I have to tell you something
…and it’s not easy. In this pink and ever-so-beautiful Instagram world of ours it is very difficult, almost impossible, to talk about failure. We got used to presenting an image of the world the way we want to see it, to the point where it seems like we have forgotten to be truthful in our communication. In my case, the truth is: I have failed. I have failed a while ago, but it is only now that I am dealing with the damage, trying to fix it.
You fall, you stay on the ground, then you get back up.
But let me start at the top.
I received tons of comments from you (which I have not published yet), asking me what’s going on and why I have stopped blogging. What’s more, my page has been down several times, and right now it takes me ages to answer e-mails or comments, if I answer at all. I have disappeared from public view. And now I’d like to give you a brief update on what’s going on.
Seems like this is the year of changes for me. Some of those changes were planned, others were not. Last year I started to increasingly have the feeling that it’s all growing over my head. I was overstretched, started to despair, and somehow didn’t manage to get ‘all this’ done. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I was teetering on the brink of a burnout. In fact, I may have been experiencing one. I cried lots of tears. I just couldn’t anymore. I felt like I was unravelling, and all too often I still feel like that, even now. So I decided to take it a bit more slowly this year, to regroup, to create some kind of balance again. That was the plan. And it worked – at least I thought it did.
But, as is the way with life, things panned out differently.
‘I need to tell you something.’
A short while ago, I was rushed into making a difficult decision. After 5 years, I left my management company. There simply was no other way, at least no way that would have been satisfying. Something changed, quickly, unforeseeably, and I had to react. Maybe it was just time to take the next step, to think bigger, with more of an entrepreneurial spirit. But I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. It’s been a chaotic ride ever since, and at times I felt like I was driven to the edge of madness.
Even though I took economics classes a long time ago, I was not prepared for self-employment when I started, 5 years ago. I didn’t really know how to run a real company. 8 years ago, when I completely deleted the blog I had been running up until that point, starting anew, from scratch, I had no idea that this undertaking would turn into my main source of income down the line. There were few bloggers out there, back then, and the term influencer was not even coined yet. Can you imagine? A life completely without influencers? I never expected to become well known, a small celebrity even (whichever way you want to call it). The name I chose may have given it away before I had a conscious idea where I was headed: Masha Sedgwick. I somehow just grew into this role, over time.
Those of you who have known me longer, know that my real name is Maria Astor. I adopted the Masha Sedgwick persona to be free in my expression online. I think I was a little embarrassed back then, to be honest.
Well, and then things turned out quite different to what I expected, and of course it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Everything was spontaneous, improvised, and when there was a problem I often engaged with the symptom rather than looking at the root of it. Everything else would have taken too much time. And time is the one commodity that’s always in short supply in the digital world.
The result, over time, was that ‘Masha Sedgwick’ became a more and more entangled, complex entity, like a bunch of necklaces getting tangled up in each other. The more time passed, the more complex it all became, the more I found it difficult to breathe. For a long time now I knew I should take care of it, to disentangle this construct, to structure it, to set it on a solid foundation. But that was never a priority. It all worked, after all. Until it didn’t.
From one moment to the other I have no manager, which means I need to find new representation, and I’m still looking for a new team member as well as an office. There is SO much to do to keep my concept going – you cannot imagine. I essentially have to re-build a small company, in no time at all. And if that wasn’t enough, I’m experiencing weird technical difficulties, and my blog is down every couple of days. Sure, I’ll put it on my to-do-list. I’m no longer on top of it, but yeah, put it on there. That was the last straw.
I have seen and experienced a lot in the past 8 years, and you with me, but the simple truth is I am in a crisis right now which is unlike anything I’ve experienced up until now. Not only did I lose the plot, I also lost control. But I am regaining both, step by step. Yes, I have failed. I made mistakes, many mistakes. Especially from an entrepreneurial point of view. And those mistakes need to be righted now. I am neglecting a lot of work right now, to extinguish a fire that’s been smoldering for years, burning me over and over again.
I am optimistic, I’m positive I’ll get through this. But it’s a race against time. Disappearing from the public eye so suddenly… it’s not easy. As a blogger, you might as well pack it in. And as I watch the basis of my existence crumbling before my eyes, I try not to throw away my nerves. I try to keep a level head, to steer out of this cul-de-sac. Not an easy task, given that most of the time I feel like the ground is pulled from under my feet. I’m stumbling. And yes, I’m shit scared.
The year is still young, but it already cost me a lot of energy and nerves – physically, with the slipped disc, then mentally, and now it all comes together somehow. I had so many ideas and projects in planning and in various stages of preparation, which I now need to sort through to decide which projects I’ll follow through with, where I have to backpedal and what I’ll actually have to cancel. Blogposts in the pipeline? No, I need to set priorities and fight the fire first. I have made this experience several times in my life before: whenever I feel to safe and secure in any given situation, it all falls apart and I have to start from scratch.
So that is what I am doing now. I am building the concept ‘Masha Sedgwick’ up from scratch again. With a completely new team, and hopefully a new blog, too. With a new structure, and, well, everything new, better, more efficient. The idea is that I’ll be able to do this and still have some time to live, without frequent nervous breakdowns. Nothing brings stinging tears to my eyes as quickly as the feeling of having failed in my profession.
With all that said, I try to not let this looming professional apocalypse overshadow my private life too much. I keep exercising, I eat well, and I do my best to find time for my boyfriend. Unlike before, I am no longer ready to work 80 hour weeks for months on end. That’s still ok for some periods, but the 80-hour week was normal for me for years, and it lead me to a point where I was no longer happy with my life, even though I dearly, dearly love my job. I just lost balance. It will be interesting to see if I manage to maneuvre out of these troubled waters, whether I’ll be back with a splash or sneak back onto the scene in a more gradual manner. One way or another: I’m on it. I’m not giving up. Yes, the weeks ahead will be relatively quiet. I need to take a couple of steps back, but only to give myself a run-up for the next chapter.