Monday, June 13, 2016

The World is Yours '16

A month ago today, I walked across my school's stage and finally received my college degree. And in fashion merchandising at that. Getting a higher education is probably the greatest thing I could've done for myself. But the most important things that I've learned through my college experience weren't from sitting in a classroom. It was the experiences in my journey outside of lecture halls that have ultimately changed me. The passions I've acquired, the people I've met a long the way, and learning the importance of getting to know yourself are the things I owe all my personal growth to. But I truly believe I wouldn't have been able to understand the profundity of this of this journey had I not gone through it in college. 

In following your dreams. You know those things you think about when you're not doing what you love to do. It's scary to think about how hard it may be to accomplish those things that seem so far fetched. But isn't it scarier to think they'll never leave the premises of your imagination? For a majority of my life, I thought I wanted to be journalist and my school happened to have one of the top 10 journalism schools in the country. Two years into college I was finally able to take my first journalism course and I hated every minute of it. There was no way I wanted to make a career out of this. I had always loved writing, but not in this structured way. There was nothing else I really liked to do that I thought I could make an acceptable career out of. I thought about the things I loved to do which included listening to music, eating, reading, and creating outfits. Especially creating outfits. But it was ridiculous to think that someone could go to school for that... ah, but alas! Fashion merchandising was an offered major at the school. I was afraid about what my parents would think if I changed to this major. I know people weren't going to respect it in the same sense they respected a biology or finance major. I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to find a job from something like this. But none of that mattered to me because all I cared about was being happy. Now I'm going to be starting my internship with Nordstrom's in a week and I couldn't be more excited to start my career this way. I never would have been able to learn the things  I've learned about the thing I love most had I not gone to college for it, and now I can completely be the best I can be in this industry. It was 1000% the best choice I could've made for myself.

There is a reason why we feel deeply when think about our dreams. And that's because it's apart of who we are. If we don't do what it is that we love to do, then we are cheating ourselves out of our destiny, we are cheating others out of an opportunity to be inspired by our gift, and we are cheating ourselves out of a truly fulfilling life. I've seen so many of my peers choose majors based on the foundation that the job that is said to follow will garuntee them a gracious pay check. I've watched other peers choose majors on account of being afraid that what they really want to do wouldn't work out. Fear and money. Are those really the only things we've been taught to live by?  You deserve everything you've ever wanted in life, and it all starts with your decision to go out and get it. If you don't make your own choices, the world will make them for you.

In accepting accomplishments, as well as failures. I think the first time we got a sense of what that meant ins through the grading system. An A = success. An F = Failure. And some how along the way we start to parallel our grades with who we are as people. Which is really messed up. While grades do measure our level of understanding and ability/willingness to study a particular topic, they do not measure our capabilities as people. You are capable of literally anything and everything. All it takes is your willingness, your time, and your energy. You may not get everything right the first time. That's ok. Accomplishments are permanent. Failures are not. Their only purpose is to work as coaches that yell "how bad do you want it?!" in your ear. Listen to your coach, and watch yourself grow. Take pride in your baby steps, as it is a payment of your efforts and it is putting you another step closer to accomplishing your goals.

In people. One of the greatest things I've learned on this journey. A lot of people, especially women, go to college with the hopes of find their soulmates and someone to spend the rest of their lives with. I found exactly that in all of the people who I am now lucky enough to call my best friends. I have to owe the best parts of myself today to the best friends I made in college. While our backgrounds and personalities that are extremely diverse, these people have given me nothing but added value and happiness during our experiences with one another. How rare is it to find people who ask for nothing from you but your presence, and give you everything you didn't know you needed in yourself? It has allowed me to become this open person that I didn't know how to be because I'm so very used to being a guarded and protective person when it comes to myself. In contrast, I've also experienced having toxic people in my life for the first time. They are the opposite of the people I've just described above. They are difficult to spot, however, as they are usually people that you care about, and are therefore often hard to let go. They'll hinder you from furthering yourself in your personal journey because of their ability to take your light and good energy away from you. Anyone who has the ability to turn you into someone you don't like is a toxic person. And these people do not deserve a second of the small amount time you are granted in this life. Invest your energy into people that ALWAYS make you feel good inside and who make it easy for you to keep your light glowing. Be with people who value others, love, and value the same things that you hold valuable to your heart. Letting go is difficult, but once you realize there are far more good people in the world that value you vs. this one toxic individual, cutting that cord will be a piece of cake. Surround yourself with a few good people who love you deeply, make laughing a priority, and most importantly allow being yourself to be the easiest thing you'll ever do.

In overcoming tribulation. We are probably never going to stop experiencing things we wish we hadn't. That's just what comes with life. In my 23 years of living, I've experienced a lot more tribulation than I would ever wish on the most undeserving person. But I truly do believe that everything happens for a reason. One of those reasons being that you're granted the ability to help people who are going through similar problems they wish to overcome. Another being because there are lessons that only pain teach us, and you can't become who you're meant to be until you learn those lessons. And another is because we have to experience these things because they will help us to be sure sure to value the blessings that we are to receive later in life. Pain is something only we as individuals can battle within ourselves, but it teaches us how to fight. And you want to fight for your life because it's the only one you've got...but it's yours all the same. Some wounds take longer to heal than others, while others never really do and just leave a scar. However, dwelling on your pain is only going keep you stagnant and resistant to growth. I've learned how to honor and find value in the things and the people that have hurt me throughout my life instead of festering hate towards them. I was able to become a much happier person in doing that. Be thankful for your tribulations. They love you, too.

In loving yourself. It's one of the most difficult things anyone will ever accomplish in their lives at 100%. We all have things about ourselves that we don't like and wish we could change. I believe a big reason for that is because we are so afraid of what other people are think about us. But isn't it a lot more work in pretending to be someone that you aren't, or doing/saying things that don't feel natural to you? I'm telling you. Contrary to popular belief, being yourself is probably the easiest thing you'll ever do. Who cares if he doesn't like your dress, or she doesn't like the way you wear your makeup? Who cares if they think your music is weird? Doesn't it make you happy? At the end of the day, even When people have had their piece to say about how you're choosing to live your life, they're not actually going to care because they're so focused on their own lives. Haven't you ever watched a video of somebody doing something extremely embarrassing and thought "man, I feel really bad for that guy", and then forgot all about it the next day? And even though it's irrelevant to you now, the guy in the video is probably spending a lot of time and energy dwelling over that video for weeks. What people think about you is literally irrelevant to what you are doing and where you're going. Don't let them have son much control over the way you desire to live. If you don't like something about yourself, then just change it! But do it for yourself. Don't live for other people, unless you love them. And that includes yourself. 

In spirituality. I'm not a religious person whatsoever. But I do believe in God, and I do believe there is life after this one. One of the greatest things I have also accomplished during my time here was learning to trust in Him. Hard work has gotten me all of the things I've wanted, but it was through prayer and good faith that I was instilled the desire and drive to want to work hard. I rarely worry about things now because God has always seen me through once I've rested my problems in His hands. These pictures are a testament to that. My happiness is a testament to that. The way I love and value others is a testament to that. My dreams are coming true because I chose God over fear or money or power. I don't think you have to believe in God to know that there's something bigger than yourself out there. The sky, the ocean, mountains, the universe, and the human race is a testament to that. I believe that God has made no one's destiny greater than someone else's, as we all have the opportunity to change someone's life no matter how small that change may be. It's still a difference. He makes no mistakes. He reminds me that I have a purpose, and I don't think I would have been able to recognize that without getting to know Him. I hold onto God because He holds onto me. It's the least I could do.

In being black. And in being a woman. Both of the most difficult things one be. I won't spend a lot of time talking about it because I get too passionate and this paragraph will turn into something else. But I've found a unique, profound power in both while also finding a blinding rage. I can't make you understand either until you've been either, especially growing up and living in the South. Times have changed but they also haven't. Exploitation comes with the territory of both. So does an exposition to underestimation and suffering that you can't find in any other groups of people. But I will say this. There is also a unity and pride that you've never felt under any other circumstance before. When you focus on the good parts of being each, you can learn how to channel the negative emotions in a positive way. Find pride in who and what you are, no matter what that is. It is what gives you the power to be you.

In taking happiness. The easiest way to do that is just to live. And I'm not talking about abiding by a daily routine of living just to get a paycheck. I mean go out into the world and have experiences. Wake up and have a random adventure from time to time. Travel and experience the people outside of the life you know. Love someone with every fiber of your soul without thinking about the chance of getting hurt. Eat something you've never eaten before. Tell people how you really feel. Only hold onto the good things, and let go of the things you can't change. I've made countless mistakes, experienced incredible pain, and moved away from everything and everyone I've known and loved...but I lived. And I don't plan on stopping now. Knowing that my life has been a series of adventures and life changing experiences is what's making me the happiest I've ever been. 

And finally, in taking the world. Guess what? It's yours. All of it. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. God bless. And stay tuned as The Stares takes Los Angeles!
Photography by Martavious Spicer

1 comment:

  1. Omg what a great and rewarding accomplishment for you! Congratulations! I really love both of these looks, and think you look great in both of them. That great pleated skirt is key and I love the 70's vibe I am getting from the second look. Those bell bottom jeans are to die for! I really wish you the very best on your new chapter in life and hope you find a lot of success from this!