A Quick Life Update + Brain Dump

Today is going to be a bit of a brain dump, so just bear with me. This post is a little overdue, but I just haven't been able to write about all the things I want to say. Usually with posts like this, I think about the flow and concept and then land somewhere where it would all make sense, but I'm really all over the map and I think that's part of the issue in why it's taken so long to sit down and write this.

The thing is, I love writing. I love expressing myself in thoughtful words, but I found out a while ago that it's not really why people come to the blog. Even I barely have the attention span to read an article these days. I just feel like my brain is mush. And if I have no desire to read, imagine how I'm feeling about writing. 

I think I'm just in a funk. Actually I know I am. I am and I'm not and that's my issue. 

Every time -- like clockwork -- January and February rolls around I get super blah. The weather, the gloomy/short/dark days, the exhaustion from the end of the year, the longing for spring. It just gets to me. And it has every year for as long as I can remember. Seasonal depression is very real but topped with a pandemic that has dragged on like this? I feel like I can't take it anymore.

I would love to be on a beach (or really anywhere warm) and just relax. In normal times, that's exactly what I would do. In fact this time last year, I was in Miami enjoying the wonderful warm weather on the beach with Caitlin (what a year it's been). Even thinking about it, I can feel the feeling I felt being away from a NYC winter on a vacation. 

Andrew and I have taken this past year very seriously. We've traveled a total of three times and flown only once. We drove to see my parents las May, flew to see my sister and family in September, and drove to Nantucket for our anniversary. We haven't been going out or seeing friends. We're helping do our part, and I'm proud of us, but I'm exhausted. I get so jealous when I see people online traveling and living life like nothing is wrong. I so wish nothing was wrong. 

We've been very fortunate this past year. We lived in the epicenter of a global pandemic for months and came out untouched. No one in my family has been affected by COVID thus far, and thankfully none of my friends have either. We've also been able to keep our jobs, buy a house, and live a very safe and privileged life, and that is not lost on me. 

But on top of my existing gloom-and-doom anxiety and depression, this time of year feels like a lot to bear. Around this time I always worry about the blog, my job, and my finances. The first two months of the year are notoriously slow, and having gone through it for 5+ years I know that. I know that it's always slow for me. But it never stops my anxiety from running amok day and night. Sometimes it gets the best of me, and becomes too much so I'll step away for a bit. 

I realize I'm obviously very fortunate to be able to dictate my own breaks and schedule (the joys of being self employed), but when I do that, it's not paid vacation. I don't make money. So taking time for my health -- at times -- adds to my anxiety and fear of failing. And when I step away from the blog or Instagram I don't grow, I don't make money, I don't get views, or sponsorships, or anything that helps tell me "keep going, you're doing great." And so I end up feeling worse. It's a horrible catch-22.

The guilt I feel from not posting on the blog every day is immense. But then I'll create a blog post to "check the box" and hate it. I feel shitty for putting out mediocre posts. I know you guys don't like it either. So I've tried to be more lenient with myself the past few months. I'm taking the time I need, and accepting the fact that by doing so, the paycheck is smaller.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been trying to find that spark again. In years past it's shopping for spring and planning vacations and doing new things outside, but this year I'm not really able to do that. I'm barely getting dressed these days. It definitely doesn't help that our house is always cold, but I've been wearing sweats since Christmas. Leggings, sweatpants, sweaters, sweatshirts ... you name it, I'm wearing it. 

Where am I going? What am I doing? Nothing. I've stopped blogging about fashion, linking any clothes, and shopping overall. I've also stopped shooting content because ya girl is in sweats, and that just leads to no content to share on the blog. Again, it's a vicious cycle. I also don't even want to shop right now. I feel like all my money has been going towards house purchases and furniture, which I love, but it's expensive. So I'm hyper aware of my spending and our bills, which has slowed down other unnecessary spending (a positive).

Switching from life and style content to more life and home content excited me at first. I remember I had so many fun ideas to blog about. I thought I would take it in a different direction than most and share how we're affordably furnishing our home. I wanted to share how we're taking it slow, finding good deals, and paying retail when needed. Even now I find myself comparing other homes to my own, and thinking I'm not doing enough, or we're not doing it fast enough. And I hate how that feels. I remember thinking I wanted to provide a more realistic view for you guys. 

But that stopped about as soon as it started and I hate even admitting to it. I want to just push it under the rug and not bring it to the daylight, but I'm airing it all out now. I stopped because of the hate comments I was getting. I don't know what the fuck has gotten into people online but the level of hatefulness is at an all-time high. It's toeing the line of out of control.

I'm not new to hate comments. I've been dealing with this since middle school when an ex-friend created a MySpace group about people who hate me. I dealt with it in high school and college too. This is nothing new. But it kind of makes me an expert in knowing when the hate has gone too far. I understand that everyone out there is having a pretty rough go. We are all dealing with stuff. But as they say, hurt people hurt people. And it's never been more true.

I'd say I have a thick skin 90% of the time, and the other 10% I'd say I'm as fragile as a peach. I'm a hyper sensitive person and when I'm vulnerable the 10% comes out in a big way. So it feels like the hate has been piling on. What's weird is it's about my house. Which is wild to me because hating on someone's house just doesn't make sense. You don't live here...

The comments range from "you're spending so much money,"  "you're going into debt," to "you have no money and it's why you're buying secondhand." I get told that my house is ugly, gross, old, that promoting FBMP is embarrassing, to saying that I'm using the wrong wording when I tell people to shop there(??) and even people posting my address online. It's annoying, mean and sick. But it's gotten to me. So I stopped posting about the house. 

So no house content (which is my life right now), no fashion content (not getting dressed), and not much of anything else (not shooting content), has left this blog pretty dry lately. It doesn't make me happy. This blog is my baby. I love it here and I love having this space to connect and write to you guys. But I'm in a funk.

I've also been super busy. As you know, I started a needlepoint store near the end of last year and have been loving it. Truly, it brings me all the joy and happiness. Painting is really cathartic, and stitching has been a saving grace, especially this last year. Doing something so mindless that isn't near a phone or computer is what my brain and body have needed.

But starting a second business is no joke. It hasn't been easy and it has taken a lot more time and energy away from the blog. At times I feel like I'm trying my best, but because I'm not doing either at 100%, I feel like I'm failing at both. When I work really hard on one, the other flounders, and vice versa. 

A good example has been the past month. I gave all my time and energy to Penny Linn Designs for our restock and launch. Those efforts totally derailed any content I did have planned for the blog. But do I want to give up one for the other? No, I want to do both. I've come to the realization that I need help and have hired two very part-time people for the blog and for PLD just to have some extra hands on deck.

It should help, but I still need to work out, plan ahead, and get into a better routine to juggle both businesses at once. The needlepoint business is very hands on as it's handcrafted by yours truly. The blog business is very online, so it's not like the worlds overlap all that much. But I do have a plan (all my plans come through best late at night). I just need to do it (when morning comes I'm like nahhhh).

My plan is to take a little break. Nothing crazy, just for the week. I'm going to take a full week off social media, the blog, the needlepoint store, everything. A true vacation. Deleting apps, ignoring emails, the works. And I start on Monday. 

I'm going to come up with a schedule of my days. I'm going to clean up the house. I'm going to plan out content and make a true content calendar for both the blog and PLD. I'm going to give myself grace. I'm going to brainstorm new ideas. I'm going to buy new clothes (and start getting dressed after my weeklong vacation lol). I'm going to treat next week as a reset and refresh button and come back better than ever, and with a plan. 

And it couldn't come at a better time either. Next week I'm having surgery (nothing life threatening, and not cosmetic either). It's something I have needed to get done for a while to better my future plans. It'll be my first surgery ever, and I'm of course a little nervous about it. My anxiety likes to tell me all the different ways I can die every 30 seconds, so that's fun. And with COVID, no one can go in or be with me for it, which also makes me a little sad. 

But on the bright side (and I mean BRIGHT side), my parents are going to come out for the week. I'm so excited I could cry. I haven't seen them since May and it's been the longest we've physically been apart. Sometimes you need your parents around you to make everything better. They're going to drive out and it'll be the first time we're actually able to host them! They haven't seen the house, and I'm really looking forward to having them here. They're going to help us around the house, help in my recovery from surgery, we're going to play a lot of games and watch a lot of movies. And I am PUMPED.

I think having them here and just taking a little time off will be exactly what I need to come back ready to go; to take on 2021 for real this time. And I hope you'll come back and join me. I promise it will be better than ever. Sending you lots of love! Will see you all soon 💙

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