note to self

note to self

[BIRD NOTE: in december of 2020, i sat down and wrote a letter to myself as part of a new endeavor. below is the text i loaded to --- with edits in red to add some "color."]

dear future-robin,

i've been putting this off all day. all weekend really. i just submitted payment for the clear & cultivate club and can count the number of times i've spent that much money in a single purchase on one hand. it's terrifying. but also exhilarating to invest in myself. that's what i did, right? you'll be able to tell me if it was worth it when the time comes. [p.s. i legit love that there’s a typo in the very first sentence. old me is cringing. new me smiles and moves on.]

it's been quite the year [referring to 2020 here]. i'm writing in the style of my blog that i launched in march --- just as the shit was hitting the fan. the blog has been transformative but not as much as drawing with mom has been. i immediately worry that she will no longer be around as i type that sentence. [at this point we "were" still very much in the midst of covid with no vaccines in sight. i'm still scared of what a diagnosis would mean for either of my parents.] why does that thought cross my mind constantly? i hope i am not correct. i hope she has many more happy and healthy years with us and drawing together is merely the tip of the ice berg of what's to come.

i really, really hope. but mostly, i'm terrified.

the outdated and defunct electoral college has just voted to elect a new president on the same day that we have surpassed 300,000 deaths in this country [currently up to 750k]. covid had disrupted everyone's lives and it made mine come to a screeching halt.

casey and i both started working from home at the end of march [2020]. at first it was all so surreal and we did puzzles and ate ice cream and didn't go anywhere.

we also..

  • made a lot of delicious food (and by “we” i mean Casey)
  • joked about and drew toilet paper
  • spent a gazillion hours on facetime
  • sent and received notes of love and support
  • didn't cut our hair
  • braided casey's hair
  • wore head bands daily
  • did yoga in the backyard
  • worked on house projects
  • plus, of course, i started drawing again (my bird therapy)
  • AND i created this blog...!

basically .. i look back now and see how it wasn’t ALL bad. we made the most out of the first few months. can you tell i'm trying to focus on the positive?

and then i lost my job and was forced to face what i actually want in life and after years and years of thinking about it and worrying i'm going for it.

… and yet, i obsessively searched linkedin despite knowing i only wanted to work for myself. wtf. i said yes to other people’s projects but had no energy for them. eventually i reframed my thinking to view this past year as a "sabbatical" to focus on my life. not just my career. i had to learn they are not the same thing.

i'm using clear & cultivate club as my yearlong commitment to myself AND my ideas AND my brand AND most importantly my artwork. i've read so many books in the past few months on "the crossroads of should and must," my "big magic" and "daring greatly" and being "untamed."

i’ve read SO many books to "help me change" but putting things into practice was a whole different story. i never thought of them as “self-help” books until realizing i was always drawn to that section of the bookstore. surely something was “wrong with me.” i wanted to fix it but didn’t know how. hell… i didn’t know what “it” was.

in one book (i don’t want to talk about it) i learned that overcoming a “covert” depression generally requires an “overt” depression… and then i knew. i have been covertly depressed since elementary school and got extremely skilled at hiding it. my overt depression started a few months before covid even hit.

the main thing i've learned is how everything is tied to self-worth and mine is very low. i can say the best, most amazing and encouraging things to others but have trouble looking in the mirror.

my low(est)-point was on my way home from two weeks on the road where z and i went up to wisconsin for a wonderful visit and then drove 12 hours south to tennessee for a less-than-wonderful visit. as i pulled into our drive-way all i could think about was how deeply unhappy i am with my life.

the worst part, i really don't know why i feel that way.

we have a beautiful home in a great neighborhood. i have an incredibly supportive husband who is trying his best and could not possibly be more stable. this new puppy is the light of my life and couldn't be more wonderful. and if i'm being boastful ... the sky is the limit with where i want my career to go. for crying out loud, i had an unprompted job offer literally the day after i found out our department was eliminated.

here's what i see was focused on:

  • i am the heaviest i've ever weighed.
  • i wake up most mornings with a headache.
  • i am sleeping better but just last night i woke up constantly with unrelenting thoughts.
  • my bank account is dwindling because i haven't lined up consistent work and am dragging my feet on all of the requests for art for reasons i can't explain. i am too ashamed to receive unemployment.
  • casey and i have been in conflict more than ever.
  • our house is covered in unfinished projects and the basement if full of empty frames that i can never seem to find the time to put on the wall.
  • i was reminded last night that i am overthinking everything tied to starting a business when all i really need to do is start making art and getting it out in the world.
  • i miss my family and traveling and seeing friends and dining out and all of the things that are out of my control right now.
  • the stonehouse is so close to being ready but there's unresolved issues that i feel powerless to solve from st. louis --- although to be fair i'm not sure being in wisconsin would keep mice out of the house.
  • i haven't been to yoga in over a year and can feel it in my body that i am weaker.
  • i can't seem to take zealand for a walk every day even though i know that's what she needs.
  • i made the decision to go off birth control in january and it freaked casey out to say the least. he can barely talk about the positive reasons we would want to raise kids but i know he will get on board. [SURPRISE .. he definitely has!]
  • i am deeply sad about our best friends moving to edwardsville and others who seem to be continuing their lives when i feel stuck in one place.
  • i'm anxious and worried all the time.
  • i just wish everything wasn't so hard.
  • [my depression and anxiety got worse when winter hit just as i was set to launch a few products. the series of events reinforced my core beliefs: i was destined to be unlucky & undeserving of happiness – the ideas i've been exploring in this blog all along. i credit the cultivate club community and my seventh attempt at therapy for pulling me out of my funk because despite countless friends and family already in my life ... last winter i never felt so incredibly alone ...]

i hope investing in myself was worth it and i can finally start realizing i can do things on my own.

i am worth it.

that little message at the end was the most surprising part of the letter. rereading [and rewriting] my words has proven to me that ...

even in the darkness, i saw the light.

[i am humbled by this awareness
& excited to carry that light forward]

p.s. i HIGHLY recommend this exercise.. here's the link again.

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