Stories, Success & Stuff: Episode 03 Our Stories
Do you ever wonder how life’s pivotal moments shape our personal and professional journeys? Join us as we take a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about our post-high school experiences, starting at Eastern New Mexico University in 2006. We also discuss the impact of social media on networking and marketing, and the importance of ego when it comes to decision-making.
Life is full of challenges, and we’re no exception. In this episode, we open up about living a double life, running for student body president, partying, and dealing with a high-risk pregnancy. We also share our struggles with finding the right life path, addiction, mental health, and self-esteem issues at various points in our lives. Listen in as we reveal how we’ve navigated these major life events, learning and growing along the way.
As we wrap up our nostalgic journey, we’re excited about what’s to come in future episodes. We’ll be exploring the origin story of Siarza, engaging in conversations about race and success, and discussing how to live a life that’s fluid and dynamic.
Don’t miss out on these engaging conversations and personal insights – follow us on our social media channels and listen on your favorite podcast platforms!
A Siarza Production
Executive Producer: Kristelle Siarza
Producer: Jace Downey
Videographer/Editor: Justin Otsuka
Get the downloadable audio version of this episode at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1913667/12962550
See all episodes at siarza.com/siarza-podcast
Follow us on FB, IG, TT, YT and TW @siarzatheagency
Follow Kristelle @kristellesiarza
Follow Jace @jacedowneyofficial
About Stories, Success & Stuff:
Are you feeling stuck in your career, relationships, or life in general? Join Siarza CEO Kristelle Siarza and adversity alchemist Jace Downey as they explore the bullshit of success and excitement of failure. They’ll dive into stories from their own lives to provide a glimmer of hope and a reminder that whatever you’re experiencing, you are not alone. Through funny anecdotes and compelling conversations, they’ll show you that you have the power to create your own destiny. Tune in and learn how you can explore and shift the paths of life that lead to true fulfillment. This is an inspiring podcast about shifting paths, stumbling to success and creating a life you can fall in love with. So grab a cup of your favorite brew, put on your comfiest clothes, and prepare for untamed stories of success and stuff!
Episode Transcript (unedited)
If I didn’t network through social media, i wouldn’t have a job, i wouldn’t have met some of my people that have kind of trained me in terms of business, i wouldn’t have met my friends. Like, social media can be super fake, super super fake, but what’s really like genuine about it is that it became such a really crucial marketing tool back in 2008. Maybe that’s what we tell the episode 2008. Hahaha, i don’t know if I have any check with Philippines. Always fight for the check. That’s the only thing I can think of.
That’s a Midwestern thing too. My family does that. It would be super awkward to be at like a dairy queen trying to get ice cream with my dad and grandma, and we’d be there for 15 minutes while they argue on who’s buying the like $12 worth of ice cream, i mean while there’s an entire line going.
It’s like who cares talk about ego as we did in our last episode Just let it go, just let it go, it’s $12.
I know I’ll tell you why. as a kid, you both buy me ice cream. I get two ice creams and you shut the fuck up. How about?
that cool plan? Yeah, almost Okay. so what’s your ideas for stories for today? This is going to be a fun one. At least, I hope so. I think so.
Good, unlike the other ones.
No, no, no The other ones, no, the other ones are great.
I’m excited. Okay, here’s what I would like to know. I graduated from the same high school and we didn’t know each other in high school.
No Shit, I forgot my yearbook. It’s on my desk at home. Oh no, Yeah, yeah.
Okay, that will be embarrassing. And then I don’t know. I’ve caught little bits and pieces and I know some of your professional history, but you leave high school. What happened to you? What’s the short version of your life?
Then until now. As long as you can share stories about what happened after high school, okay, how about this? We’ll go year by year? Oh, that will take a very long time. 2006. Uh-huh, i was at Eastern New Mexico University. I followed 2005, 2006. I pledged Zeta Tau Alpha fraternity became a big part of my life, went to Eastern New Mexico, partied my ass off.
What were you doing in 2006? I was a senior, so I was one year behind you, okay okay, then okay, 2007.
Still at Eastern, i ran for student body vice president. I became student body president because of a of a pro. No, no, no, sorry, i was. I became student body vice president because of a pro temp thing. I started my broadcast education and career at News 3 New Mexico, kenwtv What was What? And then and then at that time I met my son’s dad around that time. Okay, and that’s relevant 2007.
I am starting at the University of New Mexico, UNM, UNM, uh-huh for a media arts degree, which was their version of a film television degree which they did not have. That program yet Uh-huh, uh-huh. That would come the next year, but I couldn’t join it because you had to be a freshman, So yeah, that was a fun.
That was a fun thing.
Anyway, I am working a full-time job and a part-time job and going to school full-time And somehow was already like doing addiction full-time too. I was a busy girl.
You were a very busy girl. Okay Gotcha, okay. So, and then, and around that time too, uh, i had an internship at a wonderful newspaper that is now defunct, the Albuquerque Tribune.
Oh yeah, i like to write about the Tribune, yeah.
I was. I was, i know I was an intern. I was an intern at the time because I wanted to get into journalism. I had loved journalism all throughout high school And then I said I really want to be doing something in journalism, but I don’t know where to get an internship. So I went the newspaper out, even though I was a broadcast journalism student, and, oh boy, i realize I suck at writing.
That was really funny.
I remember there was a gentleman by the name of Bill Slakey that would just scrutinize my writing And it was. I was so grateful for him because he was so patient and he knew like, if I don’t teach her now, I’ll never teach him. But I remember specifically when he sat down with me and he taught me like a fire lit up under him.
He became a teacher an English teacher at Cottonwood Classical after he left the journalism world. Hmm, fun story there. Okay, 2007, 2008. 2008,. I start my first. It wasn’t an inter, so this was a fun story. I was in an actual production class because they did have a few of them at UNM at that point They weren’t in the it wasn’t the whole college yet, but they did have them. And I was in a production class with a really scary mean professor. He was not well liked, he just was very direct And a lot of us were kind of afraid of him. He straight up told the student you need to pick another life path. You suck at this. This ain’t for you Like to his face in front of his whole student. That’s so dumb.
I mean he wasn’t wrong. That guy sucked at what he was doing, but anyway.
So I had. I had been given, through the, through the university, an option to work for PBS as an intern. Okay, and I said I can’t do it. I, i had to pay my way through school. I had to have a job. My mom was not covering things for us. She told us when we were in middle school you’re all going to college, i will not be paying for it. Here’s a bunch of ways to do it. You need to be in sports, you need to be well ready. You need to do this. There’s loans, there’s grants, you have to go. I won’t be paying for it. Figure it out. So we, and we all did So. I. It was a really hard decision. I’m like am I turning down something that you know could lead to my career and all of this? But at the same time I got, i got bills to pay. I have to do all these things. So I turned it down and I was so scared when I turned that internship down. So I’m in this production class with this scary professor, and it’s it’s before class and we’re all sitting in the in the sound studio talking about the reviews he has online. You know how they have those like grade, my professor or whatever. Oh, i have terrible ones.
Do you Okay great? Oh, yeah, well, so terrible.
So we I was sharing some of the worst ones that I had read about him. I did not know he was listening right outside the door, oh no. So he walks in and he says do you agree with those?
Uh-huh, to me only.
And I’m like, oh my God. And because I am who I am and I’m an unwell person, i told him the truth that, yes, there was a lot of validity in what they were saying. He was inaccessible. It made it hard to learn from him. His approach was not like for young college student. I was just like here’s what I really think. Oh my God. I know I have a really bad habit of actually saying what I believe, like it’s not it’s not a bad habit, it’s a good habit.
It’ll get you in a little hot water.
Yeah, so he, he says nothing And we start class And everybody’s just like staring, like oh my God, what is he going to do to her? What is going to happen? So two or three weeks goes by and he, you know in, like the professor Jace, need you to stay after class. I’m like fuck, there it is. Yep. I’m like can you kick someone out?
of this. It was a great run. Yeah, i had a great run. That’s my motto. I had a great run.
So I’m there, i’m by myself, i’m super scared. I’m what? 19? Yeah, i’m 19 years old, and he said. I thought a lot about what you said And you were right. I’ve been evaluating these things. Here’s some things I can shift. Your feedback was very helpful and accurate And I appreciate you being honest with me. I don’t receive that from most of my students. Because of all the things that you said about me, i’d like you to come work for me at PBS Oh my God Paid position with him as the executive producer, as my mentor. I went on to actually work there, to start out as a pack mule, of course, lugging, you know so much here up Sandia Mountains. I did documentaries. I moved up to being an associate producer in my time there. So this thing that was terrifying and I just like was myself. I just spoke of the things. I believe he actually received it Well, and so that that fear I had of like, Oh my gosh, I’ve given up this really important opportunity by not taking the internship, Because he opened your mouth. Well, and then it got me my first job in production, where everyone else all the other students, they were interns but me. I love that story And it was this really great like Oh, maybe you know, maybe having no filter can benefit you sometimes. Oh my God, yeah, and it led to my first and that led me to recognize that I wanted to do documentary film, that I loved people, stories and learning and the communal, like humanity version of film which comes through documentary, which in turn led me to recognize what I really love doing, what I’m really here to do, and like the working with people and all of those things And I had nothing to do with film Like I had? I had. no, I didn’t actually want to do film as a turn out. But anyway, yeah, so that’s what I was doing at that time.
I was starting because it’s like 2008, 2009.
Okay, and still still going to school full time, still working my other full time job as well and doing part time PBS, and then being a self righteous, super mega asshole in the world. Also, i was living a double life at this point, so I was in constant hiding and constant fear that people were going to learn what I was doing in the background, my, my shady dealings, if you will, and it was exhausting to to live that way, to try to always like this is. It was such arrogance in me as well, but, like in order for people to not look at me, i made sure that the spotlight was always on them by being super critical, by being really judgmental, by calling out every potential flaw they might have. Yeah, just really not showing up as a good person in the world, because I was just so afraid that they were going to realize all that stuff was in me.
But 2008,. If you think about it right, it’s 15 years ago. And how I know that number I’ll talk about here in a second Because of math, because of math that I don’t do very fast. Well, my son, my son, was born at the time that you write New Mexico PBS. So I was in Pertales at that time, going to school at Eastern New Mexico University, and I had ran for student body president. I didn’t get it, i didn’t win, and I I at the time, because I partied my ass off, which is so fun. I don’t regret it. I don’t regret one bit. I also was having a difficult relationship with myself, my self worth understanding my, my physical being. At that time. You know you talk about your sex addiction. I don’t think it was primarily. Again, it’s a hot topic. But I think what had happened around that time was I had a sexual assault happen in college And at the time, you know, sexual assault wasn’t as tab. It was very taboo to talk about.
Yeah, you just didn’t And I remember you’d be at risk, and that was just still true some today, but yeah gosh.
Yeah. So the the when the sexual assault had happened. I remember reporting it Back then, you know police officers just didn’t know how to handle situations like this, and so this individual cop I remember a campus police had said Well, you were drinking, so you’re kind of at fault too, and that sexual assault, can that now my blood’s boiling. Yeah, Yeah. And so what led up to that point was in 2008,. I said, or 2007, 2008,. I was like, Okay, I’m done, I’m done being here at Eastern. It was too painful to be around. It was, and still, to this day, I love going to visit it. I don’t love going to visit Portellus Nobody does because of the pain that I had 15 years ago And I say this because it’s like a lot of the memories like I remember where it happened. I remember the dormitory it’s not there anymore. I remember the feeling, feeling sad and hopeless and just like living that double life of like, Well, I want to be a student body precedent And then, all of a sudden, I’m like I’m one of the most depressed motherfuckers you’ll ever meet on this campus. Everybody goes through a tough time in college, right, As did I. So moving, you know, fast forward during that summer, I made the decision not to go back And then I got pregnant, And so that wonderful surprise is now 15 years old. I call him a wonderful surprise. He even has said to me before he’s like Mama’s, I’m oops. And I was like I love you And you were made with love, So shut the fuck up. So that’s all I said So at that time. You’re talking about double life, talking about struggle. I was part time at CNM. I remember the timeline It was yesterday, So it was November 1st. I found that I have a health condition which is a polycystic ovarian syndrome PCOS And so I didn’t know that I had that all my life. But I was just like so irregular. So all of a sudden I was like I was about to faint. Like I was working at Best Buy. I was like on the ladder, I was like one of the only females working home theater, TV And I was like I’m about to pass out and I don’t know what’s going on. And I like go to the top or come down for the ladder. I’m like I’ll be right back. And I was like huh, it’s been a long time that I had my period still. And then I went into the target bathroom. That’s what I found out that was pregnant, with a pregnancy test. And I giggle about that because people are like Crystal, how successful are you? I was like you should have seen me back into the light.
Pian on a stick in a target bathroom. Target’s always there for you. Target’s always there for you.
I have a mental connection to the target. So, 2008 happened and uh, or so. So November 2007, i found out that was pregnant. And then December of 2007, they were like you’re about to have a high risk pregnancy, you should really be bedridden. And I was like, oh, okay. So I was like hanging out at home and then I walk around and like go downstairs. And then I go back up and they’re like, no, no, no, you really should be bedridden. And I was admitted in the hospital, um, immediately after my birthday. So I spent the beginning of 2008 in medical bed rest, came back, went home and then had my son in February. So like, apparently, i was like 18 weeks pregnant when I found out that I was pregnant And so my son arrived at 31 weeks. And so it all just happened so quickly. And I was like I have a part-time job, that’s by selling televisions not the thin LCDs either. That shit was heavy back in the day, um, so it was just at the beginning of the class green TVs. Um, i was just barely doing like algebra and basic Excel while I was on pregnancy bed rest. Um, at CNM, um, our community college here in town. I didn’t have a job, and even my son’s dad and I at the time we were like, uh, well, we’re not together. And he’s like, well, i’m going to find a job in Albuquerque. And he had no experience, no working history, and so, um, and then my dad and I had a really huge fight that in April, like April of that year, after my son got out of the NICU, i was like, okay, i’m gone. Because my dad was like you’re a failure, you suck, you have no job, you have no education. And I was like, and he was like I, um it was. It was really painful, painful, painful experience. So, um, my dad and I are good now, but I remember him, um, just being so angry that he’s like, well, get out. And I was like, okay, done, So I did. And then he was like, no, no, no, you should come back. And I was like no, no, no, you kicked me out, you kicked me out and that’s not cool. So I’m living in Pratel. So I lived in Pratel for a year And this was like 2009. And then my son’s dad and I had like a really, really tough time, like we were. We were kids, Yeah, i was like I turned 21, pregnant with my son. All right, we didn’t have that notion of what life would be like And we thought talking about preconceived notions we thought we would be together but we just couldn’t be together. And then add that on top of postpartum depression And then on top of that it was just like a nightmare. So, um, fast forward, my son’s dad and I split. I had no family in Clovis, i had no. I was working on a newspaper selling advertising. Yes, little, like six inch rulers, like six by four ads and black and white in color. And like I remember specifically, like I think I brought in, like I remember showing and doing an interview once I was like I was like 21 years old, with a newborn kid, was a with another guy that I was dating at the time like monogamous relationship jumping And in that particular moment was hysterical, was I was like making I was selling like 40 to $60,000 worth of advertising per month for a newspaper at 22,. Like what the hell is I thinking Right? And so those and I’ll stop in like timeline, like that story actually was the origin story of like how CRS is agency model started, cause I would work with a lot of agencies and in and out. Or I’d like be really curious, like after I left my son behind um in Clovis and Pertales. Um, i started working up here and I was like, who’s Rick Johnson and company three advertising is this new agency? back then I was like, wow, they seem so cool, they’re doing like media buying. Um, i had an internship with Jody Griffin around that time too At Sutton now sunny 505. I was one of her interns and I was like, wow, this agency life is so cool. And then I dated a guy at the time who ended up being in Miami. He moved to Miami which is why I moved back because I didn’t have anybody And he moved back to Miami my son in Clovis but he moved to my, out to Miami to work for an agency which is called sapient nitro. They made the. They did the advertising campaign for the Rio 2006 World Cup, for Coca-Cola and they created a shit you not one of the first digital cook machines in 2006. This agency did. And when I heard about the cool shit, i was like, so that pain, all that bullshit, the joy of my life being born, all of that happened at a really tough time, right, yeah, so agency life started. My, my life as a mom started And then I kind of like to kind of shorten the story. So between 2010 to now, i just spent my time like getting my degree, my bachelor’s, my master’s, um, working a career, working a couple different jobs, failing at a couple jobs, like like. Like we talked about in our last episode, and that’s how CR is. A, the agency was born, was just out of, out of a challenging time and a mom that had to eat. Right, a mom had to eat by just selling and advertising, cause if I didn’t sell, i didn’t eat. So that’s how it all, that’s how it all began.
Fuck, i know dead air is like the worst possible thing on a on a podcast, the worst possible thing on a on a podcast or, you know, in any production you know broadcast. but I’m just going to pause for for like a literal breath.
Yeah, the stories, the storytelling part, is fun, right, but I think you know it was funny. Like I really love how you created the name stories, success and stuff, or like that was the name of the podcast. What I thought was really cool about it was the fact that I could tell some stories and like one of the stories that I get was how are you so successful, how are you, um, how are you doing so well? Or, uh, i’m really proud of you. People forget that there were moments of pain, stories of pain, stories of challenges, stories of being broke that came with it, and so, like telling that particular story, a lot of people are like, oh, we didn’t know that about Crystal. People didn’t know that my son actually didn’t live in Albuquerque up until 2015. That’s like barely a couple months, a couple of years ago, right, people had no idea. I just never, would never really show that story, yeah, so it’s crazy.
You referred to it as the birth of your life and joy, that time Kind of Yeah, which is such a great phrase, because actual birthing something is painful, it’s scary, it’s real gross, uh, like it’s messy.
I called it pooping watermelon when I was so sorry.
Very, very different, but I’m so sorry. But yeah, but like, and that’s, and that’s. there’s so much truth to that. We can look at life now and like yay, things are going well and you have all these accolades and all of that’s true. You had to go through a whole lot, well, and I think it’s to get there and be who you are.
I think it’s so funny. We work in digital marketing, we work in social media. The life of the influencer, the life of like, being social media famous, like. The reason why social media finally became a big part of my career and and and the trajectory of CRS and agency was because if we did, if I didn’t network through social media, i wouldn’t have a job, i wouldn’t have met some of my people that have kind of trained me in terms of business, i wouldn’t have had met my friends. Like, social media can be super fake, super super fake, but what’s really like genuine about it is that it became such a really crucial marketing tool back in 2008. Maybe that’s what we titled the episode 2008. Right, just think about it. With your production career, it didn’t start till then. True, my social media career and my life didn’t really start off till then. I’ve always looked at it as a painful year. Yeah, it’s actually really now that I’m sitting and reflecting about it. It was like that was a monumental year. Just never really thought about it that way.
And my monumental years did not come until many years later. Yeah, with the birth of my life and my joy.
Things started to shift and change. What 2015 for you 2014.
2014. 2000. So I did UNM. I went to Cal State, la, to actually learn production stuff for a bit as well. I went through a series of relationships and failures and attempts and trying to look successful, trying to look like I had it all together. I talked about 2008. I think that’s also when I realized my understanding of God had been betrayed and was wrong. I grew really angry at God and religion and all things in the spiritual realm. I was like fuck, that Not having any connection with that at all, which was a really big life changer. I finished, i got my degree. I was working at a pharmacy. I was a pharmacy tech at that point Because when I left for LA, i lost my job at PBS because I didn’t live here. And then when I came back, there wasn’t any space or openings available to restart there, and so then it was just kind of grabbing. Oh also, i was engaged at this time What I was engaged in 2010. So we had worked together at an amusement park for years. I had my first job at 14 years old at Cliffs, also in sales. I was like a carnival marker, The people that try to get you to come play games. That was me, And he and I worked side by side. My game was break a plate And his was air ball And they were in the same garage. So we spent summers together. But then at school we went to talk because he was a cool kid and I was a nerd And so we didn’t acknowledge each other at school. He was too cool for me, But you know yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, i even remember we were partnered up. We had psychology together senior year And we were partnered up And he pushed the whole project off on me And I did it. I did it by myself.
Oh my god.
Because he would like had other cool kid things to do And I was like a nerd And I’m like I’ll do our project, but anyway, so we graduated, we go off to college This, that and the other, and I’m at the grocery store with my roommate at the time And we’re getting stuff to make margaritas, because I had been, i’d been doing a fair amount of traveling when I was in college. I was big into the swing dance world.
Yes, you know, the revival was very present with swing dancing.
So I was like did you used to go to Tuesdays? Oh yes, Tuesdays at Heights, You better believe it?
Oh my god, I did too Nice.
And I see we did recross. Yeah, we crossed best.
I started there when I was 16. So I had been doing some traveling And I’d been doing couch surfing as part of that traveling, and so we would also host couch surfers, which I loved doing, and the particular couch surfer we had at the time was an asshole. He was literally I don’t remember where he’s from, but he was traveling in America to write a book about how shitty America and Americans are. And I’m like and you are enjoying the hospitality of two of them currently Like how dare you come into our home and then you’re writing a book about how shitty America is and whatnot. But anyway, i was like we going to need alcohol for this situation. So we went to have a margarita night And I turned the corner in the grocery store and I literally almost run into And there were sparks And it was real weird And like real weird, Yeah, because it was like what is this? situation. Anyway, we had a very quick relationship. We were engaged within like six months And a lot of people were on board Like he’s very charismatic, he’s like such an awesome person, and what they didn’t know was like behind the scenes, there was a lot of harm going on on both sides. We were both unwell And we were young too, in the early 20s, but we had had this unspoken agreement that we would live in this illusion together of this happy life. Now, we never talked about it, but we had this dream of a happy life And it’s like if we just both lie long enough, we maybe can get there. Oh my god, yeah, and that was never like a discussed thing, but it was like we would talk about the future and things. It had nothing, no grounding in our present reality And it was like we both had a really good outward facade And we loved that facade. That’s crazy, yeah. So it’s like and then in the house it was rough for both of us. So I had that going on And luckily broke it off. Yeah, that was a fail. I failed at getting married, which was a huge win for both of us. Now he has a great.
You call it failure. I felt I call it win. Yeah, it was.
It was a win failure. He’s married. He’s got two little girls. They’re like super happy Like we. you know, we’re you know so it was a win for both of us, but we failed at that, so that was a really tough time. Same time period, so I was working for Reels Channel, which is a network that’s in here. And at the time as an editor, i got hired as an editor And then I accidentally worked as an editor for years after that. Mm-hmm, i gosh. Then, like a series of things, so like it broke off that, and that was like the loss of not just this person but the idea of the life I thought I was going to live. That hit hard For me, like all of my my coping and dealings, and things turned to sexual reacting out. So really risky behavior, really unloving behavior to myself and my body and the choices I was making, the people I was engaging with, and so I break that off. I’m like in turmoil. A good friend of mine attempts suicide while I’m on the phone and have to listen to all of it and not be able to do anything about it, because they didn’t live here in town. They did. I didn’t know where he was, but I had to literally listen to him while oh, what do you do? Hang up.
Like I had no idea what to do.
That was really horrible And like that. So again there’s like a series of these really difficult things Same year. We’re in 2011 or 12. At this point I got laid off From real channel.
They did a big layoff. I remember that.
Yeah, yeah. And it was one of the best things that happened to me, because the only thing I had going for me that I could present to the world like see I’m successful, see I’m okay is. I had a cool network job And it was all of my worth was put into that job. And they lost it in an instant Like that was such a gift, because I learned at that very young age that my job wasn’t going to be the solution for my happiness and my worth, because it wasn’t actually in my agency.
Yeah, because if you think about it right, if you do the math, that was like the 2008 to 2014 timeframe Two thousand, so you lost your job in 2012. So I was in 14.
I think it was 2011 or 12. It was in December. Yeah, yeah, one of those years.
So we were the. We were the recession kids. Yeah, we got out of the recession. Yeah, we were expected to have some type of career after college, because if we did the math, we were supposed to be graduating 2009, 2009, 2010 and we may or may not have. I didn’t. So in that timeframe, there was a lot of us that were just kind of like suffering in silence about what to do with our lives, like we just didn’t have our shit together, even though we wanted to show that we had our shit together.
Well, and the world didn’t have it shit together. No, it was the promise that had been present in our parents’ generation of like go and get your degree, Then you, then you get a job in the field of your degree And you know.
That was all in shambles, totally gone. So some of the folks that I know that were around that time. They went and got their master’s. They graduated their master’s in 2014 or something like that For me. I went back to school, i decided to go get my bachelors And at that particular time, i was defined by my career as well. I was like I’m on social media, i am definitely going to make sure that it looks like I have my shit together. So, 2010, i worked for the journal And then I become a salesperson, then vice or director of advertising and event planning for the greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce. That sounds very important. It sounds very important, very important. It was not. And then from there, i worked at Heritage and then I worked at another public relations, the Gehryi Group Public Relations. I was defined by my career. But what I also learned at that time I am the worst employee. I am the worst employee I hated, and I at first I was like I remember apologizing to my ex at that time. I was like you should probably break up with me because I can’t keep a job. I was so. I was so stupid to say that. But then I realized right, and there’s probably other odd jobs here, like I worked at a cupcake shop just to make ends meet for funsies, right. So you know, fast forward. You know I’m young at that time and I didn’t know any better, and I was. So that was when I was doing like the 50 to 60 hour work weeks because it was the right thing to do Not that I don’t do that still, but it’s not as there’s a different priority in your life around that time. And then that was when, like you could go. You could go in at nine, work until seven, go to the bar until like 11, and wake up and not have any hangover and do it all over Like I’m tired just hearing that story. But those were the things I used to do back. I used to do back in the day. So so, yeah, around that time So you have your. I remember feeling like this was the job I was supposed to be at for a really long time, and people I was hired on my reputation of being a social media expert at that time And it was a blessing to be constantly fired from those places or let go, because you realize, like now you know what a good manager looks like. Now you know what a bad manager looks like. Now you know what good communications is. Now you know what bad communications is. You’re doing field research, exactly. Well, most importantly, the traditional way of working was not my style. I hated it. Yes, i hated coming in right at eight. I hated. I used to get scolded because I didn’t leave at five, like. I remember those feelings of saying, like this is not what I want my company to look like. It had always been my dream to be a business owner And it was around that time that I was like I remember 2010,. I was laid off for the second time And I was like, maybe it’s time for me to start my social media business. And then I looked and I saw how other people are doing it. Granted, people started to make a business out of it in 2008 because of the recession happening in. Twitter was just a Twitter and Facebook were such a more cost effective tool for advertising at the time. And then, in 2010, i was like I kind of want to see how other people kind of float by. And then it was 2014 that I was like, all right, let’s go. I had three clients already in the queue, had my paper, my legal paperwork, already in thought in my eyes crosses my T’s in terms of preparing for the business. But I was like, let’s go. And I remember those. Those were the critical years. Right, yeah, your career defined you. And then you realized no, i’m not going to let a career define me, i’m going to define myself and I’m going to write my story.
Oh, no, i was nowhere near that, really, oh gosh. 2014. And that’s interesting, that that’s when things like took off for you. That’s when I had my suicide plan. I was in motion. I got to a point where I I genuinely, deeply hated myself. I was lying to everyone. In my life I was. Everything was such a mess. I had no hope. I believed that I would never be able to connect with other people because I was such a shitty person that no one should be around me, that it was harmful for people to be around me which I had evidence to, to be fair that I really, really believed the best thing I could do for the world would be to leave it.
That’s unfortunate dude. It is Yeah, Yeah. So what was your? what was your coming to Jesus moment?
Well, so I’m in that space and and I had recognized around the same time, like within the same week or two, that I had been using sexual behavior as a coping mechanism, just like people use drugs and alcohol and things. And so it’s like, well, if it can be used the same way, can it have the same negative effects on your life? Like, can it be compulsive, can it be addiction? You know, all of these things like is that? like that was my, that was my moment of like, huh, if you’re using these things harmfully but to self medicate, just like substances, yeah, something to that, yeah. So I went and I looked it up and, lo and behold, yeah, of course I can. And now, like with all the studies I’ve done, you know, sit around like the reward system and what I know about the brain and body. It’s like, yeah, obviously that can be that. And so I started. I started seeing other people’s stories, little bits here and there that had they were very similar to my own.
The pain that I was in, the harmful behavior I was doing with myself.
The insanity addiction is absolute insanity. And so I thought, well, fuck, like there doubt. There was a little piece of doubt that maybe there was a solution, maybe I wasn’t doomed to be the worst person in life forever. So I thought all right, you know, i saw that there were some meetings for it in my area, some recovery meetings in my area, and I said I’ll give you one, you have one meeting And if it doesn’t work, i’m out. Yeah, because I can’t keep doing this.
And you’re in Albuquerque. You’re in Austin. Okay, I was in.
Austin. At this time I was just completely exhausted. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t, i couldn’t live that life anymore. I couldn’t do the double life anymore. I was so tired. I just ran out, yeah, and so I was like I’m done, i don’t want to do it anymore, i don’t want to be this anymore. And I couldn’t get away from me. And I had tried things I had. I’ve been pretty like relatively proactive in my own health and like healing And I tried I’d been in therapy. I had no concrete notion of the sexual abuse and stuff in my childhood yet. That was, that was years down the line that I would actually start to come to terms with all of that. So I said, all right, you get one meeting, i’ll go. I went and I’m not gonna lie. I thought I was gonna walk into like a damp basement with people in trench coats and like everyone would be greasy somehow I don’t know what I was thinking. So when I actually walked in and I saw what appeared to be like a church board meeting, like just you know, clean cut, normal looking people just sitting there, i thought I was in the wrong room And I kind of like, did like a like do I back out And they were like you’re in the right place. They’re like I see what you’re seeing and, like you’re in the right place, come on in. And so I did, and I sat there and I listened to these people and their pain was my pain. Their story was there were so many similarities of my own And this like blew my mind, Cause here I am. I’d lived, you know, in isolation for all of this time thinking.
I was the only one in the world.
We all think that I’m the only one in the world experiencing this pain, the only one experiencing this situation. I’m the worst and my situation’s the worst. that ego. we talked about the last episode, And so it was completely mind blowing to me that other people were experiencing it too. That’s crazy, Yeah, And so and I’d love to say like and then I turned my entire life around and that didn’t. no, fuck, no she was about to get way worse after that, things were about to get real dark and real gross going from that point. But, spoiler alert, i didn’t kill myself Here. I am sitting here with you.
And I think doing an episode around some of the barriers, like addiction, that get in the way of success would be a good one. just mindful of time, i’ll speed up and fast forward that I went through just absolute hell and like the awareness of what I was doing and what was going on. Things didn’t get better right away, they got a lot worse. But in time Yeah, in time I pulled myself out of that. I started bringing people in. I let my mom know what was going on? That was really hard. Actually herniated a disc the next day Like I had so much pressure and tension from everything going on and from lying all the time, and then finally like coming clean with her about being suicidal and all that stuff. It was my mom’s the coolest She handled it so well. But anyway, and then like I would go on to start sharing my story because I knew the pain of feeling alone in it and nobody else was, And I got kind of pushed into sharing my story online and whatnot. And then that like being on camera like this was like my nightmare at one point. I didn’t even raise my hand to ask questions in class. I was so shy, so the fact that I was gonna go on and like be on camera, be on stage, like be you know all of these things, like no, never saw that coming. That I was gonna like seek it out Where I’m, like where can I speak in front of people, Like let’s do this shit? Never saw that coming. And then really pioneering a path of recovery that’s very unconventional from traditional recovery that is through self mastery. That goes against this whole idea of like you’re the problem and it’s incurable. It’s like that’s total bullshit, Total bullshit. We are the solution, actually, And it’s absolutely something that can be overcome and you can gain freedom from and then go on to thrive. So the life I’m living now? total plot twist. Never saw any of this coming.
Did you ever see yourself?
working for an agency. No absolutely not. I actually joked that I was unemployable For a lot of the same reasons. Working with you was like a loophole in my unemployability Because people one.
I’m not a conventional person, so I have the heart to be here at eight and like what do I need a whole pass to go to the bathroom.
I’m a goddamn adult, like what are you talking about? So things like that. And then the whole speaking my mind not having a filter. That typically doesn’t go over well with most bosses especially male ones. Just that’s how it’s turned out for me. So no, I did not see myself working in this space And I’m sure we will have a talk around marketing and advertising. I have a long relationship with really seeing it as a negative thing, as like a gross thing that, like marketing, is like manipulative and dirty and gross and no, not true at all. So no, i never thought I’d be here and never thought I’d be doing any of this. I never thought that I would turn into someone I really respect and love and enjoy And that’s like I enjoy bringing myself into the world and engaging with other people. Didn’t think I would be in service to others and help others. No, all of this has been such a fun surprise That’s exciting.
So what can we expect from some of the next episodes of the podcast? I know that we have some stories about mentors. I’m excited about that part. I’m excited about what you had mentioned talking about advertising and marketing, talking about grief I think that was a topic that we had. What’s one story you want you hope that most of the listeners which is just one. This is going to be our ongoing joke for every episode. That’s your joke And our moms. What’s one particular piece, what’s one story that you think our listeners might be potentially interested in hearing about so that we can plan for another episode down the road?
Oh, what’s yours? I’m going to throw it back to you. I think for a moment.
I would say that the origin story of Siarza is eventually will be a story to talk about down the road. I think another story would probably be what exactly is what matters to me, i think, in terms of what’s going on in society nowadays. I hope to dive into a lot of conversations about race and success and social justice and so on and so forth, so I’m looking forward to telling those stories in another time. So what’s your story that you’re hoping that the listeners will get to listen to?
I hope we will. I look forward. We’re in charge. No hope We will. We will talk more on the other paths that aren’t yours in mind, so bringing in other people sharing their stories on how they’ve come to live the life that they’re living, whether it was planned or absolutely not planned at all, and to really show there’s no one way, there’s no two ways, there’s no way that it’s all very dynamic, all really fluid, so that maybe nobody sees themselves in us, maybe they’re like I don’t relate to those ladies but maybe someone else comes on and they go oh, is that an option? Life can be like that. That’s what I’m really excited about.
Yep, Most definitely. Well, thank you for sharing your stories. I really appreciate it And I hope that you all get to listen on your favorite podcast channels and follow us on our social media channels. But this is story success and stuff.