My name is Joelle Duff, and I am a scanner (for a lack of a better term). In a nutshell, I went to school for political science, got into law school, and then decided to take some time off so that my husband could fulfill his dreams of getting a doctorate in psychology (but more on that later).
I worked in a software technology company for a few years after college, and launched my blog and wedding planning company in the fall of 2010. In 2012, I took the leap and made the decision to begin working for myself on weddings and other creative type projects. The road was hard, but I loved it. That is, until it broke me.
You see, I don’t really have the personality to be a wedding planner. I tend to blame myself for everything, and it’s hard for me to defend myself when something happens that isn’t exactly my fault. In a way, I guess I’m the perfect type of person to be a wedding planner, because we are always the ones to blame. The caterer forget something? Obviously I should have double and triple checked to make sure that they had it, even though it was on their list! The DJ playing the wrong song for you to walk down the aisle to? I mean, why don’t I have an invisibility cloak to throw on just in case I need to interrupt the ceremony to fix it without being seen?
I promise I’m not bitter. Or, I’m trying not to be, at least.
In 2014, things came to a head. I had a few clients that not only questioned my competency as a wedding planner, but as a human being as well. My anxiety got the best of me, and a panic attack (and a few too many Xanax) put me in the hospital. As difficult as that moment was, it was a turning point. It was my rock bottom. I liken it to having a broken bone that didn’t exactly heal right the first time – it needed to be rebroken and set so that it could heal properly. That the breaking of the bone the second time, no anesthesia or pain meds to be found. But in the past two years, I’ve learned more about me that I ever could have imagined.
In September of 2014, was invited to Taylor Swift’s house for her 1989 Secret Sessions. I have been a Taylor Swift fan for over seven years, and her songs have gotten me through some of the worst moments in my life. Two days after I got out of the hospital, Shake it Off came out. I remember dancing to that song with wild abandon in my living room, literally shaking off every single negative emotion I was carrying, guarded, in my heart.
In 2014, my debut novel, Breathe Again, was published by the Amazon imprint Montlake. I am currently working on a few more novels, including a follow up to that love story that has been in my soul for years now.
Throughout 2014, my husband and I decided to try for a baby, but I have no doubt that I just wasn’t meant to be a mother that year. And then, in February of 2015, I found out I was pregnant! We were ecstatic. Everything seemed to be falling into place: he was about to graduate, we would be moving back up to our home of Ventura County from San Diego, where we were living for his pre-doctoral internship. But of course life doesn’t always turn out exactly the way you think it will. In April of that year, I had a missed miscarriage, at twelve weeks along.
We didn’t want to waste anymore time, and on Father’s Day on 2015, I found out I was carrying our angel, our sweetheart. Remi Allen Duff was born on February 21, 2016 (the day after my 29th birthday) after four days of induced labor. He was absolutely perfect, at seven pounds, eight ounces and nineteen inches long.
After he was born, I made the decision not to get back into weddings. I just wanted to be a mom and not worry about the silly little things that come with bridezillas. Not to mention, I actually lost some friends after I was in the hospital and the industry is all about networking. That has been a rough one for me.
My husband, Dr. Robert Duff, graduated from UCSB with his degree in psychology in June of 2015, the week before we found out we were pregnant with Remi. He has written two bestselling books in the Hardcore Self Help series, F**k Anxiety and F**k Depression, the former of which was written in the months following my hospitalization. He’s doing a TEDX talk soon about his inspiration for the series, so I will share that when it becomes available.
I am happy now. I am a mom, doing side projects here and there for people that appreciate me, both as a person and as a professional. I have a beautiful family and a wonderful home. I have ended a career that has been so fulfilling, and has left me with a sense of accomplishment (not to mention a gorgeous portfolio).
Other things you should know about me: I am an unapologetic feminist, proud Democrat, flaming liberal, and I will always be with her. I believe in drinking champagne before noon, especially on Tuesdays. You can always find me on Twitter, probably tweeting about goats or something political. I love to bullet journal, and have done calligraphy in the past. I am embarrassed that my favorite color is purple, but nothing bright or crazy. Just that perfect dusty grey shade in between lavender and lilac. Speaking of lavender, it’s my favorite scent. I had the In-N-Out truck at my wedding before food trucks at weddings became cool. I am nearly thirty years old, and I still wear bows in my hair. Bloggers that think they know enough to teach other people how to live are my pet peeve. Well, that and loud chewing.
I’m not currently advertising any type of services, but if you’re interested in working together, get in touch. I’m sure we could make it work.
*Photo by Anna Delores Photography*