Saturday Morning Thought Dump
Falling further and further away from myself...
It’s been several months since I’ve had the time to curate any posts here, and for that, I apologize. I’ve been slammed, but in the best way one could be, I suppose.
I’ve been working on some amazing projects & unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to pack any more hours into a day. I’ve been getting around 4-5, sometimes only 3 hours of sleep each day, but that’s what it takes to produce magic- or so I hear.
Without ANY free time, penciling in showers & juggling housework while simultaneously taking in information (headphones) and running back and forth between desk & phone has been exhausting. Between loads of laundry, helping with homework, and other day-to-day tasks of a mother and wife, I’m dedicating my time to building others up. I’ve truly missed having the time to be creative.
Last February I spent a pretty penny building a “studio” in my home because the plan was to expand on my own brand & make content that makes me happy. I wanted to lay all of the expectations of this or that at the door & just create things that brought me joy. In 2023, I spent the entire year helping others reach the goals they set out for themselves, and was quite successful in doing so.
Behind the scenes, many of these popular content creators have an entire team that does all of the work for them. They’re the face while several others you’ll never hear about bring them everything they need to deliver their current message to their audience.
Since that time, I have been pulled onto many different exciting projects, all of which I play an essential role in. This is nice, and feels great to know how much hard work has gone into these things, but in this, I’ve forfeited my original plans to build myself rather than helping others reach their goals.
I’ve always been a team player, understanding the power of a group of like-minded individuals coming together to move toward the same common goal. Unfortunately, this mentality means my personal identity and my God-given talents take a backseat. The skills that I have are constantly being sought after to achieve the goals of others, which leaves me little time to apply them to my own “branding.” I hate that word by the way, but as a renegade who answers to no one such is required to have your message heard. Being part of a team requires a lot of time, dedication, and selflessness, all of which I am happy to give but it comes at a high cost.
Selflessness can easily be abused, and it often is. When you are loyal and always the point person, you tend to be asked to do many things that aren’t necessarily in your job description & that you’re rarely compensated for beyond a “Thanks”. When you are the go-to person who will make sure the task gets done and with speed and accuracy, oftentimes you’re the one asked to do the menial side work because you can be counted on and want to ensure you deliver what’s being asked of you. This is often taken advantage of.
I think I’m this way because finding people who can be counted on is such a rarity. I’ve felt nothing but let down by so many, I don’t ever want to be thrown into that category by anyone. I don’t want anyone to ever have the ability to say that Haley is unreliable, and that means ensuring that I never am.
As of late, I’ve felt that my lack of “me time” has hurt me in several ways. I began 2023 with the goal of working on myself and my branding as a freelancing lone wolf, and craved creating things that I wanted to see executed rather than constantly riding the trending wave. Topics I found interesting and intriguing, not just another voice swimming amongst all of the others in the deep well of public opinion. Constantly chasing the latest story and the time it takes to research and develop a different take from what others instinctively latch onto and then repeat in slightly different wording (aggregation) has never been something I was interested in.
Why tell the same story dozens of others already have?
As someone who prides themselves in being introspective and always looking for ways to better themselves, I’ve struggled with deciding what my “niche” is, mainly because I’m interested in so many topics. Jack of all trades, master of none type thing. This is frustrating when you are curious about so many topics. I also don’t think it’s great to limit yourself to one category. It’s great to be that guy, I guess, but then what?
I’ve been privileged to play an essential role in so many meaningful projects over the years, and it’s something that truly brings me a feeling of accomplishment. I enjoy being behind the scenes and working my ass off to create things that have a positive impact and provoke thought on a mass scale. This brings me joy beyond belief. I don’t and never have been interested in being the center of attention. I don’t crave the limelight, and struggle when I do receive attention. It makes me uncomfortable.
After COVID hit, losing my mother in April of 2020 during lockdown, the results of the 2020 election, having to go through two emergency surgeries 12 weeks of each other, and the overall doom and gloom that began to encompass the world, I wanted to take a step back and reevaluate the content I’d been producing and do the things that make me happy. Unfortunately, any idea of trying to see the light amidst all of the darkness was and still is elusive.
As someone who has struggled their entire life with depression and other not-cool tendencies, I’m constantly in limbo between wanting to see the good and believe it still exists in the world and being overwhelmed by the reality of the dark cloud hovering over what we’re all living through right now.
For over a year now, and after a health scare that put things quickly in perspective, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my contribution to the world has been and what I would like it to be moving forward. It’s something I think about daily in between the chaos of daily demands. Challenges and adversity are the only way to grow, so I welcome this feeling. Being comfortable equals stagnation to me, which is not something I ever want to find myself in.
I guess I say all of this to say I’m a bit lost. I’ve spent my time building others instead of myself and I’m not sure where to pick up the pieces and go moving forward. The dedication I put into helping others achieve is never reciprocated. I’m not even sure what that would mean for me, I just know I do a lot of sacrificing and spend a lot of time watching people as they turn and walk away into the distance rather than return the favor. Some I simply never hear from again once my skills were tapped into, used and abused, and then easily forgotten.
I think seeking to do the things that make me happy and bring me fulfillment is probably the answer, rather than constantly trying to deliver what I think people are interested in or want to see more of, which changes with the direction of the wind. I’ve just spent so much time away from myself that I’m not even sure what any of that is anymore. I have no idea where to go, what to lean into, what makes me happy anymore.
I feel invisible, and to a large degree I am. I guess that makes writing things like this much easier, only a handful of people will see it.
I have always used writing as therapy. It’s more talking to myself and getting some of these thoughts and feelings out on '“paper” so that I feel like I’ve done something to address them than anything else.
I think moving forward maybe the important thing and what would bring me the most fulfillment would be to just be vulnerable and lay everything out on the table. Judgement is going to come no matter what any of us do, even when we swear we don’t judge-we do. It’s part of being human, growing and learning from one another. Sharing my story (stories) I believe could help a lot of people who struggle in silence and feel alone. Sometimes it’s nice just to know that you’re not the only one going through something. I think many feel like they’re on an island all alone where no one could possibly understand, but the opposite is true, we just never talk about any of it.
These are all things that need the most attention, but instead, we closet it all, ensure the padlock is secure behind us, and walk out the door to face the world each day with our masks on, like sad clowns. Suppressing it daily just to seem okay to people who couldn’t care less, but will quickly call you out for being a Debbie Downer if you show any signs of not being “okay”.
Maybe my contribution to society is simply talking about the things we lock away, deep inside our hearts to masquerade around in society. Maybe that would be cathartic for my soul and bring comfort to others. Maybe that is my niche-my “brand”. I don’t know. What I do know is I have to be me, and I’d like to be me out loud rather than in silence.
I think sharing our stories, our trauma and redemption stories can be helpful to those who also struggle to see the light day-to-day.
Moving forward, and time permitting, I think this is the route I plan to take. I’ve discussed writing a book for several years now, and as of late have pursued that more diligently. Perhaps in time, when there is a lot more free time lying around.
Until then, I’ll remain in the shadows thanklessly building others’ empires, supporting those in good faith that never return the favor, and falling further and further away from myself.
Thanks for sticking around.
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