Long before the pandemic, I had expressed to my therapist that my entire identity was consumed by my business.
It's not that it was a bad thing, I just wanted to have some hobbies again so I was able to step out of "work mode" for a hot second. It's something we've gone back to a lot, and something that is now more apparent than ever. No new contracts are going out for 2020, OR 2021 as we wait to see what will happen. Without hustling at my business, I don't know who I am.
I know that sounds a bit dramatic. But it's true. For more than a year, I've been singularly focused on growing my business and growing my brand. In the midst of a pandemic, it seems like it's almost come to a full stop. (Or, whatever is worse than a full stop - a reverse? Because I'm actually losing previously secured business here.)
Even though my therapist and I talked about trying to find a work/life balance, I never followed through, and now I feel like I'm back where I was three years ago - stuck.
On top of that, I'm stuck in a "why me?" cycle? I had busted my ass for a year. I had a bustling calendar, filled with friendor coffee dates and consultations. My books were almost full for 2020 weddings, and at a record high. I had just booked my first $3k package. I was meeting with a financial planner, and planning to move out of my family home in July. I had finally put all my eggs in one basket, proving the people wrong who told me that a corporate job was my only viable option.
And it all feels absolutely erased.
Now, some of you are thinking, "that's not true! It's not all erased!" Logically, I know. Some of you are thinking, "at least you don't have extra mouths to feed." I know. Some of you are thinking, "it could be so much worse." I know.
Pain is pain. It doesn't have to be comparable to be pain.
I can't plan too far ahead because none of us know what will happen in terms of social distancing and stay at home limitations. Even IF restrictions are lifted before summertime, I fully expect the event industry to be hurting for years. So I'm feeling very very stuck, and angry. Angry, and sad, and scared, and angry. I know a lot of us are right now, and I want to keep reminding you - you are allowed to grieve.
I just wanted to share with you where my head has been these past few weeks as I've been posting less. Like many people, I am taking it one day at a time. I've been doing a lot of distracting until I'm able to make a better plan for the future. As my therapist told me, even if I'm not able to plan long term, I can plan for today.
When I posted these words on Instagram a couple days ago, I was moved at the responses. So many friends - and strangers - reached out to send me their love and good wishes, and also to tell me how much they identified with my thoughts. So many small business owners are feeling this way, too. I believe it is important to be vulnerable here, and to show that being an entrepreneur is not all setting your own hours and taking vacations whenever you want.
I also feel the need to let you know that while I am grieving right now - as so many others are - of course I recognize my privilege. And at the end of the day, of course I am still prioritizing my clients and taking care of the small bits of business that need my attention. I'm just a little slower to respond to anything non-urgent, and have stepped back from social media for a bit. I'm hoping that by processing all of this, I can jump back in very soon.
TLDR: You are allowed to grieve, whatever that means for you. Please have a little bit of extra grace with yourself, and with others.
I love you. I see your pain. I hope you are staying safe, and sane. And I can't fucking wait to have an iced vanilla latte from Dunkin again.