Okay, so if you haven’t figured it out by my bio or blogroll by now, I am the proud owner of a little store and party planning business called Bear Haven Boutique. If you would have asked me a few years ago what I thought I would be doing five years down the road, it sure as heck would not have been this. However, I can say that despite the frustration that comes with the territory and despite the knowledge that my business may or may not succeed, I am very glad that I am doing this now, and I will tell you why.
Almost eight years ago, I thought my life was perfect. I had just finished my final exam at a new university that day. I was making new friends. I was getting married that weekend. I was happy. Then in the course of one event, everything changed. As I was walking across the street, a woman made an illegal left turn and hit me with her vehicle. I never even seen it coming. I remember being almost across the street one moment and laying on the road the next. The next few days were a blur. One thing I remember very clear. I did not get married that weekend, nor did I have my fantasy honeymoon off the coast of Croatia.
We pushed our wedding date back a month, but we were unable to go on our honeymoon. I had head trauma, and I did not have a very good reaction to any of the pain pills I was given. While most of my physical injury was hidden, a small bald spot and a scar in the shape of a star, I had some new problems to face.
I had recently started working on the campus library at OSU as a student job. I thought it was awesome being the über geek that I am. However, I noticed that when I shelved books, I was having a hard time reading the numbers correctly, and I would get confused. I started to stutter when I was excited or nervous and sometimes had trouble getting the right words to form. I also had problems typing. I took a college course that summer just to try to practice my typing skills because everything seemed to come out as a jumbled mess. I started to become forgetful, like really forgetful. I had trouble remembering things that recently happened. I misplaced things even more than I usually did. I even forgot names of some of my closest and dearest friends. It was not a very pleasant time.
My husband was very helpful. My accident was mild to the one he had gone through as a child. He knew how I felt when I was frustrated about little things or even the big things like how the doctors could not seem to find anything wrong neurologically. It actually took a few years to find out that through an MRI that I have a bundle of nerves at my neck that causes a lot of the problems that I had and those that I still have.
Shortly after the accident and our marriage, I became pregnant with my son. So in addition to my current problems, we were facing the fact that we were not financially ready to afford a child living where we did. We moved that winter closer to my husband’s family then away from his family, and then to where we are today. In that time, I had my son and wanted to raise him, but I also wanted to go back to school or find something in my field. I had all of these plans and felt sad that I wasn’t doing anything that I thought I was going to do. I built up a lot of bitterness and resentment because of the accident. I felt that if it wouldn’t have happened, things would have turned out differently. Financially we would have been better. Life would have been better. It ate away at me. Finally, I decided to let the past go and try to find something to fill that void.
Now I know many would say that my kids and husband could fill that void, but it is not that simple. I was an overachiever, and I had plans– plans that had to be put on hold for some years, if not indefinitely. So I was now trying to figure out what I wanted to do now in addition to being a wife and mother because I wanted something else too. I tried different home consultant opportunities and found one that I was really having fun doing which was Stuffable Plush Parties. I liked the party planning aspect since I used to be a banquet server as a university student job, and I also planned a really awesome Winter Formal at my university. However, the particular company I was with merged with another company, and I was not interested in staying with the new company. So I started doing a little researched and started my own business. I started simple. I did craft fairs for a good number of months. Then I set up a small shop in the front of my house so I could book parties. Then finally last fall, I opened a real store downtown in Schuylkill Haven. During this time, I have learned how to build my own website. I have learned and am still learning about advertising, site optimization, and just all the ins and outs of having a small business. Now I am on Twitter and have a blog. I am using other social media to connect with others and get my name out there. It is pretty darn cool, I must say. Most importantly, I have learned that I have other skills, and I can do anything I want if I put my mind to it. I have also learned to put myself out there again which was the hardest because I lost some of my friends after the accident because they didn’t understand what I was going through, and I was angry, bitter, and just did not care.
My business is a challenge which I love. I am still figuring our what products sell and what products don’t. I am having fun coming up with new party ideas and testing them out on my kids. I love being able to make a kid smile and know that I am making their birthday special. It is what is helping me get over the frustration of what all I thought I lost. It is not easy, and I still have my bad days. I have lost some friends by starting a business, but now I am meeting people and doing something that brings happiness to the lives of others.
So if you have ever wondered why I do what I do, now you know. It may not be an easy job, but it has been great therapy.