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  • Writer's pictureAllison Canter

On Not Knowing what to Say + Seasons

I’m experiencing writer’s block and then some. I have three half-finished blogs that I don’t really know how to tie off without making them sound forced. When I read them back, they sound like I’m trying to ghostwrite as myself. I don’t know what to say that inspires people right now or makes them feel like they got something other than a really long-winded complaint from me. My goal is always to make people feel like they’re supported after they read my blogs, or at the very least like they got something out of it. I don’t think I have any wisdom you couldn’t find in a cheesy Pinterest quote. I don’t even know what I want to say which is a really strange feeling when you’re a person who never shuts up.

I’ve been feeling super outside of myself if we’re being honest (we are). I usually really like the Fall. I hate Summer. I don’t like deep water, or boats, or beer, or the way that I feel when I try to convince myself I feel comfortable in a bikini. I like apple-flavored Moscow Mules, I feel a lot more comfortable in long sleeves, and my favorite songs sound better in the Fall because most of my playlists are slow. And I typically feel creative in the Fall, or at the very least eager to feel creative. Last year I was dead set on appreciating Fall before it was over.

It was my favorite season of my life, ever- not just my favorite Fall ever. My job was new, my car was new, I still liked living in Grand Rapids, and I felt loved. It was the first time I really believed in the universe and manifestation because I hadn’t ever had that many things working out for me at the same time. And not to ruin the vibe, but this year, I feel like the ghost of that person. I don’t have it in me to rewatch the shows I did last year or pretend that I’m excited, or even care, about the fact that the trees have orange leaves now.

You can call it seasonal depression, you can call it being 23, or you can blame it on my tendency to live in every moment but the present one. It doesn’t really matter what the cause is, it’s the feeling that lingers after and what the product of that feeling is. And I can’t really put words on that feeling, but I hope this helps someone (and me).


I don’t have it in me to write like I’m on an ego trip, even though I know that makes people feel empowered. The egotistical, self-serving, maneater image is one that’s a lot more fun to portray than what I’m about to tell you. I think that I’ve gotten really good at presenting myself like I have my shit together (shoutout to that degree in Public Relations). I do have my shit together in the technical sense. I have a good job that I like, I’m stable, I make time to take care of myself and I get myself out of the house. And yes, technically, that means my bills are paid and my shit is together. But I think that I also present myself as though I’m unaffected by the world around me.

I think it’s really important to remember that lesson about social media really only being social media. I’m obviously not going to get on there and post that I haven’t had a unique, non-work-related thought in a month or that I’ve stopped replying to people. I’m not going to say that I leave the bar crying sometimes or that I reread old conversations to look busy. And I’d never be caught dead posting a sad quote on my Instagram Story, but, give me a Google Doc and a song by Taylor Swift and I’ll tell you everything that’s ever happened to me.

As awful as it is to be transparent, my life is not as simple as I make it look. I didn’t write 2022 up to be one of the hardest times I’ve ever been through. I don’t know how many people are going through this, or if it’s just me, but nothing resonates with me right now. Life feels like an endless loop of the same day for me. It’s like when you’re starving and all of the food you’re eating tastes bad. I don’t think people realize how much breakups can really turn you into a shell. Everything becomes a comparison to the way that it was versus the way that it is. And like, not to pull a Bella in New Moon when she’s just standing in her room as the seasons change, but that’s truly what this phase of my life feels like.

And yeah the yearning is awful, and there’s a permanent burning sensation in my chest. Yes, it is awful to teach yourself to let someone go. But the hardest thing to do is try to find yourself in the mix of all of that. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the yearning for him turned into the yearning for myself. I miss myself. I miss having a big ego. I miss coming home to an empty bed and not hating it. I miss the way that I could sit in solitude and not mind.


It’s still really hard for me to be open about this and not be embarrassed about the things that I’m saying. And honestly, it’s not even just the heartache. It’s more than that. It’s realizing you’re getting too old for your college town. It’s feeling yourself getting older in general. It’s the dull nausea that you feel when you have a dream about them again. It’s worrying about someone from a distance. It’s watching your childhood pet not be able to walk around anymore. It’s your biggest fear being validated and having to bite your tongue. It’s getting texts from old flings when they find out you’re single again. It’s being 5 months into this and reaching for the necklace you used to wear every day when your flight has turbulence and realizing that it hasn’t been on your neck in months. It’s not the heartache. It’s the daily instances that accompany the heartache. It’s the daily instances that accompany the heartache and not knowing how to deal with them like you used to, and not remembering how to deal with them on your own.

What I really want to comment on is the fact that the rollercoaster has its ups and downs, and unfortunately for me, the downs manifest in phases of burnout and exhaustion. It comes in waves of not knowing what to say and feeling uncomfortable about it because I always used to have something to say about everything. It comes out it not having the patience to sit and listen to someone that I care about, and I feel it when I’m writing a blog for work about prioritizing your own mental health, and the research that I’m doing starts looking right through me. There's a lyric in Taylor Swift's new song "Labyrinth" that says, "You know how much I hate that everybody just expects me to bounce back, just like that." And while I have good friends that don't put a deadline on when I need to "bounce back," I still have to deal with myself. I'm the one that's trying to force myself into not feeling. I keep publishing the deadlines on the internet and coming back in a couple of months to see that there's still a wound.

And while this isn’t a blog about how my life is ruined, or about how I’m weak, because neither of those things are true. This is a blog about the fact that it’s a work in progress. It is for me, and it can be for you, and this goes outside of heartbreak. It is hard to live up to your old self’s expectations. It is hard to find something nice to say sometimes, and that is okay. It is okay that emotionally exhausting events in your life turn you into someone else. I will never be the person that I was before that relationship ever again, and while I’d like to find her somewhere, I know that the next version of myself will be much better, and I don’t fit into the same roles I did at 21. But that’s hard to accept, and it’s even harder to let go of the expectations you had for yourself when you were your happiest.

I trust that the numbness will go away, and feeling like a person again will hit in different ways. In small doses and then all at once. But for right now, I just need to be a work in progress.


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