It's dark in here.
It’s bright outside as summer begins to peak, but it’s dark in here. Our curtains are still closed as I type away at the foot of the bed. My son, still asleep, asked me to wake him up at 6am. Yes, he was sure. Okay, 8:30am. Fine, 9am. Mommy, I’m tired. Nghhhhhh stop.
Last week was a long week.
I’m usually very protective of my weekends; can’t function without ‘em. But I gave up the prior weekend to help out with an emergency writing project. I hadn’t had a break yet, so I was already entering the week more depleted than usual.
And what a week. I’ve been spoiled by the boundaries I’ve worked so hard to create, and breaking them — working straight from 6:30am until bedtime, eating just one meal a day, and that meal being McDonald’s because I didn’t have the time to cook — was not. fun.
The tonsillitis came back, I lost my voice, and on the bad days toward the end of the week, got hit with vertigo.
(Spoiler alert, and for mom, if you’re reading this: I’m okay now! I hibernated Friday night and, waking up for one meal aside, emerged from my slumber at 6pm on Saturday.)
One, I am weak. My highschool, college, new mother, and law school selves are laughing at me to the tune of Poor Unfortunate Soul.
Two. I overbooked myself. I started with two new clients that week on top of my regular load, because thought that if I refused those clients then, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to work with them later.
This would be the storytelling spot to say: “But was it worth it? No.” But was it worth it? Honest answer: I don’t know. It straddled the line quite well between “don’t sacrifice your health for money,” and “hey, sometimes you need to sacrifice a little; success doesn’t come easy.”
I got burnt out and sick, yeah. But in the grand scheme of things, two weeks is not that long of a hustle, especially not for one third of my income this month. I also might have lost some weight, though I don’t know if that goes in the good basket or the bad basket.
It’s 10:59pm. It’s dark outside now, too.
The way I write is this: I type things out as I think them.
I cannot not write the way I speak.
Sidebar: when I write for clients, it’s the same thing. I’m very good at changing writing voices. But not because of some extraordinary writing skill.
What I’d gotten really good at is being that other person. Osmosis-ing their essence and absorbing who they are (minus the serial killer vibes), so that once I am them, I just … type things out as I think them.
Sidebar the second: I think I have a published article in a national broadsheet with the phrase, in all caps, “HOLY SHIZNIT.”
Sidebar the third: Last year, I hopped on a call with someone I’d been interacting with online for a while in a few Facebook Groups. “Oh my god! Mikli! You sound exactly the way you write! Exactly!”
I don’t think much of my ability to write conversationally — beginning with the fact that I have a hard time seeing it as any sort of ability at all: my brain thinks things (everybody’s brain thinks things) and my fingers just try to keep up.
Some days I wish I could be Someone Who Can Write Deep Things. And by deep I don’t mean flowery or Shakespearean. Please read this archived blog post of my friend Racquel about the loss of her dog Sophie and don’t tell me it didn’t break you. (I searched for the cached version to read after I lost Perry, because even though Sophie was her baby and Perry was mine, she words’d my heart so well.)
But I’m slowly coming to terms with (a) my “non-ability” (as in, “this isn’t an ability, is it?”) to write conversationally and (b) my inability to take a knife to your heart, twist it, and have you love it and ask me for more. (Darn.)
First: by resigning myself to the fact that I can’t not put myself in my copy. So why force myself to be — and write like — someone else?
Second: by reframing it as an advantage that I’m lucky to naturally have. My last two copywriting jobs have been for people specifically looking to conversationalify their copy, because they freeze and forget “how they sound like” when staring at a blank page and a blinking cursor.
Third: by one day learning how to end passages of stray thoughts like this one so I don’t leave them hanging…
I was so proud of my mini-viral tweet last week. And then! This week!
These are my accomplishments, mababaw ang kaligayahan, please leave me be. 😄
But also — to the dental point of the tweet!
My son hasn’t had his two front teeth since he was four; they had to be extracted due to a long story. I spent the days before they were due to be pulled out taking pictures and desperately trying to memorize his smile before he became a Night Fury*. (*Toothless.)
Almost four years later, I’m trying desperately to memorize his smile again. For half his life, he’d had an endearingly gummy smile, but along with the loose tooth in the tweet are two new upper teeth growing in!
I’ve only got months until he’ll never be front-toothless again.
Our college yearbook was finally released after seven years. Here I am from 2012 and —
who is she? Can I be her???
And what is going on with her hair?