I ACCOMPLISHED ZERO OF MY 2019 GOALS AND I DON’T CARE

There was something I was being called up and out to do, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

I still remember how I felt when I made a list of goals for 2019 on the last page of my journal in December 2018: pleased with myself for reaching for the ~*starz*~, but like there was something missing.

I made a list of things that would feel good to accomplish and show the world I’m moving forward. This included finishing a draft of my book, hitting 3000 Instagram followers or running the SeaWheeze half marathon to name a few. But there was something out there that I was being called up and out to do, not on my list, and I could feel it.

I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

So I didn’t.

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It wasn’t until midway through Jan. 2019 when I was painting the trim of a house in New Orleans, volunteering with an organization called lowernine.org, that it occurred to me.

I needed to search for clarity and genuine connection.

During my volunteer work and that entire vacation, I felt calm and happy. It wasn’t a feeling that had resided in my body in a long time, and I wondered why I couldn’t feel it all the time. Why did I only feel clear on vacation? I didn’t sign up to live a life where I only felt good when I wasn’t at home!!!!

Maybe it struck me then because I needed the vacation and volunteer work to remember what it felt like to feel that good, and maybe because my head was basically in a bucket of wine in December when I wrote the list and I was still somewhat newly single.

I know now that list of goals that I could brag about on social media once completed hadn’t gotten me very far so far, as far as actual healing was concerned.

Deep down I knew chasing clarity and connection would be harder, require more of me and take longer, than everything on that list put together. This was the year I was being called to the challenge.

On the plane back, I was left wondering what I could do that would get me one step closer to where I wanted to be. The little voice in the back of my head finally let me admit to myself that maybe drinking was holding me back and I wouldn’t know how much until I stopped. The holidays had been rough, and alcohol didn’t make them easier even though that’s what we’re told.

So instead of chasing all the other goals, I came back home from that trip and haven’t touched alcohol since. I quit drinking because it intuitively felt like the first thing I could eliminate that would get me closer to clarity and connection. I didn’t choose to ignore my original list, but it naturally fell to the wayside.

As I’ve said before, drinking took away the gauzy veneer that had been allowing me to ignore my complete lack of healing. Talk about clarity – there’s nothing more f*cking terrifying than realizing that YOU’RE the one robbing yourself of inner peace because you refuse to do the work and haul the rotting issues out from under your soul porch.

I ended up doing the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life in 2019, and none of them were on that list. I am inching toward clarity and genuine connection as I continue to excavate my way through my own bullshit.

2019 taught me that the vision of my life I wouldn’t dare put into words is the very thing I needed to vow to do for myself. I didn’t have an entire roadmap, I just took a brave little baby step in a direction that my intuition guided me towards and had to have blind hope the rest would come.

Especially in the low moments, because trust me THERE WERE MANY, the hope got me through. You’ve gotta crack a few eggs if you wanna make an omelet.

Easier said than done, I know.

I don’t feel bad for giving up on my original goals. Write a list or don’t. Think on it. Pledge to do the thing you don’t want to admit to yourself you need most. Do the thing that gives you the most hope for future you.

Sometimes it’s not something that can be broken down into a to-do list.

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ALL MY FAVOURITE SELF HELP/INSPIRATIONAL STUFF

Books, Instagram accounts, articles, podcasts, docs, TED Talks and more! Let’s get growing and glowing with self-love.

I believe we’re all on a journey of personal growth. Whether it’s mindful and positive, or not, that’s up to us. Some of the materials I’m suggesting here are specific to my life experiences and the types of things I’m working through, so keep that in mind. It’s about finding whatever works for you and serves as a beacon of light when you’re struggling.

If you’re ready to show up, get mindful, learn from your mistakes, laugh a little bit and make some changes — you’ve come to the right place. I’ve compiled a list of both recent and older materials that I love for your consideration. I hope you get something from them just like I did.

ARTICLES

As with all articles: don’t judge them based on the headlines. I’d recommend actually reading them before you get your knickers in a bunch.

DOCS (NETFLIX)

Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution
Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things
Gaga: Five Foot Two
Happy
Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé

BOOKS

These are my all time non-fiction faves (my favourite fiction book of all time is here). I always have a stack I’m working on. Based on what you’re seeing here, if you have book recommendations for me please go ahead and slide them on into my Instagram DM’s. 

TED TALKS

INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS

These are gonna be ALL over the map. Follow these accounts if you want to be more socially aware, lean into antiracism work, get that daily dose of encouragement, want to love yourself more, love a good laugh and/or want to confront your BS.

@CreateTheLove
@bymariandrew
@theslumflower
@whatswrongwithmyvagina
@BodyPosiPanda
@ihartericka

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Traveling while Black part 3,000: “…..white feminists tended to romanticize the black female experience rather than discussing the negative impacts of that oppression. When feminist acknowledge in one breath that Black women are victimized and in the same breath emphasize their strength, they imply that though black women are oppressed they manage to circumvent the damaging impact of oppression by being strong – and this is simply not the case. Usually when people talk about the strength of Black women they are referring to the way in which they perceive Black women coping with oppression. – bell hooks, "Aint' I a Woman" • • Yesterday, I was standing waiting for my bags in the TSA  pre check line (I make this distinction because white people get very uncomfortable when you come into spaces that are made accessible to them via class). "Yellow.. its the color of the season. Did you know that?" I was wearing a yellow turtle neck and had to move away when this presumable white woman was going to reach to touch it. As I was walking away, another white cis woman looked at me as if she was seeing Jesus and said, "wow you look amazing!" Y'all its a yellow turtle neck and khakis! But Ericka, its just a compliment, nah its their discomfort on loud speaker. White people do not compliment each other to this extent, I know they ain't shifting their way of being when they see me. • • I used to get dressed for these compliments. I would wait to wow white folks as my internalized anti-Blackness said that Black people weren't here for my weirdness. This fetishizing didn't end when I was married to a white person either, she did it too. When we divorced, I wasn't able to grieve. "You are so strong, Ericka! You will be fine!". When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, same thing. This rhetoric is what kills black parents in labor. Medical institutions think that we are only strong too. Like (@kolbybrianne) said this absolutely plays a role in desirability, and Eb said yesterday, if Black femmes are godlike, who wants to fuck god? • • bell hooks goes on to say that Black women are strong so white women can remain victims. • • Black folks only: Have you had this experience?

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@Rachel.Cargle

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Why is it that in order to talk about race white women act as though their safety is in danger? They approach it as if it’s rocket science. They place themselves into a role of one who must be coddled into understanding as opposed to shaken up to their role in the oppression of entire communities. • The marginalized have been living in fear, pain and frustration for generations but all of a sudden white women are the ones in need of “safe spaces” to finally talk about it. • Share this because I’m really tired of discomfort being called anything besides what it is and white people aren’t immune to discomfort, it’s exactly what’s needed in this conversation regarding race.

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Rachel also offers a free 30-day antiracism course (targeted at WW) that encourages you to dig in and #DoTheWork. You can sign up for that here.

@recipesforselflove
@thefinancialdiet
@thefashionfitnessfoodie
@AwardsforGoodBoys

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HI BEAUTIFUL

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@florencegiven

PODCASTS

Girls Gotta Eat

Fave episode: What Turns You On? with Nikki Glaser AND/OR Money Talks with Ramit Sethi

How I Built This

Fave episodes: The episode with Daymond John who created FUBU and my ALL TIME favourite & most life changing podcast episode of all time — the episode with Whitney Wolfe, the creator of Bumble.

Stuff Mom Never Told You (aka SMNTY)

Fave episode: Any episode from their 2017 series of episodes on Role Overload (single ladies, working mothers and working daughters).

The Art of Charm

Fave episodes: 748. 7 Signs of a Toxic Relationship AND 749. How to Handle Toxic Relationships

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Fave episodes: Her episodes with Eckhart Tolle or Brené Brown (she has multiple episodes with each of them).

Guys we F*cked

I would actually recommend starting at the beginning and listening from the first episode onward. I think this podcast kinda broke the internet when it started and set a precedent for a whole new generation of female-hosted sex and dating podcasts.

TWITTER ACCOUNTS

Tbh we all need a good laugh or some insight once in a while, and here are a couple accounts I can always count on for that.

@SheRatesDogs

@TinderDistrict

@EWDatsGROSS

@LegendsLeague

@ChrissyTeigen

@Scaachi


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GUEST POST: HOW I LOST MY JOB AND FOUND MYSELF

Emma Sherren of Blonde’s Eye View on when you do everything “right” but it still goes wrong.

GUEST WRITER INFO

Emma Sherren is a 25-year-old wine & cheese enthusiast, blogger, and self-proclaimed comedian. She has a degree in Rhetoric and Communications from the University of Winnipeg and has a career in events and marketing.

I always thought I was taking the right steps in order to set myself up for a safe and comfortable future.

I graduated high school, went to University directly after, backpacked through Europe during the summer, graduated from University and got a job. While I was in university I worked a full -time and part-time job in order to make money and also make sure I had some experience in my field once I graduated.

Every step I took seemed to be exactly what I thought I needed to be doing because that’s what everyone else was doing or had done before me. Although I felt generally happy, my day to day life had fallen into a robotic routine. Wake up, go to work, come home, sleep, start again. Of course, friends, family, and outings factored in, but I found myself going through the motions to get to the weekend instead of turning on my brain and getting creative.

Upon graduating, I had a couple of great positions that I ended up leaving for other jobs because of factors unrelated to me. In the past, when I would start looking for a new position I never had a problem finding another job. Finally, a couple of years and jobs after graduating, I thought I had finally found a job that I saw a future in. I was excited to settle into my position for the long haul.

Turns out, I was wrong.

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I was let go from the position about three months in. I was called into the boss’s office at the end of the day, was told I would no longer be continuing in my position, and effective immediately was being dismissed.

I was sent to my office with a box to pack, and as quickly as I had started, I was finished. I was in a complete state of shock as I walked to my car and immediately started sobbing out all of the tears I’d been holding in until that point while on the phone with my mom. All I could think was, “did that really just happen?” I had never felt this kind of rejection in my career. I was angry, confused, embarrassed, hurt, and mainly I felt as though I had completely failed.

The situation felt a bit like a break up that ended suddenly with so many unanswered questions. I was not given any feedback, and because of that I felt like I didn’t receive any closure and had nothing to take away moving forward. My mind immediately started racing through my entire time there picking apart every piece of work I’d done or email I’d sent. All I wanted to know was, “why did this happen?”

I thought I had taken all the right steps to get a job I deserved. I was in disbelief. While I should have been gearing up for the excitement of the holiday season, I found myself drowning in anxiety, scotch, and ego-crushing emotions.

How would I find a job right away?

What would my parents, boyfriend, and friends think?

Why wasn’t I good enough?

I started to dread going to family dinners or seeing people fearing they would ask me about work or what I had been doing. Listening to other people talk about their careers or days at the office felt awful because I had nothing to contribute. I had never felt so lost in my entire life.

I decided I had to allow myself the time and self-care I needed to navigate this scary, confusing, and transitional time. This time included a lot of crying, carbs, wine, and feeling extremely sad and negative about myself. But during that process, I was also able to really think about what had happened, what I was feeling, and start looking for a solution.

Why did I keep thinking I wasn’t good enough? Why did I keep worrying about what everyone else thought of me?

When I had accepted this job, I had two other offers on the table but went with the one I thought would provide the most stability (ironic hey?). It took reminding myself daily that I was capable, hirable, and deserving of finding a job that I love.

I started looking at jobs but decided to not just apply for every single one I knew I was qualified for. I started to really think about what I wanted to do, and what I really enjoyed doing, opposed to throwing my hat in the ring for anything and everything. I began reaching out to companies, blogs, and other local entrepreneurs who I resonated with, looked up to, or thought I would enjoy working for. This time also gave me the opportunity to think about all of the things I did not want to do or habits I did not want to fall back into.

I enjoy a schedule and routine, but a few days after I was terminated, I found myself thinking about what had been happening in my life the last couple of years. I was losing my creative side, and feeling really drained at the end of the week. I would wake up in the middle of the night several times a week worried about work-related matters and was constantly anxious. I had stopped really getting to know myself, and I realized now was the time to become reacquainted. When I started to do things I was excited about or apply for jobs I thought I could actually be passionate about, I felt more in control about where my life was going to go, and although I felt unsure about where exactly that was I felt happier then I had in months.

This is what I’ve learned during my time being unemployed:

Don’t be too hard on yourself

It’s hard not to instantly fill your mind with negative thoughts after something like this happens, but beating yourself up isn’t going to help you find another job.

I understand, easier said than done. You aren’t going to feel amazing every day, and that’s okay! But the more you remind yourself that you’re a kick-ass modern woman (or man) with a ton to offer, the faster you’re going to be on the right track towards a job you’re going to love.

Remember all the reasons that the company wanted and fought for you in the first place.

Remember that a lot of times these things happen not as a reflection of your own performance, but because of matters out of your control.

Lean on your friends, family, and loved ones

These are the moments that your family, friends, and loved ones are the most important. As much as I was embarrassed and worried about what these people would think and ask, no one was casting blame or judgment. These people in my life rallied around me with advice, support, and were all understanding when I needed to step away and take time for myself.

Don’t let your own ego be the reason you don’t have a support system.

Take a breath (if you can afford to)

Of course, the first thing you think of when you lose your job is “how am I going to make money?”

I was terrified of what my income situation was going to look like, and initially, I thought I’d try to get whatever job I could as quickly as possible.

Then I realized that was the worst possible thing I could do for my long-term well-being.

I decided to take this situation as an opportunity to take a breather. I dipped into my savings and booked an impromptu holiday to Mexico with my boyfriend before Christmas, made new connections, began looking into jobs that really interested me and finally started writing again.

Things happen for a reason, and while you may not always know what that reason is, allow yourself the time to figure it out if you have the financial privilege.


What Comes Next for Emma

Emma took some time off from her job search during the holidays and started 2019 in style.

You can read her blog here: https://www.blondeseyeview.com/

GETTING OFF THE HOT MESS EXPRESS

In college, I learned to live with burnout. But now, I need to change to survive as an adult.

burnout

ˈbərnˌout
noun
Definition — Physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or chronic stress.
  • physical and emotional exhaustion
  • cynicism and detachment
  • feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment

A month ago, I was laying on the carpeted floor of my apartment sobbing uncontrollably. My nose was dripping. I couldn’t even bring myself to get up and get a tissue. I couldn’t calm down. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel (or to-do list, rather).

I wish I was just being overdramatic, but for the first time in years, the idea of self-harm played itself out in my head. For context: I haven’t engaged in self-harm since I was 17. When it bubbles up in my brain as an option that’s a RED FLAG.

I don’t know if I’d call it a panic attack, or a breakdown. But I eventually reached for my cell phone and called my Mom while still laying on the ground. I eventually calmed down and started to feel really numb. I came back to reality and eventually got off the floor. I finally booked a counselling appointment the next day.

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I cannot express enough how stupid I feel telling you this since professionally, I am doing ‘well’ (those are air quotes). I just started a new job that I’m totally meant for, I was asked to speak on a panel about a topic I’m very passionate about and I’m finishing a video project that I can’t even believe I was approached to do.

So why am I laying on my living room floor totally losing my shit? 

There’s a big part of me that ACTUALLY STILL FUCKING BELIEVES that if I do everything right, I can do it all: juggle all my professional responsibilities like a winner, stay on my workout schedule, meditate, make time to write, have a clean apartment, cook and grocery shop, see my friends and family, shave my legs and the list goes on. That part of me is wrong, because that is a Big Fat Boldfaced Lie. I struggle to accept the truth — that not only will I never ever be perfect, but striving to be comes at a cost.

I want to tell you I’ve smartened up after seeing a counsellor. I want to tell you that numb feeling has gone away. But last Friday I cried at my desk in front my coworker as soon as my boss left the office. I literally couldn’t keep it in till I was alone. It erupted out of me like that science fair project when you put a mentos in a bottle of coke.

The go-hard goblin

I’m going to call my inner workaholic voice the go hard goblin.

The goblin likes to call the shots, screaming bloody murder and cackling, usually taking the wheel in a convertible with Guy Fieri riding shotgun, driving down a flaming highway that’s heading straight to burnout hell.

“You’re not smart or talented, which is why you have to work hard,” says the go hard goblin.

The goblin tells me I’m not doing enough. It points out other people that are working harder than me and not losing steam or breaking down. It tells me I’m just weak and I need to work on my mindset.

The goblin whispers, “if you stop, you’ll lose momentum. If you stop, you’ll implode. So full speed ahead, fucker.”

I tell the goblin to go to hell, but he’s latched on pretty hard and wants to drag me with him.

I’ve never in my life thought of myself as a workaholic, but someone called me that last week and the goblin said, “you don’t work hard enough to be a workaholic.”

There you go, I guess.

Self-love and self-care are two things I value very highly, and I’m certainly not living those values when the goblin is driving.

https://twitter.com/raegjules/status/1034782246178312192

Old habits die hard

My counsellor pointed this out (shout out to her) but my go-hard-at-all-costs-and-don’t-stop behaviour is how I got through my post-secondary education. I put my head down and pushed. Pushed through exhaustion, all cues of sadness and distress, all needs, desires and more. The thing is when you stop pushing you sort of….emotionally implode.

During my degree, the crushing workload (and my inability to recognize the need for balance, breaks and pacing) drove me to seek literally any form of fast, easy comfort I could find. Alcohol and food were my two top choices, but there’s a long list.

By the end I was so burnt out I was severely depressed and I was basically only capable of escapism. Being alone with my own thoughts was SCARY and man oh man did I ever do some truly questionable shit during this time in my life. No wonder.

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Runnin' through the six with my woes #pubcrawlwpg

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Now that I’m not putting head down and pushing toward something short term, that strategy won’t work. I’m aware of that now that it has been brought to my attention. I need to come up with a strategy for sustainable high performance that doesn’t demand all of me at all costs. I’m trying to figure that strategy out and put in the work on my own, but I’m nowhere near a new normal. But I’m trying.

Chill is the new hustle

I heard the phrase above at a Babes Who Brunch event and I think I need to tattoo this on the underside of my eyelids. Being able to say I’m “sooooOoooOOoo busy” has become part of my personality, but it sure doesn’t make me happier or more interesting.

News flash Raegan: everyone is busy. You are not a snowflake.

I can fully admit that being so busy I can’t handle my shit has served as a great crutch to avoid being left with my own thoughts (admitted, I get lonely, also — should I be making RRSP contributions????).

But I certainly don’t get a busy badge of honour for curling up in the fetal position on my living room floor.

I used to joke about the fact that I’m basically white knuckling it through life. Short term, once in a while to get something, ok fine. But I know that without a shadow of a doubt I do not act like the person I want to be when I’m functioning this way. I’m detached, aggressive and foggy. I cry a lot. It takes me twice as long to get things done.

It doesn’t matter how well someone else seems to juggle 50 things. I have to remind myself I don’t live in their head day to day and I don’t know what’s going on in there. I live in my own mind and it’s screaming PUMP THE BREAKS RAEGAN YOU’RE GONNA RUN US INTO A GODDAM WALL.

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Instead of saying “I’ve got this figured out guys,” and write some sort of rainbow ending I thought I’d share what I’m doing to try to get off the hot mess express! Because it’s not about letting myself sleep for 12 hours, watching 12 hours of Netflix holed up in my apartment and/or eating a jar of peanut butter to make myself feel better. They are all temporary fixes to a much bigger problem.

Self-care, to me, is doing the stuff that’s hard to get momentum on, and you don’t wanna do, but honours future you.

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Something I learned the hard way: for a lot of us, including me, “self-care” does not mean “allowing yourself to do whatever the hell you want.” For a long time, I was like “Pint of ice cream!” “Sleeping until noon!” WOO SELF-CARE! And then I realized that none of those things helped me be any less of a mess or feel any better. I need to think of “self-care” as “self-parenting” in order for it to work, and self-parenting means I end up doing a lot of stuff that I actually don’t wanna do. I consider my self-parents to be, like, Mr. Rogers and Oprah. And they make me take care of myself by getting off my ass and exercising, meditating when I’d rather watch some Housewives, and eating a dinner with nutritional value instead of a Haagen-Dazs bar from the gas station. Discipline as self-care: WHO KNEW? 🤷‍♀️#emilyonlife #selfcare

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  • Saying no

Yeah I suck at this. See how I started that sentence?

I have a bad habit of not valuing my time very highly which blows up in my face frequently. I get excited about things and I say yes right away before actually thinking it through, so my strategy is to take 24 hrs (or at least two hours) to think and respond back before I take on any new projects/meetings/tasks etc.

  • Daily gratitude journaling

I use the Five Minute Journal now (I leave it next to my bed so I remember to fill it out when I get up then throw it on my pillow so I finish it before I pass out), BUT I used to just try to think about or jot down three good things from the day. I learned this trick from the first self-help book I ever read: The Happiness Advantage.

  • Reading and sleeping

So stupidly simple, but goddam it is this hard. I have an alarm on my phone that goes off every night at 9:30pm reminding me to go to bed — that’s how bad I am at this.

I noticed that I was in a pattern where I’d lay in bed watching Netflix to “destress” at the end of the night (escape and quiet the yelling in my brain until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore and pass out). Then my alarm would go off at 5:00am and I would be instantly mad at myself while I dragged my body out of bed. For the short term, I’ve had my mom change the password to our shared Netflix account and I got myself a stack of fiction books from the library that I’m excited to read before bed.

  • Scheduling in time for self-care

I could never have free time if I wanted to. I try to cross off everything else on my to-do list, but self-care never makes it on there. I literally wrote “take a goddam bubble bath” in my agenda today. I tell people to help hold me accountable to leave work at the time I said I would leave. I’m trying to remind myself I’m not a hero if I forgo this.

  • Seeing people I love

I am very good at isolating myself when I put the busy blinders on for too long. I tell myself I’m not fun to be around and I need the time to work anyway. I have zero compassion for myself, so I find it significantly harder to give off a positive “aura” as my friend Lauren would say (also hard to hide what you’re feeling when you are exhausted).

I’m lucky to have people in my life that know I get like this and wait patiently for me to surface, OR sometimes don’t take my no’s and cancelled plans for an answer. They come to my apartment when I can barely bring myself to get out of bed on a Friday night after a long week, hold me and let me cry on them. They make me laugh when it doesn’t feel possible. They listen to my irrational babble and bring me back to earth.

100% of the time I feel at least a little bit better once I’ve reached out.

  • Deleting the email app on your phone, blacklisting Gmail using SelfControl  and/or leaving your phone at home

I am a slave to my four email addresses — they may as well be wearing leather boots and holding a whip. We only have so much willpower. I’ve found removing the source of temptation helps a lot (this applies to a lot of things, as you’ll see below). I’m so much clearer once I’ve been away from screens for 4+ hours.

  • Avoiding alcohol + drugs + food + other easy numbing behaviours

Get honest with yourself here about your “why.” For me, I would have a few (too many) pints at the end of the week in college because I couldn’t cope with the impeding dread of doing homework at my dining room table all weekend. These behaviours become bad when the why becomes problematic.

Again, I know my willpower can be weak so I like the whole “handcuff myself to a radiator” strategy where I try to remove the temptation altogether if possible (hence why I do dry months). Tell people about what you’re trying to do and have them ruthlessly hold you accountable. Clear out your cupboards. Whatever it takes.

  • Meditating

I can’t say I’m very consistent with this, but if my head feels chaotic and I do a guided meditation it’s like pulling a parachute. As much as I sometimes avoid being alone in my own thoughts for too long, (like you pretend to not smell that thing that is rotting under the porch) good things happen when you get quiet. Again, I sort of have to force myself to do it but once I open my eyes again I always feel at least a little bit better.

  • Repeating affirmations/phrases and remembering to breathe deep

Recently, when I’ve been about to list off a confusing combo of swears and talk about how I want to set something on fire — this is usually over text message by the way — I do my best to  lean back, breathe deep and say “let go.” I swear I’ve said “let go” to myself in my head 100 times a day for the last two weeks since my friend Amie said it to me, but it’s true. I really do have to.

And you know what? It works. I haven’t lit a single thing on fire. It’s the little victories y’all.

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GUEST POST: I LEFT THE FAMILY BUSINESS

Why Jessica Antony walked away from a career in publishing (and what she’s doing now)

GUEST WRITER INFO

Jessica Antony is the owner of Anchor Editorial Services, where she provides editing, content creation, consultation, and facilitation services to a wide range of clients. She also enjoys making immature fart jokes on Twitter, and posting photos of her dog and passion for powerlifting on Instagram.

I was raised by hippie parents. But not the “we use crystals for deodorant and don’t believe in vaccinations” hippies – the “we’ve dedicated our lives to social justice and think capitalism is a scam” hippies. My parents are ambitious, incredibly intelligent, and have worked hard to support my younger brother and I in whatever we want to do with our lives. I looked up to both of them growing up – my Dad a book publisher and my Mom a professor – so it’s perhaps not surprising that my career path followed both of theirs. I finished my Master’s degree in Media Studies at Concordia when I was about 25, and shortly after started working for my Dad’s book publishing company, while also teaching a writing course at a local university.

My Dad’s company had its head office just outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia, so when I started working for him he moved from his home office to a “real” office in Osborne Village. Working for my Dad was amazing: he is hilarious, passionate about his work, a very patient teacher, and was dedicated to my learning and growing within the company. The joke was that I was his retirement plan, so naturally he wanted me to succeed. 

I learned so much in a short time when it was just he and I in that office. We quickly grew to include an office manager and promotions coordinator, so we had to move to a bigger office. That’s when we bought the property I now live in – a house with a separate office built onto the front of it. I was literally living and working in the same building. No more waiting for the bus in -30 degree weather: I could roll out of bed and be ready and at my desk in 15 minutes.

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My Dad and I were co-editors, along with Les Samuelson, of the sixth edition of a social problems textbook, Power and Resistance: Critical Thinking About Canadian Social Issues, the most successful of all of the book’s editions.

The work I did for the publishing company was just what I had envisioned for my life: I read manuscripts, I edited, I collaborated with authors, I travelled to conferences, I pitched book proposals, I vetted book proposals, I pushed professors to use our social-justice-focused texts in their classes instead of the multinational publishers’ bullshit designed to bankrupt students and perpetuate the status quo. I loved it. I took on more responsibility at work, I got more comfortable teaching my writing course, and after a few years I even started a side hustle, Anchor Editorial Services, doing freelance copy editing and proofreading.

About six or seven years in, my Dad approached me and asked if this is truly what I wanted to be doing. He was going to retire eventually, and the idea was that the company would be passed on (in some way) to the employees. Did I want to be a publisher? Am I happy editing books all day? Of course I was. I had gone to school to do this. I had settled into this being my forever. But he could sense that I wasn’t as motivated or focused as I once was, and because he’s the Best Dad/Boss Ever, he checked in with me a few times to be sure I was truly happy. But, and perhaps this is because he was not only my employer but also my Dad, he was right.

I wasn’t as focused or motivated. I eventually found myself going into work and staring at the list of things I had to accomplish and feeling immediately overwhelmed. This feeling didn’t manifest overnight, but crept up on me slowly, unnoticed. The book publishing business is a long game – it takes over a year to turn a book proposal into a printed book. Editing manuscripts takes months. I was starting to burn out and I didn’t realize it until it got to the point that I became unproductive at work. Eventually, though, I couldn’t ignore it any more. I was exhausted. I was losing my passion. I needed more than a vacation. I realized I didn’t want to do this anymore and it terrified me. I was the retirement plan! I can’t quit my Dad! He’s done so much for you, Jessica, and this is what you do? Work for him for a few years, learn everything about the industry, and then bail?! You have got to be kidding me you are the Worst Daughter Ever.

Admitting to myself that I wasn’t happy at work anymore was hard enough, but telling my father felt impossible.  I felt overwhelmed and couldn’t keep my thoughts straight – everything confounded me. So I decided to go see a therapist, and this is gonna sound ridiculous but at first I genuinely didn’t know what I needed to talk about (seriously?!), I just knew I needed help organizing my brain.

I was unhappy at work, I was dating a guy who was…maybe fine (spoiler alert: he wasn’t), I was teaching an undergraduate course, I was doing freelance work on the side, I had taken up powerlifting and was training for competition…there was a lot going on. As you might imagine, the first and only thing the counsellor and I talked about was work. She helped me deal with the process of breaking it to my Dad that I wanted to leave, submitting my official resignation, and coping with the outcome of that.

The actual process of quitting was heartbreaking. I cried like a baby when I finally told my Dad. It wasn’t until I officially submitted my resignation to the rest of the company that it became real. I had been working for this company for ten years – I had a stable job and a stable income and the potential to become a stakeholder in the future and I was just…giving it up. Is this the dumbest thing I’ve ever done? All because I was kind of bored of reading academic manuscripts? What if you never find another job again and you can’t pay rent and you end up a shameful scorn on your family’s name?! The terror was real.

At this point I had already been looking for a new job, but I wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted to go in. I had applied for probably forty jobs before I decided that I needed professional help and hired a career coach. Turns out my resume was trash and, perhaps unsurprisingly, not having any exposure to the job market in over a decade meant I had no clue what I was doing.

My career coach suggested that I only apply for jobs that I would be genuinely excited to dive into. When I started actually thinking about being in these offices and working for these companies I had be submitting my resume to, I stopped applying altogether. I didn’t want to work at any of these places! Why the hell would I leave a comfortable, stable job where I was actually contributing positively to the world, that was located quite literally in my house, to go to some corporate office where I have to wear pantyhose and write press releases about some horseshit nobody cares about? Pump. The. Breaks.

This whole time Anchor Editorial was still garnering new clients – entirely through word of mouth. I really liked the variety of work I got to do, the fact that I could do it anywhere, and the fact that I could do it all in my sweats. When my career coach asked, “What does your ideal work day look like?” I laughed and said “it starts with coffee and sweats.” Well, shit, why can’t that be my work day? I had never seriously considered freelancing full time. Who did I think I was? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the only option that made me simultaneously scared and excited.

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Hire freelancers! Like the freelancer who redesigned my logo, Nicholas Luchak.

I’ve been working for myself for over a year now. My days always start with coffee at the dog park, and very often include sweats. I still teach a writing course and I still edit academic manuscripts, but not so many that they burn me out. I’ve also had the opportunity to facilitate a leadership workshop, speak at a teacher’s conference, edit books, consult clients on obtaining literary agents, write and facilitate a conflict resolution course, pitch and write news stories, edit dissertations and proposals, work as a client liaison for a tech start-up, and contribute regularly to a blog for women entrepreneurs. In the last year I’ve also competed in four strength competitions (including one at a national level), travelled across the country, and met more ambitious women entrepreneurs than I have in my lifetime.

Jessica Antony
You need something edited, written, or facilitated? I’ll get it done for you. Right here in the woods. I’m all business, baby. (Photo credit: Brenna Faris)


Leaving the security of a career path that wasn’t making me happy anymore was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, because it forced me to put myself first and actually acknowledge and address the fact that what I had banked on wasn’t working for me. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Put your sweats on and do the scary thing. It’s worth it.


WHAT COMES NEXT FOR JESSICA

You can find Jessica teaching at the University of Winnipeg, writing for clients like The Ace Class, and working as the Media Liaison for the 2019 Canadian National Powerlifting Championship (you may even catch her on the platform!). 

I GOT A JOB WITH BUMBLE BY MAKING THE FIRST MOVE

How I landed my dream job by believing in myself and sending an email.

I first heard the backstory about Bumble when I listened to an episode of the How I Built This podcast with Whitney Wolfe.

I won’t rehash it for you, but I will say I related deeply to Whitney’s story for a number of reasons. Ultimately, she didn’t get crushed under the weight of an onslaught of online hatred. She took the hit emotionally, but her drive didn’t die.

Most of all, I related to the way she saw the world: it can be a cruel and judgemental place (especially to women and marginalized groups) but that doesn’t mean that’s the way it should be. Whitney used her experience as fuel to create something that is charting the course to radically change that way people connect.

After I heard her interview on the podcast I thought: yeah, that’s how I feel and what I want to do. I related to her vision and her rejection of the status-quo way people treat each other.

So I started following Bumble on social media, and watched closely what they did on the PR and marketing fronts. My background is in PR and marketing, and I was immediately impressed and quickly realized that they walked the talk and did things differently. Few examples: they banned guns in users profile pics after the Parkland shooting and partnered with the L.A. Clippers on a campaign promoting gender equality. 

They take risks, maintain their belief in making IRL connections despite scaling massively (they place a lot of importance on activating at a grassroots level) and speak to their audience in a way that empowers them.

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If you know nothing about the brand, read this letter from Whitney Wolfe about the Bumble philosophy and you might start to understand why I feel so strongly about Bumble.

I remember I had a sticky note on my cork board in my first apartment that said “email Bumble about being an ambassador.” I eventually took the note down when I moved. From my research, I knew they had something called the “Queen Bee” program in the US, but I figured it was a long shot.

With all of that being said, in April 2018 I found out that Bumble had created a Canadian Instagram page. I was excited, to say the least.

I found an email address for the Canadian market lead. There were no job postings or calls for resumes. I just figured “you don’t ask, you don’t get,” so I may as well just sincerely show my cards. I sent her the email below.

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I got an email back from someone at Bumble HQ later that day, and had a conference call later that week. I explained where I was from and why Winnipeg as a market was awesome and unique. I talked about the potential to promote the Bizz and BFF verticals in Winnipeg because most people in the city still think of Bumble as just a dating app, but I knew from experience it represents much more than that.

I remember I took a call with the head of field marketing (for Bumble as a whole) while I was at the library downtown and as soon as it ended I started crying because I couldn’t believe any of this was happening.

After some back and forth with Bumble, I plucked up the courage to talk to my boss to see if there was a way I could keep working in my position and also work for Bumble. It was funny actually because my boss and I both listen to The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, and a few weeks prior Whitney Wolfe had been his guest. He understood it was important to me, and we worked something out.

So now I’m the Community Marketing Manager for Bumble in Winnipeg.

BEING ABLE TO TYPE THAT IS SO SURREAL AND I STILL HAVE ZERO CHILL ABOUT ALL OF THIS.

I am so proud to represent a company that stands for equality, kindness, safety, respect and inclusivity. It’s more than an app – it’s a movement. And I feel so fortunate to be able to bring this brand to Winnipeg.

I could write some whole big thing about how dreams come true to those who work blah blah blah but believing in yourself is the key to manifesting some next level stuff in my opinion. Before, I would have never sent that email because I didn’t think I deserved to work for a company I admired like Bumble. It’s cheesy, but self-love and acceptance can move mountains within you — I can truly say that from personal experience.

Also, don’t be afraid to make the first move.

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‘ello London. 👋🇬🇧 @thetimes

A post shared by Whitney Wolfe Herd (@whitney) on


If you wanna stay updated on Bumble events in Winnipeg you can follow my personal Insta or Twitter, and/or follow Bumble’s Canadian Instagram account.

Oh, and download the app, of course.

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