I’m in my late 20s, and I could say that during the past 7 years of the decade that’s been sentimentalized as “discovering yourself,” I can say I think I’ve discovered a lot. Like, that Whole Foods has a section where $2.99 bottles of wine exist (ask me for specifics, I’ve got answers!!) Or that most guys in the city of Los Angeles claim they’re into “finding a real girl” when they start dating you, until they admit one week later that they liked you so much that they realized they didn’t like you at all to be begin with. (Because that makes sense). Or that swiping on Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel leads into stories that are so ridiculous, you find a way to share them on YouTube so everyone can laugh it off together. (More on those stories down the road).
But okay, real talk here. Seriously tho – for being 27, I’ve learned a lot – even if I’m still considered “young” in the grand scheme of life. I credit this knowledge entirely to undergoing a series of unplanned events that started in my early twenties.
From the time I was a senior in college four years ago, several significant ‘life events’ events moved me to drop all of my preconceived plans and to instead push my own boundaries of who I thought I was. There was no warning or premonition to any of it – and little did I know where exactly my path was going to take me.
I spent the first 22 years of my life as a seriously-training classical ballet dancer. At age 10, I had already decided I was going to write a “ballet autobiography” when I’d become a well-known dancer – documenting all my trials and tribulations in my career, with the outcome of being a principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. Naturally.
At age 23, I was finishing up my senior year in college where I was – of course – a dance major focusing on classical ballet, who was expecting to move to New York City following graduation. My determination was strong… but not nearly as strong as the torn ligament in my left knee that left me unable to get through any of my ballet classes entirely. I had just come back from recovery off my second serious knee surgery – but something didn’t heal properly. I danced on a torn knee in ballet classes in order to get my dance degree – and had to accept that as a career, being a dancer was no longer going to happen. I was depressed and miserable, because one of my lifelong dreams had shattered, and I didn’t have a backup plan of any kind.
That same semester, something happened that usually never happens to me: I fell in love. It was with with my best guy friend from college – he was a filmmaker, and he was moving to Los Angeles that fall. To be honest, I thought we would have broken up by time he moved, and we used to joke about me moving out to L.A. with him. Well, ladies, watch what you joke about – cause he called on the phone me over the summer of 2014 to tell me one of his roommates bailed on the move to LA. They needed one more to split the rent – and asked if I wanted to go. We were only dating for 5 months at the time.
So I jumped ship. I said yes to the move, knowing I didn’t have much to lose. And I figured I could pursue my other childhood love of acting and performing on stage, ‘cause ballet wasn’t happening anymore. With only $500.00 in my bank account and a glimmer of hope in my heart, I set off with four filmmaker guys across the country to embark on The Great American Roadtrip to the City of Dreams. What can I say? I was young(er). I was broke. I was unsure of life ahead, but I was driven by the fact that maybe, somehow, I belonged somewhere outside the world of classical ballet.
Little did I know that 4 years later.. I’d still be here – living in the heart of a city filled with glorious sunsets, palm trees, and the buzz of the entertainment industry. But things aren’t quite the same: I’m no longer with the guy who brought me out here. I lost my dad to cancer while I’ve been out here. I’d been screwed over more than enough times after throwing myself back into the world of dating. I’ve quit jobs and even took one summer off without a backup plan just to figure myself out more. I’ve lost close friends and have made friendships I couldn’t imagine my life without. I’ve experienced crazy roommates and have felt more loneliness, heartbreak, adventures, and joy than I could have ever imagined. What I’m really trying to say is that I should actually be writing a novel to dish out all these dirty details, including the one time I ended up on a reality tv dating show where I had to face an old flame of mine.*
*True story. But I digress.
Throughout my time in my late twenties, something had been hitting me hard. Something felt missing, and I wasn’t quite sure what. Little did I realize that through those rougher times, I was actually allowing every seemingly ‘tragic’ event to move me closer to, well, myself. To become more.. human.
Staying human through it all. Being transparent. Being okay with vulnerability. Because through transparency and vulnerability, we find CONNECTION. And connection ties humanity together, so I believe.
I say it with conviction, ladies… despite wherever you are in your life, use the ground-shattering events of your life, the moments of the unknown, and the “detours” to be your driving catalyst for change. Because things don’t always happen the way we plan. Because sometimes we actually need to drop our agendas of thinking we know what needs to happen. Because every moment of every day, we have a CHOICE – of what we want to say, think, or do, or how we want to react towards situations out of our control. Do you take the chance to hide, or to come out and show up for YOU to be who you’re truly meant to be?
I’ve trusted the unseen pathway of my life to lead me to where I need to be. And it’s definitely been a ride, for sure. It’s definitely been worth it. This is for my groundbreakers, movement makers, game changers.
Some people refer to us as “light workers” – but we can also be “shadow workers”: those who choose to integrate the not-so-pretty parts of ourselves with the best parts of who we are in order to fully deliver the most HUMAN version of ourselves to the forefront.
Let’s get real: life isn’t perfect – it isn’t meant to be. We are not our instagram feeds or Facebooks posts or twitter rants; -we are not just the visual and curated representation of what we’re displaying online through social media. We do, however, have stories to tell. Every single one of us on the face of this planet. I don’t care if you’ve got a famous name to you or not — you have a story to tell. You’ve got lessons to learn and then share (if you choose). You’ve got some work to do, and you’ve got a purpose. Trust me, you will find it. It will come to you. And it might involve taking you down roads you never dreamed possible.
SERIOUSLY THO, DO WE REALLY KNOW WHERE WE’RE HEADED NEXT?
Maybe. Maybe not. But for now, seriously tho, trust those crazy events of your life to push you exactly to where you need to be – and to be more of yourself. And don’t forget to have a glass of wine to celebrate the process.
Also published on Medium.