If you’re a reader of my blog, then you know I have been struggling a lot with my identity in my own world of chronic pain, on and off depression, and anxiety. Most of you know I’m a model by profession and even fewer probably know I have a passion for writing. I’ve been mentioning a novel I’ve been working on and some of you know it’s been an ongoing process for the past 15 years or so. The very same novel that has been on my New Year’s resolution list since high school. And I’m finally . . . finally doing something about it.
Everything happened so fast, yet it took time to find out exactly what it is that I want to do. Every good, every bad thing that happened in the past is the reason for this pursuit. I’ve hit countless of obstacles. I’ve hit my darkest of times. I’ve even hit rock bottom to the point where moping around feeling hopeless was far greater than the act of digging myself out from the dark hole. From my surgeries, to dealing with chronic pain, to adapting to a new lifestyle, to graduating and working for my dad and dreading it, to modeling and being thrown into a wild ride of self-esteem issues and beginning to have a really poor relationship to food, to my dad dying and losing myself.
This is where the change in myself jumped. The death of my dad was the biggest turning point of my life. Forget the fact that I had a surgery to prevent a potential death or paralysis that changed how I live life and didn’t at all help ease any pain. Forget the fact that those surgeries are the reason why I’ve suffered from chronic pain since 2005 and the fact that it led to many dark times in my youth. Losing my dad was the hardest thing I had to do. I had to be an adult real fast, even though I was already considered an adult at the age of 27. I had to rely on myself. I had to learn how to navigate through life without my dad’s guidance and wisdom. In all honesty, I’m still weaving in and out when I should be heading straight.
I’m one of the lucky ones who never had to worry about money as a child, who didn’t have to work too hard as a teenager, who didn’t have to work to pay for college, and who basically just graced through life just enough to get by. Many people see me as someone born from a silver spoon. Many people see me as spoiled – to be honest, I was – I’m the youngest in the family and my parents were very lenient with me. Especially, when I had my first surgery and all my attention was put towards surviving another day of life. But what people don’t see is the fact that my parents treated me like a delicate flower, they didn’t push me to excel, they didn’t show me how to budget money, they didn’t teach me the basic survival skills of life. When he died, everything in me died too. I mean, I know I lost a big chunk of my spirit when I had my first surgery. But after my dad’s death, I 100% lost myself.
So, I quit the family business and hopped on a plane to Asia with my supporting husband and it was the BEST decision I’ve ever made. I intended to be gone more than a year, but I cut it short and it was only a 9-month journey. Still pretty long and still as effective. I learned more about myself within those nine months than I did when I was stuck at the office. I know I don’t want an office job. I know I want to inspire others and entertain. I know I want to ride this creative journey out for as long as I am able. I know I want to write this novel I’ve been working on for YEARS and I’ve finally adapted a plan instead of a New Year’s Resolution goal. A goal of 5,000 words per month, ending in December with over 50,000 words for my first draft. I know just completing the first draft is only a step towards more work. I know that in order to reach the success you want, you’ve got to work for it.
Throughout my 27 years of life with my dad, I never had to work too hard, and when I went on that journey, I found myself. I inspired myself. I motivated myself. And through the people I met along the way, they lifted me up, they challenged me. I’m not just that girl who lives in chronic pain trying to navigate through life anymore. I have the potential to be more than who I was when my dad was alive. I have the potential to be more than who I am . . . right now.
So I’m taking a stand. And although, it took me a great deal amount of time, I’m branching out in my career. I’m making progress as adult me.
Typically it would take me years to work up the courage to start something new or do something I’ve had the urge to do, but was too frightened in the moment type thing. I mean, it took me 7 years to seek help for my depression, but by the time I saw a therapist my depression turned into anxiety. It took me 5 years to quit the family business, but more so the death of my father to push me out the door. It took me 5 years to live abroad for a good chunk of time, a thought I’d imagined myself doing post graduation instead of being guilted into working for the family business. It took me years to work up the courage to step in front of agents to get signed. With that being said, I am proud to say that I am not only with the print and runway division of MP Management Chicago, but also I finally worked up the courage to audition for the on-screen division at Stewart Talent back in 2016 – side note within the three years of being with them – I haven’t done much speaking auditions up until this year, due to fear – AND NOW, after 4 years of putting the final part into action, I am now under the parts division with Stewart Talent. Back in 2015, when I first signed with Factor Women, now called SELECT MODEL MANAGEMENT, I made it my goal to be on all four boards: print, runway, parts, and on-screen and I’m SO happy to say that I did it!
Like I said though, I’m making significant progress! This year I’ve become more invested in myself and in my career. I mean, I hit a snag in the road since my return and my measurements are not like they used to be, but that’s another story. I made a pact with myself that I would be more serious about the on-screen division and say YES – even though I’m frightened AF and I quickly learned just how much anxiety I have every time I have any kind of audition. I thought, in order for me to be comfortable speaking in front of a camera or in front of people, I need more practice. So, I signed up for improv classes through Second City. It took me a whole week of self-doubting myself and saying yes, I’ll do it to the nerve-wracking and making up excuses not to do so anxiety driven stress. But, in a single moment of courage, I registered for a class. And busted out in a little dance of success! I’m still a work in progress though. That little win is no match for my anxiety towards creating a vlog. I’ve been wanting to create one for about 2 years now, and have yet to post anything. I have some videos of me, sure, but none worth posting. Plus, I’m scared – obviously. Blogging is one thing. I’m hiding behind my words. You’re reading, you’re not watching or listening to me. I’m not feeling judged by you. I can delete what I said and no one would ever know. But when you’re on, you’re on and you can’t take that back. I really need to learn how to edit videos – this is also one of my biggest deterrents. So, I’m trying to vlog! Hopefully, I post something before this year is over. Better yet, before this month is over.
Aside from model life and working up the courage to do a vlog video on my YouTube channel, writing is like a full time job. I’ve got the blog, which I regret to admit that I’ve been sorely lacking. Honestly though, I am trying to do better. And knowing that I want to pick up vlogging will add extra work on my part. Procrastination runs deep in my bones and it’s so easy to push things aside and become a mindless drone. Especially, if you’re going through some social anxiety, self-esteem issues, all the while trying to manage your chronic pain so you don’t feel drained after a few hours of work. Also, why I don’t see myself working a 9-5 office job. As an aspiring writer, I realized I didn’t make a dent in this world of writing, I don’t have anything, but this blog and to establish yourself, writers typically resort to submitting their work to journals and contests and I have zero experience under my belt. I wasn’t really pursuing writing until now and I feel like with everything going on in my life, I don’t have time to create more short stories to submit my work and put myself out there. Putting myself out there is so scary and here I am trying to work up the courage into creating a single video for my vlog.
Writing a first draft novel is very much like life itself. You’ve got your ups and downs. You’ve got periods where you’re stuck and facing a bit of writer’s block. You’ve even got those low moments of self-doubt and the even higher moments where you’re floating on cloud nine and enjoying the ride. Every journey has it’s ups and downs. But every journey has their bright side.
I know I have mine and I know I have the potential to do great things. All that’s left for me to do is believe in myself and have faith that everything will work out. Because in the end, everything has a way of working out. Life is funny that way. Bad things can happen when you least expect it, but at the same time good things make their way through your life in the most subtle ways.
here i am, starting fresh and branching out,