30 September 2023

I did the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I did it; I bet on myself.


Big, deep breath in. Big, deep breath out... cause I'm having a hard time getting started on this thing that I'm trying to write about... where to begin . . . 


[Untitled] Light Paintings I

I've never considered myself a dreamer. 

I'ma very logical realist. Stoic. "Stone-cold Tiffany," à la my adopted brother's assessment. 

And yet, I am reaching, aspiring toward, dreaming of a life for myself that most would never even attempt, or even think of, lol.

The facts point to me being a dreamer, and I'm having a hard time reconciling my idea of myself as not-a dreamer. The reality is that I've never thought of my professional goals as dreaming, because I've always taken them very serious, like, I'ma doer, not a dreamer. 

And yet, that doing is me chasing a dream. 

I'm goal-oriented.

What are goals but dreams that you are actively trying to make yours?

And no, as a young doer, my dreams were never to be rich, never. My dreams were simpler; they were smaller; they revolved around somehow making my own money, an amount enough to pay the bills, to support myself, because I was so physically incapable of doing the jobs that were available to me after being injured on the job at my very first job out of college.

With a partner who has a similar idea of what freedom is, we embarked on our journey to financially free ourselves from the necessity of jobbing ... wage labor. Over the course of our budding relationship, we started three businesses until we realized that we didn't actually know anything about money. We have a lot of oomph, a lot of go-get 'em, too much intellectual energy, etc., but what we lacked was a financial education.

As children of people who never prioritized teaching us about the world of money, how it works, what it is, what to do with it, etc., we were both left to our own devices to figure it out. And we did. 

The figuring out took time, patience, an entire overhaul of our lifestyle, etc., but we did it. We educated ourselves, are now financially very literate, and have made huge financial gains, when considering from where we started. 

Only recently, did I realize that Billions was a logical goal for me to pursue. 

In short, my dreams have always been about the size of my britches, and as my britches have grown, so have my dreams. Logical. Realist. I do not strive toward that which I do not believe is attainable. Which I know sounds like exactly the opposite of what the socialwebs tell you to do. The "millionaire mindset," that "think big, dream bigger," those peppy procrastinators emphasizing believing over doing, etc., etc., &c. 

I'm of the mindset that your dreams need to be realistic for both your abilities and your you-ness. Sure, some people can really make themselves into who they need to be to get where they want to go. Most are not equipped for this sort of "life as a mountain to climb" discipline, etc. This does not mean that you should not dream, however. Dream on. But don't be disappointed when you do nothing but dream and your dreams elude you. Don't be fooled into thinking that success happens to people. People make themselves a success. There's no institution that can deem you a success. Institutions succeed by the success of people who have made themselves a success. Without the success of people, doers, there would be no institutions. 

And I've finally arrived at a place in my life where I can no longer be the person upon whom other people pin their hopes, because for too long now, I've pinned my own hopes on myself, and so, my dreams and goals, my doing and doer-ness, is nobody's to claim but my own.  


[Untitled] Light Paintings II

I'm not gonna lie. I was a childhood success. That kid. The One. I didn't even graduate number one in my high school class, but I won all the money for college. And the white kids I grew up with blame my success on my being not-white, I'm sure, the poster child for diversity, etc., but the social climate of diversity in which we are currently existing is not the social climate in which I grew up. I was the one who wasn't on campus my junior year of high school because I was participating in an off-campus/on-location med-prep program for seniors. I was the one who wasn't on campus my senior year of high school because I was done with nearly all of my high school classes, which meant that I was off campus doing volunteer work during school hours (serving lunch and calling bingo at the local senior citizens' center, shelving books in the local library) and attending college classes at night. 

I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by other high-achieving females (twelve of us rounded out the top-twelve in my class, etc.), but I was The One. The one who was never around, like a normal student. The one who won all the awards. The one who was the star of her dance studio, etc., etc., &c. 

Sure, I was a big fish in a little pond, but I have zero doubts I would've achieved even more in a large pond. In fact, I think that the smallness of the pond in which I was raised ended up being a huge detriment to my overall preparedness for life, actually. 

My point is that people rise. And I rose with a certain trajectory for overall life success. 

But... despite my childhood success, life is an altogether different type of beast. Childhood is one thing. Adulthood is a completely other thing. And I was ill equipped for adult life. I was basically equipped with nothing to get through adulthood, because I was equipped with zero knowledge about money. And yet, everyone knows, they know, that money is what makes the world go round. And so, as a child with all of the intellectual privilege, even I was not taught about money. Nobody ever thought to teach me about it, because, first and foremost, nobody I knew/know knows anything about money, and so, who could teach me? 

Thus, I put all of my big intellect toward the pursuit of learning about money, and I've been learning, along with fellow big-intellect, the bodybuddy/lifemate, for over a decade now.

And what I've learned is that you cannot pursue money without pursuing learning about money first, what we like to call financial literacy. 

And so, after my first Act as an adult to learn as much as I could about the world of money we are trapped inside of, I decided that my Adulting Act II would be to apply all of that learning and pursue money, itself. And I made the pursuit official in September 2022 (I made and uploaded a video about two months later, once my confidence in my decision solidified).

Then the wheels really started churning.

We realized that we were going nowhere, fast, in Longmont, Colorado, USA (Nov 2019-Apr 2023). We had taken on part-time jobs in early 2021 to fill the time and make ends meet during the pandemic, and we sorta got stuck in a rut of reading, writing, eating, planning, developing our businesses and forgetting that there is a big, big world out there. So, we decided to re-enter society and put all of our financial literacy to work. 

In April of 2023, we relocated to Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA.

In May 2023, if you had asked, I would've said we're on the greatest journey of our lives! In June 2023, if you had asked, I would've said that we made a really weird decision, because I have no idea why we moved here. By July 2023, if you had asked, I would've said, we made the biggest mistake of our lives. By August 2023, if you had asked, I would've said that we made a much larger leap than we had initially thought this move would be. And now, at the end of September 2023, if you ask, I would say that we did what we had to do to get where we want to go. It's in the math. 


[Untitled] Light Paintings III

As September began to turn, crumple, dry out and wither, an anxiety began to weigh on me. The feeling took the entire month to reveal itself fully to me, and yesterday, I resolved the feeling.

My dream is to be freed from my job. I am actively working very hard to free myself. My job, however, is one that was offered to me without my going for it. It fell in my lap. And, fortunately, I really like the job. It is a lot of job, and it is challenging in a way that fuels me. The problem, however, is that I am very good at it, and it is a very integral part of the operations of the grocery store at which I am currently exploited. Nevertheless, this is not about that; this, instead, is about how I realized that my boss was beginning to pin his hopes on me. I know how this sounds, and I'm not shying away from it. Remember, I was that kid, the one upon whom a lot of adults pinned their hopes, etc. 

I know both how to recognize when hopes are being pinned on me and what that means. 

And so, I was feeling anxious, because, in September, I began to feel that hopes, at my place of exploitation, were beginning to be pinned on me. I don't know how else to explain it. I don't have the energy, right now, to create some beautiful metaphor or story to reveal the feeling. That comes later. For now, I didn't know what to do. I knew that my boss ought not pin his hopes on me, because, it's like I said, I am actively trying to not-job there. Actively. 

I didn't know what to do about it for weeks. I didn't even know what to say, because what I needed to say makes me sound both crazy and like a megalomaniac. Then a funny thing happened. It was a combination of me finally fessing up to my boss about my coworker/underling (I don't like to use this term, but within the structural confines of a corporation that exists within capitalism-as-usual, this is the most "correct" term, and I prefer it to subordinate) and pinpointing my anxiety. My bosses took me very seriously when I told them about my coworker/underling, and the boss-boss said that they were actively now looking for someone else to help me in my department. 

My anxiety was wrapped up in my knowing that my success could actually come over night. Not in reality, as we have been working on this business for the entirety of our adult lives, etc. But, literally, our lives could change over night. 

My job is an important one within the store in which I am exploited. And they were without a person in the position for six months. It is a difficult position to fill, because it is a lot of intellectual work. One must be very organized to accomplish the tasks of the job, but it's not so difficult that you need to be me to do it well. Mastering the job takes time. For me, it was about three months. So, based off of empirical facts, I can guess that it will take someone else, who is not me, about six months to really understand, maybe even up to a year to master fully. 

When my boss informed me that they will look for someone new to help me, he offered up a few suggestions, and I gave him my opinion. This is when I was affirmed in my suggestion that he was pinning hopes on me. The combination of my boss's support in needing new help and my pin pointing my anxiety, gave me the courage to come out with it. I wrote him a letter reminding him of my personal-professional situation (we, the bodybuddy/lifemate and I had already informed him when he was hiring us, but he didn't care about us then, we were just meager hourly-wage labor-seekers at that time). 

Personal-Professionally, our rocket (the business we've been building since 2019 after nine years of financially educating ourselves and playing with other, smaller business ideas) is about to launch. I obviously cannot predict exactly when this will happen, but someday soon, there will be a launch date. 

Over the past month or so, when I thought about how our rocket is going to have a launch date, soon, I would fill with anxiety about my job, about leaving them in the lurch, about being unable to fulfill a two-week notice, because MY ROCKET IS LAUNCHING! It's like I said, I do an important job. It's not the most important job, but it's the kind of job that I would not want to up and abandon. 

Coming out with it to my boss relieved me of the burden of feeling guilty. I explained to him my situation over a letter, and then we talked about it in person before I left on Friday. It's a hard thing to explain. I felt very egotistical telling him that I think that our business is on the cusp of success, which means that it's very very possible that on a Wednesday, I could potentially tell him that I cannot work next Monday or any day after that. With the current state of the department, a lot of extra work will be loaded onto fellow coworkers who are already overworked, and I am not that kind of person. He heard me, and we agreed on a succession plan, one that accommodates my personal-professional reality, my soul, and his store's needs. 

And so, I bet on myself this past week. I put myself out there in a way that could make me a fool, looking foolish like a fool. Cause what if we don't succeed any time soon? What if I speak, aloud, my dreams to someone real, and then I can't make them happen? What if I speak, aloud, my goals, my pursuits, and, in essence, have someone accommodate my potential but very not-there-yet success? It was a strange experience, and I'm still reeling from it. 

I feel scared. It was scary to admit to someone in the flesh that I think that I'm going to be a success, so you need to plan on my exit, sooner rather than later. But I don't need to exit now, and I can't tell you when, but I just know that you should not be pinning your hopes on me. 

Who says these kinds of things?

Me, apparently. I am the one. The One who says these sorts of things, because, it's like I said, I'm a logical realist. And I'm kind. I'm nice. I'm a nice fucking person. I'm so nice, in fact, I gross myself out. 

And who am I to be the one saying that I'm The One?

I am. I am The One. 

And it's scary.