Don’t Quit Your Daydream ||
Although I was technically born in the Seventies, I’m a child of the Eighties, through and through. “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith came out in 1988 when I was 10 years old and I knew I was not going to be anyone’s secretary! I mean, come on, I saw women in power suits with shoulder pads and big earrings with matching necklaces and I was going be like those women and do something important with my life. First, I set my sights on becoming a lawyer, then somewhere along the line changed it to psychologist. The latter I think because my family was so dysfunctional that someone had to learn how to fix their heads! But I was not going to struggle, like I watched my Mom, and I was not going to depend on a man. “I can do it myself” has been ingrained in my brain long before I ever had a toddler to utter those fierce, and often times painful, words to me. I had a plan.
My major in college: Art History.
Hmm, you may be thinking right now. Maybe even turning your head sideways as you reread it: Art History. I feel like that just deserves its own line to be stared at and pondered. Somewhere in between grade school and college application time, I got soft—even worse, I got romantic about what I was going to study and what I could do with a degree in art. I had grand visions of traveling the world, speaking beautiful european languages (with great ease and fluency, of course), drinking fine, expensive wines and having long, culturally relevant conversations with great thinkers and handsome men. Yes, that was what I was going to do. Unfortunately, I quickly learned after graduation that I didn’t want to teach or work in a museum, and in all practicality, even though my degree was from UCLA, I didn’t have actual training to do any one thing. I certainly loved a lot of things— writing, interior design, event planning, photography, acting—but lacked the real world experience and technical training to do something about it. At least that’s what I told myself. Really, I was terrified to try. So instead, I coasted through substitute teaching and bartending for awhile and then it happened: The Great Meltdown of 2004.
Ahhh, the great meltdown, although not particularly uncommon or spectacular, sent me on a journey across the country that would change the course of my life. In 2004, I was living in an adorable back-house cottage I could no longer afford, was working at a job that I didn’t love and the boy I thought I loved didn’t love me back. Classic story. Except, I packed my bags and fled to NYC, a city I’d never been to and didn’t know even one single soul. I showed up at my Craigslist-found room mate’s doorstep in Flatbush, Brooklyn with $72 in my checking account, two suitcases, and a fear and exhilaration in my heart that I’d never known in the first quarter of my life.
But New York, that’s it’s own chapter. It just is. Perhaps a tale to tell at a later date when I can do it justice. The moral is that somehow, I finagled my way into Bridal Guide magazine, first as an intern, and then as an assistant editor and eventually an associate editor. I loved that job to my core, but eventually I fell out of love with New York, and wanted to come back home, to California. Sadly, but true, it was partially for a boy. And again, not “the one!” That too, is another story! By that time, my daughter was almost three and it was the right time and the right move for us. Leaving that job however, crushed me and took with it the part of me that believed in myself. I left behind my feeling of purpose and self-worth when I left that job in NYC, and it’s taken me the better part of five years to get it back—but not in the way I thought I would.
Instead of trying to control every move I make and every situation, I started letting life take it’s course—turns out, it had a way better plan than I ever did. Luckily, I was smart enough to stay out of it’s way when necessary and ready to jump on board when the opportunities presented themselves. Most importantly, I stopped worrying about what other people would think, or that I was living up to my potential or their expectations. When I considered my own happiness, I decided I wanted to open a children’s event planning company, so I started doing catering on the side to spy on other companies, which led me right into an art gallery, where I’m now using that useless art history degree! And the writing, that’s always been mine, and it fills a part of me, a need in my soul, that no other human or activity can. It’s my zen, and once I stopped worrying about what people thought, I just went for it, and here I am on CuteMomBlog.com, doing exactly what I want to be doing. Funny how that happens when you let it.
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m realizing that this mishmash of things that make me happy and feed my soul matter far more than the title on my diploma or a byline in a magazine. This life is short, and we owe ourselves at least that. And maybe a few great meltdowns for good measure.