Five years ago I left my corporate career behind and set sail on what I imagined would be a transformative journey (I didn't know how life-changing it would be.) I felt strong, cool and rebellious, moving from Corporate America and my high rise apartment in NYC to a single studio in London while travelling the world and studying. People would be in awe of my courage for I was doing something most wouldn't. (I hope you see where this is going). I considered myself to be a baad chic!
A year into my sabbatical, I started acting out; spending my life savings with no regard to generating future income. I kept saying "live in the moment". The mere mention of going back to work gave me the heebie-geebies. Work was for the faint at heart, working a 9-5 (or 7-7 as had been my pattern) was for suckers. I was a disinterred artist who roamed the streets of Europe by day and partied at night, then bragged about it to those following my blog at the time. Hey, I had a story to tell and people who wanted to read so I had to create a life.
Friends encouraged me to slow down; reminded me that I was pretty loose with my finances. They saw the train-wreck before it happened. But I didn't hear them. Actually, I did hear them but I interpreted their advise as envy (it's amazing the stories we allow ourselves to believe when in denial).
When life got too hard in Europe, I decided to run to LA- the home of the famous. Surely, LA could feed my inflated ego. And initially it did. The day I moved here. I purchased my dream car: a brand new, red, convertible Jeep Wrangler. It was a perfect accessory to my big Blonde fro'. I was the Shizz!!! I'd ride around in that car, top down and watch people watch me. Inflated ego-remember? I should also add that I still refused to get a job. DAS-Delusional Artist Syndrome. I wanted to say, "I'm an artist" and hear it sound cool but didn't want to live the artist life. Artist don't buy brand -new Jeeps, live in luxury apartments and dine on Katsuya weekly. Artist sacrifice, get creative with their acquisitions and live for the idea of exploring their creativity. I lived for what I could achieve. By the way- there never was a strong identity with any particular art form. I tried photography because my brother was great at it, I attempted painting because it's just so groovy to be paint- splattered in overalls while coloring on a wall and writing was just so mature. Not to say that I wasn't good at any of the previous options. In fact, the more I practiced these forms, the better I became. But, again, I wasn't practicing for the love of the medium. I was practicing for the image. No pity here-just keeping it real with my thought process at the time.
A year into LA I lost it all. The luxury apartment in We-Ho became a one room studio in Hollywood (that I shared with a friend for awhile). The beautiful, Red Jeep became public transportation in Los Angeles. Surprised? I didn't think so. I finally accepted that it was time to get a job. But again, I denied my true talent and refused to marry corporate America so I was not applying for full-time work. When people looked at my resume, they wondered why I was applying for such a position when surely I was skilled in a role with triple the responsibility. I kept my misguided story, "I want to explore something that will allow me to create outside of work. My artistic endeavours come first in my life and I wouldn't want to sacrifice them." Not true - I just wanted to go to the Farmers Market on Sundays and profile. Still living that lie.
I had to hit rock bottom before I decided to face myself. And everyones rock bottom is different. Mine didn't come when I lost the money and all the stuff. My rock-bottom came when I lost the most beautiful relationship I'd ever had.
For the first time I had someone tell me to look within. And as the story goes, what I saw made me cringe. It was all about public perception. I kept accumulating things and people to keep my image intact and eventually took on a persona that was worlds away from who I truly was. If you would peek inside, you'd see a mass of confusion, like that movie, The Joneses with Demi Moore- great portrayal of the truth vs. the stories we tell.
While suffering for a few years, falling even harder once I saw myself and loosing someone that I treasured dearly (I realize that I never lost this person. They simply had a message to deliver and even if the pain seemed unbearable-the joy of confronting oneself is worth every tear) I have come back home where my heart has always been, where truth resides and where I can be real about my talent in all areas of life-including Corporate America.
I've accepted that I'm a Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress and sometimes a Harley Davidson biker boot and that's OK, but it takes a J.O.B. to afford either. I've also stopped the illusions; strip mall sushi is good and Katsuya has a wonderful happy hour. I enjoy photography but since selling my cameras when I went broke, I haven't practiced. Painting is therapy and Writing is my release. I'm talented in many areas of life and denying any for the sake of "The Story" is unfair to the world and to myself. Life is simple now. I am able to relax into the person I know myself to be sans ego and watch as joy and wonder unfold from a place of truth.
Thanks for reading.