Being down for the past few months due to health issues really humbled me. Life took out time to teach me about its value and the benefit of sometimes stopping what I am doing and just smell the roses. When you are maintaining a busy life. You have to get to a point where you find time to visit your place of peace and chillax. Your time is limited, and considering that life bears the unknown you can’t allow yourself to get wrapped up in trying to get ahead or continuously fighting through the struggle. Yes life will throw you elbows and knock out a few teeth but you have to learn to resort back to your place of peace. This can be anything that brings you comfort and brings you back into focus. Keep in mind that your place does not have to have the latest and greatest, but it must bring you serenity. Find your place of Zen… Your Mind and body deserves it.
Weeks went by after I met Dr. Sanders, and the thought of entrepreneurship drifted from my mind. Still on the hunt to find employment, I found myself getting frustrated. “Why am I not getting any calls?” I would ask myself. At that time, I was under the impression, that my education was the key to me getting employment, so as you could imagine, I grew very frustrated when I kept getting turned down.
One day, a couple of letters came in the mail; one of them were a letter from unemployment. Immediately opening up the letter, I sighed. I had 2 payments left before my unemployment ended. “Maybe this was a mistake” I thought. To verify this frustrating news, I immediately called the unemployment office. Yep… it was true, my unemployment was ending and I have exhausted all of my benefits. Thinking how would it affect me supporting my family I became angry at my current situation and the fact that no job saw value in me, especially since I had a degree. I was so frustrated that I took a seat down on my bed. Something had to happen and a job wasn’t in the picture at the moment. Suddenly, I started thinking back to my conversation with Dr. Sanders and his advice on me becoming an entrepreneur. It sounded feasible but I wasn’t sure of where I would begin.
Trying to find an answer, I started to research the Internet for business ideas. Thinking of the worse case scenario my mind immediately went into survival mode. I had two checks left and all I can think about is the fact that I need to do something to bring some money to continue to support my family. Looking up examples of small business startups, I came across many great ideas but the problem was that I had little to no funding that would support them. I needed something effective and affordable. After a few hours, I came to a business that I believed that I could do.
“A Virtual Assistant Company?” I thought “This seems like something I could do for now, plus it doesn’t cost much and I have most of the resources and skill set to get started.”
That was it a venture that I could afford. Feeling nervous at the fact that I was actually considering becoming an entrepreneur, I continued to move forward and research. The business sounded like a perfect fit, but I still wanted to learn about the steps to get started. Finally, I came across a book called The 2-Second Commute: Join the Exploding Ranks of Freelance Virtual Assistants by Christine Durst, Michael Haaren as my first reference. This along with other resources are what helped me get an understanding of what it takes to start a business as a virtual assistant and to create a business plan. After many hours of critique my best comprehension of a business plan it was time for the big moment, I went to the State of Missouri’s Business Page to start the process of licensing my company.
After completing the requested information, it was time to complete the process. I would love to say that I seamlessly completed the process, but I didn’t. Out of fear, I called to business office to ask them question after question until the clerk informed me that it sounds like I am making it harder than what it really it. Knowing that, I thanked her for her honesty and patience and hung up the phone. Taking a deep breath and hoping I went through the proper steps, I paid the fee and pressed print. Out came a white piece of paper with the State logo and the business name New Generation VA Solutions… it was official. I completed the first steps to legalize my business and become… a business virgin.
Please stay tuned for completed version coming in 2018.
The results were good. Afterwards, she sent me home with another notice stating that I need to stay home and rest. Considering the scare, I did not waste any time calling in. Now I am not religiously conscious, but I am spiritually free. When I would get stressed out I would call my best friend Stan (who was a preacher) for a peace of mind and prayer. He was the type of guy who would stop and pray for you no matter what he was doing. Matter of fact, it became such a tradition that we eventually called it “A Pause for the Cause” and at this moment I really needed it.
“Hey Stan…” I said in somewhat of a gloomy voice.
“Hey what’s up? Wait a minute… why so sad?” He replied in a concerned tone.
I started to explain my story for probably the hundredth time while the smallest violin was playing my sorrows in the background. Once the explanation was over, we both had a brief moment of silence. Then Stan approached me with an interesting question;
“Well Mea.” He sighed “It sounds to me that it’s time for you to leave, especially since it affecting your health now.”
“I know Stan but…” I started to reply but Stan immediately cut me off.
“What are you afraid of?” He asked.
Kinda thrown off by the unexpected question, I reluctantly replied
“Of not being able to take care of my family Stan. I have been praying that God helps me through it all, but it seems like I am getting nowhere in this situation.”
“How do you know that he is not helping you? Maybe God is trying to get you out of this situation all together but instead you are the one holding on.” He questioned.
I couldn’t do anything but be silent. Sensing my sudden shame, he went on to the next topic.
“Anyway… I know you called for prayer so let’s go ahead and pause for the cause.”
After getting off the phone that night, I remember praying and asking God to give me some type of peace in this situation. I knew that it was eating me up inside but I was afraid to let go. Little did I know that my prayer was going to be answered sooner than I thought.
Rrrriiinnnggg! Rrrriiinnnggg! Rrrriiinnnggg!
Ahhhhhaaaa! Annoyed that someone woke me up from what I thought was my beauty rest (or at least an attempt) the next day, I answered the phone…
“Hello?” I answered sounding half sleep.
“Hey loser wake up!” Said a familiar voice.
“Hey Mike, what’s up?” I responded while throwing my head under a pillow.
Michael, who is my younger brother always had a knack for being lame and disturbing my rest.
“Get up fool! What time you gotta go to work?”
“Cool well get up cause it’s already 10 and so I can take you to lunch before you go to work.”
“Mike I’m really not in the mood…” I replied sounding somewhat depressed.
“Alright loser I’ll be on my way in a minute… I’ll punch you in the face later (i.e. I love you).”
As he hung up the phone, a grin slowly came across my face. My brother always knew something was wrong but instead of addressing it he always seem to find a solution to take my mind off it. Considering that he drives pretty fast, I got up and got dressed.
As we sat at Chuck a Burger, my stomach started to hurt again this time worse than anytime before. As I slid my food to the side, I laid my head down. Michael suddenly had a concerned look on his face.
“Mea, you haven’t really touched your food and that’s not like you. Are you sure you okay?”
“No but I’ll be fine, it’s just the job is kind of getting under my skin. The employee morale is very low seems like they don’t care if you have family situations or even the desire to do better. I have been juggling work, school, and spending time with the kids and honestly right now it seems like the job is winning. They consistently force me over and allow coworkers to do what they please. It’s just a headache… That’s all.”
“Well then, if it’s stressing you out that much and then it sounds like it is time for you to go.”
“But Michael, how am I going to pay bills?”
“Mea, you’ll be fine. Don’t you already receive some type of government assistance? Use that while trying to get back on your feet. Don’t worry about it, focus on getting yourself together and accomplishing your goals. I know you are not one to just lounge around. Plus you need to focus on completing your degree and spend more time around the kids anyway.”
Laying my head on the table, tears started to run down my face cause I knew he was right.
“Mea, I don’t like seeing you like this. Do you need me to take you to the hospital?”
“Naw Mike… just take me to work. I’ll be good.”
Reluctantly, my brother still took me to work. 15 minutes into my shift, the pain returned and this time, I couldn’t even stand. I immediately called my supervisor and requested to take the day off to go to the hospital. I knew that this was probably my last strike in regards to attendance but honestly I was in so much pain that I didn’t even care. My brother came back to pick me up from work. While chewing me out in the process about how he told me to go to the hospital instead of work and how I am so stubborn, he rushed me to urgent care.
Time after time, I was forced over or dealing with schedule changes. I was beginning to become stressed, going to sleep in class, and starting to miss my children.
Finally, there came a day that I was able to leave at my regular time. I immediately rushed home to grab my children from their granny’s house. On the way home in the car excited and somewhat relieved, I remember looking back at my them and saying “Mommy is home today aren’t you guys glad to see me?” with a smile. My daughter Ariel, who was 4 at the time looked right at me like I never said a word and said “When are we going back to grandma’s house? I like being over there instead.” Now I know she was only 4, but honestly my feelings were crushed. My children started to grow distant from me… and honestly who could blame them? I was never really at home and even when they saw me, I was tired or in between school and work.
As I was sitting down at a table after eating dinner that evening, I suddenly felt a stabbing pain in my stomach and a my mouth started to water like I was about to puke. Running to the bathroom, it started to come up, but instead of any food, it was a burning sensation. It felt like I was spitting up acid. Thinking it was just heartburn from something I ate, I took a spoon full of mustard and went to bed. I woke up feeling better and thinking that it was over, I went to work the next day. After I ate lunch, I suddenly got that urge to throw up again. I immediately ran to the bathroom only to end up with the same result as the day before. This happened for the next couple of days until I decided to schedule an appointment with my doctor.
After consistent visits and no trace of illnesses, my doctored finally sat down and have a heart to heart with yours truly;
“Mea, I am concerned… your tests are showing no illnesses outside heartburn or gastritis but your are constantly here and are in pain. Mea… I don’t think that it is just sickness… are you stressed out?”
“No… I’m fine I just got a lot on my plate… but I will be ok.” I said while getting my jacket on.
Still looking concerned my doctor handed me a doctor’s note. “Well instead of doing more tests, why don’t you take a day or two off to rest. Looks like you need it.”
“Doctor I wish I could, but I have to go to work… bills don’t pay themselves you know.”
Walking out, my phone started to ring. It was my good friend and coworker Ralph.
“Hey. How did everything go?” He asked.
“It’s okay, the doctor couldn’t find anything but he told me to take a day off… but I have to pay these bills. I’m past due on my gas and….”
Ralph immediately stopped me “Mea… stop that. You are worrying. You will always have a chance to make money and pay bills, but you won’t always have a chance to get your health back to 100%. Do what the doctor says and take a day off… the job will be alright… believe me they are not hurting. I’m about to clock in so… I will give you a call later to check on you.”
Reluctant, I followed doctor’s orders and called in. That night I felt somewhat better, but the more I started to think about work again I started to dread the coming day as I went to bed.