The Hyphen: Nostalgia & Slaying Self-Sabotage 💫
Hi friends—
I hope you are holding up okay. Any time I go to write anything — an email, a Whatsapp, this newsletter — I think about this genius poem called First Lines Of Emails I've Received While Quarantining

I've been thinking a lot about time recently. Obviously the passing of time, but also how time feels broken. How it seems to be bending differently, and how time might be perceived differently by each person. Does a month for my nephew away from his school mates feel longer than my month as an introvert busying myself at my desk? And how can we feel like we have 'no time' when our days feel more 'free'? For me, the seconds feel like they are ticking by more slowly, but then the fact that I've already spent a whole month in isolation inside my flat blows my mind. When? How? I blinked and it's now May, but March feels like a lifetime ago. I can't make sense of any of it. I wrote a little something below about nostalgia, because I feel like my brain keeps returning to the past and unearthing old memories (which I'm strangely enjoying, in a melancholic kind of way.)

Hope you enjoy today's newsletter - lots of fun stuff to update you on!

Emma xo

First, some exciting news!

You might remember in a previous edition of this newsletter, I asked this lovely community for some self-sabotage stories/anecdotes of your own for 'a thing I was working on' and so many of you got back to me! Your stories inspired me in so many ways while writing this book and I've emailed some of you about your words being included...

WELL, here's what I've been working on...

A book (available to pre-order now!)
AND an online class (launching on Tuesday!)

My new book: an extended and revised edition of Sabotage – newly subtitled How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Get Out of Your Own Way is here!!! 

Self-sabotage is something I personally struggle with. I kept wondering why, when everything was seemingly "going well"; I kept holding myself back through negative self-talk. The act of writing Sabotage, digging into my own patterns and interviewing experts, actually changed the way I now think and work, and helped me conquer my own self-sabotage. My hope is that this book may do the same for you.

*If you would like to pre-order it, you can! 



This was first published as an essay one year ago with the Pound Project, and I'm so excited to bring you this longer revised version (75% new material!) packed with stories and advice around conquering self-sabotage.

ALSO: If you'd like to sign up for online Skillshare class on self-sabotage launching on TUESDAY then follow me HERE! Plus more information below!)

This week's thoughts....

I often worry about forgetting things. Not my house keys, or paying bills — although I’d prefer to remember those things too — but bigger things. Memories, mostly. I worry that by frying my brain daily with a cocktail of screens — my phone, then iPad, then laptop, then TV— that I might be blasting out the deeper memories and replacing these corners of my brain with useless trivia, memes and Whatasapp emojis instead. I know this isn’t how our brain storage works — it’s not one-in-one-out (like Sainsbury's at the moment), but I worry that I will forget how to locate my colourful memory bank, that will no doubt fade over time anyway. I want to be able to access my good memories easily like a page in a book, and maybe that’s why I write and journal so much. Maybe it’s a control thing — I just like knowing they are there. Like the fact that I print off my photos off Instagram using Snapfish and put them in an actual physical drawer. I want to know that my memories won’t get deleted, even if the Internet breaks. Maybe it's strange to obsess over 'saving' thoughts onto a giant floppy disk, but it's something I often think about.

Of course, day to day, we don’t necessarily have time to sit down and go through old photo albums, sift through our past thoughts or think about that album we bought when we were 14. Life is usually busier than this, less simplified: a million things to go, see, do. This period of time we are currently in is obviously terrible, and I don’t need to explain all the reasons why — but one of the silver linings has been the shift in time and space to think, allowing my brain space to wander, and to meander down some paths that went untrodden for a while. I think my daily walks have also prompted this rediscovery of old thoughts and feelings, and I have the time right now to dwell on them. I feel like my vivid childhood memories are coming back — through intense dreams, but also randomly throughout the day. I’ll be cooking, stirring the pot, and suddenly remember a conversation with an old school friend; a teacher; a song I used to listen to in 1999, or a certain page in a childhood book I used to read as a kid. I found a 90s acoustic playlist on Spotify, and fell into a whole of old Alanis Morissette songs, rediscovered Incubus (my teen crush Brandon Boyd is now in his 40s); and messaged my old school friend who I hadn't spoken to in years — someone I associate with my adolescence, and all these bands and gigs. It’s like I am reaching my arm into a pitch black treasure chest and pulling out things I hadn’t thought about for decades, things I forgot were there. Maybe this is what it feels like to reconnect with yourself. 

Why, when stuck at home during a pandemic, do we seem to be spiralling into deep nostalgia? I asked Dr Emma Hepburn (aka ThePsychologyMum) why this might be happening:

“People are subjectively describing feeling more nostalgic.  There’s a few interesting studies on nostalgia that suggest it gives us bit of mood boost and makes us feel good, however ironically we seem to have more nostalgic thoughts when we are feeling low. In the current situation we might be more prone to feeling down and nostalgia may provide us a bit of a positive mood boost. We tend to reflect on the past at anniversaries, birthdays or key moments in our life. The current situation may be acting as a pause button, or key moment: where we reflect and think about the past. At the current time it is hard to make plans, which may mean that instead of focusing on planning the future, our attention shifts to our memories and a focus on the past.”

This makes total sense to me — I feel like I’m reaching for stimulus that may boost my mood momentarily, and when the future looks so uncertain, the past seems to give me some concrete clues, feelings and meaning. And of course, perhaps it can feel more tempting to revisit the past when ‘staying present’ feels so tricky right now.

(You can pre-order Dr Emma Hepburn's book now, called A Toolkit For Modern Life and it is BRILLIANT.)

This TUESDAY, I'll be launching a brand new class on Skillshare! The class is all about overcoming self-sabotage to help you to get out of your own way and own your vision of success. You can sign up for a 2-month trial on Skillshare right now. My new class launches on Tuesday so keep an eye out! :)
I really enjoyed hearing Jen Gotch (co-founder of lifestyle brand Ban.Do and mental health ambassador) on Forever35, an LA-based podcast which I LOVE! She spoke so helpfully about how we can take care of our mental wellbeing right now, and how to schedule joy into our days, however small. You can listen here
Have you signed up to The Hyphen Book Club? We've had 6k people join the Instagram page in just over a month, and this month we are reading Holly Bourne's PRETENDING. Come on over and join in, it's a lovely cosy chat - put May 18th 8pm in your diary for a chat on the Instagram page to discuss Holly's book!
Join 22,000+ Students By Signing Up To My Skillshare Class! "5 Exercises To Build Creative Confidence" (Launching on Tuesday!)
Pre-Order My Debut Novel OLIVE
The Multi-Hyphen Life Is Coming To America!

Thanks for subscribing! If you enjoyed it, why not forward to a friend?

See you soon.

Emma xo

I'm Emma, the person behind this newsletter. I am the bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method and the soon-to-be-published novel OLIVE, and creator of the hit podcast series Ctrl Alt Delete — a podcast for creatives that starts off talking about work, then follows wherever the conversation naturally goes. You can also follow me on Instagram here, and Twitter here.
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