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The Truth behind the Frosting
Nine months ago I approached two very successful business men with an idea. I sat down and pitched my bakery, hoping they would see the same vision I saw. Luckily, they saw it. We began our journey filling out paper work, analyzing pro forma financial statements, and rejoicing in the success the distant future held.
I felt confident.
The cherry on top of this entire arrangement was my full scholarship back to Clemson University. Two months prior to the fall semester of 2016, I dropped out of school to open Clemson Confectioneries. As for my parents, they saw this decision as a blessing. It was only later on that year when I found out they could not afford to send me back to school. My investors instructed me ditch my New York license and finally become a South Carolina resident in order to receive my scholarship. I did just that. I also explained to them that I didn’t just want to graduate Clemson with a degree. I wanted to graduate Magna Cum Laude. Before I knew it, I began researching tutors at Clemson to help me behind the scenes. I knew running a business and going back to school was going to be difficult, but I was prepared to make it work.
Everything seemed to be going great.
During one particular meeting, I entered the board room with a glistening smile spread across my face. (What can I say? I was totally happy my childhood dreams of opening a bakery were coming true.) I sat down on one of those swivel chairs and began to go over some information about Clemson Confectioneries. After I had said my peace, here is what I heard next:
“You need to stop smiling and act more like Donald Trump.”
I kid you not.
I was baffled. The smile on my face slowly sunk to a mean grin. I couldn’t believe that my continuous smiling somehow showed a lack of seriousness toward the project. However, I took their advice and ceased all smiling…until now.
Here we are; nine months later. I will admit, I cried the Tuesday after Memorial Day when I received a short email from my investors explaining how they wished me all the best, but could no longer invest in the project. However, I felt more devastation learning that the scholarship I had just one week prior was gone. As for the two investors? They resigned from the University.
Now don’t get me wrong; I am not mad or bitter. I am actually still very fond of the two business men who were investing in my project. I learned a great deal about business from them over the years. Perhaps the food service industry wasn’t their thing. Who knows? They were two of the first people to believe in the idea of a Gourmet Clemson based Bakery. They helped me to envision a wonderful future for this beautifully blessed little bakery, and for that I am forever grateful. They lit a spark inside of me about nine months ago, and it has ceased to dull. In fact, it has begun to shine a little brighter.
Here’s the thing; the BIG lesson. I began to think that maybe Donald Trump attitudes may work for the big bad corporate business world, but it wouldn’t work for me. I shouldn’t conform to the ideals of how “Business Professionals should behave.” After all, if I want to run a multimillion dollar corporation with a smile; then I should be allowed. Never let anyone conform you to their ways of thinking if you feel in your heart it isn’t right. Besides the fact that life is too short to be serious all of the time. The thing that makes Clemson Confectioneries so special is the happiness it exuberates. From this day forward, I am going to do business like a cupcake. I am going to be sweet, happy, and a whole lot of loveable. (And yes, I will more than likely be covered in chocolate: RIP to all of my white shirts)
Does what happened on the investment/scholarship side of things stink? Yeah pretty much. There’s no denying that losing an investment is tough. Regardless, I am still going to smile, because guess what? God is still working and “As for me and my bakery, we will serve The Lord.” He has a plan, you just need to trust.
NEW WEBSITE COMING SOON. STAY TUNED!
My return to Clemson after summer vacation was totally bitter sweet. I was excited for my social life to pick back up, however I wasn’t too overly thrilled thinking about all of the future papers I would have to write. I participated in the normal back to Clemson activities such as the first Friday parade, football games and tailgates. Life seemed to be going really well.
October: Stage 1
Many of my friends were in their senior year. Since I had transferred in from Culinary School the year prior, I was a bit behind academically. I watched as my friends rejoiced in their upcoming spring graduation, and started to really prioritize their lives. Seeing this, I had begun to do the same. I started taking some private orders for Clemson Confectioneries to make a little bit of extra cash. I enrolled in some clubs, and went to the gym in my spare time. To the naked eye, I seemed to have my life together. I had lost a great deal of weight over the summer, started a small pastry business doing what I loved, and was on the path to become a principal or superintendent. I was even looking into going to Harvard for Grad School. However, I refused to let the naked eye see how truly depressed I felt deep down.
My parents flew down to watch Clemson’s grand defeat over Notre Dame during that very wild rain storm. I remember this day so vividly. I watched the game with great enthusiasm and loved the fact that my parents were right by my side. I didn’t feel so alone with them here visiting.
October: Stage 2
After my parents left on October 4th, my depression sunk in like water retreating into a sponge. I felt hopeless, lonely, and embarrassed. I found myself over thinking everything. I seldom ever thought about anything happy or uplifting. My mind simply wouldn’t let me. Every racing thought told me I was worthless. The world outside my door seemed miserable and I wanted no part of it.
I started locking myself in my bedroom. I was too scared to leave, eat, or even talk to people on the telephone. All of my cupcake orders were pushed back until the very last minute. I couldn’t handle being in the kitchen. The one activity I loved most suddenly became a burden.
I would ignore all incoming calls from my sisters and best friends. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I posted nothing on social media. I became nonexistent. I spent most of my time sleeping and shaking in my bed.
After a while a started to become weak both physically and mentally. I stopped attending classes, slopped through assignments, and made up every excuse as to why I wasn’t a better student.
I called my dad frequently and told him exactly what I was going through. I decided to fly to New York to see my family the week of Thanksgiving. I needed to be home. I wanted to feel normal again. To my very surprise, things only got worse.
During Thanksgiving weekend, we chatted a bunch as a family, often making jokes and sharing about our lives. I remember one night in particular my sisters were slightly excluding me from their conversation and I snapped. I was uncontrollable crying over the tiniest of instances. I wanted to leave New York and wallow some more in Clemson. After the weekend was over I did just that.
December: The Breaking Point
Here we are, three months later. Three months of locking myself in my bedroom. Three months of letting my mind take control of my entire life. Three months of completely misery.
The day of my first fall semester final exam I walked right into Redfern Health Center instead of Daniel Hall. I missed every final that day. I decided enough was enough and I need professional help. The doctors examined me for what felt like hours. Eventually, I was diagnosed with severe depression and a type of anxiety entitled “Obsessive thinking.” My heart wouldn’t stop racing after I left, so I packed my bags and took a direct flight home to New York.
December: In New York
For months I was afraid of myself. I was fearful of the person I had become. I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be “normal.” That was the scariest part of all. I never thought I would feel genuine happiness again.
I went to plenty of phycologists and psychiatrists. I tried lots of different treatments and techniques, but nothing worked as well as time and lots of conversations with my dad.
My dad was my rock. He wouldn’t stop talking to me until he knew I was ok. He constantly reassured me that I was destined for great things and I had a bakery in Clemson with my name all over it. He started to remind me of all of the things I had to look forward to. He would give me big hugs and pray that The Lord would heal me and give me peace.
After a long month of living at home, my dad finally sent me on a plane back to Clemson. I remember crying tears of Joy when I arrived. I could feel God whisper; “I was meant to be in Clemson.”
I often took many trips back home on the weekends during the spring semester until eventually I no longer needed to. Time and the Grace of God slowly but surely helped me to better understand my depression and anxiety. In March of 2016, I started taking Lexapro; a medicine designed to help with anxiety and depression. I had always been hesitant to take medication, but I wanted to be proactive in making sure these feelings never resurfaced. I began to feel normal again before I knew it.
I’ll never quite know what triggered my depression. What I do know is that all of this happened for a reason. I would also be lying if I said my anxiety and depression went away completely. I still feel waves of anxiousness and sorrow. Throughout the past few years, I have grown in my relationship with The Lord. Scripture and prayer helps to calm down my nerves, as well as calling my dad.
The reason for this story was not to go on some long rant about how miserable I was. The point of this short testimony is to draw attention to the fact that there are lots of people out there who are silently battling the same feelings of loneliness. Depression isn’t a made up aliment the media sometimes portrays it to be. It’s real and it’s daunting. I was fortunate enough to have God and my Dad by my side. However, if you feel like you have no one, you have me. We may have never met, or may live miles apart, but just know that I’m here in Clemson praying for you. If you are here in Clemson please know that my door is always open to talk. Below is my contact information:
You don’t have to go through this alone.
Facebook: Brandi Lindoe
Phone Number: 631-664-2924 (Seriously, text me anytime)