For like 10 years, I identified with only one version of myself. And before you jump to any conclusions, it’s not being a wife, a mom, or a friend. I actually built my entire identity on one purpose that truly defined me—that identity was my life in finance.When I walked away in early 2021, I felt liberated and strong, I felt like I had finally reclaimed my power and my courage. But after the initial 90 days of bliss, reality hit that I really really really lost a major part of my identity and my self esteem. I then went on a 10 months hiatus of hiding that as cleverly as possible: I hid that shame in fake smiles, abrupt conversations, and all together avoidance. I think I was doing a “good job” socially but personally it was HARD!When I really sat down and thought about what I didn’t love about my old life, I realized it was the way in which black women were/are treated at work, how we are often abused for our talent and manipulated out of our intellectual property.
I started a business to help Black women reclaim their seat at the table and their confidence at work. And while I was busy pouring all my energy into that, I was avoiding a void in my own life—an entire livelihood, a community, and a trust that I had built, earned, deserved and then walked away from. I didn’t offer my clients an explanation or a conclusion, I just went ghost. I stopped answering their calls and returning their texts, I literally just ran. I never felt proud about that, I actually felt a-lot of FEAR and SHAME—I had abandoned clients that had become family, coworkers who had become friends, and memories that had now become triggers for trauma. I had erased one livelihood to adopt another. If I told you it was easy, I’d be lying. If I told you being a full time entrepreneur was all it’s cracked up to be, I’d be lying. If I told you, I’ve made hundreds of thousands of dollars, I’d be lying. What I can tell you is that I’ve met so many amazing women, that I’ve help so many women find their voice, that I’ve built a community (albeit small) of women who remind me everyday that I can do it.But none of that allowed me to avoid a harder more inconvenient truth about myself—Over the last few months, I realized that abrupt abandonment causes depression— and that perhaps I may have been depressed.
Depressed because even though I know I did the right thing, I still felt like I had betrayed myself and all my years hard work.And it didn’t matter how many IG posts or YT videos that seem like everything was okay— I’ve actually been suffering from “silent”depression for a whole year—which showed up in my life as a disregard for the part of myself that I always loved (my sense of self care and time with friends). I went from dressing up everyday to barely being able to put together matching sweatsuits. I went from texts and calls to 4 business day responses. I just didn’t feel like myself anymore, I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.So I took some time off to get back to myself—To really think about vulnerability and allowing people to see my scars, let them bleed, but also see them heal.Getting back to yourself can sometimes be about realizing that you can have it all, f it up, and then get it back. You can stop, start, RE-start and begin again as many times as you like until you’re feeling really good and most at home. Feeling stuck is something we all struggle with no matter where you are in your journey. You don’t have to be ashamed of it either.If you’re ever feeling stuck—just ask yourself which decision will make ME feel really good and then choose that. That’s what I’m doing—choosing that.
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