The Blog Post I've Been Avoiding
You can't hear my huge intake of breath and sucking sigh as I sit in front of this blog page.
Where the hell have I been? It's April. My last blog post was almost two years ago now. After Brigade 1 was published, I kind of... disappeared? Except I didn't. So many wonderful and terrible things have happened in the past year, I cannot summarize them into a cute list like I did in my last post, though all those things are true. I've graduated with a Masters in Counseling Psychology and started my own practice. I've continued growing and changing and struggling.
Because if I'm being honest? This last year was a struggle. And the year before that.
What I'm talking about, is what I know many others have struggled with. What looks good on the highlight reel isn't always reflective of what is happening on the inverse side, the side hidden in the shade of our lives. These past couple years have been what I'll call "difficult mental health years." I hit the painful crunch of the Second Book Wall, felt daunted and intimidated by my own successes, felt like an imposter, a fake, was so exhausted from graduate school, and struggled with a resurgence of CPTSD symptoms that tanked me in unexpected ways. I hurt and alienated people I care about, I didn't accomplish 101 really important things, and I stopped writing for a long time. That last part? That's how I know I was really struggling. Even with all the wonderful things that still continued to happen, all the amazing trips I took (I traveled to 5 different states and to Mexico last year), workshops I taught, the manatees I swam with, and friends and family I got to see and celebrate, underneath it all, I struggled. And felt ashamed of struggling.
All that being said... we arrived in 2020. We survived. Suddenly, our world has been besieged by forces beyond our individual scope, beyond our control, and our loved ones and entire communities are at risk. It's a highlighter across what is really important, an opportunity for gratitude, reflection, and positive humanistic action. And we're staying at home. This is week 6 or 7 of quarantine (time is funny)? I began right at the beginning of March because I had a cold/cough that I wasn't sure wasn't Corona so I decided to begin distancing then. It wasn't, as far as I know, and I'm recovered and safe.
So what I have done so far in 2020? Well, I survived/am surviving. I am working on new projects, finishing up long-neglected ones, started a podcast with my lovely colleague and friend, and will be rolling out a NEW BOOK SOON (separate blog post to follow). And no, it's not Brigade, though Book 2 is still making progress! Because Brigade 2 grapples with a lot of subjects like mental health and substance use, I found it much more difficult to write than I expected (imagine that, hah). My husband and I also became FOSTER PARENTS, which has been a huge undertaking that has taken forever and is finally here! :) And more than that, I am practicing new gratitude, forgiving myself, and recommitting to the creative endeavors that have always brought me much needed relief and joy. Because before I became a therapist, before I ever "accomplished" anything, I was a writer. An artist. A creative person constantly involved with some aspect of expression. Over the past couple years, I lost touch with that essential part of myself. Now, in the midst of fear, horror, and uncertainty, I am returning to myself. Feels fucked up and yet, perfectly aligned. Isn't it how these things so often happen? At least they have for me.
So, if you're still around and on my mailing list, THANK YOU :) And my hope is you will find more to reconnect with in my upcoming work, my upcoming posts, and the many opportunities we have to celebrate with every day we have left in our lives. I am grateful for you all.
Stay safe, stay warm, and stay home - let us be physically distant and more emotionally and socially connected than ever. Here's to a 2020 to remember.