Feelings are meant to be felt

Sad girl summer is coming y'all

At the weekend I was talking to Craig about music, in particular sad music. We agree on a lot, but music has always been an area of difference for us. While we share a love of classic rock, we also have very different other favourites - Craig is passionate about 90s-00s hip-hop, and I’m more of an indie-folk kinda gal.

For me, it all boils down to why we listen to music and what we hope to get from it. Craig likes music that gets him amped. He's also a literature graduate and huge poetry fan - what's rap music if not poetry to a beat?

I listen to music for the full spectrum of emotions it brings. In the car, I was playing Phoebe Bridgers - a self-professed creator of sad music - and Craig said he doesn’t see the point in music that makes you feel sad.

This got me thinking about why I’ve always loved sad art. I mean, A Little Life is one of my favourite books, need I say more?! For me, there is something very healing about melancholy.

Therapy for the soul

One of the core principles of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is learning that you are not your thoughts and feelings. A common exercise for dealing with panic attacks and anxiety is the act of sitting with an emotion, acknowledging its presence and waiting for it to pass.

Keeping that in mind, I think many of us are on a journey of self-discovery and understanding with our own feelings. It’s easy to react to a feeling, but it’s much harder to take the time to identify the feeling and determine why you feel that way.

Maybe that’s what’s so appealing to me about sad music, films and books. They allow us to feel the things that we typically ignore or don't understand.

On top of that, the fact that people are making art that reflects their truest and darkest feelings shows us that we are not alone. Listening to Bridgers’ sad anthem Strangers In The Alps or reading pretty much any book by Matt Haig brings with it a feeling of comfort in knowing that so many people feel depression and sadness in their own way, to the point where they are inspired by it to create art. Something beautiful can come from the darkest moments.

In a world where the first response to sadness is so often “chin up” I do believe this is still no better release than a good cry.

What do you think? Do you embrace or dodge the sadness? Let me know on Twitter @ContentByTheSea or reply to this email to chat in confidence.


📚 Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

Amazing but harrowing tale of 17-year-old Enchanted who gets the opportunity to tour with her favourite singer, but soon finds out he has a very dark side. Inspired by the R Kelly assault allegations, this is a tough read but fantastically delivered. If you liked Queenie and/or My Dark Vanessa, then this one’s for you.

📰 Freelancer Magazine has not only hit its crowdfunding goal, but it’s SMASHED it. Sophie and the team have issued a stretch goal and named a date for the closing party - there’s still time to pledge! Check it out here.

📧 This week’s issue of Write52, a weekly writing challenge led by Ed Callow, is all about my favourite topic: dogs.


Ep #7 of our podcast is out now!

In this week's episode of Conversations By The Sea, we are answering questions from the lovely freelancer community on Twitter. We chat about Ellen's journey from sole trader to VAT-registered limited company, how we are dealing with Craig's ADHD diagnosis, and how we cope with bad mental health days in the business.

As usual, it’s available to watch on YouTube or listen on Spotify.


Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:

17 March: I sent a newsletter every week for a year

10 March: I’m triggered

3 March: Balancing creativity and getting paid

24 February: The day I lost a client

17 February: How to talk to someone who is struggling

10 February: Learning to say no and other lessons from two years of self-employment

3 February: Learning to find joy in the mundane

27 January: No you can’t

20 January: I’ll be happy when

13 January: Why you’re tired all the time

6 January: Just keep going