I come from a small town, the kind of town that carries a redneck reputation, where the trucks are big, the bonfires are rowdy as hell and well a lot of baby making happens. Most of my high school’s graduating class still remains within a 10-mile radius of the town, at least it feels like it, I have no actual facts to back that statement. I didn’t want to be that self-made statistic in my head and I had to get away.
A month ago I bought a one-way ticket to California. I consolidated my life into a 68lb Yamaha bag (great conversation piece in travel), a hiker’s Osprey bag for my carry-on and my purse as my “personal item.” I gave myself one option—make sh*t happen or deal with the consequences. I don’t want to be a person to hold back from doing what I want because of fearful excuses. I want to learn from mistakes and experience as much as possible. I am a firm believer that failure is an opportunity not a defeat. Plus I am still on this great journey of finding my place and purpose in this beautiful mess of a world. If there is anything I’ve come to understand about myself it’s that I am a born wanderer.
So why did I choose the state destine to earthquake off the US map, heavy in taxing, and terrible (I emphasize terrible) drivers? I’ve convinced myself it’s the weather, the ocean, the opportunities, and the challenge. I miss my family and friends terribly and sometimes I feel lonely but I find myself happy here in the moment.
5 things I’ve learned living in Calif. for this month:
1) I Appreciate Southern Hospitality—While the south has some negative connotations (rednecks, small town gossip and judging bible huggers) the kindness is often times genuine. True southerners welcome you with warm smiles, delicious home cooking, and playful banter for conversation. The south moves slower and takes time to create lasting relationships. I feel here in Calif. people are so self-concerned. Unless you have something to benefit to a person, you get no time of day. It’s understandable though because the environment here is so fast pace, plus everyone is busy trying to afford bills. There is also this too cool for school vibe, no one is that cool… except for maybe Kristen Bell, for this reason:
2) Being a recent graduate is an A** Kicker—I lack career experience, however, I do not lack work experience and that’s for damn sure. What I want, I earn, I do not consider myself above anyone and I complete any task I commit to with the best of my ability. I pride myself for my work ethics.
But back to being a recent grad – I like to think of myself as a jack-of-trades, not necessarily a master of any professional skill. It is really hard to have a company take a chance on a no one. They have to have good faith in character and work ethic to mold and mentor a rookie into a rock star. I get it though, there is a lot of risk for sought after results, a lot of time and money to invest, and well money talks. So my current challenge is swaying the opinion of the opinion leaders. I’m a hidden gem that has yet been discovered, and I can’t wait till I am found.
3) Reliable transportation is imperative—It would be nice if I could just get by on public transportation but it is very time consuming, and I am inexperienced with the art of public transportation. Calif. is very vast and expansive, so very big in comparison to Georgia. It has been a challenge moving around, but hopefully I’ll have my car situation figured out this week. I hate relying on others to move around, it makes me feel like a burden and helpless. It has taught me to swallow my pride and ask for help. I’ve never liked asking for help, ever. I’ve been stubborn my whole life. I like to do and learn things my way.
When I was younger I taught myself how to ride a bike by climbing on to a wooden fence (because I was too short to reach the seat of my bike from the ground), hopped on and held the fence while I peddled forward and situated my balance to move without assistance. I wouldn’t just let my dad hold the bike and let go, I had to be difficult and learn it myself. I remember my whole life my dad would say I was stubborn, and I’m finally old enough to understand it. Reflecting back on my life cracks me up because he was right.
4) I’m a very small current in an ocean—Since I was a child it has always been my goal to impact the life of another in a positive way, to make an influential difference. I have been told my entire life I have an old soul and that I have always been ahead of my years in maturity. Since leaving GA I have truly learned the impact I’ve left in peoples lives and it makes me happy. I’ve learned that I have the ability to bring people together, to motivate, to create smiles and be a good friend. Now that I am older I want to make that same impact but in a higher magnitude – how convenient to have grown up in a digitally pulse world. I can communicate to the world in a matter of moments, it’s wild. Now it is just a matter of utilizing my strength and making the difference.
5) I can be anyone I want to be—Something I’ve learned about myself on this journey is that I have a fear of being myself on a 100% level. I filter to meet social expectations. I feel like I have to reserve myself a lot to not be judged negatively.
First impressions start at the surface, and I love tattoos. While I have a couple hidden, I hold back from getting more, especially in peripheral, people judge for that. I love piercing. I’ve had two lip rings on separate occasions, my nose pierced and an industrial. As I further in my career pursuits (public relations and marketing) I hide and heal my skin back to what is professionally acceptable. I love color… on my hair. I’ve had canary yellow, red, teal and blonde. I have an appreciation for natural beauty, but once and awhile I like to switch it up and color outside the lines. I keep to this clean image now because it really is a determining factor in moving forward and succeeding in my career pursuits.
I work hard. I have high morals and ethical standards. I’m a good person, but I like to party sometimes. I love to dance and let loose, laugh. I like to drink (responsibly of course). I don’t judge people for sinning differently than me. I hang out with people others might flag as a “bad person” because they use drugs, like the same sex or aren’t religious… My judgment (yes I judge, I’m human) of whether a person is good or bad is based on how they treat and affect others. People have the right to live the way they choose so long as they are not harming others or nouns. Sometimes I am afraid of being judged by who I associate with and that is dumb. I’m seriously going to work on these silly fears, but I’m not sure how yet. What I do know is that I shouldn’t be scared and I can be anyone I want to be.
So my dear family and friends I know you’ve all been curious about where I am and what I am doing, this blog will be where I keep you updated. My goal is to write every two weeks, I’ll be posting about my experiences, thoughts and perspective of life. And right now I’m drawing my life out. I’m defining and redefining my lines. I’m making decisions for myself. And as I continue to embark on this journey I really want to thank the backbone I left behind on the east coast. I want to thank the believers. Before I left my life behind I asked a lot of people for their opinion on my crazy idea and not a single person told me I was crazy or that I couldn’t make it, in fact, I received the opposite reaction. Everyone seems to think I have something big to contribute to this world and that I need to move and explore to help achieve it.
I consider myself a say “yes” kind of person. My philosophy is you have to at least try it once. Trying is experiencing and learning, it is developing your personal opinion and refining your taste for life. Trying also justifies your opinion and your opinion is what makes you interesting. So this blog is my story 🙂
Things I’ve done since being in Calif.
- Interviewed with NBCUniversal
- Worked the 55th Annual Grammy Press with BeFunky at the Staples Center in LA
- Attended Super Cross at the Qualcomm Stadium
- Saw Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation 30th Anniversary Extravaganza
- Went to the Dr. Seuss Exhibit in La Jolla
- I’ve taken on a position working with TowelMate
- I interviewed with Pacific Magazine and will hopefully be on the team, still pending
- Went to an art show in downtown San Diego (not sure the venue or shows name)
- Went hiking in Malibu
- Went to several different beaches with surfers
- Ran to the beach on several occasions alone
- Had a mini skateboarding lesson and apparently I’m not bad for a firsty
- Went climbing in Escondido
- I’ve gone self exploring on several occasions to random shops and food joints
- I cooked Lumpia for the first time ever and it was AMAZING
- I’ve learned that I actually have domesticated housewife skills and it kind of freaks me out… I can cook, clean, organize and relax people. I’m great with kids too because I’ve been helping watch a 2 year old. What has happened to me? haha
“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road