I took an unplanned break from blogging and Instagram earlier this month and wanted to let you know why.
The thesis process was fine. It was twelve days of isolation and nonstop work, but I like hanging out with myself and the work was something I was deeply passionate about, so I didn’t mind. The problem started after my thesis had successfully been defended. I had a whole bunch of stuff to do, but couldn’t bring myself to complete any of it.
I had burned myself the fuck out.
I don’t have a solution for burnout, though I desperately wish I did. This time around, it was extra-awful because the things I had left to do were the things I truly wanted to spend time on — updating and shooting photos for this site, writing new articles for Sweetness and Light, reaching out for more brand partnerships, and reading the biographies and memoirs of my favorite historical figures, to name a few.
I also wanted to go back to blogging daily (you know, as part of the April goals that I ended up not following through on because of aforementioned thesis), but I felt as though I had nothing left to say. How could I talk about productivity when I was stuck in a rut? How could I give tips on scheduling when I felt dead half the time?
Luckily, since so many things on my to-do list were self-imposed, I made the executive decision to put them all on hold and go on vacation. A lot has happened this year, most of it so fast that I barely had time to process my experiences. My vacation, I decided, would be one I went on alone, like an extended self-date. I would take advantage of the gorgeous seaside resort town I lived in, spend a few sun-drenched days on the beach, and sort through the issues I believed to be blocking me.
That’s precisely what I did. I laid out by the water, shot outfit looks at the bougiest areas in town, listened to copious amounts of dream pop, bought myself daiquiris, curled up in bookstores, learned how to make sushi, allowed myself to stray from my regimented sleep schedule, went shopping, and spent days spaced out in my own head. I haven’t been this blatantly relaxed since I was in high school; even during “breaks” during college, I’d been worried about one project or another.
This was relaxing, but it also brought about an unintended side effect: I began questioning everything in my life. Why did I continually burden myself with obligations? What exactly triggers my gender dysphoria? What maladaptive behaviors did I pick up from living in a super-white, relatively conservative, heteronormative community before coming to college? How much internalized racism, misogyny, and homophobia was I harboring, and how was that affecting how I carried myself? Why did I care so much about being diplomatic regarding the unpopular opinions I carried? Did I really believe that a productive life was a good one? And so on.
I haven’t posted on here because I’m still figuring out the answers to these questions. The downside to running a blog that focuses heavily on productivity and self-awareness is that people tend to think that you have all the answers, when in reality you’re just a keenly observant twenty-one-year-old who thinks a lot. So, yeah. I’m currently stuck in this weird headspace of heavy open-ended questions that involve a good amount of thought and digging into my subconscious to really answer.
That’s not a bad thing, per se — I think of relentlessly questioning my morals and principles as doing a system update for my mind, albeit one of those updates that takes for-fucking-ever. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m unsure, right now, of who I am and what I stand for, and am on a journey to figure it out.
I will be publishing some of my thoughts on the aforementioned questions — specifically, my experiences with body dysmorphia, internalized racism, and the like. Thank you so much for your unwavering faith in me. I promise I’ll come out of this changed for the better, and I’ll tell all about it once I’m more sure of what I’m talking about. ♚