The Day I Found My Freedom

I’ll never forget the feeling I had that March afternoon in San Francisco.

I was just dropped off at SFO, heading to my gate for my return flight to Michigan.  Tears in my eyes, I got out my phone to call my parents.

“I don’t want to go back,” I declared. “I’m going to call off the wedding.”

It was 2008, and I had been engaged for exactly seven months.  Although the engagement was quick, and I thought I was happy at the time, it didn’t take long for me to see the reality before my very eyes.

The day in, the day out.  The daily traffic into my corporate job.  Coming home to the same routine, every day, to the same person- at 23 years old.

I knew it wasn’t the life for me.  Two years earlier I had plans to move to New York City as soon as I graduated.  I didn’t expect to meet someone later that year, on my 22nd birthday on December 22nd, who would swoop me off to Kauai for Valentine’s Day and move me into their beautiful suburban house once I finished college.  I’ve always been a big believer in signs, so I thought, “maybe I’m not supposed to go to New York after all.”  There had to be a bigger reason for meeting this person on such a significant day to me.

Back in 2006, my partying was getting out of control despite my grand plans for finishing school and heading to the city.  At the time, it seemed like he was an angel saving me from myself.

I would later learn no one could save me but me.

When I told my father, he thought I was insane.  Of course, any father wants their daughter be taken care of and to have a good life.  A good life to me looked a bit different than my parents’ view, though.

The day before my flight, my half sister (who worked in SF at the time) and I talked about my relationship and my goals for life.  Before I even realized it, she knew the marriage wouldn’t work.  She challenged my views and helped me realize I should take some time to reconsider.  She helped me think differently about what I really wanted- because for over a year, someone else was trying to make all my decisions for me.

Little Italy, 2008

As the plane took off, I thought about how I would wait a couple of weeks before telling my fiancé that I didn’t want to get married.  I thought about what types of jobs I could apply to in San Francisco, where I would live, and who I could become.  I day dreamed of freedom, making new friends, and exploring the magical, quirky sights of the city.  My gut told me moving was the right thing to do- and from the moment my fiancé greeted me at the gate, I knew it was over.

I didn’t wait two weeks.

I told him right away.

Of course, he tried to convince me it was a phase and how my sister was envious of me. He attempted to tell me I didn’t know what I was doing and how I was meant to be with him. All of his efforts to control me- from my diet to physical activities to what I wore- filled my brain, and I no longer felt sorry for him.

I began to have a deeper compassion for myself.

For the next week I stayed on a friend’s couch, who took a day off work with me to pack up my things.  I left my princess cut diamond on the dresser, leaving behind all the furniture I helped buy with my graduation money.  No physical object was worth sacrificing my dreams- or my future.

Who knows what would have happened had I not taken that trip to see my sister in 2008. Perhaps the wedding would have happened, and maybe I would be divorced now.  We will never know.  However, despite the judgment I received from others, I knew deep in my heart that I was making the right choice.  I knew, at 23, that I didn’t want to take the easy way out and allow the wrong man to take care of me.  I simply refused to do that.

I would have to spread my wings and fly.

I would have to make mistakes on my own.

I would somehow, someway, succeed- and despite the failures, I would learn from them- because I finally had my freedom.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but I do know I will never have to mourn the chances I didn’t take.  It’s been nearly 12 years since I took the leap, quit my job, and blindly moved to an apartment on California and Commonwealth Avenue.  Over the course of those 12 years, I’ve lived in a dozen more apartments, several other cities, and did eventually move to New York…

All because I chose freedom.

Empowering Women To Thrive… Not Just Survive

Rose essential oil

This week I am starting to share the stories of women who inspire me.

After overcoming challenges, they each have done something unique and creative to impact the world around them.

Two years ago I met a lovely lady named Laché.  One fall evening, we were introduced through a mutual friend and quickly began chatting about crystals, meditation, and female empowerment.

Both in jobs we weren’t passionate about, we bonded over entrepreneurial ideas, common interests, and anything metaphysical.  We knew there was more to life than what we saw right in front of us, and it was comforting to know someone was on the same page as me.  From singing along at a HAIM concert to visiting every New Age bookstore we could find, she was an important part of my life in Boston.

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This past week she launched her gorgeous line of products on her website, LachéAuger.com.  A Massage Therapist, Women’s Holistic Healing Arts Teacher, Aromatherapist, and Yoni Steam Practioner, she has a wealth of knowledge in empowering women to love who they are while guiding them to heal themselves- mind, body, and spirit.

Laché will not only assist you with reactivating the divine femininity power within you, she has a beautiful line of products to make you feel wonderful both inside and out.

This week, all products on her website are 40%.  With each purchase, she will donate 5% to Days for Girls, a nonprofit that “increases access to menstrual care and education by developing global partnerships, cultivating social enterprises, mobilizing volunteers, and innovating sustainable solutions that shatter stigmas and limitations for women and girls.”

Meet Laché and read her story here.

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Vulnerability is Empowerment

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” -Brené Brown

For the past three years I’ve used this blog as a journal to connect with others and document what I’m going through, what I’ve learned, and to share what inspires me.  Today I re-launched mindfulinstyle.com as a place to empower women to feel beautiful, inside and out. Through storytelling, journaling, and discovering your authentic style, my hope is to inspire others to own their story- no matter what other people may say about it.

I wasn’t always comfortable with being vulnerable, though.

For many years, I played chameleon and hid my insecurities.  I wasn’t open and honest about my fears, my alcoholism, and I certainly didn’t know how to own my shortcomings.  I played the victim and avoided people who hurt me- and those who I hurt, too.

Instead of letting the opinions of others get the best of me, I learned to take back my narrative and take responsibility for my past; for my past no longer defines me.  It’s made me the person I am today- the person who has overcome her challenges and is finally living out the life I always wanted to live.

Mindful in Style has helped me feel content in my own skin, and moving home to Michigan has been symbolic of no longer running from myself. Whether it’s helping women find their voice, their passions, or their personal style, I’m excited to see where Mindful in Style can go.