I’ve been out of practicing law for a little over a month now, and the last month has flown by. It’s strange having no boss to report to; no meetings with colleagues to attend; no billable hours to document; and no coworkers to walk down the street with to get lunch. As I’d planned for, my life is busy and filled with chocolate.
But before more time passes, I wanted to share my reflections on the last few weeks. To be cliché, life has been an emotional roller coaster from day to day. A few feelings in particular have been prevalent.
Oddly enough, while I’ve connected with many people in the last month and am surrounded by supportive friends and family, I’ve felt lonely. There are no colleagues to grab a drink with after a big win in court, or to gripe with about long hours, or to discuss vacation plans with. Over the past year, in order to launch the business, I spent hours, days, and months testing recipes, deciding on packaging and equipment, and looking into commercial kitchen space—all on my own. Nowadays, the bulk of my time is spent making chocolates, heading to events or tastings, and meeting local business owners—by myself.
On the other hand, I am blessed to have a small circle of those I regularly depend on to provide helpful feedback. I’ve also been reaching out to other entrepreneurs who are in various stages of building or growing their businesses. And initiating a discussion with people about a common love—a love of chocolate—has led to discussions about their lives, their dreams, and their heartaches. Ultimately, chocolate has allowed me to connect with others, and for that, I am grateful.
This leads me to the feeling of vulnerability. I admit that before going to an event where my chocolates will be sampled, I’m mostly elated, but I do have some anxiety. There’s vulnerability in putting effort into making something—will anyone like it? I announce a tasting—will anyone show up? I spend time talking to store owners about my chocolate, and say, I’m a local chocolatier and I created these chocolates with my hands—will they laugh?
These are fleeting thoughts that come to mind before I head to meet someone new or to a tasting. Life down this path will always be unsettling, and I am learning that I have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable all the time.
I debated whether to write this post, and more so, whether to write about being vulnerable. Vulnerability is, by some, seen as a weakness, and is confused with uncertainty or desperation. To me, vulnerability is about not hiding who I am and what I feel. It can be painful to be open, but it has allowed me to build relationships and to share hopes and worries. It has allowed me to feel alive.
I own everything—the good and the bad. If an event goes well, I take the credit for it. If it doesn’t, I take the responsibility for it. I can no longer rely on a partner or a judge to accept the applause or take the heat. No one tells me that a flavor I created shouldn’t be offered. Before my business and website launched, I had moments when I felt nauseated because the business was becoming real and public. But at the same time, I couldn’t believe how my dream was beginning to realize. A mix of feeling excited and terrified.
And so I go on the roller coaster . . .