I’ve previously talked about my move to South Florida. This post reveals where in life I was just six months ago. The past six months before my grand return to Nashville have been dark and rough. My purpose for sharing this post is to inspire.
Today, I’m thankful to be able to live in an apartment I can call my own with my husband. Today, I’m reminded just how blessed I am to be able to say that. Maybe you will have a different impression of me after this five-minute read, but, I’ve learned to no longer be offended. I am a firm believer in my purpose after all my trials and tribulations. Were you once unemployed and desperately seeking respite from your daily struggle? Well like me, you too have lived to tell the tale. Maybe you just started on that journey, maybe you’re still on it, and there’s a deep feeling of loneliness as you fight through your situation quietly in hopes that nobody knows just how real life has gotten for you. Trust me, you are not the only one.
I shared a house with three other women, a majority of which were 20 – 50 years old.
At $600, it was the cheapest thing I could find for just myself thanks to a friend. It was a blessing in disguise.
Ironically, October 2017 was the month that I made the most money since my move to South Florida. Despite having multiple clients ranging from law firm contracts to individual projects, my freelance gigs were unreliable—I often went weeks without being paid on time, which resulted in deep anxiety whenever another bill notification hit my inbox. I was juggling Lyft Driving, photography freelance gigs, babysitting, consulting and blogging in hopes that if one failed the other would cover me. Later that next month November, my laptop was stolen and my car was broken into. I was on my way to spend a night at a friend’s house and only stopped in to eat something and grab something else. That set me all the way back financially.
Fast forward to February I was still only able to pay part of the rent, fell behind on my month to month lease and was severely afraid of the word eviction. At the advice of my parents, I then moved from there and into my Godfather’s house until he was sick of me, LOL. His mentality was, “Where is your husband? You need to be in Tennessee with your husband.” Two weeks later, my husband flew down and the same day and we hit the road to Nashville in late February. The road back was dark and heavy. I left Nashville not certain where my marriage would end up. The time away had taken a toll on our marriage. The miscalculated risks that I decided to take fell back on me and my husband. In my mind, we were supposed to start a family, start fresh in Florida. But God’s plans are always bigger.
I arrived with just a couple hundred dollars to my name. I was still freelancing with only one client. When that client ended terms, I had absolutely no social media clients. With no clients for the first time in five years, which is when I started freelancing as a social media marketer, it allowed me to write and go into deep reflection and prayer.
I found myself applying for part-time retail jobs and full-time marketing jobs, but as far as I know, most times my resume never made it past the inbox and into a recruiter’s hands. I was grateful when I have been presented the opportunity to have an interview or two. I was grateful I was able to get the chance to wear my suits from my Key Club days. But I looked them in the eye and could tell I was too good for them. Being a freelancer and business owner has put me ahead of the game of entry-level jobs. The only jobs I got approved for were driving-related - food delivery and rideshare driving. But that wasn’t enough. My credit card bills were getting paid late, and late fees were being tacked on. I still am in medical and credit card debt, which is not bad considering my situation (No student loans, thankfully). But I wasn’t sleeping well and my mom could tell. By the time I saw my parents for the first time in six months, they could tell how much weight I had lost. My goal for that month was to get back to taking care of me and eating healthy.
I did my best to keep my head up and a smile on my face—not because I was being fake, but because I knew that there were people in worse situations. It got to a point where I was tired of trying to prove my strength. As someone with invisible disabilities, it is something I struggled with all my life. I had to allow my vulnerable side to kick in, in order to move forward. It didn’t mean that I was weak, or dumb, or fake. I had to tell myself over and over, sometimes life happens and things happen beyond our control. I actually have that quote on my vision board.
However, I never lost sight of the end goal. I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel.
At one point, imposter syndrome kicked in so strongly that I had to remove my social media apps from my phone. That curated Instagram life really is falsified and I was sucked into it. I deleted all pictures from my phone of the times I ate out the past six months.
I had to remind myself what it felt like to struggle and get back down to basics. My husband did his part, but the very basics, because he too was hurt and was not sure where we were supposed to go from here. He paid the bills, fed me and helped to keep the shelter over our heads. At one point he even put gas in my car.
I continued to apply for jobs. Any job. I finally ended up getting a call back from Dollar Tree a month later, just as I had gotten comfortable with a driving schedule. I worked a temporary stocking night job for a week before getting hired part-time during the day at a different location as a stocker a week later. It worked out because it is three miles away from home. I can also spend evenings working at another job I recently got hired on the spot for at Nashville’s largest tourist attraction, Grand Ole Opry as a photographer and customer service associate. It is very exciting to be closer to my dreams of being a tour/concert photographer. It’s so amazing how the blessings and prayers can show up immediately! Just like they say, stay ready so you do not have to get ready.
It was just the change of scenery that I needed and a wake-up call of knowing my worth by working for a job with a minimum wage that can easily switch up on you last minute. I needed to stop being afraid and procrastinating the projects that can help get me and my family out of our current financial situation.
My husband and I also had a therapy call which helped us see the light at the end of this tunnel. Our sight has adjusted and now we are ready for the next breakthrough. For the sake of my family, this is my definition of a sacrifice, because until I can work my plan of building an agency, I need a steady income. The last time I got a bi-weekly paying job was when I was filing to bring my husband here.
I’m still in recovery mode—I have a lot of debt to clean up, credit and trust to rebuild, and fear to get out of my system, but I am a stronger, better, and a bigger person because of those experiences and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I wouldn’t be able to be prepared for this next chapter of life if I had not gone backward in order to go forward. I needed to go through what I needed to go through. Do you want to hear my rags to riches story? My book isn’t finished yet. LOL.
This was heavy to write. It was also heavy to read. Tears were shed in the process. Thank you for sticking through with me. If you made it this far, I just wanted to tell you:
Wealth is not monetary. Knowledge is power. Love is the answer. It’s about the purity of your heart while being surrounded by those who genuinely love you, and care about you and your internal and mental health too that can help you find your purpose. There would be no testimony if there wasn’t a test. Just know that it gets better every single day.