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How I went from small business owner to content creator to somewhere in between....

Let me take you back.....

When I started my furniture painting business, my family & home were the core of that business. I shared the things that I loved the most with the people that supported me and my dream. Hello's turned into hugs from customers who became friends. Some of those friends turned into family. Relationships and connections were formed that shaped who I was a business owner and creator.

Then, like a nightmare, my world from every corner and crevice, collapsed. My family experienced a trauma that turned me against myself. It turned my dreams into a living nightmare.

A person that I trusted, that I vouched for, betrayed my family in the worse way. Every parents nightmare is made out of my reality. In the days to come, I made painful decision after decision, barely getting through the day. I closed my shop, I tucked myself away into a safe little black hole, I stopped hugging my friends who were once customers, I threw out my paintbrushes, I let it all go.I wrapped my family so tightly in my arms that I'm probably paying for that now with super independent teenagers who sometimes run from mommy hugs.

I lived in a world of shame and then the pandemic happened. Talk about a freaking blow. I was already going through family was going through it and then we all got forced to be together 24 hours a day. It was rough to say the absolute least.

I definitely wasn't looking because as the world around us closed, my marriage began to fall apart. The trauma didn't help...actually, nothing did.

I still couldn't create. The thoughts of it made me sick to my stomach. My brain couldn't stop associating creating and happiness with impending doom. THIS is something I worked HARD on, to heal about myself. I still work on it.

But in true Melissa fashion, you know the strong first child, type A, enneagram 8, 80's baby style, I knew I had to try to fix things.

I started with my business. I'll revive that, online of course, with IG being my home for all things 8 by design. I felt like I was on the come up. I ditched FB for the cool kids. Please know that this was my way of thinking then...

Anyways, I went on a search for black and brown creative women because that was definitely lacking in my real business life and I always despised that. I ended up finding my ride or die IG homegirl and from there, we just kept connecting with other women who looked like us and our online family was created.

DIY was the name of the game and room makeovers and moms learning how to use drills and saws was where it was at. This was right up my alley cause I had been doing this for the longest already so I knew I was gonna be a superstar at this and make a ton of money.....insert belly laughing.

Let me save you the suspense, none of that happened. I was still suffering from PTSD and all that good trauma stuff plus, I'm a real one, I like to keep things all the way funky, I'm that lady who has a business but isn't cut throat...success isn't equated to dollars or power for me, I get paid in connections with the bonus of dollars at the end of the transaction.

I had found my community, I had a small fire for creating again but that damn thing called life was getting in my way. The way my brain is set up, I couldn't make DIY'ing my full time gig. It didn't feel sustainable to me...still don't think it is not should it be. Content creation is done best when it's organic and based in reality. I didn't and still don't have big house or endless funds. I'm sorry but DIY supplies are expensive. I also didn't and still don't have a renovation budget. Actually, I have no budget. My money goes to these bills and these kids.

But still, I wanted to fit in while I could get in. Yes, my life was still in shambles, my marriage was on fire, and I was holding on for the fight of my life. I was mentally determined to make this online thing work.

In 2021, I got on a plane alone for the first time ever and decided to begin working on myself again.

I got to the Haven Conference (we will chat about that in another post) in one piece, scared out of my mind, holding back tears, while simultaneously putting on a brave face.

My marriage was all but over at this point. I swear I get a lump in my throat when I think of the sadness that consumed me.

I was having mom guilt over every single decision I had made over the past 5 years through our trauma and anything else that a mom can feel guilt over.

I also felt like a fraud.

My business was a joke in my mind. I still couldn’t really paint furniture, I was attempting to be a daily DIY content creator cause I was still romanticizing or perpetuating the idea of rebuilding my home that had been filled with so much hurt and sadness. As if that wasn't enough, I was posing for photos in front of projects that I couldn't afford to do at the time, while holding a hammer, knowing that I had just cried before snapping that photo or that I would cry right after.

I thought that I could find "success" again by going to this conference for DIY'ers, that I would start making money online. I thought I could heal myself, then my business, and then my family. In that order.

This conference was a turning point for me. I met so many good people who matched their online presence like true blue people. I also met people who weren't who I thought they were. That seemed to be a reoccurring theme because I could hear conversations over that. That is reason 1 why I never fan out over anyone. Show me who you are in when we are face to face and I'll know if I can rock with you online.

I felt so free and empowered by going to Haven despite what was happening in my world or even in a room filled with hundreds of people during a pandemic.

Once I got back home, I had that euphoric high. I got a ton of business info, made in person connections, and I just knew this was my golden ticket to winning this social media thing.


I came back and over the next 2 years, I learned that I had to choose myself first. I had to heal myself. I had to create boundaries. I worked on implementing them. Sometimes, I screwed up and took 10 steps back. Sometimes, I would blurt out things I wanted to do with no real game plan on doing them. Is this something all creative neuro-divergent people do? Maybe its just me.

I definitely stopped trying to fit in where I could get in. I stopped DIY'ing just to create content. I refocused on what made my happy. I worked on my marriage. That is still. work in progress but progress to say the least. Marriage after separation is whole new ball game so buckle up for that journey. I created little plans that worked for my real life and honed in on the stuff I wanted to share and connect with other women and moms. I stopped looking for acceptance, embraced the unfollows, shared myself organically, and looked for other ways to build my business that felt good and then started sharing that process online.

I'm learning more about myself everyday. Im allowing myself to see the happiness without the doom. I'm accepting that some/most things in life are temporary so I use energy where it is best suited....

I'm learning the I am the Ultimate DIY project.

Man, I can feel the determination in this Melissa’s heart. I also know that she was waking a tightrope praying that someone would catch her if she fell. Anyways mamas, it has taken 2 years of saying things out loud that I knew weren’t actually me, pretending, failing, trying, going MIA on social media, coming back strong, spending money I didn’t have to take pictures for social media, changing my mind, creating new roles for myself, letting go and finding my way back. Appreciate the journey. Embrace the bad with the good. Learn the lessons. Fail. Reflect. Rebuild. I’m am the ultimate DIY project.