You Are Not Who You Once Were

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2020 is approaching and an entire decade is leaving us.  As we move into the next 10 years, it’s interesting to reflect on where we have been and where we want to go.

If my life were to be documented on a piece of paper, such as a resume, a lot of people would ask “what exactly do you do?  What do you want?”  The truth is, I can’t be defined by any of my past jobs or experiences- by trial and error, I have spent the past decade living in different cities, trying out different careers, and making a lot of mistakes along the way.  I have struggled with my anxiety, alcohol use, and my mental health- but those aren’t things you would put on a resume.

Yesterday I was asked in a meeting what I was doing in Boston, despite my resume stating I am a writer and marketing consultant.  I told him about some of the work I did, but I left out the part about moving to Boston after a 30 day trip to rehab.  I didn’t list my “get well jobs.”  I didn’t say Boston played an important role in my sobriety.

So, I continued to share my relevant experience with copywriting and boutique brands.

It’s a shame we can’t be transparent about who we are and what brought us to the point we’re at today.  Truth be told, a major reason for me moving home to Michigan was to lean into the person I truly am, not the person I thought I needed to be on the outside to get by.

Although I struggled with finding my place in the world for so long, today I am no longer that person.

I am a writer.  I am a survivor.  I am a spiritual being who believes wholeheartedly on living a life of passion and purpose.  I don’t define myself by what I have, or where I’ve been, but what I can contribute to the world.

As a creative, it’s often a challenge to live a conventional life.  I used to try- oh, believe me, I tried.  Repeatedly.  However, each and every time, I was called to do what was in my heart- to write, to inspire, and to help others.  Whether it’s in a big way or a small one, I know my struggles and my experiences can help other people.  I’m confident I have lived a non-linear path for a reason.

The person I was yesterday does not define the person I will be tomorrow- and that goes for you, too.

Keep on living what is in your heart- when you tap into your authentic nature, the path will be revealed.

A Walk Down Memory Lane- Remembering “K on the Bay”

Just in time for Throwback Thursday, a memory appeared on my Facebook feed taking me back to the last time I lived in Traverse City.

Back in 2013, my fashion blog “K on the Bay” was in full swing.

At the time I was working with a variety of designers and online boutiques, so I thought, “why not represent local businesses?”  Traverse City was rapidly growing, but most people didn’t consider it a fashion destination.  With endless shops and brands from all over the country, I wanted to show that you didn’t need to leave the town to find great style.

I contacted every publication in town.  Shot down by most, I kept going- and received interest from Grand Traverse Woman Magazine.  Thrilled, I walked from boutique to boutique, telling them about my blog and offering to style the pieces that wanted to promote for the fall fashion season.

The article came out in the November / December issue, with the title “Warm Style on the Bay.”

This was several months before I decided to move to New York City to pursue a career in fashion.  That said, this little article made me more proud than most things I ever did on the east coast.

What I didn’t realize when I moved is that my impact and connections with other people was so much greater here in Northern Michigan.  From NYC to Boston, I was still a number.  My interest in the blog dwindled, and I later ended up deleting it.

Nevertheless, my love for style never ended- so I created Mindful in Style to bridge mindfulness and fashion.  This time, it wasn’t necessarily about the clothes or the brands; it was created to celebrate individuality and being mindful about whatever style you choose, whether it’s a lifestyle choice or what you put on in the morning.

It’s your style, no one else’s- and that’s being mindful in style.

Today, I am once again working with local boutiques, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Sometimes you have to experience different things to realize you were right where you belong all along.

I’m grateful to come full circle- and that my love for merchandising has been rekindled.

A Girl Finding Her Identity

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When I was young- probably 9 or so- my cousin called me selfish.  Yet to explore any sort of self discovery or identity, I was shocked.

This stuck with me for years, and later I began to show many behaviors that were selfish.  I continually told myself I was misunderstood, different, and unloved.  I began to doubt myself and who I was as a person.

Where did I fit in this world?

I faked sick on family holidays and refused to believe I belonged.  I detached from the people who loved me the most, unaware how important family and my roots were.  I was antisocial, confused, and misunderstood.  How could anyone understand me if I couldn’t even understand myself?

On a 9th grade trip to the Birch Run outlets with my mom, I remember picking out a sleek dark purple jacket at Ralph Lauren.  I felt like a star.

Upon returning to Traverse City, I pranced around downtown, running errands with my mom wearing my black Express pants, envisioning myself in a place like Chicago or even New York City.  I dreamed of being somewhere different- somewhere no one knew my name.

Somewhere along the way I started to identify as the “black sheep.”

I didn’t know who I was at age 15, but I was certain I didn’t belong in Michigan.

As I went on to college, making new friends and seeking the approval of fraternity boys (some of which I’m still friends with today), I was lost in a sea of vodka and $1 beer. I did whatever I could to find love, but most of all, acceptance.

My drinking began to get out of control, and so did my self respect.  After college, I moved in with an older boyfriend who I later got engaged to.  I thought this relationship would save me from the all-nighters and my bad behavior- which it did, for about a year.  Then, I gave back my Princess cut diamond and took off to San Francisco.

I did the cities- 7 in all.  I worked in fashion.  I considered law school.  I did the startup thing.  I had no idea what I wanted, so I kept running from myself- only to find myself right back where I came from 12 years later.

As an adult, I’m aware I’m still a little selfish- and now, it’s okay.  This kind of selfishness is self-care, which at the core isn’t selfish at all.

The difference today is that I know how to set boundaries, but also to welcome the love that surrounds me.  My identity was never lost- I needed to mistakes, try things out, and move around to truly learn who I am as a person- and that being myself was all I ever needed all along.

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