This week is a little bit different from one of our normal blogs. No helpful tips, no wedding overviews, but more of a journal entry of mine to explain how I have been feeling these last couple of weeks. I want to preface that this is a very raw post that is NOT a cry for help, but rather a documentation of where I am today in my life; to maybe look back on and reflect.
If you follow me on Instagram, or even if you don’t, I posted a few days ago about how I was feeling a little drained, a little sad, and a whole lot of bleh since Hawai’i added back restrictions for social gatherings. It’s weird being an event planner right now. It’s weird for any job, but it feels weird being in a profession that requires the ability to gather with one another.
When I first started TGA, it was with the intent to plan events and be able to offer support and guidance for my couples who were getting married. Weddings are already so stressful, so I went into this to help ease that stress and be a guiding light. I also went into it to plan fun gatherings where your community could celebrate in your love. It’s a profession that's allowed me to be creative and free. This was and is the foundation for The Gay Agenda Co. Anyway, that’s changed a lot for me.
COVID has really taken a toll on me mentally and I guess I have recently had a delayed onset reaction to the effects that it’s caused. When our industry first got hit, I felt really spritely, ready and able to come up with solutions. I moved wedding dates, got new contracts from vendors, filed insurance claims, came up with fun ways to still move forward with events -- I mean I did it all, like most of us wedding professionals had to to stay afloat. But after 18 months of the same thing, re-planning weddings, having to have the same pep talks that “It will get better”, I feel fatigued and even worse like maybe it won’t get better.
I had a conversation with a few industry friends that I feel like I am in a time loop. Like groundhog day, I am repeating the same events and conversations over and over again. I constantly get asked questions of when will it get better, should I have my wedding, when will COVID end, and it’s hard to not have the answers, especially when that is literally what couples look to you for. Anyway, that has led me into a weird funk that’s left me, at times, unmotivated, unresponsive, and to be quite frank, uninterested in my job. So how do you find support in times like this? Who do you talk to when you feel overwhelmed in the career you made for yourself to feel less overwhelmed? And, is it time to stop holding on to this idea that we will ever go back to normal?
Thankfully, I have a great partner who has been supportive when I go deep into my funks. She’s been there to encourage me and that has helped a lot, especially when there are days where I will literally just stare out into space wondering what I am doing with my life. I’ve shared a lot of this with Ipo -- this feeling of being worn out and wondering what is next for TGA. Contrary to popular belief, I am more of a glass half empty person, which means I constantly air on the side of caution, preparing for the worst. I sit wondering a lot of the time if things will ever go back to normal. If I am being honest, I don't think they will. I think that COVID is here to stay for a while and we are living in a world now that will have to adjust to that “new normal''. Kind of a bummer when you think that it’s honestly not what you signed up for. Accepting that kind of takes the joy out of this.
But then in my time of complete and utter defeat, I remember that at any given moment, I can say that I don’t want to do this anymore. I gave myself permission a long time ago, when I quit the corporate world, to take back my ability to choose what I wanted to do. After panic attacks that almost killed me when I was working my 9-5er, I told myself that I would never be put in a situation again where I was miserable. I have the choice, and when I really think through it, even at its absolute worst, I still choose this. Maybe the moments of joy aren’t as often as before, but in the small pockets that they do show up, they're huge.
This weekend I am going to work a wedding that I have been planning since 2018. Three fricken years we’ve planned this wedding and we are finally having it and it is completely different from what we originally hoped for. It’s super small. It’s over the course of two days to maximize how many people can come. It’s even on my birthday, which is weird for me, since I am notoriously selfish when it comes to my birthday. Despite the fact that I have been mopey for the last 3 weeks, I am beyond excited to put this on. A wedding that if done originally planned might’ve been just another wedding, has become this week's main event.
I don’t feel fully energized, but I do feel a spark. A small lingering amount of hope, that while I do not have the answers and things may never go back to normal, there is still joy in this work and it still has purpose. I am breaking free of the mentality that tells you positivity is the only way through this. No, I think being honest that this really sucks is an important narrative that needs to be addressed. This sucks, send help. Normalizing that not all days (or weeks) are winners, but that we are all at times barely making it by. Currently, I fall into the group that is just crawling from point A to B, but at least I am headed in the right direction. And that’s all we can ask.