This is the post that has been percolating in my head for a while. It all comes down to this:
Four and a half years ago, I was unsure of the course my life had taken. I was working in education and ready to pursue my master's/teaching credential in the fall. Before beginning though, I looked for other work, as I could not shake the uncertainty I was feeling about my career path. I always wanted to write and I wasn't sure if teaching others how to write was the best course of action. I interviewed with Jenny Doh and ended up accepting a position as Assistant Editor at Stampington & Company. When I interviewed, I had a good feeling about the job because Jenny and I just hit it off. When I accepted formally, I remember crying with happiness. I felt like I was moving in the right direction and promptly withdrew from the teaching program.
Months later I moved to Orange County and started my life over. I didn't know anyone when I moved out here. I didn't know where anything was, not even the nearest Starbucks. I remember spending my lunch breaks at my desk because I didn't know where to go and had no one to eat lunch with. But the longer I stayed at work, the more people I met. Eventually I made some of the best friends I have ever had by meeting them at the office. I reinvented myself in a way, and I am so glad I did. I can't picture my life without having lived in Laguna and meeting the people I have met and come to love as my second family. Even as I am writing this, there is still confetti at my desk from my 25th birthday, when my friends decorated my office with pink streamers.
As an editor I have learned to seek out the best and chisel away until the strongest points are left standing. Whether whittling down a wardrobe or writing a sentence, it is the duty of an editor to make sure only the best is being presented. I like to think that in my four years at Stampington I did nothing short of putting my best work and shoed feet forward. No matter what.
I have met so many strong women in this industry who have inspired me to persevere. So that even when I felt like kicking my shoes off and relaxing, I kept moving forward. I want to name them all, but there are too many. If you look through my blog archives, you will undoubtedly know who I am talking about. To the many great women who lent me a shoulder, an ear, an apron, a kind word, I wouldn't have been able to keep going had it not been for you. To those wonderful women who gifted me with art, know that it filled my office and kept me happy while I typed articles about artwear, or maybe even posts on this blog.
The decision to quit my job came at the right time. For years I have yearned to do what many of the women I read about in our magazines do, and quit my day job and follow the dream of pursuing my art. While I am not able to quit to write full-time just yet, I will be taking a nice break from work to write a while, to reflect, to think, to just be. These last few days have felt like a marathon. I am so tired, so drained. I remember explaining to Jenny once, that I am a runner. I love running. I love pushing myself to the near impossible, to only discover there are no limits. I feel like I have been running for a long time, and at long last will be able to catch my breath.
My next adventure will be an entirely different one. I am so excited to do something I never would have imagined doing previously. That is what my whole life has been about these past 28 years, doing the unthinkable; surprising myself; starting over. I no longer am afraid to start over. I welcome change with fresh eyes. I want to use my talents to build another magazine from the ground up, hopefully, and make great contributions to another community, to meet more people who will inspire my life's journey, and maybe even new, close friends. I am sorry to tell you that I am not a crafter. I have always felt slightly guilty of this, as I have worked in the crafting industry. I don't craft anything short of writing and outfits and I feel it best to move on to an industry that is a bit more up my alley. But I am a doer. I have never been one to just say something. I do it. Actions speak louder than the best writing. I like to imagine that my writing and actions deliver upon the promises I make and the most genuine of intent. As I start my new job at Nails Magazine, I am unsure of how much blogging there will be for me in the future. A new job is a big step, and I look forward to giving it my all, which will require hard work and focus. A lot of the future seems unclear right now as I have a few things to figure out. But I am ready. I love that my life has not yet nor has ever been, so planned out.
I leave behind two magazines I founded, apronology and Jewelry Affaire. These are especially hard to leave behind, as I lost sleep, argued, and stayed late to make sure these books become everything I knew they could be. I feel like I am abandoning two very important chapters of my life. The love people have for the apron is unlike any other I have experienced, and I am so grateful to have been clued in to that warmth. The jewelry community has always welcomed me with open arms, and I consider so many of these visionaries my friends. Altered Couture has been nothing but a labor of love for me, as I sought to reinvent and push the bindings of its pages, to make it a must-read and relevant to the fashion and DIY industry. Haute Handbags and Somerset Home were both tasks that I took over from my friend Amanda, and have always tried to show them the same love, care and grace she showed other people. I hope that I have left an artful legacy. I did my best, and I feel that these chapters have been written and are at long last, done. They have ended on what I felt were good notes, capturing the visions I have had of them for years in the making.
The most important lesson of all in doing good work and doing a good job is kindness. It is the single most essential, most unifying ingredient. Treat all others with kindness; respect their work and their feelings; be honest. I have tried to stand my ground while achieving only the best. If I have done so, then I have done so by hopefully remaining kind towards others. I look forward to taking this and the many lessons learned with me to my new place of work. The people there have already shown me a great deal of generosity and it makes me all the more willing and happy to move on.
And here's the thing with moving on: change is inevitable. It is life. This life is short, unpredictable, and forever evolving. Sometimes we feel change does not treat us justly, but when we roll with it and are not afraid to start over, we build new muscle. When we are determined to be strong, no amount of change will ever permanently disable you. Then there are those changes that we are ready for, they are expected, they are even welcome. And with them there is a sigh of relief and lots of hope. My friend Virginia gave me this picture years ago that says, "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." I have had this hanging in my office for over 2 years, and every time I looked at it, I was reminded that I knew I had somewhere else to go.
I have produced 41 issues for Stampington & Company. The magazine industry, while changing as we speak, has been a great fit for me. There were days where I sat at my desk and wondered what would have happened had I taught high school English, but it has been a privilege to sit at my computer and write words for others to read. I will continue my work with Romantic Homes magazine and Made Woman Magazine. You can find me there, and hopefully here, along with some other upcoming projects (fingers crossed), and now at Nails Magazine. If you found this blog because of my work at Stampington, I thank you for reading. I thank you for deciding to come here and read words typed out over coffee from an office in Laguna Hills, surrounded by amazing handmade art, written by a girl who used to want to be a teacher, but took a chance on becoming a real writer.
Onward & Upward,