Elizabeth Lennie, Dream State, 2013
You know when things are going the way you expected and then something blows it off course but you try to steady the ship and keep going as if everything’s the same? I most definitely do. I’ve had many feelings since my layoff from the high energy almost mania of disbelief to just a complete exhaustion I can feel in my bones. Added to this is the feeling of stretching and growing in sometimes huge ways due to my training program. Do you remember the feeling when you were 13 or 14 and you could feel the ache in your body as you literally grew? That’s how everything right down to my soul feels these days.
At first I tried to go with the flow and stay busy and just keep pushing through how I was feeling and ignore what everything in my body was saying; it led to some moments I’m not proud of. I dropped the care I had gotten better at providing myself and I felt myself become dysregulated in a way I haven’t been in a while. For a bit, I’ve wondered what would happen if I reverted back to the way I lived my life before learning how to take care of myself and this brief moment gave me the answer: it’s not great! Self care isn’t pedicures and bubble baths for me (and many of us I’d wager), it’s chopping vegetables ahead of time so dinner doesn’t feel overwhelming, it’s getting 8 hours of sleep, it’s stretching and taking a walk in the morning, it’s listening to the ridiculous app that checks whether I’m drinking water throughout the day, it’s setting boundaries so I don’t doom scroll myself into anxiety and dissociation. Honestly, it’s such basic stuff but it gives me a sense of being on steady ground; I’m more important than what I produce. I won’t set myself on fire to keep anyone or anything else warm.
I’m actively trying to track how I’m feeling these days because that’s something you need to be able to do as a therapist. To sit with someone else and create the container to hold them and everything they’re feeling. You can’t be checked out and you can’t not be in your body so I’m learning how to trust and stay in my body and the self care is a huge part of that. It’s the foundation of all that, really. All of that to say that I’m listening to my body and listening to the environment; it’s getting darker and we are turning inwards, we are trying to rest. We live in a culture that tries to keep going despite the natural world and for maybe the first time in my life, I’m trying to not resist the urge to rest and care for myself. The right instinct is there even if we’ve been told to fight against it.
In many ways, this layoff feels like a blessing. I am about to have time and space to not just rest but to really nurture myself and get much better at tracking how I feel. I’m going to be able to focus on myself and my program and my writing and how it’s changing and evolving. I’ll be honest, for the past few months I thought You’ve Escaped was coming to an end. I felt myself changing, I felt my life changing, and I just didn’t know where it was going which made me very uncomfortable. I was right in a way: it is coming to an end but I think it’s just the end of a season. You’ve Escaped will return but it’ll change because I’m changing—we’re all changing, I hope. I’m in the nesting and resting and creating stage and I’m excited again about the work I do here and to share it with you all in the new year. Until then, I’m going to listen to the light and the air and take a much needed break; hibernation, if you will. You’ve Escaped, in what will be another of its forms, will return on Wednesday January 5th, 2022. If you are a paid subscriber, your subscription will be extended by 6 weeks to honor this needed break in content. I appreciate the support from all of you who can contribute financially (now more than ever) and I want to make sure you’re getting your full year of content. Book club will still be meeting in December and I’ll be spending more time in the Slack with you all in the coming weeks to give you a sneak peak about changes that are coming.
Until then, I’ll leave you with my favorite essays from 2021 which have all been made available publicly and not just for paid subscribers, including C.R.E.A.M., my series of essays on money and class and all it brings with it. In no particular order:
As always, thank you for reading and see you very soon.