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I had this epiphany while at a psychedelic retreat recently that I give and give and give (and talk and talk and talk) because it keeps the energy flowing in one direction. If I keep giving, I leave no room for receiving so technically, I can't get rejected. Fuck.

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Weird I thought I responded! I said: it reminds me of that Ted lasso episode where the lady says she doesn’t date men that are good enough for her (or whatever language she used) so she doesn’t have to be vulnerable. I get this! xx

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Painful realisations = hearts breaking further = lots of discomfort = increased lived freedom

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Yep. No pain no gain (spiritual growth)

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Mmm, thanks for this Holly. Admittedly I think that over-serving or over-functioning is a sign of something - but whether it’s healed or unhealed, how can we ever really know? According to who/what? It’s all just language we are accustomed to using that ultimately reduces our experiences to binaries: good or bad, healthy or unhealthy -- when really we will all just die without much confirmation about anything.

As a result, I think what really matters to me lately is not necessarily what things might mean because I have no fucking idea - but how things FEEL in my body. How does it feel to serve others more than they serve you? Does it put you at ease or does it feel like you’re trying to outrun something?

Ironically, usually when I go this route I happen to end up closer to meaning anyway!

Hypothetical questions I’m asking myself...

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Beautiful expansion and that first paragraph slaps. I don’t know, and I think for me the healthier place, right now, is fully embracing the shrug of it. There’s something sane about it being what it is and nothing more, no new route, no new insight, no further unbinding. I’m sure that will change but that place of this is it and this is great is nice.

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You nailed it on the binaries being unhelpful. Behavior, like personality, is complex.

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Is it weird I feel oddly comforted and excited by the prospect of you providing essays when *it feels right*??? I think because when I try to confine myself/be good/be normal, my brain and body revolts.

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Ha!! Same same!

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♥️

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It’s just changed my life lol. I realized omg, life is short! Have fun! Make this fun! It’s thrilling and I’m so glad you’re thrilled!

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founding
Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for choosing what is right for you.

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♥️♥️😭

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

When u write, I hear myself. Thank you

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Hugest compliment

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I have given so much to so many over the years. I am now trying to give me something

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Yes Betsy!!!

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It’s hard to break those patterns. You feel guilty for time outs and self care. Honestly, I’m not sure how to self care and build resilience - or to return to a new baseline. I’m trying and you and your writings are a great help

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

I cracked a smile that you stopped the Myth of Normal at page 400. I skipped through a bunch to get to page 300ish after you made some comments about the first 300 pages being..., which honestly I interpreted many of those first 300 pages that I'd failed as a parent, which wasn't his intent but society's fault, but still the impact on me that sent me spiraling at least once pretty hard. Fortunately (?) school got busy so I had to put it down. Debating picking it up again. Seeing as though you stopped, maybe that's a sign that I need to read more fiction.

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I have a lot to say about it. I actually think it’s such an incredible book that created a number of new neural pathways, lots of ideas; Supported many new epiphanies for me or ideas I was considering; and it’s just too wide a book. I am looking forward to finishing but yeah I feel you on the fiction.

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thank you, hol. whatever, whenever you write. it's always a gift, and it's a privilege to support what you're doing. you keep doing it, i'll keep tuning in. your writing brings me clarity and lights me up. love to you.

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parke I just love you so so much. Thank you for silently patrolling the perimeter of my work, standing vigil. There aren’t enough words of gratitude for you.

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Saw Aftersun the other day and highly recommend. And thanks for the Melissa Febos recommendation from the other week, currently doing a deep dive into her work and loving it.

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Tom you are so lucky to be starting down the Febos path. I do recommend her work in order and I still think Abandon me is her best!

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

Ok, so I don’t know where to start but a couple of things struck me reading your newsletter; as a paid subscriber I would never want you to feel pressured to write more, do more for me. That said, I fucking love when your newsletter appears in my inbox. I check out everything you recommend and you’re like my cultural twin who know exactly what I want to read/listen to, you’re a gift Holly and if you only post once a month, I’m here for it.

As a writer (screenplays), I have a visceral fear every time I have a deadline, it has gotten easier over the years but I think it’s the weight of the word ‘writer’ that brings up my imposter syndrome bullshit. But when I started painting again and particularly since I started selling my work I made a decision; I will not take commissions, I will not put pressure on my biggest pleasure. I protect the vulnerable artist in me, I’m gentle with that part of myself and I wish I could be that way with all the other parts too. But it’s a work in progress 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Ok this is getting long but one last thing. I’m going above and beyond for people; I do that too and I’ve figured out why 😃. I do it because as an introvert and artist who’s favourite thing is be on my own painting, I over give when I see people because then I can completely forget about them when I leave their company, safe in the knowledge that I don’t owe them anything, especially my time. Not particularly edifying to admit but that the truth. I love my friends but they know that they won’t see me too often but when they do we’ll have a lovely time and they will have 100% of my attention but when I’m gone, I’m gone!! Big love Holly x

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It’s funny because money doesn’t usually ruin things for me; but here it has. A bit. I understand everything you’re saying here so well. I’m also very much the same with my friends; when we are together the light of the world shines on them alone. And then 💨

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Relate to Imposter Syndrome ❤️❤️🔥

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Love this, and we'll take whatever you give us. xxxx

What a treat it is to read your work!

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Awww Yrsa!! Holding my heart. Thank you; it’s very very mutual.

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founding
Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

You’re the artist & we feel so lucky to be able to share in your journey… you get to call the shots, all of ‘em! You’re the best & I love you so so much! Thank YOU for giving so much of yourself♥️

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Aww you! Thanks Kelly. I love YOU so so much. This note, all your notes over the years, mean so much.

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Dec 7, 2022·edited Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

YES. Thank you for this. Only since being on mat leave for 6 months have I craved the writing process again because I'm not doing it as a fucking job (copywriter). The other day I submitted a 54-word play to a competition during my baby's 45-minute nap. No prize, no submission fee. It was a tiny exercise, and it felt unreal because it was FUN. I'm happy you're taking this approach, Holly. And I love your roundups <3

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YES!! It reminds me of a podcast I did years ago with James Altucher and he said "it sounds like you are very passionate about photography you should make a career out of it" and I said something like that's a great way to kill something you love. I love fun! I really, really want to have more fun. Let's have more fun. Congrats on a baby, too.

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54 word play!! Now that’s precision 🙌

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

This is beautiful, Holly, and I think we share this similar trait. For that reason, I try to support you in a small way monetarily, or any other way I can (word of mouth, book recommendation, etc.) because you have helped me so much and I believe in you and the work you do. I do not expect anything in return, other than what you have already provided for me, which has been, no exaggeration, life-changing. I will continue to light up and immediately stop whatever it is I'm doing when I see you pop in to my inbox or Substack whenever I get so lucky! And, I will know it will be coming from your heart.

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I just texted a friend that she's wonderful AND funny and she said "I RECEIVE THIS!" and same: I receive this. Thank you. I love you and I am very happy to be part of your digital distraction <3 Full heart. xx

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Dec 7, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

You have helped so many of us already. When I receive your newsletter, I find myself clicking on like 30 links and spending hours perusing your recommendations or reading the articles you have linked. That alone is worth the tiny amount I pay. I am also a frequent, unnecessary Venmoer. I stopped sending random Venmos when I realized that I could never so something nice for a friend because they would Venmo me because I would Venmo them when they treated me. All that to say, anything you write is lovely to find in my inbox, whether its weekly, monthly, a sentence, or a bunch of links.

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Aww Ann this is just LOVELY to read. Truly. Also I very much understand this Venmo behavior you speak of. It's like, maybe we should just all keep our money and it will even out? This makes my day to know that you click on the links and enjoy them. So much love.

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Dec 8, 2022Liked by Holly Whitaker

It’s obvious to me. You have a kind heart and a loving spirit. Simple as that imho

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aww Joe. Kind hearts recognize kind hearts

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❤️

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💕❤️🙏

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