Coffee Talk with Vanessa Michelle | How I almost sold out to hopelessness

by Vanessa Michelle

Worry limits the human experience.

Stress doesn’t resolve anything.

Fear is a distraction.

Hopelessness cripples productivity.

I know this might sound cute and cliche, but for me, these statements have been my crutch. They’ve provided a sense of peace and rationality through some really messy situations I’ve been experiencing.

Since the new year, things have been shaky. I’ve been dealing with some financial issues due to my agency laying me off. I had some really expensive hurdles at my apartment and my two money makers — AKA my computers — have both crashed. When issues pile up like this, my immediate reaction is to isolate myself and do nothing but reflect. For a period of time, I did just that. I stopped taking meetings and didn’t really answer my phone. I was hoping to get some sort of internal spiritual guidance, but nothing was coming in. I was lost. 

Initially, it felt like the only feedback I was getting from friends and family was to be strong. I hate hearing that sometimes. My spirit cringes. My reaction is: “OK, yeah, thanks, let’s see how far that goes in all this mess! I don’t like being strong! It takes way too much energy, especially when I’m told to be strong when all I feel is hopeless, defeated, uncertain, and pissed. Why does this keep happening? I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong!” 

Eventually, I reached out to a few close friends about my situation. I explained how defeated I felt. Opening myself up like that didn’t feel good because I’m usually pretty private. Plus, my ego often gets in my way during bad times — showing weakness has never really been my thing. But I pushed past it and spoke with friends and forced myself back into my routine, however reluctantly. I got back into creative work, meetings and hangouts, events, drinking wine and watching Friends.

As I started to develop my routine again, I took two meetings on consecutive days with two of my favorite creative entrepreneurs, Dray Evans and Jordan Serpentini. I think God sent them both to deliver a message to me about purity. Dray talked to me about having purity within the things I want, and Jordan talked about having purity in my intentions and actions. Both conversations were so powerful. After speaking with Dray I recognized that if I want things like money, I have to be pure about the way I think about money. I needed to buckle down on paying bills and making the investments that I know I need to make before they became stressful. That will free up my spirit to be less selfish and give more often. Overall, he empowered me to be more balanced in giving and receiving. 

Jordan helped me to solidify Dray’s idea. She taught me that even if I have all the money in the world, my intention behind how I use it and why I have it has to be pure if I really want others to benefit from it – which is really my ultimate goal. I want to be as resourceful as possible to help people reach their goals. 

It took me some time to reflect on both of those ideas. I was questioning how pure my intentions were and whether I’m doing myself justice in how I think about difficulty, especially challenges in my private life. I’m no stranger to difficulties and I try my best to be optimistic, but I couldn’t help but think that the universe wanted me to know something important — beyond the things that Jordan and Dray were telling me. My intuition was still uneasy. There must be another level to my situation that I wasn’t understanding, but for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what it was. What was the overall message? And why did I have to be the one to learn it? 

I started asking myself: Vanessa, are you really living how you want? Is that why these things keep happening? Are you putting the wrong energy about money out into the atmosphere? Are your thoughts and your intentions pure? 

I started recognizing that I wasn’t keeping my thoughts pure. I was tainting my thoughts with fear, selfishness and unnecessary tension. This created uneasiness in my spirit. I realized that I was settling for comfort when I’m usually an adventurer and anxious for spontaneity. My wandering thoughts started to form a path. Through meditation, this mental puzzle began to form between my thoughts and flawed intentions. I slowly started to appreciate my observations and I started to recognize that my heart has to lead more often. So I created daily mantras for the things I wanted, I started saying:

Be pure in your thought and intention.

Don’t let personal issues deter your professional focus.

There hasn’t been anything I couldn’t get out of.

Stay aligned with the mission, girl, stay aligned!

As I kept repeating these thoughts, I felt myself becoming more practical about my situation, and feeling calm and even hopeful. I realized that being stressed, worried, or even anxious wouldn’t solve a damn thing. As a matter of fact, it limited my ability to understand, cope and strategize my way out. Can you relate to this? I noticed myself becoming less rational because that part of my brain wasn’t firing up. I was unfocused. So I inevitably became a prisoner to worry, stress, and fear. 

I hate the feeling of giving in, so I made a choice to have a hopeful mindset. Because that was the only thing I actually had control over. I chose not to sell out to hopelessness. I decided that practicality and peace were my new drivers. Being practical doesn’t have to mean being devoid of emotion, which I know it can. I find myself still maintaining this thought process, even as I write this article. 

The truth is, when bad things happen, there’s a piece we can control and another piece we can’t. Why spend so much energy on what we can’t control? Things can turn around, and they usually do. Time is our only nemesis. That’s it: Time! 

So during that time, what will you choose? I’ve learned that my time is better off spent being pure in my intention, pure in how I think to myself, realizing that happiness isn’t physical, and that my energy — good or bad — can manifest in the physical world. I’ve learned that in order for me to have success or to overcome personal setbacks, I have to approach my situations with a sense of calm, peace, self-empathy and purity.  Having a peaceful mind creates pure intentions, fulfilling actions, and rewarding results. 

Vanessa Michelle is a full-time YouTuber who has created a platform for creatives everywhere!  Her journey to journalism started at the University of Akron, where she was an on-air personality and TV host for WZIP-FM and ZTV Akron. Vanessa has been featured in local publications as “The Oprah of YouTube” and one of Akron’s most unique entrepreneurs.

Photo: The wonderful creative spirit Eartha Goodwin.