She Designed A Life She Hated...I Am She
Before I really dive into the meat & potatoes of this post, let me start by explaining the tag line I’ve had in my business since day 1 —
Love Your Space. Design Your Life.
The natural assumption with that tagline has always been that it meant if you love the space — home — you’re in, then your life will follow. That was never my intention or the meaning behind it for me.
By “space”, I always meant the space you’re in, not just physically, but also mentally — if you could truly accept, embrace, and love the ENTIRE space you’re in, you could start to design the life you want and need. Obviously this was a play on words that I didn’t expect everyone to immediately understand, but for me, it truly encompassed why I got into interior design in the first place — designing a life worth living in all ways.
So now let’s jump forward to today, when I am finally actually taking my own advice!
One of my favorite influencers to follow, Blake Gifford aka @signedblake, did a bit of a rebrand earlier this year (or maybe late last year…what is time?) and something she said really jumped out at me but didn’t really “click” for me until recently:
“Pretending to be that woman.” (source)
For the past three years I thought I was designing a life I loved… through my home, my business, my family, and just everything. I had moved across the country with my family, my husband had a great job, I was able to launch a subscription box, I was pursuing my masters, I had shed my “baby weight” by the power of nursing…I mean, life was great…right? On the surface all the pieces were in place for me to be really happy with the life I was “designing”. Even when I had to make hard shifts through the years, I had really convinced myself I was this amazing boss babe who was designing the life of her dreams.
The hard truth that I only recently had to come face-to-face with was that I had designed a life I HATED, not loved.
I was only “pretending” to be this strong and happy and put together person.
I was struggling, more and more, with anxiety and depression.
My marriage was hardly a marriage, by conventional standards, and was more like a situationship.
Motherhood did not seem like it was something I was cut out for, at all, really opening some unhealed wounds for me from my own relationship with my mother.
Even through all the perceived successes of my business, I was flailing financially, which came to a head when my husband was laid off.
My health was deteriorating, culminating in me weighing more than I did in my final trimester and a very scary 9-1-1 call in the middle of the night.
Grad school went from a short break to regroup to a complete stop after an abysmal spring semester.
I was battling my way through a crisis of faith and really just a crisis of self.
Who was I if not the person I thought I was becoming?
I felt like a fraud, I felt scared, and I felt alone.
When I realized that I had jeopardized my health, my family, my marriage, and just everything I thought I was working so hard for, I knew I could not go on like I was or it was going to literally kill me. Mentally, emotionally, and physically, I was deteriorating and yet, no one knew.
“OMG, Albie you wrote a book!”
“Congratulations on the bloggers tour Albie.”
“You are killing it mama!”
“Albie you are so damn talented!”
What no one saw was the part of my life I could no longer hide from. I could no longer hide from me because this was the life I’d inadvertently designed. This was of my own making and it took me blowing it all up to realize how badly I’d messed up! As the saying goes, when you hit bottom, there is no where else to go but up!
And up I went…throwing my hands up in prayer, surrendering myself to God.
In case you missed it…
I’m a Christian but I wouldn’t consider myself to be a religious person
My “crisis of faith” was really me not feeling heard or worthy of blessings
In a moment of weakness, I knew I need to rebuild myself spiritually, then emotionally, then mentally, and finally physically. And that’s exactly what I have been doing for the past month or so — getting out of the facade, out of survival mode, and truly working on loving my space.
I won’t lie, a huge part of all of this turmoil was a fear of not being accepted — “Albie nobody cares about your life, you’re a designer not an influencer” says the mean girl in my head. This is where Blake’s voice popped in my head:
No matter what anyone expected of me, I needed to be true to me, lest I choke myself out completely. I needed to stop living for everyone else — my friends, my followers, my family — and start living for me…as me, Alberthe K. Buabeng, formerly of the house of Gachette, first of her name… (name that reference, lol).
Not anything but me, Alberthe K. Buabeng (AL-BUR-thuh BWAH-bang).
If you’ve read this far, you’re a real one, and you get to find out what all is next for me as I step into this quasi moment of clarity.
As I’m writing this, I am still healing, unlearning a lot about myself and the life I had created. I am putting the pieces back together, and for me that means being a bit more real and raw in what I share. I won’t be swinging open my digital doors completely because by nature, I am a very paranoid, private person; but it does mean I can’t just talk about design and live in this online bubble, whilst also wanting (and needing) to talk about health and wellness, financial welfare, being a wife & mom, and just everything in between, whatever that may look like.
This post is an introduction to, not just new content, but a new me…a real me, not by design, but by transformation.
By the grace of God, I have survived a serious case of “growing pains” and while I do not know what lies ahead or what comes next — like at all — I do know that I want to share the entire wild ride with you, unapologetically, and truly loving the space I’m in.