I’m doing my year-in-review post a bit early this year. Instead of making a bulleted list of specific moments in 2014 that I loved / that were huge stepping stones / that convince myself that I think I’m doing okay, I kind of just want to put it out there, for once, that I know I’m doing okay. I’ve spent many years with this blog trying to use it as justification that maybe I’m “good enough”. Now I know so, regardless of whether my blog is by my side or not.
This year was a huge hurdle for me. If you remember my 2013 post (in all its gif-filled glory), I was coming out of the roughest semester of my life. I feel like I only wrote that post about a month ago..so crazy how time flies. Fall 2013 was a major backtrack in my confidence, as London had me feeling on top of the world and for once, I was the best artist in my illustration class. Coming back to RISD, I had a professor who told me he wished he could “grade me based on niceness” a situation that had me wondering where I’d be if my parents didn’t hardwire manners into me. I never really mentioned all of that but I think you can see in that post the way that I’m trying so hard to be so positive and pretending it never happened.
In 2014, I made the seemingly impossible possible. “The only direction you can move is forward,” became my mantra, and I used it to help out my friends who were stuck in their own personal struggles. I made three exhibitions happen…meaning, I had enough work to put on three exhibitions. That was crazy to me, as my struggle with my confidence as an artist had always been rocky. I went to a portfolio review with brands as large as Coach, Lily Pulitzer, Urban Outfitters, and more, wowing them with my abilities as an artist, my drive as a blogger, and my marketing skills gained as a social media influencer. In my last semester, I garnered skills in AfterEffects and Silkscreen, continuing to be the well-rounded artist I’ve always wanted to be.
I graduated at the end of May and looked on point in a For Love & Lemons dress. The next day, I packed up my life and moved back down to Miami with dreams to move to Boston by September. Within days of coming home, I found a job as a designer for DLA, parent company of Latin-American market Netflix competitor Clarovideo (Spanish Netflix, as everyone around me started calling it). I commuted an hour to and from work each day, working as much as I could to make my dreams of moving possible. I played hard, too, getting ready for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim in the bathroom of the Hilton hotel where my car was parked and coming back home within hours of starting the same thing all over again.
Then I had the greatest, most chill party of my life, reminding me of all the people I have who love and support me. Some were faces I hadn’t seen in years but still wanted to see me away for the next chapter of my life. We told stories…some I remembered vividly, some I had no idea about, and in this weird way, it connected all these loose threads that are the people I’ve met in my 22 years. It was like everyone there had always known each other and its strange that I’m the knot that ties them all together. That party, those people, are the reason why I am this far in writing this post for you. Because without support, I’m deflated. And I’m blessed to know that so many people look out for my well-being.
Then there was the hard part, where I spent my last hours with my parents as they drove alongside me to Orlando, where I would get my tightly packed steel grey Corolla (with the cute lil RISD decal) on to a train for the second leg of my trip. Saying goodbye was hard, but I told them, “I’ll be home all the time.” (As I write this, I’m in Miami for literally the second time in two weeks). Then the most exhilarating feeling I’ve ever felt: driving up the east coast with my life in my car. It was about an 8-hour stretch from D.C. to Providence and it couldn’t happen any faster. The roads went on for so long. New York scared the hell out of me, and Connecticut seemed to go on forever. I finally pulled into Providence (a month later than planned), into my house, with my roommate and cat(s) and started assembling as much of a life as I could from all the disorganized snippets.
Cue this post. And cue moments of pure happiness, necessary moments of pain, and the hunger to only keep seeing more and making more happen as soon as possible.
Blog-wise, I kept up my relationships with American Apparel and H&M but also recently, was finally recognized by Nasty Gal. The latter was a goal originating from two years ago…similar to how I got started with American Apparel. I also actually felt like blogging again, and that’s thanks to a social media pep-talk Ria gave me before I left Miami, and also the superb, continuous support of my dance mom, Brittanny. For the first time ever, I truly enjoy creating and having visions that I see out to their completion.
But, to stay true to myself, I know that there is always room for improvement. Improving to be a better blogger, a more consistent illustrator, the most supportive daughter / sister / friend, and overall, the best me that I can be. The last stretch of this year has been a pretty weird one but I’m ready to start 2015 cutting out all the things that keep me from being my best me. My best me is always happy, always busy, always genuine and straight-forward (I’m so nice that it’s a little known fact that my bs tolerance is definitely on the confrontational side of the spectrum. Be warned…), and always working down my list of goals only to be satisfied by crossing the next thing off the list.
2015, just get here already!