Entrepreneurship to Wholeness
I married to the level of my self-esteem, and married an abusive man who was addicted to marijuana and porn. His addictions kept him unemployed. The porn addiction got him fired for downloading porn at work. I kept this from his family, my family, church members and friends. My survival tactic of denial and “stick with it” attitude kept me in the marriage for eight years where my self-esteem, self-worth, personal items and finances were slowly stolen from me.
I learned how to survive in dysfunctional, chaotic environments as a child and keeping the secrets of adults and relatives who were thieves, drug dealers, drug addicts and alcoholics. Malicious insults about my weight and size were fair game for a half sibling my father rejected and her mother. She enjoyed doing it. One day her mom asked me if I wanted to be fat forever, when I declined to buy her bee pollen. These verbal attacks took their toll on my self-worth. Yet, losing 115 pounds doesn’t mean all of your problems go away.
Yet, five years into building my company it came to me: Building this business was about me becoming whole, not rich. The journey to wholeness comes in many forms on different highways for each one of us. Healing comes in many versions too, and my healing came in the form of entrepreneurship and starting a company. I didn’t know it in 2013 when I started the company, but reflection on many encounters with people, relatives and friends made it clear this was about me becoming who God intended for me to become.
The tenacity, grit, courage and confidence that it takes to be an entrepreneur is overwhelming at times. I’ll refrain from discussing it from the perspective of a black woman – too painful – instead I’ll stick to the general perspective. So many character strengths and defects are on steroids when you start and build a business. What I do well I excelled at, and what I did not do well, held me back as I built and scaled the company. I appreciated seeing this about myself because it also showed me that I am smart like my mother and a hard worker like my father.
I am joyously grateful that God choose this highway to heal me and show me that He, and only He, was what I needed to successfully start and build a specialty food business when relatives insulted me and others didn’t think I had the business mindset to do it. As I move forward with other opportunities I do so as a woman I wish I would have known before I got married and one who knows how to say “No” and, say “Hell No!” even better.