It was Sunday, July 10th, 2016 at approximately 7P EST. I was sitting with my family after just having returned home from a week-long vacation to Martha’s Vineyard with a group of good friends.
Then it happened. A phone call, a voicemail, a text, and a returned phone call later…I was unemployed. I walked back into the den where I had left my family. Staring blankly at the wall in front of me I muttered, “I just got fired.” The words fell from my mouth like lead weights. Next thing I knew, I was charging towards the front door, gasping for air (to this day I could not tell you where I was going). Next, I was on the floor with my family around me telling me to breathe and assuring me I was ok. Ten minutes later, an indescribable feeling of peace passed over me. I sat up, wiped my eyes, took a deep breath and said “I’m going to be ok. This is what I’ve needed.”
Notice that I said needed. No one wants to be fired but I needed to be fired. On the ride home from the airport that evening I was recounting to my mom how I had been feeling very lost and confused for a few months now and how I had been praying to God for guidance and answers. My time away helped me with my decision to throw everything at the wall, see what sticks and use that to guide me. While this decision was part of the answer I’d been seeking, the phone call was the pièce de résistance, if you will.
I’m not going to pretend that this hasn’t been a deeply difficult time for me. I’ve faced and at times am still facing feelings of self-doubt. While I have since been reemployed, after a few weeks of job searching, I am not currently where I imagined my career path taking me. It’s tough but I have learned a few fantastic things in the midst of all of this. Walk with me…
1. I have an AMAZING network of family, friends and complete strangers.
There’s nothing like getting fired to show you who is really in your corner and how willing people are to help you. Initially, I was very hush hush about what was going on in my life but quickly told myself to get over it and on top of it. I had to remove the shame I kept placing on myself about this situation because closed mouths don’t get fed. I began reaching out to friends, mentors and colleagues and I have been amazed and touched by how willing people have been to help.
2. I’m not a failure.
It’s easy to feel like a complete and utter failure when something like this happens. Well guess what? It’s not true. I’m still the same smart, tenacious and capable young lady I’ve always been. I haven’t lost anything and to keep it 100% honest, I always knew something of this magnitude was bound to happen to me at some point. When it comes to work and my career path to date, it hasn’t been that difficult for me. That’s not to say I haven’t worked for the opportunities I’ve had but since the age of 16 I have seamlessly flowed from one job to the next. The path to success isn’t supposed to be linear so probability had me deviating at some point. Plus, now I have something in common with Oprah, Kerry Washington and Anna Wintour. I’d say I’m in pretty great company so long as I don’t give up and I have no plans to do so.
3. I’m refocused on MY goals. Not just others.
Remember that thing I said about throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks? My closest family and friends know I have about 5 different things I want to do or become and now they’ve all been pulled off the back-burner and rightly placed back into focus. Now it is no one’s fault but my own that I allowed my dreams to take a backseat and be completely ignored or at the very best, only halfway acknowledged. One of my biggest desires is to relocate to New York and bridge over from beauty into fashion. While I am still based in Atlanta with my new job, the dream has been revived. I am very clear with anyone to whom I speak what my specific goals are and they have been overwhelmingly helpful in trying to connect me accordingly. I’ve definitely had times during this transitional period where I’ve doubted the viability of this dream, but I then remind myself I am one call, one email, one connection away from it all happening. That’s the approach I’m taking toward every goal I’ve now re-set for myself. Sometimes positive things take time and I feel that I am destined for positive achievements. This moment does not define me but is only a very small part of a greater story.
All in all, this experience has been and still is an opportunity for growth and practicing the art of forgiveness. I’m learning (again) to trust fully in God’s timing and allowing myself to feel vulnerable while remaining hopeful that my next big moment is right around the corner because giving up will NEVER be an option. *twirls away*
“For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”