• Ellen Pope

Draft one

I don’t quite know how I am back here, to be honest. This post is going to be precisely what the title says. A very first draft. But I feel I need to do this.

I sit here with no voice. Actually no sound, I have an infection that has taken my entire voice, and it has done for days. But in so many other ways, it is a symbol of a more significant period of my life. I have lost my voice, and my identity and, probably, a lot of other things.

As you can see with the website, I have taken down all the shite, the fluff, the selfies. I have stripped it back to what I feel I need in my life now - just my words.

It has been a difficult time for me, and I sit here today typing, probably at my lowest, both physically and mentally. I have lost my strength to fight what seems to have been wave after wave of shit, which individually I believed I had battled but ended up being a cumulation of fights I look back on and think I lost every single time.

It has been hard for me to pick up my MacBook and write like this, write from deep down in the pits of my soul again. Something I did a lot of over 12 months ago.

It was a comment from a friend last week, which drew me back to my blog. The comment simply was “Oh, we just want our old Ellen back”. A simple observation, given from the best place and taken by me with love, but I am going to be honest, confusion. What is old Ellen? I hadn’t really changed, had I? I’d just had a run of bad luck.

I dusted off my blog for another reason as well, the loss of a friend and mentor, who in his short time on this planet had championed my writing and believed in my voice. It was his cruel loss that made me relook at what he had believed in. And so, I read some of my writing. And I realised that they were all correct. Where had the old Ellen gone? And why had I stopped believing in my writing?

I sobbed. Something I haven’t done in years, but something I have made up for in the last few weeks. The tears have fallen down so much that my face is still sore where they collect between my cheeks and my glasses.

That is how I can summarise this weird chapter since I last sat in front of a screen and wrote. Loss.

Roll back to Feb 2018, and I felt fierce and healthy both mentally and physically. I felt sexy and had started to love my body. I had begun to trust my gut again and trust those around me. I was pushing myself, meeting new people, and I was batting at the top of my game when it came to my career. I had a calendar full of exciting things ahead of me, I was busy, and I was alive. I believed in myself as a woman, a businesswoman and I championed those around me. I laughed, I laughed a fucking lot. And my writing shone of it. Christ, reading it back - i would fancy me. I was well and everything I should be.

At this moment I must confess I am none of the above, and the climb back to meet her at the top seems an awfully long way away. She appears on the top of Everest, and I don't think I have even put my foot on the plane yet. That time in my life wasn't fake. It wasn't a character, it was fact. I was embracing life.

And I know a lot of this has to do with perception. The core of my squad around me believes I am now standing on the edge of something great. That I have all the cards back in my hands and I am about to do beautiful things with them because I can. They see only gain. They see the benefits after a good old whack of pain.

All I see is the loss after fuck loads of pain.

Just like this blog, I have stripped my life back to the very start. I kicked over my sandcastle, and I started again. I remember telling my therapist this year that I felt like I was shedding skin, and it hurt as much as I thought it would. I feel like I am regenerating, the next Dr Who. But I won’t wake up to find I am Peter Capaldi in the morning.

But I don’t know how to adjust to the changes that have happened in my world, and the thumping my heart has taken. I have tried talking, walking, therapy, exercise, baking cakes, and now all I can do is work the only real way I know how to express myself, and that is to write this whole new chapter of my life out. On here, and without regret or remorse.

To do what my friend told me to do, “Popey just write”.

I need to figure all this out with words.

My past pieces of work were very empowering - and to be fair I was in a good place back then. I can’t promise the next set will be as Captain Marvel. But I have never hidden from my problems, and I have never been afraid of my voice, so I must revive her back from the dead. And not for you, whoever decides to read this, but this time, for me.

I lost a lot.

  • I gave up a highly paid and successful job, to start again with no income, but a pipe dream to make something so small and tiny succeed. Which sounds fucking epic, but is fucking terrifying.

  • I have had really low points in my career, where I have learnt so many lessons about myself as an individual and as a businesswoman.

  • I have had my personality scrutinised and torn to pieces.

  • I have been lied to.

  • I have been talked at and down to by a variety of humans, all who believed they knew best, but in fact, knew very fucking little.

  • I lost my confidence

  • I lost my friend

  • I understood the meaning of alone (not to be mixed up with lonely)

  • I have made bad business decisions

  • I had a breakdown before Christmas, where I thought I was about to lose my health for good.

  • I had my heart broken, properly broken.

  • I feel uncomfortable in my own skin, and unprepared for what is ahead.

  • I allowed everything to fall on me, and the effect on my immune system has meant I am continually fighting something. I am fatigued.

I may be down, but I am not out though. And I am going to find the way back to happiness by telling my story.

And this is where it begins.

I need to talk about loss, how starting a business from scratch is the hardest thing you will ever do. I want to discuss the impact it has on you when you are lied to. I want to talk about heartbreak, sexuality and how everything is not as it seems. I want to explain burnout to you, and not because it is a buzzword on a flyer, but the actual damaging effects it has on your body as well as your mind. I need to thank my squad of beautiful humans who have supported me through the last few months. I want you to make better decisions if you are in business, and learn by some of the mistakes I have made. I always wanted to write a book so I might test a few chapters out on you. I want to write about the pressure. I want to write about mental health.

I want to talk about anxiety and depression. I want to talk about wins as well.

I want to talk to you about my upcoming sabbatical - something I have never had, so fuck knows how that it will go.

I want to rebuild myself from the bottom piece by piece, but this time build the foundations correctly.

I don’t want to be bullied, used or took for granted. I don’t want that anymore. And I want to be at a point in my life when I see these things happen before I allow it to sit too deep in my soul, and when the bomb goes off, it rips me apart.

I don’t want to have to keep regenerating, it is tiring.

But my friend is right, I need to get that fighting spirit back, I need to laugh again.

But first, and above anything else, I must heal. And I am going to rebuild it back with words.


Miss Pope is part of the Ellen Pope Communications Brand

Ellen Pope is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant and food magazine editor

You can contact Ellen on ellen@ell

This brand also features Chatting Food Magazine

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