Tsunamis and bruises.

Hi wonderful podcast friends,

I'm sitting on my couch in my shoebox apartment, taking in the last few days. I'm not quite sure how to articulate what I'm thinking and feeling so that it's productive and helpful, but I will try my best.

Our first segment back on Monday triggered a tsunami - a tsunami that was taller and more powerful than what Zara and I ever imagined when we sat down to record it. As we both swam head-first into the currents, many of you picked up your own paddles with seismic enthusiasm. Without us even asking, you fused together to turn the tide, and reminded us why this community of smart women is a force to be reckoned with.

We have no interest in pushing the drama forward. We've said what we have to say, and Zara and I are content on letting the podcast episode speak for itself. But situations like these call for reflection and introspection, which is how we've spent the last 48 hours in particular.

Truthfully, what happened this week goes against a lot of what comes naturally to me. Typically, I avoid all conflict like shark-infested waters; I am terrible - TERRIBLE - at sticking up for myself. As I wrote in my last column for this newsletter, I too often cower when confronted by those who unsettle with me, impersonating a weak and vulnerable kitten at the first whiff of tension. It's something that people have taken advantage of in the past - I've noticed that when someone is trying to manipulate Zara and I, they'll come to me instead of her, knowing how malleable I can be under pressure.

I want to have my own back more, and Zara and I often joke that 2019 is her year of being "open" and my year of being "assertive". You heard my mantra in action on Monday's episode, and you'll hear Zara's tomorrow when the fourth episode of Love etc. drops into the feeds.

What happened this week has made me think a lot about the cost of speaking up; of taking action when the easier alternative is to duck and dodge and hide. Ultimately, I know that what we did on Monday might have a negative impact. I know that we've effectively stuck our heads out to take another shellacking, and that the story now belongs as much to the public as it does to us. I can't control what people will think and say about us, what they might say in Apple Podcast reviews or seedy Instagram DMs. That's a really scary realisation for anyone, let alone someone with an anxiety disorder.

And yet I don't regret a thing.

As much as these past few days have made me uncomfortable - as much as they have made me squirm - I know that we did the right thing. I am bruised, yes, but I'd rather feel brave and battered over weak and clean. I'd rather feel naked than invisible. I'd rather feel vulnerable than voiceless.

Whenever doubt whispers in my ear, my gut loudly reminds me of those things. It reminds me that my voice is important, as is Zara's, as are all of yours.

Finding your voice isn't easy. Actually, it's really fucking difficult. But you know what? The bruises are worth it.

Because I'd prefer to be injured by the waves than to have never entered the water at all.

Emma Hackett