Why I’m leaving my secure job to write

  As I made pretty clear in my last post, I do not enjoy my job. I’ve only been in it since the start of March, but I realised within a few weeks that it wasn’t for me, and I reasoned that I should stay in it as long as possible. After all, I didn’t actively hate it.

  I have learned, however, that you don’t need to hate something for it to be unbearable, and while I do not want to go too intimately into the reasons why I am leaving this particular job, I realised that it was taking too much and giving too little. I don’t mean this in a monetary sense, but with regards to my mental health. Unfortunately, having a chronic illness lends itself well to mental issues as well, partly through the knowledge of future pain and deterioration, and partly through the fear and strain that the condition has upon your immediate experience. Or at least, this is how it is with me. However, my main issue is that I suffer from PTSD, which has largely gone untreated, and which affects me far more when I am under stress. My job means working in a high-stress environment from 8:30 to 6, and can often go on longer, and the work itself, while I have learned a lot, is something I am not passionate about nor particularly interested in.

  But I’m paying my bills, with money to spare, and I’m hardly working in a sweatshop, so why should I quit? I made the decision that, while I know my situation could be a lot worse, it could also be better, and we can only judge how we feel within our own lives. I stopped thinking beyond my immediate needs, and looked at what I wanted to achieve, and I do not want a career in business. It’s not that I just fancy a career as a writer; it is something I need to do. When I write, I connect to the core of who I am, how I understand the world, and how my experience is different from those around me. As a disabled writer, my writing is hugely informed by my pain and fears, and I know how lonely a struggle it can be. I know how it feels to be isolated from your peers, watching other teenagers do things that are too risky for you. I know how it feels to dread an operation that may save your life, but may also kill you, or take some of your quality of life with it.

  It’s not that I just fancy a career as a writer; it is something I need to do. When I write, I connect to the core of who I am, how I understand the world, and how my experience is different from those around me. As a disabled writer, my writing is hugely informed by my pain and fears, and I know how lonely a struggle it can be. I know how it feels to be isolated from your peers, watching other teenagers do things that are too risky for you. I know how it feels to dread an operation that may save your life, but may also kill you, or take some of your quality of life with it. I know how it feels to see your father have a stroke (a memory that still haunts me) from the same condition you have, and to wonder after his death whether the same will happen to you. And worst of all, I know that while these aspects (and many more) still cling to me, they are also being experienced for the first time by others.

  While the novel I’m writing does not solely focus on disability, it plays a large part within it, and within my stories in general, because this is the only experience of life I have had. When I write able-bodied characters, they are still influenced by my disability, because I have never experienced life not being disabled. And, in all honestly, we need more disabled heroes in novels who break the mold and have active agency beyond being someone to feel sorry for. So yes, while it’s going to be difficult to find a way to either write freelance or to get part-time work so that I can dedicate a good amount of time to my writing, I cannot live with myself if I do not try. I don’t know what the rest of my life has in store, but I know that may be shorter than expected, and I can’t let myself waste a second of it.

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