I wanted to take a little break from working on a project that I’m doing for Kill Pink. I hit up a really good (and intelligent) friend of mine recently to ask him a few questions about business. I knew that he went to school for something business related (so sad that I don’t know his exact major though) and felt that he would be the perfect person to reach out to for questions that I had. I was beyond right. Nonetheless, he sent me a very long, but super easy to understand email breaking down ‘facts’ about business and how to run a successful company. I immediately began working on my current project based on that email.

As I’m going through some of the things that I’ve purchased over the last few months, I’m literally kicking myself in the ass over how much money I’ve spent over buying. I found myself asking aloud, “Why in the world would you buy 300+ of anything when you have NO CLUE if the item would sell or if you’d ever even use it?” But then it made me think of how I handle a lot of things in life…and why.

I know that I’ve talked about being the double H’s (hungry and homeless) before. I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you how rough something like that can be. But during that time, everything was about survival for me and being able to make it to the next moment. If a friend invited me to a house party where food was, I’d find myself overeating to the point of getting sick…just b/c I didn’t know when the next time would be that I would have food to eat. Same thing if someone took me out dinner. Although extremely rude, I would get whatever had the most ‘pieces’ to it so that I could either stuff myself OR take some home to ration out over time (until it got old and even then, food was food).

A lot of my friends didn’t know about my situation and I did a very good job of hiding it. I would accept invites to come ‘hang out’ at people’s houses and would stay…and stay….and stay (not overnight or anything but I’d literally turn what should be maybe an hour or two into a day and late night type situation) just b/c I knew that my electricity was off and I didn’t have heat in my own apartment. When I did chance upon some ‘extra’ money, I’d seriously buy the store out as much as I could b/c again, I didn’t know when I’d ever have it to do all over. Thinking back on it now, I realize that, while it may seem ‘funny’ to imagine to some, I was simply trying to survive. And somehow, that same mentality has seeped over into my ‘new’ life.

I don’t think that I do this on purpose but as I’m sitting here, typing out this blog, I realize that I still try to survive. I go to the store and buy two or more of everything. I over do it when it comes to my spending budget when it comes to my business…and even though I know that I’m ‘okay,’ I still (subconsciously) feel like I’m in survival mode…that if I don’t do something now to protect me later, I may not have it later. Ever.

I seriously hate that I’m this way. Not sure what I can do to get rid of the angst but I felt that maybe if I typed it out, that’d be my way of REALLY recognizing and owning the issue. Although I’m far from rich, I have been extremely blessed (and lucky) in the things that have happened over the last couple years. Things were never perfect in the beginning of it all, but I was thankful that people were willing to accept the fact that I wanted a new (and better) life for myself. Even for those who didn’t (and don’t), I still felt that I had to keep moving and just work to the best of my ability b/c going back to what once was isn’t an option.

I just need to learn how to internalize that and know that it no longer has to be about ‘surviving’ because I don’t ‘have’ but maintaining and making better life decisions b/c I do.

  • Alima

    Your realness and ability to articulate what many of us go through, although it is your journey, is one of the many reasons I admire you.

    When I read your posts, I wondered about what I’ll call your business ‘mis-steps’. I figured you knew what you were doing and it wasn’t my business. I think its great that your friend waited until asked before he gave you his take on things.

    Continued success Jia. Whatever you’re involved in is always attractive, and that’s because of your spirit. I can’t wait for your book.

  • T-Marie

    Great post, and I can definitely relate to certain parts of it.

  • A.Smith

    That whole taking a previous mindset into a new situation thing is real on so many fronts and for so many people

    It’s one reason – obviously not a situation for you – that poor kids grow up to be poor adults. They only learn about spending from the “we may never have this again” mindset.

    But for sure acknowledging that and even processing it enough to write it out is one step towards changing that mindset. I bet the next time you buy 2 of something you only need one of, you’ll immediately recognize it and maybe the time after that you’ll catch it before you buy. It’ll always be a process; just be patient with yourself.

  • Cicely

    Oh Jia, I really appreciate and honest you are in writing about yourself and experiences in life. The great thing about life and it’s lessons is that you have the power to control the outcome and learn from the experience. It sounds like you are in a better place in your life and can finally breath and stop trying to survive. I too have been down and out and without a place to live, no car, no lights, etc. So when I did get money, i would “splurge”too. Then I woke up one day and looked around my apartment and realized I had way more than what I needed to survive. That’s when I started saving to survive. Instaed of spending to survive.

  • Cicely

    Awe man! I wasn’t finish nor did I get to spellcheck! Oh well, you get my point…#Damnsmartphone

  • Jessica

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been in your same situation, no lights, heat or anything to eat, even nowhere to live at one time and no idea how to pull myself out. I joined the military and fnished college and I now have everything that I dreamed of, a family, a house, a great, promising career, but I am still in survival mode. I worry so much about money or rather losing it, that it keeps me up some nights. Again, thank you for sharing and I wish you continued success.

  • Efree

    I’m really enjoying reading your blog. I’ve been a fan of your celebrity site for years but only started reading your personal blog a few days ago. I really appeciate your honestly.

    I’ve been in surival mode a few years myself. My career/job situation pretty much sucks right now (i’m working a temp gig during the day and at major retail store in the evenings/wknds). I’m blessed to have just enough to get by, however, my tastes are far more extravangant than they need to be.

    I’ve been in procastinating mode for long time, just stuck by not making any proactive career moves. So I find myself living paycheck to paycheck. Yet I fall into the retail therapy trap alot. Slowly I’m trying to build up my savings (without spending, which is hard as hell). Sure things could be far worse, but I also want them to be a whole lot better. I’ve been in rut and clearly have issues with self worth. I’ve allowed myself to accept less because, although I like to think that I have a high self esteem in some area, clear as day subconsciencely I don’t think i’m worthy.

    I’m gonna work harder on getting out of “surival” mode.

  • Jia

    Amazing, Emmy. So weird that I’m reading your comment after purchasing a book on Amazon called “Aspire” by Kevin Hall. The premise of the book (in addition to finding purpose in life) is to also teach you the power of words….how words have greater impact that one can even begin to imagine.

    The fact that you came here and said that you’re working on it and you’re blessed…you’re acknowledging what you have while working on a ‘quality’ that you don’t. That’ll prove fruitful for you, I’m sure.

    Thank you for reading!