(To read this chapter—keep scrolling. If you prefer to listen to me read it aloud, click on the video below:)
It's been seventeen weeks since I started the LOCKED DIARY.
That's *seventeen weeks* of incessantly pouring my heart out via a subscription column to my favorite people in the world:
all of you.
And guess what? The Locked Diary is 52,000 words. That's about 5,000 words longer than The Great Gatsby but 5,000 words shorter than The Catcher in the Rye and approximately 5,000 times less literary than both esteemed classics.
Real Talk: I started the LOCKED DIARY in a very dark season of life.
My marriage had fallen apart.
The friends I'd thought for certain would catch me when I fell through the cracks of heartbreak dropped me onto the pavement.
I was in a toxic work situation.
A darling gorgeously glittery friend of mine had just died of an accidental overdose.
Another darling friend's gorgeous glittery little sister died of an accidental overdose just days later.
I had no money.
I felt like I didn't belong anywhere.
I felt like I had been robbed of my creativity.
I felt hopeless. Drawn. Teeming with nothing but pain and resentment.
It had officially happened: I'd lost my fucking sparkle, babe.
So I did the unthinkable: I packed up my shit and hopped a plane to my parent's house in Sarasota, Florida. That day my face had been rendered so puffy from crying if I pressed my thumb into my cheek there would be an indent of my actual fingerprint in my pizza-dough face.
"You look like a junkie mermaid who's hot off the heels of a bender," my brother told me after I snapped him a selfie the morning I took off.
"Well—you look like Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid," I texted him, "If Prince Eric was on pills and morbidly obese."
My brother never poses in the photographs, let alone selfies, so I had no evidence to support my accusations of him resembling a rotund, opioid-addicted Disney character, but I always clap back.
Even in my darkest hours.
Especially in my darkest hours.
But Blake (my brother) was right. I'd never looked more like a junkie Mermaid than when I landed in Florida at 5 PM with a botched spray tan and dishwater-colored split ends falling into the cracks of my rib cage. And not in a chic way: I hadn't slept in about a year.
I hadn't brushed my hair in months.
I hadn't consumed anything with the exception of sauvignon blanc in several days.
I was hanging on by a thread.
And the wine had clearly gone to my head.
'Cause when my friend Josh texted me, "There's a lesbian event in Sarasota tonight at the cine bistro—I can't go but you, like, totally should!"
Yes—I willingly agreed to go to a lesbian party at a Floridian movie theatre where the median age was about 84, whilst hungry, exhausted, and nursing a smashed-up heart and injured ego. I won't get into the nuance of that night—but don't you worry. That chapter is on her way to you—and boy is *she* the hot mess we all need in our lives during these trying times.
I spent the next month finishing up the toxic work project and trying to figure out what the hell to do next.
I've never been one to put my work behind a paywall—after all, I'm always looking to garner as many ~page views~ as possible—but I felt, for the first time, too raw to have my wounds exposed to the entire internet at large. Too many blood-hungry sharks out there. I intrinsically knew that the people who'd be willing to shell out their hard-earned money to view my work would only be people who were in my corner. My most trusted and sacred readership. So I decided to take a stab at the 'ole subscription business model:
And I'm so deeply and utterly elated that I did. Not only was I able to survive as a writer without relying on digital media publications that covet the same old tired beauty and lifestyle articles—I was able to cultivate a deeper relationship with incredible humans. Most of whom have followed my work for the larger part of the last decade. I added tiers to the subscription service—tiers that offered "Big Sister Sessions"—one-on-one Zoom Meet-Ups where my readers and I could talk safely about anything that was on their minds: sex, sexuality, addiction, career shifts, the meaning of life, relationships, if true love is actually a real thing, feeling stuck, how to become unstuck, feeling sad, how to stop feeling sad, hopes for the future, the dreams we're not willing to give up on just yet and all the shit we're desperate to let go of but can't seem to release from our grips just yet.
These Big Sister Sessions served as a lifeline for me. I looked forward to them every week and became super invested in everyone's lives. I felt like they kicked up the best version of myself: someone who deeply listens and empowers others to go after what the fuck they want, no matter how deep in they feel they are. It was an equal exchange of energy: I gave my full attention and received the kind of human connection I didn't even know I'd been hungry for. Hunger isn't the right word. Starving is better.
Look: I love writing. Writing is how I make sense of myself and the world at large. I don't know what my take is on anything until I write about it. Writing is my heart and writing is my art. I will never, ever stop writing. I'm a lifer. I will continue to dedicate the deepest parts of myself to this craft.
But also, writing is lonely. I didn't know how lonely and isolated I'd felt for the past eight years until the Big Sister Sessions came to fruition. Before I was a professional writer I ran an outreach theatre for high-risk teenagers, you see. I went from sitting on the floor with a bunch of amazing, enigmatic sixteen-year-olds to typing behind a static screen in an office so quiet and so laden with headphones my friend who once visited referred to it as a "silent disco."
At first, my new career was harrowing and isolating. But then, like most things, I got used to it. And the benefits of writing were amazing! I made money! I got a book deal! I got to host a fabulous monthly lit salon in partnership with a major brand! I soon forgot about the part of me that wants to dig deep with other humans, that wants to explore and examine what's going on in their lives and facilitate their growth not just through my writing—but through conversation and connection.
The Big Sister Sessions awakened my desire to get outside of myself, look into someone's eyes and remind them of how fucking powerful they are. And just like back in my youth outreach theatre days—the healing was a two-way street.
As my proverbial sisters healed, so did I. As they remembered who they really are without the layers of cultural pressure, so did I.
As they realized they were worthy of living a life beyond their wildest dreams, so did I.
I want more of this, I kept thinking. So I took another strange leap. I enrolled in the life coaching school spearheaded by my favorite author and speaker—Oprah's very own life coach—Martha Beck. I knew if I wanted to lean into the big sis sessions further, I needed to learn the tools and the methods from the very best. When I decide to do something; I do it, full throttle. I threw myself into the work (which is hard and includes a heavy examination of yourself and what your own limiting beliefs are and what's stopping you from living your truth) and when I came up for air, I realized this is what I want to do most of the time.
As I said; I'll still write. But my darlings—I've decided it's time to put the Locked Diary to bed. Because at this point in time, I want to get outside of myself. I want to focus my attention on helping people—regardless of their age, sexuality, gender, or background—live lives that are theirs. Because nothing lights me up like watching someone get their fucking sparkle back. Because above all, what inspires me in this world, is connection.
It's time for me to take a break from this narrative.
You know how I told you all that the closest person to me recently received a serious diagnosis which is why I'm currently living in LA? When that happened I changed. On a fundamental level. I realized so much of what I couldn't let go of—betrayal, lost love, hurt, my life in New York—was stopping me from building something new.
We only have so much space in our lives.
We only have so much space in our hearts.
And living a long time is not a guarantee.
Our time here is short.
There is no promise that tomorrow will come.
And I don't want to waste another second of my precious time here on earth living in the dusty clutter of the past. I want to free up space and fill up the empty rooms with beautiful things that authentically make me feel...good.
These old dirty couches were not making me feel good.
They must've been wrought with toxic black mold.
I was starting to feel sick.
And writing about it all, incessantly, was keeping me weak and stuck in a story I don't want to be in anymore.
I have deeply loved writing The Locked Diary. And I appreciate all of you who showed up and supported me and my work—more than words could ever express. You made it safe to spill my most shameful secrets onto the page. In fact, sharing my shameful secrets with you completely eradicated the shame! I had so much shame.
I don't anymore.
You liberated me.
I could never thank you enough.
(I'm dedicating my next book to all of you; by the way).
But it's time for a new narrative.
I'll be writing and recording three more chapters for you and then at the end of the month, the subscription will be dissolved.
I'll be focusing on life coaching and will be writing shorter-form free content focused on mental health, love, sex, and dating.
And as a thank you, I'm offering an extra two big sis sessions on the house.
And I HOPE—more than anything—some of you will consider havin' some coaching sessions with me. After all: *You* are my most revered muses. *You* are my family.
My belief in *you* is unconditional.
(If you're worried about money—reach out! I *want* to work with you).
I'm actually getting extremely emotional as I wrap this up.
I realize this is so much bigger than just ending a project.
This is about starting a new path, for real this time.
I'm scared shitless.
But mostly, I'm ready.
And I can't wait to take you with me as I embark on this new adventure. One built on connection, genuine love, and a newfound lust for this one and only precious life of ours.
But you know what? I couldn't have moved forward without processing the pain of the past through the Locked Diary. The only way out is through. You and this diary got me through. And while she might be no Gatsby novel—I'm proud of her. In all of her messy, drunken, dark, unliterary wildness—I'm so fucking proud of her.
I'm so fucking proud of us.
AND NO MATTER WHAT:
I'll hold your hand through this nightmare. 💕