volume one hundred
honestly? surprised i haven't run out things to say (or am i?)
Well, if you can believe it, this is volume 100 of hi, lauren deborah!
Thanks to each and every one of you that read, listen, subscribe and share my work. As promised, readers voted for the subject of this volume andwho writes won the vote with her suggested topic: How have YOU changed, what have YOU learned, from your 1st post to your 100th? I'd love to know xxx
This is a brain dump, LD style in honour of the fact that I am exhausted in the best way because:
This is volume 100 baby!
I am still recovering from all the dancing at my bestie’s wedding over the weekend! (and all the crying)!
I have a head cold and that brain fog is adding to the fact I already feel ~pressure~ writing volume 100. I don’t usually feel pressure writing to you so I am going to do my best to mark this milestone the way I know can.
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When I read my earlier volumes I don’t cringe in the way I thought I would.
My first post was written from a place of hope and also fear. Something possessed me to want to write that first substack. I am still not sure exactly what it was, but at that point in my life, we’d been in lockdowns for almost two years. A lot of readers know that the day the lockdowns started where I live, was the day that I moved to a new city for a new job — and didn’t know anyone and didn't speak the language — and was completely isolated physically and spiritually.
Two years into that stripping back and really, truly finding who I was without any outside influence — for better or for worse — meant that there was an inner calling that was able to come out and was able to speak up. I had quietened that voice for many years. Somewhere along the line, I silenced the voice that had something to say. She was creative. She wanted to make things. She wanted to write things. She wanted to entertain people. She wanted to make people feel things. She wanted to feel things through other people’s work as well as her own. She wanted to perform and create and use art and music and words as ways to express herself.
The world indirectly told her no.
At the point of me writing volume one, that “no” had been told to shut up, and that other voice I mentioned that was wanting to speak was being heard. As terrifying as it was, I put my first post out in the world, with complete imposter syndrome and thought “This is ridiculous, what am I doing? I’m not a writer! I don’t have things to say!” and yet… I still did it.
I’m not really sure where that (I want to say confidence) came from. But it wasn’t confidence. It’s not like I thought this would be a success. Instead, what I was experiencing was an exhaustion that was so apparent. Not just from those two years, but from life. Just “I don’t fucking care anymore. All I know is that this is what I want to be doing and even if I am the only person I am doing it for, I need to be doing it”.
I don’t know if I knew at that point, that that was my “why”. But, on reflection, I was just depleted with the world, and the world telling me who I was and what I needed to do. Slowly but surely, Lauren was coming back out through what she wore, what she watched, what she read, what she did in her spare time, what time she woke up, what time she went to bed, what she ate, who she spent time with (virtually), the things that actually made her laugh or cry… that voice was coming back out.
That’s the voice that prompted me to write my first substack.
How I have changed since then?
I absolutely don’t feel confident. But I do feel grounded, calm, centred, and I feel like I am on the right path, every time I hit “schedule” on a new post.
Confidence lacks in lots of places in my life, I wouldn't say that when I put these out that I feel shy or lacking or nervous, I just put it out without thinking about it, without feeling like “This is the greatest thing that has ever been written” either. Just feeling that it has to be written. Feeling that if I stopped writing these letters, it would only be that I was pursuing something else as creatively fulfilling.
That’s what has changed, I guess. That this is something I just have to do.
There have, of course, been weeks that I have missed it. In those weeks I have been sick or travelling, or life has come up. I have granted myself the grace of not pressuring myself to write to you that week. But at the same time, those weeks I have really missed it and coming back to it has been a really beautiful experience. Coming home, here.
And what have I learned?
Gosh. I have learned more technical aspects of writing. I still have a lot to learn (hello em dash overuser alert!). By observing and reading the words of my peers, I have absorbed things that maybe I never even knew or that I had forgotten since high school English class. (Grammar, punctuation… all those fun things).
I have also learned, that if I don't write, I become irritable, lost, angry and anxious and feel like I don't know what I am doing. I lack direction. I feel like things are bottling up inside of me and I don’t know where to put them. As soon as I start writing, I feel lighter and I feel content knowing I have something to say. Whether that ‘something’ is for one person (or several hundred subscribers!) I don’t mind, because it is the saying it that feels right.
So how have I changed? What have I learned? From my first post to my one hundredth?
I have learned to be grateful for the people who keep this going – I hope you know who are — you are the ones who encourage me to share my voice and to share my thoughts. You thank me for things that resonate with you and you tell me that you’re following your creative paths and your dreams as well. Not necessarily because of me, but because you can relate to my journey and that we are doing it alongside one another.
I have changed because I actually believe I am a writer now. I have learned that is something only I can decide. No one can take that away from me either.
Over the one-hundred volumes, I have seen waves of humour, heartbreak, bitterness, resentment, longing, uncertainty, growth, indecision and figuring it out through the words. In one volume I might be venting about one thing, and several volumes later telling you how I resolved it. In one volume I might be celebrating something, and then the next week hiding the fact that it is gone because everything is temporary. You’ve all been along for the ride.
I have learned that I can keep showing up to a blank document every Monday morning and so far, never get tired of it.
Lovely reader, thank you for being here for volume 100. Whether you’ve been around since the early days or just discovered these love letters recently, I am very grateful for you.
I’m so grateful to those who read my substack 🧡 because I really love creating it for you. This substack will always be free, however, should you choose to become a monthly paid subscriber of this reader-supported publication, you’d be putting a little tip in my pocket as thanks for the work I put into every post.
here are three things I struggled with this week:
🤒 Oh just a nicely-timed summer head cold. No big deal.
🪢 Hunching my shoulders toooooooo much!
🐍 My imagination picking fights.
here are three blessings from this week:
🍁I am a Canadian Citizen baby! *crying maple syrup*
🆕 New pronouns just dropped! Maybe I will talk about this more another time! But for now, hi from your she/they pal!
🏩 Well, my bestie got married and the day was perfect and love was IN THE AIR!
here are three goals for the coming week:
🌞 Draw! In the sun! Often!
🐋 Make one last visit to Vancouver Island this coming week — eating all the ice cream — likely the last visit before next summer.
😻Cuddle all the cats I get to check in on this week and find out the hard way which ones I am allergic to. Worth it!
here is something I enjoyed this week:
Volume two of my substack might still be one of my favourites, and I would understand that if you’re newer here you wouldn't have read it. This is my invitation for you to do so, as re-reading it now, I feel exactly the same. (But we can also add the entire cast of What We Do In The Shadows to the list).
pics or it didn’t happen:
I love you. Now I am off to enjoy a weekend of words in my novel, cat cuddles, picnic lunches and being completely in love and overcome with gratitude for my life.