Welcome to our Midstory Magazine community! Tell us a little bit about you: where you live, what you do, what you write/read, how you’re feeling about midlife… We’re thrilled to “meet” you!
Hi! Hi! I love this project so much. I, too, am finding so many of my friends and acquaintances are going through soul-rearranging midlife changes. I'm Katrina (Surrendering to Sappho on Substack), and I live and travel full-time in my 35-foot 5th wheel with my partner and two rescue dogs. I came out at 46, divorced my husband of nearly 25 years, and am now living my authentic, queer life. I am a writer, and I love to read every bit of literary fiction and memoir I can get my greedy little hands on. :)
Hello and welcome! I'm Stephanie, co-editor of The HerStories Project and Midstory Magazine. I'm a single mom to 12- and 17-year old girls and two needy rescue dogs. I write at Midlife Mommy, for Real on Substack, produce Listen To Your Mother Denver and Boulder, and podcast at the Mother Plus Podcast. I feel like my 40s have given me one restart after the next, and midlife has been more bewildering, but also my vibrant, than I ever could have imagined. We are so honored to have you here and get to know you.
Hi Steph! Hi Jessica!
I've been out of the loop for a bit but am always so happy to see you in my inbox.
I am Rozi (pronounced Rozee. Yep there is a story there too) I live in Costa Rica with my husband Chris and our ginger white cat Tali. I write in bits and spurts as I've been working on building a life and business in Costa Rica. I finally finished the rental units last Christmas and have been sliding in and out of burn out ever since. Recently we realized we can't stay and have put the whole thing up for sale. We are moving to Portugal. Burnout has me in and out of bed on random days. Today is a stay in bed day but I had to say hi!
I write some fiction, some poetry, but mostly I am writing memoir at this time. I just got a piece published that is coming out in the next 2 weeks! So excited about that one!
I am currently working in FINALLY finishing my book about turning 40 while training in Michelin restaurants in Tuscany, Italy. That's where you will find me on the good days! I am also working on starting something, not sure what, about Costa Rica. Bed time is good for perusing those ideas.
Thank you to Steph and Jessica for the community they created and continue to create. It was there for me when I needed it, and sometimes just knowing it is there is a comfort. See you back here soon!
Hello - I'm a writer and soon-to-be author of my first book titled Diamonds in the Dirt: Stories from a Junkyard Girl. I am also a personal and relationship coach after a 33+ year career as a marketing and PR consultant. Yes, change can be frightening, exhilarating, and exhausting! I support my clients - many who are facing changes in their lives to make decisions from that true authentic place inside. (Yes, I have my own stories to share and hope to contribute something to this new endeavor of yours!
I live in the Finger Lakes area of Upstate New York and I have a blog here titled More Than Words (search for my name and that title -- I'd love it if you'd consider subscribing and getting your support.)
I am beyond excited that we can connect here on Substack. I love you two and your passion for and ability to gather community. 🙏🏽
As of today (literally collecting from printers this am) I am the author of a book of poetry - Grace, Sophia & Me. It took breast cancer to unearth my poetic voice which I swear is what healed me. So much to share here but I am presenting at an Authors Day tmrw and seriously need to prep! Can’t wait to read and write with you all here. Back soon! Thx J&S ❤️
Yay for this community! I'm always so happy to be here.
I'm Andra, a NYT bestselling author of the memoir Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace. I currently divide my time between San Sebastián, Spain and Charleston, South Carolina (though the goal is to live in Spain full-time.) It's humbling to learn a new language at 54, even more humbling to attempt to write in it. Other things I love: my husband; yoga; reading; knitting; and hiking. I'm currently trying to sell a memoir about growing up in far-right Christian nationalism and how their tactics apply today. I'll keep you posted.
Hello! Living and working in a relatively small Northern California college town, I'm told fairly regularly that I'm living a "revolutionary lifestyle" as a single, bi/pansexual, Feminist, middle-aged nb-womxn. I'm tired and often feel like the world I was prepared to live in had slipped away to some alternate universe while I was learning how to adult without support from any of my family. The generation I belong to has witnessed radical shifts of Imperialist US American white-supremacist policy and the growth of multi-national corporations as drivers of globalist culture and modern forms of socioeconomic human trafficking through neo-colonial mechanisms of subordination. In the face of these changes, I struggle to find contentment with my privileged and quiet life, escaping the madness to find temporary solace while entertaining my two kitten masters.
Hi everyone! I live in Phoenix, married, two kids. Work full time in a high stress job. I have lupus and that has caused kidney failure, so I am currently on the transplant list. I lost my mom last year. I write mainly memoir/ creative nonfiction. Never been published but aspire to be.
Jessica and Stephanie-- you two are amazing leaders of this community. You always know the next place to turn, and I agree that Substack is a wonderful community. I can't wait to see all the excellent work that will come out of this new publication.
Hello everyone! Thank you, Jessica and Stephanie, for this new space to grow your amazing community. I'm excited to connect with folks and read more on this incredible Substack! I'm Natalie, a 47 year old Seattle-based instructor, writer, and mom of two with essays at HuffPost, Insider, Brevity blog, Motherwell, Mutha Magazine, The Manifest-Station, and various parenting publications and literary journals. I write about long-term grief and midlife parenting, and alll the feelings. I can't wait to meet more mid lifers in this space!
Hey, I'm Robyn. I just turned 53. My face has always been my best feature, because I'm short and stocky and have a big butt and thick thighs. And now my face is falling so I have to get into some radical acceptance about valuing myself for who I am, not how I look. But it's hard to do when you've gone through your whole life with literally everyone remarking on how beautiful you are. Not that it did me any good. My life has been convoluted and traumatic and bizarre and punctuated with mental health crises and abusive relationships and jobs that come and go, and chronic illness joined the party a few years ago. So I would love a place to talk about how all of that came to be, and I appreciate being welcomed here.
Hi, I'm Suzanne and I'm 50. I did the HerStories writers workshop last fall and enjoyed exercising my writing skills and connecting with other women in midlife. When I was 43, my husband died unexpectedly. I've spent the last 6 years discovering who I am without him and who I want to be in the future. For those 6 years, I worked at the same job but finally left that toxic environment and will start a new career tomorrow. It's a good change - less stress and more money - but change is scary and hard. I'm going from remote work to being in an office so that will be a big shift. My kids are older now (18 and almost 16) so it's time for me to put myself first and see what I can do in this new role. It really feels like I'm turning a page and I'm excited for the next chapter!
Hi! I am Traci and I have a few weeks until my 52nd birthday. I am new to writing, but love reading and hope to ramp up my writing over the next year. I am a busy pediatrician and married mom of four and have so many thoughts about parenting over the years and treating my patients from newborn until they graduate from my practice!
Hi, I’m Martha, I live in upstate New York, and I’m turning 54 next month. I was a journalist for 20 years, then found my way to grant writing after a hellish 2 1/2-year detour through the corporate world (marketing/corporate communications). Married, no children. I am in the “are we there yet?” phase of menopause, and it sucks. I talk a good game about aging with equanimity, but I’m thoroughly dispirited by my weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, etc. I’m trying to figure out how to ease the tension between feeling like I still have a massive amount of unrealized potential and accepting that most conventional definitions of success are empty and meaningless anyway, so why torture myself? If I find time to journal, that’s the extent of my current writing off the clock. I would have much more time for both reading and writing if I wasn’t frittering away so much of it by doomscrolling.
Aloha. I'm Missy and I live in Hawaii. I'm a new parent to two teens — not a new parent, but my youngest turned 13 a few days ago so this particular milestone is all new. I'm pretty happy at the moment — we were able to pick up and move here last winter. At first it was temporary, but we've decided to stay on as long as we can afford it. Even if we have to leave tomorrow, I'm eternally grateful that we were able to make a bold pivot at a time when our family was feeling stuck and that it's opened up myriad new paths for me. I took a break from writing for a few years, but I miss that part of myself.
Hi, I'm Laurie, and I live on Long Island--for some reason, we Long Islanders always say we live "on" LI and not "in LI, ha--and I am 57, the single mom of two teenagers. My son has autism and intellectual disabilities, and I am currently in the seemingly never-ending process of applying for the Medicaid and other offices' services that will support him for the rest of his life. I am the author of several novels, most recently, The Blue Girl, and just recently sent my new novel to my publisher and so am babysitting my email:). I have some excerpts that have appeared and will appear in some literary magazines. I've also written three novellas for a publisher dedicated to literacy called Gemma Open Door Media, and I have expanded one of these into a middle grade novel that I really need to finish. I'm not really sure how I got to be 57--they are right about kids; you blink and they're in high school--and one of the positives of this age is that I don't care as much about what people think, lol, but I also have chronic neck and back pain, which is an utter drag, and divorce has definitely hit me in the wallet. I'm always scrambling to make money, which is not where I saw myself (I was married for 25 years). My parents are both gone now, and I miss them terribly. But, you move forward every day, one foot in front of the other, and I do my best to co-parent with their emotionally distant father (that's the nicest way I can think of putting it, haha). So glad to meet you all!
I’m Alexis, 50, mom to two lively girls - Ruby (13) and Eliza (11). Married for 14 years to David and living in Minneapolis. I’m a child and family therapist. I didn’t actually believe the rumor that middle aged women become invisible until I joined a fancy gym (I don’t look the part) and waited for my smoothie at their cafe. Three times I was sitting, holding my number and the 20 year old walked past me looking to see who the smoothie should be delivered too. It was the most baffling and demoralizing experience. I’m glad to find a space where we’re seen and valued.
Hi everyone. I'm Shannie, from Virginia. I feel like whenever I read (or write) introductions there is a lot of importance placed on age, marital and child status. I'm in my 50's and actively looking to reconnect to the young woman that took no prisoners and no shit-until she did. I'd like to find the words to describe myself based more on who I am as a human and less how I (don't) fit into the mold. Does it matter if I have kids or a spouse? Does not having either make me an unfeeling ogre? We all want to connect with people who have shared life experiences. The thing is that we all have different paths to our destination. One goes left and the other goes right, but they were together at that fork in the road. I really want for us to learn how to accept one another for where we are, and stop "I'm better than you because..." judgements. I'd like to be seen for who I am and not the status of my womb or ring finger.
Hello, I am Krissy in Minnesota. I loved doing one of the HerStories small groups in the past, and am excited about this new community. I have written parenting and mental health articles for several online blogs, and right now am focusing mostly on writing and attempting to publish several middle-grade and ya novels. Midlife is pretty much the most perplexing stage of life thus far, where things I used to know I don't know anymore, and I'm discovering new things I'd wish I'd known a long time ago. I saw a meme the other day that said something about life being a mix between wondering why I didn't get invited and figuring out how to get out of going. And I felt that hard. It's multiplied by a million as I parent my 14, 13, and 8 year old, who are really the only people I want to hang out with anymore :) And then to be away from for a while! ;) I actually love aging though, it's a beautiful thing. I'd never want to go back, and can't wait to see what lies ahead. The middle is a good place, too. I'm a middle child, so maybe I'm crazy, but I'm enjoying the ride. Thank you for this space! Nice to meet you all.
Hi. I'm Morgan in Houston. I participated in the HerStories March summit. It was my first foray into an online writing community. Actually, to a writing community of any kind. I began writing last year after my father took his own life. It started as a way to process his ten-year struggle with mental illness, my childhood with him, etc, but has evolved into something much more for me. I've been exploring creative nonfiction, fictional short stories, poems and other genres. I'm still reticent to share my writing, but trying to find the courage because I know sharing is the best way to make my writing stronger and find connection with others.
I'm 46 and have 3 kids (13. 12 and 9). I describe myself as a former attorney and forensic accountant now acting as the COO of a busy household. Motherhood is by far the hardest job I have ever had! Loving every minute of it. Ok, that's a lie. Loving most minutes of it though!
I'm a recently laid-off publishing publicist, former radio producer, sometime cookbook author, semi-pro thrift shopper and non-believer in astrology who nevertheless is the widowed mother of a 24-year-old son who is the Libraest Libra to ever Libra.
I live in Marin County, California, about which I joke, "If you like rich white people, you'll love it!" I often describe myself as somewhere on the spectrum between Pollyanna and Plath, and I just participated in my first Mrs. Roper Pub Craw. It won't be my last.
I've recently started my own Substack, "It's Kind of a Long Story... " and I'd be much obliged if you subscribed. You won't be sorry. In my inaugural post I describe being caressed by Jon Hamm. Yes, caressed and yes, that Jon Hamm.
Hi! I'm an editor and writer and late midlifer (57 is late midlife, right?) living in Huntington, Long Island, New York. Mostly empty-nester -- my boys are both in college at the moment (a sophomore and a senior). My day job is as an editor at a custom publisher, producing publications for mainly healthcare/hospital clients. I've been a writer my whole life. Long career before this job in consumer and custom mags, and a long stint as a freelance writer/editor, and now this job. I wrote a book 10 years ago, Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later (Sourcebooks), that grew out of my now-silent blog of the same name (yep, another mommy blogger here!). The last couple years made me switch all my gears -- I was diagnosed with breast cancer in spring 2022, and had surgery in July 2022 -- double mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction, and then radiation. I'm free of cancer now, they tell me, but not free of the work it takes to heal, emotionally as well as physically. So OF COURSE I've been writing about it (on a blog for Everyday Health called "Doing My Breast: Adventures in Cancer). And I'm starting work on a memoir-in-essays about my experience.
Hello! I'm always so excited to get a HerStories/Jessica and Stephanie email in my inbox. I am 45 and my big news is I was recently diagnosed with ADHD! I self diagnosed about a year ago because of TikTok, which is weird to say, but social media has some amazing benefits. And my evaluating doctor heartily agreed with my diagnosis, as well as a couple anxiety disorders which is not at all surprising. I have 5 kids ages 14 to 26, and boy oh boy do I like the teen and young adult years better than the toddler years, though I won't say it's been easier. The difference is I get more sleep and more down time in the daytime. Most days. I haven't published anything really other than my own blog, and I once had an anonymous story published in a book and also read on stage - that was surreal. I'm a lifetime journaler, and I've been told many times, based on my facebook posts, that I need to write a book someday. I've decided on memoir since I journal so much, and I actually wrote a zero draft intro today. So, progress, right? As many of you, I also have kids with disabilities and mental health disorders, and it's hard AF.
Hi folks, I'm Sally 👋❤️☺️🙋🥳
I live in Ireland with my youngest son who is nearly 17 (my other son is in uni abroad) our beloved cat & dog.
Slowly beginning to think about where being an empty nester might allow me to go in a couple of years. I had my first son when I was 25 and ended up staying in the small Irish town I had always wanted to escape from.
Now I'm 45 and I don't know what might be possible for me next, what my identity will be when I'm no longer a hard working single parent.
I've been single for 10 years and I wonder at that, I can't believe it really. Will I be single forver? Do I even care?
I'm always too hot.nothing else to add. Just roasting all the time.
I'm exploring what happens if I delete social media and focus instead on Substack & writing. I set up my communications business in 2016, welltold.ie in 2016 and I've been figuring it out and learning as I go since then.
Glad to be here. Really like what I see & feel so far!
Hi everyone, I'm Deb. I live a few hours north of Yellowstone National Park. I work in higher education and have taken a long time to embrace the writer moniker. I have lots of bits and pieces I've written but none have completely been finished or found their way to the outside world. My current writing project is finishing a dissertation so I can defend it in April. It's an autoethnographic case study, so I have been weaving in personal narratives in with my participants' experiences as instructors in the first-year seminar. I collected data in 2020 but between the intense work schedule and the stressors around COVID and working in higher ed, I didn't get much accomplished until this past summer. Now I feel like I'm making progress and I'm looking for the light at the end of the tunnel - sometimes I even catch a glimmer - but it's been a long haul.
I've been a part of the HerStories Project workshops on and off since the COVID lockdown, so when I saw Jessica's newsletter in my inbox, I thought - Yes! I have a Substack (Agitating the Muse) but haven't posted anything yet (hence the agitating part). So, I'm looking for some inspiration, and I've always enjoyed my interactions with my fellow workshopping writers in HerStories.
Midlife...it's a weird time. I've recently made some big decisions about my health, my career, and I've been really working hard to embrace a better work-life balance so I can work on my writing goals more. I've recently realized that I've gotten to that place where I care less what others think about me, my clothes, or my awkward nerdiness. I don't hate my 53 year old body or its saggy skin (despite losing over 150 lbs in the last two years - so the skin sag is real), but the weight loss journey has been an exercise in patience and forced curiosity (something I should write about). Most days I thank the sun for showing its face and shining. I'm trying to appreciate the small things.
Hi I'm Joan. When I started writing with HerStories in 2020,, I was firmly in the messy middle, wholly absorbed with caring for parents in their 90s and enmeshed with my kids' problems. Since then, I've lost my parents and become an empty nester --and I'm 62 -- so I may no longer qualify as being "mid-life." But until I've stopped trying to find my purpose, remake my life, and set boundaries so that my "adult" daughter no longer has the power to derail me, I'm going to continue to declare myself a member of this community! Writing is how I make sense of the world and rewire my brain (I got a TBI in 2012), but I've stopped submitting my writing for publication after an editor dismissed a deeply meaningful personal essay as cliche. (At some point I will share the "unsent letter" I'm writing in response).I'm hoping to get back to some kind of regular expressive writing, at least for myself, and the timing of the new Small Steps class couldn't be better. Meanwhile, I've expanded my journal coaching training to include a focus on Positive Neuroplasticity (based on the work of neuropsychologist Rick Hanson) and am looking forward to offering workshops on how our personal writing can be a vehicle for changing our lives by changing our minds.
Really excited about this. I write about Generation X, mostly from a financial perspective (thewhateveryears.substack.com), and I am looking forward to Midstory to help me with my creative writing.
Hello! Sounds like a great project, congrats on the launch! I am 47 and mostly write fiction, but occasionally I'll write some nonfiction, usually looking at life through a lens of (slightly warped) humor. Nice to meet you!
Even as I wrote that I thought of your mantra. You are a writer. Thank you Jessica! Glad to be back here
Hi! My name is Autumn. I live in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio.
Thank you so much Jessica and Stephanie for leading this project and guiding so many women writers.
I am almost a year into 50, and trying to decide who I want to be as I grow up, and my kids need me less, but my parents need me more.
I currently work as a library assistant at a middle school, but volunteer as an ESL teacher which is my first professional passion.
I write fiction and nonfiction; a few half-baked novels, some published stories and essays, and many unpublished ones.
I'm excited about this community and hope to grow with it.
Happy to meet you too, Jessica!
My name is Joyeeta, about 43 years, reside in Singapore. Originally from India, I am a mom to my 10-year-old daughter. Both my spouse and I. we're trying to wrap our heads around what happened to our 30-something selves, haha! Agreed, mid-life is messy but isn't it also liberating, in so many ways? Well, am very glad I came across the Midstory project. Looking to become a subscriber soon. Love & support towards your initiative:))
Hi! I feel like I may have just walked into the wrong classroom here (#1- I had no idea what a substack is until I looked it up, and #2 - I may be too old to be called mid-life, but I'm going with it). My name is Laurie and I live outside of Seattle. I'm a recently retired middle school teacher (it took me 20 years to get out of 7th grade) and I have to say, being retired is the BEST. I'm single and have four adult children and two grandchildren (zillions of stories there!). I love to read (mostly historical and realist fiction) and I'm into writing creative non-fiction right now. I would love to get up the nerve to send something in with hopes of getting published; but in the meantime, I'm super excited about "hanging out" with all you fascinating and inspiring women.
Well hey there ! I’m Lindsay , a Canadian mom living in the Danish countryside with my four young kids . I have published two children’s books, I write for Kinship by Mother Wild on Substack, and fancy myself an incognito poet.
I hope to launch my own soon (Fresh Air Family) ....because outdoor oxygen is keeping this lady sane + all the small humans satisfied in the chaos of family life .
I can’t wait to get to know your community better, Midstory seems like such a necessary publication .
Hi, I'm excited to be here too! When does "midlife" end? I worked for a bazillion years in the Jewish community, got really burned out (burned up?), decided to switch gears so I could semi-retire, got divorced (finally) and I just wrote my first children's book. Waiting to see if an agent picks it up but whatever happens I'll get it out there no matter what. I raised 2 fabulous sons and I live with the older one, his wife (my amazing DIL) and my 6 yr old granddaughter.
Hello! I'm so happy to find you. I feel like I am a river finding the ocean. What a journey to get here, NOW, to broken open wholeness. What a gift to find this tribe and community after going it alone for so long. In mid-life, more than ever, my sisters are my wellspring. I am a poet, singer/songwriter, nature lover, and educator living with a gentle footprint in Northern, CA. I lead online writing workshops for women and we have a blast! We laugh and cry, get down and dirty, and rise up shining. I am the author of Write a Poem, Save Your Life, the upcoming Writing by Heart (Feb 2024, New World Library), and three poetry collections: Songlines, River Spells, and Yuba Witch. I spend my summers camping and writing beside rivers and oceans. Join me for a workshop and express the wild beauty of your heart! www.meredithheller.com
Hi, I am Melany. I'm Chinese-Filipino. And I am a bit shy...for now.
I'm Amy Cuevas Schroeder, founder of The Midst (formerly Jumble & Flow). I live in Phoenix, am 47, in the thick of perimenopause. I have so many feelings about midlife and that's why I started The Midst, but I can't remember them all, thanks to brain fog. :)
Hi I am a 54-year-old Cartoonist and writer (dictating, excuse typos but I do this to avoid RSI and not be as slow) from the UK but living in New Zealand and wondering about whether I’ve picked the right side of the globe! I have a syndicated daily comic strip with an environmental theme call Arctic Circle and I have published humour and kids books but I moved into writing books without pictures this year with the publication of The Keeper under my pseudonym A XWilkinson. It drew on my experience of an affair with a teacher as a teenager and was kind of a way to learn how to write I guess. I’m now working on my Second novel and might be brave enough to put it under my real name! Hope that isn’t TMI LOL.
Hi there! Rachel from Melbourne, Australia. 56 years, queer writer, poet, gardener and substack virgin. Some short work published and two unpublished manuscripts and I work in communications, so lots of business writing.
Looking forward to learning more and connecting.