I’m back! (with a vengeance)
The last two months have been very turbulent for me. As you know from my last post, I lost some friends that I cared deeply about, and THEN! a few weeks later, I was let go from a job that I was invested in and very excited about. The company took a different direction, and I was left by the wayside, wondering where I had gone wrong.
The thing is, I didn’t go wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. The company changed directions, and I was not part of that change. It’s such a weird thing to have happened, but I’m sure this happens a lot. People change their minds. Big companies change their minds. Not everyone will like me, no matter how loveable I might think I am. This was a bitter pill for a died-in-the-wool people-pleaser like myself, but it’s been a huge lesson for me, and I’m thankful. It’s forced me to get stronger.
I admit it took the wind out of me for a bit. I felt lost and confused. But now that I’ve had a month to sit with it (and maybe it’s still too early to say that I’m already over it and moving on but), I think it was probably one of the best things that has happened to me in a long time. Hard things tend to work like that. I was forced to regroup and look deep inside myself to find purpose and a plan. It was tempting to give up. I wanted to move home with my parents, stay in bed for a year, and cry…But you can’t give up when you are a single mom living in an expensive apartment with a teenager, and your parents live in an HOA that doesn’t allow for grown children under the age of 55. Giving up is not an option!
So you know what I did? I rebranded.
SAJ is back and stronger than ever. Check out my portfolio! I packed it with my latest work and I hope to add more. Matt has been a long-suffering excellent (web designer!) partner who has spent countless hours poring over code to override my quirky WordPress problems. But I love it now. Secret Agent Josephine is a one-woman creative agency, and I’m adding clients already.
I can survive on my own! Isn’t it amazing? I’m so happy, lucky, and grateful to have options like this. I might not be “the corporate jet setter working woman,” but I’m me, doing what I love, and most importantly: I’m okay in a super stressful, financially unstable time. That’s what matters; I’m okay. Everyone said I would be, but it was hard to see that when I was in the murky depths. Now I see.
Guess what else is back?
Slideshows! Sorta… Click on those squares, and you’ll see a slew of photos. I stumbled across this little plugin in the long, arduous process of learning how to create a better portfolio. Now I can have slideshows within my blog posts, and they aren’t grainy automated gifs!
I’m still learning and tweaking but pretty cool, right?
Bug and I went to Crystal Cove this last weekend and spent some time poking around the tidepools and enjoying the coastal super bloom. We love where we live, and I’m so thankful for time with my teenager before she’s all grown up and moving on.
Another comfort during these last few months has been my tiny little patio garden. I’ve spent many hours here watching the plants grow and contemplating my next move. I’m thankful for this little spot of peace. Bug and my mom decided to plant tomato seedlings a while back, and now I have twenty-some full-sized cherry tomato plants growing knee-high on my tiny patio. It’s going to be a jungle soon. I can’t even imaging what it will be like late summer.
Then there’s my cozy room. I did a massive furniture rearrange because that always does a spirit good. I’ve also spent many hours cuddling with my crazy hugging cat. Who has a hugging cat? I do! She’s so funny. I can’t sit down on my bed without her climbing up on me, tucking her fuzzy purring head under my chin, and reaching both paws around my neck. It’s quirky, weird, and sometimes even annoying, but I think she’s a special gift sent from the universe to help me get through the tough spots in life.
the month I hid
Hiding from your blog and social media is nothing new to me. I’ve done it before. Life gets hard; you want to hide from the world. You know how it is, especially for people like me who are supreme people pleasers that can’t handle criticism. I’ve been working on this my whole life, and I thought I’d tackled my worst demons, but they came back in April with a vengeance.
This time I thought about shutting it all down for good. I was going to. I liked the idea of a simple private life. My niece, Rapunzel, and Bug telling me not to for their sake pushed me back. I’ve had a tough month. Work has been arduous, and my trip to Amsterdam ended disastrously. I lost some friendships that meant a lot to me.
I’d love to spill the whole story. I’d love for everyone to chime in and tell me that I did nothing wrong and they don’t deserve me, but it’s not fair to them. I can’t paint a clear picture because I don’t know what really happened. I’m sad and it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. So I can’t write about my Amsterdam trip. It was really fun and I saw a million cool things but right now all I can think about are my hurt feelings so I start and stop and never write anything.
Work has been hard too. Growing pains, corporate politics, learning Microsoft when I’ve worked in Adobe for 500 years. I love my job and I think I’m doing well but you know, I worry about getting fired every other minute. It’s a big culture change for me to not be my own boss. I make so many mistakes. Stupid silly mistakes too. But I also work with people I really like and I’m learning so much.
Kady comforts me. She also annoys me by constantly putting her wet nose on my face, nudging my glasses sideways by trying to pet herself with them, and licking me on the mouth (ew!). Does anyone want an aggressively cuddly cat? Just kidding. I wouldn’t part with her for the world.
Weekends are a new novelty for me. Remember when I would proudly proclaim that every day is Monday and every day is Saturday when you are a freelancer? Now every day feels like Monday, and weekends feel like a mad-dash marathon chore-fest with two minutes of vacation. I savor what I can but I miss my coffee dates, gardening, staring at the golf course, doing laundry whenever I feel like it, clean sinks without dishes, sewing, cooking… yeah, all that stuff. I miss it. But it sure is nice being able to pay my bills. As Kate Moss says, nothing tastes as good as having money feels. Or something like that.
(vase by Bug)
April has also been a busy month for visitors. My fairy godmother, Susan, came to visit. She’s so fun. She took Bug and I shopping at Ross. She always does this. It’s her love language. I bought a bunch of work clothes and Bug bought candy and shampoo. Then we took Susan to the Anaheim Packing District and ate like foodies who’d never heard of calorie restrictions.
We especially love the lanterns
Then this last week, Matt came to visit! We took him down to Doheny Beach, where my parents were camping with Cody (and their cats!), and we had a nice turkey burger dinner that my dad cooked. The weather was crappy, but I love a beach campfire when it’s chilly. We sipped Topo Chico “cheerleader beers” and then had hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows for dessert. It was really fun.
My parents are testing out their camper (Did I tell that whole story about how it got stolen and then they got it back? I need to go dive in the archives and find that story.) because they are taking it to Texas next month for my brother’s wedding. Then they are traveling across the country to a Christian camp in Wyoming and then to harvest in Idaho (my Dad always drives trucks for his family’s beet farm) until November. Cody is living the life! He’s going to have the best summer ever. Camping and hanging out on a farm with lots of kids and room to run. I’m jealous.
And now you are all caught up! How do you like the new blog template? I did it all myself this time, which is why it’s a bit wonky here and there. I don’t love the portfolio template, but… it’s gonna have to do until I find some of that mysteriously elusive free time. I also really need to update my crusty old About pages.