Yes, it’s true that fall is a new season, but I’m also embarking on a new season of my life here in the coming weeks. To be more specific, in two weeks. I had initially planned to wait the full two weeks before filling y’all in about my news, but I’ve always been terrible at keeping my own secrets, so here we are! Have you guessed the big news yet?
I’m starting a new job! I’m so excited to start a new adventure writing full-time for Junebug Weddings. The website and the team are both a perfect fit for me, and this feels like a career move I need (and want!) to make at this point in my life.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’ve worked in the domestic violence field for just short of three and a half years. I’m passionate about the work I’ve done, and I’m good at my job. Loving it, unfortunately, doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Working in any kind of helping field comes with its own hardships. I’ve written here before about adjusting to going full-time a year ago, and how difficult it was for me. I started to feel angry and I haven’t really been able to cope with that.
Ultimately, when a certain video of a certain football player was leaked a couple of weeks ago, I realized that this work isn’t something I can continue. I’ve been absolutely inundated with domestic violence in a way I hadn’t been before. It was on my social media, on blogs and podcasts, on the news, in conversations with friends or at dinner parties with strangers, on top of the 40 hours I put in at work talking about it non-stop. I’m glad people are talking. I’m glad that people are reaching out. If you somehow haven’t seen the #WhyIStayed stories yet, please go check it out. It’s important. It just got to be too much for me.
I feel ashamed saying that. I want to be endlessly strong and involved. I’m an advocate, officially at work, but also in life. I used to thrive on these conversations. Now I completely shut down when faced with them. I’ve hit a wall. In the social work field, this is called compassion fatigue. I am exhausted from how much empathy I give and give and give. I feel like I don’t have anymore to give, and that’s both really scary and really painful. It hurts to not be able to do what you love. It’s like an athlete finding out that they have a physical injury that will affect them in a long-term capacity and keep them off the field for a long time, if not forever.
The big question I keep asking myself is “who am I without my job?” I have defined myself so much by my work as an advocate. I educate friends and family on a regular basis about healthy relationships and how to support those in unhealthy and abusive ones. I frequently ruin dinner conversations with heavy stories about my job. I feel good about myself after a day of work because I know I helped people. I feel fulfilled. I have a purpose. Do I lose that sense of security in myself as a good person if I leave this work? Am I no longer an advocate?
One of the things I said in my interviews with Junebug is that I’ve given three and a half years of passion to this job, and I could do that for them knowing it wouldn’t affect me–hurt me–in the ways my current job does. I don’t think I become less passionate about what I do just because the work isn’t heavy. I don’t think I have to (or could) stop being an advocate for things I believe in just because I don’t get paid to do it. Empathy is part of who I am, and leaving my domestic violence job means I can heal and be able to provide empathy in a different capacity. Maybe one that’s healthier for me, at least at this time in my life.
So what does this mean for the blog? Probably not much, but I don’t know yet! My schedule will be more normal, which will probably make it easier to get posts done in general (especially outfit posts on the actual days I wear them!). I’m definitely not going anywhere, and I’m excited to see what I’m able to do with this space when I’m not feeling totally burnt out from my job.
You’re all amazing and I’m so thankful to have you following along and supporting me during this big change!