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Starting Over at 47

Updated: Jan 3

Will You Take This Journey With Me?

2023 interesting whirlwind of events.

In January, I started what I thought was my dream job after a year of being unintentionally unemployed. A Black-owned company whose mission and vision I believed in hired me to be their copywriter. The pic below was taken just moments before I attended my first event of theirs. It was an event that would blow me absolutely away. It raised the bar for what I believed to be Black excellence. I thought I had found the land where the magical negroes resided. I was excited, hopeful...I just knew this was going to be the most fantastical experience of my life.

Image of Mbinguni preparing to work an event for her new job.
January 2023

Here's Where Things Began to Get Shaky...

In May, the high continued. I was accepted to the Kimbilio Fellowship for Black fiction writers. The fellowship would not begin until late July, and between being accepted and attending...

I ended a two-and-a-half year relationship. It was long overdue, and I'd already made peace with the decision before taking action. I also attended my second work event. This event, however, did not go as planned and did not yield the expected results. A frenetic pace of course correction was set by the owners, and the shift would begin a domino effect none of us saw coming. Plus, I'd mistakenly re-entered the dating pool, only to find it tepid and tainted with pee. The fellowship could not have come at a better time. I rode the bus from the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Taos, New Mexico seeking a recalibration but found so much more.

It was refuge. It was peace. It was the cradle of creativity. To be surrounded by people with such powerful gifts, everyone pouring into and loving on one another was the epitome of (in the words of our mentor, Asali Solomon) "Black privilege." It is an achievement I am still in awe of and immensely grateful for and an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

And then the bottom fell out.

The recharge was short-lived. I returned to chaos at work. All the worker bees were scrambling to deliver excellence from unclear, unthought out, parsed information that was provided with a sprinkle of disinterest, a dash of disconnectedness, and an attitude of if it fails, it's all your fault. That devolved into a whole team of primarily Black women being told we were trash. This is not for shock value. There is no paraphrasing or embellishment.

In the words of a co-worker, "It's like being tripped and then asked why you are on the floor."

As a Black women for whom excellence is a standard, that was a devastating blow. In twenty-plus years of working in corporate America, I'd never been spoken to or treated that way. Of course, I'd been mishandled in many other ways, but those betrayals had been expected. It was par for the course working in a racist country that has never respected or valued Black people. I believe this one hurt so much because it had come from my own.

I began to doubt myself and my work. My appetite, digestion, and sleep went into fight or flight mode. I was fighting but I couldn't help but to drown as they had effectively tied lead weights to my ankles. There's nothing worse than knowing you've been set up to fail and having to proceed anyway. Even writing this has my stomach in knots. I'm sparing the details because despite how I was treated, I won't bash the company, its owners, or leadership who knew the behavior was wrong, but still participated. At least that's how I feel for the moment. Even now, my nervous system is dysregulated and I'm having a visceral reaction, so I have no plans on addressing this again any time soon. I need time to heal.

Starting over at 47 begins...

After months of being battered, months of my health hanging in the balance, months of being blamed for poor results with no accountability of how both the economy and leadership was contributing to them, months of watching similar companies experience the same results, and months of watching team member after team member leave without a new job in place, I decided to remove myself. The new job I thought would be my safe place was no longer serving me, and was, in fact, harming me. I found solace in making the decision to walk away and I gave my notice. December fifteenth was my last day, and I'm walking into 2024 with lifelong connections, new knowledge, and the belief that all things work together for my good.

So, here's were starting over at 47 begins. I'm voluntarily unemployed this time, and actually...I plan to stay that way. Lol! I'll do freelance copywriting and instructional design here and there to keep a roof over my head and food in my and my pup's bellies. However, my focus is doing the type of writing that brings me joy. More novel writing, freelance writing for media outlets, and screenwriting. And I'm going to share about what I'm doing each step of the way.

I'd love for you to come along for the ride. Will you join me? Subscribe To My Blog Here!

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