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Hey friends!

One of my favourite things about writing personal essays is the completely unique ways you, as readers, choose to interpret them and how everyone takes something different from each word. It's always fascinating for me to hear how such personal stories, can forge meaning to you in your own personal ways.

That said, there was an intention in mind for today's essay. I hope it makes you sing your own praises. Or notice the growth. I hope it makes you think: What patterns of behaviour used to snag? Where am I now swimming that used to make me sink? And if you feel called, do let me know what you come up with. 

Enjoy x




In the peak of summer, I down my gin and tonic quicker than the guy opposite me sips his pint. He, a teacher, and myself, a once upon time lecturer, we get onto the subject of what the profession of speaking in front of students has awarded us. I guess we’re talking about confidence, which is a funny thing looking back, considering I was at my lowest point amid my last major depressive episode at the time.


At school I was shy, I would never raise my hand in class. I therefore never considered myself a person who would go on to lecture an auditorium full of university students, week-in-week-out. Never in my wildest dreams. But for a year that’s exactly what I did.


Nor be someone who could stand in front of a room full of a paying audience and read words from this very newsletter, but last weekend, that’s exactly what I did. Granted, my legs were shaking underneath my Shrimps dress but it was still… Exactly! What! I! Did!


Similarly, for a long time I believed I would always have a fractured relationship with exercise. I never believed I’d get to a place where I could move my body, much less want to. Have the stamina for it — both physically and mentally. But here I am squatting and weight lifting and sweating, week-in-week-out.


Too, I never thought I’d be someone who could have sex. I spent my teens petrified by the idea of it. So traumatised by it, I never believed it would be something I could enjoy or ‘get right’.


Until one day, rapturously, I was no longer afraid. I can almost pinpoint the exact moment on the calendar. Healing which came completely out of nowhere, which, one day randomly decided to click. How, a previously occupied space in my mind was suddenly free.


It’s illuminating how things change. How euphoric overcoming things make you feel as you sink into the realisation that it’s no longer a roadblock for you. A mindset you’ve outgrown. A phase — not an inherently broken part. 


I spent the entire first half of my twenties feeling buried under the weight of all I don’t know. Like I am so much further behind everyone else. Like I don’t really have value in the way others seem to. Like my choices aren’t as important because they are not the choices I am supposed to want to make.


It was a slow slipping wave goodbye to confidence. So slow I didn’t notice it leaving. So slow I didn’t believe my friends when they told me it would come back. That I would come back. But if I couldn’t see it leaving, of course I wouldn’t be able to see it returning.


Sometimes now, when I’m in a meeting, I’ll catch myself looking around the Zoom room thinking, in a meta moment: I can’t believe I’m here, I can’t believe I am a part of something, I can’t believe I am capable of doing THINGS. Sometimes my acute awareness of my being alive can be inconvenient — debilitating even. But in these moments, it feels like such a novelty.

There are still so many things I currently feel I’ll never get right, never get the hang of. But I can recognise now, using the past as hard-won evidence, these things will eventually slip away. They’ll eventually leave my conscious brain and will embed themselves within my subsconscious one. I might even surprise myself and get good at them. All I have to do is look back and see what else I used to be afraid of that I no longer find hard. What I once couldn’t do without anxiety that I now find thrilling. 


All I have to do is keep shuffling my feet forward, one tiny movement at a time, and be excited for all of the future roadblocks that will come to pass. 


I’m not terribly good at letting go, but these things, these fears, they will be met with one big fat sloppy kiss goodbye.



As always, I love to hear from you. If you liked today’s newsletter, want to carry on the conversation or have any thoughts or feedback at all, do hit reply. Thanks for reading x

🍄Songs, Songs, Songs🍄
(click to listen/follow on Spotify)

Moody — Self Esteem

Daddy — Charlotte Cardin

Life’s a Bitch (L.A.B) — Nina Nesbitt

the internet — GRACEY

simple times — Kacey Musgraves

Volcano — Maisie Peters

Phoenix (feat. Fleet Foxes & Anaîs Mitchell) — Big Red Machine

Scarlett — Holly Humberstone

Secret Life (feat. Lana Del Rey) — Bleachers

AM I DREAMING (feat. Miley Cyrus) — Lil Nas X


Esme Rose Marsh is a writer, artist and the founder of Hook Magazine. She publishes a bi-monthly newsletter called I’ve Been Meaning to Say… which contemplates what it takes to live a meaningful life and her collage prints can be purchased in exclusive drops throughout the year. Esme is a recent cat-convert, a current adoptive ginger and a frequent user of the em dash. She has contributed a variety of creative works to the likes of The Coven, Restless and CONKER and is available for freelance commissions…

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Esme Rose Marsh, Retford, Nottinghamshire DN220BU
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