Ahh! It’s nearly here. Subscribe to Chelsea Processing!

Hi loyal readers!

As many of you know, I’m moving my writing to a new blog, Chelsea Processing, which I will officially launch later this week (yay/eek!).

After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to migrate my Cute Girl With a Banjo content over to the new site. Truthfully, I need a fresh start. It doesn’t feel right combining the two projects. It’s time for me to let CGWB rest.

The good news is, all of this site’s content will be sticking around for the foreseeable future.

For those who would like to continue following my writing (plus get exclusive content and freebies!) please join my mailing list here.

Note to WordPress followers: you will be migrated over to Chelsea Processing this week. New posts should show up in your RSS feed. However, because I’m moving to a self-hosted WordPress site, you will no longer receive emails when I publish posts. If you’d like to receive emails and other exclusives from me, please sign up here.

Thank you for supporting Cute Girl With a Banjo. I’ve grown and learned so much through the experience of writing this blog. I feel an immense sadness that it must come to an end, yet I know it’s time.

I hope to see you all at Chelsea Processing. Much love.

–Chelsea

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Why I stopped blogging for 2017 (plus a big announcement!)

I didn’t intend to take a year off from blogging. I intended to take a little break and pick things up where I left off; fired up, finding my voice, setting the world on fire. In no particular order.

But life happened. The 2016 election triggered memories I’d never been ready to deal with before. My brain not-so-gently reminded me that we have a lot of work to do to get healthy. Long-buried past traumas seized me, and grabbed me by the throat. I broke down, and realized I needed professional help; that despite my best efforts to heal, I’d really only scratched the surface.

Just two weeks later, I was laid off from my job of 5 years; a corporate restructuring that left me in the dust. It was nothing personal, of course, but it certainly got me terrified about my future.

I had no idea how I was going to move forward with my life. My brain seemed like it was turning on me, and the security of my stable income was washing out with the tide.

Faced with massive uncertainty and self-doubt, I retreated.

I got myself into treatment for PTSD. I found a kind, patient therapist who runs a local mind-body wellness center. She gave me a safe place to unpack my past, little by little, and also taught me to stop giving so much power to it.

I learned to set boundaries with myself and others. I learned to observe my thoughts. I learned to stay silent and pay attention when what I really wanted to do was to set myself on fire and scream my head off.

With new tools and lessons tucked under my belt, I struck out on my own as a freelance writer/researcher/producer. Taking the leap was almost as scary as getting help, but ultimately led me to more opportunity and career fulfillment than I ever could have dreamed of. Today, I’m getting paid to work on dream projects I would never have had space for if I’d still been at my corporate job.

It was excruciating and beautiful in equal measure. I blossomed in totally unexpected ways.

With all of this amazing processing and learning happening, I wanted to write. But blogging became too cumbersome. Not because I wasn’t thinking or saying anything worth writing, but because I was in a sacred space: I was doing the work for me and no one else.

My inner voice told me to hold back for the moment; to get my bearings so I could come back stronger than ever. I wasn’t ready to share the many lessons I was learning through treatment and the rediscovery of my own life.

Now I am.

And I’ve realized I am ready for a change. I’m not the cute girl with a banjo I was when I started this blog, hoping for it to be a fun place for my musings. Don’t get me wrong, the banjo is still around (I’m currently covering the entirety of Taylor Swift’s reputation, because I am nothing if not consistently extra). But the cute girl? She has grown into a fierce woman who is a force to be reckoned with.

This blog has grown so much over the years: it’s amassed over 4,000 followers. It’s been featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed, syndicated by Thought Catalog, and shared by Brain, Child Magazine. CGWB is a project I’m immensely proud of. That said, it’s time to move on.

So, I’m very excited to announce that in the coming weeks, I will be migrating this blog to its new identity, Chelsea Processing. The content will still be much of the same; writings on grief, healing, social issues, pop culture and more. I will continue documenting my path to higher self, and may even introduce some other cool multimedia stuff, too.

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What does this mean for readers and subscribers? The good news is, if the migration process goes correctly on my end (fingers crossed I don’t mess this up!), very little will change for you. If you’re a subscriber, you should still get updates, only they’ll be from Chelsea Processing instead of Cute Girl With a Banjo. The old content will still be available for viewing on the new site, and I will do my best to make sure all old links redirect to their new home on ChelseaProcessing.com.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your love, loyalty and support over these past 5 years with Cute Girl With a Banjo. You all helped make this experience incredibly joyful and fulfilling, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

I’m feeling better and stronger than ever, and I’m so incredibly excited to keep moving on this journey.

Who’s coming with me?

When passion alone isn’t enough

“So what’s your plan for your writing?”

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Plan?! I’m supposed to have a PLAN?! And what’s with the red dots on this picture? QUESTIONS.

Rarely does more than a month pass before one of my well-meaning friends or acquaintances asks me this, and frankly it might be my least favorite question of all time. I’m not sure why, but it fills me with the kind of anxiety and dread that usually only come to me during freak storms (you should see how I prepare for hurricanes — the hilarity of my fear-guided neuroticism never ceases).

I’m not sure why, but the idea that my writing should do something has always pervaded my consciousness. It took me a year of hemming and hawing to even start this blog, because I was freaking out over finding some kind of purpose or path and wasting time asking myself bullshit like “well, what’s my personal brand going to be?” Long gone are the beautiful, sad days when I wrote just to write, sitting up in my room scribbling in journal after journal with no intention of ever showing anyone my work. That was simple. This feels like anything but.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. A few days ago, my brother and I were chatting about his foray into standup comedy. I told him I was proud of him for how much he’s killing it — he only started about a year ago and he’s already come so far in both his confidence and performing skills.

His response? “Thanks! It’s weird cause I have no idea what I’m doing. Is this a hobby or what?”

I said some offhanded things about how passion projects don’t necessarily need a definition — they provide all kinds of benefits to us without necessarily needing to go anywhere in particular. But I would be lying if I said I never feel that way about my writing. What AM I doing? Who am I doing it for? Why isn’t writing up in my room enough for me anymore? What pushes me to face my fears and share my deepest longings and secrets with everyone I’ve ever known (including their mothers) not to mention any stranger or potential employer that happens upon my work?!

The ultimate question is: why isn’t it enough?

Why isn’t it enough to write a decent personal blog with a handful of followers who look forward to reading my essays? Why isn’t it enough for my brother to stand up on stage a couple of times a month and make some people laugh? Why are we so driven to do more, push harder, define it, perfect it, monetize it?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Today, I’m just asking. I’m asking because that feeling of dread that comes every time someone asks me if I have a plan perplexes me. Why can’t I say, “I don’t have one — writing words and pressing publish is the extend of my plan”?!

If I’m being honest, I’ve been disenchanted with all of it lately, in a way that’s been really hard to pinpoint. I can’t tell if I’m sick of my own voice, or if I’m just experiencing some fatigue. Perhaps I’m just ready to reach out for something bigger — or maybe just different. Maybe, I just really need a plan to push me forward, and not having one in place is sabotaging me.

All I know is that none of it feels like enough. A passion project like this blog probably can’t stay suspended forever. It has to move forward; to grow. Otherwise, I risk losing the drive to just keep writing. I risk giving the whole thing up in lieu of something more practical; something easier. Something that doesn’t push me quite so far out of my comfort zone or require me to give myself so brazenly.

The crux is that right now, I’m a bit directionless. Yet I still feel the desire buzzing just beneath the surface, telling me to keep moving forward. I have no idea what I’m moving towards or what my end game is. I just know that I can’t stop now.

I guess I’ll just have to figure it out when I get there.

This Year, I Resolve to Word Vomit

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Like many bloggers, I have resolved that this year, I will write more. Actually, that’s not wholly accurate. In 2013 and 2014, I resolved to write more. Which I did, by the way. But filling up journals, while being extremely therapeutic, isn’t getting me very far in realizing my writing dreams. So in 2015, my goal is actually to publish more.

Of course, being a perfectionist entirely insecure with my work, this has presented an identity crisis (and, if I’m being honest, fear) in me. As much soul-searching as I’ve done, I’ve been stuck on where to go with my blog. What do I write about? Who is my intended audience, besides my Facebook friends? Why do I keep starting blogs and then growing out of them abandoning them when motivation runs dry?

Since my mom’s death, I have felt a shifting inside of me. My older writing — mostly rambling tales of my drunken, coming-of-age foibles — seems to be disqualified on account of maturity and aging that I never remember consenting to. Overnight, it seems, I became an adult. Seriously. I even got confirmation from one of my oldest friends this past weekend. It’s real; it happened. I fought tooth and nail against it, but adulthood dragged me down and won. Being thrown into a world where your mother’s advice is no longer a phone call away will do that to a person, I guess.

In the past year or so, I’ve been sharing nuggets of wisdom that I’ve picked up along my journey of healing. But this presents a problem, too. Writing about lessons learned can be really great and can certainly strike a cord with the audience. But basing an entire blog to that end would make me feel extremely sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing. And as someone who’s naturally pretty sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing, I really don’t need to swell up my head with fantastic ideas that I’m gonna explode everyone’s minds with my Ultimate Wisdom.

So, what’s left? Do I just word vomit, throwing posts against the proverbial wall to see what sticks?! Lower myself to listicles and lifestyle posts where I make my life look enviable but never really reveal anything about myself (AKA, Facebook in blog form)?

I wish I could apply my “don’t wait for the right time, start living now” advice to my writing, but I always find myself lost in limbo. How do I get over myself (come to think of it, maybe “GET OVER YOURSELF” should have been my resolution instead of lame ass “publish more”)?! And how do I balance my need for privacy and my distaste for oversharing, with my desire to lay it all bare and reveal everything about myself, my experiences and my feelings on a Taylor Swiftian level?! All I’ve got are questions (and a blank, space, baby!), with no direction in sight.

If I think of any sanctimonious/self-aggrandizing wisdom, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll just keep it real and write about whatever I damn well please. Consider yourself warned: this blog is going off the rails.

#WordVomit2015