When you fail, do you blame yourself? Do you wear guilt or sadness as a dress made of armor that weighs you down every step you take? Speaking frankly, this is exactly what I do. I spiral into a feeling so heavily weighted with self-blame and doubt which then causes me to go through denial, anger, and sadness. I had a very hard lesson handed to me this year. I lost faith in honest, kind people. I feel, thanks to social media and all the perfectness our eyes are treated with daily, we lose a touch of reality of how to handle life’s lemons. I hope this story inspires you to face the music and compose your own song. Just because the wind was knocked out of your sails, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of your journey. It’s just the beginning.
My story starts with a dream. My dream was to create a new website that visually represented my blog. It was to capture memories and document them so I wouldn’t forget. It was my journal — a creative spot to share ideas and a tool to connect with others on common ground.
Around this time last year, I had the urge to refresh my website. I envisioned a platform that was mobile friendly, branded, and easy to navigate. This was a gift I was giving myself. I saved for months and researched web designers. One designer in particular stood out to me. She was local and had a great portfolio. I met her in person, and we had many talks through Email. I can’t put into words how excited I was. During our first consultation, we discussed price, her ideas, and my vision. I was told everything was possible and so I paid her $1,300. That was my first mistake. Here’s my second mistake so please note if you are wanting to design anything with anyone. Do not allow them to have control over your website. She made me a contributor for Squarespace and she owned the domain that I paid additional money for. Yeah … huge mistake. I was too trusting in others. Long story short, she took my money. She delivered a vision board. The website on Squarespace was a Squarespace template … not what I had in mind. To add insult to injury, she was the monitor for my Squarespace in my name. Anything I changed needed her approval.
I was devastated. She ghosted me after 5 months of dragging me along as she was buying herself time. I have never spoken to her again but I have forgiven her. I had to or the weight of what she did to me was making it impossible for me to move forward. Forgiveness is key. I’m not as naive as I was, thanks to her. So, I did learn something. It was a very expensive price financially for me. However, It was a lesson I needed to learn.
My dream was extinguished. I was so anxious and so sad. I can honestly say a piece of me died that day. I realized I had no website, no blog, and no trust in humanity. More than money was stolen that day. She took a piece of my creative spirit.
My mom let me sulk and feel sorry for myself because that’s part of the healing process to feel sorrow. Finally she said, “Why would you let anyone take your dream? You have total control over what happens next.” She helped me get my website back from Squarespace. I lost about $200 from that poor decision of allowing someone else to control my site. Then she said, “Suhey Campos is a graphic designer. Contact her. Share your story and see if she has any time to help.”
Suhey is a high school friend of mine with whom I’m now closer to than I was in high school. She was so influential in helping me that I honestly could never repay her. After long creative evenings at my home and several bottles of wine, she held my hand and just listened to me vent. Those are the very best kind of friends. They are just there. They don’t offer advice; they just listen. We talked branding while she was busy on her laptop grabbing colors and playing with design. My inspiration was Rifle Paper Co. and of all things … I was drawn to canceled postage stamps. if you notice my branding, you will see where Suhey took my initials and created a canceled stamp look. She ignited a fire in me that I thought was gone. This talented soul helped me navigate my dreams. In return, she asked for nothing. I’m so blessed to have her in my life. Besides the branding, she drew a skyline of Kansas City that is on my website. I will forever love it! Our biggest achievements were the Google map on my site which the other designer told me it was impossible to do and the day in the coffee shop where we transferred all my old blog posts from Blogger to Squarespace. One wrong move would delete my previous posts forever. I think Suhey was brought back into my life to restore my faith in others. Such a defining moment when she agreed to help me.
The little blonde girl image on my blog header is by the artist Veronika Carrender of Little Clementine Designs. I sent her a photo of myself and this was the branding image she created. Her talent is unlimited. I’m so thankful our paths crossed. She set the tone for the artwork on my blog and continues to wow me. I want one of everything she creates. You should check out her wallpaper and Christmas designs.
Dennis Unsderfer is the website engineer extraordinaire that took my very long blog wish list and worked digital coding magic. He redesigned Suhey’s and my basic coding and took it to another level. He cleaned up messes that we didn’t realize we had created. Never in my life has someone said to me, “Just screenshot some stuff that you like and I’ll make it happen.” … and he meant it. Dennis was the final strand — the missing piece to creating a dream that was honestly bigger and better than I thought was possible. He did all of this in his free time just to be nice. Shout out to his girlfriend for allowing my blog to take up his time. Shout out to Dennis for just being such a cool, genius web builder.
Last but not least … I need to mention Bryce. I am so grateful for him period. There were days (and seriously DAYS) that I would have migraines and anxiety attacks but he never failed to make me smile. He encouraged me and never gave up on me even when I had given up hope. He truly made me feel he wanted to see me succeed. I’m crying.
I am SO GRATEFUL!!!
Hayden M Ward had some growing pains and a giant pricey lemon on steroids that was a huge dream blocker. However, this story has a happy ending because I picked myself up off the floor and gathered the troops. Using my resources and collaborating with kind, giving people I have a website I am very proud of. I had to fail to succeed, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of my friends.
Wayne Dyer said it best, “With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
What gift are you giving others? The small things you do for someone can make a world of difference. Go out of your way for people and encourage those around you. Don’t let any roadblock keep you from reaching your destination.
Please enjoy a few photos from my launch party.
I’ll see you here same time, same place next week.
Until then, spread kindness.