NOW What? (Six Months Later)
Have you ever toiled towards a goal that seemed like that one BIG event that was about to completely and totally change your life forever? Maybe it was your wedding that you tirelessly planned for or the baby you carried for nine months in your womb, or the promotion you chased for the past 18 months. You worked arduously and excitedly, albeit sometimes nervously to reach this one BIG event that was going to overhaul everything for you. Did you think about how you would feel when the BIG event was all said and done? As in, NOW what? Really though, NOW what comes next? You’ve climbed the hill, reached the summit, and NOW what? You have a ring on your finger, a baby in your arms, and a larger weekly paycheck in your bank account but what’s next? You’ve reached the pinnacle so do you start clambering back down now? Do you sit on the summit forever and observe your tracks in the snow/sleet/sand/hail/burning coals that got you there? Do you start shouting from your highpoint down to everyone about your journey? NOW what?
For me, the BIG event was Cupcake Wars. After working determinedly to make it on the show, preparing my trip out to LA, and then accomplishing my goal of winning, it felt like an endless climb up. The only problem is, in order to reach the summit of any great mountain, you must climb with one foot in front of the other, navigating the risks, inclement weather, obstacles along the way; but in order to reach the bottom, you can always tumble. One slip and your knees tuck, arms flail, screams mount, and you become just one giant ball of flesh plummeting rapidly to the bottom (morose, huh?). So I was at the pinnacle, the apex, the zenith, the TOP after my Cupcake Wars win. Business was booming, people were hunting me down to congratulate me, the outpouring was stupendous, it really was. Although, if I’m being honest, that little squirrel in my brain (remember him?) wouldn’t stop gnawing the entire time about shit. He was chewing me out, twerping in my ear, “Now what? NOW what, cupcakes? Whatchu gonna do now? The novelty of your little stardom will wear off any day now! Don’t get too used to this!” Annoying little bugger, he is.
Like any true curmudgeon faced with positivity, I went into hiding. My studio apartment became my cave with curtains drawn and the only light being the constant glow of my laptop screen. Encountering people in public led to those squirrely questions and as much as I could snap back at the little guy inside my brain, I couldn’t in good conscious continue to snap back at the innocent and excited people who approached me. “How’s business? Great? Is it just crazy and insane still? What are you going to do now? NOW what? Are you going to expand?” Talking to people began to feel like looking through those kaleidoscope tubes… so many vivid colors, shapes, things to do, things to say, but nothing seemed very clear. I didn’t know NOW what, didn’t have an answer, and didn’t have anything more than fear. Fear is very sticky. It latches on, bores a hole in your brain, changes reality, makes it a game. Fear feeds my squirrel and my squirrel has a voracious appetite.
So, why am I writing this now? Why, after 6 months am I telling you that I went into hiding, that I avoided you amazing people who continued to support me and support my business? Why shouldn’t you just think of me as some unappreciative dolt that doesn’t want to make my customers cupcakes all day long? Well, when I looked through that kaleidoscope, when I saw all those colors and shapes and components, when I heard all your kind words, some not-so-kind words, concerns, excitement, support, I knew that I had to get back to my roots of where I started and WHY I started my business. I remembered that I wanted more, I wanted to be more, do more, affect more, give more. Not just in cupcakes, actually not even really in cupcakes at all, but in spirit and story. This might all seem in vain but it’s in sharing with you, hearing back from you, and hearing your stories that brings buoyance to my solitary nature. I’m hoping that you’ll continue to join me on this ever-changing journey, for in growth comes change and in change comes growth.
The cave has done me well but it’s time to extricate myself and rejoin the rest of the world and I’m hoping you’ll have me back. And now to announce my “NOW what”: I’ve recently written a book proposal and have signed with Movable Type Management, a literary agency who will be pitching my book to publishing houses after Labor Day. I’ve learned that when one BIG event ends, you can always make another one begin.
Cupcakes = Life
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