Restless Graduates

My university just had commencement last weekend, and I’ve already been contacted by multiple restless graduates.

I don’t know what to do with myself now.
School and finals were going 100 mph, and suddenly everything has stopped.
For years now, I’ve had assignments and feedback, direction and advice, and now I’m … on my own. 

md-duran-628456-unsplashI remember feeling the same way. During my years as a creative writing major, I remembered thinking how when I graduated I would finally have time to read all the books I wanted and to work on my own creative projects. But when I graduated, I realized I barely remembered how to read for fun– or how to embark on a writing project that wasn’t a class assignment.

It comes. It does.

What helped me was setting into a new routine, joining a writing group for creative companionship and accountability, embracing rest, and forcing myself to read. Yes, forcing– even though I had very much looked forward to it, I didn’t know how to start. I had to basically assign myself a book. Once those wheels were re-greased, everything got easier.

I remember going back to my campus– it had been my home for three years, and suddenly I had to check in with the guard shack like I was a stranger. It was such a jarring experience. I felt a little … chewed up and spat out. It wasn’t the school’s fault. It’s just the nature of transition. The Next Big Thing felt both too sudden (boom! you’re a graduate! figure it out!) and too slow (what do I do with all this time now?).

It sorts itself out. Life. God. Friends. Time. Priorities.

Be patient, give yourself grace, find a community, and– if necessary– grind through the hard stuff. You’ll be okay.

Lies My Hormones Tell Me

My hormones and body chemistry and missed-a-day-of-meds OCD and depression are leaning hard into cruel lies today, amongst them:

  • you will be alone forever
  • you are no one’s priority
  • no one really changes
  • two steps forward, ten steps back
  • good doesn’t return to you
  • everyone is annoyed by your whining
  • you’re an embarrassment

But I know these are lies, deep, deep inside. That is something. Maybe everything.

Dear Diary: Asking for Help

Hi friends,

I simultaneously feel like I have a hundred exciting things happening in my life … and nothing to blog about. Ha!

Life feels good. Not perfect. Improving.

Health, heart, writing, finances, relationships: I have been so intentional about healing and growth this year. I know it’s only May, but the changes already are unbelievable. I feel really grateful.

The easiest way to summarize it all is with one piece of advice: ASK FOR HELP.

ask

I, who used to be so anathema to asking for help, have fully embraced it as the wisest, healthiest option.

Sometimes this costs money (hiring an organizer, meeting with a therapist); sometimes not (prayer, finding a friend or colleague who is skilled at something you aren’t).

It gets easier and easier. I challenge you to ask for help for something this week– anything, anyone, according to your needs and resources. If you’re someone who really hates this, start small. But do it. And then tell me about it in the comments.

Mojo

Last Sunday through Wednesday, I took my usual spring pilgrimage to Duluth, a time to read, write, rest, and think. Some years feel ultra productive; some years I spin my wheels a bit.

This year felt huge.

Most importantly, I was able to tackle two issues with Salt Novel that I haven’t had the time, energy, or creativity to solve since January 2018. I’m ready now. I have my solutions. The knot is to the stage where its untying is inevitable.

I also worked on my novel in bite-sized pieces. I’m reminded that showing up is 85% of my battle. If I show up and work on a one-square-inch part of the story, and do it enough times, it gets done.

This trip to Duluth also gave me some of my mojo back. Self doubt is such a poison. It’s the biggest barrier to my creative projects. That and comparison. Double-edged sword.

So I’m in a good place. I wanted you to know.

Updated Contact Page

If you click my “Contact” page under the “About” tab, there’s updated contact info.

For anything related to books, writing, or creativity, email jackieleawrites@gmail.com. I do my best to reply to every one of these.

For resources on OCD, email jackieleaocd@gmail.com using subject line OCD or HOCD. I’m not able to reply to individual emails about OCD, but you will get a response full of encouragement and resources.

Follow me on Instagram at @jackieleasommers.

Twitter is a toxic environment for me, so I am rarely active there. 

37 Lessons

I needed to revisit this today. Maybe you need it (or even one of the 37?) too.

JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

371. Humility and vulnerability are key to leadership.

2. On this green earth, I will always be a work in progress.

3. There are so many more shades of gray than I ever imagined.

4. Grace, grace, grace: be generous with it, both for myself and for others.

5. Love is messy.

6. Carefully choose which hills are worth dying on.

7. Quit pretending like you don’t have issues and start working through them.

8. Everyone has issues.

9. I am good company, on my own.

10. “‘No’ is a complete sentence.” (Anne Lamott)

11. Boundaries are amazing.

12. Get a great mattress.

13. Required reading: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

14. Create a list of your guiding principles; refer to this often. I keep mine posted in my office and perpetually ask myself how I am exhibiting the four characters I’ve named most important in…

View original post 292 more words