“I didn’t always know what I wanted to, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.” -Diane von Furstenberg
I have always been the kind of girl who tends to stray off path and doesn’t mind getting a little lost along the way. I am not ashamed, nor do I regret any step I’ve taken, on my roundabout journey thus far. I am 28 years old, and apparently this happens to be an age where people start declaring that I should “have it figured out” (whatever that means). Needless to say, I do not. At all. At least not in the cookie cutter kind of way society tends to encourage. It’s some serious bullshit, if you ask me.
I don’t fear unpredictable decisions nearly as much as the idea of living a life that doesn’t make me feel proud. I worry more about investing my time and energy into various ventures that might leave me unfulfilled, or giving away my whole heart without truly knowing what might happen. But I am a proud hopeless romantic who will always believe that love has the power to beat all odds…so long as there is commitment and mutual respect. I would rather be a good person than an “important” person, who is glorified for the wrong reasons.
I pride myself on the fact that I’ve earned a reasonable level of success by working hard and being eager to learn (and never stop learning). I never want to stop getting better, and I know that I will lay down each night with a little more knowledge than I had waking up.
I’ve also been blessed with some incredible mentors who have played varying and invaluable roles in my professional, and eventually entrepreneurial, growth. In fact, there is one special woman, in particular, who really helped me differentiate doing things to get them done vs. doing work that stands out, turns heads and raises eyebrows. She wasn’t easy on me, by any means, at first. But now, looking back, I am eternally grateful for the “tough love”, because she taught me humility, thickened my skin and helped bring out a level of confidence in myself and my work that I never knew I had. She’s like a big sister and it is because of her that I am capable of expresssing myself in an intelligent manner and can tangibly back up the work that I do through case studies, numbers and facts. Now I believe in my abilities, and don’t settle for second best. Instead of crying when I get kicked down, I stand the fuck up, stronger, better, and more eager than ever with each experience, be it “good” or “bad”. I feel very lucky.
For me personally, the hardest experiences I’ve endured professionally have also been the best ones. Trials and tribulations that really shake you hold more power when it comes to potential transformation and growth. Not to be cliché but I do believe things happen for a reason…let the tough times make you rather than break you. Make it a decision and not your final destiny. Feeling sorry for yourself will get you nowhere, trust me. Sometimes things seem unfair, but look at what is going on in this crazy world right now! Get out a pen and paper…write down what you are grateful for. And then, when you are ready, write down how you can do better next time.
Three months ago I lived in Paris and had no real intention to leave. Then I got a couple calls, moved to LA a week and a half later, threw caution to the wind (again), and then arrived at a major crossroads. I chose the wrong path (for me, at least), and it didn’t take long to realize. I simply wasn’t happy. And if you aren’t happy with the job you devote your time, heart and soul to, as well as thee work that comes out of it, what’s the point?
I’ll be the first to admit that if I don’t feel I have the freedom to move forward, in a manner that has proven to be pretty effective in the past, and apply my unique, hard-earned skill set (we all have an area where we thrive) in a way that stands out, turns heads and raises eyebrows, I become creatively stunted, and quickly lose steam. This is why I love consulting and working with young designers and under-the-radar innovators…even if that means I have to hustle a bit harder. I don’t mind the work (actually I LOVE it), but for me, communication is key and I deliver strongest results when given the trust and opportunity to become fully immersed in building something different and effective. It’s not always about one person’s vision, but rather being able to work in away where my colleagues, clients, partners, etc. are just as excited as I am to put our heads together, listen, and produce something that fucking sparkles.
After a year abroad, moving to LA helped me recognize that I had actually started to build a life that left me feeling more secluded and detached than I had thought / wanted to be. I am happy to feel like myself again, and pleasantly surprised by how much I am enjoying LA.. The short-lived experience also gave me an opportunity to work with some incredible, creative characters and an innovative, unforgettable team. It was also a refreshing reminder of the kind of woman I have fought (yes, fought) to become, the better version I want to be, and will eventually become as a result of each and every high and low…I feel lucky for it all. I want to be a teacher, a student, a boss, an achiever and, most importantly, a person with integrity and a kind heart. So here I am, ready for the best kind of adventure…where detours are seen as enjoyable and bumps and shakeups as the roller coaster of life, which is the most fun fucking ride of all.
*head to toe: Rings from Catbird < FAVORITE (check out these pretty stackable rings), The Ultra Luxe by Tres Noir (more cool cat-eye sunglass styles HERE), Nars Lip Crayon in Cruella, Citizens of Humanity Dakota Jacket (additional rad denim jackets HERE and some other easy styles from COH HERE)
Photos by Maurice Sampson