Dramatic title, yes, but I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration. 8 days ago, somewhere between 1 and 3 in the morning of the 19th of January, I couldn’t sleep. The day before I had written this post and cried, a lot. I had cried about my lack of drive, the fact I felt I had no dreams to follow, having no idea what step to take next and the crippling fear that was making me so sad. By writing the post I gave myself an opportunity to process those feelings and by finally articulating and processing them, I immediately felt a bit brighter. And in those quiet hours I sat at my desk started planning a new idea, one that has turned me from a crying mess with no clue which way to turn, to a woman more driven than I have ever been, with a fire in my belly I have not had before.
I’m not sure I have the words to describe the feelings of the past week, I have attempted something with a determination not driven by fear and the need to not fuck this up, to not fail, but with a determination born from confidence. Over-confidence? I hope not, but I am attempting this with a drive and determination because I am excited, I am at peace with what happens if this doesn’t work and understand that if for some reason it doesn’t work, that I will be ok.
This year has been a year where I have seen little ways where my previous skills and experiences have married up to help me with things, and I’ve really taken the time to notice that. This has been even more noticeable as I start to put flesh on the bones of my new idea, a Country music podcast. I have zero direct experience in making a podcast, but I have lots of little skills and experiences that have come together to make this process smoother than I could have imagined. I started with the idea that I like talking and I like Country Music (and other music, too!) and decided that if I was going to take a leap of faith and try something new, it was time to play to my strengths. I thought the rest of the process from speaking into a microphone onwards was going to be more done as a means to an end and I’ll be honest, I was worried that would be my downfall. I knew nothing about anything related to this, but I thought that I was unlikely to be in a position I am now, where I had the time to try and it turns out I have wholly enjoyed the whole process (except the waiting, I will never love waiting).
I ‘m learning to work with myself instead of against me. I am learning to navigate life in a way that helps instead of hinders my neuro-divergent brain, working to understand how to allow myself to thrive in a society that wasn’t really built for people with brains like mine. And I don’t think this podcast would have been possible until now, without having a better understanding of myself, I wouldn’t have had the ability to recognise that people won’t think I’m stupid if this doesn’t progress very far. It’s still a concern, but it’s not shouting so loudly anymore and putting me off from even trying. A lot of times I have thought of myself as lazy or lacking drive and now I am learning that a lot of the time when I am not wanting to do something, that’s not coming from a place of ambivalence and lack of interest, but from an intense, internal fear of failing. I need things to work out otherwise people will think I’m awful, is the general approach to life and I am starting to break down those barriers in my brain.
And a combination of working with myself, giving myself the space to try and finding that actually, I have quite a lot of the basis of the skills even if not the exact skills themselves has given me the confidence to keep going. I have learnt so much in this past week, so much, there are many lessons still to learn to but I have learnt them without them being hugely difficult and with enjoyment and I needed that, to prove to myself that I am not incapable and that this is a risk worth taking.
I am under no illusions that my podcast will become an overnight success. I know this will take time, effort and dedication, but knowing that these things are achievable is the push I need to keep up that time, effort and dedication. I am really, truly enjoying the process before I’ve even had anyone listen and that is keeping me motivated and passionate. This week I have probably been a little too dedicated to this, a little too hyper-focused, but I would far rather that than the weeks I have spent sitting doing nothing but scroll on my phone because I have been completely uninspired. And because I have a habit of starting things with gusto and then dropping them, I am struggling to articulate to others that this feels very different, this hasn’t felt like a whim or a fad in the way I’ve always been aware previous things have been (I probably tell myself it’s a fad way more than anything else does) and I know I have to prove myself before I can be believed in that, but I genuinely feel like I will be able to do so this time.
Things have slipped a little in other aspects of my life whilst I’m doing this, but instead of beating myself up about that, I am reminding myself of what really truly matters. I am getting up and dressed, sometimes at unconventional times but that doesn’t really matter when nothing much else is happening. I am eating and trying to drink enough water, I am sleeping when I can (this is a bit of a struggle at the minute, but I am sleeping when I am tired, again even if at slightly unconventional times) and ultimately I know that things will balance out when I find my rhythm again. There’ll be time for getting the house spick and span when we can have guests again. It’s already a bit upside down from having a new bed delivered this week anyway, so this isn’t the end of the world. I am working out how to let somethings slide without feeling like the world is ending and how I can turn my attention back to them at a more suitable time.
I know that I am at my best in terms of balance in life when I am happy and this is making me happy in a way I can’t describe. I have also learnt a lot about how an ADHD brain doesn’t have the same reward/positive reinforcement type system as a neuro-typical brain. Rewarding myself with B (something I like) after doing task A gives me absolutely zero motivation to do task A, it never has, and I just put it down to laziness. Turns out, when I do B first, that little dopamine hit gives me the motivation I need to then go and tackle task A. I had a very real point about this proven to myself the other week when I was staring at my computer, on the verge of tears, trying to write an important letter I needed to write but didn’t know how to do. At that exact moment, my new book arrived in the post. I flicked through that for a short while and it put me in a much better mood. I turned back to the laptop not even 20 minutes after the book arrived and within 15 minutes I had written the letter with almost no apprehension. Essentially, my internal reward system is backwards and it’s the joy of the ‘reward’ that sparks the completion of the task. It’s not a fail-safe method and there are times where I’ll get too wrapped up in the reward to start with but the conventional way round worked even less of the time so I may as well take this approach and have some more success.
This project is making me feel rewarded in a way like no other, because I am getting the little wins coming thick and fast and it’s spurring me on. I got good feedback from a few people who I asked to listen to it. The whole process has been easier than I expected which has provided the confidence and although I am impatient about the numbers because they provide that same little hit of positivity, my new social media channels are doing well for only being launched 48 hours or so ago. The biggest motivation so far has been submitting my podcasts to Apple, Spotify and Amazon Music and having them accepted. I can look on my phone and see my podcast, listed there on these huge streaming platforms, ready to launch. And that has blown my tiny mind. Something I have created from initial ideas through notes and then properly planned note cards to recording, editing and uploading is now out there for the world to find. I am so proud of myself. As each approval came back in, I was crying tears of pure happiness and pride in what I had managed to achieve in such a short space of time. Because in the right environment I can thrive. I just took a while to find my environment.
And at the same time that I have been starting this podcast up, I stumbled across a new band I really, really like. I have been listening to them for hours and hours (yes, they’ll be on the podcast soon!) and yes, they are a famous band and they have had some good breaks along the way, but they have been able to sustain this through the use of Patreon and similar platforms to allow them to connect directly with people and gain financial support direct from their fans. Patreon and the like are made for creators to be able to receive financial support in direct return for their content (plus extra benefits by way of thanks) and I am under no impression it is going to be making me rich overnight. But I do feel there is a possibility it can provide some form of support to allow me to keep creating, further down the line. It’s an opportunity and this time thanks to seeing how they have been able to harness that, I have built on my knowledge of Patreon’s existence I have gained previously, to believe it may be an option for me and that my hard work and determination in this could lead to it starting to pay off.
This same band also have a song that really stuck out and spoke to me in a way that only music can and I feel there was a reason my discovery of this band came at the time. The song is called Remember This and the chorus below when I was singing it in the kitchen made me realise that I needed to pay attention to it’s sentiment. I had spent the 18th January writing a blog post about how I felt so negatively about myself and I was fed up of looking back and being upset by my lack of, well, much really, these words inspired me to take the leap and attempt to change that.
Memories are made up of moments like this‘Remember This’ by Home Free (link to Youtube Video)
The choices we make and the chances we miss
One day the memories are all that there is
So how do you wanna remember this?
And finally, in another coming together of experiences and small things mounting up, a lady who I don’t believe had ever read my blog before came across my previous post. She read it, followed my blog and left a very lovely empathetic comment, really encouraging me and in the middle of her paragraph was a simple sentence “You might also consider starting a podcast about Country music” and in the vain of the Home Free song, I decided to try and hopefully I can look back on this moment and remember this.
So thank you Cheryl for your lovely comment, and everyone who has been so supportive and kind to me in these last few months as I navigate these changes, these decisions and these opportunities. I am ready to put in the hard work and time needed. I am ready to dare to dream again.