I have not written anything for the past three months. There are various reasons for this, but mostly I’ve just been completely out of energy. A lot of stuff has happened which I was absolutely unprepared to deal with.
At work, things have been scary and stressful.
I’ve dealt with death, and not just once.
The person I loved walked away and, no matter how I look at it, it’s my fault.
Basically, I lost much of the stuff that gave meaning to my life, all at once.
All of this has caused me to rethink everything I believed in. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been in so much pain, but I also can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so much change all at once.
I’m starting to believe the shock of these losses and the stress were what I needed to grow out of the shell I had made for myself. It’s still not easy: there are good days, bad days and very bad days. There are mornings I struggle to get out of bed.
With that said, I’m also hopeful about the future. I’ve been mindful of my feelings and my thoughts. I did my best to stay with the pain, not run from it. I let each loss rise, hit me and subside, like a wave.
In February of this year, Batteries911, where I was working as CTO, failed. We knew this was coming and we did everything we could to prevent it from happening.
We saved on everything we could. We cut the salaries of the leadership team and bootstrapped before asking employees to do the same. We worked our assess off to impress VCs that would tell us that sure, they’re interested in the company, and we should definitely have a conversation. In six months.
None of this worked. By the end of February, we had run out of runway and crashed spectacularly while trying to strike a partnership that would have saved us. It was ugly and sad and full of tears and “what if”s that will never find their answer. No one could believe years of work had disappeared just like that. Years of all-nighters, of too much coffee, of lost weekends, of endless arguments with our loved ones about our commitment to our work and to our mission.
And yet, arguably the best years of our lives. Looking back, I would do it all over again. Batteries911 was the first project I really cared about, to the point of sacrificing everything to make it happen. To say that I am humbled by the opportunity to work with the B911 team would be an understatement. Everyone, from our office manager to the members of the leadership team, displayed a level of professionalism and commitment that is far beyond words. Everyone put their soul into their work, and it really showed.
To everyone that I have worked with there, I want to say thank you for teaching me the value of humbleness, transparency and friendship. You made me grow tremendously as a person and as a professional and put me in a position I was not ready for, believing that I would learn along the way. My deepest admiration goes to Andres, our CEO, the most inspiring leader I have met and a dear friend. You always saw in me more than I did and you were never wrong.
Success is a matter of the metrics you choose to evaluate yourself. Batteries911 might have failed as a business, but we succeeded as a team.
In the last six months, I have lost one friend to cancer and seen two more struggle with it. I cannot fully express the effect this has had on me.
On one hand, it helped put my own problems into perspective. Here I was, complaining about a lost job and a breakup (more on that later), and on the other hand there were my friends, literally fighting for their lives. On the other, the experience left me with a bitter feeling of impermanence, of the futility of human endeavor.
We struggle so much to achieve more and have more, that we often forget to just… experience life. It might seem selfish that I should use someone’s death to remind myself to live, but what is death, after all, if not a service to the living, a reminder that our time is limited and we should use it to its fullest? And what better way to honor the memory of those who left us, than to make the best use of our lives?
In February, Cloe, who’s been my soulmate and best friend for the last three years, decided that she’d had enough. Things had been less-than-great for way too long and she couldn’t take it anymore. The breakup came just days after I had lost my job, so the timing couldn’t have been worse. I remember lying on a wooden floor, crying my heart out, trying to figure out what was left in my life worth fighting for, and being unable to come up with a single thing.
I won’t dive into the reasons of our breakup as those alone would require a book. As (almost) always, we were both to blame, but if I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit that it was mainly my fault — it was my insecurities, my sense of entitlement and ultimately the conviction that I had all the right answers and I knew how to fix our broken relationship. In reality, I was just scared: scared of letting go, of depending on someone else, of accepting a challenging viewpoint.
I suffered so much it physically hurt. How do you go from sharing your entire life with someone to nothing that quickly and come out in one piece at the other end? How could she do it? It was all too much, all too overwhelming. Often, I feel like it still is too much, but it’s getting better.
I know that I want her back, because the last three years have been the happiest of my life, and not because of the work. I know that I want to share my life with her again, and that I want her to share her life with me again. I know that I want us to be foolish the way we’re foolish together and with no one else. But I also know I can’t have all of that right now, not before I fix the stuff that’s broken.
I don’t think I have a right to a second chance, but I will do whatever I can to have one. If it doesn’t work, at the very least I won’t regret not having tried.
I didn’t get it at the time, but now I do: the right person is the one that scares you, in a good way. It’s the one that challenges what you thought you knew and questions your assumptions. It’s the one that makes you grow and the one you want to grow with.
I was supposed to publish this in March, but I never did. Perhaps seeing my pain on screen made it even more real. In the meantime though, a lot has changed.
I have found a company I love to work for, and I can’t remember the last time I had to work on a weekend, or at night.
Those who were fighting cancer won their battle.
I and Cloe are working through our issues, experimenting, and trying to figure out how to be together again, which is much more than I was hoping for.
Last night, I found this in my drafts and, even though it was outdated, I decided to publish it anyway, as proof of the fact that pain is required for real change to happen, and that nothing is permanent. To those of you who are struggling, please don’t give up: you are my heroes.