TRIGGER WARNING: This post is emotional and may not be suited for those experiencing depression or a mental health crisis.
My hope as you read this is that you find yourself in good health in the comfort of your home surrounded by your most precious loved ones. I am writing from a place of personal experience and these words are as vulnerable as the emotions I feel on a day by day basis. My words are meant to help anyone else feeling alone, lonely or hopeless. You are not alone and there is help available. Please find links at the bottom of this post.
I wake up in tears some days. I've been having nightmares that are so vivid they stay with me long into the mornings. It's hard to ascertain real life for a while upon awakening because real life seems surreal. And what is real life right now? For me, it's a wave of emotions I ride hour by hour and depending on who I speak to or what news I read. Some have advised me not to listen to news, meditate, learn a new skill or my favorite, "stop stressing." Everyone is processing their reality differently. I'm finding it hard to escape even with all the free cable being offered. I don't want to be pacified. I want to stay awake, scream, fight, act in some way that gives me power as I feel mostly powerless at times. I think it's important I talk about this. I'm struggling to find the outlet that helps me right now. Art and music are helpful. I went on YouTube and found a video of flowers blossoming in time-lapse motion and I watch it every morning. The sheer beauty of it inspires hope. It also reminds me that I will be renewed by the horror of what's ongoing. It will pass with time and I must be patient, a virtue I'm being forced to practice. The Novel Coronavirus is raging across our world spreading contagion, fear and incredible loss. I am doing my best to stay present. To stay mentally well. I took my bike out the other day screaming, "FUCK YOU," as I rode furiously down the street the entire time. (Good thing there were hardly any decent folks out.) I suppose I was cursing out the virus itself. Silly, but for a moment all my anger was directed somewhere. I feel cheated. I feel sad. I feel complete and total outrage. I'm willing to bet some of you reading this can relate. These are my emotions as a woman navigating my life during these moments. I have a lot more going on and it offers a sense of purpose for me. I know others are relying on me to stay level-headed and grounded. It's a lot for a lady that doesn't even own a houseplant, but I will carry on and will continue to have good and bad days.
As a brand owner I have a different role. I know my job is to create beauty and dreams and sometimes even fantasy for our customers. I enjoy doing it immensely. However, I find it difficult to separate what I'm experiencing as a human and sell skincare products without acknowledging what is staring us all in the face. Personally, I believe it is a big mistake to act as though an extraordinary global event isn't happening and continuing to run business as usual. Human beings are suffering and dying and it's very real and very emotional. Businesses are run by people and I'm grateful I'm not beholden to shareholders that tell us what to do or what to say. I will be real with you. It's affecting the choices La Bella Figura makes right now. We closed our doors before the State ordered us to do so. Karen and I sat down and discussed what the right things for us were. We felt strongly to stop producing since we make our products in-house and keep everyone safe at home and with their families was the right course of action. We had just celebrated ten years as a company and were planning on taking a team trip to France. I'm grateful we were able to, at least, enjoy our beautiful cake with champagne at our beloved workspace as a work family. Let me tell you my heart shattered as I closed the door behind me and walked away from the company I helped build and love so much. It breaks now as we face uncertainty. The truth remains, we're not sure when we'll be allowed to return nor of the damage this pandemic will cause our global economy.
That being said, I also don't believe we need to send messages of doom to our customers and fans on the daily. I have struggled on how best to lead and have decided to lead, truthfully. So allow me to tell you while my company is okay at this time it will not be if we are to play out months of non-transactional business. Our business is considered non-essential so we will be closed until we are told we can reopen. For me, Karen, our team and the circle that cares for La Bella Figura, our work is indeed essential. It's how we make our living, sustain families and support other human beings we rely on. Our suppliers, farmers, printers, freelancers, retailers, cleaning staff, our landlord, and Bill. Bill is the guy who knocked on our door years ago asking if he could wash our windows for "extra cash" when in reality he didn't have a job nor a steady place to live. Our entire community of businesses on our street employ Bill to clean our windows every week and help him sustain himself and stay off the streets. We have no idea where he is or what he's going through right now. So for all our sakes and for all those that are in our circle we're going to fight this fucking COVID-19 disaster as hard as we can. Here is the plan and how I hope you can help.
On Thursday, April 2 through Friday, April 3 we are taking part in an event brought on by A Night For Green Beauty, called A Community In Action. Many other green beauty brands will too and we're hosting a special online sales gala to help boost revenue and help keep businesses in business. This is how we can reclaim our power and fight for what we've built. Most of the brands participating are independent, women-owned businesses. We hope, if you are in a position to help that you enjoy our event and shop, save and support your favorite brands. I will be supporting other brands by purchasing my Mother's day gift, both of my sister's birthday gifts on Thursday and maybe something for myself. (Can I buy new nails for the destroyed manicure I currently have?) I'm also buying products for our overworked USPS carrier Pam, my Instacart delivery driver and friends in need. Hop over to the ANFGB website, sign up and wait for Wednesday, April 1 when all the brand participants and their awesome offers will be announced. Also, please follow the ANFGB Instagram account for more details.
We do not have to feel hopeless or alone. Together we can commit to helping one another and through small acts of kindness make a positive impact to lift ourselves up and power on. This is the very definition of community and you are always welcome here. I hope you follow our La Bella Figura Instagram. If I'm brave enough I may go Live. I may also be in pajamas accompanied by my mom and a glass of champagne, but I promise you, whatever I decide to do we will have loads of fun.
Below are clickable links for a few services if you should them. I'm including links for coping tools, museums and free online classes as well.