Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, wins and lessons. As we go through our process, life puts us through a series of tests and how we overcome these tests, determine our future. I’ve learned that the situations that feel like they are tearing you apart, are the situations that teach you the greatest lessons. They are usually the moments you have the most profound epiphanies. These are the moments that you feel so low, you give yourself ultimatums. It’s either you sink or swim, but either way something has to give.
I’ve faced myself with this exact ultimatum countless times and every time I choose to keep fighting. It was in the darkest moments that I found myself, that I learned what I was made of. It was in the middle of my greatest struggles that I fell in love with paper and a pen, that I wrote my first book and that I found the courage to start my business.
In each one of these situations I never had the means, it was and sometimes is still a struggle to follow my passion. Many of times everything around me is falling apart, yet I’m struck with incurable inspiration. I’ve learned that just because the journey isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. I’ve also learned that I have a lot more hustle and heart than I thought.
Truth is for majority of my life it was perceived that even though I had book smarts, I would never amount to anything. I had close family and friends mock my dreams and try to derail my vision. I wasted a lot of time denying my heart and instincts because I was waiting for others to believe in me and doubting myself.
I grew up with very little self esteem always wanting to be accepted, always wanting to fit in. I never wanted to ruffle any feathers and I never wanted the people I loved to leave me. Granted I’ve always had a foul mouth, I didn’t always use it for the right people. I spent a lot of years people pleasing and holding my tongue.
Who would guess that the people pleaser would end up on the receiving end of countless occurrences of betrayal, emotional abuse and lies? If I knew then what I know now I would have known that it was a no brainer. People will always take you for granted when you don’t know your own worth and when you are so desperate for love and affection, that you don’t stick up for yourself.
It took me a long time to realize that the people who love you don’t intentionally hurt you or try to discourage you from following your dreams. I had to learn a lot of the people I had around me weren’t really for me. I loved them but they didn’t return the sentiment. It was when I learned to break my own heart and learn to live without the people I thought I couldn’t do without, that I learned to love myself.
It was from here that I built standards about who I would go hard for and who I would let into my inner circle. Trust I pissed off a lot of people the minute I decided to stop putting up with their foolishness. It was here I found my voice, when I started to live for myself and not for other people.
It was a serious adjustment but ultimately I freed myself and I became reacquainted with who I was. I had released the girl that had been suppressed all these years and found myself in the centre of a brutal battle with depression.
You think I’d be happy now that I got rid of all the bad baggage and was making time to better me, but I was the complete opposite. It took a little for me to understand why, but figuring it out was what drove me to write my first book.
It was in the middle of my depression that I realized the life I was living wasn’t the one I wanted for myself. I had let myself slide down a slippery slope where I was becoming every negative thing that was predicted over my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I decided to continue to make changes. I wrote my first manuscript and ventured down the road of self publishing.
It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do and I made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of tough lessons along the way. Funny thing though something crazy happened along the way. I started to find happy, I started to find internal peace. I wasn’t an instant celebrity and I definitely didn’t get rich, but I found purpose and meaning. I found what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
From there it was like a snowball effect. I caught inspiration and decided to chase as many dreams as I could. I had always wanted to own my own business I just never knew what exactly I wanted to sell. The inspiration for my bracelets came from scrolling through the gram one day and running into pages selling limited merchandise for women’s day awareness. I remember thinking how cool it was to make merchandise that had a meaning. Then I found myself researching the meaning behind colours and landed on different colour beads and bracelet patterns. The rest was history from there.
I began building Beaded Girlz over the course of several months because the truth was finances weren’t there. Still I was patient with the process. So imagine how disappointed I was when I finally opened shop and the company didn’t take off. Truth was I had the ideas and creativity, but I lacked everything else. Thank God I was sensible enough to find me a bomb ass mentor.
She helped me put all my ideas together and create my social platform so that I could share my heart with the world. She was also the reason I started blogging, which has become such a positive thing in my life and has connected me to some amazing people.
This journey has not been peaches and roses, but it has taught me a great deal about life and myself. As I continue to build my business and writing career, I continue to face many obstacles and setbacks. I’ve gone through financial struggles, had slow growth in business and struggled to balance the demands of being a single mother with the demands of business and writing. I’ve had my heart shattered in a way that threatened to throw me completely off track.
The difference between now and then, is I’ve built the resilience and the confidence to not let anything stop me from continuing to excel. I no longer lack self esteem and I’ve found a drive I didn’t know I had. I’ve grown so much as a woman in the last few years and I’m so grateful for every hardship that I’ve faced.
My life has never been particularly easy but I wouldn’t have it any other way. This way I’ve learned to accept the smallest of victories, to be grateful for the few who do root for me and to grind harder than I ever have. Just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, it means it requires more sacrifice.
I am beyond proud and humbled by the doors that have opened up for me just by finding the courage to start living for me. You never know who you can be and what you can do when you shut out the negativity and start living from your soul. You are not the things that have been predicted over your life, you aren’t your past hurts and mistakes. I’ve learned that our future isn’t written in what was or by what we are uses to, but rather by the next steps we choose to make.
It’s never too late to start over or to do better. If you get nothing else out of this open letter, I hope you come to the understanding that you can build anything from nothing. All the cards can be stacked up against you, but it is possible to come out on top. The struggle may last longer than you’d like, but the beauty is it doesn’t have to last. You can turn your darkest moments into victories if you learn to grow through the chaos.