Since I’ve Been Gone…

I hit “publish” on the last post on this blog in December, but the events that led to my year-long hiatus happened right around this time in 2015.

It took me three months to absorb them adequately enough to write a cryptic post telling you I didn’t know how to tell you about them.

It took till now to bring me to this point, where the words have returned and I know what I want to say with them.

My official “what happened over this past year and what’s up next” post is still in the works, and will likely be approximately a bajillion words long if I ever decide to publish it. (I may just reference things in future posts rather than spend a bajillion words wallowing in the whole thing en masse.)

But to get you up to speed, here’s the CliffsNotes version:


What Happened Over the Past Year

  • My husband’s disability application hit the 2.5 year mark, around the same time our savings hit the zero mark and the debt I’d worked so hard to eliminate years earlier reached the “ridiculous” mark.
  • I returned to the 9-to-5 — the exact precise 9-to-5, down to the same effing employer and the same effing desk, I had escaped so jubilantly in 2013, because I thought that was what we needed.
  • I hated it.
  • I hated who I found myself becoming.
  • I stopped writing, here and altogether, because there was no “me” anymore to write through — or at least not any sort of me I wanted to think about or acknowledge.
  • I found another 9-to-5, one that on paper had everything a 9-to-5 ought to in order for me to be able to accept it like every “normal” adult was supposed to be able to do.
  • I hated it, too.
  • I was still someone I hated, only now with the addition of traits like sobbing uncontrollably at inconvenient moments such as 1) in the shower where my husband couldn’t hear me, 2) behind my closed new private office door on my lunch break, and 3) whenever I was awake.
  • My marriage started to crack.
  • I started to crack — or, rather, to finally admit I’d been cracking, bad, since I gave up my freelance business, and it was only getting badder by the day.
  • Our finances were still in the gutter and I realized I’d sacrificed everything I ever cared about or believed in for basically negative progress.
  • I texted Crisis Services one night. When they asked me if I ever had thoughts of suicide, I responded, “I don’t want to die; I just don’t want to live anymore.” I thought at the time this made a difference.
  • One Monday morning, I unceremoniously Broke The Fuck Down. My husband called my crazy doctor. I was in his office within the hour receiving a short-term disability note for my employer and wondering in a numbly detached sort of way if that meant I could finally spend the rest of my life under the covers, which was all I really wanted from existence at that point.
  • We realized we needed to sell our house. We subsequently realized the only place we could currently afford to go was my husband’s parents’ house while we regrouped and restrategized.
  • I lost my job. I still had 2-3 months of recovery before I could consider working again, according to my crazy doctor and my gut.
  • I was oddly OK with this and with my newfound lack of any future beyond the immediate. This began to tell me something.
  • I did a fuck-ton of resting, and healing, and thinking, which is still an ongoing process but now I feel a little of myself coming back slowly, and now I can write again and have lots of things I want to share with you.

So here we are.


What’s Up Next

  • I’m starting over. With this blog. With my life. With my freelancing. With a second, new blog this past year has made me realize I need to create.
  • The rest is yet to be discovered, but I’d be supes happy if you’d come along for the ride. Because I think we had something pretty awesome going on here, and if this past shitstorm of a year has taught me anything, it’s that I was a damn fool to abandon it.

Let’s do this thing, 2.0.

I missed the shit out of you guys.

Image:  Mr. Connor / Flickr

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  • Life is journey fraught with lessons we aren’t even aware of. The good news is, if you’re not consumed by the dark, the light will reveal itself.

    Welcome back Cordelia.

  • I missed your blog posts. Glad you are back, wishing you all best 🙂

  • Mishel

    I’d like to offer some inspirational message but I’ve got nothing EXCEPT Life can suck. Money definitely makes the sucky parts easier but it takes an attitude adjustment. I take pleasure in the smallest of things because quite honestly nothing great ever happens! Love your honesty! There will be turning point!

  • Oh, man. I’m so sorry you went through all that, and I hope there are a lot of great things in store for your in the future.

  • Welcome back. Glad you are on the mend. You should know that you have a beautiful soul and you continue to be an inspiration, even through your hardest times. Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to the next leg of this journey!!

  • I am glad you’re back – I’ve missed your posts, especially as I’ve worked to get my own freelance business off the ground – but I’m very sorry you had such a hellish year. Life can be awful sometimes, and I’m very glad you seem to be healing.
    Thank you for blogging about it. I feel like many freelancers who write about freelancing don’t share their hard times, projecting instead a perfect picture of freelance life. (And the more I freelance, the less certain I am that there is any perfect freelance life.) Anyway, thank you for coming back! I’ve missed you!

  • Matt

    I’m so glad you’re writing again, and your entire trajectory hits shockingly close to home. In your suffering, you’re not alone; in your sharing, you’re a superhero.

  • Shanna Mann

    I missed you too. In fact, I was here earlier this week to see what you’d been up to. I’m so sorry to hear what a hard time its been.

  • Glad you are back!

  • Oh, my dear!!! Big {{{Cordelia}}} hugs, from Detroit(!)
    Wow, you’ve had a doozy of a year, hon! So have I.(but that’s for another post [she whispers to herself]).
    Hurray for hanging in there, no matter how ‘un-fun’ it is while you’re going through it.

    Happy to see you back!!

  • Cordelia’s Mom

    Um, you know that’s why mothers were made, right?
    So good to see you getting back to your old self. It’s been a rough year all around.

  • I stayed subscribed to your blog over your long absence, hoping I’d see you pop up again one day. What a time you’ve had. You do need to start over, and you’ve already begun that process. Moving in with your in-laws was a great idea — you don’t need the pressure of a mortgage and all the related bills when you’re trying to get your life back on track. Maybe you’ll buy another house one day, maybe not. My husband and I bought a house two years ago and I’m already wishing we’d stayed renters (for different reasons than yours). Heal, write, move forward. Make sure to let us know what your new web address will be.

  • Saja Brown

    I missed your posts! This one came just as my husband was pressuring me again to return to a job I didn’t like and haven’t done in years and gives me knots in my stomach just thinking about it. I have told him that he’s free to walk out the door and choose another wife if I can’t meet his needs. But my ability to stand my ground on the outside doesn’t reflect my insides. I have doubts that I’m not holding up my part of our life together.
    It was good to hear another perspective about jobs being toxic. My contract work with teens might offer insufficient funds to be considered successful, but gosh I love working with kids on a small group and one-one basis. Thank you for being there just as I needed someone to speak on behalf of what I have been feeling.

    • Successful IS as Successful Accomplishes – not ‘as it Earns’ –

  • Marilyn

    I can really relate to everything you wrote here. We were in the same plow … except without living parents. We came back and so will you. Impossible though it may seem, you will come back. I would not have believed it possible, but somehow, inch by inch over the course of five years, life has become more or less normal. We are always short of money, but we squeak by. If you asked me how we got here, I couldn’t tell you. One step at a time, I think. Baby steps. You’ll get there. Somehow.

  • Welcome back. Let me know how I can help! <3

  • Heather van der Hoop

    Thank you for sharing your ups and downs so candidly, and welcome back!

  • Your openness and honesty, to yourself and the world, is precisely what makes you so strong and so brave. You are strong enough! Glad you’re back. You have my thoughts and support!

  • Dan Antion

    Welcome back! Good luck on this journey.

  • Hey! I just found your blog today and you were talking about not posting for Lifehack anymore back in 2013. I searched around and found this post! Amazing how blogs are so real! I absolutely adore you for being so open and honest, it’s obviously been rough. I have only had my blog for 2 months and feel stressed haha… as I am looking for work etc… it does seem to crush our little hearts making it difficult to write. I was meant to write tonight but I felt sad and instead decided to find other bloggers such as yourself. You are an inspiration, you’ve encouraged me! Thank you for sharing!

  • Sara Prentice Manela

    Just read your 2012 post (QUIT: Being a Selfish Bitch About My Husband’s Illness) – another well wife of a husband with fibro, now also with anxiety/depression and a long-term terminal illness. Yay. We also have a child and my husband’s been in grad school for 13 years, so just know – I feel ya. Sorting through the same how-do-we-deal as you are. Hang in there.

  • Melissa Trapp-Petty

    Slowly but surely you will be you again. You’ve got this. Looking forward to the new content…we’re all in your corner.

  • Paula

    Sorry that you went through all of that. That sounds incredibly rough. But I’m glad you’re doing okay and back to writing.

  • Im sorry for all the suckiness, I look forward to seeing you be better 🙂

  • From Desk to Dawn

    So honest, so real. Thank you for sharing your story. As a fellow ex-9-5er who had a breakdown and also writes and blogs for love of it and for coping, I really appreciated reading this post. Isn’t it funny how we creatives thrive in our writing but languish and become unwell/unhappy in the 9 – 5. I really wish you all the best. I have absolute faith you will slay your 2.0.

  • Marilyn

    I downloaded your book and will read it. But in a lot of ways, how our lives totally fell apart and yet, here we are still alive and still with a roof over our heads … well … it’s quite the journey. I REALLY REALLY REALLY relate. I’m not merely sympathetic. We have been there. Garry lost his job. I lost mine. We were both disabled. He was an alcoholic. I was sick, then sicker, then even sicker. We had NO money. I mean zero income and a huge mortgage. It took me two years to finally get disability and for Garry’s pension and Social Security to kick in. I had no health insurance, either. Neither of us did and it almost killed me. Twice. Yet we are here. Just when it really looked like our next place to live would be our car, somehow, it turned around. Like an ocean liner. Slowly, slowly, imperceptibly so that we didn’t realize that somehow, things were improving until they had improved … and then there was cancer, cancer, heart disease … and yet … still here. I honestly have NO idea how come we are still here. If I look at the chain of disasters, calamities, crises, near-death experiences. Garry’s rehab. My rehab. Our rehab. My depression. His depression. Our dysfunctional family.

    Dying cars, dying dogs (we’ve lost 6 in 5 years). The well went dry. Bad teeth. Bad hearing aids. Cataracts. Eye glasses. Pacemaker. New heart valves. And so many hospitals. Obama’s “save your home and mortgage” plan ACTUALLY saved us from homelessness. That and one bank official who, when I finally (after 7 months of negotiating and getting increasingly desperate) called to say, “Oh, and by the way … now I have cancer in both breasts. Am I also going to be homeless?” actually redid the entire mortgage so that we could stay here. Remarkably, now, we are almost back to owing the amount we owed when we first moved here (as opposed to the couple of hundred thousand more that seems to have disappeared when they redid the whole mortgage package).

    And we are still here. You really CAN crash here for a decade or two if you find yourself lost. It ain’t fancy, but it’s a home, not a hovel. With a little work, it could be a very much nicer home. We just aren’t able to do it. But. We have heat, water, cable, wifi, dogs, a woods full of oak trees and four seasons in a valley that is sometimes breathtakingly beautiful. The fireplace works.

    It’s good to know you’ve got choices other than the street, even if you never use them. Just knowing there IS someplace you can go if all else fails is not a small thing. We don’t have any family left who we can ask to take us in. Our parents are long gone. All my aunts and uncles and Garry’s too have passed on. Friends ARE our family.

    We all need a safety net. Everyone needs one. I know you may think this is just “oh she’s just saying that” … but I don’t “just say that.” Ever.

    • Lisa

      I too have mental illness and have had a hell of a time recently coming off my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication. But still I am here, and trying. I am also hoping to launch my freelance writing career either late this year or early next year. I am grateful for that anti-depressant I am still taking, my therapist and my psychiatrist. It’s all a process.

  • Mike Nawrot

    Sometimes out of the struggle comes a story that can effect others more and in a more positive way than one ever could without it. Sometimes one must backtrack and take a missed turn, I only just found your blog and am glad you are back to it!

  • Leslee Hare

    Hi Kelly, I just discovered your work today, and smiled as I read this post.
    I’ve been there. Twice. Or more times, I’ve lost count…
    Point is, as you’re seeing, for some of us there’s no choice but to follow the heart.
    It’s a yo-yo life, and although I’m still swinging through a loop-the-loop, I’m convinced there’s no way to escape creativity. So now I just hang onto the string and keep flying. And helping others. That’s the key.
    So glad to find your writing! I look forward to reading more. Go girl!
    Leslee Hare (

  • Jessica Pierce

    Simple but very accurate info! Many thanks for sharing this one. life hacks

  • Visualverbs

    What doesn’t kill is makes us stronger. It appears you’re working on getting stronger. Good onya.

    God bless and good luck.