I’ve talked about this a few times, but never really shared the full story of how this blog came about, why I am here, and how I got here. Since my first letter to you guys a few weeks ago and the encouragement I got from being open and honest with my readers, I felt like it was necessary to share an important part of me and how this blog was born. But the real story.
Here goes. The Birth of ChicpeaJC came from a midlife crisis.
I was 30 years old. My daughter was about a year and a half old. I was the Director of Training at a Cisco Partner in Manhattan. It took me 7 years to move up to that position, I hustled for years and worked my ass off to get to where I was.
I was also married to a successful, attractive man, a great father, the whole package. I was crushing it at life. I had all my check-boxes crossed off that I wanted (or thought I wanted) before the age of 30.
Society and my family would view me as successful.
But I was miserable, lonely, un-fulfilled. I felt empty. I felt like I was a robot and, every day, I was a sheep. Every day was the same. Wake up, workout, take care of child, get ready for work, go to work, come back from work, take care of child, make dinner, make lunches for the next day and go to bed. Repeat.
I couldn’t understand why I was so miserable, I had everything I asked for and more. Everything I was taught I needed since childhood. I had “perfect” but I felt like dying.
I had no one to talk to. My family lives in Israel and I barely had any friends. It was a very lonely time in my life.
I did love my job, for the most part. I really can’t say anything negative about the company I worked for. I learned so much in the 7 years I was there and they really appreciated me. I got to travel the world and also utilize my creative skills to help the company grow. They called me their “secret weapon” but, for some reason, I felt like something was missing. In the pit of my stomach, I felt like I could just do more. I just didn’t know what.
One day at work, after we landed a new large client, my boss said I would be getting shares in the company, a raise and a promotion. My immediate reaction caught me off guard… I blurted out, “So basically, I am going to die here.”
Most people would be ecstatic to hear from the owner that you’re killing it after 7 years in a company and will be getting equity in a tech company. The reaction should be FUCK YES! MOM, I MADE IT.
But it wasn’t. I remember walking back to my cubicle and wanting to cry.
Is this it? Did I accomplish everything I wanted to?
The answer was a definite no. I was sure. I was sure that I needed to do something. I couldn’t be this miserable for the rest of my life. Something needed to change.
I just didn’t know where to even begin.
Months before this revelation, I started posting my daily outfits on Instagram and Pinterest. Even though I worked in the tech industry, I still tried to put together fun outfits. It was my way of injecting a dose of creativity and my personality into my daily life. Sadly, it was one of the only things I looked forward to every day.
What will I wear today?
While shopping at Another Man’s Treasure one day, I started chatting with a cool dude, Denny, who happened to be this HUGE menswear influencer. I told him about this hobby of mine. He talked about his blog and mentioned I should maybe write about my outfits.
I remember walking back home (with a large bag of new clothes in tow) and thinking, Hmm, a blog. That could be fun. I can just write about shit I think about, write about fashion, art, music food… and it can just be a hobby. A fun pastime to fulfill my creative needs while I take over the Communications world in Manhattan.
It was the missing piece to my puzzle.
I took two days off from work, went to a coffee shop in the city, and started the research. I read about how to start a blog, what platforms to use, how to design, get a URL…
The first step was to choose a name.
I am not going to get into the background story of the nickname Chickpea cause I’m sick of telling it but long story short – it was catchy and it represented who I am.
I bought the URL chicpealife.com (chickpea was already taken) and planned to launch a lifestyle blog.
I gave myself 6 months to accrue enough content before launching it. I hired an amazing web developer Chris Jennigan (who, to this day, still does all our backend shit and deals with me), I gave him my budget, and told him my vision.
Two days later, while waiting for the PATH train to head into the office, I saw this cool super stylish chick and something in me pushed me to ask her if I can interview her.
“Stylish Peep” was born. I took photos of her with my iPhone, and interviewed her on the spot. She reminded me of Debbie Harry. After speaking with her I felt so energized and alive, like this is what I was meant to do but I didn’t really know it yet.
I went home and scoured the internet for other local blogs and saw that there wasn’t really anyone writing about Jersey City and the awesome people that lived here. So I started exploring more. I even wrote about getting tattoos at JC Tattoos… The blog was forming into becoming a Jersey City site without me even knowing it yet.
A few months later, I felt like I had enough content to launch the site.
One morning while in the kitchen, my ex-husband said to me, “Since you have all these Jersey City posts, maybe you should focus on JC.”
I called Chris and asked him, “Can we change Chicpealife to Chicpeajc?”
Story To be continued…
Moral of this story, is you are in full control of your life. If you are unhappy with something you need to change it. Things won’t magically get better. If I didn’t take that step and commit to it, I would never be where I am today. Yes, it’s scary AF but so worth it. If you’re reading this, and unhappy with an aspect (or all aspects of your life, like I was) you can take steps to make things better. Do it.
Part 2 coming next week…