catatonic vs. cataclysmic

So. Real talk.

When you do what I do, working for yourself as a client-facing service provider in a creative field…

There are times when you’re curled up in the fetal position, staring at the wall catatonically because nothing is going to plan
and everything feels harder than it should be and it seems impossible that you’ll ever ACTUALLY have the life you ACTUALLY want, which is to say bringing in 500k a year working 5 hours a week… let alone all the invoices coming in on time so you don’t have to do the bill-pay side-step.

And then there are times when 4 different clients pop up in a single day thanking you for your contributions, telling you how much of a positive difference you make in their lives, that you’ve done good work and they appreciate working with you.

Saturday was a fetal position day for me.

Last week was impossibly hard on every level and by Saturday evening, I was basically either crying or catatonic.

Fast forward to Monday, and I had messages from 4 different clients telling me they appreciate what I’ve done.

Now I’m crying for different reasons.

It’s really nice to feel like something’s actually working.

After years of personal struggle and chaos that bled into professional struggle and burnout…

And trying desperately not to let the mask slip, not to let on how bad it was, not to reveal how deep into breakdown I was…

My “comeback” hasn’t been a smooth one.

It’s been pretty rough, actually.

And I am tired, y’all. So tired.

Physically, emotionally, financially wrung out.


Which is hard to accept.

The Shoulding Brigade has a stronghold in my head.

I should be sleeping better by now.

I should have lost the baby/trauma/stress weight by now.

I should have paid off the survival credit cards by now and rebuilt the war chest by now.

I should be pulling in $20k a month EVERY month by now, not just the miraculous months.

I should be done crying about what happened to my family. I should be done being angry.

I should be freaking list building!!

I should be stable on all fronts, you know?

Should, should, should.

But truth is, I’m not.

I’m not sleeping.

I’m not losing the weight.

I’m not building the list, which means I’m not building my business.

I’m still wrestling with credit card balances that don’t shrink as fast as I want them to.

I’m still doing mental calculations. For example, we just crossed the point in the timeline where my daughter has been without her
dad longer than she had him in her life.

These are the things I think about all the time.

There are days — many days — when I think about packing it in and getting a salaried desk job somewhere, just to have something stable.

But ultimately I don’t do that.

Because this, right here, is where I’m supposed to be.

I’m supposed to be with you, contributing anything and everything I can to help you grow, help you improve, help you keep going.

I’m supposed to be with my clients, who come back to me month after month and year after year because nobody does it for them the way I do.

I’m supposed to be at this agency, where things can go sideways sometimes but I can be trained up by some of the best marketers alive… the kinds of marketers you’ve probably never heard of because they aren’t interested in acclaim, just in being the best.

I’m supposed to be available to my kids. I’m the only parent they have now, and if I can make it work to be around for them, even if it’s a struggle for me, then I will make it work.

I knew I wanted to be a “writer” since I was a teenager.

I envisioned working for magazines, at the time, being some kind of star feature writer for the Atlantic or the New Yorker or the Times.

That didn’t pan out, which is fine. I didn’t need that life, it was just fun to think about.

And now I’m here.

With you.

With them.

Sometimes just knowing that is enough.

But sometimes I could use a little more.

So today, on the eve of my 41st birthday, I’m going to ask you for something.

Could you send me an email and let me know ANY of these things:

1. What you want to hear about from me

2. How you think I could help you most

3. What do you want to know more about

4. What’s the most memorable email I’ve sent?

Much love to y’all.

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Ashley (24) (1)

After working with dozens of brilliant, hard-working entrepreneurs as a freelance writer, I learned a thing or two about great content. Now I bring my years of experience, practice, and self-study to bloggers and businesses that want to nail it in the content game.


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