I WON!!!!!! (How are so many Listserve winners able to control their excitement? I am definitely not one of those people.)
My “You’ve won The Listserve!” email came at a pretty inopportune time, as I’m sure it does for most people. I’m currently drowning in deadlines and in desperate need of sleep. I’ve had to cancel plans with my friends a lot lately, which makes me feel like a bad person. The amount of hatred, violence and discrimination toward the most marginalized people in society leaves me feeling depressed and helpless. Sometimes I fear that everything I’m doing is wrong and I’m not doing enough and I will never be good enough and I don’t know what I could possibly offer others.
But then I take a breath and pull back from my self-doubt spiral.
Even if I am an incredible failure, focusing on my shortcomings — whether real or imagined — is entirely unproductive. So, here’s my plan to push forward and remind myself that I do have a purpose and am not a total garbage person:
-I will not fall into the trap of glorifying overwork. I will take breaks when necessary and say no to tasks that just aren’t feasible.
-I will prioritize sleep.
-I will remind myself why I do what I do. I am a health reporter and communicator in the anti-sexual violence space. When I want to tear my hair out, I will remember that doing meaningful work isn’t always easy.
-I will reach out to my friends instead of beating myself up for canceling plans with them.
-I will make time to read more novels. I still haven’t finished Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women, which she signed for me in February at a talk here in D.C. (Side note: Besides being a stunning writer, Roxane Gay is also so freaking delightful and funny.)
-I will do my best not to compare myself to others, as everyone has their own struggles, regrets and secrets, and social media is meant to highlight our best moments.
-I will do all that I can to stamp out racism, sexism, homophobia, body shaming, transphobia and all forms of discrimination, whether that means calling out hate speech, flagging trolls on social media or donating my time and money to worthy causes.
-I will mentor others to the best of my ability, passing down the knowledge that my own mentors have shared with me. (Shout-out to Michele W., Mary S., Joe R., Charles W., Molly M. and Lisa & Lisa R.)
I would love to hear what you tell yourself when life feels like it’s all too much to handle. Also get in touch if you want to discuss journalism or the brilliance of BoJack Horseman, know where to get great ramen in D.C. or have Hamilton tickets — just throwing it out there.
Thank you for introducing me to The Listserve, Shira! The day you told me about it we were driving from Evanston to Chicago, blasting 90’s boy band music on the radio. It’s a really happy memory for me. I miss you and hope I get to meet your beautiful sons one day.
Thanks for reading.