Two years ago, I left the only state (Kentucky) I'd ever really known and started a new life in Atlanta, Georgia. Before I go into my time here, what I've learned, and the amazing people I've met, I need you to know this was not a well thought-out decision or a planned move with a lot of cushion in the bank. It was honestly more of a desperate need for a change. I needed to get away. Not from a person or even necessarily the place, but I needed a change in my daily routine. I was bored. I wasn't feeling challenged or scared or uncomfortable and at 22 years old, I saw something wrong in that.
So I moved."Just like that?" You ask. Well, pretty much.
I started looking at places and within a little over a month, I had a found a roommate online and we had signed a lease for an apartment located right in the city. Talk about a change of scenery. The first year here was rough. My relationship of two and half years ended shortly after I moved, I was working in a restaurant that was lucrative but stressful and demanding, and I was seeing my life crumble before me. I was just working to pay the bills, something I swore I would never do. A lot of days I questioned what I was doing here and why I had ever thought that I was capable of moving to a city and becoming somebody. I didn't know what I wanted to do or what next steps to take to even begin to get to where I wanted to be. I went through quite a few days months of throwing myself a pity party and to be honest, in those months I felt entitled to that pity party.
That's where I was wrong and here is my first and most important point of what I have learned throughout this process: No one is going to hand you anything. Just because you are a good person does not mean you will be rewarded by being handed anything more than you have earned or worked for.
Me sitting on my butt, crying, because nothing was working out the way I wanted it to, only kept me from making good things happen. I will say, if you're going through a hard time, it's okay to be sad. It's okay to hurt and to cry and to take some time to work through it. But excuses, for not living up to your potential and for not TRYING to change your situation are never okay. Ever.In October of 2016, I traveled to Greece and my life was changed. The people we met and spent time with in Greece were so full of life. They worked and lived out their passions every single day. For the first time in a little over a year since I had moved, I felt worthy and alive. I saw a completely different part of the world and to see the unimaginable beauty and come to the realization and accept that I wasn't living my best life but it is possible to do so, sparked a new fire in me. A fire that had been put out since my heart was broken an entire year before. (Crazy that the day my heart was shattered, was the day I left for Greece and my heart was restored exactly one year later).
I came back from my trip and I quit my restaurant job. I had begun working in retail thanks to a new pal (Chessi) and decided I would just work odds and end jobs until I figured out my next step. These jobs included selling clothes, nannying, and doing some part time writing. Financially, this was a stupid decision. (Oops, haha). But once again, I was at a place where I needed change, so I made the change.In the meantime, I began thinking about what my passions were and where I wanted to go in my career and life.
I took a chance and I cold-emailed a wardrobe stylist I had found on Instagram. She had no clue who I was, but she was working and doing a lot of amazing shoots and I wanted to learn how she had made something like this into a career.Long story short, Hannah did respond to my email (miraculously), and not only has become an amazing friend to me but an amazing work partner as well. What started out as me just tagging along, for free, learning about the life and work of a stylist, has become paid assistant stylists jobs for some big brands.
So for my second point: Find the people who are doing what you want to be doing and take a chance and reach out. You will be ignored or turned down. But you also never know who might say yes and lead you to a world of opportunities you never thought possible.
To see the people that God has so strategically placed in my life and to see where that has taken me is honestly incredible. His faithfulness and timing is something that even a master planner could not have planned any better. Never would I ever think that I would be able to survive or work as a freelancer, doing something that I really and truly love. But here I am. I remember praying that I would find work that I loved and people that I loved working with. God answers prayers. It has been a lot of long days and hard days. I am tired, A LOT.
But most importantly I am so thankful. So extremely thankful. I have a ton of learning to do and am really only just beginning, but today I am proud. I am proud I took a chance. I am proud I stayed even when every part of me wanted to leave. I am proud that I had the nerve to contact someone I didn't know and to put myself out there. I am proud that I have made a life for myself here. I am proud that I didn't give up. Atlanta, for now, you are home and I am so excited to see all that you have in store for me.
To Suchi - You were my first true friend here. I have no words for all that you have brought to my life. Your passion, spirit, and boldness are inspiring and have truly made me a better person.
To Kinsey - Thank you for becoming one of my best friends and for being such a great friend. Thank you for welcoming me into your family on many occasions when I couldn't be with mine. I am so lucky to have you.
To Chessi - Thank you for inspiring me and constantly pushing me to be better and to do more. Your work ethic, creative mind, and insane heart are only a few things that make me so proud to be your friend.
To Hannah - Thank you for giving me a chance. I wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't for you and you'll never know how appreciative and grateful I am for you. You're not only the best person to work with but an incredible friend. (P.S. Deenniimmm).
To Chandler - I can't believe a little app like Instagram could bring me such an amazing person and friend. You inspire me to not give up and to continue to stay true to who I am and what I love. Thank you Atlanta and blogging for bringing me a lifelong friend.
To Demz - You truly are a beautiful person, inside and out. Lucky to have gotten to know you this summer and can't wait to see everything your future holds. You are a one of a kind person and a great friend. Get your booty back to ATL soon.
To my Grace friends and my House church - Thank you. For the prayers, for the laughs, for the community. I needed all of these things more times than you'll ever know.
To Tarik - Thank you for being so selfless. It was truly an act of love that you encouraged me to leave, even though it meant hard times for us ahead. You'll never understand how much it means to me and a big part of me has you to thank for caring about me enough to tell me to go and pursue my dreams.
To my parents and family - your endless support is the single most important component in my life. I never would be who I am without you. Thank you doesn't even begin to cover it.
To Marisa and Makala - You babes are some of the best people I know. Our days and nights together are never short of amazing and your endless love and support for me has been a life changer. Thank you.
To my FP Gals - Thank you for so many new friendships. You all have taught me to be creative and open minded. To express myself and my style. To be weird and goofy. You girls are truly wonderful.
To Jen, Jess, and Em - You three are my confidants, my go-to's, and lifetime best friends. From college to now, you have been there for me through every step of the way, supporting me, encouraging me, and being the best friends I've ever had. I love you all so much.
To Madison - Your daily phone calls and life updates make me feel not so far away. You have been my sister since we were five and there is nothing or anyone that could ever replace you in my life. I love you and Baby A so very much.
To all of my other friends, back home and from college - Your support and encouragement always comes at the perfect time. Whether we haven't spoken in months or years, you all always dropped in at the perfect moment and lifted me up and made me want to keep going.
To everyone else that has been apart of my life and transition, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.