I sent this to my community (which you can join here if you'd like—we've recently grown to over 2000 🥰), and it went like this...
I know it's been a very long time and the reason for that is, honestly, I've been unsure of what to say here. The last little while has been pretty difficult. I've been trying to understand it myself—you know, before I even try to put it into words to share.
I'm talking about this weird period we're living in to a degree, but mostly I'm talking about more than that. Like many of you, I freelance, which means it has its ups and downs. It always did, even pre-covid. Some months are incredible and, from a financial standpoint, it's easy to feel on top of the world. But then, other months, only a few projects come in and we're tested, on seemingly every single level—mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
The trick is to keep a level head. It's to remember that this will pass, that maybe there's a lesson embedded here to learn from to make the future brighter...
But that's all easier said than done.
And I'm not one of those people that plans to send you rah-rah-spiritual-bypass-rah-rah emails about how we should just think positive and all will heal up. I don't believe in that. I believe in hard work to getting to where you want, and, of course, as mentioned, a good attitude to accompany that. But that's a piece of the pie, not the entire thing. (In my opinion.)
Since I don't consider myself an expert in anything, I've always felt the best way that I can serve is by sharing my own experience—sharing normalizes and, in the process, reduces stigma, feelings of loneliness, etc. And that's why I try my best to always be so honest with you guys. Because what is the point in sharing anything if it's riddled in lies, you know? What a waste of everyone's time.
So, my honest truth is that this period has been tough. Some writing gigs haven't panned out as I'd hoped, and the pain of that (plus personal pain) led me to a few things, like:
I've toyed with giving up fiction writing altogether. I've found myself overly focused on things that mean zilch in the long run—all those seductive beauty elixirs, for example, that give you a small hit upon purchase and receipt but then fade away in their marvel a week or so later.
And in the process of that all I've grown very scared that I have no idea who I am and that this could be a real problem. Because I firmly believe if you don't know who you are or where you want to go in this world, with this one life, someone else will dictate that for you. Be it a partner, be it a boss, be it a parent.
For me, I notice this all as a feeling of ungroundedness, of being all over the place, moving too fast, but not getting much of anything meaningful done. It feels like emptiness disguised as a flurry. Cue burnout. Cue all the existentialism.
I'm thanking my lucky stars that I've surrounded myself with deep, smart people though. Because what brought me here, back to writing to you, is that my friends—therapists, coaches, writers, artists—told me 1) they saw me getting back to writing, back to sharing, and 2) they told me they believed in me, that I'd get through all this.
Honestly, I've found that this is all it takes. It takes words of encouragement from people you respect, love, and admire. And, naturally, it takes the openness with said loved ones to get to the point of receiving these words that do work wonders when it comes to getting you back on track, back in touch with who you are.
So, that's it, love. That's what's going on with me. That's what I've learned, what I'm learning.
Be grateful for those in your life, versus harping on those lost. Keep your commitments, especially those to yourself (when honoured, you water that deep-seeded self-respect that is much, much greater than the sort that comes from vanity). Be still when you have the desire to run. Open when you want to close. And get quiet when you want to drown it all out.
See what happens.