Life update: divorce, burnout, new things

This update comes to you in four parts!

1. I got divorced in January.

I’m sure I’ll write more about it eventually but right now I’ll just say that I’m happy to be single again, and I’m on the other side of the hard.

I’m also hoping to move back to Portland at some point, but for various reasons that point is not now.

2. Burnout is not just a work thing.

I recently came across the 12-stage model of burnout, in this video and it connected a lot of dots for me.

Specifically, my marriage to someone in prison was a caretaking situation which ended up being very unequal and fell apart completely once he got out in late 2020. I’ve spent the last few years sorting through the wreckage and recovering, as well as doing a lot of healing and soul-searching.

Where burnout comes in is that I had the need to prove I was a good person who was caring, compassionate, empathetic, understanding, helpful, loyal, giving, etc—anything but selfish. Having something to prove is the first stage of burnout, and it was all downhill from there.

What really hit me with the burnout model was stage 5: “Revision of Values”. You rewrite your value system to make your sacrifice of your own needs make sense to you. You know you are drowning, but you can’t let go of how wrapped up you have become in it. You can’t accept that it’s not working, so you just dedicate yourself to it more. Your identity, your value, your sense of who you are, is all on the line. You defend it to other people and to yourself.

At a certain point, it all falls apart. And then you have to face everything–all your unmet needs, everything you have pushed aside and avoided, and all the underlying issues that got you there—and you have to face it from a place of feeling more depleted than you have ever felt in your life. That is why it takes so long to recover.

I’m on the other side of the worst of it, and slowly rebuilding my energy. Which means I’m starting new things, of course!

3. I started a Substack newsletter.

Why do I need a newsletter when I have a blog? Which you might already be reading right now in your email? Good question!

On Joy Ninja, I take an educational tone with most of my posts. I’m describing my experience, but from the benefit of hindsight. With sparkly dark, I want to write about my process as I go. My first post there is about reconnecting with my inner writing voice this week, and my second is about walking into the wild unknown of trying a new thing you don’t know how to do.

I also want to try it because Substack is a community and social network of writers, and I know you’re thinking oh god not another social network, but I really think they can be good if you find the right one where you can hang out on and invest in your connections. They all suck in some ways, but as a socially isolated ENFP, I need online community. And this is an experiment for me in creating community through writing, which might just be great? We’ll see. 😁

4. I’m also hanging out a lot on Facebook recently.

So feel free to add me as a friend if you hang out there too. I chat about personal growth, creativity, and the exciting stuff happening in AI.

Also if you missed it, I have an instagram now. I make growth-related memes. I also want to start a community but that’s a bit of a longer-term goal right now.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading! 💚

Like it? Love it? Donations are always appreciated. 💛
Hi there! I’m Emma and I write about self-liberation. My writing is meant to share my process & inspire your own. If you want more frequent/current writing, visit my Substack Sparkly Dark, where I’m unpacking my neurodivergence.

If my writing has helped you, you can leave a tip at, leave a comment below, learn more about me, or follow me on Instagram.

Also! I’m also looking to start a community of people looking to build authentic connnections & grow together.

Thanks so much for reading! ~Emma

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