Refresh. Reset. Renew.

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

That’s been my mantra these last few days. I’ve clung to it through this storm, repeating it to myself over and over.

Refresh. Reset. Renew.

I first heard those words years ago at the Connecticut Business Women’s Forum. They were the theme of the 2010 forum. I spent a lot of time emblazoning those words onto graphics, coding them into a website. The keynote speaker was Paula Abdul. I honestly can’t remember a single word that she said. But the other speaker, Jill Blashack Strahan, said something that has carried me through the last five years:

Start. Know where you’re going. Don’t stop.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that forum lately. Those words blew my then twenty-two-year-old mind. I think even then I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. At the time, I was part of the team that designed and developed the 2010 BWF website. My days were filled with writing code. At night, I longed to be writing stories.

Jill Blashack Strahan’s words gave me the courage I needed back then to pursue my dream of being a writer.

Right now, I could use a double dose.

“Fear is the gatekeeper to strength.”

-Jill Blashack Strahan

The last eight years have ravaged me. Chronic pain, loss, and more loss. I’ve only just been skimming the surface, barely keeping my head above water. Lately, I’ve hit a wall. My depression has been at its worst in over ten years. I haven’t written in weeks. The medication I was on only made me worse. Honestly, I’ve wondered whether I would be better off dead.

Depression is a good liar.

I’ve been running scared for the last eight years, barely staying ahead of the ugly monster inside of my head. In the last two years, it’s worn me down. Today I am but a skeleton of a woman.

But not for long.

I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.

-Anne Lamott

I’m working on making some changes.

For one, I’ve decided to give all of my work to my publishing house, to be re-released. This takes an enormous amount of pressure off of me. It’s also slightly terrifying, because in order to re-launch everything, I won’t be releasing anything new for a while.

I’ve also basically cancelled October. I had a lot of things lined up this month, but had to take a step back and evaluate my priorities.

And right now, getting better is my first concern.

I’m working on being less ashamed. I have a mental illness, but my depression is not me. My whole life, I’ve spent more energy on trying to appear normal than on getting better.

I’m also trying to be more present in my life. I’m always rushing to the next thing, running to the future. But I recently realized that if I keep going this way, I will end up looking back and not having truly relished any single moment in my life.

That’s no way to live.

If losing two of the people I love most has taught me anything, it’s to live life to the fullest.

It’s time to start living.

Published by

Elizabeth Barone

Elizabeth Barone is an American novelist who writes contemporary romance and suspense starring strong belles who chose a different path. Her debut novel Sade on the Wall was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. She is the author of the South of Forever series and several other books. When not writing, Elizabeth is very busy getting her latest fix of Yankee Candle, spicy Doritos chips, or whatever TV show she’s currently binging. Elizabeth lives in northwestern Connecticut with her husband, a feisty little cat, and too many books.

6 thoughts on “Refresh. Reset. Renew.”

  1. My darling Granddaughtet, I care, love, and am concerned for you. I think we need some together time. I need to give you a Noni hug and you need to receive it, as much for me as for you. I’m at the lake at the moment but will be home soon. We MUST connect. Love you MUCHLY. Noni

  2. “My whole life, I’ve spent more energy on trying to appear normal than on getting better.”

    That line really hit me. I feel like that’s my story too. But I’m trying to be more open, because it’s important to break down the barriers that stop people seeking help.

    You’re doing great work, but take time to look after yourself too. x

  3. I think this is something so amazing to realize so young. Some people spend their entire lives trying to appear okay and only when they are old and gray do they realize they never actually felt okay or lived the life they wanted. You are an inspiring woman Liz. I’m rooting for you in all your endeavors.

Leave a Reply