A few months pass by us and I‘ve gotten pretty good at marketing. So good, that the shop my furniture is in, offers me free rent in exchange for it. Eager to lower my overhead, I happily accept the offer.
The truth is, I would do it for free, and for quite a while, I was doing it for free for them, just to be helpful. Simply because we’re friends. Really good friends. Well, I thought so, at least.
By now, I’ve spent hours upon hours marketing their business, my own, and Molly’s new group. They’re all growing, and it shows, but my online following quickly surpasses theirs. In size at least.
Despite this growth, my sales at the vintage shop begin to slow down two months later. I notice the pattern pretty quickly.
Flipping through my financial statements, I realize that my sales have actually dropped significantly.
Wait. What’s changed?
Staring at the sheet in front of me, it doesn’t make any sense. My efforts, pricing, and style are still all the same and it’s our busy season.
Logging into Facebook, the answer stumbles into my lap. When I see it, I stop in my tracks. It’s a picture of a table for sale in the room I’m renting in the vintage shop, but the table isn’t mine.
This only matters to me because recently, they have me paying rent again and I’m back to advertising for them for free. By now, there are thousands of locals following my page.
I didn’t mind the new arrangement, but looking at the picture in front of me, I now mind quite a bit. The table looks exactly like something I would make. I realize that my customers, probably think it’s mine.
Wait, if I’m paying rent now, why is she using the space I’m paying for instead of her own? More importantly, why does it look exactly like something I would create? This isn’t her style at all.
For some reason, I’m suddenly offended. Maybe if I hadn't spent so much effort growing her business or if I didn't consider her a good friend, this wouldn't bother me, but it does. As much as I don’t want it to, it still does.
That evening, I stop into the shop to investigate. As I enter, I’m a little crushed to see all of her new beach decor adorned with the word “sea.” Not to mention, it’s all half the price of mine.
Well, that explains the sales decline.
She’s never used the word “sea” before in her designs. Why is she doing this now? With all the words to use, why sea? What happened to the ocean or the beach? Besides, what does her owl brand have to do with the sea?
Her newfound style that now mirrors my own is bizarre to me given the circumstances.
I realize then that I will probably have to move my business to save our friendship, so the next day I let her know that we are moving. A few weeks later, she promptly and silently tells me to go fuck myself with a quick unfriend on Facebook.
This stings. A lot. As upset as I am about her replicating my business model, I stupidly thought our friendship would survive this.
Feeling like I just lost one of my closest friends, I cry myself to sleep that night and several nights after that.
Ironically, it’s Molly, from a thousand miles away, that picks up those tiny, shattered pieces. After a month of me pouting, she finally steps in.
“Why don’t you help me with this new group I need to grow?” She suggests.
“Eh, I dunno. I’m so depressed I feel like doing nothing all the time.”
“Come on, she’s a dick. Besides, it will help you take your mind off it.” She says referring to my vintage shop friend.
“Maybe. Let me think about it.”
I’m not so sure that I have it in me.
As I’m thinking about it, Jose walks in and sees me lying in bed for the third day in a row. Sighing, he puts down his keys.
“What are you doing?” He asks me. I can hear the disappointment in his voice, but it’s even easier to read on his face.
I can tell he thinks that I’ve lost my mind. He isn’t wrong really. I just shrug at him and start crying again. He leaves the room shaking his head. I know he’s wondering where his wife went but I don’t have an answer for him. Hopelessness has set in along with the fatigue. It’s all so dramatic and I hate every minute of it, including me
That’s the thing with depression. It doesn’t care about you. Or your dreams. Or anything.
I notice that this isn’t my monthly, cycling depression that I experience before each period. This is different. This is long and lingering. Deep down into my core. Like an ache that soaks through my bones from the floor.
It isn't long before my normal energetic self struggles to even leave my bed to eat. The old me seemingly begins to die.