Located in the heart of Cave Creek, sits the small coffee shop and bar that introduced me into the working world. The quaint, local shop sits perched on a little hill. After a rainstorm, the patio glistens in the sunlight, as droplets of water slide to the ground and drip from the trees.

I was hired at 15.

“When can I start?” I asked, as if the owner had already taken my position into consideration. I didn’t even give him a chance to take a breath of air.

The following week, my name was scheduled more than that of the veteran crew. Picking up as many shifts as I could, I was working almost 40 hours – morning shifts, night shifts, closing shifts.

I would not see my bed until past midnight… sometimes, I kicked my shoes off at 2am!!

No, this was not child labor.

This was Lily, on full throttle.

Once I began working, I could not stop. If something needed done – dishes, mopping, inventory, etc. – I would take initiative, immediately.

My strong mindset – ‘keep moving’ – seemed to intimidate and leave my coworkers uneasy. Rumors of my work ethic began to spread. Anything that went wrong, I was blamed.

After a couple of weeks, work was dreadful.

I had been excluded from conversations, given stink-eye, and been accused of being rude to customers.

My boss pulled me aside – “You are a very hard worker, and you need to understand that not everyone will accept that. Keep moving.” He continued to elaborate on the fact that nobody understood me, and they never will – especially coworkers in their 20s.

Hoping things would improve, they simply got worse – young adults bashing on a teenager.

Fed up with the mess, I decided to come off less strong. I cut back my hours, stopped having personable conversations with customers, and did no more or less than what I was told.

I was a robot.

Suddenly, I was everyone’s friend.

“This is nice!!!” I thought to myself. I began to pursue my friendships.

I was now apart of the Crew.

After almost 3 years, I quit last September.

I said goodbye to friendships that lead to the ultimate deterioration of my confidence, social skills, and ‘never stop’ mindset.

I can see clearly, now.

100% of my time is devoted to Handmade Soap Club.

After all, soap never asked me to change who I am.