Like I mentioned in Part I of My Story as soon as I got hooked on blogging in February of 2009, I did everything I could to grow, learn, network and essentially make the most out of this little online endeavor I had discovered. When you start out with a first time blog, it’s literally next to impossible to comprehend and wrap your head around the whole blogosphere that exists out there, along with everything in it like advertising, featured posts, doctoring blog templates to make them your own, followers, and the list goes on. But blogging can be addicting and if you’re like me, you just want to make it work. From the very first blog post I ever wrote introducing my love of desserts to probably a total of two readers, I knew I would do anything to make my blog evolve into and be a major part of a business I’d start and build one day. My plan was to build my little empire on the side and in the meantime work a regular journalism gig. Oh, Rhi.
The problem is I still hadn’t found a job in Chicago and we were almost into April by now. I felt financially restricted on the weekends when Andrew and I would take trips into the city to get out and live life as a young engaged couple but I dreaded having to pull out my bank card. I was cautious of spending my little remaining money on things for him and I, and even for myself but had no problem forking out $13.99 for a tube of two vanilla beans to make a new frosting recipe. And the kicker is I still felt like I owed it to myself to continue pursuing the journalism field and make something of the degree I had worked so hard on for four plus years. I was seeing classmates of mine who had graduated with the same degree but had less experience than me landing dream jobs across the nation. And here I was striking up conversations with news crews on the job downtown, offering them freshly baked cookies in exchange for a business card, trying anything to make that journalism piece fit into the puzzle. But it wasn’t and I was an absolute mess.
One night Andrew and I were getting ready for bed and I started to cry. I told him that this was so far from the new start I had imagined us having, and I had to go home. Like home to my parents in Canada. I started to despise the journalism industry. I was angry at news editors. Angry at the fact that I had been a student athlete and maybe hadn’t of had enough time to invest in the right scholastic and career-driven opportunities at school. I told Andrew that I couldn’t live like this feeling so useless and uninspired and unable to land my dream job or even a part time job at the Walgreens across from our apartment to make a few bucks. You know what I felt the most though? I felt embarrassed. I felt like I let myself down. I felt like my parents were disappointed, like my friends were ashamed, like Andrew, the guy who had proposed to me almost a year earlier was sure he’d made a mistake asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. For a people pleaser like me this was devastating. I packed up my Jetta and drove 14 hours straight home to Toronto, the tears coming in waves throughout my drive. I remember surrendering my Visa at the border and could have sworn the officer shook his head my way as I drove off. I felt like I should have surrendered my engagement ring too.
Moving back in with your parents as a jobless new graduate, pretty confident you picked the wrong major to study for almost five years, and your fiance is living in his own apartment 14 hours away in a different country, leaves little to feel good about internally. You know those stories you read when so and so seems to have it made, they have their you know what together, they have a great job, they have flat stomachs and perfect highlights, the newest it item, the hot husband, the perfect kid, the whatever it is that looks impressive from the outside but you come to learn that so and so just lost her parents within a few months of one another. Or so and so is really sick. Or so and so just makes life seem really awesome when really she’s all alone, confused and empty. Or she’s hurting and scared. That’s how I felt. My life looked good on the outside and I thought that was important because it was what everyone expected. I told everyone that my move back home was simply to reassess my next move and make some big decisions. Which is theory was the truth. But I had nothing together and I needed a serious wake up call. I needed to be honest with me.
Making decisions when you have to use common sense, and instead your heart’s competing for your vote, is the worst. To pass time, and start making some money my sweet Dad offered me a job as a secretarial assistant at his construction business. The work was uninspiring (I love you, Dad!) but it was something to do and it gave me a purpose. And a pay check. The blog on the other hand, was a constant sort of comfort for me at this point and served as an outlet to not only stay creative but real with myself. Getting home after work to bake and blog something new was the highlight of my day. I’d also write about what I was feeling, the next time I’d get to see Andrew, the cupcake orders I was taking, and the plans I had to open my own bakery. I was learning new things with every post, comment, picture, recipe and interaction I took on. I started to make friends and feel connected to people, who I didn’t even know in the flesh but I felt close enough to to call friends. My blog became my rock during those first few months home.
That summer though I had to make another tough decision. So I took another huge risk. More on that in Part III.