Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you had everything you ever wanted, but you weren’t happy? Have you ever created something from nothing into a successful brand and then had to let it go? Have you ever been all the way to the top only to crash all the way back down? Well, I have.
Sometimes when I think about how my life used to be, it seems like it never happened. I look in the mirror and see myself but then it doesn’t really feel like me.
It’s been almost 4 years since I would consider myself a professional blogger. That title in my rolodex retired when I closed down Concrete Loop. But as they say, “once a blogger, always a blogger.” I always seem to come back to this in some way.
Writing is therapeutic to me and I still see it as an outlet. I have matured because I don’t need all the co-signs anymore and don’t need all the fake love. I just want to be someone who can look in the mirror and appreciate the reflection that stares back.
“It was all a dream..” – The Notorious B.I.G.
It was the Summer of 2010 when I was plotting my takeover of the black blogging world. At that time I had already been blogging professionally for well over 5 years and I was close to realizing my dream of being a media powerhouse.
I had recently moved to NYC from a small town in North Carolina and from the outside looking in, I had it all. An office on 5th Ave a couple blocks from the Empire State Building. An apartment in Manhattan that was just a hop skip and jump away from there. Celebrity “friends” on speed dial to get exclusive content. Free trips to cover swanky events and keynote at important seminars. Even a best-selling book that inspired many of the blogs you may read today…. But we always romanticize things when we look back, don’t we?
It was now 2014 and I had built my brand for almost 9 years. Throughout that time, I learned that to get to a certain level in the entertainment realm, you have to either give up a piece of yourself or create a whole new person. So I started to wear a mask when I left my apartment to attend events but that mask was slowly starting to crack. In fact, I’ve always been a homebody and never really liked crowds and there I was making a living out of being in one.
One of my staff members (who was rather new to the industry), would always get so excited about meeting a celebrity at a gig she covered. I secretly would think, “If she knew how they really were in person she wouldn’t be that excited.” That made me feel bad because I was once that person who was elated that Kanye West called me or Beyonce invited me to her listening party. But when you realize that it’s all a game, that shine fades away.
No one knew it but during those last years of running Concrete Loop, I was very depressed. I was even contemplating suicide. In a sense, I had become paranoid and trusted no one. I even started to pull away from the business that I had grown from nothing.
If you were a reader during this time, you probably noticed I would go on hiatus randomly or stop updating the site for days on end. My staff would have to pick up the slack. I was clearly walking around with functional depression and hiding my true thoughts through this new mask I created. It was clear that I’d become burned out.
By this time, the glossiness of this new thing called blogging had faded and the business side started to become stressful. I put my all into that business because it was all I had. I sacrificed a lot during those years because I was after the bigger picture. When I went to the office, I worked. When I went home, I worked. It never stopped.
Additionally, I never took a real vacation because every time I traveled it was work related. I never took myself too seriously because it all started as a hobby. I never even finished college because I dropped out thinking I was set for life. As a result, I created what some may call a monster and it was literally killing me.