As I strolled down Charles Street in Beacon Hill on my way to work this morning, I thought about a certain spring day about a year and a half ago. I had a meeting which required me to wear “business professional” attire, something I dropped from my wardrobe years ago. Every time I hear “business professional,” I get a pit in my stomach and can practically smell burnt coffee in break room kitchens.
As a fashion marketer and creative person, nothing makes me cringe more than a suit jacket or stodgy pair of pants. I can’t even remember what the meeting was for that day, but I’m assuming it was some kind of administrative job interview that would be “stable.” Ever since graduating college ten years ago, I have been torn between following my heart and being practical, not realizing I could do both. I’ve been freelancing since 2008 but have worked a variety of jobs which bored me to tears. I never have done well with rules or set guidelines- I love a challenge, taking ownership, or anything entrepreneurial.
Anyway, I felt gross and uncomfortable after the meeting. I grabbed a coffee and changed into my signature little black dress. Whew! Feeling a million times better, I snapped a selfie in front of Chanel and headed to see an actor I was dating who lived on Park Avenue (I can tell you which Wolf of Wall Street or Broad City scenes he was in, if you’d like). My life has never been vanilla, and it never will be.
I finally accept that this is okay.
I used to think something was wrong with me; nothing in life seemed fulfilling and I constantly craved change.
As I unsuccessfully tried to live on freelance projects, a family member scolded me about my New York lifestyle. “I didn’t move to New York City to sit in an office all day!” I cried. I sat with guilt and shame for months about this, wondering if I was a failure at life. Although my heart continually told me to follow my dreams and stick with something creative, in the back of my mind I thought, “what will people think or say?” At that point in time I still hadn’t acknowledged or accepted my authentic self- I was one foot in, one foot out. Now I realize that opportunities didn’t work out because I didn’t believe in myself.
Who will believe in you if you don’t?
This past year may not have been easy, but it has been wonderful. I have devoted my time to learning who I am, writing, and developing a strong spiritual foundation. I could continue to try and fit in the “box” of society or to live the “American Dream,” but that would never make me happy. It’s just not me.
Each day I seem to learn something new and feel more and more comfortable speaking up and standing in my truth. I wasn’t born to live out someone else’s dream or to do what my family expects of me- I’m on this earth to listen to what my heart tells me and to share my talents and skills where I am lead.
Today as I approached work, wearing a little black dress and flats, I admired the beautiful Public Garden. “This is life,” I thought. After all of my experiences, struggles, and self doubt, I am beyond grateful to have a balance between creativity and stability. Thanks to having faith, a little courage and a lot of passion, I have aligned myself with opportunities that suit my lifestyle, my talents, and have found people who appreciate me for me- not my resume or a suit jacket.