From the heart


I have this week’s Something for the weekend ready to go but I’m going to post it tomorrow because first there’s something else I want to get off my chest. After yesterday’s post sweet Kerstin commented on Facebook: “Oh, dear Susannah, do you know how many people look at you and think YOU have an amazing life?” A couple of other people have said this to me, and this morning I feel compelled to address this and let you see what’s been going on behind the scenes.

The work I do, being self-employed, the books, the bits of travel, moving back to London. All of this has come at a price. I have been alone for the last eight years. The first half of that I was bereaved; the second half I devoted to building my business. For the last four years I’ve worked seven days a week, taking a few days off here and there to visit family, but mostly, I am sitting here with my laptop. I usually start work around 9:30am and work through till 9 or 10pm. I’ll stop and go out to the supermarket or just stretch my legs. Sometimes I’ll find a reason to go into town so I can see some new scenery and take photos. But generally I’m here juggling intense periods of concentrated work with procrastination. I recently joined a gym with the hope of getting “back” into shape, but have yet to go — the siren call of my laptop is too persuasive in the morning.

There have been enormous learning curves (I never knew I was building a business until suddenly I had one and had to learn how to look after it — and I’m still learning) and some key achievements. I feel very fortunate to have found a way to pay my rent that doesn’t involve having to work in a more traditional environment — I did that for many years and suffered as a result. I’m also grateful that the work came about in an organic way — had I tried to plan any of this I get the feeling I wouldn’t have got very far. If I hadn’t gone through bereavement…. If I hadn’t started this blog… the last eight years would have looked very different. I love what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else. The emails I get from people who’ve read the book or gained something from my classes makes my heart sing in ways that can only be equalled by how my nephew makes me feel. I feel useful, and that is one of my greatest joys.

So I understand that from the outside the work stuff looks enviably great. And most of the time it’s pretty good, but that’s not the whole story. I do try to do all this as elegantly as I can, but of course that means I hide the less-fun parts — the stress, the RSI, the sleeplessness, the constant admin, the self-inflicted pressure, the panic that it could all fall apart if I stopped for a moment. The bigger London rent that means I can never coast with any of this — my bills are huge and there’s no one else here to shoulder it with me. Moving here was my choice and was definitely the right decision but with it comes with new stresses.

And that’s my current struggle: I’m doing all of this on my own. And I feel proud that I am able to take care of myself and am strongly independent, but I’ve been having reoccuring moments of wishing there was someone here to share it with. Relationships are a lot of work, but it’s work that I welcome. My life has been out of balance, and a girl can’t survive on work alone. I miss spooning in bed with someone I care about. I miss eating dinner while we moan about our day. I miss having another soul to worry about so it’s not just all about boring old me. I want to plan a future with someone.

I turn 40 in 11 days and am grappling with a lot of sadness around the fact that my 30s were ‘wasted’ and I’m about to start a new decade of my life alone and without a family. And I know they weren’t wasted at all, but in my more tender moments that is what I feel. This isn’t how I imagined my life would be at this age — some parts of it have exceeded my expectations, but other parts are sorely lacking. Eight years is a long time to be alone.

And there’s something else I haven’t shared here. Looking back I now see that the last half of 2012 was a slow slide back down into depression, something I didn’t see until I hit the bottom in December. Depression has dogged me all my life, but it’s only recently that I’ve begun to see the pattern. In December I finally went to my GP to ask to go back on anti-depressants. [This is a topic for another post, one that I want to share soon.]

So it’s hard to put yourself out there and go on fun dates when you feel this soul weariness, which is why I’ve started working with a therapist again. I want to unravel myself some more to figure out why I’m blocking myself from finding love. Because it’s not just fear and it’s certainly not grief anymore. Life circumstances and my own temperament are conspiring to keep me single, but as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m at the edge of the old universe and wanting so badly to push through to the new one. So I’m doing the work to find my way there.

So yes, I know the shiny parts of what I do look good. Before I’d written a book I looked at bloggers who had achieved that goal with a bit of envy, knowing it was what I aspired to do too. I’m so glad I did it and am proud of the book — even though there are parts I wish I could go in and change! — and I hope I get the opportunity to write another. It’s nice to have something tangible to show for these years devoted to work and growth.

In her comment on yesterday’s post, Carol said: “But you know what, it’s not about them, it’s about us. The problem is ours. If people want to convey happiness via their blogs, well that is their truth that they have chosen to put out there. And people have the right to communicate whatever ‘truth’ feels right to them. Not everyone feels comfortable laying themselves bare via their blogs.”

I agree with this, absolutely. It’s pretty clear that blog reading is my own personal kryptonite. I’m much more productive on the days I don’t have time to browse my Google Reader, so I know what needs to be done. And yes, it is all about my triggers and the things I wish to draw into my life. Of course it is. I don’t begrudge anyone their happiness. I simply need to be more responsible about how I spend my time online. Avoiding the blogs that trigger me would be a start as I come up against this time and time again — I never learn!

I’ve blogged about blogging so many times in the past — it’s a subject that still fascinates me. After seven years of writing in this space I know that what we share is never the whole story. I know that for some a blog is a way to mark the good in their life, a way to practice gratitude, to record memories. It’s the one creative space we can control, putting our best face forward into the world. I know that some bloggers feel compelled to create an upbeat helpful space to promote their coaching business, or courses, or whatever it is they’re offering. There are no rules to blogging other than the ones we create for ourselves. When your work is online the blogosphere and your Twitter feed inevitably becomes your workplace and there will always be stuff that winds you up. I’m trying to find better ways to navigate this world — it’ll help when there’s someone here nudging me to close down my laptop in the evening.

I’m glad I have a corner of the internet where I can talk about this stuff. In everything I do I try to lead by example — to report back from the trenches in the hopes that what I share might be useful to someone else. I’m glad I don’t have to look like I have the answers, because obviously I don’t. No one does, even if they’re peddling a programme that they claim does. Whenever I find a post that’s sliced through with honesty I admire the blogger all the more. I can celebrate the good stuff — and we need it to keep the balance — but it’s their vulnerability that stays with me the longest. I’ll always respond to blogging from the heart the most, but i’m glad other flavours are out there, too. It’s what makes blogging so brilliant.

So I continue to look for labels to help me make sense of my self. Introvert. INFP. HSP. She who takes everything far too seriously. Who lives life on the very edge of her emotions. Over-analyser. A cynic who’s communed with the other side. Who walks with the black dog nipping at her heels. Who loves with everything she is. An exercise-hating, green juice-avoiding, pill-popping regular human being doing the best she can.

[A word about comments: I’m not looking for any advice here, loves. Just wanting to share another piece of the puzzle. Writing this has been therapeutic, as usual, and I nearly didn’t post it but I figured some of you might find this helpful to read. More on my dealings with the pills coming soon — i betcha can’t wait for that post, eh? ;-) x ]

92 responses
  1. Jill

    Yes you are beautiful, you are able to see and communicate beauty, but you are also a champion of trying, of falling and getting back up, you are a brilliant, passionate mess, a real real girl, and THAT’S what I love about you–your wide open, sometimes broken, tender thumping heart.

    “a real real girl” – i love that, thank you Jill :)

    I totally relate, keep it coming!

  2. SALLY

    Your post was good for me to read. Thanks.X

  3. Sharon

    Dear Susannah,
    I can’t thank you enough for this post. I’ve been inspired by your work now for several months, but your spirit is the most inspiring for me. I’m turning 40 soon too, and found out in December that my marriage is in trouble. Being alone has always been my greatest fear, and here it is, looming. I realize now that I’ve been giving myself up for this marriage, and he is a good enough man to not let me do it anymore. I’ll be tuning into your heartfelt posts and photos as I go through this process, so know that you are making a difference in my life.
    Sincerely,
    Sharon in Boulder, CO

  4. Stacy

    I’m so darn proud of you. (And I hope that doesn’t sound too maternal or something.) Beautiful post! Hugs to you for your general awesomeness.

  5. Rhiannon

    No advice from me but a round of applause for the “reporting from the trenches” . I think this is the most valuable thing any one can share. Wish you a wonderful next decade .*hug*

  6. Foxglove Lane

    And this is why I read all the words you write, and never skip through them in a hurry. And this is what we all need to learn. And this is what a trailblazer does, she shouts back along the line and warns the others about the pitfalls. XX

  7. TRaci

    Adrienne Rich said, “When a woman tells the truth, she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” Keep going. We’re behind you.

  8. Raychel

    Thank you for sharing the uncomfortable, for being real. I struggle daily to move forward and I come here because I feel you know. Most don’t. Or they haven’t accessed that place yet. I admire what you do…I’m inspired that you struggle to keep moving forward.

  9. Becky W.

    Susannah,
    I’ve been reading your blog for over a year, and it’s posts like this that keep me coming back to your writing. Thank you for sharing the hurt that you feel from not having a wholeness you want– I definitely feel less alone after reading it, which creates a wholeness all it’s own.
    Now must stop dabbing at my eyes and get back work…

  10. Tracy R. Nichols

    Thanks for sharing this. I admire you and several other people who make their living through their online presence but still manage to portray both the beauty and the lumps and bumps of their world. It is a difficult balance to maintain and it is no wonder you sometimes feel overwhelmed.

    I especially appreciate you stating the amount of time you spend on your work. Blogging and online work appear so seamless and perfect (even the messy parts are well-written and crafted) that it is important for us to discuss the time it takes to create that vision.

  11. ANDREA

    Thank you, Susannah, for the blessing of your post.

  12. Emily

    One of the greatest beauties of the blogosphere is that it reveals to us that we are not alone. You’ve just shared a layer of yourself that is similarly imprinted on so many souls, mine included. Thank you.

  13. kristen

    xo

  14. REgena

    I always enjoy reading your post. The posts you wrote this week are some of the same emotions I am experiencing. I ask myself often, “what’s next?” because I know there is more that my life has to offer. All the mixed emotions we experience is a nudge that tells us never be satisfied with where we are, but strive to keep reaching higher. I often look back and re-examine my life…while I move forward towards greater heights and deeper depths…those mixed emotions come along with life re-examination process…greater things do develop from dark moments of despair.
    May you continue to experience the greatest life has to offer you.

  15. sara (moshimoshiii)

    This is why you are my favourite read.
    You’re the real deal girl!

  16. Jayne

    This is why I come back here again and again, alas usually anonymously. This is from the heart and so beautifully expressed, as usual. It’s wonderful to hear such raw honesty.

  17. kathryn

    If people are thinking that anyone elses life is perfect, they are living in a fantasy world and need to start work on making their own life more of what they want. Some blogs that I connect with, I use as inspiration to change the things in my life that aren’t working. But i’d never once think that anyone had the perfect life. We don’t see all that goes on in someones life, even if they are very open and honest on their blogs. We all have our bugaboo areas…working towards solutions only helps us grow, expand and be happier. Nothing wrong with that!

  18. Karin

    Susannah, I enjoy your blog and admire you for your honesty. Your stuff is so real and relate-able …I also feel the lure of those shiny, happy blogs and am familiar with the fish-hook-in-the-guts sick feeling after reading certain ones or even certain people’s facebook status updates. It’s taken me a while to feel okay about it, but I now just remove myself from the mailing list or un-subscribe from updates … it’s okay to let those people deal with their stuff in their slice of the cyber-world in their own way and not to partake …

  19. Sam

    Thank you for your honest writing yesterday and today! Life is freaking messy and those that think it’s all roses and fluffy ducks need to think again. Keep strong and know that there are lots of people out there standing behind you!

  20. stacey mattraw

    Thank you for your honesty Susannah. This was so refreshing and demystified many of my distorted perceptions of what people post or share online. I have the negative habit of comparing myself to others and am convinced by what people share on blogs or FB indicates that they have amazing, perfect lives. I should know better. There is alway a back story. People look at me and think I’ve got it all together or that I have a amazing groovy life. And while aspects of that are true , there is a back story that I never share on line, how it feels to be a divorced 56 year old woman, soon to be empty nester, and feeling lonely much of the time..wanting love and companionship, but also aware that I hold blocks and old patterns in place still that are preventing me from manifesting the love that I yearn for in my life. So thank you thank you thank you for this.
    I was led to Sas Pethericks blog yesterday via our Blogging from the Heart class notes from you. I read her blog, saw the Red Fox Retreats side bar, and KNEW I had to go! Cant wait to meet you both…England here I come! Ox

  21. Rebecca

    Thank you for the courage to share your innermost feelings. Our persception of someone elses life can be misleading. It’s wonderful that you are taking some time for yourself. We can’t effectively give to others without giving to ourselves.

  22. Tasha

    Dear Susannah,
    thank you so much for writing your heart on the sleeve again, for being so real, so honest. The truth of this sort is never easy – we all want to seem stronger, better, than we are. And we eventually prove that – by being so honest with ourselves, and by bringing it to a broader audience. That’s what I like about your little corner of the web. You’ve introduced me to a lot of things I will always be grateful for, your book is somewhere in the post, and I hope I’ll get it soon (Russian post is a very special thing). But there’s no one like you – no one can cause such a resonance so naturally, unpretentiously, genuinely. What I’m trying to say is that if I had to leave just 10 feeds on my Google Reader, yours would be the 1st one I’d keep.
    I’ve been single for 8 years too. My love left me when I was recovering from cancer. I’ve started to work again 5 years ago, and last year I’ve met my true love… A lot of magic happened, a lot of healing had been done. Digit-changing anniversaries are always a nightmare if you find yourself not exactly where you’d imagined you should be. But you know, it’s just a number. If you feel the change is about happen, let it be. It’s time for another rebirth, and it’s never easy. But as you know, a new life is worth it.
    everyone in this sisterhood you’ve created is holding your hand, we have your back.
    Lots of love.
    Tasha (Kazan, Russia)

  23. Jane

    Hi Susannah,
    I’m sitting here in my pj’s, halfway across the world from you, on the west coast of Canada. Thank you, thank you for your honesty and your willingness to share your vulnerabilities through your blog. Two years ago, at the age of 36, I nearly died from a massive blockage in my heart, and was subsequently diagnosed with a genetic cholesterol disorder. To look at me, you would never assume that I have heart disease. Needless to say, it has changed my life dramatically, in both good and bad ways. Your blog has been a source of comfort and inspiration to me as I continue to unravel the questions of my life and lean into the discomfort of the unknown. Thank you for being a kindred spirit and for reminding me that we are all indelibly connected.
    Sending love & light,
    Jane Claydon, Comox B.C.

  24. ANGIE MIZZELL

    I GOT YOUR EMAIL YESTERDAY, AND IMMEDIATELY FORWARDED IT TO TWO FRIENDS. SO MANY OF US CAN RELATE TO THE FEELING YOU EXPRESSED YESTERDAY, REGARDLESS OF OUR STATION IN LIFE. SO I JUST WANTED TO SAY, THAT I GOT WHAT YOU MEANT, EVEN BEFORE THIS POST. BUT THIS POST IS IMPORTANT TOO, BECAUSE SO OFTEN WE DEFINE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE TO US, AND THEN WE GLAMORIZE IT. AND THAT’S OUR FAULT. TO GLAMORIZE SOMEONE ELSE’S SUCCESS SORT OF TAKES AWAY FROM HOW THE PERSON WORKED THEIR ASS OFF TO GET THERE. IT’S LIKE SAYING, “IT MUST BE SO EASY FOR YOU.” IT’S HARD. AND I, ALONG WITH MANY MANY MANY OTHERS, APPRECIATE YOU. IN THE AWESOMENESS AND THE IN THE IMPERFECTIONS. YOU ARE HELPING THE UNIVERSE BE A BETTER PLACE.

  25. Angie MIZZELL

    Um, I just typed that whole comment in caps lock. I thought it was a setting on your blog. Sorry. :)

  26. Susanne

    Hi Susannah, thank you for your honest post. I can understand you so well. – You do such a great job, you are so committed to all what you do.

    I wish you all the best – and take good care of yourself <3.
    Hugs, Susanne

  27. RENATE

    Hi Susannah.

    Thank you so much for sharing. Often i feel like I am the only person in the world – who feels like this. I send you good karma and love your way — and remember that love always is in us. Just embrace it. Warmly from Norway — Renate

  28. Anna

    Thank you so much for writing this. It was just what I needed to hear today. Your honesty inspires me to allow my true feelings (such as feeling alone), which I find hard to admit sometimes. And even though there is no immediate ‘solution’ that helps enormously.

  29. Noelle Peacock

    If I could I would come round yours right now. We’d have a snotty hug, slam that laptop shut and bugger off to the pub. Then we’d go dancing, try some karoake? and storm a curry house. No, it wouldn’t change anything but it would be so much fun. Lots of love. Give us a ring & I’ll come round. xxx

  30. Kate

    I almost commented on your last post but decided not to. And then with this post I just couldn’t ‘not’ comment.

    I relate to so much that you are saying. 38, no children, in a relationship that is not stable, lost one boyfriend and one best friend in my early 30s to sudden deaths so there is a lot of questioning going on for me about moving past grief & how I the heck my 30s passed by so fast and I didn’t end up with kids, a family and a house. The question sounds dumb to me when I write it down, but I only know one other person where I live that doesn’t have kids/family/house and I think she’s gay. AND this is a big city. WTH happened to me? I wonder that a lot these days.

    I’ve found that over time I’ve become more and more sensitive about my imperfect life. Blog after blog shows you lives where everything goes according to plan and people are always happy, smart and pretty. And that’s okay, I’m cool with that, but reading too much of it (and yes, it’s a me thing, I know it and own it) amplifies my own fears about myself not being where I should be at this point in my life.

    What heals me is posts like you wrote and communities I’ve joined where people felt safe to share their negative truths as well as their positive. So, I wasn’t going to comment, but I decided a thank you was in order. It’s nice to hear someone put a lot of my own thoughts into words.

  31. Lisa King

    love you susannah

  32. Nicola Dent

    Dear Susannah. I am sorry this year has been such a hard one for you. I so relate to the feeling of wasting your 30’s. I feel very much like that myself. I spent most of mine in a career that wasn’t right for me and looking for love in all the wrong places and with the wrong men. I eventually found my best friend and soulmate only to lose him 4 years later to cancer as I was on the brink of turning 40. I was lucky enough to have a child as a result of my short marriage and I am grateful for that every day. But after 3 years alone I find it hard and there are still many dark days as I watch my friends (to coin a phrase) populate the world. I too find myself reading blogs and ending up feeling even more a failure because I don’t have the shiny happy life and wondering where I went wrong. As you say it is those triggers, those things we wish we had and it isn’t easy to find ways to bring those things into your life. I hope for you to find someone to share your life with, a best friend and soulmate. You deserve it. Thank you for sharing your soul. I always feel less alone when I read your blog. Hugs. Nicola xxx

  33. Stephanie watanabe

    I rarely leave comments here, but this post really spoke to me and left me feeling such gratitude for you Susannah.
    Thank you for everything you have created. I took your first (or second?) Unravelling course many, many years ago. It was my entry point to the online world. And since then, my world has never been the same.
    I relate deeply to being an HSP, INFP, etc. To struggling day in and day out. To keep it all going. Your vulnerability is inspiring. Your transparency and honesty is humbling. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. And in sharing your story, helping me to find more of my own.
    Lots of love to you!
    xo

  34. Eileen Weigand

    I know in a way, how you feel. In some ways, I still grieve- a relationship, miscarriages, and I think, this is where I am at 43? It’s real… thanks for giving voice to it. xoxo

  35. Kelly Breedlove

    Sweet Susannah, todays post is exactly why I absolutely adore you! You are the real deal…authentic to your core. I turned 40 in October and know the prices we pay for decisions we make in our life. You are living it out my sister! You have lots of love coming to you from Texas!
    Kelly

  36. Barbara

    I really enjoyed your blog and honesty. Don’t look at time wasted. Look at how much you accomplished & how far you’ve come. The next decade can only get better, with more adventures you have yet to realize. Go Girl! Barbara

  37. rose

    You’re laying good, solid foundations Susannah! ((Hugs))

  38. Debra

    I so want to give you a big hug. I hear you on this. Really. xoxo

  39. Aubrey R

    Just wanna say thank you for putting yourself and this out there. I hear you, and I’m one of those that appreciates the blog posts of both kinds; life is hard and life is great and seeing that whole spectrum makes me feel less alone.

  40. An

    Big hug, Susannah.

  41. Katherine

    I love you Susannah. As always, thank you for sharing your heart and soul.

  42. Lydia kimble-wright

    Susannah, So much comes to mind after reading your post, but all that I can say is thank you for being you. You are an amazing person and serve as a role model not because you are perfect, but because your heart is pure, your honesty endearing and you keep it real. All in your life will be well. Much love, Lydia

    BTW: Thank you for sharing your struggles with depression. For months, I’ve resisted writing a post about my own experience with depression and its’ impact on my life. It is in the fighting it, that we triumph over it. Keep fighting.

  43. desiree'

    It’s been a few years now that I’ve been following your blog. How I found it ~ God only knows. I’m grateful I did when I did. I’ve learned a great deal through your words…one of which is to be *present* in the here & now & to be an active participant in my own life. Today you did just that… I’m appreciative of the courage it took you to share where you are *right now*. To lasso those emotions & muster the ability to be transparent ~in the midst of your circumstances~ takes not only boldness of heart, but some ball busting fortitude as well. Thank you for letting us peek inside this brave journey of yours.

  44. amy

    ‘doing the work to find my way there..’ thank you for writing and sharing this. x

  45. Jo

    I love you. Xx

  46. ANNE-MARIE

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR HONESTY. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION. YOU’LL FIND YOUR THREAD AGAIN. I AM CERTAIN OF IT. AND WE ARE ALL HERE CHEERING YOU ON WHEN YOU MAKE THAT CONNECTION AGAIN. NAMASTE.

  47. denise

    i’m tearing up, the hot over spillage kind because my love for you runs deep and your REALness is what magnetized me to your heart back when we were blog-virgins.

    our motto “keep it real, man”…has carried me through my own messy and beautiful blog journey. i still feel utterly confused at times, so don’t let go of my hand, aight?

  48. Lindsay

    Blogging is like an iceberg. The world only sees the peak but under the water is a huge mass that could sink the Titanic.

    Thanks for sharing your words with us. xo

  49. Lola

    This is why I love this space and keep coming back.

  50. Kristin Brown

    It’s all part of the process, right? The ugly/difficult/unglamorous stuff is what changes us and makes us who we’re supposed to become. I think it will be worth it in the end. :)

  51. Brigitte Gleissner

    Susannah, I would like to tell you that I can relate to your pain of how you feel turning 40 and wishing you could share your bills, your pain, and your joy. Although for different reasons, I too feel that my 30s were “wasted”. When I finally managed to get out of my abusive marriage and shouldered the responsibility to raise my child as a single mother in a foreign country with no financial help, there was a lot of grieving and there is still much hardship. This was also not how I had planned my life to be. Now 8 years later, I still have nightmares of my marriage and my subconscious is still too scared to allow someone into my life. I’ve been working with an energy healer. Yesterday she told me that I’m still several years away from a loving partnership. Immediately, my body broke down weeping and I repeatedly said, “what a waste”, “what a waste.” My reiki teacher asked, “what do you mean?” I said, “what a waste of my body not to have had the physical joy and intimacy it so longed for while I was still young.” She said, “our souls don’t think in these terms. The men in your life so far wanted you because they were sexually attracted, but you want much more than that and do you feel deep down that you are ready for that?” And to be honest, I would probably not be ready for this kind of physically, emotionally, and spiritually fulfilling relationship I so long for. Not sure, if what I wrote was showing my compassion or made things actually worse for you. Your situation is very different from mine, but just wanted to let you know that I can relate very well to the feelings of having “wasted” the years in my 30s. And even when on a soul level this will make all sense, feelings are feelings. xx Brigitte

  52. Debi

    this. this is why i love you. this is why unravelling with you is truly unravelling. you are indeed real.

  53. M Payne

    Thank you for being honest and real, as always. I too get all worked up reading Facebook, feeling so out of the loop, insignificant as I go along with my own day to day-ness- its my biggest trigger and I keep going back for more! Keep sharing, your authenticity is incredibly refreshing, always.

  54. Michelle

    Thank you for your raw honesty. You’ve touched my heart. I can very closely relate to what you are going through with the love blockage. Sending you light and love.

  55. margaux

    Thank you so much for sharing your feelings, you are a fantastic inspiring woman, one love…

  56. Carin

    And Susannah, this is (one of the many reasons) why we love you; your ability to speak so beautifully from from your heart about the hard stuff, the sad parts, the backside to blogging, the stresses of running your own business, life in general. You are loved beyond words. Thank you so much for sharing like this!

    Oh, and I can totally relate to feeling a decade of your life was wasted. I feel like that about my twenties (I was bedriodden/ housebound for much of it). I turned 40 last year and still feel like I’m behind and trying to catch up with the rest of the world.

  57. Gina

    I so admire your courage and authenticity. Reading over your blog and comments it is hard not to be in awe of the incredible the positive impact that you have had on so many people by sharing of yourself and keeping it real. We are all learning and growing on this journey along side you and I hope you can feel the love and support.

  58. Burnt umber

    Dear, lovely Susannah.
    Thank you for writing this post. You inspire and encourage me to be truly open and honest with myself – rather than hiding behind perceived safety and the familiar.
    With all best wishes and much love.
    BTW – I find exercise helps when I get the blues.

  59. Nicola

    Hello susannah,
    Well… Have a hug x
    My word for the year is honesty.. Your workbook triggered that one!
    Your honesty is beautiful… I learnt the hard way with my little black doggie that its the only way forward…
    I read something about depression once… When I probobly was in the mood to throw the book out the window… That … I would thank my depression one day… Six months on , I get that, yes it’s still a battle but I see the world so differently, layed bare almost and I see me differently as a person to start to get to know…
    I have experienced grief in a different way to you and at nearly 45 , ahhhh! I too felt that years had gone by wasted… But they are all part of the puzzle we need all those pieces to truly live our own lives…
    Does this make any sense? I could go on for hours! But won’t encourage you any further with staring into your screen!
    You can role your eyes at this one if you want… But have you thought of setting an alarm on your computer, a little message of self love to say perhaps its time for a break ? If that’s what you want , of course x
    Much love… You make a difference x
    Nicola x

  60. Vickie

    {hugs}

  61. Rachel

    This post made me a bit tearful. I just want to echo what so many people have said here; that your honesty is why many of us keep coming back here. And you have made a difference to a lot of people, including me. I had my first solo exhibition a few years back and I am now regularly exhibiting work and I don’t think I would have got to this place if it hadn’t been for this blog. About a year ago I had my own little biopsy adventure and it came at a time when I was worn out and feeling very lonely and vulnerable. I was (still am) living on my own and many of my friends and a lot of my family were all getting pregnant and married and living what to my eyes looked like wonderful fulfilling lives (they still are). I remember coming home one evening after another hospital appiontment and thinking to myself “why am I having to this on my own? I am so sick of having to prop myself up all the time”. And, you know, I sometimes still think that. It can be really hard. But there is always hope. For me and for you.

  62. Helen

    I admire you for being so honest in your search for clarity and while you ‘continue to look for labels that make sense of yourself’ your second last paragraph made me ask – do you know that the people who love you and the person who will love you completely, do so because you are already as you are? Do you know deep, deep bone-deep down that they see you and that you are beautiful and complicated and inspiring and loving and enough? Do you let you know that? I hope that you are not being hard on you. The place where my stubborness comes from is the same place that allows me to find the energy to be persistent, so although I keep it in check I don’t let it get me down. I hope that you can be kind to you wherever your navigation takes you.

  63. Colette

    I love you and I love reading you.

  64. Fiona

    oh love. I’m thinking of you across the sea and hoping things look brighter today. You had me tearing up there and then laughing out loud at the last line. It’s always that way when I come here. I feel it too, so palpable there seems to be something in the air these days, those blocks that seem so inhibiting at the moment. I’m interested to hear what you feel compelled to share about the pills. And on the money front, I’ve always been so impressed at your capability to buy things for yourself, treats to get you through the day. You’ve taught me a lot in that respect.

  65. Stacey

    I just want to let you know being 40 is going to bring a new found way of being. I struggled through my thirties. I really didn’t want to turn 40. I didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t I have a clear idea. But everyday brings me closer. I love being in my forties. I just “am” now. Take it or leave it.I speak my mind. I do what I want to do. I am still looking for someone to help unpack my baggage with me. I am still figuring things out. I still take those pills. Take it or leave it. When I have friends that are struggling with turning forty, I say, “just you wait. “You will become more “you”, and sure enough they tell me I was right. So keep going on this path you have chosen for yourself. Take those detours and back roads. You will get there. Where ever it may be. Happy birthday! Celebrate everyday!

  66. Jen

    Hi Susannah,

    Just wanted to drop a short note to let you know that your posts are always lovely and welcome in my RSS feed… and that your sweet nephew was part of our inspiration for naming our little guy Noah! :)

    Hang in there,
    xo Jen

    ohhh, i love that! :)

  67. Cassie

    Hi Susannah,

    I am one of those who said I think your life is pretty good. But I do also know, from reading your blog, that you are looking for love. And I completely understand how you feel.

    I look at you and all the things you do with admiration, because as you say, you are completely independent, running your own business, and all that… It is what im lacking.

    THanks for sharing such an honest post.

    Hugs,

    Bea

  68. Kenda

    Integrity shines in you, from you – profoundly brave and honest… always. It’s a rare and special quality in this blogosphere Susannah. In the world. What came to mind as I was reading this is how important both light and shadow are to beauty. Thank you for sharing both. You are beautiful.

  69. Sherry

    I love how you give us “everything” — the good, the bad, the messy. You open doors and the honesty of who you are and how you live life in all it’s joy and messiness allows us to breathe and say she is so real…and those who might be needing what you say on any given day are bathed in the knowledge that they are not alone. Nor are you. So beautiful. love you!

  70. Gina

    Turning 40 is hard, but the good news is that you can really start peeling off all the unnecessary layers–self imposed and society imposed. I turn 60 this year (GAHHHHH) but I feel so much lighter than I was back then. My 40’s and 50’s included being a block away from Ground Zero on 9/11 when it happened, living in that war zone, losing a parent, and going through menopause. Stay in therapy, get physically healthy, relate to spirit in any way you can, and you will be ready to fly, as am I.

  71. Beth Fenger

    <3 Exactly how I feel and have felt this past year. You just say it more eloquently. :) hugs to you.

  72. Jessie

    I too fell that my thirty’s were a waste now at 43 I see that I needed that to get where I am today! The love still not there, but I am more secure in being me! I wish you peace! Thanks for sharing so openly! Your blog rocks and I look forwards to your posts!!

  73. Emily

    Thank you for writing this, your honesty is truly refreshing. Have been a big fan of your lovely blog for years and its because of how wonderfully REAL you seem!!

    I too take the pills, them there pills keep me stable enough to do what I do. Thankfully. Despite the happy shiny life my blog can portray at times, you’re right – the behind the scenes is never as glossy and bright. We all have the raw stuff, that’s what makes us human.

    Thanks Susannah! x

  74. aimee

    I cried a little when I was reading this. Okay, I cried more than a little.

  75. Sharon Harkness

    Thank you for posting this. Your honesty has helped me so many times.

  76. Nathalieso

    Hello Susannah,
    Like the others that kind of posts are the reason why I always come back to your blog, the one that hooked me up to the blogosphere.
    Thank you.

  77. Dewdropd88

    I can really relate to all that you have written in this post. You say it so eloquently and clearly in ways ill never be able to. I couldn’t help nodding in agreement whilst reading. I am new to your site having seen your lil bit in the simple things mag and am glad to have found it. Thank you :)

  78. Kimberley

    Turning 40 is HARD but once you are through the flaming hoop it gets easier. For me too “blog reading is my own personal kryptonite.” I rarely feel the kind of kindred spiritness I felt reading this post right here. Namaste.

  79. Vicki

    All I can say is Thank You!! You are an amazing woman.

  80. Jo

    you are a brave soul.

  81. Nicole

    Susannah, I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and the reason I come back is because you continually talk about reality. In recent years, I have backed off on reading blogs and spending time online because, like you said, it can be kryptonite – I also get so caught up in the comparison game and how everyone else’s life seems so perfect. Thanks as always for being real and sharing the true reality of your experience.

  82. Becky RG

    I appreciate your honesty Susannah. There was a time I was alone. I carried alot of hurt and doubt that anyone would ever love me again. But it did happen one day. My wish for you is that you find the time to nurture yourself and find the love that you hope for.

  83. Vanessa

    Just thinking about you, and wondering how you’re doing (late at night, and wondering whether I need to make my own trip back to the doctor and/or therapist). As lots of others have said here, thank you for sharing so openly.

  84. Justine

    I gave up reading productivity / minimalist / organizational blogs a few years back. I also gave up magazines like Oprah’s. Why? Because they made me feel bad about myself, made me worry that I wasn’t enough or that I needed to push myself more to be *happy*.

    And then I discovered blogs like yours, Susannah, where women share their creativity, their feelings, their thoughts and fears about life. Where I can log on in the morning right when I get to work and gain some strength from your own wisdom about how good you try to treat yourself and how difficult that is some days. Where you’re honest and kicking ass. Where you’re vulnerable and BRAVE in sharing that with all of us – b/c why do we deserve it, y’know? But it helps so much…

    I cherish your writing and photography. Thank you for always putting yourself out there – it really does make me feel more awesome about my own life :)

  85. Christina

    After 5 years of being off anti-depressants 6 months ago I made a hard decision to go back on. The failure I felt to be going back on them was very heavy but heaviness of living day to day without them was unbearable. Now my days are so much better and I still have my bouts but the desparation of the day to day has lifted. Hopefully you’re feeling an uplift from your decision to support YOU.

  86. Ashleigh Broadfoot

    I meant to comment this the other day when I saw the post the first time, but my internet on my ipod wasn’t working so I didn’t. I just want to saw I totally get you with all this. Although I’m only 20 and turning 21 in November, I well and truly get the whole depression thing and the feeling that you’ve wasted a certain part of your life – for me my teens. I felt i’d wasted it because I never made friends and did much socialising but it doesn’t really matter. I also want to say the depression thing is a massive part of my life as I was diagnosed when I was year 8 or age 12. So don’t worry about me not getting the whole depression thing because I totally do. Susannah, you are amazing and just because you hide the less fun parts doesn’t make you any less amazing. So good luck with going back to therapy and going back on antidepressants. Just so you know when you finally do write that post on Medication I’ll be here in Australia cheering you on cause I totally know what that’s like too. Take care of yourself and stay amazing.

  87. Marnie

    Your last paragraph/description was me to a T. And it made me feel like I am in good company. :)

    hugs.

  88. Cynthia

    I hope writing this helped you in some way. I very much appreciate your honesty and heart in writing and sharing this. that takes a lot of courage, and I appreciate that enormously.

    Reading it I think, are you my soul sister or what? I know exactly what you’re talking about, having run my own online business by myself for 13 years. There are a lot of advantages to being alone but many disadvantages and frankly I’ve had enough of the solitude. I’m ready to be with someone on this journey.

    I’ve also struggled with guilt and conflicting feelings about having the ‘perfect life’ but it’s not really perfect. I mean whose life is perfect? I think the more honest we can be with sharing the whole picture the more we can all touch our humanity. And you have done a great job of modeling that so thank you.

    Sending empathetic love and support across the ocean.

  89. Chel

    Hear, hear. To all the encouraging, loving and further inspiring comments above.
    Susannah, you are your own success and we’re all following your blog because of that. We appreciate the inherent flaws of authenticity.
    Thanks for the gentle nudge to get on with my own work. Big hug. :)

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