Battles of a Single Parent Creative Director
After leaving the position, Creative Director of Branding, for Sean John in 2007, I decided to focus on my boutique design studio, Atomic Designs Inc, 100% and never look back at corporate america again. Many people ask me why would I leave a position of great status and money. There were two main reasons.
The first reason was that my son, 9 years old at the time, needed me desperately. He was beginning to develop bad habits and manners. I spent on an average 5 hours a week with him. His dad chose to never really be around nor contribute financially. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford a live-in nanny who could help me raise my son while I worked all-night hours developing images for artists such as DMX, Musiq Soulchild, Kanye West, etc. during my previous years at Island Def Jam. The schedule put such a strain on my relationship with my son and on my health. Not only did I have to deal with this issue, but I had to deal with the stress of playing politics at the office with those who hated me. I asked Kevin Liles, the former President of Def Jam, “Why do so many of the women here hate me?” He replied with a simple one answer reply, “Beauty. Because you are a beautiful woman who has talent. If you are pretty in this music game, others are going to hate.” Being pretty in a male dominated society can be a gift and a curse. There were also issues with co-workers being jealous of my leadership qualities. I overheard a co-worker telling my boss once “Beware of Akisia because she is trying to take your job.” I thought this was so ludicrous! How could I want or even try to take the place of a man who had 15 more years of experience than I. I adored my boss. He was so talented and had such a calming manner. But for some reason, sometimes being a leader has a major downside when it comes to jealousy from others. By the time I got to Bad Boy/Sean John, I was burnt out from balancing issues of the homefront and business front. I needed to take a step back to get re-centered and develop Akisia.
Three years have now passed and many changes have occured. I have found my center finally! I have reconnected with son. At first I didn’t know his likes or dislikes. I didn’t know how to talk to him. Although parenthood is far from perfect now, I feel like I am involved directly in his upbringing. I talk to his teachers daily. I take him to sports activities and go to all his games. I make sure he eats all organic foods at home and personally educate him on nutrition. In addition, I teach him manners and how to respect adults.
My health has improved. I go to Wholefoods once a week to buy organic foods. I am able to workout regularly at the gym. I meditate once a day which gives me great peace. And I can moniter the issues of my investment home. My relationship with my family has improved. And I can finally live in my feminine energy!!!
Business and home have been a work in progress, as life is. The recession indeed has affected me. I make 50% of what I used to make in corporate america; however, there is no replacement for the peace of mind that I have had by being able to control my own destiny and raising my boy the right way. Every now and then when the flow of consultant projects halt, the thought of going back into corporate america surfaces. But then God has a way of throwing me a bone. Wala! I get a huge check from some new consultant gig. There are constant challenges in owning your own business. But through faith, dedication, hard work and talent, anyone can enjoy the fruits of balanced life and personal success. Who knows what the future holds. Maybe one day when my son is more independent, I may go back to the corporate world. But if or when I do, I will be able to handle it in such a different manner!