This week marks the end of a seven year journey that my husband and I have been on. On Friday of this week, we will be closing down our business, a business that we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into. We didn’t come to this decision lightly. Closing our business effects more than just us, it effects our kids, our staff, our suppliers and our customers. We held on for as long as we could, but the fact is, we just couldn’t do it anymore.
The last two years of our lives has been harrowing. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know that I have been suffering from anxiety, depression and grief. These take a toll on a person, physically and mentally. I had a breakdown a few weeks ago and was housebound for two weeks and I walked a very fine line between giving in to it and fighting back.
Fighting is hard and I’m tired. There were only three things that kept me from giving up; my husband and my two children. They kept me tethered to this world when all I wanted to do was disappear into the ether. I can’t see beyond the bleakness that consumes me, but they can, and I hold onto them in the hopes that their belief in a brighter future is what will get me through.
There are so many negative emotions associated with closing a business and for someone like me, who has way too many negative emotions to start with, dealing with this failure is like stepping on a landmine. My whole world is about to explode and I don’t know what will be left in the aftermath.
One of the hardest things to cope with is the fact that I know that I am about to become fodder for gossip. I have lived my entire life feeling the judgement of others, never measuring up to what those around me thought I should be and now I am proving them all right. The fact that these people, so-called friends and family, will look at us and judge us and then use our story to titillate the ears of others, hurts, but what can you do? People love a tragedy and my life has become very like a Shakespearean tragedy.
Nobody ever goes into business thinking they will fail. This was not our first business, not the first time we failed, but this is probably the hardest. We survived for seven years, sure we made some mistakes along the way, but seven years is a pretty good batting average for a small business. I know that we’ve done everything we can and now it is time to let go. It’s the letting go that is the hardest.
How do you let go of something that you have lived and breathed for seven years? How do you get up in the morning knowing that there is nowhere to go, not even a reason to wake up? They tell me that my stress levels will go down and my health will improve. They give me reasons why this is a good thing, why this is a positive move, why I will be better off when everything is finalised. I want to believe them, but right now, I can barely see the world beyond Friday.
I don’t want this to be the end of my story, and I suppose that is a good thing. It means that I, at least, have a tiny ray of hope that I can go on. I want to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix. The legend of the phoenix states that the bird that rises from the ashes is more beautiful than the one before. I want that. I want to be able to rise out of this mess and be better, stronger, happier, healthier. Isn’t that what is meant by failing forward?
Maybe in a month’s time I will look back and know that, although it was hard, we did the absolute right thing. Maybe I won’t even recognise myself as the same woman who sat here and penned these words. Maybe I will have found a new dream.
Or maybe it will take longer than a month. The point is that it is in the rising after a fall that determines the future. I may not feel the strength to rise right now, but I know I will. One day. One day in the future I will feel strong enough to lift my head and look to the horizon and dream of what the future holds.
I look forward to that day.