“Why I Chose Cannabis; Not Only As A Daily Healer, But As A Career.”
Some people find it extremely easy to talk about themselves. From what they do for a living, to what their dreams and aspirations are. I am not one of those people. In fact, writing this was difficult for me, but was also very therapeutic. To fully learn oneself and truly grow as a person, being open and honest about who you are and where you came from are vital elements of the journey.
My name is Nicole Stover and I am 41 years old. I was born in Van Nuys and grew up in the San Fernando Valley. For those of you not familiar with the area, it is a small suburb about 20 minutes outside of sunny Los Angeles, California. I have two sisters (one older, one younger) and one younger brother. I was an Irish dancer most of my childhood. I attended Bishop Alemany High School (yes, a private Catholic school) and graduated in 1997. Sounds like the all-American life, right? Well, keep reading…
My parents divorced when I was incredibly young, around 4 or 5 years old. My father was extremely abusive; physically, verbally, and emotionally. I do not remember much from my childhood, but my earliest memory is of me standing at the top of a staircase, watching my father throw my mother down the stairs, kicking her as she rolled down and beating her on the head with a telephone receiver. Having endured this abuse for almost ten years, my mother finally found the strength inside her to take us and leave.
Raising 3 young kids on her own, my mother did the best she could, but we always struggled, even to have food on the table. My sister and I were forced to grow up quickly, having to adapt to our surroundings and keep the house in order while our mom worked. She did re-marry, to a wonderful man, when I was about 10 years old. Although her and my stepfather worked ridiculously hard, our struggles continued through-out my teenage years. I threw myself into what comforted me, music, and drugs.
My Drug Abuse
I started smoking weed at twelve years old. I refer to it as “smoking weed” because I did not have the knowledge and respect for the healing plant, Cannabis, that I do now. It was the summer before my freshman year of high school. I always hung out with the “rough crowd” and was introduced to some crazy shit early on. By thirteen, I was a “punk rocker” using Cannabis daily, along with cocaine, meth, LSD, and pills… lots and lots of pills. Benzos were my favorite: Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin.
If it was going to numb me, I wanted it and wanted it all the time, 24/7. I could not deal with the anxiety and depression brought on by my traumatic childhood. As it has been proven, the more drugs you use, the more drugs you need and that was my life for the next five years. I left home at age 17 and was homeless for a year. I washed myself in fast food bathrooms, I slept at local parks, at Stoney Point (a cool little rock range located in Chatsworth that people would hike up and repel off), or, if I was lucky enough, I could land someone’s couch for a night or two.
A Turn for the … Better
At age 18, I became pregnant with my son. This changed my life completely. I immediately stopped using all drugs as the life growing inside me meant more than myself. A natural emotion that came over me and has never left. Continuing to work while pregnant became more and more difficult due to morning sickness and debilitating back pain (along with my depression and anxiety that had resurfaced stronger than ever). After some research and speaking to a few doctors, I decided to start using Cannabis again, for healing, medicinal purposes. I used Cannabis throughout my pregnancy and found it to be the only aid that truly helped me.
To care for my son, I worked two, sometimes three jobs: everything from teaching to property management to working in the art department at Lamps Plus. Around 28, I landed a great paying job as an Estate Manager in Beverly Hills. I was able to spend more time with my son and I was able to focus on starting a small business. I created an online clothing store – 50sKitty.com – geared towards women, into the retro 50’s, pinup look (way before it was the “cool” thing to do!). It kept me so busy, I left my full-time position. Bad mistake! After about two years, the rage was gone and so was my website.
So back out into the workforce I went. I found myself in a personal assistant / property manager position, but as always, I was not happy with what I was doing. It was a job, not a career. After the birth of my daughter, I did bookkeeping for a film studio and managed a high-end tattoo studio in Los Angeles. Although both were exciting and I met some cool people, I could not see myself doing either for the rest of my life. My heart was not in it and I wanted more.
Marrying My Best Friend and Using Cannabis as A Couple
My husband and I met on Facebook. As crazy and funny as that sounds, we did. We lived over 100 miles away from one another, but that did not stop us. We became good friends and spoke for four months before we ever laid eyes on one another, in person. Our first date was a Danzig concert that we never made it into because we just wanted to be with each other. We were married July 1, 2017 at Sunnyside Cemetery in Long Beach, CA. I gained two, beautiful step (bonus) daughters and we live in a quiet little mountain town about an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles.
My husband and I use Cannabis together, on a daily basis. I believe it has been a vital aspect to the success of our marriage. It has helped to strengthen our bond and keeps us both landed when we are challenged by the stresses of life and marriage. We educate our children on the health benefits and advocate for Cannabis whenever possible. He is my perfect match, in every way.
Coronavirus to Cannabis
2020 started out terribly rough. I was laid off in March from the events industry due to the Coronavirus pandemic. After job searching for about a month, and getting completely discouraged after no calls back, I came across a magazine that focuses on women in the Cannabis industry – Vanguard Magazine. I found myself completely inspired and the fire in me was lit! I decided I was done. I would never work for someone else again and I would build my career in what I love most – Cannabis.
With the pandemic growing more rapid, I had to conceptualize an idea for services that I have experience in, and considered essential – hence the birth of CannaVirtual Services. Targeting professionals in the Cannabis, CBD and Hemp industries, I offer executive and personal assistant services as well as project and event management in a virtual setting. Social media management and photography are services I offer through CannaPyx.
Over the last 8 months, I have connected with some amazing people and have pursued my dream of writing about Cannabis! I work with well-known Cannabis brands, the most recognizable in the midwest and east coast. My most recent venture is an online store offering gear for the Cannabis Lover – CannaVybz.com. You can order customizable items such as masks, bandanas, dab mats and rolling trays.
I love what I do and know this is where I am meant to be. It was a long, difficult road getting here, but I found my way and am never going back! Every day brings something new and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. One of the most important lessons I have learned in life is you must be happy and satisfied with what you do for a living. Yes, hard work, determination and a pandemic brought me here, but so did great my passion for Cannabis.
Nicole Stover “Canna PinUp” is the founder and owner of CannaVirtual Services, CannaPyx and CannaVybz.com. Nicole is a Journalist, Photographer and Advocate for Cannabis and Psychedelics as she believes both have incredible healing benefits. She works closely with professionals in the Cannabis/CBD/Hemp Industries as an event and project manager. Not only does she contribute to Vee Traveling Vegan Cannabis Writer Blog, but Nicole created a journal called The CannaHaze. With Cannabis and Music being two of her greatest passions, most of Nicole’s writing converges these subjects.
Written by: Nicole Stover AKA “Canna PinUp”
Edited by: Veronica Castillo
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