Discover more from Amy Writes Words
Hello, I got stuck.
And I will now attempt to unstick myself.
Narrator: Last time we heard from Amy, she was suffering from a demon possession. She wrote “there’s a demon trapped right there in my body and it desperately wants to get out and it’s a miserable feeling and yes, I am considering what can be done in the way of an exorcism”. It’s been 4 months, let’s check back in and see how she’s doing.
But, before we hear from Amy, why not
Forgive me, readers, it’s been four months since my last newsletter. I had that whole demon possession to deal with, and in order to deal with it I realized I needed to quit my job and completely reorient my life, so I’ve been busy doing that.
I have so, so much to say about this process. About the whys and the hows of it. About what’s easy and joyful about it and about what is difficult and scary. My head is full of so many words that I want to say to you, and they got stuck.
Being stuck feels bad, and it only feels worse the longer it goes on. So in order to unstick, I’m going to say 5 things right now, half-baked, incomplete, out of context things. And then I am going to send this newsletter right away.
Second, if you want to understand even more about why I quit my excellent job at the height of my career to [checks notes] "pole dance and punch nazis", Rebecca Solnit wrote a thing in the Washington Post that will help you understand my perspective here. I quote it at length, because paywall:
Much of the reluctance to do what climate change requires comes from the assumption that it means trading abundance for austerity, and trading all our stuff and conveniences for less stuff, less convenience. But what if it meant giving up things we’re well rid of, from deadly emissions to nagging feelings of doom and complicity in destruction? What if the austerity is how we live now — and the abundance could be what is to come?
What if we imagined “wealth” consisting not of the money we stuff into banks or the fossil-fuel-derived goods we pile up, but of joy, beauty, friendship, community, closeness to flourishing nature, to good food produced without abuse of labor? What if we were to think of wealth as security in our environments and societies, and as confidence in a viable future?
For so many of us, being busy with work has leached away our capacity to pursue true riches. What if we were to prioritize reclaiming our time — to fret less about getting and spending — and instead “spend” this precious resource on creative pursuits, on adventure and learning, on building stronger societies and being better citizens, on caring for the people (and other species and places) we love, on taking care of ourselves?
Solnit has also recently come out with a new book and a companion website, Not Too Late, which I also recommend, especially for those struggling with climate despair.
Third, while I have not yet had the opportunity to punch a Nazi, the pole dancing continues apace, here’s a picture of me upside down at pole class:
Fourth, while trying to figure out my life, I spent a lot of time thinking about the principles and values that I wanted to guide me, and I’ve been writing those down and I want to share them with you. As an alternative to the values and principles that tech capitalism indoctrinates us to orient our lives around, such as productivity and individualism.
As a preview, here are a few of them:
Ground myself in the natural world where I actually live, not just as a vacation destination.
Practice active hope and help others practice active hope too.
Prioritize connections with humans over experiences mediated by an app, a subscription, or a product.
Experience rest as something other than the restoration of my capacity for work, as a basic right in itself.
I have so, so much more to say about each of these, and several more to add to the list.
I hope you’ll come along as I completely rethink my existence and offer to myself and whoever else is seeking it something other than “burnout relief for leaders” or “the five secrets every high-powered career woman needs to know to find balance in her life”.
If you want to read more, why not subscribe, share, send to a friend, email me back?
Fifth! I’m so close! This has been EXCRUCIATING but I’m almost done squeezing this one out.
While I was working full-time, I didn’t really have time to take on coaching clients. Now that I’m not, I’m opening back up to coach. I offer “bracingly-realistic, always-actionable, strengths-focused , and individually tailored” engineering career and leadership coaching and you can find out more here. I do still, ideally, need to make some money and even though I feel pretty sure my life is leading me away from engineering leadership as a career, I’m still damn good at the job and damn good at coaching engineers and engineering managers.
In addition to my paid coaching, I still offer free weekly office hours for women/nonbinary/genderqueer/trans engineers, sign up here.
I did it! (Almost. I still have to click send.) I plan to be sending these newsletters weekly again, on Weds, so please subscribe so you don’t miss them. I’m also going to experiment with notes instead of just tweeting all my thoughts, so subscribe so you don’t miss those either. If you want to throw me some money with your subscription, that would be awesome.
And seriously, smash that reply button and say hi. Tell me what you’d love to read about next. Ask me a question. Just tell me you give a shit that I keep writing.
(yes yes, I’m still on twitter for the moment, because I’m not cool enough to have received an invitation to Bluesky and I also can’t look away from the train wreck that is Elon’s twitter)