( a sign my dad gave me for xmas to put near my desk. I love it.)
Tonight marks the end of a very complex year for me. 2010 brought with it a tidal wave of work opportunities, emotions and changes for me, and with that some life lessons I had to learn both the hard way and some slowly but surely as I progress through this life. I am known to be a very “busy” girl- always doing something, going somewhere, walking fast and passing slow trodding folk like a Lamborghini on a race track. I have trouble sitting still with myself and doing nothing, and because of this trait I have been able to work hard to very quickly build a successful buisiness, and even, I daresay, the beginnings of a personal brand. But with all that business and frothy heaps of opportunity comes a whole hell of a lot of stress. And stress is NOT a good color on me, folks.
But let’s start with the good stuff, since we should always start by counting our blessings, even us pessimists (ahem). This year I got to do so much: work on several amazing homes from Boston condos to large country estates to apartments in Brooklyn. I was able to fine tune my eye and learn more and more about design with each new project. I completed designs I am so proud of and that feels FABULOUS. I got to tour J.Crew’s headquarters and have a private meeting with Jonathan Adler. I was asked to be a part of what is SURE to be the hottest now online mag High Gloss. I had my own column in one local magazine and was asked to do a shoot with another big one. I got to do two fun and creative design projects for a fabulous charity. I started a fashion styling component to the blog and had fun shopping and closet cleaning with delightful women. I opened an actual office and found the most perfect assistant for whom I thanks my lucky stars for everyday, and even sold a piece of my own artwork. And during it all I kept writing this blog every morning and trying to make it the best it can be (and thankfully, it began making me a little income too). I owe this blog everything I have and it has made me who I am today. It still amazes me.
But as the year went on and the opportunities got bigger and more frequent I was troubled by the fact that instead of feeling elated I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed. “Why am I not thrilled beyond belief?” became a question I asked myself a lot. I was feeling like I could never say no to anything, after all, this is what people say about “having your 15 minutes”, right? I felt I had to do as much as humanley possible because it was sure to dissipate. I also did not want to seem snobby or ungrateful for such luck and good fortune. This made me super anxious and I wasn’t sure what to do except to keep saying yes. Making decisions for myself has always been troublesome and having to make so many important ones was seeming to get the best of me. And then the TV offers came in- one at a time, and as you remember I turned down the first because I felt like I needed to put my clients first and the timing was too rushed for me to square away my responsibilities in order to take it on fully. A decision I still think was best. Then in between that offer and the next my stress level got so bad (due to some medical issues I’m not going to get into here) that I had to turn a truly magnificent opportunity down at the advice of my doctors and family. This destroyed me and left me feeling like a failure. And I got pretty f-ing sad about the fact that I wasn’t “strong” enough to just deal with all this pressure and stress. And I felt guilty about my pain because no one seemed to understand it since from the outside my life seems “perfect”. But that strive for perfection is what undoes me again and again. From my battle with anorexia to my continued struggle with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (hence the end of the “What I’m Wearing” series) I have always felt that I personally and professionally needed “fixing” in order to get to the unattainable status of “perfect”.
But what IS perfect? It’s not like there is a definition in the dictionary that outlines it so you can make a check list. That’s why perfectionism is so dangerous- just watch Black Swan and you’ll see. It hardly ever comes from external pressures, but rather the internal pressures we put on ourselves for no reason- and they are endless. Your body has to be this size, your hair this way, your bank account this full, your closet stacked with this and that, a spouse with these credentials. But what’s so wrong with eating pizza two nights in a row? Or trying a new hair cut and hating it? Or doing something you love for less money? Or loving someone because they make you laugh and don’t have an impressive title. I want to gift myself that freedom this year. That sweet, cool breeze of being in the moment and enjoying life for it’s imperfections and it’s beauty in equal measure. I don’t want to waste a single second more fretting over the grass that’s greener over there on the other side or what I think everyone expects of me.
I realize this is pretty personal and probably uncomfortable to read, and some of you may think I’m nuts. Despite all this, I am aware of how lucky I am, I truly am, but I also believe that just because you happen to be rather fortunate does not make you immune to troubles. I am not whining, just putting it out there just in case there is another woman somewhere reading this who now doesn’t feel alone in her own struggles. After all, as Plato said so wisely “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. And despite the low points and struggles, I feel I am becoming a better person as I navigate them. Everything happens for a reason, and this particular moment is defining me and making me more grateful and whole. So as I happily close the book on 2010, I welcome 2011 with some personal goals that will help me become a better person and enjoy this life that I was blessed to be given:
– To stop caring and thinking about what everyone thinks of me. It does not matter, what matters is what I think of me.
– To focus on building a sense of self-confidence that puts a spring in my step and smile on my face more often.
– To make time to paint and write more and not feel like it’s a waste of time because it’s not “work”.
– To breathe more deeply, look more keenly and feel more deeply the nuances of daily living.
My professional goals are rather dull- you know, to get more organized financially and in the office, keep my sample closet cleaner, etc. but I think that working on my personal goals will lead to this naturally. Frenetic stress creates disorder and I’m hoping calmer confidence will create alphabetized binders! Ta da!
Above all, I want to thank each and every one of you for reading. For your thoughtful comments, sweet emails and face to face meetings. You are what keeps me going everyday. On my worst days, I still make sure to get up and write and that instantly makes my day a little better. The devotion I feel to showing up everyday here is nearly religious for me.
I also want to just thank some people quickly for their extraordinary friendship, help, inspiration and love: Andrew (he of endless patience), Baxter and Oliver (who refuse to let me be sad) Mom, Dad, Mike, Connor, Jill, Lizzie, Susanna, Snooze, John, Marie W., Lindsey R., Matt K., Erika T., Laura H., Jenn K., Kate T., Jessica S., Sarah W., Betty R., Richard & Aris S., Melissa S., David M., Paloma and the High Gloss team, Jill R., Erica C., Stacy K., Julie R., Mary B., Dr. Lytle, Paula K and her team, my amazing clients, my hard working vendors and most of all you readers. I love every one of you. (And to those I forgot….it’s early)
Have a very happy new year- I’ll be ringing it in with some great friends while we get some good laughs courtesy of Chelsea Handler at Mohegan Sun! A perfect way to start “our best year yet” (according to one Andrew Gates).
Love and Happiness in 2011- and maybe some perfectly acceptable imperfection too!