Tag Archives: angst

What is My Why?

17498732_1699579173402640_5592608514390051298_nThis article first appeared on Sassy Direct on August 27, 2017.

Someone asked me recently, “Why Willing Beauty?”  My “Why” is a bit long and involves an ankle brace, a boot, air conditioning, money, and tenacity.

In 2014 I decided I wanted to do a half marathon.  I have never been an athlete, but it sounded like something cool to do when I turned 50.  I didn’t know if I would walk or run, but I knew I would do it.  I had a year and a half to prepare.  I had time to train and choose a race, and I was excited.  I started walking.  One morning I was walking downtown, hitting my stride, and I felt my ankle turn under.  I fell.  Hard.  I hit the ground and I felt incredible pain all over.

People stopped and tried to help me up, and I said no, I’m fine, I’m just a clutz.  I got myself up and limped to a nearby bench.  I looked down to see that my knees and shins were a bloody mess, as was my hand and water bottle (which I had been holding when that hand hit the ground.)  No wonder passers by and the people who tried to help looked so concerned.  I washed them off with my water bottle, sat for a few minutes, and decided to continue on. 

I walked about three miles that morning.  When I got back to my car, I took off my shoes and socks and saw stars.  My ankle had been sore during the walk, but when the sock and shoe came off? It was swelled double, horribly bruised, and it hurt like hell.  The doc said that when I removed the sock and shoe, I released the blood and tissue that was keeping it compressed.  He put me in a brace and sent me to physical therapy.  I had torn ligaments, and I was a mess.

It got better, slowly, and I walked a 5k in that brace in October 2014.  58 minutes, hitting my goal of less than an hour, two months after that fall.

2015 was the year to really train.  I walked another 5K in March, improving on my time by about 5 minutes.  Excellent.  Not long after that 5K, my wayward ankle turned under again.  It was worse than before, and I ended up in a boot.  It took longer to bounce back.

I persevered. I continued walking, increasing my speed. Three friends and I signed up for the Disney Princess 5K to be held in February 2016, a few weeks after I would turn 50.  We needed to be able to walk it with a 15 minute per mile pace or better.  We were gonna DO this thing.  (We really just wanted the T-Shirt and medal.)

In the summer of 2015, my air conditioner decided to begin a slow descent into oblivion.  I poured what I had into keeping it going, as I couldn’t afford a new one.  The financial burden of living on the edge for so many years was taking a toll on me, but I had my walking and Disney to keep me focused.  This was just another bump in the road.

After Thanksgiving, I signed up with a coach, someone who could help me walk my 15-minute mile and reach my goal.   She was affordable, and I really liked our sessions. Things were looking up again.

On December 23, 2015, my air conditioner took its last breath.  It was 90 degrees that day, and we were looking at those temps taking us to the new year.  I was devastated.  I simply could not afford $5-6K for a new system, no matter how I ran the numbers.  You see, I live in Florida.  This was, in my mind, catastrophic.

I dragged myself out, put on a happy face, and spent Christmas with friends.  I tried to push the home issues down and enjoy the day.  There was a visit my bestie, a trip to Tampa for lunch with more friends and then we went to see the new Star Wars movie. It turned out to be a wonderful day and I was thankful.  I actually had fun.  That evening as I was leaving, my weak ankle turned under again.  This time I was on my friend’s front steps and the fall was spectacular.  I’m pretty sure I scared her family.  The ankle was blown again, worse than the first two times.

The next few weeks remain a blur.  Pain. Fear. Anxiety. The boot. My ankle was so bad and I was so miserable.  I spent New Years Day trying to figure out how to change this ridiculous trajectory I was on.  Someone had reached out to me a few days earlier about joining a Direct Sales company.  I decided to see what that was about.  I joined on New Year’s Day, having no idea what I was going to be selling.

2016 was unpleasant. On January 11, 2016, my cat escaped to the garage and climbed up on the loft area over the kitchen.  I climbed a ladder to get her (without my boot.)  I lost my balance and the ladder toppled over.  My head fell 11 feet to the cement floor.  Metal shelving broke my fall.  I miraculously was able to stand up and get myself into the house.  You can see photos and the story here.  An undiagnosed concussion would wreak havoc from then on.

I turned 50 with zero fanfare.  In fact, I was incredibly sick and miserable.  There was no celebration.  I had nothing to celebrate.  I was living with no air conditioning in Florida.  My ankle hurt all the time.  The concussion was bad, and I was having a hard time with simple things like remembering my words and driving.  I struggled with using the products that I was selling.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I stumbled upon a Facebook group whose goal was to provide training to direct sellers.  Proper training.  The group was all about attraction marketing and not spamming.  It was the opposite of what I’d been exposed to, and I decided to learn as much as I could.

Our mother died in April.  She and I had grown estranged for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into.  My brother took the brunt of all the crap that was her life and her final few months.  Suffice it to say, recovering from that took a toll on both of us for a very long time. (I still yell at her from time to time.)  A brief summary of that time can be found in my posts Derailed and Life is a Choice…Just Choose.

Somehow I survived summer.  I got into a routine of when to open the windows when to close them when to leave the house and when to go home.  My business was not going anywhere, mostly because I could not use the product.  How could I sell something I could not use?  I am stubborn and continued to try to make it work.

In September my niece had a baby.  A miracle of life and something positive during a time when my brother was struggling with too many burdens related to our parents. Burdens I could not help with, and for which I will always feel guilt.  I saw that baby as his reward for being a good son.  I was happy for him and his new family.  I was still quietly struggling.

In November our father died.  The parental saga was over.  It had been a horrible, sad, devastating year.  I honestly don’t recall much of the end of the year.  A lot of grief, a lot of anger, and still, a product that I could not use.

2017 arrived and I declared things had to look up.  I would figure out the money and the business.  Living with a brain injury quite literally changed my life, my focus, and my priorities. (And yes, I’m still recovering.)

In February a friend who I’d gotten know in that Facebook group reached out and told me about a new company that was starting and a ground floor opportunity.  I ran the numbers quickly in my head and told her no and thank you for thinking of me.

The problem was, I could not let it go.  I kept running the numbers.  Looking at the opportunity.  Researching the company.  I started saving.  I wanted in on Willing Beauty.  My friend was building an amazing team and had an amazing mentor.  The product was exactly what I wanted to use at a price point I could afford.  I started saving.

In April I surprised my friend and joined.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or how, but I knew I had to be part of this from the beginning.  I had learned so much in the last year and a half, I knew I could make this happen. I began using the product.

My skin loved it.  I had no issues.  NO ISSUES.  I shared HY+5 regimens and an Essentials regimen with close friends and family.  Dry skin, oily skin, combination skin – we all could USE IT!  I resigned from the other DS company to focus on Willing Beauty.

It’s now the end of August.  There have been hiccups and there have been changes.  That is always the case with something new, right?  Willing Beauty officially launched on August 1.  I have customers.  I have a wonderful mentor and an amazing upline.  I’m building a team.  It’s beginning.

I continue to be told that my skin looks really good.  My fine lines have lessened, the tone and texture are better and my skin feels hydrated all day.  This product really IS as good as they said it would be.  What I like almost as much is that I can FINALLY be a walking billboard for what I sell.

Some of my friends, people my age, are beginning to retire.  I obviously didn’t plan as well as they did.  I’m incredibly happy for them, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s in the back of my mind, taunting me.  I see other friends working well into their 70’s, and it’s hard for them, physically and mentally.  Thier lives didn’t turn out exactly as they had imagined either.  It hurts my heart.

At some point in the last few months, I woke up scared. I don’t want a third Florida summer with no air conditioning.  I don’t want to work into my 70’s.  Hell, I don’t want to work into my 60’s.  I’m 51 years old. I need a solid retirement plan.  I need a home that I can live in and not visit each evening to sleep and shower.  I want to swallow my anxiety and put my walking shoes back on.  Walk before Run.  I think it applies to both my half marathon and my business.  Time, training, hard work, enjoy the rewards.

I’m not afraid of hard work.  I’ve worked since I was 14. I know how to work.  I’m devising a plan and creating goals.  I’ve never done that before, so I’m seeking advice.  I WILL transition from working full time and doing Willing Beauty in the off hours to working party time and doing Willing Beauty full time.  Then I will not need a “real job” at all.

The culmination of the last three years is my “Why”.  Willing Beauty is still ground floor.  The compensation plan is great, and the path to get there is doable.  It is DOABLE!  I just have to be willing to put in the work.  Work and sacrifice now to ensure I have a future. Walk before Run.   I’m good with that.

Where can you buy Willing Beauty? You may visit my website at  fiftysetgo.willingbeauty.com and shop our products.  Don’t forget about our 100% Happiness Guarantee! It promises that if our products are not right for you, they can be returned for a full refund, including shipping, no matter if the bottles are full or empty. We believe in our products THAT much!

You may also join my community at www.pennyslounge.com.  There we discuss important topics of the day (like the weather or what kind of milkshakes we like) and share about the journey we call life.  If you’d like to know more, give me a shout at penny.fiftysetgo@gmail.com.  I’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you more.

 

 

 

Advertisements

In Search of My Lost Inner Superhero


If you watch Grey’s Anatomy or you have read Shonda Rhymes Year of Yes, you know of the superhero pose:

“Standing around like Wonder Woman in the morning can make people think you are more amazing at lunchtime.” Stand up like a badass, legs in a wide stance, chin up, hands on your hips. Like you own the place. Like you have on a magical silver bracelets and know how to use them. Like your superhero cape is flapping behind you!

-Shonda Rymes, Year of Yes 

First, Year of Yes is an awesome book. Second, buy the book. Everyone should read the book! 

I never realized I had an inner superhero until long after I’d lost her. 

I grew up in a small town. From as far back as I can remember, I felt like a fish out of water. I mean no disrespect to anyone in my family or the town I grew up in. I simply always longed to see and experience what the world had to offer, and I never felt like I belonged, even in my own family. I often felt like an outsider looking in, wondering what was wrong with me. 

I always had a lot of fear in me, deep down, paralyzing fear. Fear that held me back, fear that left me on the sidelines. There was always a voice in my head saying “you don’t need that” “stop over-reaching” “why can’t you appreciate what you have” “it’s good enough for us” – years later I would learn that the voice in my head was the mother. 

At the age of 12, I began planning my escape. Things happened that year, things that scarred my soul. 12-13 were hard years for me. Being the good girl I was, I never said a word about my struggles. Never once, to anyone. But, I knew I wouldn’t stay. I just had to get to high school graduation. 12 year olds should never think like that. 

At age 14 I read the book Scruples, or as I like to say, sex education in paperback! It was a great book full of adventure, strong women…and sex!  I hid that book for a long time because, well, the mother did not need to know I had read all THAT! (When she read the book, I got yelled at.) But the sex part didn’t make an impact near as much as Paris did. It was then that I fell in love with the idea of seeing Paris. Paris was Utopia, my ultimate goal. I had to get to Paris. When I would mention that? I was told I didn’t need to go to Paris. There was nothing in Paris for me. “It’s just a book. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.” “Everything there is old, there’s nothing to see.” “Parisians are rude.” “Be realistic. People like us don’t go to Paris.” 

Throughout high school, I began to come into my own. I credit a few amazing teachers who saw potential in me, encouraged and mentored me. They truly changed the path of my life and made me believe I DID deserve all the world had to offer. I could BE more, DO more, WANT more. 

I took part in Future Homemakers of America and was able to travel to regional and state meetings, participate in competitions, and meet new people who were not from our small community. Me? Homemaker? It wasn’t just about that so much as giving young women the skills to be amazing. 

By Senior year, things were clicking for me. I was evolving into a confident person whose fear of everything was slowly being replaced with anticipation for the future. The beginnings of my superhero cape were forming. 

I became a regional officer for FHA. The leadership training and time spent with my advisor was a true, life-changing gift. The mother did not approve. She didn’t understand why I never wanted to be home. That was her stance. Me, looking for excuses to be gone, wanting more than I really needed…

My music teacher encouraged me to sing the National Anthem at our first or second home football game. A Capella. I don’t remember that very well. I recall walking out onto the field, taking a few breath, and for the first time, unconsciously assuming the super-hero stance. I remember it ending and people being amazingly kind and complimentary. I thought, if I could do that, I could do anything!

There was a flurry of music training, music and FHA camps, drama, and other FHA related activities in high school. It all prepared me for life on the outside (although I did not realize that at the time.)  Gifts I never took for granted. 

Those experiences taught me to perform. 

If nothing else, I could push the fear down and PRETEND I was brave. I could put on my game face, assume the superhero pose, step “on stage” and be amazing. 

I desperately wanted to go to college. That was not encouraged at home. Waste of time. Waste of money. We didn’t go to college, we are doing fine. “What have we ever done to make you want to leave?  “You’ll get no help from us!” 

She kept that vicious promise, and I was determined to NEVER move back home and let her win. I won a few scholarships, but in the end, the choice was college or rent. I ended up ending my brief college career and losing those precious scholarships. “You just have to work hard, you don’t need more than that.” “Come home and I will take care of you. Just come back home.” 

My superhero cape had a tear in it. I’d failed. I couldn’t figure out how to make college happen on my own. I was all of 19, how could I let that happen?  I later learnedthatnlack of parental support was punishment #1 for having the audacity to move out of the house after graduation. That tear in my cape was the first of many. 

I was 23, I think, when I decided to go to a trade school and get my accounting certificate. I needed more skills to get a better job. That opened the door for my 17 year career at a company that changed my life. I learned amazing skills in the accounting and IT departments, and they didn’t care that I didn’t have a degree (that wasn’t as big a deal in the 80’s and 90’s as it is now.)

While I excelled at work, I did not excel at a personal life. I fell into a rut, believing, finally, that if I just worked hard I didn’t need anything else. I had drank the Koolaid. My cape was slowly shredding. She had won. A business trip to Florida woke me up and changed the course of everything. 

A co-worker invited me to spend the weekend with her. We went to the beach. I experienced downtown. This was a place I could see myself living in. It wasn’t Paris, but there was 28 miles of white sandy beaches. It was kind of like the Santa Cruz I remembered when I was really little, without the boardwalk. The place my Nana taught me to love the ocean. The mother hated that my Nana had such influence in me. 

St Petersburg Florida is an amazing city with a small town feel. The vibe, the pace, it all just clicked for me at that time. It was exactly the change I needed to make, and I hadn’t been looking for a change! 

I took a deep breath and made a superhero decision to move. That was twenty years ago. My cape was slowly mending itself. 

That decison began a 19 year battle with the mother, full of anger, hostility, lies, manipulations and verbal abuse. I was over-reaching again. She must have failed if I needed to live so far from her. Yada. Yada. Yada. As hard as I tried to fight it, she continued to influence me. My poor cape. 

I blossomed. I took up volunteering and focused on fundraising. I was a member of the Junior League (which made the mother crazy, me being one of those “stuck up, elitists”. “You’re not one of them. You never will be. Stop over-reaching.”) I worked with Race for the Cure. I loved volunteering, giving back, being a part of something bigger. It was satisfying. 

It took superhero powers to approach businesses for funding. Hell, I solicited $500 from my gynecologist while my feet were in the sturrups! I was terrified, but I was DOING. Living. Being. 

I finally went back to school. Twenty-odd years after failing, I was back. I loved it. I did amazingly well. I got a bachelors in three years, while working full time. I worked, I studied, I went to class, I did homework. That was my life. The response from home? “That’s a waste of money. Why do you continue to want more than you are meant to have?” “You are wasting your time, you need to come home.”

I graduated, exhausted, run down, and numb. As much as I loved school, keeping up with everything took a toll on me. A few months later my 17 year career came to an end. Changes were in the air and I did not want to be a part of them. While I don’t regret leaving when I did, doing so broke my spirit. That was my home, the place I had grown into an adult, it was in my blood. My boss and I didn’t part on the best of terms and that ate me up as well. Part of me has never fully recovered from the loss. My cape had a new, huge tear and a few shredded areas. 

I ventured out on my own and started a business. Timing was bad, economics were not in my favor, and try as I might, I couldn’t make a go of it. When my biz ended, the experience broke me some more. My cape looked like Swiss cheese. 

The last ten years have been, well, hell in many ways. The abuse from the mother plus the ups and downs of my finances, health, and overall life…everything I tried to achieve left me scarred and two steps behind where if begun. Soul sucking is the word you’re looking for. The pressure from the mother became unbearable. 

That brave little girl retreated and my inner superhero disappeared. The cape fell into ruins, and the remnants blew away in the crazy, wild winds that were ruling my life. 

In the last two years I blew out my ankle a a second and third time. The mother died, and I felt guilty for feeling relieved. The father died. I reconnected with family I had been denied a relationship with most of my life. I learned a great deal about the truth of my childhood and the lengths the mother would go for absolute control. I woke up and saw the mother for the insane, sociopath she truly was. 

In the end, I was going through the paces.  Get up. Go to work. Go home. Sleep sometimes. Get up. Go to work…

This week I realized…I am a shell of my former self. 

In the shower a couple days ago, I realized I need to get that brave little girl back. I need to make a new cape. I assumed the superhero pose. I stood there, allowing the water to wash off the grime of the previous day and some from the previous years.  I realized I will need a lot of showers to wash all that grime away. I began searching for that brave 12 year old who wanted to escape that world and have more. This world, my world,  needs her. 

I decided to enter performance mode. Put on my game face, every day. Strike the superhero pose, every day. Push the fear back, every day. I expect some days will go better than others. I have to keep moving forward. 

I can see that little girl, peaking out from the sideline, tentatively deciding how to proceed. I need to coax her out again. 

I need to be brave, get out of my way, and return to me. 

PS: I went to Paris in 2004. It was was amazing as I thought it would be. In fact, on that trip I saw Rome, Florence, Vincenza, Venice, Milan, and Paris. I will go back. I will have coffee at a cafe and eat strawberry crepes. I will sit among the artists on the steer and sketch the most beautiful city on earth. A superhero can do that. 

Photo from Grey’s Anatomy borrowed from https://goo.gl/images/mVgdaz