Discover more from By Fernanda Santos
Plowing through the bad weather (outside and in)
Navigating turbulence in writing and in life
Happy Friday from rainy, dreary New York City. The sun has only made a fleeting appearance over the past three days (or is it four?). I miss the sun and all it communicates: brightness, clarity, excitement, possibility. I am, however, grateful to be writing to you from the safety of my apartment, looking onto streets that haven’t flooded and knowing that there’s no better place to be than exactly where I am.
I’ve endured much bad weather even as the sun shined outside, that internal turbulence we all encounter when faced with challenges big and small, knowing that the definitions of “big” and “small” are entirely subjective. Perspective helps keep us grounded. A goal helps keep us focused. Anxiety is our enemy, the feeder of self-doubt, the disanimator, a made-up word whose meaning I’m sure you can comprehend.
At a major crossroads in my career, one that reminds me of the moment I’m in right now, my late husband asked, “What is your purpose in life?” The question made me mad; we were considering huge changes and I had no time for existential questions. He pressed on, though, telling me that if I don’t know what I’m searching for, what I want to accomplish, then my actions and whatever road I take will have no meaning.
Purpose is what keeps us going. Purpose is what keeps the stories we tell on track.
I start every piece I write by asking myself, “What is my story about?” I look for an answer that is clear, concise and compelling. To get there, I often have to ask “what about it?” to the answers I come up with until I feel there’s no chiseling left to do. (There’s a whole training I do on that; hit me up if you’re interested in finding out more.)
If it’s raining inside of you right now, remember: There’s no one else out there like you — no other writer like you, no other neighbor like you, no other partner or friend like you, no other parent like you, no other human who is exactly as you are.
I listen to this song when I need a reminder of my value and place in this crazy, chaotic world. I hope you enjoy it.
With much love and purpose, today and always.
By Fernanda Santos is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.