How I went from All Money to All Happy, and you can too.
MONEY MONEY MONEY!! Give me ££££…. This was my adult way of life for 15 years until the unthinkable happened… I had a baby and my whole world got turned upside down. All of a sudden, this money hungry battle-axe became obsessed with mental health and healing.
Everyone always says that your life changes when you have a baby, but THIS I wasn't expecting. My brain was at such odds with my OLD life that I suffered separation anxiety TWICE, postnatal depression and then teetered on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Then after all that I got made redundant and moved to a company that everyone warned me about. At the end of my time there, my options were resign or suicide.
My 180 degree turn from money was so stark that I effectively started all over again in my business and network to find my tribe of compassionate people. And I'm finding that they are just like me! They love other people regardless of the skin colour, sexuality, or ethnicity.
At the age of 5, I made a conscious effort to never be poor. I was raised in a single parent household on the breadline and was taught to challenge the norm, especially from men. I never really fit in with people in my class and I always felt as that I was on the outside looking in. Regardless of that, I studied the hardest subjects and whilst I was never academically the brightest in the class, I made it to a top 20 university for my degree.
My goal in life was to make as much money as possible so naturally I fell into a sales role. I was wowed by the income. £10k months became the norm and at a tender age of 22, I got hooked! I was welcomed and loved where I was because I was successful. I still felt that I didn't really belong.
The world around me was changing and the door to door sales which had been so lucrative for me soon became a dying breed. I could see the writing on the wall and decided that a move to corporate was for me and ended up joining one of the UK's largest Business to Business telecommunication companies. I didn't make as much money in my corporate life but I felt certain that I was still on the path for success.
As it turns out, the life of corporate sales is not the same as door to door sales. In fact, the two environments don’t exist on the same planet. I certainly didn’t fit here.
The whole hierarchal matrix here just blew my mind. I couldn’t tell a director something that my boss wasn't aware of, even if the data was real time. I wasn't just on the outside looking in… HERE I was the outside, in a tank with no windows trying to find a way to look in.
You know those kids who were picked the teams in school sports… well I was surrounded by ALL OF THEM. And me… well at school I was always the middle of the pack because I was "dependable". There was NOTHING that I could do to be popular and whilst I yearned for it, I knew that I would never achieve it. I developed a dispassion towards being liked and decided to just get the job done. The most direct path became my natural default option, and if that meant going through YOU, or over YOU, or around YOU… I was cool with that too. The result was the only thing that mattered.
Not here though. It was a team effort called a project and the amount of support that the project received was dependant on how much people liked the project leader. I was limited by the projects that I could do myself. My boss was a chauvinistic prick who took great pleasure in laughing at me when I asked him for help - "Can you not do that? Everyone else can…"
There was never any support or inclusion from him or the wider team. They all had 10 year's experience in the company and knew everything and everyone. The team bonded over mocking our colleagues and peers. I remember a gay guy and a transgender woman who were targeted by my team it was so horrific that I just knew then that I could never be like them. I was in my 20's and still struggling for acceptance. Still struggling to fit in.
If we are all individual then what is stopping everyone from accepting me as a person? Then I realised what it was. Those of us that live on the fringe live with the knowledge of what is right. We’re happy to hunt for what WE want and if that means that others are upset with our choice, so be it. I am a freak but I'm a happy one. There is only one person who is responsible for my happiness, and that's me.
Hiding In Plain Sight
When I looked in the mirror, I didn't really see what I thought that I looked like. I would pull my hair tight back from my face and imagine an athletic body shape. I genuinely believed that I should have been a boy.
I was seven or eight and I remember my Maternal Grandma telling me that I wasn't allowed to play football any more. Football was for boys. I was a girl and should do girl things. In my simple mind, I thought that I was a boy because I so desperately wanted to play football.
This simple act in a throwaway comment changed my life. I imitated strong male figures and copied their mannerisms … to my shock horror people perceived me as masculine. Thanks for Maggie-T's Article 25, non-binary wasn't something that was allowed to be talked about at school so I grew up without really knowing who I was.
As I moved into my late teens, boys found me interesting as though I was one of them (well I was and I wanted to be) but also men found me threatening. I was often told that I emasculated men. I was told to conform and that by somehow me being ME was wrong. I was told to wear my hair down, paint my nails, wear dresses… even heels because that would make me more accepting to the men in the business. Where was the dialog to my peers telling them to be more accepting of people who aren't like them?
I never told anyone that I was Bi when I worked in corporate. It was just one more thing for them to use against me. The whole environment was so discriminatory and victimising that it was worse than being at school. I became aware that I was being talked about, people knew I was different. I was the "difficult one"
I stood my ground as best I could and in the end, I left the business. My reputation in tatters. My head in tatters. With bugger all support.
There's nothing quite a spot of loneliness to really set you into a deep depression spiral.
I had split from my then boyfriend and found out that all of OUR friends were actually all of HIS friends. I was left with only my cat, Hazel. How I loved her. I still love her. She saved me from suicide more than once.
The only interaction I had at home was with my own thoughts. When they went to dark places like you are unlovable, I needed to escape. I became the ultimate neat freak. Cutlery was placed in order in the drawer. Dish clothes folded. I cleaned at least one thing every day. I needed something to do.
I was living on £50 a month. £30 of which was for travel to and from work. I was flat broke and couldn’t even afford to go out and make new friends, I couldn't afford a beer. Being poor became a way of life. It defined what I did, the clothes I bought, the food I ate, what I did for pleasure.
I started having to plan things at work, like getting the earlier bus so I could use the gym at work. And by gym I mean shower. I ploughed myself into work. My only social interaction was at work and I amassed a huge network of people. I would always find time for watercooler chats, or those in the kitchen conversations. It's those conversations that help me alive.
I worked such long hours and even though people were commented on it, they didn't do anything to help me. I never asked for help. I didn't want it. I was so desperate to be liked that I thought that if I DID all of this work then maybe I would be able to fit in with everyone else at the business. All that I succeeded in doing was setting an unachievable bar that I would be remembered for and never achieve again. I would be reminded of this bar throughout my time at the company…
By working so much, all I was doing was masking the problem. I was putting wallpaper over the cracks in the walls. It was only a matter of time before the walls fell down.
Personally, my life suffered. I had 14 months of torture. I was living hand to mouth. My monthly treat was a bag of chips. I also yearned for handouts at work. I remember one guy, Paul, would save his coffee rewards and give them to me…. So once a fortnight I could have a posh coffee. Oh the luxury.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I loved owning my own place but I couldn’t take it any longer. I started to realise that I was talking with my self more and more and genuinely felt scared for my sanity. The cure, I rented a room. I had never been more thankful for company.
2015 was when I really started to wake up. This is the year that I met Martin. We had the most wonderful whirlwind romance.
Met January 2015
Keys to my place in May
Moved in in August
Bought a house October 2016
Married in June 2017
George arrived September 2018.
I was 37 weeks pregnant and was still travelling for work. I was adamant that being pregnant was NOT going to affect my ability at work. I didn't want to be seen as one of those women who couldn’t handle pregnancy in the eyes of colleagues. Just one problem…
In order to get my bump behind the steering wheel, I needed my seat so far back that I couldn’t reach the pedals. I was so embarrassed that I started my maternity leave early. I missed out on two more weeks with my little man.
Being at home sucked… I was so desperate to be working on tenders and signing contracts that I found it really difficult to adjust to the new way of life. I actually suffered separation anxiety from work.
The second my baby was born, I knew that I wanted to spend every waking moment with him. I never thought that I would love anyone more than Hazel. Needless to say they didn’t get on immediately and are in fact still warming up to one another.
As my return to work date arrived, I knew it was too soon. I didn't want to go back. I wanted to hold onto my baby forever… but I still couldn’t be the woman who couldn’t return to work in front of my peers. I felt this huge tear in my heart and nothing but my baby would fill it. I was having separation anxiety all over again! I was still nursing and I needed to feed or express regularly. As my milk started to dry, I realised it was because he wasn't feeding from me as much and my body was making less milk for him. I felt so guilty.
I kept asking for help but I didn't know what I needed. HR didn’t help. They wanted me to list a specific item but as I didn't know… I fell through the cracks. The universe intervened and I was made redundant.
I asked the universe for help and when it responded, I thought it was joking. I ended up working for a HUGE company and I was thrilled to be there. I was warned about the toxic culture by everyone who I told I was going to work for them. I didn't listen. I needed the money, or so I thought.
During my service, my Mum died and I was in a bad place. I was thrown to the wolves by an experienced manager who didn't want someone in their team mentally suffering. I was a head that wasn't delivering their number and needed mental support. What a bitch.
I thought about having the last laugh and wrapping my car around a tree in a planned fatal collision so my family could receive my death benefit, but as I shared my plans with my hubby he resigned for me on the spot.
For the next 3 weeks I struggled to be alone. Hazel was there with me always. George gave me the most wonderful cuddles I have EVER had. AND he started co-sleeping with me again. The universe was sending me my loved ones to support me.
I realised in THAT moment that I was being saved. I was awake to what was needed from me. I was saved so that I might help others in the same way.
What skills does an army have?
They have all sorts, right?!
I'm gathering quite a following, and not just those that have been victimised at work. I'm gaining followers from the LBGTQAI+ community and their allies, persons with childhood trauma.
There was a handful of childhood experiences that affected my life and as I unpick them, I have freedom from them. One in particular is that "nobody would care about my shit" which was an expression that my parents said to me as a child.
At every stage in my life, I have wanted to ask for help and genuinely believed that no one would be interested in my shit. I suppressed this feeling for help. I challenged my mental health. I pushed it to the max. I faced suicide three times and came through the other side.
Healing your past is the only way to allow your future to shine.
I have been saved. I am here to save others just like me. The glorious freaks who live on the edge, who put up two fingers to "societal norm". Who want to ask for help but have no idea what help they want. They might not want to admit that they want help for fear of sounding weak.
I care about YOUR shit.
Together we can rid ourselves of this societal pressure that used to dictate our life. We can choose happiness and mental fitness. We can choose a positive mental disposition together that will bust imposter syndrome and other natural afflictions that society tells us we "should" feel.
I've invested tens of thousands of pounds in my personal development and mental fitness. It’s my turn to give stuff that actually works in a best of breed approach.