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Losing Yourself in Love…and Your Venture? Spoiler: It’s Fun, But Doesn’t End Well.

by pk mutch, 2017 (originally published in

Growing up, the master bedroom, or more precisely, my mother’s room, was strictly off limits.

Our two-bedroom apartment was our home, but her room was her castle. Important ideas and future plans were hatched in that room, daily journals were filled describing vexing personal dramas. As a single parent, it was where she would talk for hours with her girlfriends, door closed, sharing secrets and frustrations over the phone after we had gone to bed.

Sometimes in the evening, mostly on weekends, she would allow us to come into her room, and sit quietly on her bed while she got dressed for work at her second job as a steakhouse restaurant hostess or for the occasional date.

We really looked forward to those evenings. We considered it a high honour — a rare glimpse into the grownup world. Plus her room was to us at least, magical.

The walls were deep purple, and the long shag rug, light purple. There were real sheep skin rugs on top of her bedspread, and at the foot of her bedside. The exotic replica Louis the IX mirrored dresser from Sears had several Styrofoam heads with eyes painted on, sporting wigs of many styles and colours. Abstract art hung on the walls, including a large one by Sal, a handsome man 10 years her junior who she had loved at one time. Yoga books, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and Jacqueline Susann novels were piled up on her bedside table. The room smelled of hairspray, cigarette smoke, and incense. The vanity table by the door, the best part, was a treasure chest that held lipsticks in every colour, false eyelashes, tools of terror (like tweezers and eyelash curlers), and nail polish. I remember thinking that being a grownup woman was clearly a very complex affair.

While our lives evolved over the years, her room continued to serve as a manifest extension of who she was — colourful, confident, creative, energetic, and fascinating.

Then one day, she remarried. This required combining assets and moving into a big house with a pool, so she sold most of her belongings. Her room was now their room.

And it was so different.

It’s decor, catalogue conventional. The walls? Beige. The furniture, big, unisex, and functional. Even new linens seemed to reflect some sort of compromise (yellow stripes). The wigs were gone. The room smelled of air freshener. The dainty white vanity made the cut, but was tucked away into a corner, and looked out of place. And as time went on, so did my mother.

In this new life, she became a different person, almost unrecognizable to those who knew her from before. I didn’t know how to explain what happened at the time, but I do now.

She had lost herself in the name of love and marriage.

This story describes a common experience for many women who get lost in love. Sometimes they lose themselves in their love for another person, but for entrepreneurs, their love is often for a venture.

Some telltale signs that you have lost yourself in your venture include the following:

1. You’re not eating right, working out or taking the time to make the art that feeds your soul, but you love what you do so much you just can’t bring yourself to call it quits.

2. You know something is wrong, but you defend your venture at all costs to accountants, lawyers, clients, suppliers and employees — and lose your integrity doing it.

3. You find yourself downsizing, or selling long-term assets to keep the venture fed, safe, and looking good to the outside world.

In my mother’s case, the marriage ended. And while she partnered up again a few years later, she never lost herself for love again — or for anything else for that matter.

If you recognize that you are losing yourself for your venture, check in and be honest with yourself. This stage will take time. Then, when clarity prevails, talk to friends, mentors and professional advisors to get help untangling yourself in a constructive way.

Whether you fall for another person or an enterprise, it can feel like you are being slowly absorbed by something beautiful that beckons. But in both cases, the consequences can be devastating.

(Originally published as a feature in LiisBeth, your source for feminist entrepreneurship —

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