My Story Continued for the Lovers and Haters

My last blog really struck a chord. I was called everything from superficial, narcissistic to entitled in the comments. For some reason, my vacation pics from Hawaii were even brought up and used against me. I've never even posted them here on! Also, my dogs are PUGGLES not pugs!!! I'm still trying to figure out how posting loving pictures of my dogs (who are basically my children since I have no kids) makes me a bad person with "no soul and depth". I think the person who left that comment definitely follows my personal Facebook page because I gotta admit, Shorty & Leroy get a lot of facetime on there. Love them! I just couldn't resist...

But let me get on topic here. I realize that my last post was emotional. I was in the heat and thick of the moment. I also should've mentioned that Under Armour actually did hire me and contract me for the work I did. It wasn't a contest that I submitted a random video for and then got upset because I wasn't picked. I was actually hired and selected to be a part of their campaign...then rejected. I appreciate and respect everyone's comments. It's an open forum, right? If you think my video sucked, then that's your god-given right to say so. In 1-minute, I tried to say my piece about what it's like for me to keep going when life throws me punches that are both hard and soft.

Had I not been rejected by UA, my video would've been complimented with a piece of writing about the adversity I faced which led me to create I'm going to include that writing in this post for more of you to read my story leading up to where I am now. So, whether you're a hater or a supporter of mine or even a first-time reader, at least you'll know a bit more of my story.

I'll admit, losing my job and being unemployed for a year and going through depression are small things compared to other peoples' problems. But guess what, they're MY PROBLEMS. And I had to find a way to deal with them and be happy again. Just because my problems aren't more severe or life-threatening doesn't mean that they aren't valid or that I didn't suffer emotionally.

Before I share what I had written for Under Armour, let me talk a little about depression. I know my mother is going to kill me if she reads this because she absolutely hates when I bring it up. (Culturally, the way she was raised, you don't talk about or publicize family-related setbacks.) But I think she knows I do it with good intention. Depression runs in my family. My grandfather had Bipolar Depression and at 60, after trying everything (even shock therapy), he killed himself. I was 9 when it happened and it was so tough watching my mother suffer through her loss. She's the oldest of 6 siblings and she tried to hold it together, but it was not easy for her. Little did I know that years later in my late 20's I'd begin having problems with depression too. I struggled, ended up in the hospital at one point and put my mother through a whole bunch of pain I never intended for her to relive.

I worked through my "stuff" though. And here I am! Strong, happy and yes (to all the haters), sharing makeup tips from time to time. I'm no longer that girl who couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It took a lot of work and therapy and re-evaluating what I wanted out of my life. But I did it and I never gave up. The D-word is tricky. It turns people off. I hesitate to talk about it too much because people judge you for it. I'm not one to say "hey, let's celebrate depression!" but I do think it's important to carefully discuss it and share coping mechanisms. For most people, depression doesn't completely go away. It can be cyclical. But what matters is that you know how to recognize and treat it.

How I willed myself to get where I am today...with fitness. Surprise surprise!

Back in the early 2000's, I was a girl with a dream. I wanted to work in the creative department of the most famous advertising agency in the world. I wanted to write, design, and produce commercials that would be seen on televisions across the country (keep in mind this was before we had the ability to avoid TV commercials with fancy cable add-ons).

I worked hard to get my foot into world-renowned ad agencies and even convinced a few of them to hire me. I worked at Saatch & Saatchi, Chiat Day, McGarryBowen, and the one everyone knows, Ogilvy & Mather. In 2007, my boss walked into my office at O&M one day and said, “I’m sorry, I’m going to have to let you go.” I was crushed and felt like a total failure. Layoffs are pretty common in advertising, especially in New York City, but I liked my job and took it personally.

I was depressed for months on end. It took even longer for me to realize the silver lining shining on my black cloud. I grieved and eventually began working out my emotions at the gym. I dragged myself there to sweat, cry, and pass the time away. Over time, I got stronger. Every day, I got a little closer to re-empowering myself and reconnecting to the passion I had lost.

My WILL was to keep moving. The sadder or angrier I was, the faster I’d run, jump, and push. The more I moved, the easier it was to let go of the pain. I even let go of advertising. My heart wasn’t in it anymore.

The calls and job offers came, but I didn’t take them. It wasn’t that I was too proud or bitter to return to my former profession; I WANTED something else now. The truth is I had always wanted a change. I had finally built up the courage to admit it to myself and go after it. I read a book called The Dip by Seth Godin (one of my heroes) that helped me to accept the practice of quitting as a good thing especially when it lets you pursue something else you can be successful at and passionate about. For once, I felt like I was making changes in the right direction...even though my future held more uncertainty. I felt excited about my life.

Starting my own company, becoming my own boss, and growing the Mizzfit brand are things I’m very proud of now. I’m thankful for the layoff that changed my life. It opened the door for a new kind of success and hunger within me. The hard work was deciding that I wouldn’t let fear, doubt, or criticism get in my way.

When I work out, I sculpt and prep my mind and body to overcome many more challenges. For me, I will what I want means nothing comes easy that’s worth having. Hard work makes you smile (with tears in your eyes) at what you’ve accomplished. And that’s my story. 

As comments continue to pour in on my last blog post about my story not being compelling enough, I get that people want more of story...a dramatic twist. Well, I'm just a girl that dug herself out of depression and found happiness. But I think that speaks to a lot of women. My story might not be riveting enough for a television show, but not everyone's looking for that. Stories of wellbeing, overcoming adversity and finding success come in all shapes and sizes...just like the beautiful women who tell these stories. I'll be touching on this in a panel I'll be speaking on later this month with the super incredible Betty Wong, Editor of Fitness Magazine. If you're a Cornell Alumnus living in New York City, I'd love to see you there!

Again, thanks for reading, watching and sharing your thoughts.

xoxo, Bianca Jade


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