My Why

Many of you who know me in real life know that in my spare time off from governing this fair nation, I am a stylist with Stella and Dot. I just got back from our annual conference/party, and it was basically what you think being a grown up must be like, when you’re a little girl: thousands of women decked out head to toe in the most awesome fashion, jewelry, bags, spending three days getting inspired by other amazing women, dancing their asses off, enjoying cocktails by the pool, shopping, and getting paid to do it.

Many of you who know me must be sick to death of hearing me talk about it, of posting pictures of beautiful boutique jewelry, of trying to get you to host trunk shows, and basically accessorizing everything that will stand still long enough.

But most people don’t know why I do it.

I happened upon the company by accident, just buying a necklace. But when I came upon it, I was in a pretty dark place. My career was not where I wanted it to be. I was deeply, deeply unhappy sitting behind a desk 10 hours a day. I felt a bit dead inside, like all the creative, colorful juice in me was leaking out my ears day in and day out. And when I was told that I could run my own business, part-time, just by talking to other women, hosting parties, and styling outfits, it was like that scene in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up no longer in Kansas: everything in technicolor. That necklace became a lifeline.

Since then, I’ve realized that the jewelry is just a platform. Our mission is to give every woman the means to style her own life. We’re a part of a conversation about women in the workplace, balancing work and life, redefining feminine power, and modernizing our notions of what it means to be an entrepreneur. Some people might see a jewelry company and think it’s a small, trivial place to gain have this conversation, especially when our problems are so complicated. But they’re wrong. It’s not about fashion, although that’s great. It’s about empowering the women in your life to know, in their core, that they are not just allowed to be happy, but have an unalienable right to it. That joy is a birthright of all people. And not just for us. By partnering with the Every Woman Counts foundation, we work to provide prenatal care for women all over the world. Maybe it starts for these women, like it did for me, with a small piece of jewelry. But eventually the question will become: how do I make myself this happy, all of the time?

Single moms, women who are trying to get money to leave abusive relationships, students paying their way through school or paying off student loans (holla!) women saving for IVF or for the adoption process, women just trying to leave their 9-5, women looking for a different way to live and to work- these are our stories.

So be patient with me the next time I ask you if you’d like to see a look book, or host a show. I’m not trying to sell you something-I’m trying to share a part of me that knows there’s a better way to make a living, and make a life.

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Big Plans

I like quotes. I like them a lot. I use them to make a point, as a sort of shorthand for what I’m thinking of feeling. Among my favorites is this: “Make no small plans, they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” Daniel Burnham, who is credited with this quote, was the architect of the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. If you’ve ever read Erik Larson’s book Devil in the White City, you know that this was a pretty ambitious undertaking, often executed without adequate, or any underlying plans. And yet, it was hugely successful.

Funny thing is, I used to take a lot of leaps before I looked. That’s how I picked law school, that’s how I came to DC. I didn’t ask too many questions, and I dealt with surprises as they came up (not always well. Not always gracefully. Often with a lot of crying and yelling. But I dealt with them). But since moving here, I’ve become a bit ossified. I started chasing a dream that wasn’t mine, because it seemed better than the alternative: admitting at 30 that I had no effing idea what I wanted to do next.

I’ve been a cubicle jockey in the upper reaches of the federal government, and I can safely say I do not wish to spend my life behind a desk, even if it is in service of my fellow citizen. I’ve participated in deals made on the Senate floor, I’ve danced at Inauguration, I’ve walk-and-talked in the West Wing, and for those lucky souls who are actually able to make change, God bless. But when I left the theatre for law, it was because change was made too incrementally through art; turns out government makes change incrementally as well. Thinking I needed to focus on the micro, versus the macro, I tried to change myself, in an effort to make my own corner of the world better. I tried to settle down, emphasis on the settle, but it didn’t stick. No matter how I contorted and twisted myself, it wasn’t enough. Which I suppose is proof of the infinite blessings of the universe: mediocrity will not be tolerated.

Stripping away all of that, I ask myself, what makes you happy? Sharing meals with friends, and exploring new places. Combining the two. Of course, being a big picture person, my first question is, how do I make a meaningful life out of that? But I’m trying to keep that question at bay for the moment. For right now, in the midst of feeling shitty, what would make me feel better? Sharing meals with friends, and exploring new places.

So, when a friend and I got into a conversation about taking trips, and whether we should take one together, a lot of different feelings came up. I immediately thought “I can’t afford this,” “I can’t take the time off of work,” “I should just take a small trip over a weekend.” But I’m tired of playing small. I’m tired of hedging my bets and trying to make sense of it all. I want to share meals with friends, and I want to explore new places. Australia, Brussels, Tuscany, New Zealand, Greece… once I start thinking about it, I can’t stop.

There are always excuses as to why you can’t go or be or do. I’m done with excuses. They’re just protection from something I no longer want to protect.  I’m going on a big trip, and it’s going to be magnificent.

…But I’ve Never Been to Me

So, it occurs to me, on this little adventure of mine, that there’s not much that I encounter day to day that scares me. I suppose that’s part of the problem, right? I don’t find myself in passion-filled, life-affirming, adrenaline-pumping situations all too often. But that’s a limited view of what should scare a person. I’ve always been more afraid of the depth and breadth of my emotions than eating something weird, or exploring a new place (but heights- no. You will not find me cliff-diving or bungee jumping. Nothankyounope.).

In the hopes then, of exploring the undiscovered country of my mind (yes, English majors I know I just used Hamlet’s metaphor for death to describe my mind. Hush), I put out a couple of feeler emails about meeting with some therapists. Maybe that’s too personal, but it’s my blog, my rules. I’ve realized with the relationship transition I’m currently in, I’ve got a few self-destructive patterns to which I’d very much like to wave bye-bye. It’s nothing life shattering, and I’ve certainly done a LOT of personal work trying to figure my shit out, but I want to be ready for whatever comes next. In my 32nd year I want as little baggage as possible, because I plan to travel.

Which leads me to the fun, non-scary thing I did today: booked a flight to London! I’ll be back in one of my favorite cities this October, this time showing my mom and friend around. I haven’t been back since 2009, so I expect to find the city changed, but also, the same- it’s been there since before the Romans, some shit remains the same. As I was booking the flight it occurred to me how little I’ve traveled, especially internationally, in the past few years. I was establishing my career, I was graduating from law school, etc., etc…. well my career feels like it’s etched in granite lately, so no more excuses. I want to travel more, I have money to do so (if I’d quit fucking blowing it on cocktails and Uber…. maybe that’s a real thing that scares me…. #realtalk).

Pip pip!

Furst World Problems: Reboot

Oh, haiiiii……

Yes, I recognize I’ve been gone for a while. I felt like the blog became about the shutdown, and that was powerful, and then the shutdown ended, and I had to go back to work, and I started dating someone, and life intervened. So I stopped writing.

But I feel itchy when I don’t write. My thoughts whisk around my head like they’re on a speedball bender, and I become insular and navel-gazy. I become, frankly, boring-without a plot line.

And I’ve realized now, at the end of another relationship gone sour, that I’m bored. Deeply, Roman-empire-right-before-the-Visigoths ennui-filled. My life had become all about the pursuit of the right guy, after I’d abandoned the pursuit of the right job, and now… well now I just feel small to even write it.

I used to have passions. Passion is what drove me to DC. Passion is what drove me to law school. Passion is what drove me to California before that, and theatre before that, and out of Kansas before that. Now, I drive no where. I’m passionate, truly passionate, about very little, and I don’t know how the hell it happened. All at once, or incrementally, I’ve become the kind of person who spends weeks at a time just watching reruns on tv.

Now my friends would say this is untrue. Because I do go out- a lot. All the time, in fact, so much that I sometimes have to cancel plans just to have a night in. I go out to chat with friends, and eat something delicious, and drink something fancy. And generally it’s a good time, filled with good people and good conversation. But I lack a mission. I lack a purpose. And those days when you can feel in your hipbones what you’re doing is the right thing to be doing… those are very rare for me these days, and they used to be weekly.

I’ve always been a seeker, and I will always seek. So this time around, because I have the luxury of actually seeking a passion or a mission, instead of, say, basic shelter and food and water, I will be doing what Eleanor Roosevelt suggested, and do one thing a day that scares me.

Today I ended a relationship. Today I began writing again. Simple as that.

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