Somebody introduced me to the modern erasable pen last year, and it’s honestly life changing. The problem with paper planners, for me, was that writing things down felt like another way to disappoint myself.
I’ve grown really, really tired of disappointing myself. An erasable pen lets me write things down in my planner in a way that feels like commitment, but doesn’t stop me from moving that task to the next day and moving on when life happens.
A friend told me last week that, from the outside, it looks like I’m totally killing it. I appreciate these sentiments. I hear them a lot, but I almost always push them away. (Although I’m sure the people who see me for the mess I am are just kind enough to not DM me and be like, “Wow, girl. You are blowing it, huh?”)
But also, I’m not blowing it. <— typing that is an intentional act of self-love, FYI
I have definitely felt like I’m blowing it A LOT, especially since asking my husband to leave his stable job and convincing my whole family to travel the country in an RV for 18 months as every part of what I thought I knew for sure about business began to fall apart.
2018 was a real bitch for content creators- at least that’s the consensus I get from the friends who are kind enough to open up to me about what the reality was for them.
The thing about doing things other people don’t typically do- selling your house and traveling and working from the road full-time- is that there’s not much of a roadmap, and failure feels really scary because there aren’t even trail markers showing you how to get back to the highway.
But failure and blowing it is a fact of life, stable job or wild adventure. The truth is failure was not a stranger before we diverted off the traditional path. It was just easier to face and recover from.
The last couple years have presented me with tremendous opportunities for personal growth. I wish I could say I’ve leaned into all of them willingly. It’s been more like life has grabbed me by the hair and forced me to figure some shit out.
I’m stressed. Sometimes that makes me feel stuck.
It’s completely within the normal human experience to need a break from the stress that makes me feel stuck.
I’m 28% done with the book, according to my Kindle, and have teared up probably 5 times so far just recognizing something in myself and removing another layer of shame.
The first was learning about the freeze response.
We are all probably familiar with fight or flight, but I hadn’t really considered what happens when your mind tells your body to freeze- because it doesn’t think fighting or fleeing will do you much good- because it thinks the stuff you’re facing is much too big to run from or to fight, so it tells you to shut down.
I don’t know about you, but a good amount of my personal shaming comes from feeling like total crap about not being able to face down or figure out something and instead just ignoring it, and hiding.
This is all getting pretty deep for a post about an erasable pen, and I don’t really have a thought out arc for this stream of consciousness mess I’m giving myself permission to type and post without accompanying SEO keywords.
I just want you to know that I work hard to look like I’m killing it on the outside. My livelihood kinda depends on people thinking I have my shit together.
And, don’t get me wrong, I think I’m functioning pretty well these days.
The erasable pen is helping with that a lot. I just erase what I don’t get done one day, and I write it down for another day. Don’t ask me why a pencil does not give me the same satisfaction.
A pen means you’re committing to something, you know? You’re writing it in pen. And you have every intention of that being something you’ll cross off when you’re done.
But with an erasable pen, you’re still giving yourself permission for life to happen, for your freeze response to take over one day. There is no shame in erasing the pen-committed plans. It’s easy, it’s not messy, sometimes you can’t even see any marks left.
When I open my planner and I see everything I didn’t get done, my brain doesn’t tell me this is too much, too hard to recover from. It doesn’t tell me to freeze.
It just tells me to erase, and try again, and that’s HUGE progress.
If your freeze response is taking over a lot, I hope you’ll turn your efforts toward giving yourself a break from what’s making you freeze and away from shaming yourself from not doing anything. Find your own erasable pen- or something that reminds you that it’s okay for life to happen, and that you can always recover from it.
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- Headaches: Why Do We Keep Shrugging Them Off When We Could Get Help? - August 21, 2020
- Showing My Scaffolding - August 19, 2020