Little Ivy

I will continue to tell myself I'm actually not going woo.

Hello friends!!!

I am continuing work on my last (promise) Clubhouse piece, it’s taking quite a while however as it’s probably the longest thing I’ve ever published on Substack. So while I take some time to let those ideas percolate I wanted to write about something else.

Sadposting : The Next Generation

Those of you whomst follow me on Twitter probably know things have been less than ideal for me lately. So first of all, thank you to everyone who has reached out. A very special thank you to Espree Devora, who has been my rock as of late and also introduced me to someone who has really helped me have a plan for bringing things into focus.

The very long story short: I am experiencing symptoms, mostly instability. Economic, career, personal (it turns out transitioning is actually really hard). I thought for a while those were the individual problems, but they’re actually symptoms of a really simple sounding but operationally complex state.

Whether it’s a women’s group or some networking event, my answer to the ‘tell me about Ivy’, however it’s phrased, has always been predicated on what I do. This was probably why catching a round of cannabis industry layoffs was particularly hard for me. Such a thing is never easy, of course, but when your identity is so rooted in your job, it’s much harder.

Who is Ivy even, if not some permutation of ‘legal drugs girl’? The phrasing that immediately comes to my mind probably also speaks to the inner child work I’m about to talk about. Thinking of myself as ‘cannabis industry leader’, or ‘cannabis industry executive’ never seemed quite right to me.

Trying to define myself outside of work is incredibly hard, and has only recently become easier. ‘Likes EDM and festivals’ is something outside of work at least, but it’s a bullet point on a list, not an element of someone’s soul.

Kat Cole is someone I wish I had known years ago, because she’s literally one of the wisest people I've ever known (and I’ve known some really smart people). I now carry around a lot of her advice in my head, but if I had to name the #1 piece, it would be what probably can be best summarized as interest diversification. I’ve been really, really bad about that.

Focusing on one or two things made it so if those one or two things ever went unfavourably, I wasn’t able to handle it very well. That’s probably best defined as resilience. The highs, though, were great. The past year has been pretty surreal, and not just because of the pandemic we find ourselves in. I was really not prepared to deal with the lows however, and hadn’t set myself up in a very good way to be resilient.

Opening The Door To My Personal High School

One door that Espree’s friend, Cam Kashani, has opened for me is connecting with my inner child. When it came up during a chat today I had that same response I do to most woo-sounding things. I’m happy to say I couldn’t have been more instinctually wrong about it though, and it’s something I now think at least everyone should give a try.

It’s probably not a stretch to say a lot of people have said something like ‘I had a bad childhood’ at some point, or that some were worse than others. Mine wildly fluctuated, but ended up coming to a place of emancipation that I waited far too long to carry out.

I can’t express in words how frightening it is at times to try and make it completely on my own, but I also know it’s something I probably should have done 20 years ago. I really should have taken an opportunity to flee to silicon valley when I turned 18 but c’est la vie.

So I’ve probably actually never spoken to my inner child before, and it’s a good example of how I’ve tried just forget about the past, and it hasn’t worked. I’ve known it hasn’t worked for a long time, and it’s not really surprising to me that I feel the way I do now. When you’re limping through life, even my Cinderella story of the past 3 years isn’t enough to deal with the gulf between what you know you should be feeling and what you actually feel.

So today, through some guided meditation, I met her. I was a little surprised to see her appear as a teenager of about 16 or so, but that embodiment makes a lot of sense. If I had to place a time of my life where my development feels like it’s been arrested in for a long time, it would be high school. So while she wasn’t quite ‘Little Ivy’ in the traditional sense, she told me some things that were pretty poignant. Nothing, actually, that I haven’t heard before from others.

In meeting her, I realized where a lot of my unhappiness comes from. I didn’t understand, for so long, why I was feeling so unseen and neglected. At the risk of namedropping, my network and just my overall profile now should make it so I’m never unhappy. What she told me really drove home that cultivating internal validation, not external is some work that is long overdue.

Tired : From Without, Wired : From Within

My endless pit of pessimism really baffled me completely before today. I promise I’m namedropping here only to really illustrate how badly I need to cultivate this internal validation.

I did a combination Clubhouse registration date birthday and actual birthday room (I didn’t do a public one, as many on the platform do during my actual birthday) last week. Paul Davison sang me happy birthday, and Kat Cole both threw so much kindness my way that I almost started crying. Nicole Patrice DeMember gave me her usual loving insights, Marlena Rodriguez was her usual hilarious and loving self. Outside of that room, Swan Sit gave me the words of kindness and support I’ve come to expect from her over the past year.

I was really happy for a day or two, then went back to my usual pessimism about the future, mainly that the last 3 years were a blip, and soon I’ll waste away in some soul-crushing tech job (or worse). Little Ivy made it really clear to me today that the reason for this pattern repeating over and over has nothing to do with anyone but myself. Lacking that internal validation means that it really doesn’t matter what stature of person is kind to me or says they believe in me, without first believing it myself it will never be enough, and always be fleeting.

This perhaps seem like one of those completely obvious things, but it wasn’t to me until today.

The other great truth Little Ivy imparted to me was how important being present is and how much I haven’t been doing it. I knew it on an instinctual level, but never really acknowledged it until today. Star Trek : The Next Generation put it really well I think, in Picard once saying that an unfavourable version of himself was best described as a ‘man proceeding through life as though he was always late for an appointment’.

There’s a lot of work to be done now, obviously. And it’s not so much the work that is new, but having opened a dialogue with my inner child and acknowledging what I’ve described in this post. So: Don’t be afraid of woo, sometimes it’s actually good for you. And talk to your inner child once in a while, if only to say hi.