I’ve been sitting here for four days wondering how to start this blog. And after 96 hours of consideration, I’ve finally decided I should start by telling you the beginning of my story…what brought me to where I am now, how I got here, and why I made the choices I made that led me here.

After all, the very beginning is the very best place to start, isn’t it?

I graduate college in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Integrated Marketing Communications. I was one of the lucky ones…out of all my friends graduating that year I was one of the few who had already secured a job before I even crossed that graduation stage and grabbed my diploma.

Life was good.

I attended graduation, took a beach trip with a few of my college friends, packed my bags, and then acted tough as my mom and I ate ice cream cake for breakfast before I hit the road to begin my new job in North Carolina.

(Yes, the second I got in my car I cried like a baby as I drove off into the sunset. How adult of me…right?)

Regardless, I was ready to take on the world. And I did…for 3 straight years I worked my ass off while I continued to watch friends pick up jobs nannying or busing tables at a restaurant because they couldn’t find full-time work.

I felt lucky. I felt blessed. I felt like I was ahead of the curve.

The bad news…I also started to feel anxious, depressed, nervous–all because of things that were happening in my job.

My intention will never be to bash the company I worked for. In fact, I swore to myself I’d never mention the name or even the names of the people I worked for because I truly believe it’s a good company…just not a good match for me.

That being said, I will tell you what happened during my time at “Company X” because it’s part of my story and will always be a part of me and what drove me to move on to where I am now.

In a nutshell, after about 2 years of working, I found myself taking on about 5 people’s worth of jobs. The worst part…they were all jobs I didn’t have much talent for. The company was moving in a more technical direction and my creative free spirit just couldn’t handle it.

It got to the point where I was taught to code so I could help out with web design and technical SEO responsibilities and I was also given all of our clients reporting duties.

I’m going to be very clear here…these are all things the good Lord did NOT give me the talent for. And for that reason it made doing those jobs stressful.

I eventually had so much anxiety because I wasn’t able to do anything right. I would wake up 3-4 times a night to check my email because I couldn’t wait until the morning to see whether or not I had failed at completing another new project.

My workload also kept increasing, along with my work hours.

I’d be out to dinner with friends at 8 p.m. at night and I’d get a call that I needed to come home to help work on a project. It was not healthy for me mentally or emotional.

I had reached a breaking point…a point where I had so much anxiety and I was so depressed and beaten down that I couldn’t eat, sleep, or even leave my house.

It was the first time in my life I’ve ever felt worthless. Totally, completely, truly worthless.

It was at that point that I decided I had to go visit a counselor.

After about 2 months of working with a counselor, I finally got up the courage to quit my job. I had too. It wasn’t even an option at that point.

And if you think finding a job is hard, well damn, try quitting one. It was awful.

I wrote a letter to read to my boss, set up a time to meet with him, and then while bawling my eyes out I stood up, read my letter to him, and let him know I was done. I had resigned. And that was it.

I looked up from my tear stained letter and was shocked when he got up and gave me a hug.

It was the most awful, empowering, emotional experience I’ve ever had in my life.

And I am so glad I was able to muster up the courage to do it.

Staring at my face, covered in smudged mascara and tears, my bossed asked me if I needed anything…and to this day I’ll never forget my response.

I looked him in the eye and said, “Yes…the rest of the day off, a hot bath, and a mudslide.”

Then I walked out of the office building, drove home, and did just that–started a hot bath, drank a mudslide, and snap chatted my sister from the comfort of my tub.

It. Was. Glorious.

After my bath, I got dressed, when outside and sat in my screened in porch. I noticed a few finches at my bird feeder and watched them hop from feeder to feeder and nibble on seeds.

While I was watching, one bird shed a feather.

My first thought was, “Oh no little buddy! You lost a feather…you’re going to need that!” The poor guy already looked like his was in rough shape.

But as I continued to watch, I realized the bird looked a bit scruffy because he was a baby and while he has most of his adult feathers, he also still had some of his baby feathers. And it was a baby feather that he had shed.

He didn’t need that feather…it was useless. In fact, if he had kept all those feathers he wouldn’t be able to what birds do best…fly.

It was in that moment I realized I had also shed a feather on that day. A feather that was once necessary to keep me warm and protected but now was now no longer needed.

And because I shed that feather that day in I was setting myself up to soar higher than I ever imagined I’d be able to fly.

My advice: If you’re feeling the universe telling you it’s time to make a change, it’s probably right. Change is ok and is sometimes even amazing. Shed the feather and see what happens.

What happened next in my story? You’ll find out in part 2…coming soon! 🙂

-A