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"...We Are Broken, Too"

"...We Are Broken, Too"
By Jewel Wicker • Issue #22 • View online
On bereavement and rest.

Grandma and Papa (who died months before I was born)
Grandma and Papa (who died months before I was born)
 If all the news is breaking all the time, then we are broken, too. - Sam Sanders
If the first three years of working as a freelance reporter were about hurling myself at every possible opportunity, this past year has been about stepping back. Stepping into a new way of working. Of being.
This time last year, I was once again forced to slow down and reexamine the way I work because of my migraines. My therapist and mother suggested cutting back on the amount of hours I was working, at least temporarily. What if I only worked 4 days a week or cut back on my daily hours? I begrudgingly agreed to work 30 hours a week (or 6 hours per day), but I struggled with how working less made me feel. Even though I was still productive – working less hours, I found, actually made me more decisive about the types of assignments and rates I accepted – I still felt lazy. Even as I got assignments that better aligned with my interests and earned more money than when I was working longer hours, I didn’t want anyone to know I was working less. I didn’t want anyone to judge me or perceive me as weak. My mom repeatedly told me I sounded silly but, well, what do moms even know?
If Tricia Hersey, founder of The Nap Ministry, heard my internal dialogues she’d tell me I need to unpack the ways I’ve internalized society’s unhealthy messages that my worth is tied to my output. She’d be right. The ways we’ve been conditioned to believe our usefulness is tied to our production is harmful to everyone, but they’re also often inherently steeped in ableism, racism and sexism.
(2014)
(2014)
My grandmother died on the last day of August. I was sitting at Tayari’s dinner table, drinking wine and eating pound cake and ice cream when I got the call that something was wrong. Deep down, I knew she was gone but I pushed it aside and asked for another piece of cake. I wanted to enjoy the peace and calm for a few more minutes, while I still could.
I’ve spent most of this month struggling to be productive. It’s hard to care about entertainment and culture, even when you’re passionate about it, when your favorite person is gone.
Even in my moments of intense grief, I still struggle with allowing myself to be unproductive. I’m currently working on a project that’s more personal (and, thus, more challenging) than the work I typically do. My colleague, Floyd, calls it “heart work.” It’s been hard to do this work when my heart is broken.
The reality, though, is if I want to continue to see the people I report on in their full humanity, I have to first see myself. I’m not entitled to rest just because I get migraines or because my grandmother died. Hardships are not what entitle me to rest.
It is, simply, our birthright as a human beings.
Thanks for baring with me and giving me grace in this tiny corner of the internet this past year as I, along with everyone else, have navigated life. Here are a few things that have resonated with me this past month while I was away:
Recent(ish) Work:
Podcasts I'm Listening To:
Recent Reads:
The women I met at the courthouse are not the only ones using logical fallacies to rationalize irreconcilable truths in famous men.
She’s what superheroes are made of, except she’s made of bones and muscles that strain and break.
A few things about me (and this newsletter):
I know a few of you might have learned about this newsletter during my time away from Revue’s promo, so I’ll close this issue out with a quick introduction:
Hi. :) I’m Jewel Wicker, an Atlanta native who has worked as a freelance reporter for the past four years (prior to that, I spent some time at as a staff reporter). Since then, I’ve learned a lot about both reporting *AND* navigating self-employment/working as a freelancer. I try to share the things I’ve learned about both here, as well as my thoughts on entertainment and media happenings (especially around diversity and equity).
This is also the place where you can see what I’m working on outside of my portfolio or Twitter, and get my recommendations on media. As I announce new projects and branch into new mediums, I’ll also use this space as a way to keep everyone updated and share what I’m learning.
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Jewel Wicker

Featuring insight into working as a freelance reporter and contextualizing Atlanta.

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