I turned 24 last month. It’s not a particularly important birthday, I guess. The next one, twenty-five seems a lot more significant in the same way that thirty, forty, and fifty do. Decades feel more important and worthy of celebration. I’m actually quite terrified of those decade birthdays. It’s hard to imagine ticking off the box on another ten years of all of this living. Things happen so much, so fast, all of the time.
Six years ago, I moved to Columbus for school. In the time that has elapsed since then, I: recovered from 1 suicide attempt, left school, completed two intensive outpatient psychiatric programs, adopted a cat, fought and continue to manage disordered eating, survived rape and abuse, advocated for myself in the legal realm after surviving harassment and stalking, returned to school full time, broke a few hearts, completed multiple internships in federal and state agencies, created a podcast, developed a passion for painting, quit smoking, lost weight, got rejected, gained weight, set boundaries, invested in friendships, got better at asking for help, came out to my family, met my husband, moved 9 times, failed calculus, graduated Cum Laude, buried Bika…
Things happen so much, so fast, all of the time. Birthdays are hard because I’m reminded that time continues on even when I am still carrying the weight of trauma and pain. Time does not heal pain – it makes me feel more awkward and selfish for needing so much time to heal. It’s just hard to explain to people that birthdays are sort of a bitter reminder of the years that were taken from me by abusers and bullies. I’m no longer sad about most of these things, but every year around this time I try to be gentle with myself and extend all of the empathy I can to my past self and the things they had to survive.
This summer and this birthday have felt tremendously heavy. As I talked about in my last post, I’ve been focusing a lot of energy and time on trauma work in both my personal life and the professional or platonic spaces I occupy. An unforeseen benefit of social distancing and isolation was the time and energy I was able to afford to see a therapist and start doing the work. The work has of course been challenging and I’ve drudged up and processed a lot of feelings, memories, and beliefs about myself and the world over the last few months. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I wish I had started sooner.
As I’ve spent this time working on myself and my future, I’ve put a lot of distance between myself and this podcast that I created. I’ve had a tremendously difficult time creating engaging and authentic content. Personally, I don’t feel a great benefit in churning out content for the hell of it, especially because I use this platform to engage with such a niche community and want to sincerely add to peoples lives. I am proud of what I’ve produced since 2019 for STEMS and Leaves. I’ve met wonderful people and spent hours researching, exploring, and talking about people’s experiences and how we’ve all navigated this silly little world. I’m not planning to retire that content any time soon, but I am planning on some new and exciting things.
I’ve invited a few of my friends to join me as regular, rotating co-hosts on the show. Each of us share the common thread of having been in Columbus, Ohio at some point and that’s about all we know. Most notably, these friends of mine have never met one another and likely never will, which is fun. They are all super cool folks with interesting stories and they’re all living across North America doing cool stuff. So, to both keep in touch with my friends and continue deriving value from this podcasting service I already pay for, I figure I’ll just make content with my friends and have fun. So yes, this is a positive update and I hope those previous paragraphs didn’t have y’all too worried. I’m looking cute, feeling cute, and doing cute things — and soon a few of my friends will be along for the ride.
Stay curious ~