There is no denying that the world is pretty sucky right now. We’re still living through a global pandemic, human rights are being rolled back in “the land of the free,” and we’re still living in a racist, sexist, all-the-phobic kind of society. BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU STOP CREATING. The hard parts, the dark times, the absolute chaos is where creativity and passion shine a light to guide us through. In this episode you’ll hear my personal experience with reaching a rock bottom point in life, when I wasn’t creating and was totally detached from my creative passions entirely — AND the renaissance that has grown from that personal dark age. Come along with me, this season is all about connecting with your inner knowing: your creativity, passion, integrity, joy, love, compassion, and so much more.
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Thank you to Leave Nelson B for music and Jen Hearn for photography!
[00:00:00] Hello. I am so excited to be back in the recording studio, which is a fancy way of saying I have my microphone on my desk. hi. I love you. I missed you so much. This was the longest break that we have ever taken on the podcast. And here’s why, because I teach you to rest and balance work, life, play, and rest.
And I had a lot of other work stuff going on. So I took a longer break than usual from the podcast so that I could get a lot of other content made for my passion Pacers membership and the 90 day goal glow up. So I recorded like probably close to nine to 10 hours of trainings and goodness there, not to even count all of the coaching and coworking calls.
[00:01:00] So. Yeah. I’ve been focused on a lot of stuff and had a very productive summer. And I’m so excited to get back into the podcasting chair, which is my same chair as every other day. But anyway, hi, I missed you. I hope that you are amazing and this episode is gonna be a, a shorter one. I have some amazing guests coming in this season to talk about lots of things, but this season is about the idea of Renaissance.
The idea that great art can arise during and after a terrible dark period. So, you know, the actual Renaissance was after the bubonic plague and you know, right now we’re, we’re still, we act like it’s post COVID, but COVID is still actively killing people and it’s bad. So there’s a real plague going on right now. We have a global [00:02:00] pandemic that is coming to a middle, it’s not over. Uh, and then we’ve also got, you know, monkey pox and Ben Shapiro and late stage capitalism. So there’s a lot going on that, uh, feels bad. It feels bad out here, right?
Like the Supreme court. Whatever, that’ll take me down a path I don’t feel like going down right now. So this season we’re talking about how art and creativity and thriving can come from this like dark place. We don’t have to just be sad and angry all the time. We can also make art and that’s okay. And honestly is kind of good.
This season’s also gonna be about social justice and wanting to do your best and be your best. And we’re gonna talk about activism and hope, [00:03:00] you know, because another thing that we do when times are bad is that we try to make them better. So there’s a lot of social justice work going on. And honestly, in 2022, it’s never been easier, really.
There are so many ways to get involved. There are so many different causes to be involved with, but then we get this sort of paralysis and like, am I doing enoughness and then that can cause its own spiral. And so we’re also gonna be talking about being enough and what happens when you get something wrong and how to get back up when you falter and, you know, we’ll sprinkle some trauma in there too.
So to kick the season off, I’m sharing my own experience of burnout, my own personal dark ages, if you will. We’re gonna call that like the rock bottom moment and how that has led to sort of [00:04:00] a personal renaissance, uh, how I have been more creative and more artistic in the years since like the worst point in my life.
So if you’ve been a listener for, uh, when did this start? When did I start this, 2021, we’ve been going for about a year. So if you’ve been listening, you may have heard my story before, but this time, I’m gonna tell it from the specific perspective of my creativity.
So I had an abusive marriage and I met that partner in 2011. We moved in, at the end of 2013, we got married in 2016 and I left in 2018. So at sort of all those milestones things got a little worse abuse wise, which is how abuse works. It’s typically awesome [00:05:00] until like you hit a milestone where it’s a little harder to leave. So when I moved in, we hit a period of things, uh, kind of sucking.
And then when we got married, things kind of sucked again. And then his dad died and like the training wheels were off. He was like, I can do whatever I want, because like, I’m sad and Caitlin’s not gonna leave me, uh, because Caitlin’s a good person and they’re not gonna leave me right after my dad died.
So he became a fucking terror and yeah. Things didn’t go well. And I left him and then he guilt tripped me about it. That’s fine. Anyway, the point of that was that, when I left in 2018, I discovered that the Brenaked ladies had two entire albums. I was not aware of. And the Barenaked ladies are my favorite band.
They have been my favorite band since I was like seven years old. And this is one of the [00:06:00] biggest, most glaring examples I have of the way that like my joy and creativity and play had been really like dulled down when I was in that relationship. I didn’t really do things unless he also enjoyed them. So watching TV shows for myself, listening to music for myself, taking time to paint or write for myself didn’t happen very frequently.
If it did, it was while he was out, or taking a nap or something. I don’t think that I napped for seven years that I was in that relationship because like he would take naps on the weekends and stuff, and I would always be cleaning the house or doing errands or something. And I don’t think I ever really rested, which is, you know, obviously a red flag, but we don’t often see those when we’re living them.
So. Very dull. Um, not like I’m dull, but like, [00:07:00] honestly, my, even like my face was not as bright. My eyes were not as bright. I look at photos of myself and I look dim. I look dull and my creative passions were also really dulled in that relationship. I only did like one or two paintings maybe like for my own self in that marriage.
Um, when I lived with him and I, I used to paint all the time, so I really was just sort of a shell of the person that I am now, especially if. Like you’re someone who has found me, recently within the past couple of years, when I have really been like, leaning into all of like the creative stuff about me and all of the bright shininess of my personality and my passion and things like that.
I did not used to be like that. [00:08:00] I was very tired. And then when I left him in 2018, I started writing a lot. So I’ve always been kind of a prolific writer, but I started writing poetry. I wrote a lot on Facebook and in my blog about my experiences in this abusive relationship. And I started writing more generally about love and trauma and relationships and healing.
And for me, personally, words are like my primary way that I cope and process stuff. So that’s my art, my art is usually word based. I also love paint, but man, if I could like paint you a picture with words that , that’s usually more my jam and I started painting more. I was just doing it like here and there.
Like when I felt inspired, I was like, oh, I really wanna paint that. a friend posted like a really interesting selfie on Facebook and I painted it [00:09:00] and, uh, they bought it from me. They were like, I, I must pay you for this. So I sent that to them and I painted a lot as gifts for people. So I was, I was writing my book at this time.
I started like paying off a lot of my debt now that I didn’t have to take care of my ex financially. I was having some casual relationships and some less casual relationships. I was still working out a lot when I left. I was really committed to running. So like the month after I left, I had a half marathon.
And then I did a Ragnar relay a few months later, which is like a ridiculous, like 200 mile relay race. And each runner runs like three legs of it. so it’s a lot, it’s a lot. It’s wild. You like sleep in a van. It’s chaotic, but it’s fun. And, uh, then I realized I had an eating disorder, [00:10:00] so I stopped running.
I stopped working out. I stopped dieting and then I had some breakups. One of my relationships was honestly just based on being workout buddies together. So that ended shortly after I started recovery from the eating disorder. And then the other relationship ended a couple months after that for, I don’t know, various reasons boundary stuff, I guess just, I don’t know.
So then we have like living situation things, right. And I’m still, I’m still telling you about my dark age. And the, the dark age also includes having to move four times in two years. So I moved out of my ex’s house into an apartment. And then I broke my lease at that apartment to move in with, my boyfriend at the time, the, the workout buddy boyfriend.
And then when we broke up, I had to move again. And I found a shared house in Cleveland on the east side, which within [00:11:00] months became very toxic and, uh, shitty and not really safe to live in. so one of my roommates in that house, and I moved out into a duplex on the west side of Cleveland. So with just lots of moving, it was hard.
It was like constantly like running. Like when do I get to just unpack my shit? And know that I can like decorate, you know, like it’s so hard to keep moving. Like, am I running from something? Towards something? I don’t know, but I was just running and I was tired. So this two year span. From 2018 to 2020. Right.
I had all those moves. I was diagnosed with fibro and endometriosis, right. Two very like painful chronic pain illnesses. So I started, medication to help both of those. [00:12:00] I started recovering from my eating disorder. I had my final contact with both my biological parents in 2018. My stepdad died the same week that I left my ex-husband.
And, uh, as a result of, you know, being traumatized by all this shit happening, I had a bad work review. And so they took away my work from home days and they said it would be for 90 days, but it was actually six months that I was commuting an hour, one way, five days a week. So that also contributed to the burnout.
And then in 2020, I met my partner and then we got a plague and then I quit my job and my cat died in 2021. We’ll just throw that one on for some zest. Right. But most things right now. Very good. But yeah, 2020 was a little [00:13:00] bit like what the fuck? You know, it was sort of like the end. I was like, okay, I’m not doing any more of this.
I am in a healthy relationship. I am in a healthy working environment. I am not doing this burnout nonsense at my job anymore. You can hear my story of how I quit my job in the first or second episode of this podcast. It’s a fun story. It’s pretty great. So now I want to shift into this like Renaissance mode that I have been able to cultivate.
And I wanna point out that you do not have to, quit your job and stop talking to everyone who ever hurt you and, uh, get super divorced and move a bunch of times in order for you to shift out of burnout. that was my personal burnout. It was like, a really, really chaotic lifetime movie.
Like that’s my personal burnout story. You [00:14:00] might have more shit in your burnout story. You might have less shit in your burnout story. We don’t compare burnout. Everybody has different burnout thresholds, and we can all agree that most people are burned out and that’s bad. So. Don’t compare yourself to me.
I try not to compare myself to other people. but I’m also trying to really acknowledge that I have been through some shit because if you know anybody who’s been through some shit, uh, you know, that they tend to like, brush it off and keep moving forward. The problem with never being able to rest, when we haven’t been able to rest like our whole lives, we don’t know that that’s like an important component of life. And so we tend to just get through something really traumatic and hard and just throw ourselves into the next thing.
So a lot of what I teach people is the [00:15:00] resting and the permission to go way, way slower than you think you need to go. So be slow, be restful, take naps as much as you can. also wanna acknowledge that I was very privileged to be able to quit my job and figure things out. I’ve had some months where I didn’t make a lot of money, but I had savings.
So I was able to pay my bills out of my savings, et cetera. And then I’ve had some months where I did make a lot of money. And so I was able to build that savings back up and pay off some bills and things like that. So balancing privilege and just this huge leap of faith of knowing that I would figure it out because I had to, because I could not live like that anymore.
So since 2020, like since leaving my husband, my parents, and then finally that job in 2020, I have [00:16:00] been recovering from burnout. and I never want to be at that rock bottom, dark age place, again, feeling like I am trapped because I did feel trapped. I felt like everything that I had for myself, I had to give to other people who did not care about me. They only wanted whatever I could produce for them.
And what I have discovered about myself is that I love to take naps and I love to make stuff. I fucking love making stuff, writing stuff, recording stuff, giving you stuff. I love it. And someone described me as prolific. And I was like, I don’t know if I’m prolific, but then I made a list of things that I had done.
And I was like, okay, I will accept prolific. And so like, now that’s my word. [00:17:00] I’m like, you know what? Yeah. I made this cool shit, cuz I’m prolific. So I’m experiencing a Renaissance with all of this creative energy and art that is coming out of that terrible place that I was in. So like I told you, when I took that break from the podcast I made like probably 10 hours of training content.
I have done countless coaching calls for one on one clients and my group program clients. I have sent out newsletters and written blog posts, and that’s not even counting like freelance articles that I have written and freelance work that I have done for other clients. Uh, social media posts. Like I’m always trying to teach you something important on Instagram or Facebook or like wherever I am.
I partnered with Scribd to make [00:18:00] an online course out of my teachings. I did my level up your creativity program at mid-winter gaming convention. I wrote a novel, I wrote a novel this year. I’m working on a second novel right now, and I only write that novel on Wednesday morning. I published a poetry book and this podcast is still going strong. And I consider going strong. Like even though I just took several months off, I took several months off so that it can continue to be going strong. And none of this would’ve happened. If I had let myself shut down and freak out. like, I seriously freaked out in 2020 when COVID hit, I felt really bad about trying to teach people something, offer something, create something, sell something.
I felt bad about that because the world was bad. The [00:19:00] world was worse than ever. There’s a global pandemic. People are sick and they’re dying. And I felt like an asshole for daring to have something to sell. but I kept making, I kept creating, I kept doing what I was doing and I still have those moments. I still have those moments where I’m like, man, I hate having to sell because some people can’t afford it or it’s just really stressful out here right now.
But yeah, the world is always stressful. If we only created and offered and did our life’s work when the world was in perfect balance and harmony and everyone was fine, nobody would ever do anything. That’s where creativity comes from. It comes from the margins. It comes from the dark places. It comes from being inspired. It comes from joy. It comes from love. [00:20:00] creativity is what makes us people. And so, yeah, if you’ve got creativity now is the time to brighten the world with it, please.
Since my personal dark age, I have discovered so much about myself and my joy and my passion and creating and teaching and inspiring other people to take up their rightful space. And that is what this podcast is about. That’s what my coaching is about. That is how I show up and serve. I’m gonna show up and tell you that your butt looks really cute today, and that you should do that art project or that you should write that thing or that you should go out on a street corner and sing and dance and make silly TikToks and absolutely love yourself and wear the short shorts and the crop top. Like, I fucking love you so much because your [00:21:00] joy and your art and your passion is part of this revolution. The creativity and the art and the passion is literally, what’s going to get us through the world sucking so bad.
And the world being bad does not mean that it’s the time to shut up. It means the opposite. Now is the time to create and to love and to embrace your joy. And bring the part of you that has been on the sidelines into the forefront. And I’m literally crying right now. You guys, I am so inspired by you and I cannot wait to see what you create.
And I cannot wait to bring this season to you and I’m gonna have to wrap it up here, but I love you. And I’m so happy to be back. And I can’t wait for the next [00:22:00] episode. I’ll see you later.