I laid in my bed, staring at the clock as it struck 2am. The tension built in my body, my shoulders tightened, my legs felt restless and my head held the sensation of vice grips slowly but consistently making themselves tighter around my skull. I tossed. I turned. I tried to count to 100 and back again. I heard the laughter downstairs that seemed to echo like knives directly into the most tense parts of my body.
Being in business can be a lonely adventure. You hold a degree of responsibility that isn’t easily communicated. Your decisions hold a weight that could change your entire life in an instant. You must remain creatively inspired and structurally sound at the same time. At this particular time of my life I’d found myself at the precipice of moving forward and feeling completely alone.
As if all at once, I gasped and leapt from my bed. I stripped the clothes from my body and pulled my swimsuit swiftly over my skin. I ran down the stairs and out the door with unsettling footing, my top half somehow moving a fraction more swiftly than my bottom half. I sped past the sign reading, “pool hours 8am-10pm” and jumped into the water. I sunk down, one hand holding my nose and the other grasping the gritty concrete floor of the pool and I screamed. Bubbles exited my mouth and the tension exited my mind.
Relief wasn’t something I knew I deserved then and a sounding board wasn’t available to me. Not the kind of sounding board I knew I needed. The funny thing is, I never considered it could be another way. I simply floated in the pool for a few hours, went back home to an argument with my husband at the time and went to bed lonelier than I was before.
Seven years and a few businesses later, I’m sitting on my porch eating an ice cream sandwich with my fiance’. The sun is beaming on our skin and my body is relaxed with the feeling of preparation. The lawn is newly raked and mowed and we are setting ourselves up for a weekend of tackling our tasks together. We spend the next day planning meals for the week and cleaning the house. We talk about the kind of parents we want to be and we encourage each other in our dreams.
I’m coming fresh off of a tough work week, countless moments of sitting with my business partner and talking about our fears. We daydream together all of the plans we have for the future of our businesses and we acknowledge how scared shitless we are that they won’t work out. We leave with small plans of attack for what is to come and believe whole heartedly in the other person’s ability to fulfill their dreams.
I call my mom on the phone and pace back and forth over whether or not we should just elope and if that makes me unromantic. She encourages me that there is no wrong way and it is kind of weird that we just made all of these traditions up.
I walk into the coffee shop and see the face of one of my dearest friends. I tell her how hard wedding planning is when you are paying for everything yourself and how I never really liked to throw parties anyway. Her bright eyes and can-do attitude respond with creativity and positive energy and the tension leaves my body as love and appreciation for her time.
Life is funny that way. We often don’t know it can be another way until it is. I spent so many years thinking that I am ultimately the only person who will be there in the end. That I can’t count on another person to care for me in the way that I can care for myself.
I didn’t know what was to come.
I couldn’t have anticipated the partnerships that would form and how they would transform the very core of which I operated in life.
I couldn’t have anticipated how easy it would be for me to ask for help when the right people were on the other end.