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Freedom & the Trap: My Quickish Backstory

In my case, very fast success at a pretty young age(22) was the most defining experience of my life. An unforgettable moment in time! That doesn’t mean that things were always perf because a fast rise can deceive you into the trap of thinking every other venture will pop off the same way.

So as we all know, for whatever reason Myspace bit the dust after a few years. I’ll never get why because no other social media app has been quite as fun. Being able to customize our profiles was LIFE! I was able to shift my focus, continue running websites, and stay afloat without getting a real job but after my dad’s death, my mom’s murder only 6 months after & 1 other blow that had long been brewing in my personal life, things slowed even further. I was 28 years old.

The threat of the rat race definitely loomed around that time but I’d always been extremely adamant about conforming to social norms in relation to “real jobs” or the material milestones society tells you that you should own by whatever age. My unapologetic mindset was that I’d rather hustle 24/7 than slave 8 to 5 for an institution that would hardly notice anyone’s absence after a few weeks of them no longer being employed there.

I held my guns for 2 years in my refusal even though any normal person would’ve gone into the workforce with the quickness & no qualms about it.

This is how that went:

1 First Traditional Full Time Job at 30

2 Apartment & Car? Chains That Bind

3 Regions Bank & Bust

4 Apple Tier I Chat Support

5 Orlando, FL: Another State Hop

6 Sacrifice to ‘Free(again) at Last’

7 Fake It Til You Make It?

First Traditional Full Time Job at 30

I’ve always heard the saying that if you want something bad enough you’d do anything to get it. Not me. A job was out of the question! Especially in the development phases of my new businesses because I do everything myself. I needed all my time to pour into Plan A because Plan B would mean I’d failed.

But after things slowed to a point of uncertainty, it was unavoidable. So I vowed that if I had to take a job at any point, I couldn’t & wouldn’t remain there long. I had to make sure I never let a pit STOP turn into a pit STAY if I was going to avoid being ruled by “the system”, “the trap”, & “the lie”. In fact, I was 30 when I got my first full time “grown up” job in 2014. No kidding. Sure, back in college I worked retail in malls part time at less than $8/hr but never a full time job anywhere because Amazinspace/iRockstarz(my first online venture) was very successful & I didn’t need one. I dropped out of college on the heels of that success.

The job(working at a cable company in Toledo) came at a time where I was starting another new business & things weren’t taking off as fast as I meant them to. Remember what I said earlier about the flaw in fast success? Unfortunately, every project is unique… & IG/FB killed it for the unlimited organic reach we so enjoyed on Myspace. That’s the real tea but moving on lol!

Apartment & Car? Chains that Bind

Prior to that era, I didn’t have my own place or a car nor did I want either. It wasn’t because I couldn’t afford it but because I knew what it would mean. I knew those things would own me more than I’d own them & I couldn’t do obligations. Why? Those obligations would rope me into having to get a job & not being able to put my all into my online endeavors. I also loved being able to pick up & state hop whenever I wanted. I was living in Chicago right before I moved there.

My sister Tiffany would always tell me to use the money I’d been making to get both but at the time I knew what I was doing wasn’t stable enough & more importantly, anything that I even remotely thought would result in enslavement & cause me to deviate from my plan terrified tf out of me.

But a few months after starting that job, I went ahead and bought a Jeep. It went against everything I was trying to avoid but I realized how willing everyone around me was(I honestly have the BEST maternal/paternal family that believes in me & knows what I am capable of) & that it probably appeared that I was being selfish having them along for the ride as I figured it out lol. Since I could always not have to lean on them if I’d been willing to conform, I went ahead & did what “responsible independent adults” do. Bit the bullet. Bought the ride. Held my own.

Regions Bank & Bust

4 months later I put in my 2 weeks notice & moved back south because Tiff’s close friend who worked in HR was hiring me on at Regions Bank in Memphis. I leased a very nice apt(the other binding chain) right by the job. & therein lies another problem I’d been trying to steer clear of! A time consuming traditional job I hated that left me no time to do my REAL job(self-employed), large expenses, & little remaining funds to do much else with after paying for everything when I had long been spoiled not having to fall prey to the bs. The situation really reminded me why I was so anti-rat race in the first place. You’re probably thinking what was so different from this job and the job she’d just left up north? Three words: I liked them. *shrugs & flips hair lol*

To everyone else it looked like “cool independent girl with a bank job, a new ride, & a nice apartment”. Meanwhile, I felt like I was living someone else’s life. The job wasn’t just costing me my time, it was costing me my happiness & the pay wasn’t even worth it.

So what did I do? Oh nothing, just sabotaged the predicament like 7 months in & got myself fired. I hated dressing business casual. Hated it ever since I was in college working at NY&Co. I hated talking on the phone. I hated selling banking products I didn’t believe in or care about to customers that were already in debt & I hated the leadership. Dare I say I even hated always telling them that wasn’t my real job lol!

It’s funny recalling the day my team leader & her manager tried to convince me to quit with niceties. They said I wasn’t helping the team’s stats. I would’ve quit then except I wasn’t about to let them insult my intelligence by getting me to walk voluntarily.

A few months later I was over it. I used up all my sick/vacation days early in the year knowing I’d need more. This meant I’d have none available when I inevitably called out again so I finally got fired. My sister was NOT amused because she was the one who got me the job. I felt bad but I am who I am. I knew too much to ever settle or remain where I’m unhappy. Unrelated but I ended up finding out that same manager got fired just a couple of years after I did. =/

Apple Tier I Chat Support

When that ended, I almost instantly got an at-home job doing iOS technical chat support for Apple. I LOVED that job because I was back at home where I was used to being. The bonus? I didn’t have to sell anything. I had way more money to fund my business ventures because I didn’t have to commute, shop for work clothes or eat out as much. It was a return to my comfort zone as I was back to spending my days sitting in front of a computer screen wearing a t-shirt & panties(or not lol) and since I didn’t have to speak to customers, I could turn on the tv or blast my music and barely paid attention to the time as it flew by.

Orlando, FL: Another State Hop

While I loved that job & could basically plug in at any residence other than my own to work, I still had to pay rent & a car note. I still had to adhere to a schedule. None of which was beneficial to my ‘get in and out’ escape plan. Since my apt lease was up, I decided not to lock in for another year. Instead, I moved to Orlando Florida with one of my favorite cousins & his boyfriend. We wanted to get a new place & do the roommate thing for awhile.

We decided to get a beautiful 2br luxury apt right by Millenia Mall & split rent 3 ways. It wasn’t cheap. In fact, even though I always had extra money, I don’t think I saved much money at all. But I was happy & can’t bring myself to regret it. Coming upon a year, they ended up getting a house in Memphis & randomly moved back home.

I’d gotten myself fired from the chat support job right before that. I know, right? LOL! It was the first firing that actually stung, too! That firing was because I wouldn’t accept the max 3 chats at once anymore while stressfully trying to plan my move back to the Sip. I also had to arrange for my friend guy at the time to fly in & move my stuff out. I wrecked my Jeep on the way to pick him up from the airport which only made the move even more stressful because we had to tow it back 14 hrs with all the rest of my things.

Sacrifice to ‘Free(again) At Last’

When I got back home, my aunt ended up asking me to come out to my grandfather’s estate because my uncle who was on his death bed would likely pass in a matter of weeks. She and my other aunt live in Chicago which is too far for them to see about him. I packed my injured Jeep up, drove out & Unc ended up passing within the week. He was living in the house my grandfather built for my mom in the town I never imagined I’d spend an extended period of time in again since my grandparents are no longer living. Sure we spent much of our childhood out here because it’s 1.5hrs away from my hometown but just think of the countriest country you’ve ever been to and this is that on steroids. Hella trees, no traffic, dirt roads, deer & no shortage of farm animals lol.

But I made the sacrifice in 2018 & it ended up being the best sacrifice I’ve ever made. Everything I’ve touched businesswise has turned to gold with the quickness! My mom’s house has long been fully paid for so all the expenses I grudgingly roped myself into before coming here were no longer a factor. I even let my Jeep go back when I first moved out here(that I’d NEVER made a late payment on before the end) & decided to start everything from scratch. BACK TO FREEDOM. No more chains binding me. Nothing waiting on whatever coin I got my hands on ready to snatch it away.

I knew stripping down to necessities was the only way to ease my way back to where I once was but most people would NEVER EVER make that sacrifice because they prefer to keep up appearances. They always tell me I live too far away from everything. Touché, bish lol! It’s a gift and a curse. But I tell them I do the same thing in the country that I did in every big city I’ve lived in. CYBERHUSTLE. As long as I have the internet, I’m good in any hood BUT the hood haha! I can go out of town, get in the mix & come back to my own little world of productivity.

Fake It til You Make It?

Too many live by the “fake it til you make it” creed. I live by the “duck TF off, STFU & level TFU” creed. It’s simple! To fake a lifestyle is to feel you owe someone an explanation. I could never get out here lying & trying to prove something to people whose opinions don’t matter. I pride myself on the fact that no one can ever say they saw me flashing things I didn’t really own or saying I was some exotic place I wasn’t. That’s insecure behavior. Especially when you know who you are, what you’ve accomplished, what badass talents you possess and what’s waiting for you on the other side of your sacrifice.

During my rebuild process, I didn’t buy things that would set me back because that would’ve costed me both my money and my time. I would’ve had to trade my time for the money to recoup the loss and that time would’ve taken away from however long it was originally supposed to take me to reach my goal. As Beyoncé said, “she’s too smart to crave material things”. & I am VERY much into “things” but I had to temporarily turn off my love of instant gratification in order to rebuild stronger than ever.

The past 4 years, I’ve only worked for myself & one way or the other, my needs were always met. The best part of it all is that I had all the time in the world along with the peace/quiet/lack of distractions to pour into my businesses and a family to have my back if I just so happened to need them. My radical plan worked brilliantly.

Have you ever felt trapped in your life or have you been doing it so long that pulling yourself out of it never occured to you? Sometimes you have to be willing to give up a few luxuries – yes, even your living quarters or transportation – for a short period of time to have a better life in the longrun. If your mindset doesn’t change, you won’t stand a chance getting out the rat race. Read Why Time is Infinitely More Valuable Than Money!

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