As I was doing Spring-cleaning in my house, I found myself needing to clear out my mind, as well. The store has been closed for a while now, and with that, initially, I was busy around the clock preparing for the next phase, a new, greater, properly funded e-commerce site. About three weeks ago, I came to a grinding halt. Both, the momentum and excitement ceased to exist. Fear not, it is back with a vengeance, but it forced a look inside me, and not just my cluttered abode.
There was so much more riding on the outcome of this venture than could be seen from the outside. Even the most astute observer, who certainly realizes the importance of someone’s livelihood, to anyone, could not possibly realize all that was tied to this venture for me, and my family.
So many things had brought us to this place. While cleaning in my home, I came across a small wooden box, which looks like a small treasure chest. It was in plain view, yet I had all but forgotten it existed. Inside were several journals written by me. I knew what was in them, yet they seemed so unfamiliar. I began reading them. I didn’t read them all. I couldn’t. They were sad and scared and filled with loads of pain. They were written over the course of two to three years while living in Miami and while going through the process of moving to Boulder and trying to heal the open wounds I landed here with. My children are now old enough that we talk about why I left and how incredibly difficult that decision was, but in that time frame, it felt life saving, and probably, in reality, was. My daughter is a young woman now and believes there is a story in those journals that should be written. I am not a writer, so I am not sure if it will happen. Without going too far astray, the story in those journals is about rebirth. Moving on from a painful battle with PTSD, which cost me my husband and separated a family. Maybe I will write about it someday, with the help of Casey, the actual writer in this family. More immediately, though, I am writing about what came out of that time period in my life. Part of that rebirth, was moving to Boulder, and opening The T-Bar. I knew when I left Miami that this life is short and precious and should not be wasted. I picked Boulder because I always loved it and it was a safe place for me and to raise children. I did not pick Boulder knowing I’d end up moving here without my husband. Fast forward beyond that part, I am now living here with them for over nine years. This is our home and this is our community. We love it here.
When I look back on those journals, I remember the person who showed up here one day, absolutely terrified and shell shocked for so many reasons. She didn’t resemble any part of the person I knew in younger years, nor the person I am today. The T-Bar was opened as a tribute to the strong women of spirit that settled this area, but also, and I never said this publicly before, as a tribute to all the women of courage that have had giant obstacles or odds to overcome, and did so with grace, quiet strength and sheer will. I had hoped that I would ultimately be included on that list, in my own rite. That was the final piece of The T-Bar’s conceptual history.
So, in my house I sat cleaning out clutter, reclaiming a peaceful home, and while doing so the clutter that had built up in my mind the last few months. When asked why I put a hold on my decision regarding mastectomy ( http://thetbar.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/reconciling-choices/ ), I answered, because I am trying to save my business and that is of equal importance to me as my health. Many think that is crazy, but I spent over five years developing this concept, building relationships and really believing in the idea that the outcome would be bright, empowering (forgive the overused term, but it applies) and a legacy to my kids that was a tangible reminder of everything I raised them on. Life is short. Live passionately and do what you love. Never give up without trying every last thing. Do your best and you can be proud. I had to do this now, or after surgery, if I ended up going that way, there would be nothing to go back to. I also knew that my decision to put off any immediate action with my health wasn’t scary to me. I had lived scary before and that was all through the stories in those journals. I knew what I was capable of enduring.
After months of trying to raise interest in my concept and raise the money to take it online in an effective and properly funded way, I am not there yet. I continue to try, but it just may not happen. The physical store needs the aid of this online presence to thrive therefore it will no longer exist if the fundraising efforts are fruitless. The clutter in my mind that needed clearing was that voice that felt intense fear and failure. I had to remind myself, that being an entrepreneur is risky, and failure happens. A dear friend, and someone whose opinion carried a lot of weight with me, had told me a while ago, that I shouldn’t feel a sense of failure if the business had to close. That the courage to take the risk, the creativity of creating the concept and the whole hearted attempt to make it work, should be remembered with pride, and not the feeling of failure, if it didn’t work. I spent the next 20 months after that conversation trying absolutely everything and giving my best to this business I love and trying to help it endure the economic times.
During the time the store has been closed to the public, I have had a different work schedule. I am working at home on the e-commerce plan and therefore I have had more time for some things that recently had been less frequent. I have cooked a lot more meals. I have had more time to go to the climbing gym and be showed up by my son, Bailey. I have been able to pick my kids up at school instead of their riding the bus. It has been wonderful. Right down to being able to hear my son say thank you for dinner every time I cook for him. Amazing, really. I am not a stay at home Mom, though. I did that when they were younger. I am ready to continue these things, but with my store and website re-open so that the picture is complete.
As I said before, there was so much more riding on the outcome of this project. Everything I came here to find, achieve and give to my family was tied to this. In the Spring-cleaning process, I came to accept that maybe finding the journals now was a reminder of how far I had come and to clear out the sense of failure regardless of the final outcome. Practically speaking, it was a time to clear the clutter as well. We may need to move depending on how this chapter turns out and are prepared to do so with heads held high. So back to the process of trying to raise money and maybe, just maybe there is a new project in those journals for the future.