I chose to take my own advice. Take a leap. Make a change. Create the reality I’d like to experience each day. Experience passion through pain and failure. Aim for my goals and take them head-first and exit my comfort cushion… abandon it in the dust with all the other favors that aren’t doing anything for me. To fight for my life. A life? What’s that?
I live in a city of dreamers, artists, inspired beings, working harder than most people to feel that joy for what they love to do. I held a mirror up to myself and asked – why am I reliant on this crutch? Simply: because it’s easy. Brainless. Stable. Since when is that a reason to exist? Where is the passion and joie de vivre? I should live a life of excitement and panic and unknown instead of waking up day to day going through calculated, premeditated motions like a lobotomized machine with no thrill to hop out of bed in the morning. I should be DO-ing. WRITE-ing. READ-ing. TRAVEL-ing. EXPLORE-ing. I should stop saying SHOULD and just DO.
I have worked in retail and within the fashion industry nearly eleven years.
I have learned as much of it as I have the capacity to; been introduced to many different companies, become fluent in the vocabulary of the sales person, acted as a manager, trained a team from two to ten, received free clothing, worked among racism, solved customer service issues, shipped hundreds of packages, survived managerial bullying, styled the average joe to a-list celebrities, built client books, worked twelve hour days, opened several stores, processed hundreds of loads of shipment, sensored thousands of items, suggested countless additional pieces to people, topped store sales goals, been featured as employee of the month, won several contests, made connections with stylists, assisted photographers, steamed thousands of articles of clothing, constructed events, sample sales, and parties, built window displays, remerchandised color stories to tables to entire storefronts, invented an inventory system, networked with fashion professionals, charmed corporate heads, served in several walk-throughs, put together weekly paperwork, boosted self confidence of women who felt uncomfortable in their own skin, taken verbal beatings from clients and superiors, smiled through customer complaints, fought for the dignity of my teammates, saved a junkie from a heroin overdose in a fitting room, survived a stray bullet through the glass window, called security multiple times in one day, met strangers who became coworkers, made coworkers into friends, turned friends into roommates, and laughed about it all after work with drinks.
I have been incredibly fortunate. I feel grateful, thankful, and lucky to have mastered a realm of work to the point where I can’t envision myself learning anything more. I have met so many incredible people who have all given me support, love, gratitude, appreciation, and well-wishes. It allowed me the comfortability to move away from a small bubble to a living, breathing, energetic city of angels. I have to show for all the hard work a set of life skills and a killer resume.
I have learned patience, responsibility, level-headedness, and strength. I have learned cooperation, compromise, and psychology. I have learned honesty, bravery, and communication. I have learned compassion, understanding, and dedication.
I have learned that boredom is an unacceptable way to live. Without personal freedom you create a personal prison around your willpower, and you constrict your dreams until they are unrecognizably scary. I have learned that when you feel that slight heating of the inner flame that ignites when you think about your dreams --- what it is you could do, for the rest of your life and feel eager and excited to do each and every day --- you must nurture it, and not let it fan out, or it may be months, or even years, until you get the courage to recognize its warmth again.
I am a writer, and I must write. I don’t care where the text goes, I don’t care where or how I start – all I care about, is that I start. And I have mustered the strength and the courage to call a cease fire of all distractions – to quit what I am doing, what steals my strength away and deadens my soul, and to give that strength back to it. To nurture the flame, until it’s burning so hot I can’t sleep at night for fear I’ll forget to write something down. I have big plans and achievable goals – with a children’s book on the way, a novel, a screenplay, and the borders of National Geographic framing the outline for the target, I have much work ahead.
It is important that I share this lesson and this teaching to you. You mustn’t doubt or question your power. I have learned that inside myself, as it is inside of you --- there is an unstoppable force that refuses to quiet itself when focused on the thing it most wants. That force propels that energy full speed ahead, and the Universe allows it the path to get there. So if your energy is living in a space of worry, fear, anxiety, stress, or doubt, becoming the focus of your path --- that is the direction you’re heading. But if you choose to shift those thoughts into confidence, belief, excitement, anticipation, and you visualize it all just working out, and you imagine yourself achieving – living, breathing, experiencing, everything you want--- that is when your thoughts become things, and those things become actions, and those actions literally follow the road map the direction you want it to go. You are unstoppable. You have that in you. Whether you are working a corporate job and you can’t imagine being able to quit and travel : you can. Whether you are in an unhealthy relationship and fear you aren’t worthy to find someone better : you can. Whether you are afraid you may fail at experimenting to find what you love to do so you just don’t do it : not choosing is still a choice. Choosing to stay put, to continue that momentum you are currently living, perpetuates what you have been living day to day. We must change our actions and our way of thinking if we want a different outcome. Expecting a different outcome from doing the same thing over and over again is naïve, ignorant, and useless. Not choosing is still a choice.
Life is too short, my friends. It could all end tomorrow, it could all be over. If you were to look back on your life today, right now, in this moment, truly --- what would your first thought be? Your first feeling? Would you feel proud? Excited? Accomplished? Would you feel you fought for yourself? For your life? Would you wish you had started sooner? Would you start a list of things you could start now, tonight, tomorrow, that would take steps in the direction of changing your path and changing your life? You can, and you are worthy. Treat yourself as you would treat your favorite friend. Coach yourself as you would a sibling. Without your own happiness, you aren’t capable of fulfilling someone else’s happiness. We are all in charge of ourselves, and our own happiness. Without nurturing that flame and minding your own soul, you cannot possibly nurture another.
And let me tell you, it is better late than never – because you can always sit back and examine the past and choose the lessons you’ve learned and admire your strength and courage in order to breed more strength and courage moving forward toward new challenges. Courage, dear lion heart – you are worthy, you can do it. It’s a revolutionary evolution, and you have to change your mindset to change your life, change your life to change your mindset.
I am ready, I am leaping, I have jumped.
Goodbye, last day of retail.
Hello, first day of writing for the rest of my life.