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Reflections On Leaving 2022: Embracing 2023

I'm going to be blunt here like I am talking to a friend: but does anyone else sometimes feel like a failure at the end of every year?

Like, you sit down to refresh and reflect on the coming new year, to structure out your goals and write out desires and flesh out the purpose you're going to focus on with a zillion sticky notes and a shiny new planner---only to confront the very stark reality that you still didn't do a ton of the things that you wanted to do for the previous year?

The older I've gotten, the more this pervasive sense of shame and anxiety of "you didn't do enough" tends to weave its way through those days after Christmas as each year comes to its close. 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021... Now 2022.

I have heard it said that depression lives in the past, anxiety lives in the future, but in the present there is peace, for it is the only thing that is actually happening right now.

The present is the only thing that actually matters, and it is the only thing that you can actually do something about.

I try to live in that perspective of present mindfulness as much as I can, to give myself the same kind of grace that I would freely give to those I love so deeply, but when I take a moment to look at all of the things I promised myself I would accomplish this year, or when I look to the future and perceive all that I am off-track on...

The feeling of shame that surrounds me is similar to drowning.

I can't breathe.

It makes me want to hide.

It makes it hard to want to post light-heartedly on social media about the good things in my life when there are those DM's that inevitably follow, "When is your next book coming out?"

It makes me feel like I don't deserve to live well unless I am producing something because I learned early on that I was only valuable if I was performing for everyone (not true, but 3 years of therapy isn't gonna undo 20 years of trauma).

And I know that feelings aren't facts, but feelings do tend to point in the direction of the thing that still needs to be healed.

I'm an author, is it any shocker that I have a ridiculously unhealthy complex about my existence?

Anyway, I say all this not for pity, but because I had wanted to finish The Siren's Talon: Tales of Edenarth for 2022, but I fell short of this most important goal. And I wanted to release The Rogue Prince early in 2023 right on its heels. For those of you who have been so patiently waiting for the story to continue, I want to earnestly thank you. That is quite honestly the biggest compliment anyone could give any author, that any of you could give The CORH, is that you are excited for more. But I have failed you guys in producing these next installments in a timely manner, and it sucks knowing that that is the reality of things.

People have told me that I don't owe anyone an explanation as to why I am late, but I also hate that mindset because The CORH is so much bigger than I am. And I *want* to give my fans an explanation, because you have all shown so much support and love for it over these years.

So here goes. The first step to overcoming shame is living in the truth.

And the truth is, I let my personal life over take my ability to function in my work.

In June 2022 I had a deep heartbreak that wrecked me. It was something that I could not prepare for, was completely blindsided by, and as a result I shut down for about 3-4 months afterwards, barely existing from day to day. It was in those months months that I had initially set aside and planned to finish The Siren's Talon.

But due to those circumstances I just couldn't.

However when I take account of my life, there has been a reoccurring theme of this exact disfunction ever since I published in 2018. Things that happen personally which ultimately pummel my spirit time and time again. I have not protected my heart, which is the well-spring of life, and because of that I have not been the best version of myself; the version of myself that can show up *consistently* and write and create and be the best *R. Litfin* for you all and for the future of The CORH.

"A Paladin's heart must be strong" is a central theme throughout The CORH, and even though The CORH is a fantasy, this theme holds up in our very real lives.

Not protecting our hearts, our energy, is a betrayal of self. A lack of self-respect and self-love. And when we would do anything to protect our loved ones from harm, why would we not lend the same vigilance and protection to ourselves?

And not only that, but why would I not show up as the best version of myself, for myself and my work, everyday?

So, in short, this is me coming clean about my ability to show up because of my own stupid traumas and poor partner choices that have gotten in the way of what really matters. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet hoping for a different result each time." The way I have treated my heart over these last few years is not it fam.

It is not it.

But this is also me finally breaking free from the paralysis, finally coming up for air, and finally moving forward with an unshakable resolve that I have only ever felt a handful of times in my life. And maybe it's because there is a new year upon us. Maybe it's because with the New Year there is always this "New Year, New Me" mentality that we all the basics suddenly make their new personality trait.

So this is me promising to do all I can to become the kind of person who can show up, and show up, and show up again for the things that really matter in this world. To cultivate the consistency in life many of you may have heard me speak with so much authority about in my panels. Quite honestly, I need to take my own dang advice. And to do this, I need to protect my heart.

"A Paladin's heart must be strong."

Right now, what really matters is moving this legacy along into millions more hearts and hands the world over.

I don't have an exact date nor timeline for the release of The Siren's Talon, but part of my restructuring my goals is getting an accurate timeline parsed out. For absolutely certainty (unless by some act of God), it will be out this year. I will also be updating about progress points far more frequently. The plan is also still to release it via kickstarter. In the coming week's I'll be posting much more about the process of it all.

But for now, this is me wishing you all a New Year full of clarity and peace. A New Year that sees us all standing strong and not burdened by the shame of the "what if's" and "could haves" of the past, but encouraged by every opportunity that the gift of the present offers us if only we dare to jump.

I love you all dearly. Happy New Year, and welcome 2023! Adventure on!

xo Rachel

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