As life flows around its obstacles, you grow and change; and I am no exception. This blog has seen so much change over the years and as I look back on the last five years, I see how much I have grown, changed and achieved. And I’m so very grateful for those experiences that molded me into the person I am right now, as I write this.
I haven’t had an easy life (and no one really has honestly) but the last year has been particularly hard on me. I’ve been good health-wise, but the obstacles I’ve had to face and the fears I’ve had to confront during 2016 are nearly unbelievable; recapping the year makes me wonder if it was even real or fiction.
On Hopes, Dreams, Loss, and Emotional Trauma
As with every new year, one looks forward to doing new things, making progress and achieving goals, whether or not they are realistic. My 2016 goals weren’t exactly unrealistic, but they relied heavily on other people pulling their weight and getting shit done on their end. Big mistake.
The lesson learned here is to be selfish and make goals for yourself. Being selfish does not make you a bad person. You need to put yourself first too, sometimes. You can’t help anyone if you’re not working at your best capacity, or if you’re unhappy (I learned this from a very special person). You will spend your life being unhappy but helping everyone else be happy and in the end, you’ll look back on your life and wonder what the hell you did, and wish that you made more selfish decisions sometimes. Look after yourself.
So, as you could imagine, my goal was not achieved, but that’s okay because life sometimes just does not work in the ways that we want it to. I do believe in a higher power that always wants the best of us. However, getting me off the path I was on, was a very painful process.
In early 2016, while struggling to build a sustainable business in an industry that’s respected globally, but not in Trinidad, the partnership went sour after my then significant other (and also one of the three co-founders), felt ‘strongly’ about the future of the business and our relationship, both of which subsequently descended in chaos within a week. To be fair, the relationship was already unstable whether or not he wants to admit it; we discussed a separation seriously at least half a dozen times since 2013. It wasn’t a simple separation, as it was fuelled with high levels of stress and emotion.
I learned a very powerful lesson that fateful night; choose your inner circle wisely. Never before had words been truer. Over the years, I watched my circle shrink and shrivel into nothingness, and I never put any real effort into making and keeping friends close. You are not an island; you really need people around you to keep you going and support you when things get tough.
As to what instigated such a dramatic breakup, I cannot put my finger on one thing because it was a build up of issues that we never honestly dealt with. But what I can say is that communication, and honest communication is so very important to any relationship. But as painful as that experience was, I did learn a lot from it, and the lessons from the relationship are there to help me grow and not continue to make the same mistakes; all of which I am grateful for.
I was not, however, prepared for what was up next.
We did an entire company restructure, restructured the service and tried to work more efficiently and effectively. And it worked for a while…
My good friend of ten or so years was also a co-founder of the business, and suffered a separation from his wife and kids at the hands of the business (and some personal stress); a mere two weeks after my breakup. So, it was chaos trying to deal with two breakups and a startup that was undergoing a severe shuffle (due to my breakup). Needless to say, we managed to make it out alive, just about!
During this chaos, I was sleeping about 3 hours a night on my mother’s couch in her tiny apartment while living out of the boot of my car. I spent my day managing the few clients we had, and cold calling to grow the business. Honestly, we needed money, because we had real bills to pay, with clients who weren’t paying consistently. I just kept hitting wall after wall.
Finally, I got a place to live. It wasn’t easy and I had no idea how I was affording it over the next year, but I had to try. Something was bound to work right? Wrong. After months of trying, struggle, pain and tears… I lost my first car. And then, as life would have it, I had to make the hard decision to give up my apartment instead of digging my debt hole deeper.
So at this point, I was in more debt than I could imagine, no home, no car, the business was struggling as a result of my personal situation and no one was hiring in my industry. There was only one thing left to do…
Tearing it all down to build all over again
In December, I made the decision to migrate back to England, my home country. This wasn’t a light decision as I knew that there was a high chance I was never returning to Trinidad, leaving everything I’ve known, family, friends, business and network all behind, to start over in a country I left when I was seven years old. But, 26 is as good an age as any to start all over.
I got my clean slate. Finally.
There is light in this story. And a story of love, too. Remember that friend I mentioned earlier? He’s the one good thing that happened all year, along with all the valuable lessons learned. As the stress grew and pressure increased, we got closer. I don’t have to go into details to tell you what happened here. But what I will say is that he’s the most incredible person I’ve ever known, and he continues to grow and overcome his obstacles with grace and patience. He’s a constant inspiration to me and the one who inspired me to write and be the best version of myself. Why this didn’t happen years ago, I don’t know, but you know what they say: nothing good comes easy. Side note: I’m deliberately not publishing details regarding this yet because I do enjoy some level of privacy, and wish to respect his too.
So I’m in England, writing this blog post on the tube home from work, and slowly rebuilding my life.
I’ve learned a very powerful lesson about leaving everything behind: when you tear everything down, you choose what you want to build in its place. Loss is not always a bad thing. When you’ve lost everything and you’re standing in the ashes of what once was, you realize how much space you now have to build something better, and you also know what’s truly important to you. Letting everything go has been the most liberating experience of my life, albeit the most painful.
Now back to this blog…
I’ve decided to start writing about my past experiences and hopefully someone will eventually learn from it. I no longer have Trinidad and the people in it holding me back. For those who know me personally, you know which experiences I’m talking about. For the rest of you, you’ll have to just stay tuned!