45 Comments

Great post, Holly! Reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry last year pushed me to make changes I already knew I needed to make. One of those was cutting back on social media, which I haven't missed much. I was happy to discover Substack for writing and community building... and to discover a writer from the other end of Mississippi. Glad to be a part of your community!

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I cut back social media last year, and, like you, I haven’t missed it. I could stand to eliminate some things from my schedule, though. Haven’t read that book, but I will be looking into it now. Sounds like a perfect read to reset my focus!

Glad to finally know another writer from this area. John Dobbs is in Northeast Louisiana and may be the only other Substackian (or would it be Substacker?) I know close by. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

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That is nicely written - I like the use of the collapsing bridge as a metaphor for our own life. As for me...well...I'm one of those who always feel I have more in the tank - more weight I can endure. And yes, I've learned the hard way that I needed to temper my expectations and lower my load because...as you pointed out... rebuilding is difficult and costly. Thanks for the reminder...as I busily spend my days juggling work obligations with extended holiday plans...

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I've always been good at juggling all the things--especially in high pressure situations, but there comes a point when you carry too much for too long without setting some things down for at least a small rest. Please do cast off as much of that as you can while on holiday! I can't wait to read about your adventure!

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Oh Holly, this is such a wonderful post. I love how you've knitted these pieces together so absolutely beautifully: the bridge, the overwhelm, Jonah - this is a gorgeous story, and such fabulous writing. Awesome.

The bridge - I mean, gosh, what was the driver of the rig even THINKING?

The 'too much' - it's great that you've recognised and acknowledged that: if you hadn't, then that's even more difficult!

Jonah - awesome x 1,000,000,000 and then some.

Holly, the reason I enjoy reading your work so much is because it IS about you, and it's because you've got stories to tell and experiences to share. There is no better authenticity in a person's writing than when they're writing about what they know about the most: their life, their past, their hopes for the future, all the funny things that happened a week last Tuesday on the way to the supermarket; you name it, I like to read about it!

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Thanks, Rebecca--I know my posts won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm thankful for the community we've built here. So many great writers to explore and learn from!

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🙌 Absolutely - it's such a great community!

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Using that collapsed bridge as your central metaphor and leaping off point for your post is just wonderful. And the kind of writerly voice that makes you special. I really don't understand that person's comment about the self-focused post, at least not for certain kinds of Substacks like yours.

Sure, if you're writing about finance that might not work. But it does work for plenty and we've worked carefully to expand our focus to slowly include more topics. That keeps things fresh for us and for our readers. Well, that's the hope!

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I’ve turned that comment over in my head a few times, and I’ve just decided that personal voice just isn’t something she enjoys reading. Not letting it slow me down! There are plenty of writers I follow who aren’t tied to a singular topic yet still keep me engaged. While you and Brent write about your travels and life as digital nomads, you also keep the content varied, personal, and fresh. I, for one, love that! Like Brent’s recent post on movie villains--so interesting!

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Thanks! And I agree -- just not her thing.

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Great post as usual Holly!

I'm going to have to echo what Rebecca said. I have no idea what that driver was thinking. Was he trying to do himself in?!

I wouldn't worry about writing about yourself. That is your true self coming out. It is your reality and I'm sure it helps people that you don't know about. I know it can help me when I'm having a bad day. I look forward to every newsletter you send out.

I'm happy that Jonah has completed so much time in rehab. Just think of what he has to look forward to now. And he'll have a bright future now.

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Thanks, Matthew, for the words of encouragement. I’m so glad you’re enjoying this community--a reader I always look forward to hearing from!

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Happy to be one of the 250 Holly! Gosh there is so much in this. Life really does throw so much doesn’t it. I had a moment where I realised I had been scammed this week - I was already on a zoom call so couldn’t do anything about it...

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Sent that too soon. But I think it’s all ok but it made me so sad and frustrated. I’m tired and just getting to grips with January and it’s super annoying! Cx

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That is the worst, Claire! I work as an IT security analyst, so I’ve seen so many scams. Makes me so angry for thieves to prey on people! I hope you are able to recharge soon. I’ve had a good weekend of downtime--just what I needed. And I think you said it perfectly: coming to grips with January. So many of us are trying to do just that!

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Ah thanks. Luckily I think I prevented them (checked again today) and have reset everything but can’t believe I fell for it. It’s the first one - they are getting smarter! This one was pretending to be site ground - my web hosted. 🐉 you just feel so sick don’t you. Anyway on to gentler things today.

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Oh gosh, Claire! So sorry to hear this! 😲

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I think it’s all ok. Just feeling like I’ve been through the wringer a bit!

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This is really fantastic. The “weight limit exceeded” thing is absolutely right!

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Jonah!!!! Eight months of Hard-Ass work, every moment of waking and non-waking hours-I have total respect for you and for you on your Healing Path. I broke too...it was two years ago. I could not carry the load of life and all that it put on my shoulders. I cried so many tears and created so much snot, it was impossible for me to believe my sinuses were capable of holding so much! I still struggle every day and some nights with roving anxiety/panic attacks/PTSD (I am not comparing my experience to yours-please know that. I am just sharing-lucky you. ha/ha) Holly, I am so happy that 250 people have found your work here on Substack! I am very, very thankful to be one of them. It is sacred to be part of your circle. May all our loads be lightened a little and may we say, "No" when it truly is the right answer to keep us from tipping over.

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We all carry so much, Mary, and there's room for everyone to share their "weight." I had a long season of dealing with panic attacks, and I know those are so hard. Wishing you healing and peace in that. I'm thankful you're part of the R&G community.

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Jan 24, 2023Liked by Holly Rabalais

Holly congrats on your 250 subscribers! And sorry to be late to the party here. What great feast of topics in this issue!

I love what SE wrote about the niche being YOU. And yes that’s not the only good strategy out there for a Substack, but I think for some of us it’s the only startegy we can sustain.

I am having a great January bc I decided that every day this month I would do the bare minimum. It’s worked out so great so far. Rather than falling behind on stuff I’m actually ahead. I feel like the less I do, the more I relax and the less there is to do. It’s like I’ve discovered some weird paradox!

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“...the more I relax and the less there is to do...”

Because we make up crap that we think we *need* to do. I like this strategy!

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What a great newsletter. I'm so happy though that no one was hurt from the bridge collapse. You have such a gift when it comes to writing. The way you mingle a story within a story.

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It's all magic, Pennie. I start writing and somehow it all comes together. :) So glad you're enjoying the magic!

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This is so timely for me, Holly. My bridge cracked a little over the weekend from a calendar too full of things. I live with a constant background anxiety that I’m doing the wrong things and wasting my time. I don’t know if that’s what causes me to pile on more or if I just miscalculated what I could hold this month. But like you said, there comes a time when you need to step back and reassess. I know there will be a lot of praying to do as I look forward toward the rest of the year so that I can understand where to fit in that necessary rest.

So good to know someone understands the struggle!

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It's so easy to get in a jam this way. Good intentions, but we underestimate our capacity!

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I think the adage is true that we think we can do more than humanly possible in a short period like a month but less than is possible in a year. Maybe the trick is learning how to space things out so we spend more time rolling along at a steady pace instead of spiking out workloads and then burning out?

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I've exceeded the limit of carrying around my regrets and the narrative of my past. They are the huge monkey breaking my back. I am so glad I came across your Substack, and I look forward to reading more!

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Ah, yes--those regrets that pop into your head at two in the morning when you can't sleep, ensuring your mind will be in the loop until your alarm goes off. I've gotten better with letting go of the past--regrets, hurts, people who didn't make the cut, but I could still use some work here.

Welcome to the community!

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Hi Holly...I know all the theory about not carrying too much...but I seem to continually choose to try and fit too mucg in my life rather than less!

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Susan, WHY do we do this?!?! 😫 Is there any hope for us?

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Maybe it's unconcious FOMO?

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That must be it! When I was a child I never took naps because of FOMO. I think it’s just part of my makeup--the curiosity, wanting to know and experience everything and learn about everyone. Not possible!

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Susan, I never considered this! Going to keep it in mind when I reassess my own workload. Am I taking anything on just because I fear I’m going to miss some thing that might not really be that important? 

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Beautiful words Holly and I can certainly relate. Thank you for your stories. This is one area I want to get better at and reading your writing is helping me. Write on!

Sending you long distance hugs.

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Thanks for the writing session Friday because I was STUCK this week! That session brought it together! Praying to have a joyful Sunday!

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Holly, I'm so glad you came and it was helpful. Yes to Joy! Hope to see you again soon. Take good care.

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I love your newsletter, your writing and I love that it’s all about life. Your life, yes, but life just the same and I think there are many of us who see our own lives reflected back to us in your writing. 💕

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Thank you, Susi. I’m glad to invite y’all into my world because someone usually shares something in the comments that is intriguing, comforting, or just a reminder that we’re not that different.

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Jan 21, 2023Liked by Holly Rabalais

I enjoyed reading it; very well written, and the effectiveness of the bridge metaphor was appreciated. For the artist to evolve, the niche is better served to be open at first but certainly not as a quiche. (probably a bad pun, and even worse as poetry). One of my specialties in mental health was opioid addiction. Please look at my last post about Eddie's recovery and evolved niche. https://www.inmindwise.com/p/wise-actions-when-feeling-overwhelmed

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Thanks, Ron! I will definitely check out that post!

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