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Archive for the tag “fears”

Launching a Business and Falling in Love: More Alike Than I Realized

So here we are.

I’m a scardy cat. I will admit it. I’m always freaked out about stuff before and while doing important things. I’ve mentioned that in my reporter days, I could never go out on a story without taking my “calm down dump.”

Seems like the knots in my stomach were VERY real and until I could take that dump, I wouldn’t be right to go out there and nab that story.

I am freaked out because I finally stopped making excuses and got to work on my tee-shirt website.

I worked with one do it yourself site, which required a lot of doing it yourself and I ended up frustrated, and left the work undone.

I allowed the defeat.

Finally one day, I realized, maybe I should just pay to use another, easier, more user-friendly site and keep it moving.

Pride aside, you don’t know enough to build it, or at least build it with these tools.

So with my mind made up to pay for a really great site, I got to work last night. It turns out the really great site has a free option. It’s limited, but it’s free and perfect for where I am in the process now. I will be upgrading, but I’m glad I started working on it.

The vision is coming together beautifully. And that’s what’s scary. Crap my pantalones scary, yall. Because here I am.

The photos, my models, who are my friends and the site looks mighty professional and sleek, in my opinion. I really can’t believe what I’m seeing. I’m so excited. All of my hard work since Fall 2011 is really starting to show results.

Straight up, if I didn’t have an artist of a friend of a photographer and gorgeous models who went to work and totally represented exactly what I wanted, the shirts would look like poo, if I tried to do this alone.

They elevated the game. I can’t even take credit.

But I’m scared. I had all of this planning, all of these classes I took, and now, basically the only real thing left to do is to get some inventory to get going and launch. Just put it out there and launch. See if people dig it, take some orders and go.

The planning and the learning helped me heal and gave me purpose it was an awesome distraction from my pain that allowed me to be creative. But now the nuts and bolts stuff I’ve been working toward is about to begin.

It will be time to launch. It is soon time to go out there and try and see if people feel what it is I’m putting out there. The idea I was afraid to say out loud, will be out there for the world to consume. This is no longer philosophical, folks.

Oh, that’s scary.

Deciding to follow a dream is a lot like allowing yourself to fall in love. Sometimes your expectations are too high, sometimes your expectations are too low depending on your skill level, history of success and self-esteem.

Both are highly risky, both are highly scary, but man when it works…

People looking in from the outside have all kinds of opinions. Some people agree with your choice, some question it, some hate it.  Some people think you are crazy for trying.

Launching a business and falling in love are so similar.

You find yourself thinking about both all of the time. You imagine what your future will be like if it all goes really well.

You try your hardest to make it work.

You want to be your absolute best for it.

You can’t deny the connection you feel to it. It haunts you.

You will spend a lot of money and make a lot of sacrifices and you won’t care about that unless it fails.

Something that keeps you going, that feeling reminds you that if you try hard enough, if you believe hard enough, it won’t fail.

“I Don’t Know” Soulive and Amel Larrieux

Competitive Caring and Other Me-Centric Phobias

I am afraid of being taken care of.

Or I don’t know how.

Or I don’t let people. It feels strange, then I feel like I have to reciprocate at least equally, if not more, so I don’t feel like I owe anyone. I don’t want to be in the deficit of care. I need a surplus of care to sleep at night. I prefer caring about you more than you care about me, so you can’t ever say I didn’t care enough.

Competitive caring.

I’m sick.

Letting others take care of me requires me letting others have complete control over what does or doesn’t happen to me.

I kind of always knew I was often in my own head, and can be very private, and self-conscious. But over the years, I’ve come to find that even though I do it kicking and screaming, and I claim I’d gladly give it all up to have someone take care of me; I am fiercely independent and I hate asking anyone for help.

Completely contradictory, I know.

And even when I know my father would move heaven and earth for me, I dread asking him for anything.

I vowed to myself at an early age, I would not be a burden to my already burdened father, who has to take care of my mentally ill mother.

So at 16, I was determined to get a job. I was determined to pay for the gas in the car I used, I was determined to save for my first laptop computer, working as many hours as possible at Sports Authority. I garnered a number of scholarships and earned a tuition scholarship. I paid for all of my application fees. I had a nice little stash of money squirreled away upon my arrival to Howard. My roommates would see me sneak away, and they’d say, “She’s going to her stash to pull out another hundred.” I’d laugh. I’d pull out about 60.

Now, of course there were times where I asked for money or took money from my dad, or other really giving wonderful family members, but I had this cloud over my head that I didn’t want to be anyone’s burden.

But years later, and now I’m fucking tired. Exhausted.

After my family and friends cussed me out for hearing that I was sick for four days, this week, I see that even when I suffer, it’s hard for me to reach out. I’ve become so accustomed to moving to strange places, eeking out a life for myself and living independently, and being in so many long-distance relationships, it’s difficult for me to accept having someone in my life, on a regular basis, or near by to “take care of me.”

Folks have dropped the ball.

One of the most nurturing and important figures, my mother, was stolen from me due to her illness. I’ve made peace with it, but it makes it hard for me to accept an outpouring of love in action, sometimes. If you can’t get all the things you need or even things you didn’t realize you needed from your mother, you do have some other issues going on, I realize I have deeper issues with this.

But it does make me super appreciative of the large and small, heartfelt things people in my life do for me.

I adore a scarf my friend got me from Korea. It’s super soft and I wear it all the time.

I love photos a friend of mine took and put in a lovely box with pretty blank cards in it.

I feel comfort sipping my drinks out of a set of mason jars another friend gave me for Christmas. It just makes everything taste so much better.

When my friends came from near and far to celebrate my 30th birthday last year, I was overwhelmed. People made sacrifices, and they all came out for me, to make me happy and they treated me. Some of them had to fight me when I’d pull out money. I still found myself, cooking and cleaning and going nuts to make my guests happy…can’t have the caring deficit… and they had to slow me down and calm me, reminding me none of that stuff mattered and people only cared about me.

So I’m scared of falling in love again and trusting someone so much, that I give in. That I shake off the independence I’ve managed to pride myself on, and entrust someone with all of me– good, bad and neurotic.

It’s eye-opening that I have this very real fear, because I almost married someone. How could I have that kind of fear, and really think I was going to marry someone and be happy?

I was delusional. I bought into the dream that things will fix itself magically once we said I do, because the love I felt would heal it.

A few years later, I understand it’s more than love. There’s a dedication and a work ethic involved in loving someone. You have to hammer it out everyday, you have to work at it when you don’t want to, when you don’t feel like it, when you don’t feel like it’s benefiting you immediately. It is a requirement to love someone who looks at love the same way, and then does it.

People who keep their word can love me.

People who are committed to something can love me.

People who keep going and refuse to give up when things are inconvenient can love me.

People who hold me accountable and tell me when I’m wrong can love me.

People who praise and compliment me and who are proud of me can love me.

People who stay even when I’m hating their guts temporarily can love me.

And I chose to almost marry someone who could not truly take care of me.

And not in the sense of money. We planned out how we’d live a great life together financially, but emotionally.

I had baggage I didn’t really acknowledge, and this person was not equipped to give me what I needed, which was stability in terms of emotional support. I knew I couldn’t trust this person to completely take care of me in the way I needed it most, but I was winning. I had a surplus of care for him.

There is a certain level of dependence that you have with someone you love, and it’s necessary. So I guess that’s why we have to pick the right people to love. And that’s not only romantic love, but with your family and friends too.

Even though I don’t let them take care of me as much as I should or could, I have a circle of family and friends I know I can trust.

I’m going to work on that part of myself.

It’s Important to Me

So what’s really important?

Whatever the hell it is you are focusing on right now.

And then it will be the next thing.

If it’s work. It’s work.

If it’s loosing weight, it’s that.

Finding a date? It’s that too.

Your spirituality, your money or lack thereof. The list is infinite. You know what yours is.

Whatever it is that is nagging/propelling you to action in the morning, and laying down with you at night, that is what is most important to you at the moment. And frankly, all we have is today, tomorrow isn’t promised, so yes, whatever it is that is predominating your thoughts is what’s most important to you right now.

It could be anything. And don’t beat yourself up. Whatever it is, it’s not too shallow, or silly, or ridiculous, because it’s taking up way too much mental and emotional real estate for you to ignore, and you shouldn’t ignore it.

Like me, you may be juggling a number of pressing matters of importance. I like to give myself a break, work on one thing, then go back to something else.

For people in their late 20s and into their 30s- particularly single people, and especially single women- there is a mental battle raging between family and career and the guilt that comes with choosing one over the other, and the regret associated with whatever emptiness comes with the one you chose instead of the other. How can you win that? Either road is going to have wonderful advantages and difficult disadvantages. Have the choose your own adventure books as a kid taught us nothing?

It’s a battle I’m choosing not to fight.

When I was a kid, I was pretty sure I would have been married with a family and running my own magazine right now.

Not quite. But you know what? That’s really just fine until it won’t be fine anymore. Those thoughts float around, but they don’t dominate my mind right now.

These days, professional satisfaction, money, my spirituality, my creativity and getting myself to a place where I’m ready to and can comfortably accept the role of a wife and mom, are the things are front and center.

Over the last decade, I’ve seen three types of tracks unfold among the women I know personally and the ones I went to high school with as seen on Facebook.

The married moms, the unmarried moms, and the single, childless career women.

The married moms seem to have what we all thought we wanted. The loving husband and the family, but they seem tired all of the time and seem to not have very many other interests, let alone time for themselves. Their identities have been taken over. A lot of their wants and desires put on the back burner. Their kids and their man come first.

The unmarried moms seem to be struggling all of the time. They juggle work, their children and the voluntary and sometimes inconsistent or non-existent contributions from the men they had their child[ren] with. These women love their children and don’t regret them, but they know they would be at more of an advantage if they made different choices.

The single, childless career women kept their heads high, and killed em with the no, and kept climbing that ladder.

They have closets full of great clothes, shoes and bags, they travel when they please, but over bottles of pino, lament that they can’t find Mr. Right.

Each kind of woman wonders what life would be life if they chose the other two paths instead of the one they are on.

For me, I can poke holes in all three lifestyles. Maybe that kind of insight is helpful to me.

If there’s one thing I keep learning and relearning, is timing truly is everything.

Some would say I should panic because I’m turning 30 and there’s no man, no kids and I don’t own my own home.

I’ve learned that before I have those things, maybe there are more lessons for me to learn so that when I get them, I’ll be ready for them and it will be the best thing for me at that time.

Age is a number. Not a set deadline to accomplish some very important things that affect you and other people for a lifetime.

Maybe I’ll get married (I’d like to). Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have children (Still not sure about that one), maybe I won’t.

So what’s important? I’m a writer. I’ve been working on a book for probably four years now. I’d like to see it complete.

I have a business I’d like to launch. I want to see it happen.

I wrote a short, one woman play, I’d love to see it produced on a small local stage.

I want to make more money. I want to feel great about work three out of five days a week, if possible.

I want to always have enough money for emergencies and to travel when I need to get away.

I don’t want to lose what is important to me in exchange for a family right now. I have a certain degree of selfishness still in me. I know my priorities are going to have to change when I do have a family, but I’d like to achieve some happy medium. I have a grand fear of losing myself, my creativity in exchange for long days at the office and coming home to a house of ungrateful people eating up my food and my paycheck in health benefits. I’m afraid of coming home to a man who doesn’t find me sexy anymore and won’t wash a dish when I’m about to lose my mind.

Having it all is unrealistic, but my fears are very real and maybe that is why I am currently single and childless. But I think that’s ok.

I’ve revamped and reworded my prayers in terms of wanting a husband and family.

“Lord, prepare me properly to be ready for a family someday. I want to be mature enough and selfless enough to do it right and feel satisfaction in my service to them. No regret, no resentment. Give me the wisdom to pick the right man qualified to assist me in this and who will nurture my heart and my spirit.”

You have to grow and evolve into certain phases of life and everyone grows at different rates. Some folks are ready in their 20s, or have to be forced to be ready for their own good at early ages. I prefer not being forced to find out, and I’m thankful I haven’t been.

Nina Simone has a funny take on marriage and references some of my fears… Love this song.

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