Martyr no more.
On realizing I no longer have capacity to be the change I want to see in spaces where I don't belong.
An excerpt from my journal this morning:
"I'm realizing that I used to be a huge proponent of 'changing things from the inside' but I've since learned that when there are fifty people who don't want things to change for every one person who does, the fight becomes exhausting and seemingly not worth it. I no longer have the patience or tolerance for 'well this is how things are' with no logical reason as to why, and other problematic mindsets that keep this world such a terrible place."
While this thought was in the general sense, it was prompted by a few well-meaning folks who suggested that I go back to my previous place of employment. Going back, in the same capacity, isn't an option. Not because I left on bad terms, I left on great terms with the ability for rehire. But because where I work next is life or death for me. For some, that sounds extremely dramatic to say, but it is my truth. I wasn’t just miserable from 9-5 every weekday. My baseline is depression, more often than not I am in a state of varying degrees of depression. Only being afforded temporary relief through short episodes of hypomania and stability. In some capacity, I think about dying daily. Whether those are just fleeting ideations or full-on plans. I can no longer afford to go back to environments where I am one of the few who want systems and things to change while there are folks who actively work against that change. In an effort to do what I can to keep myself here, I cannot continue to actively participate and willingly operate in spaces not created for me to succeed without daily being a mental and emotional martyr with nothing to show for it but a nice paycheck.
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For a while now I have been feeling a call to transition off of social media. I haven't yet found the happy medium of staying on just enough to share my work and grow my audience and not feeling like I’m missing out in some way. I know that part of the process of finding that happy medium is creating another space to actively share my thoughts and pieces.
I no longer want to design or run my own space in the form of a blog. Flodesk required too many decision points to remain consistent. (Anyone who previously subscribed on Flodesk has been migrated to Substack). Medium doesn’t give me the community feel I see without paying more. So now I’m trying Substack. Several writers I know and admire have been using the platform and report great things.
What to expect.
I’m not limiting myself by finding a niche here or setting a desired posting cadence. Posts may range from short thought bursts to finalized essays, and maybe a few journal pieces here and there. There may be times I post consistently and other times when months may go by.
Who is Ashleigh Vaughn?
I’ve always wanted to publish my work under a pen name that was still mine, but not my full government name. Because of the Instagram handle that I’ve had since 2012, ashvaughn, many people already believe Vaughn is my last name. It is actually the latter half of my middle name, Davaughn. So, Ashleigh Vaughn was chosen and it is the name I will use for any publication going forward. (Unless I change my mind.)
I started sharing my writing publicly eight or so years ago and some of you have been following along for most or all of that time and I am grateful for each and every one of you.