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Hi friends,

I hope you're all well. I very nearly didn't write today's newsletter because I -do not have the time- but as I hope you'll see in the words below, I am learning that losing yourself or your main sources of joy does not have to be a prerequiste to a busy period. Enjoy x

 

***


I’ll never be someone who crosses the finish line gracefully. Who steadily puts one foot in front of the other and seamlessly draws a line under that which was the year’s dues. I’ll drag my beaten spirit one limb at a time until I simply cannot move a muscle more. I’ll be too far gone to sing praises and send well wishes. Too frayed to tap out with intention. I’ll just slip into a dissolution. Dissolve into the remainder of the year that will become forgotten. A blip. A blur. A piecing back together of myself before I do the whole thing once more — off we go again. 

 

That’s how it’s always been. A candlewick flickering when the wax is all used up. November into December. December a jarred up spectacle of a body without bones. Or bones without a body. A mighty crash and burn. A mirage that passes like a storm.

 

When I was 19 I fell in love like it was my full-time job. What else was there to do at nineteen. I was in my second year of university, attending classes for only a handful of hours a week. The rest of my time was dedicated to that single pursuit: him. 

 

And it was beautiful and dazzling and encompassing and dizzying. Those months. Those first six months where it was just the two of us, the sheets and London City our headboard.

 

I am grateful that the relationship didn’t end how it started. When the heartbreak hit, I was knocked for six, not really on the planet for a good long while, but I also had shit to do. 

 

I rolled out of bed around 1 pm the next day, went to the spa and then got on with my life. I got on with it in a broken sort of way, but there also wasn’t the time to take heartbreak on as my full-time job as I did falling in love. I had print deadlines and exhibitions to prepare for.

 

Which was the biggest blessing but also its own kind of grief. 

 

A month later, in December 2019, when work drew in and I could finally step off an overrun train, I fell apart. The momentum I had been travelling; to be finally handed a breather — well, it instead took my breath away. On the first day my email pinged its Out-Of-Office, I stood in my parent’s kitchen and sobbed. 

 

A year later, I took it up a notch. Let my tears fall into the palms of a sympathetic nurse. Because 2019 was something but 2020 was something else entirely. A year that led my darkness out in droves and didn’t lend me a moment’s grace to acclimatise to the person the pandemic had made me. 

 

It’s nearly yet another entire year later and I am beginning to wonder how I might fall into 2021’s beginning of the end. Maybe I’m being slightly premature — am not even remotely ready to grieve what this year has brought and taken in equal measure.  But I do know I don’t want the last seven weeks of the year to be seven repeats of the last week I just had. Where I spilt my coffee and it became the end of the world. Where my literal cup was empty but my internal one, way too full. My stamina for stress a meek little thing. Same shit, different year.

 

Not much has changed from 2020 to 2021 and it seems slightly impervious to be executing a plan for this busy period when I am already in… said busy period. But then again, sometimes these periods you cannot foresee until you are swearing at the computer screen.

 

So I’m throwing back the vitamin C. Protecting my weekends, guarding my plans. Taking small trips to the city — breezing in and out within 24hrs. Having burgers and beer with a dear friend. And discovering a new favourite wine from another friend’s living room couch. Prioritising writing this newsletter, because it is important to me, even when I don’t have the ‘time’. Smirking as I drive and marvelling at the chaos because, well, I am alive and my world is bursting. I mop up the mess and make a fresh cup of coffee.

 

It’s November soon to be December and maybe more has changed than I realised. 2019 me didn’t prioritise rest, 2020 me couldn’t leave the failures at the office and then laugh about them later. 

 

Sometimes deadlines will always mean it is 2 am and I am trying to fix a Photoshop disaster. And the tiredness will seep through the rest of my week and I will cry the way I cried about boys when I was fifteen and too in love, too full up, to hold any of it in. And I’m not quite convinced, but I am hopeful, that as November fades and December reigns, less of me will fade this time too. 

 

***

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)

Tides (feat. Jamila Woods) — Bonobo

It’s Been A While — Self Esteem

Hold No Grudge — Lorde

I dk — Rozzi

Dealer — Lana Del Rey

Just Fucking Let Me Love You — Lowen

An Illustration of Loneliness — Courtney Barnett

Walking with a Ghost — Tegan and Sara

Shake It — Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Swinging At Shadows — The Cribs

 

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 · Hook Magazine · Nottingham, Nottinghamshire DN220BU · United Kingdom

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