I am drained.
This is partially why I’ve been absent on my Substack for the last few weeks. I’ve been avoiding writing about it, too, which is very unlike me given I use writing to process emotions. I always have.
But this time, I just… shut down. I closed myself off to everyone but my family and closest friends. But today, I sat down and decided to finally share why.
I am drained.
A few years ago, I received a thick envelope from my county courthouse for jury duty.
Before I get into this story, I need to say: I’ve always wanted to be a juror. An absolute honor! I love performing my civic duty. To say I was excited is an understatement. The only other time I have been called for jury duty was during college. I had an exam on the date I was supposed to report, so I called the courthouse and explained my situation, and they dismissed me. I was bummed.
So, when I received this envelope (an undisclosed amount of years later), I eagerly tore through it and found a quick note about the process and then saw the eighteen page Juror Questionnaire that laid before me.
Just press publish. Just write. Just put it out there.
These short, little statements keep this publication going.
When I first launched this Substack it was my intention to, as my About pagesays, “to come out from under the rock I’ve been hiding under as a writer and share my words with the world.” I’ve spent most of my writing life by keeping it private, only sharing some essays/reflections here and there on my website.
I yearned to be the type of writer who wasn’t afraid of sharing her work, who wasn’t afraid to hit publish, regardless if something wasn’t perfect or finished. I mean, if you saw the literal stack of journals and notebooks that contain rough drafts of poetry, musings, journaling, free writing, etc., you would probably be like “girl, you’re sitting on SO much, why aren’t you sharing it?!” Or maybe you’d be like “eeeeeeeehhhh I’d keep that one in the journal forever, babe!” 🤷🏼♀️
It’s incredibly weird to think we’ve been living in a pandemic for three years. Yet, here we are!
Today (I’m writing this on March 12) is the anniversary of when I started working from home five days a week. I was used to one or two days at home. I lived for those days — it was an opportunity for me to be heads down, cut down on distractions, and increase my productivity. These things were lost when I was physically in an office.
Then, on the afternoon of March 12, 2020, I received an email saying our offices would be closing and all non-essential in-person personnel would be working remotely for a few weeks. At the time, my company kept saying things like we’ll be doing this for three to six weeks, max, just to let things settle, then we’ll come back…
In 1993, I was nine and in fourth grade. My parents were separated, getting divorced, and I was bullied on the playground at school. I didn’t understand why I was angry all the time. I remember my teacher asking me how I was doing in light of the divorce and I said “GREAT! Maybe now the fighting will stop.” (Spoiler: it didn’t!)
If I could talk to that nine year old now, I’d tell her to keep her chin up and in ten years, literally none of this will matter. And I know it wouldn’t help her much, but I’d hug her tight and promise that her life will be great in a few short years.
When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to be famous.
My parents gave me a Star Search microphone stand for Christmas when I was seven (or eight?) and I would perform for their friends and our family during gatherings. I’d climb up onto our giant brick fireplace and stand in front of the wood burning stove and sing my little heart out. I would watch Kids Incorporated and sing along with Stacy (Fergie!) and Robin (Jennifer Love Hewitt!).
In middle and high school, I got into theater and choir because I still wanted to be famous. I loved singing, especially in front of an audience. I yearned for the spotlight, enjoyed every second of being on stage, performing alongside my friends. I sang the national anthem at some home basketball games and lived for the applause at the end. Someone told me they heard me “kill it” on the local radio station that was covering the game and I rode that high for months.
When I graduated, I intended to get my first year of college done then go on to Indiana University and major in voice performance. One week into my college career, I realized I didn’t have the desire to be a starving artist the rest of my life, so I better find something else! Fast forward a few years, after a couple of false starts and several doubles in the restaurant biz, I found myself back on campus getting an English degree, with a focus on writing and literacy.
Shortly after I got back into the college routine, I had an experience that made me never want to be in the spotlight again.