September 2021 Life Update: My Hiatus Explained

Hi, everyone. I disappeared off the internet for the past two months, and I finally have a moment to explain why.

The primary reason I have not been keeping up with my platform lately is because I simply haven’t had the time or the energy. Last time you heard from me, I was in the middle of an archaeology internship, and it kept me very busy. I was so exhausted by the time I got home every day that I would just lie on my bed and do virtually nothing until I fell asleep. Why was I so exhausted? Because I’m an introvert who emerged from the isolation of the pandemic and was quickly overwhelmed by all the social interactions I was suddenly taking part in every day. Halfway through the internship, my social battery was dead. Very dead. I just didn’t have the energy to deal with people anymore. So the first thing I cut out was social media and the internet. Then I spent more and more time closed up in my RV. I got virtually no alone time, so it was nearly impossible for me to recharge my social battery, and I just ran on empty for weeks.

In addition to that, I had a lot of technological difficulties. My laptop’s on its last legs. Microsoft Word and my video editor did not want to cooperate, so it was difficult for me to write and edit content for you. I also didn’t have internet in the RV, and the only way to get internet was to go into the house and be around people, which I was trying to avoid. Then my phone broke, so I wasn’t able to access Instagram and Twitter. I finally found my Twitter password a couple days ago, but I haven’t really done much with it yet. Basically, technology was not my friend in July. I have my desktop (it was in storage), a new phone, and internet now; so I have the technology I need to get back to my platform.

When the internship ended, I moved. Twice. I packed up everything in the RV, took it to my temporary home, and reunited it with all of my stuff that’s been in storage. Then everything got loaded up into a trailer and taken to my new home in New Mexico. Moving is of course a lot of work, but that was just the beginning. As if I didn’t have enough on my plate, life threw me a curveball. The stress from the move was unfortunately too much for my guinea pig Salem, and she passed away two days after I got to my new home. She was a very old, sick guinea pig, so I was not surprised to lose her. But it was obviously hard. My other guinea pig, Leia, was very stressed out about the move, and then she lost her friend, which made her even more stressed out. I spent days trying to get her to chill out. I’m very fortunate my sister let me take her guinea pig Domino, so Leia still has a friend and isn’t all alone in a new home.

I had a very long week of getting settled and dealing with Salem’s death. Literally the worst thing I can do when I’m going through a rough time is isolate myself. And, of course, I was all alone in a new city where I didn’t know anyone. Which was great. Netflix was my friend all week until my actual friend moved to New Mexico. I consider myself very lucky to have met one of my classmates over the summer, so I was able to rely on them for support once they got here.

And that’s another reason I have very little time. I miss hanging out with friends, and being physically far away from my close friends and not being able to see people because of the pandemic was tough. I didn’t realize how much I missed companionship until I got to spend time with this new friend, so I’ve been doing that with a decent chunk of my free time. The rest of my free time is dedicated to personal time to allow me to cope with all the stressful things that have happened recently and this stressful thing called grad school. Because there’s that whole thing too.

This is the seventh week of classes. I knew graduate coursework would be harder than undergraduate coursework, but I was not prepared for the insane amount of homework. On average, I have 200-500 pages of reading and 4-7 assignments due every week on top of a large semester-long project for each class. As my friend likes to remind me, I am very fortunate I can speedread because otherwise my homework would take me twice as long. And on top of all that, I also have a graduate assistantship, so I spend many hours a week helping with artifact analysis and grading undergraduate assignments. This is not my first time grading, but I have never had this many students before (51), and it is quite tedious. I usually reward myself with a nice, long bath after finishing my grading because my shoulder and neck muscles are so tense from me being on the computer for hours at a time.

So that’s what’s been going on in my life. July was exhausting socially and August was exhausting emotionally. But it’s September now, almost October. I’ve said my goodbyes to Salem, some stressful things associated with the internship, and living with people (no offense to the people I was living with—I just really need alone time). But I’ve also said hello to some awesome things like a new friend, an amazing apartment, and the next step in my academic career (even though it can be stressful at times). I’m feeling much less overwhelmed now, and my social battery is finally getting recharged. In a few more weeks, I might actually feel up to making more new friends and exploring the area. It’s been too hot to do much outside. It’s literally still in the 90s every day here. It’s a little insane for someone who’s lived in a freezing cold place like Gunnison, Colorado, for the past four years.

So what’s going to happen to my author platform? I don’t know yet. Like I said, I really don’t have a lot of free time, and when I do, I usually don’t have the mental energy to write or make videos. I am going to try to ease back into posting. I’ve decided to just let go of my timeline for Behind the Storyteller. I plan on picking up where I left off and posting twice a week until the end of the year. I won’t get to all of my 2021 posts in that time, so I will save the remaining posts for 2022 rather than try to catch up. For Welcome to Kareena, I would like to attempt to catch up, but I don’t know whether or not I’ll be able to make that happen. Time will tell.

I had some grand plans for 2022, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to pull those off. I guess it depends on how much writing I can do during Winter Break. I have the last three weeks of December off, so it’s possible I can produce some content during that time, but I may also need a break after finishing my first semester of grad school.

Things are very much up in the air right now, and I appreciate your patience and flexibility as I navigate this transition from one chapter of my life to the next. I really needed to focus on myself for the past two months, and I’m going to continue doing that until I am ready to get back on the internet. As much as I want to engage with readers, writers, and other great people, I’m not going to do it at the expense of my wellbeing. I will find a way to balance everything. It’s just going to require some sacrifices.

I know I promised I would talk about my internship, so I will put together a post solely about that in the near future. I will also do an apartment tour at some point. I haven’t quite finished unpacking and decorating yet, but when I do, I will film a video so you can see the awesome place I managed to secure for myself (and Leia and Domino). Other than that, look for the return of Behind the Storyteller sometime soon and possibly Welcome to Kareena as well if I have time to write those stories. I knew I should have written the whole series during my semester off, but that just didn’t end up happening. That’s okay. We’ll work with what we have.

Thanks again for your understanding everyone. I hope I can get things back up and running soon, but grad school and my wellbeing obviously take priority.

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