In 2018, we put on our first Christmas Market which was one of the most outwardly successful holiday markets ever ran on Vancouver Island. (In my mind anyway!) Those of you who witnessed the event would have remembered our power outages on the first day of the market with backup power that kept us going for the next three hours.
Over 30,000 people showed up and we experienced one of the most highly talked about holiday markets on Vancouver Island.
In my head, the mantra that kept me going was, “The Show Must Go On.”
Behind the curtain, I was in agony. During that time, I was fighting anger, frustration, betrayal and lies but I had let it happen by pushing my gut feelings aside and convinced myself that I wasn’t experiencing these things. I mean, when you have countless conversations asking for clarity and each time the excuse seems valid, you’d just brush it off and tell yourself, it’s all in your head. Stop doubting her.
It’s funny as the saying goes, if it’s not a hell yes, then it’s a f*ck no. I didn’t have this in my back pocket to validate my intuition back then.
Alongside my supportive husband, the next three markets we put together in Spring, Mother’s Day and Winter went really well.
Inside, I was mess.
I doubted myself every step of the way along with all the human experiences that kept my inner conversations with myself sometimes take the better part of me. Luckily, I hung onto the best people in my life and asked for help. And ever so slowly, I found my mind settled a bit more, wrote in journals, read self help books and reflected on my experiences that kept me up at night.
Then in 2020, after returning from a much needed vacation, we were shut down. Just 30 days before our Spring Market, we were told to postpone, cancel …or pretty much fend for ourselves. As you might know, our markets require months of preparations and I was lost for what to do next. But then, a catalyst occurred, one that led me to decide once and for all, to refund everyone and walk away.
In that moment, fear set in externally and people were not kind and I couldn’t hold the fort any longer. That was when I finally gave myself permission to walk away.
It wasn’t easy.. I’ve never done this before. I teared up in our Facebook group explaining the situation and closed my lap top and went straight to my garden. It was the first time in a long time that I rested.
I learned a lot about myself in the last 1.5 years and I continue to remind myself how the human experience we all go through require us to really know all parts of ourselves. It is one of the most uncomfortable, agonizing and vulnerable experiences to be a part of but it is one that I can guarantee you build inner strength, resilience, and empathy.
I got to rewrite Vancouver Island Market’s values and vision statement. I got to work with a local marketing team who believes in me and have been super helpful. I got to work with top notch business coaches who help guide me back to clarity and purpose. I am among friends, a supportive team and my family who are cheering me on virtually. And I know these human experiences are felt not just by me but everyone who might be reading this message right now.
To digress and bring all of this back in one big wrapped up present, (you know, cuz life is a gift…) I love comedy and I love watching comedians speak their own truth and analyze the sh*t out of human experiences. It’s not everyone’s cuppa tea but sometimes it’s all the uncomfortable stuff that we need to hear over a hard belly laugh.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
“Empathy is bisexual. It goes both ways.”
When you see me at the market, come say hello and give me a nod/ a signal/ an affirmation that you see me, hear me, and understand this eff’d up human experience we get to be a part of together is totally worth it.