Dispatches from the Great In-Between
A Very Long Instagram Caption Re: My Birthday That I’m Posting Here, Instead
I’ve been silent online for most of the year leading up to this, my 35th birthday, because simply put, I had no words. Ran clean out of them. And when you’ve built your livelihood — and reputation, and self-worth — on words, that’s a miserable place to be.
So far, I’ve had two great blessings in my life — my friends and family (one and the same), and my career. I’ve worked in online publishing for over a decade. (Can’t believe I’m old enough to have done anything for a decade, but math’s math.) And in that time, my work as a writer and editor has given me the opportunity to teach and learn from so many amazing people, to make a difference in people’s lives, to experience the simple joy of being good at something and being recognized for it. I know how rare and special it is, to do what you love and be appreciated and even well-compensated in return (though that part didn’t happen overnight). It’s something I think everyone deserves to experience, and I’m forever grateful to count it as one of my own.
But in April, after five years at a company that checked all those boxes for me — and more — I left my role at Medium (meta!). A lot of factors played into my decision, but the simplest and the truest for me is that these past two years just… straight up… broke my brain. I was probably already en route to broken brained-ness, but the pandemic and its various side plots hastened the process. I was never much of a fire-y person but, by 2021, I’d been reduced to a box of wet matches. Not a single spark left in me.
I started my writing career by excavating my emotions for the page; by the time I took a beat to evaluate my career trajectory, 10 years later, I was numb to them all. I’d begun to process everything through the head while silencing the heart — and truthfully, I didn’t even notice. I just thought I was maturing, improving my emotional regulation. In some ways that’s true; I am better at controlling my emotions than I’d been in my 20s. Good at it, even. But maybe too good? Like so good, I no longer felt anything. Scratch that — I felt A LOT, but I didn’t pause to consider what I was feeling, or why. This was unfortunate; our emotions are messengers, they…