This 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you more.
Wait. What? How can that be? Who doesn’t love fireworks? The anticipation, the whooshing sound as they fly into the air, the surprise when they explode, showering the sky with delightful colors. Everyone loves that, right?
No. Not everyone.
When I was a child, we would go to my grama and grampa’s house on Independence Day to set off fireworks. They had a long sidewalk in the middle of their (always) lush, green lawn and two water sources close by, which made for the perfect fireworks launch site.
Grampa spent a lot of time keeping that lawn lush and green. Mainly because he took great pride in doing so. Also because a green yard surrounding a house in Northern California during fire season is a good thing!
Fire season. Every summer, the state of California catches fire. It always has, it probably always will. The mother would say it was natures way of cleaning house. To me, fire is terrifying.
I always had anxiety during the summer, worried about the fire hazard (which was always posted in town on the Smokey the Bear Sign by the fire station.) I would see that sign, and my stomach would flip. Every fire that started in our area would send me into a silent anxiety attack. Silent because, I never told a soul about my fear.
I’m rather terrified of fire. Every summer I would make a list of things to take with me in case we had to evacuate (we never did, although the parents were evacuated a few times in my adult years.) I also kept a small suitcase packed under my bed with some of those things. No one knew that I did that, but I was ready…just in case.
Fireworks require fire.
The dad and grampa would lay sheets of plywood over the sidewalk and lawn to create the perfect size fireworks perimeter. A bucket or two of water was strategically placed. Once they were ready, the family would gather (sometimes just us, sometimes the aunt and the cousins, sometimes others.) There was always watermelon. I think melon was a theme. (Hmm. I’m not a big melon fan…interesting.)
Anyhow, I digress. When it got dark, they would begin setting off the fireworks. I would begin the anxiety attack. I was always terrified one would fall on me and I would catch on fire.
Yes. That was my fear. Crazy? Probably a little!
Sparklers? They are the devil. Little balls of fire close to the skin. They can catch your hair on fire! Burn your skin! Poke your eye out! The devil I tell you! THE DEVIL!
The mother would inevitably try to make me hold a sparkler. In fact, she found joy in holding them way too close to me and taunting me because she knew I was afraid. I suppose that was her way of wanting to cure me of my “irrational fear”. Her words. It didn’t work.
I never outgrew that anxiety.
I don’t mind watching fireworks from afar. The cities in my area put on lovely displays. Backyard fireworks? No thank you. I fear one will land on me and I will catch on fire. I fear someone else will catch on fire. I fear someone will have one explode in their hand. I fear a dog will eat one.
I now live in a neighborhood where the neighbor’s all around me enjoy fireworks. They REALLY enjoy them. The weeks of Independence Day and New Years, they set them off for days. They are loud, they sometimes shake the walls, and I fear one will land on my roof and burn my house down. It only takes one.
Just a few more days of fireworks, and I can push that anxiety back down until New Years. Thank goodness fire season is only twice a year!