This empath's journal

Your past self is a gift to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not painful to say ‘no thank you’ to it3 min read

Right now I feel so drained I almost feel barren inside.

I feel like work is burning all around me. My professional identity going up in blazing flames.

And it’s a fire that’s rapidly spreading, consuming more and more.

I know that my past self is a gift and that I can say ‘no thank you’ to her, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.

I think of Seth Godin, who said that even if that past self went to law school and practiced law for many years, you can still say ‘no thank you’ when you realise that it no longer serves you.

So, I’m saying no thank you to a version of my work self I no longer wish to be.

I closed the shop. I will no longer have my own shop.

When I left customer service behind, I wanted to isolate myself into my little bubble and have as little to do with other people in a customer service capacity as possible.

Then, I capitulated because artists are supposed to have their own shops. And I spent 2+ years building the perfect shop, learning the platforms, figuring out taxation when selling worldwide.

And in the end, what it gave me more of than anything else was stress.

I lost hope and creativity and curiosity as I succumbed to the stress of all the admin it took to do that, to maintain and run the shop.

It was time away from writing, time away from drawing, time away from creating.

Time spent doing things I derived no joy form. So that I could do more things I derived no joy from.

Instead, I want to focus on writing and creating. Doing the things I dreamt about when I was stuck doing customer service.

I’m looking into opening a RedBubble shop and I might just start selling digital goods on a platform like CreativeMarket, but time will tell.

For now, I’m freaking out about the fact that I feel like I’m throwing away months of hard work.

I comfort myself with something that I read in Real Artists Don’t Starve, about how you have to find yourself apprenticeships in life.

Apprenticeships that teach you what you need to learn in order to move forward, level up.

Since we don’t train under masters the way we once used to, a career or jobs or anything can also be considered an apprenticeship.

Anything that prepares you for what comes next qualifies.

I guess this was my apprenticeship.

Maybe one day I’ll want my own shop, who knows. For now, I need to just cut out everything extra and focus on making, creating, writing, drawing, painting.

Wild and inspired.

Last night I was freaking out, panicking.

Today it’s subsided into a manageable terror in my gut. And budding excitement that I may actually be free of a huge weight that’s been pressing down and I hadn’t even realised.

It hurts. I’m emotional. I don’t know how to move on while it hurts, with pain. I guess I just do and with time it’ll stop being so raw.

Focus on the doing, less on the pretending.

And remember that, above all, I wanted freedom when I set out to create this work for myself.

So, I need to stop being afraid of it and claim my freedom.

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