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Dear Holly-

I’m a public school teacher, and I have been my entire adult life since the age of 23. I’m reaching 20 years in the profession, and I used to approach it with same sort of dedication and zest I imagine of that of nuns or priests. Teaching teenagers to read and write was a calling—an avocation not just a vocation. It was challenging and rigorous. I felt like I was married to it; I was devoted with a steady, if not daily, experience of love and duty.

And then, 2020 happened.

I say 2020 as a metonymy because I have no other word to describe the series of disruptions that the pandemic hath wrought. Closures, online “school,” black Zoom boxes, masks, cultural upheaval and revolution. We’ve shifted and shifted and shifted. Even if all the other variables stayed constant, this alone would cause burnout. Add this: Kids right now are both not ok and also so much more aware than we were at their age. They have a vocabulary to describe the hard feelings we just buried or numbed. Still, they are suffering through illness, grief and exacerbated mental health issues. And they are somewhat disenchanted, which makes trying to engage them in compulsory education difficult to say the least.

None of this is the real reason I am struggling with burnout.

It is this. I became painfully aware that to fulfill the essential functions of my job, I must work at least 10-20 hours per week outside of my contractual hours. Before, I saw this something that made me good—a good teacher, a good person. Now I see it for what it is—exploitative and exhausting. My health suffers—mentally and physically. My family suffers. I have come to deeply resent it.

Like any sort of one-sided relationship, once you see the dynamic, you can’t go back and unsee it. If I just stopped putting in the extra time, students would suffer. Less unpaid preparation or time spent giving students feedback would change the day-to-day experience of my job as well. Who wants to go into work and do a mediocre job with a bunch of teenagers who really don’t want to be there?

I feel trapped in a position where I am not given the resources to do my job adequately, and my only choices are to suck, quit or use my own life—my time caring for myself and my family, my rest, my leisure—to compensate.

Show me a narrative of any great public school teacher, and I will show you a martyr. Even Hollywood doesn’t shy from showing you the ways the Jaime Escalantes’ families and health suffered. In fact, it grossly a part of what makes them “great”—their capacity to sacrifice their basic needs as humans for a system that has not given them the basic resources they need to do their jobs.

All of this was true before the pandemic. Again, it is my thinking that has changed. Now, I am repulsed when I think about things like not being able to go to the bathroom when I need to because I am the only adult in the room. And when I think about how people in my profession have higher rates of bladder cancer and colon cancer as result of not being about to go to the bathroom when we need to go.

Maybe I just woke up to the systems in general?

I’m in a historically gendered profession. It’s why I make less than other professionals with similar education. I’m in a racist profession. Public schools were created in large part to Americanize immigrant students. From a systemic perspective, little in the institution has changed, and the working conditions for those working in the system are also unchanged. It’s not that hard to see. I just didn’t.

These deep thoughts just swirl in head, and I still need to show up and teach the children. Just the cognitive existential load of it all is a major factor in my burnout.

Now what?

I am connecting to others. A teacher friend said, 2022-23 was the hardest year of her life. I felt a huge weight lift because I thought it was just me. I was individualizing—thinking it was my fault rather than looking to the system. (Please note: I did this having complete intellectual awareness of all the systemic factors I wrote about above.) Now, I try to be the first person in the room to say what I am feeling no matter how “negative.” We can’t keep gaslighting ourselves.

I am now looking at all the choices I make around pedagogy (how I teach) through the lens of labor. Will this choice or that choice require me to do extra? Versus: what is the best for the students?

This is subversive: Women are supposed to sacrifice themselves for others.

I am asking questions like: What does adequate look like? Versus: what does good look like?

This is subversive. I work at a school district that talks about “building a culture of excellence” a nearly every meeting.

Instead of modeling martyrdom, I am learning to model a sustainable work ethic for students. Working in a way that preserves my health at a pace that keeps me in the classroom for years to come and importantly, in the grips of a system designed to grind you down.

In our late stage capitalism, in our world today, this is perhaps the greatest lesson for students more than anything I could teach them related to English class.

Again, I know all of this intellectually, and it is going to take me another 20 years to embody it. To encounter the backlash when I protect myself and my unpaid labor, when I produce adequate and sustainable work, and not spin out or revert back to my old patterns. The backlash is excruciating at times and tedious at others. It’s all just really tiring.

I still have hope that if enough of us perform these quietly subversive acts that these institutions and systems will change. I am not sure that I will still be working when those changes arrive. It does give me a sense of purpose and connection though. It’s “Bread and Roses.” It’s the collective even if we are really dispersed.

This is a long comment. It is also my first comment. I am a devoted reader of anything and everything that you write. Thank you for putting your work on the world.

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Danielle, this was captivating and chilling and all my hair on my arms stood on end and I shook my head and I'm sending it to my mom and sister, both teachers. I wish this was an op-ed in the times or published some place because it is so desperately necessary to read. Thank you for taking the time to write this out, it meant a lot to read it and know you're experience. It seems like there are only shitty choices in almost everything we have to decide for ourselves right now, and that is beyond heartbreaking and defeating. With so much love and care for you, me.

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Thank you for reading and for the generous, supportive comment! I’m inspired by the feedback. And thank you for creating and nourishing such a welcoming space full of thoughtful humans.

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Thanks for sharing this!! Wow wow wow. I knew it was a challenging job and was under valued and under paid for the amount of work. But now I understand even more from hearing your experience. I’m impressed you are trying to turn it into ways to make it more sustainable and model it for you students (despite the backlash). It’s utterly amazing how our systems seem designed to bring us down instead of thriving. Waking up to the truth of this and seeing how they are taking advantage of this cultural norm that women are supposed to sacrifice themselves, that if things are not perfect it’s the fault of the individual...when it’s really the fault of the system. Thanks for all you do. Holly is right, what you wrote needs to be seen by more eyes. You are an amazing writer as well, please keep sharing your voice!

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Thank you so much, Beth! I really appreciate the time you took to read it and respond. It’s made my day and buoyed my spirits.

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So, this is an interesting question. Burned out? Grounded? Drained? Energized? Yes. On the days that I minimize my content interactions and screen time, drink more water, move, take time to mediate, do yoga, and work a reasonable day etc. I feel great. Life is a highway and there’s nothing but possibility on the horizon. On the days that I don’t take care of myself, spend too many hours on my phone scrolling or looking at the 1000 different colors of silk shirts on Etsy, work too much, eat crappy food, over Netflix, etc....string enough of those together and I’m stocking up on canned goods, prepping for the end of the world, compulsively checking social media and crime reports for the latest subway stabbings. I remember the Before Times when we didn’t have any of this shit! Today, anyone can log onto anything and see what someone else is doing and experiencing. We can instantaneously communicate. We compare ourselves to images that aren’t real. We have endless choices. All of these things... our brains were just not built to process. A headline is written and then instantly picked up by the machines, rewritten over and over again and presented as a “new trend.” And people worry about the trend and talk about the trend and it’s on the news and then the stock market drops. Actually, NOPE! It’s is not real. It’s just a set of advertising supported platforms desperate to amplify, something, anything. As a society we react, we judge, without knowing anything about other people and make up stories to fill in those blanks. Add some propaganda and a heavy dose of government subsidized Capitalism... the more you pay attention to it and allow it in, allow it to prod your primal brain, the worse you feel. Advertising figured out how to manipulate human behavior to want stuff a very long time ago, but now, everywhere we look that brain loop is getting throttled. And THAT is truly exhausting. THAT is why, IMO, we are collectively feeling fried like chickens. So, to me it is all about how often you are participating in it to a level that you internalize it. I think it’s hard not to do that... given the thousands of flavors served up to all of us in accordance with our particular propensities... “made you click!” vs. what is happening IRL with our work or relationships or with ourselves in that moment. But, it is absolutely possible in the same way that living a life free of ethanol is possible. Easy? No. Seemingly everyone in my world is brainwashed in a collective delusion that ethanol is safe. Yet, I know the science and I know it’s not safe. So I reject that delusion. And the digital realm, also not safe for our mental and physical well being beyond small amounts. Brainwashing people to log on and pick up their phone 100 times a day is a really, really good way to sell them more crap. It’s something else to wake up to. Ambition, desire, striving, to me, these are all very natural and normal parts of the human experience. Where it gets really out of whack is when it’s not taken as a part of the whole, when it becomes the core and commodified into a way of life. And, some people are just wired with more ambition, which IMO is the exception rather than the rule, but in our culture we raise up lots of things that are the exception and then define that thing is THE thing that we should ALL want to become... but that is really where I want to Fight the Man, because it’s just not true. There are wonderful and lovely people, millions and millions of them, who don’t want to strive and they are doing amazing things in this world just be being who they are. Whatever digital ocean you’re swimming in... you’re getting served up a lot of content that was purpose built to poke at your own insecurities, why? To make you question your own voice, and perhaps sell you a seminar. Hustle Culture doesn’t exist in certain places and spaces, it’s only if you’re participating and interacting with that content. So, back to Grounded. I do participate and interact with a lot of this content, consuming and pondering and questioning. As my husband says “you’re a GDamn reader!” But I can now stand back and see it for what it is, it’s part of the world that I live in, but it’s not who I AM. It’s not my home. I don’t have to internalize. That’s my choice to do that or not do it. I almost think of it today like I my native tongue. I can speak this language fluently, but it’s all just utility. I know that I am still me, inside, independent of all that is swirling outside. This is a delightful thing to remember and when I keep it front and center I am Grounded AF.

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this is SO GOOD!!! !!!!

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deletedJul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker
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"the metrics I was told would make me happy ⁠— big social media following, good book deal, being known/recognized, etc. — are making me ever-more miserable. I dream of burning it down every single day." lol ohhhh same girl same. All of the things you are dreaming of doing sound miraculous and I'm here for it. Proud of where you're at and excited for what's to come. Big huge squeeze HPM.

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deletedJul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker
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All of this is so beautiful. I also can't help but see "all I've done" and then you've exercised and I'm like, "they really did so much today." Exercise! Thanks C for this and the beautiful piece of writing. I could hear it and see what you were doing with it and I loved it.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Jesus, Holly. Are you IN MY BRAIN? I walked out of my nursing job 3 weeks ago and basically told them to F off. Been looking for jobs (half-assed) as I’m not really sure I can do it anymore. And I feel like a loser, afraid the world is gonna find out I suck. I want to nap and snuggle with my dogs and that’s about it. It’s different though than my usual cyclical depression. Anyway, it’s refreshing to have you in my life you make me feel kinda normal!

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Honey I do not think you're even close to alone. I think you're in really good company. Congrats??! Congrats. Thanks for this.

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In my experience, napping and snuggling up with your dogs is often the beginning of great things you cannot even imagine.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thanks! Just finished a little snuggle fest and am now ready to host my 4th of July shindig. Hope you’re right… the party will RULE. (Sober and hosting drinkers. Always fun, right)

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Jul 5, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Just wanted to chime in and say CONGRATS. For some reason most of my friends are nurses, and since COVID, every *single* one of them is majorly, massively, totally burnt out. Many have talked about wishing for the strength to quit. Sending you kudos and care!

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Firstly thank you for asking how I am, I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT IT! I feel like I'm watching myself having a huge tantrum. I'm so fed up of feeling like I'm failing, all the time, and using the narrowest of metrics to judge that. But I'm also so bored of my nonsense, and the world's nonsense, and social media nonsense, and just knowing too, too much about everything and everyone. I just read Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner and when I started to fantasise about sacking everything off and becoming a witch in the woods, I felt...better.

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So much of this resonates. THANK YOU DAISY. I just re-watched Lost again for this same reason. When do we get to just live in the woods, same sentiment.

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Jul 4, 2023·edited Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Hi Holly! For over a year I've been feeling tired all the time wondering why I feel so tired when I haven't done much of anything - when the truth is I've been working non-stop for many years now. I'm a bit of a workaholic and I've been ignoring boundaries for many years now, so at the moment I feel like I'm working through a bit of a burnout. Unfortunately, it's a bit of a vicious cycle : I struggle a lot with resting on weekends because doing nothing productive feels like I'm being lazy - especially when I can't get myself to do anything other than binge shows for hours on end. When I told my therapist this, she responded by saying she doesn't believe in laziness. The thought was truly mind-boggling. I do think the eradication of a concept like laziness is really radical actually. To quickly paraphrase, she explained that when we don't want to do something / anything, that feeling isn't coming from nowhere - that is, it isn't laziness. As I understood it, the need to do nothing is important to respect, to honor, to make space for because we all need it!!! Though I haven't fully mastered not judging myself when I truly can't bring myself to do anything, I've found I'm more well rested when I just accept that's where I'm at : I'm doing nothing and absolutely nothing is going to hurry me into productivity. As silly as it sounds, it is quite tough for me to remember, so it's honestly something I talk about and write about a lot, but I think that's how it goes with well-worn grooves.

ANYWAY - thanks so much for your writing. It always resonates.

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Ugh this is so, so good and I love your therapist very much. It's really something to behold how deeply the conditioning goes around productivity and laziness, and to see how much judgment I have for it. Last night I had this entire talk with myself about loving the person I am, right now, and letting her be where she's at, which feels like an obvious thing but it's just not. It's so easy to think "I know better, I should be doing better, and better looks like this thing that is the opposite of what I'm actually feeling like I need." Or something. Thank you for this.

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You have a good therapist.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

YES Marianna! So if I’m reading correctly, the need to do nothing is important to respect and honor, and likely I have suppressed or repressed that need for most of my life, which might be why it is roaring down my spine now with a vengeance... maybe it just wants to be seen and heard like every other feeling ❤️

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How am I? Well I almost died two months ago and now have be diagnosed with pre-cancer and am in treatment. My whole life exploded and now I am just taking it day by day grateful I am alive. I am amazed what I put up with when I was healthy and how much of that doesn't even matter anymore. Thank you for asking how we are- because I don't think people actually talk about how they really are they just project how they think they should be into the world.

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Emily, thank you for being willing to share this, I haven't had any near death experiences nor any life-threatening diagnoses but I've had friends go through it and I don't know how one manages that. What you say is what I think about all the time and what I wish we could get to, which is what actually matters; what you're going through renders so much bullshit meaningless. Not sure if you had a chance to listen to Andrea Gibson on Glennon's podcasts but it was pretty phenomonal on these points. Love you, and hope you are wrapped in support and caught by the softest ground. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bravest-conversation-weve-had-andrea-gibson/id1564530722?i=1000615232394

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Listened to it already. It gave me so much life. And that's all I am focusing on - what's giving me life.

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Jul 5, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

What a beautiful episode. I saw Andrea Gibson years ago; what a beautiful way to be brought back to her poetry. I love what she said about poetry as a tool to speak difficult things, beautifully, to people you love.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Omg I love that you loved Illinois. I saw it twice two weekends in a row. I def want to go to Chicago to see it as well. So much creativity!! I always love what you write, just keep writing it!

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OHHH YOU SAW IT?? I feel that's such a specific thing to see. It was wonderful, and also so nostalgic. It was 2007 flashing before me.

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dose that mean you saw it at Bard??

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Yup! Twice. I can’t believe Suf didn’t go to opening night, but I get it. (And hi it’s Laura Jones from Ann’s most recent WYR 😀)

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I feel fine. Do I feel grounded, of course not because I continually remind myself about the fundamental groundlessness of life. There is no ground, there is no better tomorrow, there is no better life if I burn it all down, there is only now, only this moment. And in this moment I am fine. The addictive allure of indulging in the inner dialogue of "only if I did this" "only if the world was like this" sows seeds of my own future suffering. For now I am here, I am fine and that is enough.

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Thanks Becca <3 Love this, v. much

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Love all of this, obviously. And to your 'how are you' question -- yes to bone-deep exhaustion, that I recently learned is partly due to an extreme iron deficiency but is also very much due to being out of alignment with how we're expected to operate in the world, afraid of not working enough to provide for my child, and longing for something different... whatever that means, lol. Difference in how I feel, in my energetic capacity, in space and place, in how we're all treated and cared for in the world. I've been at this standstill, slowly trudging along and not doing a whole lot, for over a year now and I slowly feel the energy returning... but not in a way that will allow me to barrel forward. Still figuring it all out. Still learning. Thank you as always 🧡

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Hi Lisa! I had an extreme iron deficiency myself last year right about this time (when the IV nurse says “oh I haven’t seen a value that low before...”) and wanted to report that about six weeks after I got IV iron everything was magically about two notches easier. Everything. Climbing stairs. Planning anything. Choosing breakfast. Making art. Talking. It’s going to be quietly amazing for you in a bit. Hang in there!

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I saw that about your iron which made me request a blood test too lol. TWINS. Because almost everyone I know is tired, that second part, about the being out lof alignment with the expectation, is so resonant. Thanks for existing and normalizing and I can't wait for the day we actually have our phone call. It's gonna be great. Love you.

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I feel so weird, because for the first time in so long I don't feel like ripping it all down.

You've been my lifeline through these last bunch of years (I'm sorry to put that responsibility on you; I don't mean it like that. Obviously you don't know me, I don't know you, I have real life connections, no pressure, etc). There was one day during spring/summer of 2020 when I was on a long walk by myself, and I had to cross over a highway exit ramp. The most direct walking path was through the tall grass, but who does that, I should stick to the road, I might be trespassing somehow, people will see-- and suddenly the world shifted and I was like, on this day, in this world now, who's going to stop me? I was free, and I walked where I wanted, because who cares, honestly, but really it was more like the top layer of duct tape holding society together and my life to normality was suddenly ripped off, and with it went a million tiny bullshits.

(Unfortunately for me, my will to work my bullshit computer job was one of them.)

I'm a classically-trained clarinetist, and I've been trying to make a freelance musician career work or turn into an orchestral musician career since moving back to the US from Europe, and it's subjecting myself to torture that I choose over and over because the absurd impermanent beauty of music is worth it. And insert every hustle culture/ push through it/ keep going/ you had better be the most prepared because there are a hundred people ready to replace you at every turn/ etcetera/ plus your old-school 20th century sexism, plus the 21st century social media/ branding, and yeah

I have been under blankets.

And I have been reading your words, and just like when I first got sober and there was nothing else but AA, your words have been this quiet back of the mind tether, that we are not alone, there is a way, we are not wrong, trust.

I just came back from a 2 week residency in Canada where I studied the bass clarinet and contemporary music with this amazing teacher, with a focus on wild sounds and out of the ordinary techniques. I did it as a toe-dip to see how I felt about being a student again, to maybe start on a new road or something. I don't know. It was hard as hell, but now as the dust is settling I notice that I feel free and unafraid in my playing, and I can take those wild sounds and try them on the other (smaller) clarinets that I play, because why not? Who's gonna stop me? I feel fucking pumped about clarinet playing, not just music, for the first time in years.

That's how I am, sorry for the brain dump.

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this was so refreshing to read, let me tell you. Because writing is so brutal, and it's hard to make happen, and it causes so much self doubt, and it's really tenuous and inconsistent and making a living from it is very illogical...there's been my own questioning if I should keep doing this, and then of course really nice people send me emails that say I should quit and do something that doesn't feel as hard...and this: "it's subjecting myself to torture that I choose over and over because the absurd impermanent beauty of music is worth it." Thank you for persevering in your art and torture.

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What a fucking gift to the rest of us that you do write, that you do make music. I cannot imagine doing what I do--asking 19 year olds to take a prolonged look at the impact of colonization or the economic impacts of sexual harassment--without bringing in music and creative writing to explore alongside the academic works. We can hold up our gaze to understanding environmental racism just a little bit longer when we are also reading the poems of Layli Long Soldier, listening to Revolutionary Love by Ani DiFranco, or reading memoir excerpts to see how people are dealing and healing and changing. It's quite the offering, others allowing us to bear witness to how they make joy in, through, around, near, in spite of, and because of their suffering. Thank you to the musicians, the writers, the photographers, the quilters (etc...) for making the world a more beautiful and livable place.

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Jul 4, 2023·edited Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I recently found out I'm pregnant, and it has thrown me for the biggest loop ever. My energy is barely there, and I'm finding it so hard to think ahead. And when I do, I just freak myself out. I don't want to do anything, but I also feel miserable when I sit for hours refreshing tabs. These days I don't even bother with social media bc it feels like nonstop chatter, and I'm tired of it all. I've stopped going on Tiktok for a few months, and I feel I can think better these days. But I still haven't found what will get me through this cycle. I keep putting on sitcoms in the background, and it's a nice comfort, even though I rarely actively watch them.

I've never done well with boredom, and growing up I was actually taught to think that the word itself "boredom" was a bad word, HAH. So now, when I feel this sense of "meh" and "whatever", I genuinely don't know what to do with myself. Naturally, I picked up one of my Pema Chordron books yesterday, which tells me I'm really in it.

Re: writing for an audience vs self, I've always felt the most creative when I attune to what it is that I need to say and process. The moment I start creating for an imaginary (or real) audience, I start editing before I even know what needs to come out. I'll admit that when I started making zines it felt a lot easier to tell myself I was only writing for myself, and maybe just one another person. Now I sometimes have to trick myself, and say that I'll make something that will be JUST FOR ME. And maybe, just maybe, I'll publish it after I've let it exist on its own for a bit. It helps overall, but I'll admit that I haven't been actively making much lately.

It's a weird time. I feel like an emo noodle most of the time. And I'm tired of feeling bad about it. I've been searching for a therapist, which has been such a discouraging process. So I overall feel like "imma feel how i feel and ya cant tell me nothing, byeee".

Hugs to us.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

This is probably a cliché, but when I was pregnant I tried to remember that I was doing something even when I was doing nothing. I was always creating life. It’s invisible work that doesn’t necessarily feel effortful, but your body is working hard. I don’t know if that will help you feel more peace with being idle, but I hope it helps even a little bit.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Thank you for the reminder. I'm hoping that will settle in, and I can let that be enough.

Tbh it's also the worry that now I will have an actual being that will depend on me to be okay. So the pressure it's also from that, feeling that I need to get things "together", so that things can be better in place when they get here. And then wondering how the hell I'm supposed to do anything when even a walk feels like so much effort. Disorienting is an understatement, haha.

But yes, I am creating life and my body is certainly doing its biggest work right now <3

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Margot this is everything. That last part...it's a weird time, and I'm an emo noodle, and I'm tired of feeling bad about it. Generous, gorgeous. Congrats on your pregnancy, on being nailed by Pema and on going easy. Thanks for this.

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Thank you so much, Holly. All the love and hugs for you.

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I was a practicing lawyer by the time I was 25 (17 years ago) and a married mom of 2 at 35. I also lost my mom in 2013. I would say that my ambition fully peaked around the time she passed and it has been declining ever since. The pandemic pushed it off the cliff. Releasing alcohol in 2020 made me also recognize all of the beliefs and patterns that I was anesthetizing with both alcohol and ambition.

The same way that I have learned to stop and question “would alcohol actually make this feeling better right now?” I have also learned to stop and question “would I actually feel better if I achieved xyz thing in my career?” The answer is almost always no for work. It can be harder with work than alcohol though, because I can completely avoid alcohol but I still have to pay bills.

I love Glennon’s question of “what is the next right thing?” I try to stay in the present and just focus on taking the next step rather than striving toward some purpose or calling. It is a constant, everyday effort to reframe my perspective, but I think it’s worthwhile.

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Jul 5, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

Just wanted to chime in with resonance! "I have also learned to stop and question 'would I actually feel better if I achieved xyz thing in my career?' The answer is almost always no for work." Woof, yes. I have been coming to the same conclusions myself recently, and you're right⁠—harder with work than alcohol because it's hard to go cold-turkey on paying the bills 😬 Thank you for this!

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

I definitely feel like I could not “work” again and be fine (maybe even thrive?). I don’t know how I’m supposed to get any of the things I want to do done while working 40 hours a week. Maybe it’s just that I don’t enjoy the work and feel overwhelmed by the prospect of changing careers. If I didn’t need money, I would, at the very least, take a long break from it.

I tore a meniscus back in March, and it tore in such a way that I couldn’t walk without crutches. Those 5-6 weeks on crutches, waiting for and then recovering from surgery were such a gift. For the first time that I can remember, I let go of expectations-mostly of myself but also of others. My only responsibility was to rest/heal. I accepted help without guilt. I did nothing without guilt. I took breaks at work. I left early whenever I felt like it, and honestly, even the “feeling like it” was a revelation because I normally struggle to tap into what I’m feeling at any given moment.

Why do I put so much pressure on myself? It’s so depleting.

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To just throw this in there, I'm doing what I love and I've got a bit of the dream going on. I live in the country and write from a little cottage in the woods and make money as a writer. And still...I feel like I could not work again and be fine and thrive. I think two things: one, what makes it so hard for me is the pressure I put on myself; and two, the world is extremely fucked up. ILY. Let's sleep forever and be okay with it?

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Jul 4, 2023Liked by Holly Whitaker

But I love the loose curls!...

Mom

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awww mom I know. And they are really great I love them too thank you for them

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