I woke up at 3:00am again and I even took a sleeping pill. Now it’s shower, shave, coffee, smoothie, headache, sitting on my couch going through a million excuses on why I can’t go to work today, makeup, hairspray, teeth whitener, a smoke… it’s early and I am not motivated to do all this again. The thought occurs to me that it is Friday and that pushes me out the door into the endless stream of morning traffic, fake “how are you today” conversations, job responsibilities that make my boss look great and me look like a shadow. Now it is 3:00 pm and all I can think about is doing 3 quick shots of Jack Daniels and relaxing with a strong Long Island Iced Tea listening to my favorite tunes at home. It is the weekend and I am already counting down the hours until I have to start it all over again.
This was ME years ago working at my so-called “dream job”. I guess you could say it was my dream job for a fleeting moment until it became clear that no matter what I did to conform and climb that ladder…I would NEVER fit in. I was slowly drowning at the bottom of a wine glass and the idea that anything could be great for me in reality. It started to feel like I needed to conform not just to rules but to the idea that I was not going to reach my idea of happiness in my career. Hey…what was happiness anyways?!
I began to feel as if there was something very wrong with me and slowly I was more numb to the world. Slowly, I was becoming one of THEM. My dreams were cloudy memories of a little girl’s soul who was filled with ridiculous thoughts of unicorns and laughter. Life was serious and I believed it was time for me to grow up and realize my responsibility to myself, family, and lifestyle must be as it is. I didn’t know anyone who climbed the ladders as fast as I did and everyone was always fascinated by that. So why was I utterly the most miserable person I knew? Words can never describe how much I despised my position in life. Soul path? I could barely leave my house without feeling angry. I didn’t know what a soul path was back then. But there was this glimmer…a light that kept my soul a glow even in my darkest times. If it had gone out I wouldn’t be here today. I just know it.
Fast forward to even darker times…Moving because we lost our way and unable to find work, I quickly found myself giving up the last shred of Alley that I had. I gave in and gave up pretty easily after years and years of trying and failing in corporate America. It felt good at first. I was no longer responsible for creating amazing things and my responsibility level went WAY down. I made a lot less but every day was the same and after many years of health abuse and unpredictable risks, I was ready to be a robot. For months I did the same thing everyday.
Eventually, the people at my job began to notice the light in me. I thought that was so cool because I had been sad for so long. My creativity was at level zero and no one had given me compliments in ages. As I developed new relationships and felt the strong commitment to life, my soul also lit up more. It scared the hell outta me and I wanted to hush the voices of dreams and notions of greatness. I really did! I swear to you that as soon as I felt the nudge I thought, “Damn it! Everything is fine here so you can go away now!” I didn’t want to risk the dreams and possibilities in my life. I was finally calming down and being accepted into a corporate company wholeheartedly. Why would I want to jazz everything up and do what I have always done, which turned to drama and disaster again? Not for me…not going to do it! (So i thought)
One day I left for lunch, even though this company didn’t allow it. But I did it anyways. I was bored and pissed off. I had to get away or I was going to scream. Old emotions were taking me over and I didn’t even notice.. It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I had been dreaming all morning and the requests I was getting from people were meaningless to me. All month I had little clues dropping from the heavens that I now see were prompts to drive me in certain directions. That day was more than those little nudges. That day was unreal.
I went to the gas station and sat in my car and cried. I wanted so badly to have the world open beneath me and swallow my car whole so that I no longer would disappoint my soul and others. I felt deeply emotional and disconnected from the world in a way that I never felt before. It was as if I was floating there and totally invisible. My body was spinning in a time that no others were in. So much time passed and I didn’t think about the desk job I had left without permission. I didn’t care about it. I cried more. I asked the universe to stop torturing me. I asked her to please save me from the hell I lived in for so many years. I felt open to anything. And then I went into the gas station and headed towards McDonalds. Lol! Yep…that was my life altering moment. McDonald’s in a gas station. Not very spiritual or glamorous, is it?
You see, Dan was there. Dan lived hours from where I lived and worked. After the crash I moved to the country and left the big city behind and everyone I knew there, too. He was a mentor in college. I was lucky to have him as a teacher because he went to one of the best art colleges in the world and I respected that. What he taught me in typography, color, and art I still use today. He was right there…sitting right there. He looked up at me and knew who I was. I hadn’t seen him in years and I felt so happy to see another creative for once. I walked right over and sat down.
I asked why he’d been so far from home and he was told last minute that morning that he would have to pick up his puppy by meeting the breeder at that McDonalds. They were supposed to drop the little stinker off at his home but plans changed. (Wink, wink universe!) We talked a lot about art, design, advertising, and all the things I used to be interested in. He was a big ad director and worked on accounts like Keurig. The last thing he asked was, “So what are you working on?” I almost burst into tears right then. I told him what was really up…nothing. The last thing he said to me was, “I’m shocked. Out of all my students I always thought you would excel the most.”
Those words felt like a hundred knives stabbing my soul open. He left and gave me his fries that he never touched. And, I ate them. Sitting there I could hear no sound. Sitting there I was left bleeding out. I don’t know how long it took for me to actually breathe again. I went to my car and it hit me that I had to go back to work. I cried so hard. I felt so angry and his words were going through my mind like a freight train over and over again. That was the day my soul opened up again. And it hurt like hell!
Three weeks later and I am sitting in front of a Mac computer creating graphics and printing in the creative department for a well-known print shop. I start freelancing a lot and Red Unicorn Media emerges. When I opened my mind and started thinking about the possibilities again, the universe gave me what I asked of her.
My entire life has been full of stop signs, detours, misguided advice, untruths, and weights around my ankles. From the time I can remember, it was if everything in the universe was trying to make me stop. Putting a straight-jacket on my soul and laughing as I wiggled out of it each time. I felt as if I was a joke and struggling made me so tired.
What I know now is when I was being tested, I would actually be resisting or living a life that someone else had given me. I was not living on my own terms–no matter how rebellious I was. I would resist but then NOT come up with my own solution.
Today I live on my terms no matter what. I don’t drink because it is my life and I don’t have to. I decide what is good for me even if it is taking two minutes to meditate inside a McDonald’s if my body needs it. I don’t care what people see or don’t see. I am open-hearted in life and in business. My soul is open to all of you and to her, the universe. I no longer try and convince others of who I am or hide behind brands, awards, or designer jeans. I do not build walls of protection to keep the world out. I am the world and I am Alley Jean of Red Unicorn Media. I saved my own soul. I am a soulpreneur. I am ready for all of it.
I now work 100% from my art studio in Michigan with my hero Kingsley. He is a BIG part of my success with Red Unicorn Media and that story will be coming to you soon. If it wasn’t for Mister (that’s what I call him a lot,) I would never have become what I am today. He is a true angel come from the heavens of the universe.
Opening your soul to your life and business is truly one of the most painful and enlightening experiences, but it will change your life forever.
What are you hiding? We want to SEE you.
Come out into the light with me. I am here and you are not alone.
Love you. xoxo, A.J.