PART #1: Anxiety and Debt; My Very Personal Journey to Building A Business That Matters
Today’s 2-part post is much more personal than any other I’ve written. But I also think its time to share what I know to be true but what so many of us rarely want to discuss.
Anxiety; legitimate, diagnosed medication-taking anxiety. And DEBT.
I often tell the story of how I ended up crumpled up in a ball on my kitchen floor at 2am feeling as though I fell from grace. I talk about redemption, my calling and figuring it out, slowly. ALL of which are absolutely true.
But two things I leave out need to be spoken about. And that is the debilitating anxiety that I had for almost two years and the debt that I put myself into.
The feeling of not being able to sleep to the point that I was ordering Melatonin in BULK from Amazon. (I still have 6 unopened boxes if anyone need’s them.)
The fact that I took so much melatonin that my body started to reject it; and in fact, made it worse.
The backstory is this: I quit a 6-figure job working in the fashion industry for some pretty badass brands. I spent my entire career and close to one hundred thousand dollars in education learning my craft: how to communicate and do business globally, in the fashion industry or otherwise.
I had a bank account from the time I was 15 years old.
I grew up with very little money and because of that, I wanted to work as soon as I could. I got a job at a shoe store in the mall and doubled that up with another job working for GAP Kids, while still in high school. Having two jobs and being an “A” student was very natural to me. I loved that I made my own money and could buy and save too.
I was on an incredible path. I went to college in NYC, did an internship in London and also interned at brands like DKNY and Liz Claiborne in NY. Eventually I started working and fairly quickly, I found success.
By the time I was 26, I took an offer (at a horrible fucking company) for $95,000/ year. I WAS TWENTY-SIX YEARS OLD! As far as I could tell, I made it. I just didn’t know what “it” was.
Fast-forward almost a decade. I had already quit my career; not just a job but a career that I’d spent my entire working life creating. I had no real answers as to why I did it or what I thought I’d do otherwise. I just knew that I had to get off the merry go round of success= money= happiness. The math wasn’t adding up for me anymore.
I was no longer consulting in fashion and wouldn’t commit to any full- time jobs until I understood why I quit in the first place. I was in a constant state of “what the fuck did I just do?” You can probably guess that the money saved eventually runs out, especially when you live in NYC.
I had no more savings and only Stock and a 401K from a previous company. Slowly, I started justifying why it would be ok to sell off approximately $50,000 in stock, in order to follow my heart. Eventually, I sold it ALL. I had NO stock left and no money either. I had unused credit cards and a 401K plan. That was it.
So, the credit card debt started to increase and since I had no job to pay it off, I cracked into my 401K. Again, I justified it to follow my heart.
I’ll stop here for a second to say this. What the fuck does it mean to “follow your heart?” I had no idea but kept making some pretty terrible financial mistakes in an effort to find something that I didn’t even recognize.
Long story short, I ended up $25K in debt and awake approximately 19 hours a day.
All the yoga and therapy in the world couldn’t make me feel better. I know because I relied heavily on BOTH. And still, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t think clearly and I couldn’t afford my life.
The responsible woman that I’d grown up to be was lost under heavy clouds of seeking something that I couldn’t understand. I was physically the thinnest I’d ever been, I couldn’t stop thinking and my mind was a jumble fuck of ideas that went no- where. I couldn’t rein my mind in from overthinking everything.
Oh, and I was also at the beginning stage of starting a new business, now known as Cyndie Inc.; BOLD Business and The Collective (of Us.)
This is a lot to take in, especially from the much lighter posts I usually share. I’ll be sharing part 2 of this post later this week with where I am now in the process and the lessons I’ve learned that will, hopefully, help you.