The Day I Wanted to Quit 31 Days

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I came home and cried that night. Cried to my husband for a world that’s cold, a world that’s harsh, a world that isn’t welcoming all the time. Cried because I didn’t want to do this anymore, this 31 Days. Cried because I wanted to quit.

Earlier that day, I’d spent a few hours in the hustle and bustle of the street. It was my third journey out and about gathering interviews for my series, 31 Dreams from the Street. The interviews were exhilarating and adventuresome at first, but draining and exhausting by week three.

I spent three and a half hours wandering the street and a whole assortment of locations that day. My goal was to gather seven interviews, enough to last the whole week to come. But I only gathered five that day. I tried and tried for six and seven, but continued to come up dry.

Now that I look back, there was good reason I never gathered interviews six and seven that day.

You see, two hours into that day’s adventures in interviewing, I came up against a wall. An invisible wall constructed by a fellow human being who happened to be in my vicinity, who happened to find herself in my path when I was out and about interviewing.

I won’t share details of this encounter, because honestly? The memory is fairly traumatic, like the kind of memory that will stick around for a lifetime whether I like it or not. But I am choosing to share the experience vaguely, because I think there’s something to learn from it.

So this encounter. I didn’t expect it. It came out of nowhere. Had I known it was going to happen, I would have evacuated the vicinity immediately, long before it even happened. But I believe all things happen for a reason, that God works all things together for those who love Him. And He will work this, even this, together for my good.

She was there, in my presence, while I was interviewing another.

She asked what a blog was. And then she proceeded to laugh when I told her what I write about. She laughed in a casual and dismissive way, as if my blog and writing were the stupidest things she’d ever heard of.

I continued with my interview.

At that point, I’d only had my new camera for a couple weeks, so I was still trying to learn all the settings on it. The lighting in the space I was in was notably different than the space I’d just been in. So when I went to take a photograph of the person I was interviewing, I had to take THREE or FOUR shots in order to get ONE that worked. The lighting was really tough to manage with the all manual settings I was attempting to use on my camera. (Let it be known, this had never happened before. I was totally caught off guard and felt like an idiot the way it was. Because I would’ve gotten that shot on the first try had I been a professional and/or fully acclimated to my new camera.) Anyway, before the last shot, she made a snarky, sarcastic comment that really got under my skin. I will never forget her words. They couldn’t have been more rude and belittling. It wasn’t until later that I realized I should’ve responded to her comment differently than I did. But these are the battles you face as a nice, people pleasing person, even when you’re belittled straight to your face.

I continued with my interview.

When I was about to leave the space, I handed a blog business card to the person I was interviewing so they could check out the post later if they chose to do so. This was standard operating procedure for the month. A business card was quick and convenient, with all my information in one place. But when I handed that card to the person I interviewed, the woman laughed. Right there, right in my face. As if me having a blog business card was the lamest, stupidest, most ridiculous thing she’d ever seen.

Having been knocked down not once, but three times during this interview, I was ready to bolt from the scene as quickly as possible.

So I did.

As soon as I handed off that blog business card, I thanked the person I interviewed as kindly as I could, and I bolted. Far off. Straight away. As far as I could go.

Because I’d been made to feel like a fool, like an idiot, like a tiny, tiny girl who didn’t matter one speck.

At that point, I’d gotten five interviews for my series. I had two more to go to meet my goal for the day, but for the next hour and a half, I wandered aimless.

I never did get two more interviews that day. Because I was scared. I felt hollow. Defeated. Low to the ground, like a nothing, a nobody. This series I’d conceived? It suddenly felt like the most lame and ridiculous thing in the world. This writing, it seemed like worthless dream chasing.

I wanted to quit.

This 31 Days had officially eaten my insides alive. It wasn’t worth this. At all.

As far as I was concerned, my encounter with this woman was a 31 Days worst nightmare. Not only that, it impacted my ability to be fully authentic with the person I was interviewing. When someone is subtly and not-so-subtly criticizing you in front of another, you have to wonder about the negative impact it has on everyone.

So I came home. And later that night, I cried. I talked it out as best as I could with my husband. And we agreed, I’d write my thoughts and feelings about 31 Dreams from the Street during the last five days of the series. But I never did tell him about that woman. Because it was simply too embarrassing and belittling. I never will tell anyone the details. They will remain in me, lifted to God, as He’s the only other who saw, really saw, what happened that day.

Over the course of the next four days, I lifted it up. I handed it over. I decided I had to be brave, to keep going, to finish this series just as I’d planned. I needed to get through these interviews, brutal or not.

Four days later, I ventured out. My husband freed me with his words. He said, “Commit to a certain amount of time. Decide that whether you get one interview or ten during that period of time, you’ll be done interviewing after that.”

I got four interviews that night. They all went well.

A couple days later, I got another interview.

And a day after that, I stepped out of the interview box and offered a guest post to my daughter.

On the airplane to the writing conference, Darlene offered to be interviewed when I told her I was wrapping the series and needed another interview.

And on day 26, I decided I just couldn’t do another interview. I gave myself grace. It was okay. I’d already learned the lesson. I’d moved on from the trauma that was.

I don’t know why this happened.

I do know I wanted to quit that day.

I do know my interactions with that woman were traumatizing, forever and unfortunately etched in my memory.

But God calls me to goanyway. God calls me to continue, anyway. God calls me to write, anyway. Because NOT everyone is going to like me. NOT everyone is going to like what I do. NOT everyone is going to like what I have to say, or how I present myself in this world. If you are that person who doesn’t like me, that person who doesn’t like anything about me? Okay. So be it. The people pleaser in me surrenders. To you. You don’t have to like me.

So I will be brave. I will continue. I will follow this call. I will write, anyway. I will be me, anyway. I will, anyway.

Because I must.

So as I wrap this series, I accept the fact that I don’t write for everyone.

I write for GOD. Because He made me and He called me. Because He knows the most traumatizing things that happen to us, and loves and heals us just the same.

I write for ME.

And I write for YOU, you who have taken time to read one, two or twenty-seven days. For all of you who care, for all of you who understand, for all of you who get it, even a little bit? Thank you.

Cheers. To not quitting because of someone else’s belittling.

Cheers. To the 31 Dayers who have been bold and beautifully brave despite how hard any day’s been.

Cheers. To you.

greensig

 

 

 

*This post is a part of a month-long 31 Days series titled Dreams from the Street. If you’d like to read more from my series, click here and you’ll be brought to the series landing page where all 31 posts are listed and linked! You can follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/AmyBPederson where I’ll tweet links to all 31 posts using hashtag #write31days, and I’d LOVE to connect on Facebook at facebook.com/AmyBPederson! I’m so glad you stopped by. Make yourself comfortable and take a peek around the place. You’re welcome back anytime.

  1. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Dear Amy, The world is full of wonderful people… and then there are some bad ones who take pleasure in attacking and belittling a nice person. It was a direct attack on your way of living , thinking, and believing. But take heart! What you are doing here is an outreach, a witness, that has far more positive effect on this world. I’m praying for you to have peace with this trial and that you know that what you are doing is a witness of what God really wants to see in all of us, that “People Pleasing” way of life. Keep up the wonderful work! God Bless you!

  2. Tom Baunsgard says:

    Dear Amy, The world is full of wonderful people… and then there are some bad ones who take pleasure in attacking and belittling a nice person. It was a direct attack on your way of living , thinking, and believing. But take heart! What you are doing here is an outreach, a witness, that has far more positive effects on this world. I’m praying for you to have peace with this trial and that you know that what you are doing is a witness of what God really wants to see in all of us, that “People Pleasing” way of life. Keep up the wonderful work! God Bless you!

  3. Monica Palmer says:

    Romans 5 New International Version (NIV)

    Peace and Hope
    5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

    6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    • Amy says:

      Dear Monica, I poured through these words slowly and surely. Thank you for sharing this wisdom and truth. I am wondering about this “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Feeling a little overwhelmed by the series as I wrap it…the perseverance definitely sprung forth. I wasn’t about to quit, but honestly, really wanted to. I knew I needed to persevere. And now, I’m hoping the character and hope will spring forth as I move forward, that the purpose of the series will become more and more clear as time passes. Thank you, friend.

  4. Katie Wilson says:

    I am glad that you are not quitting! This has been an interesting and encouraging blog, and I am only twelve! Keep writing!

  5. Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell says:

    Oh, and I’m praying for you too!

  6. Gretchen Wendt O'Donnell says:

    Dearest Amy! It astounds me that people can be so cruel. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I just prayed for her ’cause clearly she needs it!

  7. Valerie Hubel says:

    Wow; how brave of you to continue on with the interview in the midst of trauma like that. Thanks for sharing, I ma sure it brought it all back for you. This series has been good – you have written it so very well.

  8. Carol Femling says:

    Bless you, my dear daughter! You didn’t even mention these things to us. Like dad says, not everyone will like everything a person writes. You can’t always please everyone and someone will take issue with what you write. Anyway, keep writing! So proud of you! Love you! 🙂

  9. Jaimie West Bowman says:

    Amy, I’m so incredibly sorry that happened to you and there are people out there like that. I applaud you for forging ahead anyway and being brave. That really sounds like a spiritual attack and I’m glad you didn’t let it stop you. I’m so thankful you open your heart up and keep on loving people. This 31 days series has been such a challenge, but you DID it anyway and are almost done!!

  10. Nicole Newfield says:

    “To not quitting because of someone else’s belittling”…. Thank you for your honest words. I think we can all relate to this feeling.

    • Amy says:

      You’re welcome, Nicole. I’m glad (and sorry) that you related to the post…at least that helps me know I’m not alone in this kind of experience.

  11. Eileen says:

    Amen!

  12. Janice S. says:

    Oh Amy, wow, this is so hard and so good. Thank you for sharing the experience, even though it is clear that you were deeply scarred by it.
    I love the idea of the series – even while acknowledging I would never have had the guts you had to attempt such a challenge. I can’t wait to read through all your posts up to today.

    • Amy says:

      Janice, so grateful you stopped by. To be honest, I’m not sure I would’ve had the courage to take on this series had I known how hard the interviews would be. But I think there’s a reason God led me to it. So I am grateful for what came of it, and that I was able to complete all 31 days. 🙂 Blessings to you.

  13. Tiffany says:

    What a great post. I’m so sorry that that woman made you feel so small. And I’m so glad that you gave it to God and kept going. You are showing us all what it means to be called by God — that the world won’t understand and probably won’t like us — but we are to go and to do anyway. Thanks for sharing new friend 🙂

    • Amy says:

      Thank you for your encouragement, Tiffany! I was just thinking about you when I was out gardening this afternoon, and then came in to see your post. So glad we’re connected here…need to get some time to check out your blog, too!

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