Disclaimer:

In my personal writings, i don't capitalize "i", except at the beginning of sentences and for emphasis.

Why?

Years ago i discovered that it's unique to the English language.

In English, we include "I" in our proper nouns. As a reminder, proper nouns are the name of a specific person, place, or thing. They are capitalized to signal their uniqueness.

English is the only language that gives this kind of honor to the pronoun that respresents the self--and no other pronoun.

I decided to purposefully disregard this rule.

It's as a statement of equality and reminder to myself to stay humble: i'm no greater than you, him, her, or them...so why should i capitalize "I" and not "You"?

Don't worry, though--I'll be sure to follow all grammatical rules, including this one, in all writing work done for you. Unless you decide to join me in breaking the rule as well!

The Story Behind AAA Freelancing:

All companies have a story because all people have a story.

In this post, i’m going to tell both stories because they are intricately intertwined.

AAA Freelancing:

AAA Freelancing is a brand new business. I literally started building it in the last couple of weeks.

The purpose of AAA Freelancing is to provide “A++” quality services, created with love, and focused on building up small businesses.

The main service i offer is branding. Which, to me, at its very core is storytelling. (Which you’ve probably already realized is a recurring theme…)

This business isn’t a big branding and marketing agency–It’s a small business, just like yours, run by one single freelancer.

Its story is my story.

My Story:

I’m going to get vulnerable–Which isn’t particularly professional, but it is core to good, authentic storytelling.

Since i may hear and even get to share to your business’ story, you deserve my own vulnerability.

First vulnerability: My mental health.

I was recently diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD, panic disorder, OCD, and ADHD. 

I spent 20-something years of my life unknowingly trying to cope with these– Wondering why everything was harder for me than others made it out to be; Why my efforts always resulted in “failure” or pure exhaustion and burnout.

I can say i’ve finally reached a point where i’m learning the balance needed to manage–but it’s been a long and difficult journey and i’ve learned a lot through it.

I was homeschooled and am the oldest of 5 kids.

Now, many homeschoolers and many larger families do very well. My family wasn’t one of them.

It wasn’t my mom’s fault–She was an amazing teacher when we were young–But she didn’t have the skillset or mentors to guide her and, kid after kid, she grew more stressed.

It didn’t help either that around 3rd grade, i relentlessly begged her to let me quit math!

By 6th grade, my education had me terrified for my life. So i took my schooling into my own hands, teaching myself through reading and researching as much as i could take in, finding instructors on YouTube, teaching my siblings, taking copious notes, and giving myself related essay assignments.

My education came first. Every waking moment, i was studying. I didn’t take weekends or Summer breaks. Everything i did had to involve educating myself.

The best thing i learned was that not only am i capable of learning–but that i can get the education and skills i need on my own.

My education was far from perfect, but because i learned to be self-motivated, it was rich.

Essentially being my own teacher, i didn’t get graded–But it still meant a lot to me having my mom continue to joke through my whole education, saying “You get an A++!” whenever she was especially proud of my work.

That has stuck with me as an anthem to work with excellence.

Eventually when i started working…My perfectionism was so high, it brought my abilities down. I’d give everything, then stress myself out so much that i couldn’t function–couldn’t give anything.

My first boss encouraged me that my “80%  is everybody else’s 110%” and essentially that i don’t need to keep striving for 150%.

–but it was a normal part of my work-life to be asked if i need to go home early.

As much as i’d find myself wanting to endure, each job would end in realizing i need to quit…and one where my employment was terminated (with an invitation to come back when i’m doing better, which i didn’t take up) after being bullied for my mental illnesses.

Job after job, versions of this story persisted…and i kept giving in to worse treatment and worse pay.

Slowly, i loosened up on my perfectionism and became more kind to myself…but never enough.

It wasn’t until i got dumped by who, for 5 years, i thought was my life partner that things started to dramatically and violently change.

I had to quit my previous job and move states, right back in with my family, and ended up hospitalized for suicidality.

I was already at the edge of the cliff long before, feeling like i was at rock bottom (largely because of work), but it was the breakup that gently pushed me to actually fall there.

Having to start over and redefine what a happy life looks like made me feel like i was drowning in impossibility.

Being hospitalized for 2 weeks was the proof i needed that i must fight my perfectionism and workaholism and discover what a meaningful, healthy life actually is. In a way that is sensitive to my mental health.

Still friends. But that doesn’t change how much it hurts.

So that brings me here.

My goal is to refurbish a bus to live and travel in–giving me freedom, both in lifestyle and in finances.  

For that, i need a flexible job that can come with me wherever i go.

Why Freelance Branding?

I have over six years of experience with my own mini-brand, in the form of my blog StoryBehindTheCloth.com, which was one of my side-ventures while struggling to find meaning in employment. 

It was a lot of trial and error, and i learned a lot through what not to do–but it also helped me improve my writing, and learn new skills like graphic design, SEO, and web design.

One thing that brings me hope in the midst of all the struggle i’ve gone through is that we live in a world where we can take nothing but an idea or skill and turn it into a living.

It’s not easy–at all–but it’s possible.

I think small businesses–the actualized dreams of genuine people–are what make a community beautiful.

I want to see more people succeed–and one big thing that requires is strong branding!

 As i said before, branding is a form of storytelling–and i love stories…

Everyone has one–a story that drives them. Often, that story drives others, too, when they hear it.

I was ten the first time i starting caring as deeply as i do about stories.  After watching a really heart-wrenching historical fiction movie, i was left wondering what the opposing side of the story was–how in the world they not only led themselves to believe what they were doing was right, but also how they convinced others to stand beside them. 

It made me wonder, what if somebody close to the opposing leader had understood his story and could have convinced him to put his energy and his story to better use? What if they could have helped him understand the story of those he despised, and helped him see value in them as human beings?

What if we could use the power of stories for good? What if our stories could bring people to make better decisions? Those are the kinds of questions that came to my young mind.

Stories, stories, stories… They can do good OR harm because they often change minds and lead people to action. A false (or even one-sided, half-true) story passed around can do massive harm. While authentic stories shed light and help us understand things better, which can lead to positive action. 

Authentic stories do 3 major things:

1. They help people understand.

2. They cause people to care.

3. They lead people to act.

Stories can change lives…Even if it’s simply the life of a new business owner, that’s a life that i believe matters.

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