the Struggle.

I had heard her presentation before.  No matter how many times I’d witnessed it, I still always sat in the back and listened.  Nodded.  Gave “amens” from the last row.  Took it all in.  Eventually started scribbling notes of my own.  And it wasn’t until the event in Chicago that a few ideas really started to penetrate.  She had said it before, but something about this time's verbage hit me like a ton of bricks. “Change keeps you hungry.  Change keeps you scared.  Change keeps you humble.”

Change. Boy do I know change I thought.  I’ve gone from life as an Interior Designer, to my husband returning from a year long deployment, to living in Charlotte with friends and planning a wedding, to quitting my job and realizing my happiness as a Photographer, moving in with my new husband in Fayetteville, then packing our things up and shipping off to Hawaii, all in a 6 month span.  I might as well be the master of flippin’ change.


But the truth of it is, am I really?  Do I like change?  Embrace it even?  Hell, am I even good at it?  Of all the changes above, majority were decided for me, and the others were easy decisions to make.  I was miserable at that showroom as a Designer.  I wanted to be officially married to Marshall and live together again.  Duh.  Easy Peasey.

What about the not so easy decisions?  Do I embrace those as change, or simply avoid them all together?

“If you’re struggling in your business you have to change”

Boom.  There it was.  My thought process and answer, all rolled into one.  I am struggling.  Not with ideas, because I’ve got everything I mentally need to rebuild my once thriving business in a new location, but with finances.  Yes.  You heard me right.  MONEY.  The worst. word. in. the. world. and the thing that no one likes to talk about, especially people like me who are building their businesses.

It was there in Chicago, and after a good kick in the ass in a conversation with Jasmine that I realized I have GOT to do what it takes to survive while I get my business going.  That means getting a part-time job somewhere.  Anywhere.  Serving, for crying out loud!  Because right now, I am struggling and I am tired of it.  My husband has been a huge support for me and helped whenever I need it, but If I want to be serious and grow this business again (and pay my school loans!) then I’ve got to buck up, drop the ego (although boo, that “ego” is LONG GONE) and make things happen for myself.  Until recently it was an ugly 4 letter word that was holding me back from getting another job:  FEAR.  (Well, and the fact that I was going off the island for a month and a half...but still...the idea scared me to death).  Fear of getting into another job that could take so much time from me that I wouldn’t get to focus on my wedding business.  I felt like getting a part-time job could put me right back where I started.  So I had to ask myself what was worse:  Struggling for an extended period of time, or working really hard to get past the struggle?  To me right now it’s worth it to bust my be-hind serving fruity cocktails in Waikiki  to make my dreams a reality, show my husband how much his support to get this far means to me and that now I’m determined to do what it takes to get it done.  I’ll find a job with a flexible schedule that allows me to grow my business.  I’ll make a financial plan so when I book out enough weeks to pay the bills I can leave my part-time job, and the best part?  Hopefully I will make some new friends along the way!  I’m just a sad mess without good friends. Okay, the real best part is being able to buy a new pair of Louboutins and being able to yes "Why YES Sallie Mae, I can pay you that giant loan ALL TODAY.  Is cash okay?"    But if Jasmine were here she would say "FOCUS Ashley, FOCUS!"

I’m tired of financially struggling on my own.  I also haven’t done anything as of yet to fix it.  So now, I’m ready for the change.  In the wise words of Mary Marantz "It is not our lot in life to struggle".  Here freakin' here!


ps:  thanks, J*, for your inspiring words 12 times over.  Love you for it.  And, for the kick in the ask. I can only hope I can do the same for someone else, because the struggle ain't easy.  Nor is it necessary.

Iphone photo from the last night of theFIX in L.A.!  I just sent some film off the Indie Photo Lab, can't wait to see what I get back!