So its been a while since we last spoke, so I’m just gonna cut to the chase. I’ve not been idle, I’ve been busy trying to take care of me, doing what’s best for me, getting to know me and trying to knuckle down with firm clarity on what I really want and need to be doing. When you hit 50, everything seems to change. But I have missed blogging and glad to be back.
I recently submitted one of my blogs to a writers group and received some exceptional feedback, enough to help me get back on my bike after parking it up for a while. In the midst of it all, I have to admit I have neglected my writing since completing my second book, not something I would recommend if like me you have a passion and heart for writing.
A lot has happened since my last blog, but I wanted to kick off by saying whatever you do in life for your personal well-being don’t ever feel ashamed. Shame can add needless pressure and seriously affect your progress in life. It can prevent you from asking for help, and prevent you from being honest with yourself. Shame will cause you to remain stagnant, it will lie to you and prohibit you from enjoying moments of triumph, peace, and harmony.
As we approached the end of 2019, I was happy to be ending the year with my book complete and ready to hand over to my proofreader. The journey had enabled me to learn so much about myself and brought me to an interesting place. What if? What if I could really do it, what if I could really achieve it. What if it wasn’t impossible, what if it wasn’t out of my reach, but very obtainable. My “what if’s ” pertained to my personal happiness, my goals in life and what was important to me.
What if I walked away from it all in pursuit of my passion. What if?
I’ve been secretly dying inside for the past three years. Crying when I should have been proud and flaking when I should have been flourishing. Often, when I stood in my kitchen making a cake, I did so with a heavy heart. I didn’t want to be there, I wanted to be writing, speaking, sharing, helping and inspiring others. But what if I tried and failed? What if I wasn’t up to pushing past all the physical, mental and emotional obstacles I would need to overcome to become a best selling international author and speaker?
I was drowning in the success of my cake business and my mental health was under attack. While wedding cakes and corporate orders stimulated my gift, the rest left me loathing each moment they kept me away from my real passion. The cakes were only supposed to be a temporary stopgap on route to obtaining my goals. Now it was a business, a household name and a sometimes heavy weight around my heart.
Financially I was struggling. Unexpected bills and unprofitable investments had eaten into all my savings. I was going around in circles. I took on cake orders to pay the bills. The more cakes I took on the more money I made. The more money I made the less time I had to write. The less time I had to pursue my writing, the more unhappy I became. The more unhappy I became the harder it was to be creative with my cakes.
I was making money but not enough to clear my debts or have a day off. Something had to give.
In October last year after much prayer, I made a decision to return to work for a year. Running my own business gave me great flexibility, but was taking its toll on my emotional wellbeing. To the outside world, it looked great, but behind closed doors, my happiness was at stake
A few weeks later I found a job online, applied for it, was offered an interview and ten minutes after leaving received a call offering me the post. Finally, I could breathe. I could clear my bills and use my spare time to focus on the things that were important to me while working on getting Jemz Cake Box out of my home, so it functioned independently of me.
Dealing With Shame
I didn’t tell the masses about my job, because I felt ashamed. Like I had failed as a business owner. I also felt like a fraud, I had no reason to, but I did. The first few months were tough. I needed to keep up my online visibility, which meant fulfilling orders. If I was going to fulfill my goal of getting my cake business out of my home. I needed the money, clients, ideas, and team to do so. I knew the cakes had the scope to be successful, but would they make me happy?
After a few months of working Monday to Friday, 5:30 am-2 pm, coming home working on cakes, heading to the office, working on my other projects and ministry, I still wasn’t settled, something had to give. My mind was constantly thinking. Mentally I was always on the go. I didn’t have enough hands to manage my projects or enough hours in the day to get everything done. I knew of people who had suffered physical burnout, but what I was suffering from wasn’t physical, but mental. Something had to change.
I went through a whirlwind of emotions before coming to a decision. But before I came to a decision I had to empty my head. My job gave me the much-needed respite I needed to work and earn money without the pressures and challenges of being self-employed. But even before the job, I had been living with torn emotional turmoil between gift and passion.
While deciding what to do I went through a cycle of shame, failure, confusion, uncertainty, joy, hope, concern, and reality. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t content, and at this stage in my life, I needed to be happy, content, motivated and driven and whatever I was doing, it had to be the right thing for me.
Secretly I was also feeling ashamed like I had failed in business and life. I had failed at establishing a thriving cake business with paid staff. I had failed at raiding the funds to remove it from my home. I had failed in securing the sales I wanted for my first book. I had failed in registering my charity with the charity commission. I had filed and I was ashamed.
It took me a while to realise I had nothing to feel ashamed about. My new employers knew I had a cake business, that was the reason they had hired me. They knew I had stepped back in order to re-brand and come back stronger with premises and a team, enabling me the freedom to pursue my dreams. They believed in me, but the people in my world were oblivious to this.
Working from home, while living on my own, often left me isolated which made my fight in my mental health journey harder. Being out of the house was good for me. Doing something different was good for me also. But what did I want to do with my life?
The best decision I made this year is one many may not understand, but one that is enabling me to breathe. One week after making that decision, the prime ministers announced we were going into lockdown and I found myself back home, alone behind closed doors in an environment I had just escaped from. This is challenging my motivation and focus on everything, even the pursuit of my passion.
The Right Choice
Presently I’m sat at home with time on my hands to do what I love and it seems quite daunting given the circumstances around it. On the one hand, I have to motivate myself to keep focus. I have to step back, pause and plan. I can’t do what I usually do, go in all guns blazing and end up drowning. I have to pace myself and prioritise, some of which is new to me.
On the other hand, I’m scared, scared of the unknown my future, not a fearful scared, a healthy scared. One where the slate is clean and I get to write on it for the first time. I’m 50 years old and its time I started living my life for me and no one else. So this is me, Jemma Regis, on her quest to becoming a bestselling author, speaker, mental health advocate who is passionate about inspiring and helping others through her journey in pursuit of intimacy with God and overcoming 35 years of depression.
Some may argue if now is the best time to be making such changes. What if your passion offers present time solutions? What if it reduces the stress brought on by doing something you’re not passionate about? What if you hold the answers to someone’s problem?
It’s taken a long time to verbalise, now I need to visualise it. I believe I have come full circle. This was what God called me to do way back in 2004 when He instructed me to tell my story. I’m not sure what the future holds for Jemz Cake Box, I believe she has a place in the cake world and will be using this time to redefine her role, but for now, let’s just say she is on sabbatical getting a much-needed makeover while I prepare to spread my wings.
Not everyone’s passion will fund their lifestyle. For some, it will be a hobby, for other’s a way of life. If you are still trying to decide between the two now may be the time to do some research into it, I’m preaching to myself here! Only then will your chosen path have your full attention and only then will you find true peace and enjoyment because you will be doing what you were created to do
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