Why read Life and Other Stories?
Life is riddled with stories each of us could tell. As someone who’s gained so much from reading other’s pieces and exploring the depths of willing brains, flayed for the world to consume, I love offering my stories to the plethora of options available. And I appreciate when someone chooses my words amongst the masses to journey along with.
I write a little about everything. Sometimes I dabble in productivity, other times I write about Autism as a late-diagnosed mother, married to a self-identifying Autistic man, and raising three Autistic, Assigned-Female-At-Birth kids together. I write about general neurodivergence, frustrations, love, humanity, relationships, Seattle, ADHD, chronic illness, disability, parenthood complicated by all of the above, and much more here on Life and Other Stories.
These blog-style messages and essays are right for you if you love to read personal stories, you enjoy learning new (and even unlearning) things, and like observing life through a different lens.
Join me every Sunday morning (U.S., Pacific Time) by becoming a free subscriber to these weekly musings and reflections. Or, upgrade to a paid subscription to receive more in-depth personal essays, short fiction, access to the complete archives, and much more.
”Don’t forget—no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories you have to tell.”—Charles de Lint
Who am I?
I’m Sara Eatherton-Goff. A writer, visual artist, vocalist, mom-person, tinkerer, and (working toward not being a former) professional problem-solver. I live and work in Seattle, Washington.
In 2013, shortly after my youngest kiddo was born, life became exponentially more difficult. Sure, having three (young) kids when I planned to have none factored, but that proved less than half the struggle at the time.
As I grew sicker, larger, and less and less able to walk due to chronic, severe abdominal pain, mortality worries overtook my headspace. At the time, I was running a small professional coaching business, and found myself leaning more on writing to process what was happening to me. And, I admit, capturing life in essays as I did was a way for me to leave something behind for my family if I didn’t make it through.
It started as bullet journaling—“a method of personal organization... using bullet points and symbols to organize tasks, events, goals, and inspirations into a single notebook”—and writing little daily summaries. But that wasn’t enough. Organically, the summaries snowballed into longer-form, handwritten journal entries. Then, one day, it hit me: I have no idea what my body’s doing. Countless doctors have no idea what my body’s doing. I can’t be the only person who’s ever had a health problem that wasn’t easily solved. I should document and share this.
I began writing on Medium, sharing fragments of my experience, random thoughts that overwhelmed my brain, memories, and more. It was cathartic. And for what felt like the first time in my conscious life, people actually “listened” to me and engaged with me. I felt valuable, and like I was contributing something meaningful.
Writing gave me purpose more than helping people make money ever did.
By the time a gastroenterologist finally diagnosed the severe abdominal pain as Celiac Disease a couple years later, I’d already turned my business into an automated email course series. I stopped coaching, and reduced my available products down to one (still remaining) planner for professionals due to upkeep. And, excitingly, I had almost 1,000 regular Medium readers of my personal “musings.”
Upon the Celiac diagnosis, I immediately cut gluten out of my diet. I went from unable-to-stand-for-more-than-5-minutes to zipping around the house, tackling projects I only dreamed of getting to if I made it out alive. I lost just shy of 100 pounds (ca. 45 kg) in a year, yet, additional health issues lingered and worsened as time progressed.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve been hyper-sensitive to sunlight and heat, but my reactions became so severe, I had to remain indoors. My skin would flush, grow hives, bubble and blister when I got too hot. Even gluten-free foods started causing my skin to flush. I’d get severe stomach cramps, gut pain, gastrointestinal issues, brain fog, fatigue, and tachycardia. And, although mobile again, I was still stuck inside for 99% of the year, thinking that’s just how life would be for me—forever melancholic. But, after evacuating our home ahead of Hurricane Irma’s landfall in 2017, we noticed that the further from Florida (really, from the Equator, and likely humidity) I got, the more I could be outside, in direct sunlight with minimal issue—or, now, with medications, extra skin protection, and dietary support, I experience fewer and often lesser sun and heat-induced issues.
Feeling hopeful, when we returned home about a week and a half later, we took steps to leave the state for good. After about a month of preparing our home for sale, researching, etc., we decided on Seattle as the safest year-round climate in the U.S.
Fast-forward to mid-2018, our house sold and we made the cross-country move happen. But by late 2019, my system’s reactivity exacerbated. Over-75-degree days had me stuck indoors with air conditioning blasting all over again—although thankfully that ends up being only a couple of weeks out of the year in Seattle, unlike in Florida where 50-51 out of 52 weeks of the year I was unable to be outside.
I couldn’t breathe well and wasn’t able to eat much, yet my body resumed the “survival mode” which likely kept me alive for almost 30 years with undiagnosed, severely symptomatic Celiac, and I started packing on weight again.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic took over everyone’s lives in early 2020, and then came the privileged, albeit all-consuming and stressful time of co-teaching my three young kids in online school for the next two years. And, as you probably gathered, my health took a nosedive.
It’s been a long, difficult few years for all of us, I’m certain. There was loss, death, illness, and more. But we’re still here. We survive every day, living on for ourselves, for the loved ones we lost, and for those surviving with us; with the illnesses we bear, and with the differences we each hold.
Life and Other Stories is where I collect all those life anecdotes, personal essays, and links out to my works and that of other, even better writers across the globe. Subscribe below (if you haven’t already) to keep reading. And become a paying subscriber to help keep it all going, plus access to all the added perks, too. Because life is full of interesting, impactful stories. Now all that’s left to do is read them.
Some of my favorite essays and posts on Life and Other Stories are:
Silently saying goodbye, on the transience of Seattle, and on friendships.
Full circle, on becoming and being who you are without “the mask.”
Extracting confidence from life’s beatdowns, on projecting and building genuine self-confidence from even the most outwardly noticeable “flaws.”
Energy Level Thinking & Planning (paid subscribers), on planning each day’s work or focus based on your energy level, and how you can apply it to your life.
Open (paid subscribers), a flash fiction piece.
Out of Order, on (my experience with) Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.
Only truth can hurt, on self-awareness and radical self-acceptance.
Lessons, learned (paid subscribers), on Autism and communication barriers.
“Personal growth is not a matter of learning new information, but of unlearning old limits.” —Alan Cohen
What I’m doing, and what else I offer (right now):
What feels like a former life at this point, I previously created articles, courses, and products for “solo” entrepreneurs. Although illness lead me to reducing my overall workload by closing that venture down a few years ago, I’m still a planning, organization, problem-solving, and formula-building junkie.
I’m currently working on planning products for personal and professional use; I write about planning, organization and productivity here and there; and sell an annually updated planner that can be started year-round (undated) for entrepreneurs, online creators, bloggers, and overall professionals.
If you’re an entrepreneur or online creator, check out The Content Strategy planner on Amazon. One reviewer called it a “little paper coach in your work bag,” another stating it’s way underpriced for what you get. Check it out:
More places to find me:
Website | segwrites.com
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