When Quitting Is the Harder, Better Choice
On learning to let “grit” go.
Angela Chen is a science journalist and the author of Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, which was named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR, Electric Literature, and Them. Her reporting and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review, The Guardian, National Geographic, Paris Review, Lapham's Quarterly, and more.
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I learned to reevaluate the meaning of ‘normal’ in relationships, and also my habit of reflexively turning to data.
It can be easy to confuse real emotion with the shiny drama enfolding it. Sometimes grand gestures are signs of grand feeling—sometimes they’re not.
Remain forever hungry, or enjoy the tried-and-true? Sometimes, I learned, it’s okay to double down on the life you have.
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There is opportunity in forcibly rewriting a story, in trying out identities that might not feel true at first.