As some of you may already know, a few months ago I started a very difficult yet rewarding journey. On this ‘crusade,’ and I use that word because it literally felt like one, I found myself at one of my lowest lows trying to understand the mess I was in while in it. Today I can say that I officially fulfilled the dream that I created at my lowest point. To retell the story of where everything began is a long one so I will skip over the beginning and start somewhere in the middle.
In university I studied computer science. As a senior in high school I had convinced myself that computer science was the way to go. Maybe I was looking for acceptance or maybe I was looking to legitimize myself to myself, but in either case, the decision I made wasn’t one that ultimately made my happy while at school. And, it was a decision that I later realized was based off of me looking to please others through my own skewed vision.
So, at 18 years old I entered university set up to get my degree in computer science at arguably one of the toughest computer science programs in the United States. This was obviously not a great thing for someone who would later realize her passion wasn’t computer science at all. By the end of freshman year I started to have my doubts. By the end of sophomore year, I was really ready to change majors but couldn’t find a way out that would leave me satisfied so I stayed and fought my way through for two more years.
At age 22 I had shed quite a few tears over my major and probably added a lot of future wrinkles to my skin somewhere in the forehead region. But, I got a piece of paper. Actually, a huge one with my name stamped on it and the official Carnegie Mellon University seal. At this point you’d think my journey would be over and I would have wiped my hands clean of computer science and gone off to pursue my passion, fly over rainbows, and hiccup pots of gold. Totally wrong.
To fully understand what’s going on we have to dial back a couple decades. My real passion and talent has always be in the creative world. Frankly, math and science weren’t my strong suits. They just were things I had convinced myself to do. I had always been involved in the arts in some form or another. In fifth grade I wrote in my yearbook that the profession I wished to have when ‘grown up’ (Does that ever happen? I hope not.) was that of a fashion designer. I had a little sketch book that I would draw designs in and mark out the types of fabric, etc. for each piece. Somewhere along the way that dream got lost.
In high school I began to get pulled into high fashion. I would spend hours after school pour over fashion and model sites on the internet. I even got so obsessed with the Balenciaga SS 2007 collection that I took a trip to the New York City store to get a glimpse of a dress I was lusting over. Of course, all the while I was setting sights on something ‘real’ and ‘concrete’ as a future major in university and furthered to illegitimize the creative world I longed for. So as you know, I entered school to study computer science and graduated. What I did manage to pick up along the way was an extremely wonderful internship at Diana Misetic where I got to work on her couture creations, some costume design classes, and time to work on my own sewing and accessory projects. In fact, the spring of my senior year I largely dedicated to sewing and crafting.
Shortly after graduation from university, I started to work for a well known IT company as a technical consultant. I jetted around the country spending four days a week in hotels and worked on projects that I thought could maybe, just maybe, make a small difference. At first it was exciting and I was more than happy to be in environment that fostered learning. But, soon I found myself trapped under the same unhappy rock I was under in college. This one was slightly different in that it involved being very lonely in hotel rooms, living off of an expense account that while nice, could never replace having a real kitchen or place to go back to and be able to do my hobbies in.
And so, last April I was at my lowest low. I had no idea what was going on in my life. I had literally gone mad. Yes, mad. Actually mad. I had completely lost control of my life and no longer understood who I was. I was depressed and to put the cherry on top of it all, was having a worrying medical problem that just added to the mess. By June I had to take time off to get my life back into shape. During this week, I took the first steps of my life 180 by cancelling the apartment lease that kept me tied to a place I could no longer be happy in. By July I started to crack, but this time, in a very good way. By August I had moved back to New York and by the first week in September I had sealed the deal on a dream job in the fashion industry.
At the end of October I found myself living in Los Angeles with a month to breath and be free of any work for the first time in ages. Today, I started my dream job. A job that finally would satisfy the analytical person I had grown into and the creative person I’ve always been. I am finally truly happy.
How was this all possible? To start, I lost it. Losing it was completely necessary for me to gain perspective on what was driving me to be actively making my life go in the opposite direction I wanted it to move in. After I discovered my limiters and began to take the metaphorical blinders off, I was finally able to clearly see my dream, shape it, and then eventually make it my reality. I know today is just the beginning of something big. I can only hope to make the exciting journey ahead of me one that is completely enjoyable. And yes, I mean completely because although there are setbacks, I know that there really is something great at the end of the tunnel if you dare to dream it.
I honestly wish you all the biggest and greatest dreams.
This blog post was a difficult one to write for several reasons. Firstly, it’s extremely difficult to write about how your failures have created the foundation for you to fulfill your dream. Secondly, it’s really hard to admit to yourself (and to the public, but mostly yourself) that you did, in a way, in fact fail… writing it down for the world to read makes it very real. Thirdly, this is an extremely personal post and personal posts aren’t ones I ever really make. Lastly, I really struggled to encompass this story in a way that would make sense and I’m not sure I will honestly ever be able to fully explain what I have felt along the way.