Life can be so unpredictable. I don’t mean in the way that it’s supposed to be. You know, you wake up daily, not knowing what the day has in store, but you’re willing and able to take things as they come. Not that kind of unpredictable. I mean the kind where you work exceptionally hard to put things in place to have a positive influence on others through the work that you create and them WHAM; a curve ball comes from left field and knocks you so far away from your intended target that it takes you months, sometimes years to come back to the middle. Well, over the past three years, that’s been my life. While for a lot of folks on the outside looking in, I’ve been well, collected, productive and successful, for me, ever since 12/26/14, it’s been a constant fight to be confident, consistent and Corrinn. This is by no means a plea for sympathy or commiseration, but moreso a story of transparency and reset.
Some of you may be aware while others may not, on 12/26/14 I had a freak accident to happen in my home. Rushing to work, I tripped and fell and had the kind of injury that athletes don’t bounce back from. I tore my PCL, ACL, dislocated my right knee, had severe nerve damage and drop foot. I spent the next six months in the hospital and at home with numerous complications from more than 10 surgeries, infection, blood clots etc. During that time, I felt so helpless and far away from the goals and dreams I had spent the last 4 years building. In fact, as 2014 came to an end, I was planning to take my savings and finally launch my ultimate goal brand. But life had a different plan. I must admit, that was probably the quietest 6 months of my life. Internally you’re quiet because you can’t make sense of the why’s. Why did this happen? Why are the people who I’ve been there for now suddenly gone? Why now? Why do I have to endure this? Externally, everything and everyone is quiet because the outcome looks bleak from the doctor’s standpoint so what does anybody say? It’s easy to fall into a mindset of “well, this is it.” And honestly, that’s exactly what I did.
I returned to work in July of 2015. My main focus was to try and get my personal life back on track. Try to have some quality of life with my husband and my family. I took a leap of faith trip with Kia Caldwell to LA in October of that year. During my time in the hospital, Kia was always so positive and supportive and she always showed up for me. It was such a blessing to have her help me stay connected to who I had been before the fall. She always came with smiles, food, and tough love. When she mentioned the trip to LA I was afraid because I still walked with a cane, wore sneakers for everything and I hadn’t been independent of the physical and emotional support of my husband until this trip. But when we got there, it was the trip I didn’t know I needed.
First, it confronted me with all of my fears and insecurities. New market, not knowing anyone, I was forced to be who I’d been before the fall. Reaching out to total strangers to collaborate on projects. My first thought is that no one would respond, because I had been MIA for almost a year at this point and people wouldn’t remember who I was or the work that I had been known to create. But I was wrong about one part: they did respond. Being able to go to a fresh, new place and create was so inspiring to me and helped me to not give up creative direction and storytelling through Style. During the trip, Kia helped me walk to the Pacific Ocean on my cane and even though I only put my feet in, the last time I had been to the beach I was in a wheelchair with rubber tires and my husband had to pour the water on my feet. Being able to stand in a new place, in a new ocean really gave me a will to keep trying.
The rest of 2015 I spent trying to find consistency. While my hospital stint was over, my body was far from healthy and I was still receiving blood clot therapy, physical therapy, and my emotional state was declining as my healing process did not happen as fast as I wanted it to. Being back at work really showed me how physically different I was, and my mind was well out of practice and routine of the level of work I needed to do daily. It was a difficult transition to say the least. As 2016 rolled around. I was further away from the woman I was before the fall. While I still loved fashion and style and had a desire to create, as I reached out to collaborate with brands and individuals, I was receiving way more no’s or non-responses than I ever had before. It made me feel like all of the work I had done, all of the relationships I had built in the past, were a non factor. I’m not going to lie and say that my confidence didn’t take a blow. I spent a good part of 2016 fumbling around in the dark creatively; forgetting that my abilities weren’t always tied to big names. If I’m honest, I considered so many times no longer doing what I love because I was so concerned about people knowing or not knowing WHO I was. Then, at the latter part of 2016, it was becoming more and more evident that I no longer knew WHO I was.
As a result, for the next 18 months, I’d start new projects, not finish them. Have great ideas, jumpstart them and look for validation in their success, which didn’t happen because I wasn’t putting the energy behind them that they needed to be successful. My personal life was about work (at least 50 hours a week), loving my amazing husband and new nephews (who brought so much meaning and clarity to my life), and trying to create as I felt like it. But honestly that was so rare that I fell even further into this abyss of WHO IS CORRINN? Between, residual health issues from the fall, severe PCOS (which I’ve suffered from since before they had a name for it) and emotional inbalance, I was becoming more of a myriad of my experiences than a definitive individual.
Now we’re in the Fall of 2017 and I take a promotion at work that I truly feel is a perfect fit for my personality, creative needs and professional abilities. As a Beauty Director, the hours are long, the work is plenty, the staff is willing and able and I am able to be creative and grow and cultivate a business and make a GREAT salary. But of course it took time away from creativity, put added stress on my body and private life and while I was always happy as soon as I walked through the doors at work, it didn’t leave for much of a quality of life, furthermore contributing to my emotional imbalance and laundry list of health issues. Now it’s the day before Christmas 2017 and my head is hurting so bad that I have to sit at my desk and lay down during my lunch break. Medicine, tea, turmeric, caffiene, nothing will get rid of this headache that I have. Christmas Day, I got to my mom’s house and open gifts and sleep the rest of the day. 12/26/17, exactly 3 years after the fall, and I wake up with sight in only my right eye. After several Er visits, they finally have an answer for the pain and sight loss. Intracranial Hypertension. Excessive stress, weight and trash diet have caused my brain to over produce fluid and cause severe headaches and sight loss. We’re not talking about the kind of headaches the average person gets. If I could describe it I’d say you wake up feeling like an 80lbs baby is sitting on your head and then taking cymbals and clanging them on your nerves. Two months out of work, lots of tears and deliberation, I go into work and resign after almost 6 years with my previous employer. I hadn’t found the health balance, strength or mental fortitude to be able to deal with this and remain focused and productive at work. I would spend the next 6 months trying to figure out what to eat, what my body can handle, how to balance the bad days, how to be still in the REALLY BAD DAYS and how to be over productive in the really good days. The level of emotional support I’ve received from those around me, including Catherine Ashly, who has a God given gift for Life Coaching and counseling, has been a life saver. She’s such a force and pulls no punches with her tough love, matter of fact and no excuse approach. She’s really helped me deal with so much from natural remedies to not shoveling my emotional feelings into a corner unattended to! If you don’t want to lay on a therapist’s couch, she gets the job done and with a seriously personal approach.
The past three years have been such a rollercoaster for me. Ive always been the go to, in house strong person in my family. When things would happen before, I’d deal with them and bounce back like nothing ever happened. But ever since 12/26/2014, I’d felt like Mike Tyson had me on the ropes in the corner, wailing on me in the final round of a championship fight. And I’m just coming up for air. See, I’m a believer now that everyone has these seasons in their life. I’ve gone through every stage of “grief” during this 3 year process. I’ve messed up opportunities, I’ve dropped the ball at times, I haven’t always put my best foot forward, I’ve taken on things that I knew I couldn’t manage with what my personal life warranted and I’ve learned from all of those mistakes. See the reality is, it’s not what you’ve been through that changes you. It’s how you acclimate to it. While my experiences aren’t perfect now, I have a management plan for my health that I’m more committed to than ever, I have a stronger relationship with God that doesn’t revolve solely around religious practices or what HE can do for me, but of how I can serve HIM; and I have a fresh, new passion for what it is that I love to do: Creative Direction and Branding. Those are my ministries and I give them ALL that I have. Finally, throughout this whole entire process my husband Kasonde has been a pillar of strength, support, kindness, patience, provision, and unconditional LOVE. I know that with God and him by my side anything and everything is possible. I couldn’t imagine going trough this thing called life without him.
The reset button has been pushed in my life. I take a new approach to things, I’m healing with myself and others and my brand is more solid than it has ever been. I hope that you’ll come along for the ride and stay tuned for the things to come. But for my day ones, I truly feel like I owed you guys transparency and an explanation for such a drastic change! I shall call this new book of new chapters: After the Fall. As Cardi B says, “Knock me down 9 times I’ll get up 10” or something like that! 💜 Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post!
Corrinn is a creative soul, style curator, and branding buff who sees style and glamour in all aspects of life! She brings fashion/lifestyle topics, D.I.Y. projects and branding tips full circle on Beauty Box Lifestyle!