Mental Healing Step Four: Take that Break

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written anything in this series of mental healing and for a few months I shamed myself and had this overwhelming sense of failure: I had started a project and I dropped the ball on it.

Seeking validation in yourself and the work that you do is a tricky space. I believe in my writing but I shame myself for not doing the work. I shame myself even when I know I’ve been doing other work that is just as self-validating.

You see, I started a new job (lol. that “new” job started now 10 months ago) and I’ve been building a social media data report from scratch. My brain fucking hurts from all these tiny numbers in tiny cells but you better believe I’m hella proud of it. Ya’ll. It’s beautiful. There’s an ugly spreadsheet with so many numbers and calculations and I did all of it. Well, that’s not true. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter gave me the numbers but I made sense of them. I created a massive document that gives me the data that I need to make decisions about the content I post to the social feeds. I feel like God because I can clearly see the impact of every damn social post.

But I haven’t been “writing” writing (aka writing poetry). Hell, the most writing I’ve done these past six months is my daily to-do list. Which is usually just the same words over and over every day because my job has these long-term tasks that require daily maintenance: Check engagement on the post from yesterday. Check those dm’s. Check the social calendar for necessary changes (beer is weird and production can’t seem to stay on schedule no matter how hard they try). Check the dropbox for photos that were requested. Check email. Check reporting on our advertising budget. Etcetera until the end of time.

Yesterday I told myself to chill out because it’s definitely okay to pick up where you left off. But where did the time go?

I think that’s what stays with me the most when I lose track of a project and then suddenly the shame of forgetting returns to me. What have I been doing in the meantime? What do I have to show for that time lost? Lucky for me, I have a pretty badass portfolio of improved engagement and audience growth on my company’s platforms.

But I don’t have documentation of my personal growth. I have to remember that I’m doing the best I can. I have to remember that personal writing is a priority. And, yes, I do manage to write every day in my little mental health app “Pacifica.” But is it enough? I think the answer to that depends on who you are and what your needs are. For me, documenting my moments of frustration in that app help me direct the feelings to the ether, I can access them later and try to make sense of them. But, really, just the act of documenting to get those feelings out of your brain is what has been so crucial to my growth. It’s certainly not personal writing in the sense of creative writing. But, you know, it’s the documentation that means something. It’s content I can access later. When I need to work through a feeling again. When I need to work through that train of thought. When I have something (or rather nothing) to say. That documentation is there for me.

So, I suppose I was wrong, I have been writing and working. I just haven’t been doing it here. But look at me now, writing again and posting these goods like nothing even happened.

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