Just when you think things are going great and nothing can get in your way, life throws up a roadblock and knocks you back down. Some of these punches bring a little pain and are easy enough to overcome, but some nearly knock you down for good.
In April of 2021 I was offered a position at a company that would increase my income by more than I could turn down. The company itself seemed solid and after 7 years working for my prior employer, I was ready for a new challenge.
The new position involved a lot of new responsibility and offered the chance for a more or less permanent work from home role, which I was all for. Things weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I was hopeful that over time this could be the best job ever. That hope would fade away in a single afternoon of chaos in May of 2022.
The CEO of the company held a mandatory video presentation where he told everyone that their job was no longer safe. We were told that we would receive an email at some point in the next couple of days if we were impacted by the layoffs taking place. And that was that.
Over the next couple hours, My co-worker and I were sweating bullets and wondering if we would wind up on the chopping block. That question would be answered for me when I received an email letting me know that my position was impacted and that I needed to attend a meeting over Google Meet that afternoon. I said my goodbyes, got the information I needed and logged off for the last time that evening.
So, there I was with a small severance package and a family that relied on me for support. I was terrified.
Putting on a cheerful face is something I have grown accustomed to over the years. As hard as it was, I picked up my camera and focused on the positives. I had some time where I could decide what the next steps would be and I didn't need to add more pressure to myself. This attitude was the result of some major focus on my mental health since learning I have Asperger's.
I spent the days after being laid off relaxing, filming several videos for YouTube and coming up with ideas for my next endeavor. I knew things would be tight for a bit, but my hope was that I could launch a full photography business and maybe get some clients to help me get through until something clicked for my social media stuff. What I didn't expect was my wife to come to the rescue.
I have struggled my whole life for what I have, clawing my way up by whatever means I needed to use. I wasn't always as driven as I am today though.
Before I went into the army in 2008, I struggled to hold down a job for longer than a few months. There were several reasons for this, but poor mental health was at the top of the list. I went from job to job and wound up evicted from more than one house over the course of a few years. There was only one person who really stuck with me and believed in me through all of this.
Around October 2004 I would meet the woman who would wind up becoming my wife. I was young, dumb and full of shit and she was a solid foundation for me to lean on. We were both seniors in high school, though we didn't know we attended the same school until her dad followed me home one night after picking her up from work. It turned out she lived only a few houses down from me and we had just never noticed each other outside of working together.
Early 2005 would see us getting into a lot of trouble together as we tried to grow up way too fast. We would briefly break up in May of 2005, not getting back together until later that year. In the time we were apart, my mother would pass away and I would become extremely lost as a person.
By the fall of 2005, she and I would agree to try things again, going to see a movie together. I don't remember what the movie was, but I do remember making out in the car afterwards. Within a couple of months we had moved in together and in early 2006 we would find out there was a baby on the way.
Most of the next couple of years were a blur, but the main takeaway is that I spent most of it being irresponsible and not holding down a job. Through all of it, she stayed by my side and even defended me to her family who was convinced I was good for nothing and would never be able to provide a life for her or our kids.
By September of 2008, things had gotten really bad. We were on the verge of losing our apartment, the electricity was about to be shut off and we barely had enough food for the kids. This was make or break time.
I wound up joining the army, getting married just before shipping off to basic training so I could set up my benefits and make sure my family was provided for. Over the next several years, things would improve slowly for us financially and I would grow a lot.
Years would pass, I would find myself making more money that I ever had in my life, and our relationship would evolve into something amazing. I've always been a dreamer though, and as my YouTube journey began, I found myself dreaming of making content full time. This seemed like a far off kind of thing, if ever, but everyone has something they wish for.
When I got laid off, my wife waited about a week before suggesting she could go out and get a job to help extend the time my severance would last. Her reasoning was that she knew how much I wanted to make a career out of photography and content creation and she thought I deserved to make it.
I have no words for just how much this meant to me. It is one of the driving forces behind how hard I work and how much I want to succeed. She has been there for me through so much and now believes in me enough to give up being a stay at home mom, which was something she always wanted to do.
Maybe I'll never hit a million subscribers or make the kind of money I need to keep doing this full time, but knowing that one person believes in me that much and knowing I can trust someone so fully to be there no matter what is more than I could have ever dreamed of having.