Fall, Nostalgia, and Putting Myself First


Dear Reader,

There’s something about fall that makes me nostalgic. Maybe it’s the weather that keeps you inside (though it’s been hot the last few days) or that there isn’t as much to do when school starts and work gets into full swing. But with fall and soon-to-be motherhood approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about the job I walked away from. A job that’s been fundamental to how I think of a define my adult self. 

When I walked away I was confident I was making the right choice. But–the part of the story I’ve only shared with the Programmer so far–just a few months later I was offered the same job: Acquisitions Editor for Religious Trade and Parish lines. It was with a publisher in a stronger position than the one I’d left. One that followed my authors and approached me. It was flattering. Really flattering.

But I still said no.

Being an expectant mother with no real child care options nearby made saying no acceptable. But it wasn’t the real reason I chose to walk away again.

The truth is, I was scared to say yes. The title was much more impressive than the “freelance editor” I’m currently wearing. But it also came with the world of Catholic Publishing. A world I’m not ready to reassociate myself with again.

I’ve been Catholic since birth and I have found a lot of solace in the practice of my faith. But seeing that faith walk the fine line of spirituality and business almost killed it.

I have fought–to the point of tears–with censors against the use of language like “individuals afflicted with same-sex attraction.” I have advocated for person first theology. For dialogue. For faith that opens doors.

And I have been told that if I really cared about my faith I wouldn’t have married an atheist. 

I watched a coworker who sexually harassed me, used his office computer for porn, and threatened physical harm on others go with warning after warning because it was more important for my boss to be “forgiving” than for me to be protected.

I watched self-proclaimed devout Catholics play inter-office politics with the expertise of a Medici. Politics that lost me benefits and led to two salary cuts in six months because I refused to play. 

When I questioned, I was told “We’ve all been asked to sacrifice. Offer it up to the cross.”

My books and my authors succeeded. They won awards. And yet I was called incompetent because no one knew what I actually did. Or they didn’t care.

All things considered, I’m surprised my faith survived at all.

I’m proud of the work I did. I don’t regret it. But it made me see how often beliefs are used to manipulate. How language is used to force people into corners and trap them there. 

The new job came with the promise of inclusion. Of dialogue. Of making a difference and promoting change. 

But only in books.

And even then… Censors must be consulted. Reader sensibilities taken into account. Sacrifices made.

So I walked away again, and this time it felt more final than the first. It felt like the end of a chapter. And there is a part of me that is sad to see it end because it wasn’t all bad.

But then there is also a part of me that feels victorious to have put myself–and the faith believe–first for the first time. 




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