Still Here: A Navel-Gazing Update

The last few months have been real weird. November 28th marked three years since I left my newspaper job, ending a deeply complicated phase of my life and starting another complicated, but different, set of phases. In the weeks leading up to that date, I kept trying to write something meaningful about how I’ve changed as a human being in that time, but it all felt so dramatic and I never posted it.

So I’ll post this instead.

I was in a bad way when I left that job, and someone told me that my life would have more than darkness, that it wouldn’t always be this way.

I was ... unconvinced.

Between then and now, I spent a lot of time alternating between staring at the abyss and going through the motions of being a person but not really feeling like one. Until one day, and don’t ask me to pinpoint the date because I don’t know, the abyss didn’t feel so abysmal and I didn’t feel completely disconnected from the motions. I mean, I still think life in general is total bullshit, still dark and twisty, so I wouldn’t concede that person was right. But to very poorly paraphrase Eloquent Rage, maybe I’m just more comfortable now fucking with the grays.

The me from three years ago wouldn’t have been able to imagine waking up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym and do pull-ups, or being the life of the party with nothing but LaCroix in my cup, or banging out a chapter before breakfast. But here I am. The last bit is what I’m most proud of. I’m finally a writer, instead of a writer who doesn’t write. The next hurdle is finishing. Every weekend I think I’m going to write the last few chapters of my first draft and be able to put it away for a few weeks before revising, but the closer I get to writing “the end,” the harder it is to make words happen at all. The idea of being done feels unthinkable — after all this time, settling for done but flawed is scary, because what if I go back during revision and think none of it can be salvaged, let alone improved? I am definitely outlining Book 2 and banging it out in six months, instead of pantsing and dragging out a draft for literal YEARS. I am becoming a woman who learns.

I’m also regressing. But in a good way. I lost some of myself for a bit, and I’m slowly starting to show up in the world like a version of my brash, charming former self who is a little more mature and a little tougher. I remember the first few months after I left the paper, feeling convinced that I should diminish myself because the problem at the root of all my problems was that I was “too much.” I failed miserably at being dainty and demure. I am meant to be the loudest bitch in the room, if I’m in the mood to be.

Three years ago I was jobless, sad and binge-watching DCTV shows in my pajamas. Now I am a person with a job where other people look to me for guidance, I am less sad, and I am still binge-watching DCTV shows but I’m doing it in a house that I own, after never in my life having the same address more than two years in a row. Still in my pajamas, though.

To end this super gross bit of introspection, I’ll leave you with this. The biggest takeaway from the last few years is the reminder that I am someone who creates, not just someone who often wrecks things. And I’ve learned that I can do a lot more than I thought I could when I have the right tools. The same girl drew both of these. Look at me go.

Also, I have been reading a ton of books. Maybe I’ll, like, review one sometime.