. And answering those questions meant me quitting.

When I make up my mind, I don’t look back. And I didn’t in either situation. I never regretted my bold moves and the way I lived my life after. Because it was what was best for me. And I never considered myself a quitter after. As a teenager, I felt my bravery in the face of others making it hard for me. As an adult, I applauded my sense of self and how I took charge of my own life, even when it was a scary life changing decision for me and my family.

I’ve never believed that I “quit” the practice of law, either. Life took a very unexplained and unwanted detour, and I had to forge ahead on a bumpy road vs. taking the scenic route. I didn’t quit, but bowed out because I knew my job would kill me if I returned to it. I knew it when I woke up. I had actually already “quit practice,” the day I left, but without my knowledge, desire, or consent.

Yet, maybe I did quit?

I alone made the final affirmation. I alone decided to quit practice on July 31, 2019. I alone walked away on my own terms.

I quit to save my own life.

For a long time, I told myself, “I’m no quitter,” “I’m a retiring early so as not to die-er.” Thanks to Simone’s bad-assery, I’ve reexamined that. And after this piece, I think adults should take a look at how we talk about quitting and how we explain it to our children.

Quitting has actually been a beneficial part of my life when well thought out and best for my health and wellbeing.

Sometimes quitting is for the best.

Maybe we should normalize “quitting.”

Go big or go home, friends! You got this! #StebbinsStrong #JustKeepSwimming #BetterDaysAhead jackie

"I want to break free

I want to break free

I want to break free from your lies

You’re so self satisfied I don’t need you

I’ve got to break free

God knows, God knows I want to break free" ~ I Want to Break Free by Queen


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