Categories
authenticity empowerment self discovery

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.

Categories
moon phases

Full Circle- New Moon and NYC

My four year anniversary of moving to New York City is coming up on June 18th.  Is it still an anniversary if you don’t live there anymore?  Not sure.

Nevertheless, I flew in on a Wednesday night.  The following Thursday morning, I headed to my apartment on 98th and Broadway, sight unseen, where 10 boxes were waiting for me with the doorman.  I had seen the apartment on a Skype tour with my roommate/landlord, emailed and texted with the other girls who lived there, and while this action would not seem logical (or even safe) to most, it made perfect sense to me.  Mailing a check for $1,550 to a stranger?  Sure.  I just knew everything would be fine.

Intuition has gotten me through everything.  Everything.

The day I moved in, I unpacked a few things and headed down the street to get lunch.  I found a place nestled on Amsterdam and 96th with TVs.

There were more people than I would have expected at the bar, eating wings and intently watching some kind of game.  Oh- soccer.  I liked soccer.

I didn’t even understand the importance or care about the World Cup four summers ago when I moved to NYC, but it quickly became my favorite thing.  Why?  Easy- it was socially accepted to go to the bar at noon and eat nachos with cute boys on the Upper West Side.

I met one in particular- Moshe, but he went by Mo- who was from Toronto and lived just north of me on 111th.  We met on my first Saturday in the city when I went to the ‘dam (which has since closed) over eggs benedict and grilled cheese.  He asked me out to dinner that night, and soon after he became one of my favorite summer companions.  World Cup games, Long Island pool days, and Sundays in Riverside Park.

We’re still buddies.

That brings me to my weekend plans- and how much times have changed.

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On Friday afternoon I am heading back to NYC for the weekend- yet I didn’t even consider that it would be the four year mark of my big move.  It feels very appropriate; the New Moon in Gemini, a different Kristin, and of course, coming full circle.

It has not been an easy four years, but I am excited to enjoy a weekend in the city with an entirely new perspective.  Not one with a broken heart like the broken heart I had when I arrived June 18th, 2014 and when I left July 25th, 2016, but with a happy, whole one.

A heart that is grateful.  A heart that knows she doesn’t need boys, beer, or bars.  A heart that is content within herself.

I know my behavior was reckless when I lived there.  I know that.  I am grateful to have gotten out alive (quite literally).  However, those memories are pieces of my life that shaped me into the tough little cookie I am today.  I’ve learned I don’t need to be tough all of the time, though- only when I need to be.

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I couldn’t be told that, though.  I had to learn for myself.

Happy New Moon, everyone.  Let’s set intentions, dream big, and move forward- even when we second guess ourselves.  This is a time to keep going- to keep moving forward with those projects and goals.

I used to avoid success through dating and drinking, and guess what?  It didn’t work.  The Universe knew there was something bigger for me, and I trust that.

“It’s never too late- never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.” -Jane Fonda

Categories
self discovery

Along Harrison and 24th

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Oh, how time flies… and how things change (yet stay the same).

It’s hard to believe I have officially been freelancing for a DECADE.  Back in 2008, my friend Steve and I started a small marketing company where we bartered with local businesses in San Francisco.

Steve made a little “nook” in the bay window that looked out onto 24th and Harrison.  It was there where we worked on our first website for Starboard Marketing, and where we used to eat, drink, and be merry.  That year, we threw a Chinese-themed party for the Olympics Opening Ceremony, played Sarah Palin Bingo, and watched the Giants play terribly (but loved them anyway)- we had no idea what their fate would be in 2010.

Above his apartment in the Mission District we also brewed beer, lovingly referred to as “Harrison Brewing Company.”  We named our first brew, a blonde ale, after his golden retriever, Mackerel.  We also made a hefeweizen that year named “Obam’ale,” which we (probably illegally) brought to the polls with us on election night.

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We thought we may be able to nab the new ice cream shop below his apartment, which we watched open as the retro stools were installed and the signs went up. He got their mail delivered to his address before they got their own, and were excited to run downstairs and try their “Secret Breakfast” ice cream after they opened. That ice cream shop is now the famed Humphry Slocombe.

From massage therapists and local restaurants to fashion designers and mobile shopping apps, my work has definitely changed over the years.  However, my heart still feels the same- I will only work with brands, causes, and companies I am passionate about.  Life is too short to not to do what you love.

7 cities and 10 years later, I’m still loving entrepreneurship, writing, and cultivating connections all over the world.  I’m beyond grateful for having a wild soul and free spirit that made me fearless and ready to take chances over these past 10 years.

2008 may have been a great year, but 2018 will be even better. 

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Starboard Marketing, Mack Dogg Ale, and
Categories
authenticity self discovery

Hiding Behind the Skyscrapers and Dreams

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The beginning of the end of my New York era begins with a weekend in Hoboken.

Ah, memories.

It’s hard to believe it’s been two whole years since that Memorial Day.  It was my third time in New Jersey, second time in Hoboken, and first time eating a Taylor ham sandwich.  I had a week-long relationship with a Jersey boy, who had me over for a Memorial Day celebration which I ultimately ruined thanks to showing up late, drinking too much, and then sleeping through dinner- where I was supposed to make scallops.

Oops.

After two days across the river and one final goodbye to the Jersey boy, I took PATH back to the city on a bright Sunday morning, feeling empty inside.  Going home to no one, clueless as to what I would do with myself for the next two days, I immediately walked into an Astoria bar after taking the below picture.

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I hid my pain well- unless you were one of the few who saw the way I lived my life.

Although I was smiling in that photo, inside I was in pieces.  At that point I was almost ready to face myself and stop hiding behind the hustle and bustle, drinking and dates- but not quite.

New York is an easy place for dreamers to hide- but when those dreams are broken, it’s time to live in reality and create new ones.

I’m feeling grateful this Memorial Day to be able to make peace with my past.  I’m also grateful to finally say goodbye to the old Kristin- the Kristin who was so scared and alone.  The girl who ran toward comfort yet pushed it away.  The girl who wasn’t sure what she wanted, and didn’t know if she would ever find out.

The Jersey boy couldn’t fix me.  He wanted to try, but it only lasted seven days.  A job, apartment, friend, family member, or therapist couldn’t fix me, either.  I had to step out of the skyscraper shadow, look in the mirror, and fix myself.

and I am so glad I did.

“Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers, across thousands of high walls, the fearful cry of a too-well-known voice finds you in your insomnia in the middle of the night, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island of un-reality.”

-Albert Camus

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Categories
mindfulness

San Francisco Soul

Ten years ago today I moved outside of Michigan for the first time in my life.  Taking a one way flight to SFO, I moved in with two girls I had never met, into an apartment I had only seen in photos.  Making a major life decision based on intuition, I felt an amazing feeling of euphoria for the first time in my life: it was a feeling of freedom.

A chance to start new.  A city to be free to find myself.

I had just called off my wedding and knew there was a lot more out there for me; but I had no idea what that would be.  Little did I know what a winding path I would have since that April evening!  My first days, months, and year in San Francisco was such a special time in my life- one that I will never, ever forget. ✨

Never be scared to follow your intuition and take risks- your heart knows that way.