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  • Cynthia Coupe

RUIN or… R-U IN?

There is so much I’ve wanted to write about…my incredible trip to Oaxaca, the delightful Thanksgiving I just had…yet I haven't written because I’ve been avoiding basically everything…I mean, the laundry is clean, the bed is made, the kid is fed...but…I’m standing in the face of ruin and I’m paralyzed.

Yet, I look at it like this:




I am in,

Most definitely.

And a little ruined, to be honest.

I’ve sat here, for two weeks not writing my blog. Not making the phone calls I need to make, not responding to emails, not plotting my next steps or balancing my shrinking budget.

I’m avoiding the painful truth of my business having come to a grinding halt without a clear plan or direction for moving forward.

It’s unnerving and freeing at the same time.

Ironically, I am more fully in my life than I may ever have been…I’m integrating and in that integration, it seems that what I made is falling apart. The old me is being forced to come up with new convictions.

I am not prepared, not ready, and have no idea what to do.

Yet…I must be ready in the eyes of the Universe because here I am.

I would rather be kicking and screaming, cursing like a sailor or howling at the moon.

But I can’t move. I try to think about next steps and my mind just draws a blank.

A deer in the headlights.

This is not me.

This is not how I operate. I always have an idea, a plan, a place to go…

For some background, what’s happening is the business I built with my late husband is falling apart.

Due to a complex set of happenings on the side of the center that reimburses us for services, we were asked to stop operations until they could give us new reimbursement codes that reflected the way we are now serving clients. Pragmatically, this means that, on November 4th OARS had to cease operations. My clients have not been seen since then and we have not been paid since September. The irony here is that on October 23rd we had a gala for OARS, our clients came to present a short film they had made, friends and family were present…we had a red carpet, and a photographer and it felt like a whole bunch of cool things were happening…on November 1st our clients hung an art installation at a local business, and some of the pieces have already sold. It felt like things were finally happening. I could see the legacy Frank and I created…and I was so proud. Our clients were ecstatic. Their families were elated.


We most certainly were. All hands on deck, sleeves rolled up to the elbows and minds opening to so many possibilities...

And then, in a matter of days,


The irony does not stop there…in this past month I’ve had every unexpected expense and random destruction you can think of…my work car was dented, my dog cut her paw and needed stitches…property taxes are due, and two of the 4 champagne glasses I gave to my late husband when we got married (2 years on the 29th of November) broke when Todd and I had friends over for dinner the other night (actually, it was the couple that married Frank and me, even more ironic).

What the heck, Universe?!?!

It feels like everything is pointing to total destruction.

I know how this works, and I know that rebuilding is next.

Bigger, stronger, better than ever, but still…ug.

I thought for sure this work pause would be temporary, so I’ve been paying my employees and myself from savings, but now it’s time to let them go and claim unemployment for us all.

I was supposed to take my daughter to Australia during the month of December but that’s not happening…how can I go to Australia while my business isn’t even running? While I’m living on fumes? Not a good choice…

This has been so unbelievably hard for me.

Hard to focus.

Hard to do what needs to be done.

Hard to see the business suffer.

Hard not to know what comes next.

Hard to feel like I’m losing what Frank and I created.

I already lost Frank, I don’t want to lose this too.

I’m not prepared…

But it’s also been a blessing.

I’ve often wondered how I would get out of OARS, how I could free myself from the responsibility of the organization…and that has become delightfully clear. In this restructuring I don’t have to be responsible. Just the manager is enough, my professional credential is not needed for the new structure. I can still use my credential for specific clients, but it is not needed for the whole of the operation…When we are able to open again we will be running a simpler program that doesn’t need a credential to operate. Yet, in the aftermath, I’m not sure if I’ll have any employees…not sure if we can hold on long enough before we are allowed to start again.

While OARS has come to a grinding halt, it frees me to do whatever it is I want.

And what is it I will do? I don’t know. Rebuilding OARS is taking all of my energy, but I have some ideas…of course going back into neurodiversity education is what I want to do…but building two things simultaneously seems daunting. My brain is still not working right since Frank died. I am still struggling, still shell-shocked from my world turning upside down.

But…I think…I think maybe it has something to do with Sex Education and the population I serve. I think it has something to do with getting Todd into the organization as well. It certainly has something to do with staying present for the next 6 months and intentionally growing it as I want it, as it serves me…not as it was for Frank and myself. Not as it was for the old me. But as it is for me now, just me.

I don’t want to let go of my ideals. I still want to educate about neurodiversity, because that brings me great joy. Hugely great joy. It is my life passion…it also felt like that was going somewhere…and yet…I haven’t returned the emails or made the phone calls I need to…I only have so much energy and watching my business tank has taken everything I have. I want to get back to working with the tech companies...I want to get back to presenting and helping shift perspective...I've just been so...stunned.

So, I graciously ask the Universe to open some doors, to help me get this party started, to help me center in so I can grow from a place of authenticity and complete solvency. So I can be all of me and bring that to the world as I help change systems that need changing…I want to do this with creativity, joy and collaboration. I want to be financially sound again, and build something that is authentic, important and delightful.

Everything has changed. I”m getting used to that. First love, now money…everything turning upside down this year. I’m gobsmacked, flabbergasted, and dumbfounded. Lately, I’ve been resourcing. Taking it all in, preparing myself for a transformation.

I’m preparing to take the bull by the horns. To take this thing that has happened to me and turn it into something that I can make happen…I will turn passive into active and come out even stronger. I can feel it starting, I can feel the parts beginning to come back that will guide me like a compass.

So here I go…again…rebuilding from a different place. First love, now money... Love came back…let’s hope money does too.

I truly do not believe this is meant to be ruin, this is not meant to be the end of my offerings for the population I serve…it is simply the opportunity to build with intention. To make sure every step along the way is thought out, solid, and serves the highest purpose possible.

I’m here to help the neurodivergent population. Nothing could be stronger in my core than this knowing. But how? Perhaps that aspect is changing.

I’m terrified, but I can do hard things.

I know I land on my feet.

I know the net always appears.

I picture myself standing in a ring of fire, transforming what is around me as I watch it burn to the ground. I take the fire and make an alchemical change. In this space, I transform too. Instead of destruction, I see opportunity. I see a path before me that was occluded before. It is different now because of the changes I have gone through. It is different now because of the person I am with. It is different now because something new is bringing me joy. It is different now because that's how life works: you can't get it wrong and you'll never get it done (Thank you Abraham-Hicks).

It is different because I am different, and I just pray to goodness it doesn't take too long to get it up and running again...whatever that is.

Wish me luck, y’all, wish me luck.

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