I’m still on a high after Friday’s release of A Trial of Sparks & Kindling. I honestly still can’t get over the fact that I now have two books out there. Two. It’s surreal.
Maybe it’s because of this high that I have the energy to blog. 🙂 I’m not going to lie, folks, the last few months have been rough on my mental health. And I don’t want to hide what I feel, you know? Not about this. The more we talk about these things, the more normalised they become, and the less stigma will exist.
This August, I’ll celebrate my ninth year of blogging. I blogged through my makeup-artistry studies, through my pregnancy, through my horrible first trilogy (now unpublished), through both immigrations, through The Physician’s Apprentice, through A Study of Ash & Smoke (hint, these two are the same book), through A Trial of Sparks & Kindling, and through the first four drafts of A Curse of Venom & Scales. The blog moved domains, changed names, and had facelifts, but the blog was one of those parts of me that you could rely on. And while I took off the odd week here and there during these nine years, I always came back when promised. This is the first time my blogging routine just fell apart, and I didn’t write a single post. For months.
Don’t feel bad, though. This blight wasn’t just centred around the blog. My social media platforms suffered, too. Most days, I didn’t even open Facebook or Instagram, but when I did, I didn’t have the energy to comment or post anything.
Sometimes, anxiety changes us. The Covid19 pandemic didn’t influence me outright, not at first. I just kept swimming, and was scared, but okay. But then, my personal routine was also shot to hell. Suddenly, we couldn’t leave the house, unless we really needed to. Suddenly, my daughter couldn’t expend a portion of her energy at the park. Suddenly, school shifted to home, which confused her and, honestly, frustrated me. Yes, I love my kid. I love her with all my heart, but considering I grew up in a family of teachers, I’ve known since I was young I’d never be one of them.
Operating outside of your comfort zone is difficult enough to begin with, but when it comes with the added stress of a pandemic, worry over your loved ones in other, more affected parts of the world, and having to learn a new set of skills while there isn’t time left in the day to deal with your own work–yeah. No fun.
For me, the anxiety manifested in a total freeze-out. I just don’t have the capacity to check in on anyone, albeit through social media, direct texts, or the one I hate most–phone calls. The blog gathered cobwebs, and I didn’t write at all. Hell, I couldn’t even read, and I’m one of those people who’s always reading something.
Which resulted in feeling worse about myself, because I wasn’t getting anything quantifiable done. This Wired article about productivity not working pretty much sums up the whole thing. As a millennial, I grew up always hustling, always juggling projects, always listing what I achieved at the end of the day, or I’m a failure. Of course, this doesn’t extend only to one generation. These days, we all have to be influencers, 30’s (or younger) success stories, and we have to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and every new social media avenue that pops up. And we must have followers and likes and interactions with people all over the world. And we also have to be sensitive to social situations, politics, what we consume (physically and emotionally), we have to be woke, planet-saving, and if we have kids, be super-parents.
While the media exploded with opinions on this pandemic, arguments for and against masks, conspiracy theories, the stories of lost loved ones, recoveries, and every damn thing in between, I drew deeper into my little shell. I didn’t have the capacity.
Some days, I still don’t.
When I started blogging, a statement like that would’ve been followed with an apology. Sorry I haven’t blogged. Sorry I didn’t post on Insta or FB. Sorry I haven’t seen your newest post and liked it.
2020 Yolandie says no. My mental health is important enough to take a break when I need to. I’m going to try my best to be active on the blog on those days I have the resources to write, and give myself the time to figure out what the hell next on those days I don’t. And I hope that you’ll have the courage to say the same. Nobody was prepared for this, but your worth isn’t measured in how productive you were during the pandemic.
Be kind to each other, be kind to yourself, and stay safe out there.