Leaving the Island

(Trigger warning: abuse, violence)

Starting this business has been another lesson in mindset shifts, and I thought I had that topic pretty well figured out.

Well, because when you start a business you can't count on a biweekly paycheck and a lot of the world calls you very silly for thinking this could work until you're making lots of money. It's all about creating numerous backups, building up a network, building up a pipeline, presenting yourself well, meeting with lots of people and being a connector, all things that are different skillsets and mindset shifts from just typing in code eight hours a day. I knew it was just a different mental model for making money and could be equally (if not more) stable.

I guess.

Six years ago, I wore my arrogance like a shield against the world. I was proud, selfish, angry. I hurt others emotionally. I was also intensely lonely, and breaking apart, and burning out.

When I found someone who was willing to support me and stick with me through this painful time, I didn't want to let them go no matter what. I took them in and supported them, took them in behind my shield, I'd protect us. I supported us financially, took on all that responsibility.

Even as painful blows struck my head, even as I lay choking and barely breathing on the floor, even as I covered up bruises and tried to hide blood, even as I feared I would die.

For years.

It started gradually, I justified every step.

I told myself no one else loved me.

I told myself I was the strong one.

I was strong, to everyone outside this little island.

I told myself I was still that arrogant woman who refused to accept responsibility. That I was loyal and made a promise. That he was just hurting and anyone could get better. That I should be grateful, that he may have saved my life, that I'd hurt him.

I've been broken down and been beaten down and stood up strong and gained humility and empathy.

I can wear what I want. Have close friends and spend time with them. Do what I want. Study what I want. Believe what I want.

Without fear. Without worrying about my life being in danger.

I now know what it's like to get beaten so bad I can't walk without pain and still go to work for 16 hours and make money. Again and again.

When you're on this tiny island you don't realize how bad things are.

You don't realize.

I didn't realize.

I am the happiest I've ever been in my life right now, and that is actually a very sad statement.

This beautiful essay by Micah Scott hits close to home right now:

Little Island

Brain in a Jar

Love for Math