The day I wanted to quit. “Quit what?” you may ask. There are a ton of things I’ve wanted to quit in my life, but most of the time I never went through with it. I can blame my stubborn attitude, or hard head. Specifically, I think it may have been that I took pride in never giving up and quitting. The mindset of “Yea, i may suck, but at least I didn’t give up like a quitter.” Like the saying goes, winners never quit, right?
I think back to high school whenever I want to quit. Being an overweight, angsty teen doing cross country and track. And I can say as a definitive that those years were hell. Not because of all the running (yea, that sucked too), but because of the consistent embarrassment of being in last place. All. The. Time. That only lasted my first year of doing it, because consistency obviously makes you a stronger and better at what you want to do. But the moral of the story was this: I didn’t give up, no matter how bad m knees hurt, no matter how many people beat me, and no matter how much worse I did than the last race. I would set my mindset right, and promise to do better when the next race came around. And I can honestly say I prided myself on it.
But there comes a time when you need to quit for your own good, and that was very difficult for me to accept because it happened more recently. I was working two jobs during Fall 2018, and not being in college, it was working out for a bit. But the long days became more tiring as time went on. My body wasn’t physically tired, but my mind was. I felt foggy and cloudy most of the days, and there were some moments where I just felt like a zombie just going with the flow of it all. Essentially, I was working 8am-10pm five or six days out of the week, and I was at the point of “What the absolute f*ck am I doing with my life?”. I wasn’t writing anymore, I wasn’t smiling anymore, I wasn’t living (or so it felt like). And so, I sat down one evening, and after weeks of deliberation, I quit one of the jobs. After that, I felt life swell up in me; think of a flower being revived after winter, or say, blowing up a balloon. I was like that, somewhat full again.
There was a time in my life when I truly did want to quit writing. I actually do almost every day, but always come back for more. After I published my first poetry collection, Euphoria, I was a bright-eyed man that was so excited for its future. Like a high school graduate, or someone who realizes their dream for the first time in their life. I was filled with hope. That I, F.s. Yousaf, am going to become a WRITER. Full fledged author baby. But. But. But. Wait up. What happens after you become an author? You need to sell books, right? And Euphoria was just not… selling. Maybe it was the title, or the rush job, or even the cover at the time. The fact of the matter was that my book was not good enough to compete with the other books in the market, and it hurt seeing others do better than me.
So i thought about quitting. Like forreal. I wanted to stop. Get rid of my account. Everything and anything. I wanted to stop feeling like I wasn’t good enough, like my writing wasn’t good enough for this world. But what would have I been if I quit in that very moment? What would have happened if I deleted my account, unpublished my book, and just felt sorrow for myself? What would have happened?
In life, there are moments when you know you should give up on something, and there are moments when you know you should wait it out, and push through the difficulties. Working those two jobs sucked. And quitting one of them made breathing easier for me. Working through every race as a knee-cracking, overweight teen made me (skinnier) a person I tend to refer back to, and someone I look to for guidance. Even though that boy and I are different, and I’ve outgrown him, I still remember him fondly. And not quitting writing, but amending it to a way where I’m not mentally exhausted and hate writing at the end of the day is one of the bigger blessings. And of course, I want my writing career to take off one day, like a space shuttle on its way to the moon, but I’m not willing to compromise my own mental well-being for that cause, not anymore at least.
And not quitting took me to where I am, with my second book killing the game (Alhamdulillah) and being in front of the eyes of so, so many.
So weigh your options. Don’t quit something you love doing, no matter how slow it may seem at the moment. Don’t quit because your latest IG post got lower likes than another persons. Don’t quit, at all. Because you never know where this wondrous, yet confusing life will take you. You’re the driver in your own life, but at times there are detours, closed roads, and other surprises. Keep on working, your time will come. I promise.