When I was a teenager, I hair modeled and participated in pageants. This was mainly for free gifts and compensation because quite honestly, ideologically I was opposed to those sorts of activities. Until it didn`t anymore, the free stuff outweighed the self-betrayal.
I still remember vividly the day I quit. I was on stage with a dozen other girls working on choreography for the opening number of an upcoming pageant. The choreographers, in all their unwarranted arrogance, nitpicked each of our bodies. Unlike so many times before, this time, I couldn't continue. I demanded everyone immediately stop what they were doing so that I could say loudly and clearly in one swift go that I no longer felt this was the right fit for me. I had to leave.
I remember so distinctly the moment that it clicked. There was this out of body moment during the rehearsal when I just looked at myself and wondered why I was there. It just stopped making sense. I was growing and changing--it was my teen years. I genuinely didn`t expect to face any opposition as I left. I laugh and call it `diva-like` in retrospect, but it wasn't out of some diva-like attitude that I did it. I just expected that in spite of all of the money and time invested in me, that my decision to walk out would be supported; that it would be understood that I was fully cognizant of the consequences of my actions. I was not looking for attention. I did not want to be begged to stay, or reminded of my potential. I just had to go.
The trouble was that I couldn't be anywhere I didn't want to be. I got claustrophobic, and felt like everything around me was collapsing in on me; I couldn't breathe. I have to come and go, as I must.
Not all such situations were like this. That is, where I was slowly worn down to the point where I had to either act or crack. Other times, there was a cue - a clear trigger. Sometimes it could have been avoided. Other times it was a miscommunication. Other times yet were just unfortunate events. Whatever the case was, once it happened there was no going back. Once I was done, I regurgitated some reason offered up as an explanation just before being on my merry way.
I don't know if I've gone trigger happy, or if I'm more in-tune with myself, but I have hit "my cue" on so many occasions this past year.