The Hyphen: Never Not Changing ✨

Hi friends—

Hope all is well,

Psychologists have confirmed that we’ve been feeling more nostalgic since lockdown. Down to a mixture of having more time to think and grieving for our past freedoms, we may find ourselves listening to old songs from our adolescence, looking through old photo albums, or even looking up an ex friend or boyfriend online. We are also now suddenly haunted by our own memories in a new way via Timehop or Facebook memories. Seeing these ‘throwbacks’ suddenly holds a bit more weight.

Here’s you in 2010, in a noisy sweaty bar with your best friends! Here’s you, in 2009, with an awful haircut on public transport without a mask on. Here’s you, in 2008, when you didn’t realise eyebrows were a thing! Of course memories bring so much joy, but I also find myself lying in bed, triggered by them, thinking all about my past mistakes too — wondering why I did what I did at the time. Why on earth did I wear that? Say that? Do that?

Sometimes we can struggle to recognise our past selves. It can be jarring, because you can feel so different now. You can look at a photo and feel as though you’re looking at someone else. It’s normal to cringe at your past self, your past work. It’s why we roll our eyes at feminist books from 2014 (like Lean In — I don’t want to Lean In, Sheryl, I want to lie down), or why people try and ‘cancel’ celebrity tweets from even five years ago. Things become outdated so quickly.

I’ve been engaging with Rob Bell’s work recently, as his new book Everything Is Spiritual has been released. In a talk of the same name, he said this:

“Hundreds of millions of cells are dying in your body every hour, and giving birth to NEW cells to replace those cells that have died. Your body, several billion times a day, is going through a cellular process of death and re-birth. So, let’s say I met you 10 years ago, and then I were to meet you again today — most of your body will have replaced itself.”

Isn’t that mad? That we are — on a cellular level — completely different to ten years ago?

It’s comforting too. We get to start again.

He uses the made-up analogy of being given a boat as a gift from your uncle. And the floorboards need replacing so you replace them, then you replace the hardware, then you replace the sails. So even though the boat is now physically completely different — you will still say ‘my uncle gave me this boat’. Because the pattern, the sentiment, and the way it looks, is the same.

It’s same boat, but also not.

You’re the same you — but also not.

“You’ve changed” is sometimes said with a slight passive aggression. But of course we’ve changed. And we continue to. Pretty rapidly.

So, be kind to your past self. They were trying their best with what they had at the time. Just as you’re trying your best today.

Feel free to drop me a line with what you’d like to see more of in this newsletter at

Emma xo


What’s New on Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast?

Today's guest is Dr Pragya Agarwal, the bestselling author of SWAY: Unravelling Unconscious Bias and a behavioural and data scientist. 

Her next book ‘Wish we knew what to say: Talking with children about race’ is a manual for parents, carers and educators of all backgrounds and ethnicities to talk to children about race and racism - out on 29th October.

This episode is all about discovering our conscious and unconscious bias, how we can notice them and what we can do to make the world a bit better. Available across all pod apps.


Melissa Hemsley & I are raising money for Princes Trust & WomenSupportingWomen!

I’ll be joining my friend and foody goddess Melissa Hemsley at 8am Tuesday 13th October on Instagram Live (on Melissa’s Insta account). As Prince's Trust Ambassadors, we will be hosting a virtual Brilliant Breakfast for Women Supporting Women because young women are among the hardest hit by COVID-19. Please come along with a cuppa as we exchange feel good habits, tips on building confidence, career opportunities and more. And if you are able to, please help us fundraise, every little helps. You can donate here!


Things I’ve Consumed This Week:

— Being friends with people we don’t agree with
Social isolation & our digital identities
— The pain of cinema closures isn’t just economic
— 12 Stories About the Science of Anxiety
— Why you should always read the acknowledgements in books
— Slowly emerging after a 3 week Sabbath
— Your Idea Doesn't Need to Be Original to Be Successful
— Trolls on 'dragging sites' can ruin lives
— That Tom Hollander day in a life
— Beyond the white male canon
— A TikTok house divided
— Nigella Lawson on solo lockdown

— Also.. I’ve been watching lots of Cheltenham Lit Fest livestreams on the #CheltLitFest iplayer — I did two events there last week! It was so fun being in front of an IRL audience again.


Shout out to…. Portraits for NHS Heroes initiated by Tom Croft. This book is a powerful visual tribute to the individuals who have put their physical and mental health on the line during the Covid-19 crisis. This collection of artwork is based on the hugely successful Instagram project #PortraitsForNHSHeroes. All royalties from this book will go to NHS Charities Together. You can purchase yours here.


P.S. My book SABOTAGE: Quieten Your Inner Critic is available now!


Seth Godin has a new book out next month called The Practice. He insists that writer's block is a myth and that experiencing imposter syndrome is a sign that you're actually a well-adjusted human. I posted a quote from the book on my Instagram here.

I enjoyed this interview with Jay Shetty in which he discusses the difference between inspiration and transformation. We are often inspired by things we see or listen to, but how do we actually transform our lives after being inspired?

The Beeja Meditation app is inviting anyone who has been affected by redundancy and unemployment, or is anxious about it, to learn to meditate for free.


Click here to join 55,000+ students by signing up to my Skillshare class! "5 Exercises To Build Creative Confidence"


Thanks for subscribing! I'm Emma, the person behind this newsletter. I am the bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, SABOTAGE, my debut novel OLIVE (a no.1 Apple audiobook!) and creator of the hit podcast series Ctrl Alt Delete. You can also follow me on Instagram here, and Twitter here.

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