debt free: a retrospective.

i’ve been in debt in one way or another for the past ten years.

it’s not your typical story. i wasn’t an irresponsible college student racking up expensive dinners or alcohol, i never had a ton of clothes, shoes, or makeup. i knew about responsible credit use thanks to my mom, and her instructive tale of a $2,000 desktop computer that turned into a $5,000 computer after she only made minimum payments on her sears card. (thanks for that, though, mommy, cause i probably wouldn’t be on my current career path without that thing).

i was on my own through college. i paid my tuition, i paid my rent, i bought my food. i had a tiny amount of help from my boyfriend at the time, but he also stole many thousands from me at one point too, so. you know. it evened out, most likely. some months, the numbers just did not add up. i wasn’t eligible for loans or extra financial aid, and i was fortunate enough to have a large part of my tuition covered by scholarships, but what they don’t tell you is that tuition goes up every year, and your scholarships remain what they are your freshman year. so, with easy numbers, if tuition is $100, and you have a 75% scholarship, you have $75. the next year, tuition is $110, but you STILL only have $75 in scholarship and the rest is on you.

i made it through the years, with taking a semester off to work at a tireless and tough job, 50-60 hours a week. i found rooms to rent, because it worked out to be cheaper than on campus housing, and i could not take living in the bubble of privilege that was my private university campus when my world was full of anything but. i was given a car, by my ex. i made it all work, somehow, but times were absolutely tight. i distinctly remember sitting down to do my taxes with all the determination in the world, realizing a few hours later that i owed the state something like $700, and being totally shell shocked – terrified because i knew i could not pay, knowing i’d balanced so many plates so carefully, and devastated that i’d managed to screw up anyway.

my ex, the one who stole from me, one of the ways he did so was via credit card convenience checks. you know how sometimes your card will send you checks in the mail that you can write in order to pay something with your card? yeah. he made them out to cash. the interest rate on them was something like 30%, so while he did pay me back, i’d accrued a ton of interest in the time it took him to do so. mostly, though, i had to make ends meet. could i have been more frugal than i was? sure. no one needs candles at target, but when you’re in that kind of a hole, you’re desperate for just something small to make you feel more normal. after i got out of school, i would very rarely use my cards for extraneous purchases, but i would do things like put plane tickets on them. and then i wouldn’t pay off whatever the whole amount was, i’d just continue my previous payment plan (which was always way above the minimum, but still, those plane tickets would take a few months to pay off – and by then, there may be another big purchase). i definitely used one to get my car out of impound once, to the tune of $1,000. things happen in life. so the balances hovered between $3,000 and $4,000 for several years.

like i said, it’s not your typical story – that’s not a ton of debt. it’s not the kind people freak out about, or call . i’m sure it’s well below average for my demographic. but eventually i realized i had this rotating balance, $400 in payments that was choking me, preventing me from hitting savings goals, and moreover, i was PAYING for the privilege of holding this debt (in interest). i mean, what?! that was totally unacceptable. i knew if i didn’t let myself purchase anything further on the cards, i could tackle it within a year.

i opened a balance transfer card with 0% interest for 18 months in january of 2013. i told myself that this was the year. there was already some travel on the books, but i limited myself to what was already planned. i sat down with myself, put all my accounts into mint, and committed to however much it would take to get this all paid off by the end of the year. i dedicated my tax refund to paying down this debt. i took on side work this year and put some of my earnings towards paying down this debt. if i had any extra money left over at the end of the month, guess where it went? yep. paying down the debt. i did end up using my cards for some unplanned expenses, but i made damn sure to pay off whatever that expense was in full asap – my cards were no longer my savings plan for big purchases.

i got smart about credit and opened some cards that would net me awesome rewards for money i’d be spending anyway (groceries,, etc.) – but that’s a separate post. through it all, i made sure my total debt was going down – and every month in mint, my net worth crawled up and up. in late december, i realized i would probably hit my goal in february of 2013, which was cool. maybe i’d be one month late, but i’d still be thrilled to get it done. i paid my bills right before the new year, content that the end of january would be the last time i’d be making these payments and the start of a super aggressive savings plan.

last week i realized i had a spare $900ish sitting around because of income from some side work that i got paid on, some checks i haven’t cashed, and an unexpected refund. and so, with very little thought, i decided to get it done. i wiped out the very last $500 of credit card debt i have remaining, and i am totally and completely free.

why am i sharing this? why am i including numbers, which many probably think is gauche and tacky? because we don’t talk about money the way we should in this world. it’s a hidden ghost that lords over us and draws so many lines in the sand, and we’re so rarely honest with how and why we struggle. i believe in the importance of those stories. i’m proud of myself for making a decision, making a plan, and then just doing a thing. you don’t get these victories every day, and i am savoring it.

the close.

i was really anti new year’s things this year. a good friend wanted to work on goal setting together, and i told her that while i was totally supportive of her, i wasn’t sure i was up for it. the below is from my email to her – edited for clarity.

here’s the thing about me and the intense goal setting things that the internet is so fond of. it just makes me feel like shit about myself. every time i’ve done these things, i end up feeling broken and worse than everyone else and deeply, deeply ashamed and convinced my life is worth nothing. all i can think as i go through these exercises is “am i doing it right? am i choosing hard enough things to accomplish? am i being weak about it? i am, i must be. TRY HARDER. MAKE BETTER GOALS”. it’s actually ridiculous. i’m trying really hard to overcome this attitude, because i know it is ALL ME and no one else’s fault – but i don’t have that process down yet.

goals are important, work is important, passion is important – that said, i cannot spend my life feeling crushed anymore. i just can’t. and i have to face the fact that i am out of the house with my attention focused on my job for 11 hours a day (9 hours in the office + 2 hours commuting). i have about 3 hours when i get home at night, out of my day, to do other shit. that is very little, and i need to be careful with it. i am not going to be able to do absolutely everything in my 3 hours of spare time a day + weekends. that’s just not human – i mean, maybe the special people of the world can do this, but i cannot, and i have to know that about myself and forgive myself for it.

it’s christmas time and i want to enjoy it. i want to look at my little village that makes me so happy, i want to get a tree and put too many lights on it and sit and stare at it with tea, i want to make my own cards and send them to people to tell them i love them, i want to breathe. i want to breathe and appreciate my life, and not hang myself up feeling awful about every part of my life and how i need to improve it. i’m frankly pretty tired of feeling like shit.

but then i actually read some of the materials she sent over and i realized there’s nothing wrong with my goal not being some big crazy tornado whirlwind. there’s nothing wrong with a quieter, more private, introspective goal that has nothing to do with make x dollars or lose x pounds or write a book or something very external with a finished product. i get caught in the idea that it must be fear talking, stopping me from the Big Crazy thing i actually want to do, but – no. it’s not. the biggest thing i want to do is calm down. find peace, actually. if i had to wrap up my mantra for the new year, it boils down to finding peace.

i’ve stepped back from a whole hell of a lot in the last few years. i’m learning what it means to curate. i am trying to remember to eat something on saturday mornings so i don’t turn into a rage monster. i’m making time for words, for creation. i’m remembering that the pieces are very rarely all in place – it won’t be contrived when you stumble across the moment you created in your mind, it will be organic and you savor it then. but when you wait for it it never ever comes. mostly, i have my shit together and about some things, i just don’t know. a therapist once told me, “well, what’s wrong with being confused?” she was a pretty awful therapist but that one line, that stuck with me. but about some things, i’ll be confused and the sky won’t fall. it really won’t ever fall.

that’s how i’m moving time along. with a commitment to calming the fuck down, and opening the door to some peace in my world. i’m too young for some of the ailments that have befallen me, and the details, they’re boring and there are enough people complaining on the internet – i don’t need to join the chorus. i know in my heart this is what i need.

ghosts around.

we won’t even talk about the debts i owed, because that slate should have been wiped clean long ago. but i obliterated them and it should have been enough and what right do you have, pushing yourself into my now?


six times today, rings, and they’re him, a number i’ll never forget no matter how hard i try. two recordings his voice, and it doesn’t sound right. i know when it doesn’t sound right. i always knew.

a search tells me his mother died, over a year ago. his father, a few years before that – she was not the kind of woman to survive without her husband. they were such a deep part of my world, a decade ago.

a decade. can we discuss that for a second? can we discuss that there’s a decade of history between then and now, between me and all my knowledge and all my faith, and me, this girl who lives grounded so hard in reality but doesn’t know, not ever, how to escape the labyrinths of my mind.

there are things i have locked away in trunks, thick-walled, metal, with locks that no one, nothing, will ever crack. nothing contained within is welcome in my present.

because i put that shit away for a reason.


al fresco.

the actress and i were sitting in front of a wide open bar window on a friday night. i was sipping a house made sangria, she had a glass of whiskey.

i look inside of houses all the time. i am fascinated, that every window contains another life with the same kind of heartbeat, breath, troubles and joys that i have too. there’s a word for it, i’ve learned recently: sonder. it’s overwhelming, in the city, to see giant crowds of people and know all of the same have the same little self obsessed universe that i do. it’s all so large, when you really think about it. it makes me anxious sometimes, walking down broadway every night, glancing up at the empire state building, pushing through crowds.

in any case, i like looking in the windows of strangers. it’s voyeurism, but of the curious kind, not the creepy kind. Also, i like to see furniture. on the third floor of a nondescript building someone leaned out and surveyed the street below – i could only see him in shadow, he was lit from behind. and i invented, as we all do, a little story for him in my head, of how he was taking a break from getting ready for a night out. how he was looking up and down the street before putting on his button down and joining the rest of the bros in the lower east side to do shots until way too late and try to bring home a girl in a bandage dress and nude pumps.

i understand what people chase in new york. or at least, part of it. i tried, too. i was never thin enough or pretty enough or had the right clothes or enough craziness to let go the way you need to to give over to night, here, but i tried. when i realized it wouldn’t be mine, i just wasn’t the right kind, i walked away and found other things. i had an intense amount of fun, but i never really fit. and i’m still trying to figure out, always, where i belong.

the man leaning out of the window reminded me that you don’t get time back. i’ll never have the time back where i am new to the real world and stomping glittering streets until four am. i’ll never have college with stone buildings and sense of crisp academia and finals and the ability to make learning a foundation of my world. i’ll never have youth, though i really never felt i did.

you can’t go back, not ever.


a listicle.

so here’s a funny thing. i heard the word listicle thrown about online, and i understood what it referred to but also i was legitimately very confused. because it reminded me of icicle and i couldn’t for my life draw the connection between online articles and lists and icicles. and then i realized, days later, it’s a combination of list and article.

here’s one that’s more list than article.

  • when you wait out the very crowded train, and a very uncrowded train follows
  • when unexpectedly, there is a mid summer cool spell and you can leave the windows open to a glorious breeze as the sun sets
  • when the fog clears
  • when the nice girl at the salad place continuously discounts your lunchtime salad to the tune of $5
  • when friends introduce you to new music
  • when you finish up another awesome course with Molly over at Stratejoy.
  • when your mom renews your Julep subscription.
  • when you have a Very Hard Night and there is someone to stroke your face and breathe deeply with you to lull you to sleep
  • when your birthday is around the corner and for the first time in years, you are excited to have an actual party.

it was a hard August. September brings my 28th birthday and leaves and the cool and a sense of fresh beginnings. i, for one, am excited.

when the vacuum fills.

we get greedy. there are good things in front of us and still, all we can see is more, what else, how much more could i have. it doesn’t matter, not quite, if you’re satisfied where you are because we deserve more than satisfaction, we deserve fireworks, we deserve every moment to be a sparkleburst of unadulterated joy. we’re told we’re complacent.

me, i don’t have answers. but you step back and you look at what’s around you and you put the brakes on, and you say, absorb this.

we all exist on the same push pull continuum, in and out, every breath, every day, every commute, every sleep. we exist in cycles, rhythms, circadian and otherwise. we exist in joy and despair, dark and light, everywhere in between. and lest you think the spectrum just goes left to right, no, it does not, it is three dimensions or even four if you’re calculating it right.

they say light is the absence of dark but it’s more than that, i know now. i know about middle ground and i know about real nothingness, what the vacuum feels like. and i know when it fills. it makes you more grateful, it really does.

i’m glad for summer, for sun, even for oppressive levels of humidity. i am glad for love, and work. i am glad for paint colors and couches, for insight, for people i call my own that make me smile.

i’m glad for so much.

they don’t deserve my worry, now.

i’m moving at a speed that, to dominique of four years ago, would be slow, but it’s faster than i’ve gone in a long while. i’m traveling – in the past year I’ve been to Atlantic City, Vegas, minnesota, Florida and the Bahamas, a different part of Florida, and LA. i’m working on growing my small business, i’m tending to the demands of my day job, and i’m still trying to eat relatively healthfully and keep my house in a semblance or order and prevent the dust bunnies from taking over. my plate, it is full.

it was about this time last year, post bisc, that i sank into blue exhaustion. i’ve adjusted in ways and it’s lifted in ways. i know what i need and i am more liberal with down time, especially down time that i don’t let myself feel guilty for. i am also more rigid with my scheduling, which paradoxically helps me tremendously. or perhaps not, because i know of several anxious/ADD people that are only assisted by rigid schedules.

something rose in me in winter, after i spent a week on a boat in the heat. some curtain parted and i learned to finally believe in my own future. i learned that i’m capable of creating one, and i confronted the possibility that none of it will work. And when i did, i realized that the world won’t stop spinning and i’ll figure something else out. i always do.

a few weekends ago i dropped my saturday night plans and drove to AC with the bouncer and some friends, and i panicked and dreaded what might happen if i did not clean, work, and take care of things. and nothing did, except i had a lot of fun and made an awesome memory. the idea that the world will crumble if the constructs i’ve built to keep me safe aren’t in place isn’t true, even if it does make me uncomfortable. and maybe it also means that some of my constructs aren’t necessary.

i wrote this on a on a train which took me to a short road trip which took me to a party, and every step of the way i had friends by my side. i appreciate, for once, how lucky that makes me. it certainly wasn’t the case several years ago – since then i’ve developed hardness, edges, spiky bits that weren’t there before. paula asked me on our AC drive, “how do you do that?”, with regard to the ways i can be cold, and i answered honestly, after consideration, “i would never wish it on you, because it comes from periods of intense loneliness, of really having no one, and learning you’re all you need to survive”.

but those times are over. they may come again (change is the only constant), but they don’t deserve my worry now. now, i’ll just be grateful.

because vegas.

in vegas, the plane lands and it hits me that this is really happening, and it’s like all the anxiety i should have had for the preceding weeks hits me right in the heart, and i am shaking and my blood is pounding. i spend the afternoon on a patio meeting new people and amping myself up. when night falls, i have three glasses of red and some of tom’s bacon satay, and decide i should probably be done, but when berto offers me a drink, i’m not going to turn him down. THAT WOULD BE RUDE.

vegas - wed night

in vegas, i walk up and down the strip, hitting new york new york for a chat with megan while other friends ride the rollercoaster. and then me, tom, nick, tiff, casey, ed, and megan pop into holstein’s in the cosmopolitan for the most kick ass of burgers and adult milkshakes. GOD THOSE BURGERS, GUYS, AMIRITE? in vegas  i do braless brunch at bouchon for the second year in a row with anna, lauren, and jen.


in vegas i have day dresses and night dresses but i never wear pants. i hop into my assigned thursday dress and over to serendipity for our welcome mixer, where, god, everyone is just so pretty and REAL and right in front of me. i take smoke breaks with raoul, edwin, and nico. i snuggle up with my onyi as many times as i can. i sit and chat with sara and am astonished by her piercing insight. i migrate to margaritaville, where i intend to dance, but instead end up having a long heart to heart with bob. i drag ed to the cosmo with me to meet up with maxie in the fancy as fuck chandelier bar, where she buys me a drink that probably costs $20. girl, i owe you.

vegas - me and o

in vegas i don’t sleep, i wake up not far past the crack of dawn and have chai and breakfast with nick and ed. i toss on my bikini, slather myself with GLIMMER SUNSCREEN YES. in vegas, we stay at the swanky flamingo go rooms. we party by the go pool, where the dj is on point with THE BEST music. i danced and twirled through the waterfall (for the second year) with lauren and bob. and pretty much all i had to do to initiate that was look at lauren. i rapped out some missy, standing on a daybed with michelle. i paint my nails purple. i hoist tiff onto my shoulders and ed and tom still owe me $100 combined for this (no you don’t, guys, don’t worry).

vegas - pool

in vegas my friends and i lay around on my bed talking about everything and nothing and everything some more. in vegas i put on my sequined dress with the tulle underneath and i do heavy eyes and red lips. i’m deep inside my head as we watch the cirque performers dive in and out and dance around. i can’t stop thinking about the conditioning they have to go through, the mechanics of the stage. in vegas, sometimes, i’m lonely. but i realize that a lot of people are actually on team go to sleep, and i laugh in the elevator, and the girl i call my sister tells me i can come cuddle her if i want, and i fall asleep ok.

in vegas i realize that you don’t actually become superhuman when you land at mccarren and i decide i should take a low key day. i wander the back halls of the wynn and the encore for close to an hour and we sit on all the fancy chairs and threaten to steal the statues. i decide that maybe one day i’ll get married under flower poms and fairy lights. we meet up with amber in front of the fountains at the venetian and when we realize she won’t be around for a cheese plate at otto the next day, we decide to do a cheese plate right then. we’ll call it cheese plate, the prequel. she is kind and funny and warm and answers so many questions for me.


in vegas we eat at buffets – le village in paris, this time. i sit at a big round table with larissa (my kickass roommate), marian, jessica, tiff, kendra, kate and other fantastic people. we talk about things that will stay off the internet, but i have another moment of wondering why we really hide anything, because when we crack open just a little and let the light shine out, the people we should be with, they flock right to us.

in vegas i slip into a white dress, i tuck a towel into the front of it to prevent stray makeup from getting in. i’m really happy my roommate was the only one to witness that towel solution. i finish glittering my nails down at the bar with a screwdriver next to me. i play a raucous game of “i never”. i take it to another level.

vegas - white party


in vegas, between pure and the act, i dance all. fucking. night. long. maxie and i are the last ones left standing, and at four something we hobble (seriously) to get some food. i lose tic tac toe (who EVER loses tic tac toe) to kelly. i walk into my room and am thrilled to find people – “party room YES.” – but i fall asleep about ten minutes in anyway.


in vegas i’m up way too early. i watch everyone having all of their feelings at brunch and i can’t summon mine, and i think how i’ve existed behind a veil for a year, i think how everything lives so deep, how i wish i could pull it out towards the surface, but i’ve forgotten how. i think, also, how i’m not all that sad because we all live on the internet, and although i love this time, i love this fun, online is where our day to day plays out and i don’t really have to miss anyone. because i know what it is to make a bond across the cables.

in vegas i crash hard. i wander over for cheese plate volume 2, and i talk to the bouncer and realize just how much i miss him, how my sleep isn’t right when he’s not next to me (vomit, i know, i’m sorry). we have a smaller group and i’m grateful for fewer people, i’m grateful to be able to tone myself down but still be seen. i’m grateful that raoul, tiff, and nick stay to take a gondola ride with me, even though i’m pretty sure none of them want to.

in vegas i do all my favorite things twice, which means i get yet another breakfast at bouchon, and another amazing holstein’s burger. i spend most of my day being bob’s good luck charm on some slot machines. and then i realize just how sick i am, larissa loads me up with benadryl, and i hop onto my plane with ed, and pass out pretty much mid-sentence.

after vegas, i realize just how lucky i am, in so, so, many ways.



processing #bisc. probably part 1.

there’s a lot that i could or should be doing right now. the bouncer really tried with the housecleaning while i was gone, but there’s things i could touch up. i have barely any food in the fridge (but 15% off seamless today, so what up sushi!). i have work i’m lagging on. and really, i just want to stalk the shit out of the people i’ve just come back from. even if i knew them already. and i thought to myself, your thoughts on this are so disorganized, dominique, you shouldn’t write anything until they come together. forgetting that writing is how i organize my thoughts.

many people went up on the last day and talked about what bisc meant to them. through so many of their speeches, i nodded along. yes. yes. yes. me too. and afterwards i was sitting in a small group of people and someone else said how much they were nodding along as well, and i said, “it’s so funny when you think of how much we are all the same.” and we are, guys. we think we are special snowflakes, but we are humans, we are fallible, we are prone to insecurity, anxiety, depression. i think to myself all of the time, when i am in the valleys, i think, “you can’t tell anyone about this because they will hate you. they will judge you and they will scorn you.” and, just, no. the answer to that is no, they won’t. and when i think that again, because i inevitably will, i will remember watching everyone speak, and how much the same we really are.

i didn’t share my story out loud. i didn’t, to be honest, feel like i would contribute anything of value – it follows the same plot points that most other people laid out. but this is my space, so, here. i think i actually did hear rumblings of the 2009 or 2010 bisc – i was nobody on the internet at that point, and i’d designed it that way. i saw that people were forming a community and they seemed really amazing, but i was a hardcore lurker, and convinced i didn’t have anything to contribute (are you seeing a theme here?). besides, they all seemed to be friends already and i had no place joining them. when it rolled around again in 2011, i wrestled with it. i hated my job at that point, i was desperate to break free of something, but i gave myself the excuse of money. with a plane ticket and spending money, i couldn’t justify almost $1000 for a four day vacation.

by 2012 i was here, in brooklyn with the bouncer and sophie, and i told him about it. he’s not an internet person, really, and he doesn’t fully grasp how so many of my close relationships have come from this place and still exist mostly here. i told him all about it, and told him how much i wanted to go and how i’d met a potential roommate. and how much it costs. and after a day or so of vacillating, i gave myself the money excuse again. laying in bed late on friday night after registration opened, he was talking about something and i was obviously distracted and he asked why. i apologized, and i told him that there were very few spots left and i was really sad to miss it. “so go,” he said. “if it’s the money that’s really stopping you, i’ll pay for it. but it sounds like this is something you really want, and that’s worth it. take a chance.” so i whipped out my computer and my card and i signed up.

i didn’t consider not getting on the plane – i’m too neurotic about plans (and money) for that. i did obsess over every single detail (how many coats of glitter polish before people think i’m crazy? i have to wear a bathing suit in front of people i actually want to like me? i don’t have any sequins and no one likes the girl without sequins. i can’t find anything perfect for the theme party and everyone will hate me.) and then i realized that none of it mattered as much as i thought it did. so this year, i honey badgered. i wore my bikini because i love the way my skin feels crisping in the skin, and because i wanted to. i talked to people i’ve wanted to meet for years, people who intimidated the crap out of me. i went on the activities i wanted to, i slept when i had to, i took down time when i needed it.

neither of my bisc trips were perfect. nothing is perfect.  but i met incredible people. i danced my legs off. i felt fancy and beautiful. i made real, actual friends. i met people who give a fuck.  and i am so, so grateful.

for my next trick.

i consider my life to be fairly small, and i don’t consider this a bad thing. it’s mine – and i mean, not to get too woo-woo on you but we are all really only tiny little specks in the vastness of the planet, let alone the universe, and i try to stay conscious that my own existence is nearly nothing, even if it feels all consuming to me. but sometimes i have big revelations that overturn my brain and really make me gasp for a second, and obviously my first instinct is to write about them on the internet, because i’ve been doing that for twelve years.

you may or may not know that i just finished my first month of doing some freelance work on top of my day job. you can learn more about that over at my professional site, complete with it’s own blog. and if you’re so inclined, you can check out and like/follow the associated facebook page and twitter account and you’ll make my little heart happy. in any case, i’ve finished this up and while i am both doing this work and putting energy into growing my business i have had a truckload of thoughts.

  • putting yourself out there is really fucking hard: no, it’s not professional to drop the f-bomb on the internet but i don’t particularly care because this situation warrants it. i have been terrified every step of the way that the lot of you are out there laughing to yourself that i’m even trying to do this. of course i’ve received nothing but great and helpful feedback and support from my people, but still. still. every little drop of kindness, from facebook comments to an email from my boss at my old job praising my efforts to my boyfriend’s unexpected compliments on a client letter, every bit is appreciated and i squeeze it until it’s wrung dry. shit is terrifying, yo.
  • having a part time job and a full time job is stressy: and i expect to do it for over a year to come, so let’s hope my fragile little neurons survive, huh?
  • little building blocks every day lead to big things: NONE OF THIS HAPPENS OVERNIGHT. none of it happens in a day, or a week, or a month, or even a year. i am the most impatient, foot stamping, give-it-to-me now kind of person and i am learning so much about how i cannot be that way. there are so many tiny tasks to be done to build up to the bigger picture. i’ve tried really hard to adapt the advice of doing at least one small thing every day to work on this, even if it’s as tiny as sending an email or signing up for a networking group. because when these tiny actions pile up they become accomplished goals. and if something is scary, i breathe deeply and try to headbutt it like the badass ram that i am. spoiler: it is all scary.
  • organization and brain dumps are very important: guys, there is a lot of stuff happening. during the month of march i did my first month of work for a client on retainer, i had my regular full time gig to attend to, i had scintilla to run, and i had you know, life and feeding myself and bathing. i keep a wide variety of to do lists and task managers on hand and i’m still finding the perfect balance for me, though i am loving trello for project management and for personal to-do items. relatedly, i love freshbooks for time tracking and billing.
  • find support and hold onto it for dear life: i am so fortunate because i have a coworker, friend, and mentor who is also embarking on this journey, and we have been able to serve as resources for each other. i have had SO MANY questions and because he’s a little bit further along in the process, he’s been infinitely helpful and reassuring. because things like quarterly taxes are made to destroy your sanity, and contracts can be super confusing, and marketing oneself sometimes looks like a big wide field of landmines, and these are all thing i have to worry about now.
  • it is really important to have an eye on the prize, and have the other one on the path in front of you: you lose motivation quick if you don’t realize the big reasons why you’re doing this. i eventually want to own my own time and have more flexibility with it, and i want the challenge and excitement of working on new projects on a consistent basis. i have done extensive research into the downsides (lack of health insurance, no paid vacations, pressure to work always, never seeing the outside world, I KNOW), and i’ve decided to try it anyway. in the same vein, it’s important to have the Big Goal broken down into steps that have associated timelines. i have measurable goals that i’ve calendarized to make sure i’m making progress towards the end goal (or, i mean, sort of. i have them in my head. next to do item: put them on an actual thing, digital or analog).

so this is my latest adventure and i am positive i will continue to have Many Thoughts and Feelings about it, and as always, i adore you all for listening. do you have any tips or tricks for me? or any business you want to refer my way *wink, nudge*?