Shape shifting, shame, and transformation
My biggest career regret and the hopes that follow
When I was nine years old I started writing a novel called Basketball Dreams on my dad’s small Macintosh computer from the 90’s that I had convinced him to let me keep in my bedroom after he brought home the green iMac for his job as a country music columnist. I’d hear Trisha Yearwood blasting in the living room while my dad reviewed her newest album for one of the most syndicated free country radio magazines in the country and writing his monthly column Parrott Talk, while I tapped away upstairs writing my little story.
The ways of a monthly columnist in my bloodline
I’d finish my writing, put on my own music - usually Britney Spears or Shania Twain, and dance in front of the mirror pretending to be a pop star. I’ve been shape shifting since I can remember, from writing to dancing, to casting spells in the corner, reading under a tree, playing pretend with my little brother, and enjoying the imagination of being as many things as I wanted to be without guilt or shame.
At some point in adult hood this shifts for many of us, we think we should just have one thing we love to do and be good at. The pain of “being pulled in many directions” fragments our attention and we are left feeling scattered and unfocused.
This is not a bad thing and I truly believe in reframing “scattered”. If it was a bad thing I wouldn’t have the career and life I have today that I love very much. I am finding ways to tune back in to the ease I felt setting down my novel at nine years old and blasting Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under, with absolutely no pain of - WAIT should I STILL BE WORKING ON MY NOVEL?
I knew it was time to dance and sing, and so I did. The pivoting wasn't a hardship, it was an integral part of my becoming.
In late 2021 I was asked by A24 to work on a part of a book about a little movie about the multiverse that would include a section about quilts. A dream come true. They had a generous budget and I had been wanting more collaborative opportunities, and the movie sounded so cool.
Then, I lost my mind. A process I wrote about here in this Substack space and over a year later have managed to see as an incredibly important process to my aliveness. But in this mind altering experience, where I entered my own cosmos of pain and suffering, I was unable to complete the project and had to turn it down.
The movie was of course the brilliant Everything Everywhere All At Once, and watching it win many Oscars last weekend brought up so much sadness for me alongside the deep celebration. Sadness that I wasn’t able to participate in this amazing project, that my own visions for quilts and ancestral connection didn’t make it into the book, and a resentment towards the life I was living at the time that lead me to so much crumbling.
I couldn’t shape shift out of my normal routine into a project outside of my own creative world for fear it would topple me over. I was barely holding it together and while I have learned to be in acceptance of that time I also have some fear that something like that could happen again.
Which brings me to the importance of my morning routine and writing practice as the anchor to my shape shifting, two separate things that serve one shared function : to tell on myself. I do not hide behind vague statements anymore and I do not pretend everything is ok when it is not. I use my morning pages to say - hey god I am not doing so hot what do you have for me? I use this newsletter to say - hey world here is what I went through and it was really uncomfortable maybe you can relate.
I tell on myself to my sponsor, my therapist, my financial advisor, my best friends. In 2021 I was not telling on myself, I was presenting a very different version of my life to everyone hoping to be believed and accepted, while inside I was losing my sense of self every moment of every day.
I may have not been able to participate in a project that is tied to the coolest movie ever made, but I did learn a lesson in capacity. I learned that if I am not telling the truth to myself and to others, I will fall apart. And in this falling I may miss opportunities to share my gifts with the world. Abandoning myself serves no one in the end, and I am grateful today to be on my path - truth telling even when it’s uncomfortable.
May you fly from the keyboard to the mirror to belt out the greatest hits of pop country, may you accept the times when you had to let it all fall apart, and may your own multiverse thrive today and everyday.
While the class The Shapes of Our Offerings is about the shape of the things we make we will also talk about SELLING THOSE THINGS - we will not hide from the exchange of commerce in this class. We will see exactly how we will weave it in, and this includes hobbies and recreation unhooked from capitalism 🪴🌀
Have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below 💜 Already signed up? What are you most excited about? Want to share the Instagram post for some last minute social media excitement? I’d love that!
Class starts tomorrow and is three Saturdays with two co-working sessions and it’s the only time I’ll teach it! Can’t make it live? Every class is recorded and you have lifetime access 🌸 Scholarships and three part payment plans available xo
I did an Ask Me Anything on Instagram yesterday and saved all the answers in a highlight : artist pep talks, how I pick what to write about, imposter syndrome, and more!my dear friend, Center Residency Alum, and designer of all Monday Monday and Yes Yes graphics HAS THEIR OWN SUBSTACK! Subscribe! Cannot recommend their writing and webs and ways of looking at the world enough
💎 The Courage to Be Rich : Creating a Life of Material and Spiritual Abundance by Suze Orman - our great lesbian elder in all her weird glory. I find the title to be wild and the contents to be argued with, and yet - I love it so much! So much about our inherited money stories. Highly recommend! Take what you like and leave the rest
💎 Off The Grid withis back and I cannot get enough of this podcast! She is guest teaching week two of class and you do not want to miss it! The way she describes the grief of social media is this episode hits straight to my heart
💎 A beautiful read from
💎 Leelanau County ancestors <3
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