On Ghana, Togo, My Novel, Mental Health And Writing Again - GangStarr Girl : GangStarr Girl

On Ghana, Togo, My Novel, Mental Health And Writing Again

[ 3 ] December 7, 2015 |

Just outside of Lome, Togo.

Earlier this year, I purchased my favorite life planner and taped it up in my bedroom where I could see every single goal that I wanted to accomplish in life and business for every month this year. I had filled it out from January until May, excited about my plans, but abruptly stopped. May was the month that I got laid off for the third time and lost hope.

It was a job that I had planned on quitting this year anyway, so they beat me to it, but it was still hard not to wonder what was wrong with me. My entire career life has been soul crushing, traumatic and always full of false promises, false starts, bait and switch, and abrupt stops. Most people won’t see it that way because I look good on paper, but the bad outweighs the good. I had plans for my career that just didn’t work out, and in the process of pursuing what I thought I wanted, I got emotionally abused, became reclusive, anxious, depressed and misanthropic. It was hard for me not to wonder if it was me, especially after I kept being met with toxic environments, situations, and people over and over again.

After previous layoffs, I had always resolved to continue pursuing my goals, and to keep working at it, and to come back stronger. However, what happened since that last layoff was that I got completely turned off by the idea of working in media to the point where I didn’t even want to write for myself anymore. I still wrote because I needed freelance checks, but I dialed back. Freelancing was different too. It used to be exciting and a good way for me to work, but recently I found myself dealing with unresponsive editors because I’m not a rock star writer (today’s editors measure what’s good and therefore, who is worthy of a response by someone who has several hundred thousand followers or some type of celebrity), unorganized companies that care more about numbers than content over the writer/editor’s ability to actually write or be innovative and unique, or editors who didn’t really know how to do their jobs. It was draining.

I coasted after that layoff, trying to figure out what was next for me. I had gotten the message enough to know that my editorial/journalism career, at least in the way that I had been pursuing it, just wasn’t going to happen. I ignored email pitches, recruitments on Linkedin, and my personal writing spaces (my blogs) because what was the point? You can’t keep doing the same thing and getting nowhere. For me, the harder I worked the more opposition I got, but the fight just stopped being worth it.

I planned to coast for the rest of the year, pretending that I wasn’t depressed, and eventually releasing my novel, Bloggers Can’t be Trusted. The novel obviously isn’t out yet, but we have about three weeks left to the year, so maybe I’ll get it together. It’s just hard when you’re self publishing because there are some roadblocks. It’s like, just when you think you’re ready to publish something else pops up to delay you. I’m a first time author, and independent, so I’m learning. I can’t put a release date on the book yet, but it’s 95% ready and it is actually a bright spot for me. For all the things I didn’t want to write, the book is something I look forward to. Don’t be surprised if I pull a Beyonce and just release it. I’m no Beyonce, though, so my ambush releasing a book is definitely going to be different, but I digress.

One of the brightest spots of my year was my trip to Ghana and Togo. Today is exactly a week since I returned, and I’m still processing everything that happened. The opportunity to go on the trip literally just popped up out of nowhere, but definitely on time. I’m writing about that trip in more detail, so more on that eventually, but the experience actually inspired me to live again.

I am humbled to have witnessed what I did there, and oddly enough, I returned home with the desire to write for the first time in probably a year. So, here I am. I am present, and not coasting for once. It feels good.

This was a rambly post. I just wanted to put it out there. If you read it all the way through, thanks.

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Category: Reflections, Travel

About the Author ()

Starrene Rhett Rocque is a recovering journalist who often fantasizes about becoming a shotgun-toting B-movie heroine.

Comments (3)

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  1. Thanks for sharing! I can actually relate a lot, and mostly switched my career from digital media and writing to the mental health field. (For now, anyways.) And I’m loving it! Always happy to read from you, don’t give up! 🙂

    • GangStarrGirl says:

      Thank you so much for reading Annina. I’m glad you’re enjoying your career switch. If you don’t mind me asking, what are you doing in the mental health field (feel free to email me instead of commenting on here). I’m working on making the shift as well. I’ll get my writing fix in spaces where I can be safe. We have to stay on top of taking care of our well-being!

  2. I know the feeling of being laid off more than once, and like you, the job I had before my current left me trying to beat them to the punch. The company was purchased by another, so out the door I went. During that hard nine months of unemployment, I was also dealing with an unstable romantic relationship. I held on to the relationship as long as I did in an effort to have something “go right” in my life, though that courtship went totally left! But I digress.

    It’s hard not to question yourself after you’ve had more than a few career bumps in the road, but I hope that you NEVER give up writing, because from what I’ve seen, you’re AWESOME at it. I’m looking forward to your book release. 🙂

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