I don't have many followers, but I have enough that I feel I should share some things going on with me recently. Especially my younger followers who might be looking forward to a certain book I've been set to release this summer.
I've had to take a big step back from everything I was doing before this pandemic began. In the beginning I fell apart, thinking that my dreams were dying, and trying my hardest to sort out what being a home-school mom would look like. I still haven't figured that out.
What I want to say, without rambling too much, is that I'm still not OK. In fact, I might be less OK now then I was those first few weeks.
I've made the decision, because of how not OK I am, to take a step back from all that I was doing before.
What I was doing before:
1- Getting ready to release #NotForTeens. This is still a high priority, but that almost doesn't mean a lot right now. I still have to sort through edits that I received from my copy editor, and although I'll do some work here and there, it will take a lot longer to be done then originally planned. Unless I get a bug up my butt, and push through.
2- Shove It Down Podcast: I don't say happy fluffy things in my podcast. It's all very depressing, and I can't stomach it anymore. I may or may not come back to this. I'll have to feel this one out with time.
3- Speaking engagements: I had a lot that I had to cancel when this started. Now with the world the way it is, if I do anything like this it will be on YouTube, but will follow the release of the teens book. I have plans, just not big ones right now.
4- Future books: I love writing. I get ideas constantly for books I want to write, I just can't concentrate on big things right now. With the nature of the things I think about, and write about, this is on a big hold for now.
5- Children's books, and painting: Painting is the ONLY thing I can seem to find joy in right now. Although it's messy, and I'm still finding my style. I have a couple of ideas for children's books, but nothing concrete. I think it will come with time.
My biggest point in all of this is that I'm pushing the pause button on a lot in my life. I've been so focused on painting because I love the colors, and it doesn't require a lot any deep thinking. Deep thinking is pushing me down a deep hole of depression right now, and painting is the only thing pulling me back out of it.
I know on social media it might not make a lot of sense. One day I was an author with big dreams, and the next I threw it out the window in favor of my art.
Although it might look like I've given up on everything, I want to consider it a long pause, with plans to come back.
Folks, I'm very seriously depressed. I have a knot in my throat almost constantly anymore. Every little thing makes me want to cry, sometimes tears actually do escape my eyes, and I have this familiar weight in my chest that makes me feel like I can't breathe.
Are you in the same situation?
I have to recognize for me, and for my family, that it's OK that I'm feeling broken. It's OK to take a step back from everything. Nothing about what's happening to the world was planned, or can really be helped. I'm reassured, to a small point, that we are all in this together, and that none of us really know what the next right thing to do is.
I've never been more pro self-care than I am in this moment. I've built a plethora of coping strategies over the years, and it's time for me to take a deep breath, and use them. That means not beating myself up that I don't have the time to dedicate to all that I was doing before, and to give myself plenty of patience and forgiveness. I still need to be a source of strength for my kids, and I simply can't be if I don't take care of myself first.
It's that whole mask metaphor that feels all too real right now.
When you're sitting on a plane, and lose cabin pressure and the masks fall from the compartments above your heads. They say to put the mask on yourself first, not the child sitting next to you, so that you can survive long enough to help the people around you. If you don't focus on yourself first, how can you help anyone else?
That's the moral of the story here.
I will come back to these things. I'm not giving up, but you're going to see a lot more art from me because it's the only thing keeping me out of the dark spaces in my head. And that's OK. I hope you're all finding ways to cope and stay sane as well.
Also, virtual therapy is an option, and you can sit in your car if you don't have any private spaces to go to. This is something I'm considering.
It's OK to remember your options, and to ask for help. None of us should feel alone.
Hang in there, and I'll do the same.