Dismount.

A dear friend of mine—a member of my hometeam—uses this phrase when she’s done with a big meal. She puts her fork down and utters the word with a deep breath of exasperation. Dismount.

She’s all done. She’s had enough. This meal is over, she’s had her fill.

What I love is that this doesn’t mean she’s getting up from the table. She’s had all the food she needs, but she’s there with you until your last bite is taken. She knows her limit, and knows her limit is not your limit, and that’s ok.

Have you ever ripped a piece of tape off the wall too fast? Your intention is to take just the tape off, but you end up with pieces of paint and wall instead?

This is the challenge before me: to dismount and stay seated, to detach without violently tearing away.

As I sit here today, not at the workplace that’s been mine for over a year, I have a clearer mind than I have had in many, many months. I find myself actually able to think, and write, and wonder, and I am wondering how to accomplish this task before me, how to gracefully remove myself from something I needed to be removed from, but preserve the beauty.

I have to detach and disconnect—to dismount—for my own sanity, but I have to do it carefully. You see, there is good and beautiful things tangled in with all the bad, and they are intertwined closely. There’s people, still at the table with forks full of food, people that I adore, and deeply respect. There’s connections and relationships that were built that are worth preserving, and the untangling and unraveling from all the things that wrapped around me has to be done carefully, piece by piece, so as not to kill what’s good.

I sat around a table last night and looked around at the family of people I’d just chosen to leave, and I wondered why. As we laughed and celebrated and enjoyed each other, I wondered what in the world could have compelled me to quit them. What in the world was more important than showing up to the grind day after day alongside them. They were so clearly worth any of the bad I was enduring.

And I wasn’t wrong. They are worth that. One hundred thousand percent worth every second of my time and energy and heart that went into my job.

But I am also worth happiness. And I am worth freedom. And I am worth finding somewhere I fit. And I am worth feeling alive. Truly, I am no use to them anyway unless I can bring more life to the place than was there before, and I ran out of that a long time ago.

Now, it is my job to find it again, for they couldn’t have done that for me. (I’m far too stubborn for that…)

The reality is I couldn’t stay there and hold onto myself, I’d had my fill a long time ago, but keep trying to take bite after bite. It was too much for me to handle, and it’s going to take a minute to begin to call that decision wisdom, instead of failure, but I’ll get there.

As I write this, the voice in the back of my mind keeps saying it was just a job. But, it’s never just a job. It’s people. It’s something I gave precious time and energy to. It’s something I truly did care about, even when I threw up my hands in defeat day after day. I care that I slowly pull this tape off, with grace and finesse and care, because it wasn’t all bad. And while it would be far easier to to rip it off and call it done without a second thought, thats not who I am.

If I’m going to blame it for the bad parts, I better be ready to blame it for all the good, too.

My deepest hope right now is that those people I love know my decision wasn’t easy. That while I like to carry myself as somewhat carefree, the decision to walk away was anything but careless. That today, I sit here and I miss them already, and I wish things could have been different. That I love them, and deeply respect the jobs they show up to everyday. That I am doing my very best to not detach violently, or leave their tables, but to hold onto every good piece of this year as hard as I can. And that they are the good that was present in the midst of all my frustration and discomfort.

So, to those people around that table last night—every last one of you—

Know that you are the good in that place.

You are the laughter and the joy and the family.

You are what made my decision harder than it should have been.

You are the reason I stayed so long—and the reason I chose to leave, because you deserve to be around happy, just like I do.

I’m grateful for you.

I believe in you.

And, should you need me or want me, I’m here for you.

Now, for me, my fork has to go down, for I am just too full.

Dismount.