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.
This holiday finds me a bit retrospective. The meaning of the day often gets lost in the picnics, pool-parties, barbecues, boat outings, and family gatherings that go hand-in-hand with a three-day weekend. I always take some time to reflect, remember, and honor those who have made it possible for me to live in this wonderful country with the freedoms that I have.
My grandfather on the mother’s side served proudly in the Pacific during World War II. He was a long-time Merchant Marine who found himself in San Francisco the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. Upon hearing the news, he went straight to the Navy recruiting office and signed up. He left his wife and newborn son behind to serve and protect our country and our way of life. I remember him telling me he was angry that we had been attacked, and he felt he needed to do his part.
He was awarded a Purple Heart and bore the scar on his stomach where he was shot. He would show us grandkids his scar now and then. It looked like a second belly button, and we grandkids thought it funny that he had a second belly button. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized the seriousness of his war wound. He also lost a good part of his hearing, the result of being too close to an explosion, and I never knew him without hearing aids. He served his country with pride. When he passed in the mid-80’s, we honored him with an honor guard and a tombstone which reflects his service in the Navy and his rank. He was especially proud that he was not an officer. He always saw himself as an every-man, and he would say that most of the officers we jerks (although he did once confess that he had a few friends who were officers, with a twinkle in his eye.)
My other grandfather was one of four or five boys (my memory is foggy on this one,) who drew straws to see who would go to war. They were afraid that no one would be there to care for their mother or families if they all were to die in the war. He drew the short straw and stayed behind to take care of his mother and his brother’s families. He was proud to serve in that way.
One of my grandfathers had a brother who died in the war. I can’t remember which one, and I don’t really have anyone to ask. I think it was the mother’s father, but I can’t be certain.
Ironically, both of my grandfathers were raised without fathers. They both had a fierce sense of honor and family.
The father who raised me served in the Army during the brief period of “peace” between the end of the Korean War and the beginning of the Vietnam War. He eventually landed on Guam, where if I recall correctly, he was the company clerk. “Kind of like Radar,” I was told when the TV show MASH was popular. We hear they had a really good time on Guam. I never heard him speak much about that time. When his four years were up, he returned to the states, got a job, married, etc.
I learned two years back that my biological father was in the Air Force. He was a medic. I don’t have a lot of details, and I’m not sure if he served during wartime. I think he spent most of his time in Alaska. My aunt his sister, sent me his Air Force photo for Christmas two years ago. It’s a wonderful photo of a young, handsome man who I never knew. The only photo I’ve ever seen of him.
I have friends and acquaintances who have served our country over the years, both in war time and peace. I recall hearing that a number of boys I grew up with served during Desert Storm. Timing is everything, and we were the right age for them to go. I recall at the time the mother telling me, “Every generation has been in a war.”
To all the men and women who have served our country, to all who have given the ultimate sacrifice, a simple thank you does not suffice. I am humbled and forever thankful for your service to ensure our freedom.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I have had a rough time with Mother’s Day for 20 years. That’s a long time. A dear friend of mine told me today, “Time to let go of that hold she has on you…”
My friend is right. I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet.
20 years ago, probably in the February-March time frame, I excitedly announced to my parents that I was moving cross country, from California to Florida. I had thought about it a long time, I had friends there, and the time was right for me to make such a change.
I made the three-hour trip to their place one Friday after work. I took them to dinner at their favorite local haunt. Once dinner was done, I shared my news, expecting support and undying love.
That did not happen. Quite the opposite in fact. The mother became terribly angry. She accused me of telling them in a public place so she would have to “behave” (I later learned what THAT meant!) Try as I might, I could not convince them that I was unhappy in my current situation. Why? Because…”All you need is your family. I don’t know why you always have to go looking for things you don’t need. You always do that. You don’t appreciate any of us!”
I stayed until Sunday afternoon, as which point I had to get out of there. The anger and hostility was too much to bear. It never eased up. In 19 years, it never eased up.
I moved in September and made a new life for myself. The next 19 years were spent at the receiving end of a furious mother. As each year passed, it became worse. I didn’t return to visit after a while because I didn’t feel I needed that kind of hatred in my life. Every trip I did make left me battered and bruised emotionally.
I came to dread all holidays. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Christmas. Thanksgiving. Every single one of them.
She died a year ago April. The dread did not. I spent most of Mother’s Day crying and angry. Not because she is gone, because so many have loving mothers who they would walk through fire for. It pains me to know that I will never have that experience. Facebook is really good about showing all the love out there. I need to stay off Facebook on holidays.
I hate that she still has that hold over me. I picture her, wherever she ended up, pointing at me and laughing about it. She always told me that she would haunt me. For now she does. For now, until I learn how to release myself.