Welcome, my beloved Shiny Humans, to my newsletter!
If we haven't met yet, I’m Sarah Dopp.
I was going to be a writer when I grew up, and I’m 40 now, so it’s time.
It's not that I didn't try earlier—I just got distracted along the way. I worked in tech for 20 years, got obsessed with productivity and optimization, wrestled with my gender and sexuality, hosted open mics, built community blogs, got married, traveled a bunch, learned I have ADHD, got certified as an ADHD coach (cuz that'll fix it, right?), made some TikTok videos, and started an online ADHD resource center for the queer community. Then I closed that center because I burned myself out and turned into a reactive raw nerve, and this is all around the time that I learned I’m autistic and have been profoundly misunderstanding my own needs. So then I rested for a whole damned year.
I’ll probably talk about some of those things here.
Subscribing to a newsletter is kind of a big deal, because your inbox is a super personal space. It's a sacred space.
And I mean that regardless of what state your inbox is in. It doesn't matter if it's meticulously sorted and hits Inbox Zero exactly three times a day, or if it's such a perfect example of “I know where everything is” controlled chaos that the app icon shouting “4,392” has been invisible to you for years, or if it's a shame-inducing mountain of messages you plan to get back to but can't find because there are too many clothing store flyers and webinar sales messages from influencers you met through Instagram ads.
Your inbox is yours the way your mental health strategies are yours. The way your career path is yours. The way your private fascination with the way fog moves across a landscape in low light is yours.
Your inbox is yours the way your body is yours.
Inviting me in is a big act of trust, and I want to honor that trust. So my goal here is to give you a sense of what you'd be getting into.
Here’s what I’m offering.
I’ve been on a hell of a journey, and still have quite an adventure ahead. I have stories to tell that changed my life. There's a collection of insights jangling in my pockets that I want to pass your way. I want to share my fascinations with you like a child who just found a salamander under a rock. I want to let you in on what's ahead for me as it unfolds. And I want to do all this through a playful improv dance with my greatest joy and oldest friend, words. And to invite you onto that dance floor with me.
I expect to email you every 1-2 weeks, but we'll see what happens. I expect to focus on personal essays and ideas that might be useful to my fellow burned out neurodivergent overachievers, but we'll see what happens. If I start doing anything else that you might be interested in, I'll keep you posted about it. If I suddenly become fascinated with a specific sea creature, you'll probably start hearing about that creature. And I won't share your email address with anyone.
I will tell you the truth, but my lane is pretty specific, so it might only be my truth.
The more similar we are to each other, the more useful my perspectives will be to you as you keep exploring your own path. The more different we are, the more my content will feel like an exercise in understanding how other people experience the world.
Either way, those are pretty good payoffs.
But I’m not for everyone.
If my perspectives frustrate, irritate, or scare you, I wouldn’t consider that to be a very good payoff. I’d like you to feel safe in your inbox, and I don’t want to activate you in those ways.
So let’s just run a quick Values Check. Repeat after me...
- Black lives matter.
- Trans women are women.
- Nonbinary genders are valid.
- Burnout is disabling and can last months or years.
- Sarah Dopp is autistic and has ADHD.
If any of those statements made you feel like you're in the wrong room, please do not subscribe to this newsletter. I am here to support my communities—not to recruit for them or to justify their existence. I want your perspectives to be held and engaged with in the style that works for you; I'm just not equipped to provide that space. But there are many other people out there who are.
To the intensely stressed...
If you're in the phase of burnout where hearing "you need more rest" makes you want to flip tables and set fires because holy hell that is some privileged shit to say in the face of unbelievably overwhelming circumstances...
I am sending you immense love and care. I get it. I see you. I was in a similar spot a year ago. And because of that, I need to warn you: my content might not be the best fit for you right now.
If I had heard my current perspectives at the peak of my stress, I would have rolled my eyes so hard that it would have re-triggered my near-constant migraines and brain fog.
And You. Don't. Need. More. Overwhelm.
I've been immensely privileged to be able to take a long break, listen to my body, and relearn how I live. I want to share what I have learned from this gift for the benefit of others... but most of what I'm learning is that we need to slow way down, and do things in uniquely personal ways. I wish I knew how to sugarcoat that, but I haven't figured it out yet.
So if hearing that message will increase your stress and not your hope, then I am not your content creator right now. Please do not hurt yourself on my messages. Go find the resources that speak to your circumstances—there are many more voices out there. You can come back when you have a sliver of discretionary brainspace again.
And to those who know me personally...
If you’d describe me as an old friend, a family member, a former colleague, or <*wince*> an ex...
Okay, first of all, there's a decent chance I owe you an apology for my past behavior when I was stressed. I hope you'll consider reaching out if you're holding some frustration toward me. I'd like the chance to talk about it with you and make it right.
As for this newsletter, please just check in with yourself about how comfortable you are with my public voice (i.e., the one I'm writing in right now). While I am always striving to be authentic and sincere, my public voice is by nature—and unapologetically—a mask.
In other words, this newsletter isn’t me; it’s my art. So if you're only here for me, hanging out with me on Facebook might be a better fit.
Also consider what I tend to talk about. If queer neurodivergent self-care for productivity nerds isn't your jam, or if the idea of hearing something super personal from me makes you a little squirmy, it's really okay to not keep up with me here. Some relationships are just happier with... less info... ya know?
But this one's really your call. If it's not weird for you, then I’m happy you’re here. ❤️
Does this cost money?
I'm still sorting out what "making a living" looks like in this next phase. Right now, my priority is to create and share, rather than to sell and serve, and that's involving a hell of a mental shift.
And because I still believe in this magical internet—and I believe that sharing our stories openly and vulnerably is how we can best show our love for each other—I want to create content that is freely available to everyone.
At the same time, I also haven't worked in a year. And that'll, um—*cough*—need to change at some point. It would be pretty cool if this could be a part of it.
So if you're one of those amazing people who has connected with my work, who believes in what I do, and who wants to help me get to a place where I can do it sustainably, I've added an option to pay for this newsletter. You can also send a one-time tip.
In other words, you do not need to give me money to benefit from what I'm doing. But if it's important to you that I keep doing it, giving me money will help. (And to those who do: wow, thank you, seriously.)
I want to be clear though: there are zero material benefits to being a supporter, other than the deep satisfaction of knowing that you're helping me find my most authentic path back into the world. I might add perks for paid subscribers in the future, but I'll give you a heads up if that becomes a thing.
Okay, I think that about covers it.
If it seems like you belong here, I really hope you subscribe.