sober lifestyle


Covering one of my first stories as a one-woman videography band: the opening of Cole & Heidi Hamels’ charity headquarters on Philly’s Main Line. I ended up doing that video reporting job for six years (2012-2018)…and eventually learned to actually look at the camera. 🙈

There are dense clumps of cobwebs stretched across my memory banks, particularly in the pre-2019 era, so I can’t recall the exact details of the day when I officially became a video reporter.

In my head, it went something like this:

“We’re shutting down [where you’ve worked as an online content writer for the past four years]; either take this camcorder and go shoot high school sports stories [which you’ve never, ever, ever done before] for the newspaper’s revamped website, or…seeya!”

I took the camcorder. That was 2012, and, by my calculations, it marked Major Life Change #4 for a young print journalism major from suburban Chicago.

Today, I’m on the threshold of #8.

Does that mean I have only one life left? 🙀

If everything goes according to plan (🤞🏻🤞🏻) that’s all I will need to reach my ultimate goal.

In action with my first camera! That thing was NOT meant to be used as a professional videography tool, nor was it meant to be exposed to 100-degree weather and/or thunderstorms at American Legion baseball games. It literally melted, and only then did the company agree to invest in a real news camera.
The crew from the fledgling “Game On” high school sports show, which had a fun 7-year run (I was involved for like 6.1) before Gatehouse Media took over the paper and pulled the plug on the entire video department. People seemed to like the show, even though none of us — least of all me — had any idea what we were doing when we started.

Did that last statement sound…confident? Because writing it made me squirm.

I’m sitting here petrified as I contemplate the near-future: a new social media marketing job in a different industry (home design) AND full-time grad school enrollment in a different field of study (counseling psychology), combining in a completely different daily schedule and new set of challenges and pressures.

Different. New. Challenge. Pressure. 😱

A large part of me screams in terror at those words…while a tiny voice inside whispers: “But you’ve been through this exact same scenario SO many times before, and you always found a way to make it work!”

There are even some moments when the voice grows bolder: “You always did a damn good job!”

Writing that is making me cry. WTF! Why can’t I handle positive self-talk?!? Even the slightest whiff of confidence triggers massive anxiety; I’m stuck between believing that “yes, I am good!” and squinting up at the sky waiting for an anvil to come hurtling down and crush my head.

“That’s what you get for believing in yourself!” 🤕

It makes perfect sense, given my personality, but it’s completely bananas, considering my track record.

This is not, as it may seem, a random picture of a tree. This is THE tree I saw every weekday between Jan. 2019 and July 2020, on the lunchtime waterfront walks that helped keep me somewhat sane at an entry-level content writing job that I came close to quitting more times than I can count.

For every new chapter in my story — moving from Illinois to Georgia for my first sports reporting job, then moving from Georgia to Pennsylvania for my second one at the Bucks County Courier Times, then switching to digital content at in an effort to expand my horizons (and thus discovering social media), then getting handed that little Panasonic camcorder and being forced onto an entirely different path, then having my journalism job eliminated and starting from scratch in marketing…and let’s not forget the brief stop-off at Shady Brook Farm to run cash registers, sweep floors and clean toilets in between — I’ve written myself a happy ending.

Oh, and side note: I also managed to quit drinking in the midst of complete career upheaval, and stay sober through a global pandemic.

I’ve paid my damn dues, y’all! Not to give you my entire resume, but when I think back on the shit I made it through, the fact that I still struggle with self-doubt kinda makes me mad. 😡

I mean, in the immortal words of Troy McClure…

I am afraid to show up in a new office next week without fully knowing what to expect. And yet, I moved across the country twice in my 20s to do exactly that. I was willing to clean toilets at a farm to make some extra cash while applying for jobs. I weathered a storm of rejections in that job search and kept on applying. I stomached a year and a half on the bottom-most rung at a marketing agency — literally crying in the bathroom to unsympathetic coworkers once every two weeks — to get some experience. I used that experience to get a better-paying job with a more flexible schedule. Then, I navigated through absolute chaos for nine months so I could build enough of a portfolio to land a better opportunity.

And then, I landed it.

I now have the opportunity to learn valuable new professional skills as I work my way through school, and hopefully, earn a degree that helps pave the way toward living my true purpose. (If you’re new to the blog, I have aspirations of one day working with other addicts in the recovery space.)

My New Life #9, dare I say, is set up to be the one we talk about when we’re kids and someone asks what we want to be when we grow up.

It’s not a coincidence that this life became possible when I decided to get sober.

So, in the course of giving myself this little thousand-word pep talk, I did end up giving you my resume. Sorry! 🤷🏼‍♀️

While I’m at it, might as well mention: The girl back in 2012 who got handed a foreign object and told to go make coherent high school sports stories with it or hit the road? She ended up winning an award for one of those stories.

Yes, it’s ONLY second place. But any place is a total win when you started at zero. Right? I once had zero days of sobriety, and now, I’m at 21 months with an entirely new lease on life. With more happy endings to write!

I don’t know if I’ll ever feel “ready” for such an adventure. Confidence is a big step outside my comfort zone. But if I clear away the cobwebs and really look at my track record, that little voice can be heard saying:

“Girl, these different, new, challenging, pressure-filled, uncomfortable situations are right in your wheelhouse!” 💥🥎↗️

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s