It was 2011. I was 29 years old. At the time I had three kiddo's - all girls. Tim was teaching and coaching full-time. I was teaching, running a youth department, and working on my side-hustle dream of being a photographer WHILE keeping 3 kids alive (a 10 year-old with severe anxiety, a 3 year old, and a newborn). My day-care expenses were $900 a month.
Read that again, my daycare expenses were $900 a month on a teachers salary.
For time sake since this is a blog post and not a book, which I one day WILL write, let me speed up the story.
I had been battling anxiety myself. I was in a constant state of productive. For a hot minute I actually thought that was a good thing. I was productive about 18 hours a day, sometimes more. I was constantly busy and LOVED the question, "How do you do it all?" I remember thinking I was somehow winning over those other women who had a day off or took a nap despite the fact that I was literally killing myself. I lived with migraines probably 3 times a week, my blood pressure was sky high, and I was so insecure that I would never let myself weigh over 130 pounds, ever.
I remember sitting at a stoplight once and literally couldn't sit still. I would straighten the center console just to remain productive ALWAYS. That life got hard, fast. It wasn't long after school started back and I was once again teaching by 7:30 am daily that I had a mental breakdown on the way to an anniversary trip with Tim. I cried (which I DO NOT DO) and explained that I was doing too much. He had no answers. He listened, but didn't have a fix. I was so ashamed to ever admit I couldn't do something that despite me dealing with my overwhelm for years, he truly didn't know what I was thinking, feeling. He didn't know that my insides felt like ants crawling up my arms. He didn't know that when the house was quiet and the kids were asleep that my heart would race out of my chest thinking about all the things I should accomplish during nap time. He didn't know that secretly I just wanted him to say, "quit." Quit something. Anything.
See, I assumed Tim knew all kinds of things. I assumed he knew I was doing too much. He didn't. You know why? Because I did it well. Yep. I was great at doing everything. I mean from the outside looking in, I was killing it.
In fact, I assumed he would think less of me if I needed to stop something. I thought my worth was all wrapped up in how much I accomplished in a day, even if I didn't like any of it.
October came and one night at El Mariachi (a favorite Mexican Restaurant), I told him that I just couldn't keep up the pace. I couldn't live like this much longer and I believed I could really be a photographer. He looked at me and gave some response like "One day" or "Maybe in a couple years" or something like that. NOT the response I wanted. You see I am a GO GETTER. If I believe in myself, buckle up sister, things are getting done. Tim is not like that at all. He likes security. Planning. Thinking. More Planning. UGH!!!! I mean I love the guy and he keeps our family centered but I am also thankful we're opposites in that regard.
A few days later, I was getting the girls in the car for school around 6:40 am. Katie was nervous, as usual, and very hateful. Gracie was screaming because she was not ready to leave - she was like 6 months old and Emma was being Emma. Listen if you ever need perspective in life, come visit Emma. Rain was pouring outside the garage. I was throwing a diaper bag in the car with one had and grasping Gracie with the other. I was yelling for Katie to hurry up, as I often did, and I was shaking. That's how I started almost every day. Emma though was standing at the garage door watching the rain. She had on a tutu and rain boots. Her arms were spread wide and she said so sincerely, "Oh what a beautiful day!"
I pray I never forget the feeling I had in that moment. That was it. I hadn't slowed down to see a beautiful day in years. I dropped the kids off, wrote one check for $400 for Gracie's babysitter, and one for $500 for Emma's pre-school and then I pulled into Woodrow Wilson High School. I parked my car, got out in the rain, walked to my classroom and wrote my resignation letter.
I told Tim I was quitting. I don't think he actually believed me until a giant fight later that night. Now listen, Tim and I have only really fought like 5 times in our marriage but that one was real. He questioned my ability to make the business work - THANK GOD - because that really fueled my fire.
I never looked back.
I promised him then, I would not jeopardize our families security for my dream if I didn't 100% believe I could do it.
I am here to say, women who believe in their own dream are so powerful. Let my confidence be contagious.