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It's not just Balloons: The other side of the blower

In the vibrant world of balloon artistry, it's easy to get lost in the whimsical creations, the joyous occasions, and the colorful celebrations. But behind the scenes, beyond the balloons, balloon artists are real people with real struggles, triumphs, and everyday challenges. It's time to shed light on the fact that it's not all fun and games – the life of a balloon artist is as complex and varied as any other.

As I sit down to write this blog, I can't help but reflect on the rollercoaster ride that was my life in 2023. The highs, the lows, and everything in between have shaped my personal and professional journey. And while balloons have been my passion and livelihood, they don't exist in a vacuum. They are woven into the fabric of my life alongside family, relationships, and the unforeseen twists and turns that life throws our way.

The start of 2023 was a tumultuous time for me, marked by the loss of my uncle and the brutal murder of my daughter's boyfriend at the hands of his best friend. Grief and sorrow hung heavy in the air, casting a shadow over everything I did; I felt like I didn't know what path my daughter boyfriends death would lead her down,

vegas valley balloons
My beautiful resilient daughter

and just really, who knows what to say or do in that situation? However, my daughter, pictured to the left, was resilient, and I was so proud of how she pulled through and was able to continue with her studies at UNLV.

Still, I found myself merely going through the motions, navigating each day with a heavy heart and a sense of numbness. It was a year of survival, clinging to the hope that brighter days lay ahead. I

Going into 2024, I had so many plans but I just hadn't been able to shack the energy of 2023 and not know what would come. I had been so excited about starting my blogs, but since the beginning of the year, I hadn't been able to motivate myself to write until today.

For the first time since his tragic death, the mother of my daughter's boyfriend was speaking to me about the details of the incident. I listened to her talk without a crack in her voice and tell me all the gruesome details and how her younger son told her he needed her, and she couldn't fall back into that dark place that she was in when his brother passed; that was my motivation.

After speaking with the mother, I had an epiphany: Simply surviving and going through the motions would not suffice anymore. I owed it to myself, my loved ones, and the memory of those we had lost to find the strength to live again truly. And so, with the encouragement of a grieving mother who found the courage to emerge from her darkness, I consciously decided to reclaim my passion and purpose. Thus this blog being wrote.

Its Not Just Balloons

Despite my gloomy state, 2024 started on a good note on the other side of balloons .

Las Vegas Trialblazer award
Myself, Assemblyman crear and the Las Vegas Mayor Goodman

Being recognized by the City of Las Vegas as a Small Business Trailblazer of the Year, and Nominated by the Las Vegas Business Magazine for the pint-sized Business of the Year was a humbling honor, and from those awards, the local newspaper requested to write an article on me, and the local news station asked me to do an interview, all validating the hard work and dedication I pour into my balloon business daily. But it was also a reminder that amidst the accolades and achievements, there are moments of doubt, exhaustion, and burnout.

Las Vegas African-American trailblazer award
Me accepting my awards

Balancing the demands of running a business with the responsibilities of being a partner, a parent, and a caregiver to a child with profound Autism is no small feat. It's a delicate juggling act that requires patience, resilience, and unwavering love. My son's journey with Autism has been both challenging and rewarding, pushing me to new limits and forcing me to confront my fears and limitations.

Its Not just Balloons: Unlocking a New Challenge

Navigating my son's journey with autism has been challenging. At 19, he's reached a new phase, where continuing school became a daily struggle. For those who don't know, young adults with Autism are allowed to stay in school until they are 22 years of age, and due to the lack of services for adults with Autism, it is encouraged.

High School Graduation
My little guy was just as happy and drooling across the stage

However, despite being non-verbal, he seemed to grasp that his high school years were over; he did not want to have anything to do with the 13th grade. The aggression escalated, culminating in a distressing incident during his yearly IEP meeting, where he lashed out violently. This behavior has been persisted, even leading to a physical altercation at a store when he couldn't understand a simple issue with my debit card not working, and I found myself physically fighting with my son in public; the only thing I could do was go home and cry.

Coping with this new level of his behavior has left me feeling overwhelmed as if I'm operating in a haze of exhaustion and emotional strain. It's a painful reality of parenting a child with special needs, one that often goes unnoticed behind the scenes. However, Balloons may be my saving grace to this situation. I recently made the hard decision to just pull him out of school, because just the act of trying to get him off to school on daily basis was exhausting; often followed with the school asking me to pick him up anyway. One day the school fought with him from 7am to 11am trying to get him back into the class room and when he came home I saw how stressed out he was; so I made the hard decision to pull him from school. This has now become motivation for me to push myself to get things in order with my business so I can stay home with him.

Coming out of the funk and jumping back into my happy place of Balloons

I'm the type of person who dives fully into anything I do, so attending a balloon convention was a must for me.

Float, was top of my list for several reasons: it's cost-effective compared to others, and it's geared towards intermediate to advanced artists, which was perfect for me. Despite my excitement, the prospect of flying triggered my PTSD due to every balloon trip I had planned in 2023 being canceled due to a death. As March approached, I braced myself and anticipated a death taking place and canceling that trip as well (I was in a dark place). I told myself that if another death coincided with me planning a balloon trip, I would never leave Vegas again or plan anything, almost as if my plans were related to people passing away . However, the date came without any bad news, and I pushed through and boarded the flight to Float on March 16th. It was an exhilarating experience, and I can't wait to share more about it in my next blog.

At float there was one workshop by and we cried and laughed and all the women stated how much that they needed that moment. Even though we were there to talk about balloons, sometimes you need to know that other people are going through things just like you and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

In the world of balloon artistry, it's not just about the balloons; it's about the stories, the struggles, and the resilience of the artists behind them. So here's to all the balloon artists out there – may we continue to create, inspire, and uplift each other, both in and out of the spotlight. Our lives matter, our voices matter, and our balloons, well, they're just the beginning of the story.

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