Five years ago, I wouldn’t even be able to recognize the person I am today. I look back at the past few years- the devastation, endless struggle, feeling of defeat… the weeks I couldn’t even get out of bed. It’s been a long, lonely journey I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
I remember the day that my world turned up side down like it was yesterday. Sitting in my car with my then Business Partner of 10 years both of us sobbing like babies about the fate of our Partnership. We had just finished lunch- just like we did everyday for the past 10 years. Something was “off.” Deep down I sadly knew what was to come next- he wanted out after spending the past decade living out my life’s dream. The one person that had stood by me and truly believed in me through all the ups and downs was giving up. At that point, the world I knew was crashing all around me and I had no control.
It was like an ugly divorce. We were financially married and spent more time with each other than with our own significant others'..... We could finish each other’s sentences, were each other’s confidants, and had traveled the world together spreading the voice of my craft. Most importantly, He was my Best Friend. I felt so alone and empty inside. I stopped seeing my therapist, went off my meds, and was lethally depressed. The depression was consuming ever ounce of my life at that point.
Many of the people that were closest to me knew I was struggling, and I had reached out to many of these “so called friends” for help. With the exception of a few angels in my life, it was very apparent that unless I had free clothes to offer, favors to give, or they were on my payroll- no one seemed to give a shit. I learned immediately who my real friends and family were, and it was unbearably lonely. There were countless times I contemplated ending my life. The pain was too much for me to even live with...
Everyone wants to be a part of the parade bumbling down the street- the excitement… but no one ever wants to help with the clean up or be there when you need a lending hand.
Overnight I went from a staff of many to being a one-woman show. I was overwhelmed with the burden of mounting debt, unfulfilled commitments, and a business that I had no idea how to manage. There was this bitter realization that I was the only person that believed in me anymore, and it was the most disgusting, horrible feeling. I never thought I would crawl out of the deep, dark endless hole I was spiraling down.
I am hard working and a fighter. My experiences have made me the person I am today by forcing me to discover my best self when I was at my worst. I have been ashamed to tell anyone what I have gone through, and that has been such an ugly feeling. From the outside it may have looked like I was at the top of my game- in reality I was at the (bi)polar opposite, buried deep below rock bottom.
What has kept me going through all the good and bad, day in and day out is my undeniable love for fashion, passion for my vision and the satisfaction I get by making others happy through my art. I have sacrificed my health, mental well-being, and personal relationships for the pursuit of my dreams and success of my business.
I hate to admit it, but I have “The Eye of the Tiger" on loop playing in my head day and night. I try to remind myself to not look at what my experiences have taken away from me, but rather what it has given me. The more I talk about my experience, the less traumatic it all seems. It is so important to surround yourself with people that lift you up and truly care about your well being. It is even more important to stay healthy and take care of your body and mind.... something that I wasn't actively doing when I was in the thick of all the chaos. I know it's hard to love yourself when you feel that you aren't lovable. I lived it day in and day out for 4 long years... and still struggle with loving myself to this day. It wasn't until I woke up one morning and realized that no one will ever truly love me if I don't love myself. Hard work, determination, talking about my experiences and taking care of myself have become my therapy.
I’ll never be out of the woods. Everyday is the highest high, or the lowest low. Some days I don't want to get out of bed, go to the gym or eat healthy. And in all honesty- that's okay. Nothing in life is ever perfect, and it never will be.
The take-away: You never know what other people are going through. They might seem like they have it all together, but everyone has their bag of rocks. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have, or how many followers on social media, at the end of the day the only person you have is yourself. You have to love yourself first, and the rest I PROMISE, will all somehow fall into place.
Be Well, be KIND, and LOVE YOURSELF,