this time it'll be different
I've been pretty quiet as of recent, publicly.
To be honest, in the last few months I had a lot of doubts about this and if I wanted to keep it going. Somewhere from when I started, loveclosely became about a business, and I lost an attachment towards it. I would shy away when asked about it, and was embarrassed to call it mine. What's funny is that as I did what I thought I had to, in order to "grow the business", it resulted in us incurring losses financially. My biggest loss however, was losing my art and creation. I was disappointed in myself.
While this was going on, life wasn't getting any easier. I had just got back from a work placement in San Francisco, to my parents and grandad. While I was gone, my dementia stricken grandfather's situation grew worse. He refused to be taken care of, having to constantly be forced to feed and clean himself. My parents, also of old age now, were struggling to take care of him. While I was gone, my mom and dad started taking turns sleeping on the couch closer to his room to take care of him.
The stress had the worst impact on my dad. He was diagnosed with stage one Parkinson's. I found this out in San Francisco on my birthday, and was helpless to them. The pressure of working full time to support our family, and coming home to help my mom was too much for him at his age. He wanted to work full-time, but the bank he had dedicated him career to for the last 20 years, forced him into early retirement - with no medical and pension plan benefits.
My grandad passed away. Shortly after my paternal grandmother passed away in England. My last grandparent.
My older sister, who lived in New York, separated from her husband and came back to Toronto. A marriage that she was unintentionally pressured into; by cultural and familial bounds. Another loss for my parents who felt it was their fault, as they realized the world they knew was much different now. For her, someone whose always thought her parents knew best for her, it was the hardest decision of her life.
With all this going on, loveclosely just seemed like a financial burden, and it just wasn't fun anymore. I started this with a vision and passion for creating, and sharing with others. Seeing my peers open successful businesses in the most boring of industries, but make a killing, made me question if I should stop trying to chase some childish dreams. If I should just give up and conform, and work that 9-5+ overtime like everyone else and continue trying to climb up the corporate ladder, at the accounting firm I was working at at the time, with my Chartered Accountant designation. I never really had any desire to work in this industry. I think it stemmed from how my dad, and his dad before him had raised me. To believe in financial security and providing for the family, and live an unfulfilled life.
Honestly, I'm not sure what shocked and triggered me out of it. During this time, I just lost touch with everyone. I fell off. I lost confidence in myself. I didn't care about how I looked, dressed or presented myself. I forgot how to talk to girls, or build relationships. I kept everything in. No one knew what was going on in my life. Not until now when I'll drop this journal. I've now become emotionally cold and numb to everything. I only really fear the death of my parents. That's the only thing that matters to me.
Since then, I don't think I've improved as a person to be honest. I'm still numb. But what did happen, is that all the pain and sadness that I should have felt, was harnessed intro creation. I dedicated all my time and energy on this, and how to make it better. I started it alone, and only I could save what I started. I decided to kill everything, and give it everything I had. This life it just too finite for me to worry about my future, a future that isn't even promised. Instead, I decided to do it all.
For those of you who were here from the start, I apologize and I hope that this time around you'll notice the difference. I've had sleepless nights trying to find the right manufacturers, figuring out how to get the best quality of product with the limited resources that I have. How to progress and elevate this to the next level, and produce the best content that will make you proud to share this with your friends and family. I'm only one guy in my 20's, just like the rest of you. There's so much I want to do, but I just don't have the time and money. I hope this grows so that I can continue to give you more, and I thank you so much for your support, without which, even this wouldn't be possible.
I hope somewhere in this journal, in the brand, something resonates with you. If it has, then I've achieved my vision that I've fulfilled my reason and purpose. Thank you.
Hope to see you at our Toronto exhibit May 5th.
- Taha Yousuf (Founder & Creative Director)
(You can follow my personal Instagram, here.)