I Can Do Anything
There have been some pretty big shifts going on behind the scenes at Meltdown. The obvious ones have been a rebrand and a large physical move, but what hasn’t been immediately evident is the thoughts and challenges that I’ve been working through to figure out what the next steps are for me.
For the best part of 2019, I was constantly stressed—without a doubt my cortisol levels were off the charts, I was struggling with my mental health and at the same time trying to figure out what my next moves were with the business. At a cross roads I had to make a decision—should I continue to push through the fear of what reinvesting, relocating and rebranding would do to the business? And to me? Or should I close? Admittedly, I was just a hairs breadth away from walking away—and if I’m REALLY honest, I still have my days.
After months of pros and cons lists, I chose the former, and as if my body knew I could finally relax after walking away from a toxic situation into a shiny new opportunity, I started to experience physical pain in my abdomen; persistently and daily for weeks. A few months later, after multiple doctor and specialist appointments, I had an answer for the pain—a diagnosis for endometriosis. As if in denial for a few months, I naively thought that I could get on with my life as I had done so before, but it has been really difficult continuing with my day to day while also feeling fatigued, sick and dealing with chronic pain. I hit a real low point, and having just signed a new lease I felt trapped and incredibly depressed.
Regardless, time stops for no woman. So for the past few months I have really been taking stock of what my job means to me, what the purpose is for my business and what I want to achieve over the next 3 years. How can I make difference? How can I bring happiness to myself and others in a meaningful way?
I love making chocolate, yet in many ways the cocoa industry is corrupt and full of holes in the way it’s grown, produced and manufactured. I used to choose chocolate based on taste, with no allegiance to any particular brand—but now it’s become more apparent to me that this is not the way to build a sustainable industry. I can no longer pick up a Kit Kat or a Twix bar and enjoy it, because I KNOW there is a huge human cost. There is a pebble in my shoe that I can no longer ignore and every choice moving forward is about ensuring sustainability and traceability so that no one suffers for what I create.
It costs me substantially more to use chocolate that supports fair wages for farmers, better traceability to eliminate deforestation, encourage agroforestry and to make sure children are getting a proper education and not being sold into illegal labour. Despite this, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that there are more ways to pay for things than just money. There is a real physical and mental cost for every decision, for every choice that we make and it has taken a lot of personal pain for me to understand this.
My hope is to learn and share more about how we can all make a difference for the future of the cocoa industry, and how we as consumers can influence the way the products we eat and support are better for our planet and it’s people. In a recent email to a mentor I wrote these words, which I now realise meant a lot more than I took stock of at the time:
“I want to continue learning, I feel strongly about whatever the next thing I do being something that contributes to the greater global community, and that even if I’m not making money but am emotionally rewarded I can do anything.”
I hope to blog more frequently about my thoughts on this journey—if you're interested, please subscribe to our newsletter and I'll send you alerts when new posts are available! Don't worry—I generally don't send more than one or two emails a month.