Clairvoyant is a French word combining clear + vision. That about sums up the place my mind and body arrived at while on a remote AirBnB winter birthday retreat 5 weeks ago. I sat down with myself, my big ideas, our family needs and my past and future goals, mapping out all things necessary on oversized post-it notes covering every wall space, talking to myself out loud, alone, for a full weekend. When it came time to go home, I boarded my loaner from Toyota knowing that everything was about to change. Again.
It was never my plan to not work. The opposite is true and two-fold. I shifted careers from social work to web to financially provide for our eventual family. I also needed to remove myself professionally from the day-to-day service of working with children and families in crisis to attend fully to any kids we would foster in our home. The irony is very real here.
The 3+ months prior to this much-needed mini retreat, I spent an insatiable amount of time and energy actively interviewing for corporate leadership positions. But there were barriers. First, an unsavory gap in employment as a result of our growing family’s need to have a primary parent available at home at all times: me. Second, my unwillingness to accept a position with a company that felt like a shitty match with shitty pay. Third, my lack of tenure in this heteronormative, misogynistic void. And finally, my first and last corporate experience. Frankly, and thankfully, I was never cut out for it.
As I drove away from that quiet, remote farm with the smell of wood stove clinging to my clothes and steam from the rustic sauna fresh in my lungs (happy memories of growing up taking saunas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula), I knew I was headed home to a very hard conversation with my partner about my career trajectory and what that meant for hers. The search for that high-paying, high-powered corporate position was over. And the need for this woman, me, trying forever to stuff my very round, complex, talented, beautiful self into a square hole evaporated right along with it. With all my ideas sketched out, naked and in full view, I could not deny what surfaced before me. It was time for radical change. Again.
So, I’m starting my own business.
Becoming a parent to 3 siblings transracially adopted through foster care has not been an easy transition, or one that supports 2 full-time, out-of-home working parents. It’s actually impossible for us. We are over 3 years into this path & it's unimaginably difficult for us to meet everyone's needs as our lifestyle requires consistent built-in flexibility, rapid evolution and intentional living. We anticipated being strapped for resources, time, energy and cash in choosing to raise 3 kiddos with lots of complex needs, but we continue to forge forward. Our path has been a series of life-changing decisions back-to-back and now is no different.
First, it was the choice to move from short-term to long-term foster care. Next, it was the choice to adopt. Then, it was the choice to adopt again. Then we radically changed our diets. Currently, we need to sell our home & move to a safer neighborhood with solid special education support in a public-school setting. And now, it’s me. At the starting blocks of another career trajectory, building something from nothing with my own grit, tenacity, skillset & vision. Oh. And a new, part-time job bagging groceries at Whole Foods so I can get a discount while continuing to feed my kids well.
People write to us daily. Direct message, emails, through social media comments. Many express a thank you for being visible or a wish to do more - say more, act more, give more time, help out financially. We are thanked for sharing our lives openly and more than anything, folks encourage us to "keep going." KEEP GOING. DON’T STOP. YOU’RE DOING GREAT. Well, friends, I’m tired.
It is more than the prospect of “keep going” that I’m aiming for next year and the year after. I don’t want to just keep chugging along. I don’t want to just survive. I want my family to thrive. And I miss feeling really alive. I’m energized at what lies on the horizon; pouring my greatest passions into one funnel and making a living from it.
The hustle will be very real as these times of financial insecurity are grinding and a little frightening. I’ll continue chronicling the journey here on occasion and you will see more partnerships with brands that we actually value over the coming year, who wish to be part of the village that supports us during this phase. If you wish to support me directly with exclusive insight into what I’m about to embark upon, you can help me here. If you're someone who can mentor me long-term on the small business front, I promise you'll find a loyal comrade in return.
Lots of love.
2018 Powerful Voices of the Year is a Sunday Series, featuring guest bloggers & parents covering some of the most important topics of our time; race, racism, religion, pregnancy and birth, grief and loss, entrepreneurship, women's rights, immigration, nutrition, sustainability, climate change, transgender voices, transracial adoption, foster care, art, representation, and yoga for surviving through crisis.