People Change - I Am People, I Have Changed Too.
The last time I wrote a blog post I was starting grad school at Lehigh. To be honest, I had doubts that I would make it past the first week, let alone an entire academic year - a.k.a. nine months. It seems fitting (I guess) to feel like this has been a rebirth of sorts. These past few months have been a whirlwind; I have worked, read and written more than ever before. I researched, I cried, I learned, made new friends, distanced myself from others. And, throughout that entire time I thought I'd be able to write on here, but I couldn't. There was a sadness deep within me and I did not quite understand it.
When I posted the video announcing the closure of my business this past March, I thought I would be able to write a new blog post again but I felt numb. I mean, how does one follow that up? That was the absolute most gut-wrenching, most vulnerable, raw moment I've had (publicly), plus I am not by any means, a pretty crier. My vulnerability alone is not that left me speechless, the responses I received privately and publicly on social media were inspiring and powerful, to the extent that I was left with no meaningful way to follow any of it up, other than with a tearful 'thank you.' People whom I had never even met, clients and even former employees all wrote to tell me that I had inspired them, that they were proud of me, that they would miss the business, that they were sad to see the business close. Then, just this morning, I received a message from a woman in NY who knew my work and saw a picture of a set of lashes I had once done, on someone else's page - promoting my work as theirs- shocker! ... and just like that, the speechless spell was broken. This morning, when I woke up to the latter I realized two things. (1) You never know who you or your work are inspiring (2) People change, I'm people too, I've changed.
As I made my way to work today, I thought about the stolen picture, the good samaritan who reached out to me and the business that is using it. I thought about the email I would have sent to the LLP email address and the amount of energy and resources that would have had to be spent before the issue was resolved. Then, I thought about why it is good to close the salon, why the video and my vulnerability two months ago were worth it. Because having a business in the beauty industry involves a certain amount of conflict, drama, toxicity, (insert synonym). Someone stealing a picture of my work is drama I do not want, waking up to a frantic message letting me know someone somewhere, with nothing better to do is using my work without my permission, is something I will not miss. The worst type of business to be in for someone as sensitive as I am, is one where exposure to these moments is constant.
I have changed - my business changed me, going back to school changed me, my Fellowship changed me. I am not the same and for that I am fortunate. Working on new projects and learning about things I never even imagined I could learn about like public policy, food justice, housing segregation, non-profit organizations, and organizational communication has had an impact I did not anticipate. Very soon I will begin working with Lehigh's Baker Institute's Hatchery on a new business venture and I feel like pinching myself. I realize now that my motivation knows no bounds and as sad as it is to walk away from something that has taken me ten years to build, other things need building too, I know my limitations and my strengths. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to but not everything I set my mind to at the same time and that is humbling.
Today is not a good day for getting bent-out-of-shape over someone's thieving tendencies. Today is similar to December 20, 2020 when I woke up and decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and committed to get serious about losing weight and getting healthy. I once told a friend that the last year had felt like
"I was shining the vase while the house was burning down"
I'm no longer shining the vase, I walked out of the burning house.
P.S. This is what what leaving toxicity to toxic people looks like, what signing up for Noom and following through looks like, what supporting a small business (Valley Prep Meal Prep) and trusting them to support my goals looks like. This is me, changing. I still have work to do professionally and personally, but i need to look no further than myself for motivation to succeed and not sweat the small things.
This is me 9 months ago and this is me now.