Over the weekend I did one of my favorite things- I took myself to a movie. Solo.
Solitary adventures are one of my most treasured pastimes. Not only do I have the opportunity to recharge my introvert self, I gain an immense amount of inspiration from mindfully roaming through the city, finding new hidden gems, and taking in the beauty around me.
I went to go to “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” partially due to my love for Cate Blanchett. I seem to be one of the few who didn’t read the book, but I went in intuitively know I’d enjoy the film.
As I watched a fellow introvert self destruct, I realized an important message:
Creators are meant to create.
I remembered that not only is my precious solo time beneficial to maintaining my energy, it’s crucial to my creations.
With each photo I take, piece I write, and lesson I learn, my creations are keeping me sane. They’re keeping me grounded. They’re keeping me connected.
Sharing what I see and what I have learned with the world keeps me going. Being able to carry a message to another person or using my own experience as wisdom or lessons for others is a purpose I know I was meant to fill. Self destruction is inevitable when one doesn’t feel a sense of purpose, passion, or belonging- so I am glad to be reminded to live beautifully and create each and every day.
I’m not talking about the Oscar-winning song or the 3 foot end of the pool.
I’m referring to people who lack depth.
The people who only see me for what I look like. The people who are driven by status. The people who are more concerned with job titles than the purpose of what they do.
I’m not interested in your money, your condo, or where you got your degree- I want to know you as a person. I don’t care where you work, but I do want to see past your ego.
I recently met someone who never asked about my writing, my recovery, or my job. Sure, they complimented me on my appearance, but they cowered when I mentioned serious things about my life, and seemed to forget I don’t drink. Ouch.
They didn’t want to know me- they wanted to me to be what they wanted me to be.
This is common in today’s society. In a world of Real Housewives and Kardashians, it can be hard to find people who want to sit and have meaningful conversations. It doesn’t have to be serious, but I do want to know what’s underneath the exterior (and I’m not talking about getting someone naked).
I want to know where someone is at spiritually- and I want to have a good understanding of who you are– not what I want you to be.
I’ve come to a point in my life where my own boundaries and self love are greater than putting on appearances to be accepted- I would rather be rejected than be untrue to myself.
While running errands over the weekend I passed one of best things about Central Square- Graffiti Alley. Although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s some of my favorite street art in the city. Every time I walk through the magical rainbow covered walls, I notice something new. What did this mean to the artist? What were they thinking?
Then, as I reflected on purpose and meaning, I stumbled on this message today:
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. To me, purpose doesn’t have to be something grand or extravagant, but it has to be meaningful.
Purpose is what fills your soul and makes your day worthwhile. Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Graffiti Alley made me think about my own purpose- speaking to others through my own writing and art. It’s only natural for any writer or artist to fear rejection, criticism, or naysayers- however, the purpose of my work is to connect with those who understand.
Art tells a story, whether it’s a mural or a song. Although not everyone will understand the work an artist shares with the world, the art can have immense meaning; meaning that is unique to each individual.
Each time I receive an email from a person who relates to my struggles, has walked in my shoes, or needs someone to vent to, I am both overjoyed and humbled. Connecting with others on a deeper level means everything to me. From being a young girl who was bullied in school to someone who can be the voice to stand up for others, I wouldn’t want to be liked by everyone.
I would rather connect with one person on a meaningful level than 100 people for something shallow.
So, the next time I walk through Graffiti Alley, I’ll ponder the thought that went into each splatter of paint, brush stroke, and word. We may not understand the meaning that went into the art, but remember: it could mean the world to someone.
I used to be a part of AOL’s Style Network (once called StyleList) of bloggers while living in New York. One of the perks was attending exclusive events, including the Build Series. Two years ago this week, I had the pleasure of attending Hoda’s talk, who was at the AOL Headquarters promoting her book Where We Belong (I got to see Sam Waterston that day, too!). The book came at the perfect time, as I had accidentally deleted my fashion blog six days before (a happy mistake), wondering “what now?” My fashion-focused self had been much of my identity for years, but I knew it was time for something more meaningful and authentic. Little did I know, January 2016 would be the beginning of my actual writing career… or at least the foundation of it.
I took Hoda’s talk to heart that day; her stories of strength, failures, and divine timing hit close to home. Sometimes opportunities fall away or push you out, all because they weren’t in alignment with your soul’s passion. I identified as a fashion marketer and blogger for so long, that I didn’t even realize that is was okay to chose a new representative.
On to the good news! This morning it was announced that Hoda will be replacing Matt Lauer on the Today show! I couldn’t be more thrilled. Hoda will bring amazing energy to the show; even in just the short hour I was in the room with her, she had the ability to make everyone feel like her friend. That’s exactly what Today needs after Lauer’s departure… and is further proof that the future is definitely female.
Congratulations again, Hoda! From a small town girl in Virginia to a news reporter in Mississippi, she is a true inspiration to anyone following their dreams. You never know where the path will take you… but keep following your heart.
I’ve had my share break-ups over the years. That newly single feeling is strange; while part of you is happy to be free, another feels a bit lost. What will fill the new emptiness? A couple of years ago I experienced one of my worst break-ups of all:
It sounds funny, doesn’t it? It all started as a hobby in 2011, right after my San Francisco years. With a basic layout and Instagram-fed posts, I began sharing photos of bayside scenes, outfits of the day, and what I had for lunch on a Tumblr account. It was quick and simple- I didn’t bother with links or text, just photos. After a couple of years it morphed into something completely different- it was a daily documentation of my personal style.
I loved my “photo journal.” I felt every outfit, color, and scene I chose came together to tell a story, each for the reader to interpret. Every morning I would use a self-timer app on my phone to capture my outfit of the day, always in front of an interesting backdrop or within nature. The water was always my favorite place to shoot- hence the blog name, K on the Bay. From photography and editing to merchandising and marketing, my blog was my baby. It was also my identity- I could hide behind my signature shades and be whoever I wanted to be. No one else in Northern Michigan was doing anything like it at the time, so I felt my progress and impact much more than I would have in a big city. It was fun, and it felt good.
After a while I started working with small companies and up-and-coming designers (often friends of mine), helping them promote their brands by providing content. They’d give me clothes, and in return I would wear and style the pieces, provide photos, write-ups, and social media posts. Once I started to get inquiries about collaborations with bigger or more expensive brands (pieces I probably wouldn’t have bought on my own), I made sure to throw in budget items and thrift store finds as usual. I wanted my blog to be accessible for a creative, polished smart shopper.
I moved to New York in 2014 and was still blogging in full-force, but my creativity wasn’t up to par. Taking photos without people in the background was nearly impossible and I hardly strayed away from my beloved all-black ensembles. As I received more and more items that didn’t feel like “me,” I would whip up a post just to get the content out there, never to wear the pieces again. I was going against everything I stood for: authenticity and meaning. I was taking outfit photos for the sake of the photo, not because I felt strongly about the brand or actually wanted to share the pieces with others. Doesn’t that completely discredit the entire concept of influencer marketing?
It’s crucial for me to do all things with meaning, or else I won’t put in the effort at all. Blogging seemed more like a chore than a joy, and I could feel my passion rapidly fading. My intuition continued to tell me it was time to focus on something new, and slowly but surely I started to realize how meaningless all of my “stuff” was. I began downsizing after abruptly deleting my blog on New Year’s Eve 2015, started a new Tumblr, took more photos of the beautiful world around me and, most importantly, began writing from my heart. I used to only be comfortable sharing what was on the surface- oh, how freeing it is share from the soul!
Earlier this year I wrote about how a fashion girl went frugal, which was picked up by Thought Catalog. My transition into minimalism was a natural one that has lead me on a whole new path to spirituality, serenity, and self discovery. Break-ups are inevitable, but there is one relationship that will always fill the void: the relationship with yourself.
As I was journaling today I thought about a few conversations I’ve had with friends who are on similar self-discovery journeys. Most recently, we discussed our crumbling culture in the United States and how technology has pushed us away from embracing human connections, gratitude, and simplicity. Although our society may literally have the world at our fingertips thanks to smartphones, we are now longing for a deeper connection with both our planet and the world around us.
We are seeking face-to-face interactions, the smell of old books, the beauty of the sunrise, the flavors of our meal. We are beginning to realize that although it’s great to feel connected with our family and friends online, experiencing the moment is more important than documenting it. “Things” are beginning to matter less, and meaningful connections to other people and mattering more.
It’s encouraging to hear stories of the millennial generation breaking away from our society’s importance of material things and making life experiences, nature, and culture a priority over money, consumerism, and power. Money is merely a tool to get things done- once you think of it that way, it doesn’t feel like such a weight on your shoulders.
When our actions and motivations are aligned with love, money begins to flow easier, we feel lighter, and we begin to connect with the right people and places that will guide us.