If the last few years has taught me anything, it’s that every stereotype of the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ is absolutely true.
To best explain, I need to back up the timeline for about 8 years, so bare with me for a minute…
I had just graduated college, and decided to move back home and take a job locally, both to be with my grandfather whose health was declining, and also to be closer to my long distance boyfriend of the time-- who we can call Kevin.
Kevin seemed great, although a bit reckless in his choices, and the 22 year old version of myself was completely blind to any and all warning signs in the months leading up to this decision to move home.
He came from a great family who adored me, he was best friends with MY best friends boyfriend, he went to church (when his aunt forced him)-- which is apparently all it took to take my ‘I’m never moving back home’ attitude, and toss it right out the window.
I had gotten a job as a baker for a new restaurant, and I felt as though this would allow me the opportunity to decide if I wanted to open a bakery, or perhaps go back to school to refine my craft.
And then…. He got arrested.
Yes. I said arrested.
In front of me. At his parents home. Which they knew was about to happen and no one bothered to warn me.
This 22 year old man of my dreams was also selling illegal prescription drugs, and he got caught.
This guy that I had seemingly made the plans for the rest of my life around, left some VERY important details out of his background, and suddenly I found myself visiting a rehab facility on weekends, rather than hanging out with friends.
While I was completely devastated by the lies and deceit, I was more upset about the fact that I had let a boy determine the trajectory of my life. But after a few months of wallowing in self-pity and anger, I picked myself up and quite literally walked into the kitchen at Barton College, and asked for a job as their baker. And y'all-- they said yes! Granted, I asked for too small of a salary and worked FAR too many hours, but I made a decision that felt right, and I had done it for me.
Flash forward a couple of years, and I have since decided against the idea of owning a bakery, but am still loving everything about the catering side of events. I have moved over to a different position at the college, and am now managing a residential building for college athletes and assisting with on-campus programming, when I am not coordinating weddings or decorating cakes. My days were FULL, but they were full of things that brought me joy, and I absolutely didn’t care.
Flash forward another year or so, and I have met the man who would become my husband. About six months into dating, I learn that my contract will not be renewed at the college, and I have to decide whether I should start in a graduate school program, or if I should give this business I had been dabbling in for the past few years a try.
After he encouraged me to try venturing out on my own as an entrepreneur, I leave the world of residential life, and start a job as a restaurant manager. This proves to be a valuable learning experience, although it isn’t conducive to growing a brand that shares some of the busiest days of the week, and after a year or so, I decide to try working somewhere part time instead, to allow more weekend flexibility.
In the Reader’s Digest version, I go from part time girl boss to full time hustler in a matter of months, and suddenly I’m out in the world, quite literally faking it until I hope I can make it.
But while my business is thriving, I am somehow becoming more and more unhappy at home. The constant pressure to make more money and be more successful, paired with the ridicule of not being ‘present enough’ take their toll, and suddenly I have gained 20 pounds and have fallen into a pretty serious bout of depression, whose only reprieve is working more.
My husband keeps telling me how unhappy I am, I keep wondering what more I could possibly do to try harder to appease him, and then-- I learn that he has been unfaithful.
Suddenly I am a wedding planner, in an unsuccessful marriage.
Feel the weight of how THAT sounds for a minute. Yeah, I know right? Totally sucks.
We try therapy, which he lies through. We try weekend getaways, which he texts other women during. We try basically anything and everything I know to do and then-- he calls it off anyway.
I am pissed. Pissed because I don’t like to fail at things. Pissed because I have poured so much of myself into another person, only to have it cast away. And mainly, pissed because I have gone and done it again. I let a boy dictate how I was going to live my life.
Ladies, why do we do that? Why do we get so wrapped up in the cute boy who takes us to dinner a couple of times, that we’re willing to throw away years of plans, hopes, and dreams in order to keep them? We are supposed to be choosing partners who make us better versions of ourselves, not lesser versions! But that’s a topic for a different day…
So anyway, our marriage dissolves and in the process, I have to decide what’s next. Do I still want to plan weddings if my marriage didn’t work out? What will people think? Have I lost my credibility?
Oh how I wish I could shake that version of myself and say “Babes! Calm it down! You are going to be fine! Remember KEVIN?!?! You came back from THAT dumpster fire of a relationship when you were still a little babe who could barely order wine with dinner, and somehow it led you to build this company! If you could accomplish that after him, just THINK of what God has in store for you now!
So that’s what I did. I started looking at the trajectory of this brand that I have built, and started thinking about how it would look if there wasn’t someone in my ear telling me that I was working too much, traveling too much, or not cleaning the house adequately.
I stopped listening to the voice that was telling me that my friends think I am lame because I’m never around, and started listening to all of the times that they call, text, share a post, or comment on a photo, telling me how proud they are of the work we’re putting out there.
I stopped worrying what would happen if I booked too many evening appointments, and started saying yes when our couples asked if I wanted to hang out with them beyond the scope of our professional relationship. I started looking past the no’s and to the next yes.
I grew up going to my grandparent's house almost every day after school, and whenever I would come into the kitchen my grandpa would look up and say “Look, it’s Me-agan” (pronounced Me-again.)
It was one of the many little jokes that he would make, even if he was the only one laughing. I thought about that joke one day as I walked down the stairs and passed his photo as I caught my reflection in the mirror, which was smiling for no reason, and I thought “Hey look, it’s Me-again.”
Yall, I don’t know what my next ‘yes’ is going to be, but I can tell you that I’m excited about it. And that’s a pretty damn good feeling.