I’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster ride since I first hit publish in January 2012. There were podcasts to host, podcasts to guest on, blog posts to write as a guest blogger, blog posts of my own to write. Friends needing a shoulder and a soft place to land. Twenty-two books I published myself along with three collaborations. School lunches, schedules and field trips. Promoting friends’ work. Setting up signings and other author events. Starting my own publishing house. Launching a new career of college professor. Family illnesses. My own illnesses and testing and treatments to endure. The loss of several people I love in my life either by death or their choosing to leave my life. Bills to pay, huge decisions to make. Healing.
I haven’t gotten to that last one yet.
A couple of years ago, I stood at a fork in the road, and I looked over everything, mainly the mistakes I’ve made time and time again. And I promised myself, I’d learn to put me first. I’d learn to tell people “no” rather than “yes” when I was already buckling under the weight of life. And throughout my life, there’s been a theme of me never learning to value myself enough to put myself first. This doesn’t mean I stop being there for those who need me. This doesn’t mean I start becoming a selfish asshole. It simply means that at thirty-seven, I am far past the age where I should have learned that if I don’t take care of myself first and foremost, sooner rather than later there will be no more me to take care of those I love. Certainly, my children are exempt from this: they always will have me coming at a flat-out run if they need me.
And I’m care taker at my core. Roll your eyes all you want, I’ll ask you to let me know that you’ve arrived safely. I’m going to offer to bring you juice and soup if you’re sick. If I’m able to help you, I’m going to help you. That’s just who I am.
But who I am also is a person with needs. A person who has largely neglected herself in order to help other people through their hurts and trials. A person who adds three extra things onto her already over booked schedule in an effort to help someone out. A person who more often than not puts her hurt second to someone else’s.
And with a new five week course to teach coming up, partnered with the planning of IndieVengence Day 2014 and The Quillective Project’s yearly anthology to publish, I find myself exhausted at the simple idea of day to day, simple tasks. And recently, I found myself dreading writing a short story I’d been excited about when the idea for it popped into my head.
I’ve so wrung myself out and so over-commited myself and so forgotten myself that writing, the one thing I have found more solace and healing in than anything else, has become something I just can’t do.
It’s time for me to let go of things that no longer work. It’s time for me to let go of and move on from things that won’t work. It’s time to let go of and step back from things in my life that are hurtful and toxic.
And it’s hard to write this to you dear reader. It’s hard to admit I’ve hit such a rough patch in my road of life that I’m not sure how I got here or how to get through or around it. I’m so bogged down that I can’t see the way back from which I came.
I feel quite alone and isolated. It is a very startling realization that two and a half years past the time you promised yourself you’d do better for yourself, you’ve yet to do anything to carve out something that belongs to you, and you alone. It’s painful realizing you’ve given so much of yourself to other people and things that you no longer have any for yourself.
This is just a pause button on my life. And as painful as it is to step back and let go of things, it’s what I need to do.
Much love and huggles, and take care, my lovies:
Amber, I’m not sure exactly what you’re going through, but I wish you well! I know we don’t talk much anymore, but you were such a good “Internet” friend to me. You trusted me with your cell number so I could chat with you about all of things it was goin through, the depression, the loneliness, pretty much all of my struggles in life at that point.
Things are much better for me now. I always read your blog and I have enjoyed several of you books of poetry even though I’m not really a poetry kind of guy.
I guess all I’m saying is that if you ever need someone to vent on, talk too, have a laugh with, or whatever else, please feel free to text or call. I wish you the best! You are a very special woman and you have touched many lives in a very positive and personal way because you have been so open about your own! 🙂