For over four months I’ve been working on a project, almost in secret. To those who know me well, it’s no secret that I had become increasingly bored with the day to day routine of just building cities (our internal term for building out markets for MyCity4HER.com) and trying to be a good human. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been driven to make a difference, to help effective change happen. Don’t know why but over the course of the past three years+ that momentum was progressing to a crawl pace at best, to one who thrives on positive energy, it was quite the bummer. To make matters worse, last year, out of the blue, cancer – yup – the ugly, ubiquitous, still to be feared illness – showed up in my life, and everything (whether I wanted it to or not) was completely stopped.
Some would say what a tragedy, and in many ways it was.
I was coming off the greatest momentum I’d ever built in one of my companies…we were #7 on the Baltimore Business Journal’s list of fastest growing women-owned businesses (Ha! It had only taken us 7 years to do that, but given the bias women still encounter as founders it’s about right, kind of like the wage gap frankly…) and were getting national attention for what we were doing, I had just opened into the Canadian market…good times, yeah, not so much. I was buying Louboutins, and art, and starting to spin a little with the giddyness of a few extra bucks.
After years of donating most of the extra I made, lack of clear financial advising and a way to assuage growing, slightly paralyzing imposter’s syndrome…I swung almost perilously to the other end of the pendulum.
Men get toys that drive fast, or ping pong tables and beer kegs, I decided to indulge my inner girl and not quite sure how I did it, I racked up close to a 50 pairs of shoes in as many days (not really but you get the picture?) and managed to fill 3 (count ’em) 3 closets with enough clothes to start a store, maybe two, it was ridiculous. I discovered art as a happy maker, the thrill of the purchase of someone’s vision of a piece of sky, in the moment mimicking about as close to being able to buy a piece of it literally could. I had so much new art, it was stacked, not on my walls, but in anywhere it would fit, as before I know it, the space had run out.
Business was booming and though I was no Sara Blakely (the founder of Spanks), money was being made and I was seeking relief from the mundane, the routine, and the stressful (because to whom much is given…blahblahblah.) I was in a toxic relationship (good person deep down who happened to be, at the time, poorly executing as a human), my kid (who struggles with ADHD since Kindergarten) was struggling with school and the reality of being a preteen, all the while balancing the emotional chess game that is blended families, and my network was filled with frenemies and users. My utility if only for contacts and connections far outpacing my apparent attraction just as a good, fun person to hang with had attracted a cloud of hangers on, and posers who clung to me like a bad cologne, sickenly sweet up front, but when contemplated fully, nauseating and not much better in the feelings they left me with. I’ve always tried to help other business owners, and I think deep down, I’m a pretty good person. A little naive, I tend to not see stabs in the back, probably because I’d never make one. I found myself catering to everybody, helping exhaustively and spreading myself too thing, not to mention drained and exhausted in the process. My bucket wasn’t getting filled at home, it was getting filled socially, and the financial bucket was draining as fast as I could fill it as anyone who’s scaled a company knows you spend it as fast as you can make it, and it’s a race to out run the runway to get enough momentum behind you so you can actually soar, and profits can soar as well. Days were an excruciatingly tiring grind of meetings upon meetings and no real time to think.
Major illness brings many things, a lot of bad, in my case…months of debilitating pain, life threatening blood loss and surgery along with a huge blow to my ego that I wasn’t going to be able to think, work, or manouver my way out of this one…and worse I was going to have to accept help, or else I wouldn’t make it. It’s a #truestory, about a #lifereset and I think I”m ready to start telling it.