I think there’s this need to feel sorry for others when they lose their job and given a pandemic, it’s easy to feel an overwhelming need to check on our peers to make sure they are doing ok. While the sentiment is amazing, and I appreciate people from all walks of life checking in on me, I just need you to know that you have nothing to worry about. Here’s the thing, I’m doing great! Honestly, I’ve never been better. I encourage you to take a page from my playbook and look at 2020 as an amazing year of self-introspection and growth.

Sure, I got laid off. Sure, I lost my job like the many millions of Americans, but I am focusing on self-improvement, my hobbies, and my passion projects. I have never felt better about myself, or what I put out into the world. This year has allowed me to figure out what drives my soul, and what kind of work I want to do next. I will be the first to tell you that marketing will always have space in my career, but it will no longer be my means to feel fulfilled.

At the beginning of this pandemic, I started a podcast about Imposter Syndrome, called “Please Don’t Kick Me Out“. Imposter syndrome is the feeling of being found out to be a fraud, and I felt that every day in my career as a marketer. It is a human emotion, and everyone feels this to some degree. Since the end of March of 2020, I have released a weekly episode on Anchor.fm, and it is available wherever you get your podcasts. At the time of writing this, I am 17 episodes in and have interviewed people all over the world. I started out interviewing my friends, and now have the incredible opportunity to talk to people all over the world from all walks of life.

When we think about all the time we have had on our hands, I also took the time to work on myself. I finally had the time to get the diagnosis I needed. I have Adult ADHD, and have suffered from it my whole life. As a kid, I was told I was disruptive. My parents never got me diagnosed, nor medicated, when I definitely needed it! In this pandemic, I found it near impossible to complete tasks, and admittedly, it made me extremely depressed. After finding the right doctor, an amazing therapist, and a small dose of medication once daily, I am doing the best I have ever been. After advocating for therapy for years, I finally took my own advice, and have found a therapist. It has been so helpful to understand the pieces of myself that I didn’t know needed to be unraveled and ironed out. The stigma that surrounds mental health, and admitting when we need help needs to be abolished. I am not ashamed for seeking the help I need, and encourage anyone to talk to someone if they need it.

Bourdain and I, July 2020 – 12 Weeks Old

Therapy has been so helpful, especially because I suffered a deep loss during this year. We lost our senior boy Murphy, in May, but welcomed a new puppy into our home at the end of June. Bourdain is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, from Diamond Valley Ranch. He is a total joy, and while we are sad and miss Murphy every day, we are taking this time to heal and experience the abundance of love that comes from 4 paws and puppy kisses. Bourdain is named after Anthony Bourdain, and perhaps we are biased, but we believe that he embodies everything that man stood for.

Early March 2020, when I celebrated 1,000 rides on my Peloton bike in the San Diego Showroom.

I have been working on my physical health as well! I have been riding my Peloton bike more than before, and feel a newfound pride in being a Peloton owner. Not only has it been amazing for my physical health, but the workouts and sense of community have been incredible for my mental health as well. After having the Peloton for over 2 years, I can still vouch that it is the greatest piece of exercise equipment. The Peloton is one of the best investments we have done for our health.

A picture from Pride 2019, when I initially started volunteering with MARYAH.

I am continuing to sit on the board of directors for MARYAH, which has spent the last 15+ years supporting The San Diego LGBTQ Community Center’s Sunburst Youth Housing Project through bi-annual fundraisers in the summer and fall. Due to COVID-19, our organization has had to get creative with fundraising efforts for the safety of our community. We are taking to the virtual streets in 2020 to continue to raise money for this amazing initiative. 

I am passionate about this organization because I have a personal tie to youth homelessness. I have had friends be kicked out for their sexuality, and being who they are. These youth are the most at risk, and need your support! I personally identify with my LGBTQIA+ family in the need to feel wanted and accepted, as my family has not always been accepting of me. I feel deeply committed to the Sunburst Youth Housing Project, as it helps youths 18-24 get on their feet, and integrate into society. If you are interested in donating to our cause, please do so here.

As an activist and ally for equality, I have found my voice louder and stronger than ever to support our black community in the Black Lives Matter movement. I have been using my podcast as a platform for change, and also been donating like crazy to black-owned businesses, black artists, and helping with activism in my community. My support did not just stop with posting a black square on #BlackoutTuesday, it continues even now when the media isn’t covering the protests as much.

My husband and I after celebrating our wedding in Las Vegas, 2018.

I am a military spouse, a navy wife, and damn proud of it. I am no longer afraid to tell people that my husband is in the military for fear of their reaction, or thinking that I am less than or not permanent in my career. I am supportive of my spousal community and plan to use my activism and voice to help other spouses in the military in future career endeavors.

Being a military spouse during this pandemic has been very weird, and eventually, I will be enduring a deployment; however, I have found a newfound strength in my ability to handle anything. I am so deeply proud of my husband, and everything that he does for our little family. I have leaned into my community more than ever in 2020, and feel a deep sense of belonging, where I previously felt like an outsider. Many times, I have found that it is harder to relate to civilians who may not have ever had a tie to the military, but I am glad I have a community that understands what I am going through.

An example of one of the hobbies I have picked up during this pandemic.

When boredom prevails, I choose to pick up a new skill. I have picked up several new hobbies, including crafting. Something I never thought I was good at! I am now an avid hair bow maker, using ribbon and centerpieces to create joy for my friends and family.

So I guess, suffice to say, when people tell me that they are bored during the pandemic, I can’t really sympathize. Every day I wake up and work on what makes me feel fulfilled and happy. Sure, I may have lost my job, but I look at everything I have gained, and I am so happy with the person I am allowing myself to be. The person I was meant to be all along is myself, and I am proud of being able to accept who I am and what I have to offer this world.

If you’re struggling during 2020, reframe your state of mind. What can you do to change that narrative? I keep saying that you cannot come out of this pandemic worse than you went into it.