Self Made

I walked away from a big salary and bonuses and a company that up until the pandemic let me do whatever I wanted and I was good at my job- probably one of the best they had in that role. Why? Because I wasn’t fulfilled. I was frustrated. I was stressed from the effects of the pandemic and my newly deemed “Essential” status. I felt that the word “Essential” should be reserved for first responders and medical staff not a sales and marketing manager. I felt that I was deemed “expendable” and I was.

My company, though I was a “favorite” by some, viewed me and all my coworkers as expendable and by extension our families were too. That did not sit well with me. My husband had lost his job and I needed insurance for Scarlett but that meant daily risk of exposure to myself while I was going through weekly treatments.

Around August, I had re-developed suicidal thoughts.

I heard the L’appel du vide more loudly than before, it was becoming hard to ignore. The company I worked for was in bankruptcy and that was a new level of stress. I knew something had to change.

My husband had now found employment and had Scarlett and I on his insurance. And then the “small procedure” that I needed to do way back in April (that my boss refused to approve the 3 days time off) now was going to be a full hysterectomy (which took 14 weeks to heal).

I tried to file FMLA and my company kept rejecting it. But I felt that if I stayed I would one day very soon answer the call of the void- I have before.

So, I made the choice that some days I regret and every day I’m proud of.

I chose myself, my health (both physically and mentally), and my family.

I quit my job with no back up- none. I have a “do whatever it takes without sacrificing my morals” approach to earning money and paying bills.

I started my own business and it has already opened so many doors, created new connections, and sparked new friendships. I feel like I’m stepping into myself for the first time in my life.

Decades worth of feelings of being wholly unfulfilled are being washed away. And yet, I feel like I’m doing everyone a disservice.

I promise to be honest in my journey and I have omitted a big part… People comment on my social media and message me that I look happy, I’m glowing, they love my vibe (which I think is my favorite compliment ever), they knew I would be successful… thank you for that- I appreciate you following my journey and the encouragement.

I no longer hear the call and I am very happy- most days.

I will tell you though, I’m not successful in a monetary sense. I’m not. I’m not making the kind of money anyone seems to think I am. I think people just assume that if you’re in business for yourself then you must be successful, if this then that? It’s not true. The life of an entrepreneur is rife with peaks and valleys or, in my case, mountains and an abyss (<– my current location).

I’m debating getting a part time job and resurrecting my old bartender skills or as a cashier at a grocery store. No joke. I’m not too good for honest work and wages.

This is what actual fighting your way to the top looks like. Support your small business friends- were humans with real back stories trying to make it work just like you are.

From GED to MBA

I’m a high school drop out. Does it surprise you to know that?

That’s a serious question.

I don’t hide that I’m a high school drop out from anyone it is actually something I’m proud of.

I dropped out because I refused to play the game that an ego-tripping judge wanted to play all because I got mono and missed a bunch of school but still kept my grades up. I refused to be bullied and shoved into a box I didn’t belong even by someone in our judicial system who would lie to my face telling me my weekly drug tests for 6 months were for my “own good.” 200 hours community service too. I passed every drug test because I wasn’t on drugs and the silliness of having to miss school each week just to take the drug test brought on an additional truancy charge! I wasn’t the delinquent he wanted me to be. But he sure did try to teach me a lesson. (BTW I was 17, grown people get harsher sentences for worse “crimes” than mono-induced truancy 🙄)

He didn’t know me and he didn’t care to know me he had an idea that since I missed school I was a piece of trash he could make an example of. He didn’t know that I’m a fighter. He didn’t know that I stand up to bullies. He didn’t know that I would take the “hard” road over playing his game. The day I turned 18 I signed myself out of school. I immediately tested for my GED and at my next court date, I told him it was over I refused to allow him to dictate my life until graduation and hold me to ridiculous standards because I had the misfortune of contracting a virus.

Game over, dickhead.

I have to thank that judge though. He woke something in me. He woke a fighter. He woke the part of me that says, “Bring it” when shit gets tough. He is the starting point for the Warrior you see today.

But if you’re still with me I do have one more point to make. You are NOT defined by ONE decision or moment in your life.

If I let my dropping out of high school define me then I wouldn’t be the person I am today. One moment and one decision (good or bad) should not be a driving factor for who you are years later. Yes it can contribute to who you are BUT IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOU.

If I was just a GED I would never have become the MBA.

There are going to be times where you have to make a choice or do a thing that you (and others) may try to define you as but you are a human and you are allowed to live your life (without infringement on others).

You are allowed to move past that moment.

You are allowed to grow and be better than yesterday.

You are allowed to make mistakes.

You are allowed to do things intentionally.

You are allowed to choose the hard road.

Do not ever think that because you made a choice years ago that you cannot move forward from it – that’s why you were granted this life and these days.

Friends, I implore you, if you are struggling to move past what you are holding on to as a “defining moment,” seek counseling be it through a friend or a trained professional. Just talk it out. Because you only get to be you once.

Quarantine: Can We Talk About Mental Health Now?

I believe that proper Quarantine Etiquette dictates that I am supposed to start this blog with, “The world has changed so much…” I mean, it has, but at the same time that phrase and many other Covid catch phrases like “We’re all in the same boat,” “the flu is deadlier,” “ma’am, you still have to wear pants at the grocery store,” and just about every news headline ever written in this weird-ass time is annoying to me.

Actually, a lot of things are annoying to me. Why? Because, I am stressed out. Duh! My husband lost his job, my check isn’t big enough to cover all the bills and since we were under his insurance I had to switch us over to mine and that took a $650 hit to each paycheck (my husband’s job it was $400 each paycheck).

Financially, we were hit hard. Our daughter’s medical bills were already taking us down the drain and now this.

My company actually did do layoffs and I survived which left me with a lot of survivor’s guilt and whole bunch of extra work in my lap. More work and less pay. Wonderful!

But this isn’t about the hardships we are facing on a personal level. No. We have stress but I know that there are some people who have it worse and others who have it better. That is just how life is.

However, what I am here to talk about it is mental health.

The world, the entire world, has just experienced a crash course in Mental Health 101. Every day I open up my social media to a new friend who just had her first panic attack, to a post about starting the day drinking, to a frontline worker that is so worried that they are going to bring the virus home to their family they are hiding in their car crying, to an essential worker doing the same thing, to another friend who is watching their spouse fight for their life alone in the ICU and she is left home alone to wait and worry unable to even communicate with him, to a young mom who lost her job and is so worried about her situation that she now has shingles (actually 2 friends have it).

Every day it is something new and I am so tired of seeing the replies to the posts of “we’re all in the same boat, just hang in there.” NO! We are not in the same boat. As I mentioned above some have it better and others do not but that doesn’t fucking matter- we are all experiencing new and real shit and we are allowed to feel a certain type of way. I think a more accurate assessment is that we are all on the same planet, dealing with the same virus, and after that is where things start to differ for each person. So, if you must lump us into a group, you can say, “we’re all on the same planet,” whatever.

I want to say, thank you to my friends who are real and raw in their emotions who are out there telling people that they are not okay. Because IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY and I will scream that from the roof tops as quickly and as loudly as I type the words on this screen (I am a fast and loud typist).

Talk about your mental struggles- put it out there! THAT IS NORMAL. We aren’t meant to know and understand the secrets of the Universe and so shit gets weird sometimes and we have to process that and we all do that differently. Friends, I think we can all agree literally nothing makes sense. I mean, last week the government was denying the existence of UFOs and now they are confirming it. WHAT?! Seriously, why now? Wasn’t it like 7 months ago everyone wanted to storm Area 51- where was the government’s confession then? I digress…

I think it is really hard for some people to reconcile that the world changed over night. We all saw it happen and we are living it day to day but we cannot align our previous reality to our new reality, and that is okay. Like I said, we all process things differently and in our own time.

But while Covid captivated the attention of our world leaders and pretty much everyone else… something else was taking a foothold in our society.

Depression.

Anxiety.

Panic.

Fear.

Stress.

Hopelessness.

Suicide is now on the rise.

Domestic abuse is on the rise.

Child molestation is on the rise.

Alcoholism is on the rise.

Why? Because, as a society, we don’t know how to handle the hard shit that gets thrown our way and when we do make our cries for help people down play it and tell you that you are over-reacting.

It isn’t our fault- it has been ingrained in our culture that we have to ignore the bad things – just pretend they don’t exist; and, for many, Covid and quarantine are the first bad things that they cannot ignore.

I am somewhat sorry to say that we were raised in a world that doesn’t exist anymore, like I said, we all just got a crash course in what it is like to battle for stability with our mental health.

So why not move forward into this new world where we raise our children to recognize the signs of an inner struggle within themselves and others?

Why not teach them that it is okay to not be okay?

Why not teach them that when we struggle with our own mental health that we need to voice that and we will embrace their vulnerability and help guide them to the other side of that storm?

Why not teach them not to shy away from a friend that confides in them that they, too, struggle with mental health?

Why not talk about mental health, we all see how vitally important it is to our very basic need to survive?

The world has changed. That is a fact. What we are left with is an opportunity. We have an opportunity to take this new world and mold it into something better for all of us… I hope we do.