I quit my PhD to become a stripper. Of course, I was afraid of what people would think, but my old life wasn’t working for me, and so I decided to change it. Drastically.
I have long fantasized about the freedom that would come from my new lifestyle. And you know what? It feels even better than I imagined.
I’m stripping away old commitments, obligations, shitty stories I was telling myself, goals that started to feel oppressive, stale ambitions, and most of all, lies I was telling myself. Lies about what I had to do and the things I needed to accomplish. Lies about needing and doing more.
I’m not taking my clothes off, but this stripping of mine makes me feel free and, yes, naked and vulnerable, too. It is exhilarating, terrifying, and empowering.
Layer by layer, I’m stripping away thoughts and beliefs that were toxic. Thoughts like “I am not enough”, and beliefs like “You have to prove your worth”. It’s a difficult process, and I’m still learning as I teach other people how to strip away the toxic stuff, too.
I have been a high striving, high stress, go-getter for a long time. I look damn good on paper. I’m used to the fleeting euphoria that comes with accolades and praise, always followed by grasping after the Next Big Thing. It’s exhausting, and it’s not worth it.
You know what my dad said when I told him I was quitting my PhD? He said, “I’m proud of you.” Those were the first words out of his mouth.
For whatever reason, my dad has been the one I’ve always sought approval from. What I didn’t realize is that it has always been and will always be there no matter what I do. He knew I was miserable. He wanted me to be happy. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes the only voices of disapproval are the ones inside our own heads.
Maybe you’re telling yourself some shitty stories, too – stories that simply aren’t true. Maybe it’s time to strip away some of those toxic thoughts.
Is telling yourself that you have to (fill in the blank) really working for you? How about the thought that you can’t (fill in the blank)? Get rid of that stuff. It’s taking up way too much of your precious energy.
Are there unnecessary obligations that you can strip away? Maybe something small like an extra project that you can quit or delegate. Maybe something big, like the pursuit of a goal that you no longer want or never truly wanted in the first place.
What about your relationships? Is there a friendship that leaves you feeling depleted instead of recharged? Or perhaps you’re in a romantic relationship that has long since run its course. Some people are not meant to stay in our lives forever.