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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two years in California: My story...



Next month marks the two year anniversary of my move to California. But it all started more than two years ago. I grew up in a small town and went to college in another small town. My whole life, however, I knew I was meant to be a city girl. I didn't belong in a world of farms and forest; I was attracted to skyscrapers and sea. I wanted to live in an environment that had a close proximity to water and high temperatures, but also a melting pot of cultures and an endless amount of neighborhoods to explore.

In June 2007 I went on a family trip to Arizona. While in Phoenix, I decided I wanted to live on the West Coast someday. That fall, I met a boy in one of my college classes as I pursued a degree in Communications. Within the first five minutes of our conversation, I knew he was someone that I wanted in my daily life... He made me laugh until I cried.



I weasled my way into his group for a project, and one Friday night in November, I just happened to be the only member who could show up to work on it. After playing with Power Point for about 10 minutes, we popped in a Judd Apatow movie and cracked open a bottle of wine. We were both writers -- he of scripts, me of stories –- so we bounced ideas off each other over the coming months, getting together regularly and sometimes collaborating on projects.

It wasn't until May 2008 that he and I became an “official” couple. In May 2009, he moved from Michigan to LA, and four months later –- after completing my final credits –- so did I. If it weren't for him, I may have been too scared to take the risk of leaving the only state I had ever known, and for that I'm eternally grateful.



Moving here was the best decision of my life. At the same time, I'm going to be honest with you when I say that my two years here have been the most challenging I've ever experienced! If you live in a small town now and dream to move to a big city, I absolutely recommend it and encourage you to do it, but you need to have thick skin and a strong backbone and every other cliché that someone says when they know you're being thrown into a lion's den.

I believe wholeheartedly that if you dream it you can do it, but you have to have dedication, perseverance, motivation, and lots of patience. More than likely it'll be a rocky journey and if you prepare yourself for that before you start you'll be less stunned when you hit a bump in the road. But guess what? That journey is fun! I love being a problem-solver and it's such an incredible feeling when you've overcome.



My problems began my first week in town. I had an interview for a marketing company and was stoked when I got called back for a second. By the third, I realized that the business didn't do “marketing” at all. It was a door-to-door solicitation company and a total pyramid scheme. I had been scammed! Embarrassed and disappointed, I went back to the drawing board to look for a job. Fortunately, I had worked at Ann Taylor during college and was able to transfer to a local store, but I still wanted something full-time.

In November I was offered a job at a private airport terminal. It wasn't my dream job or my ideal industry, but I went for it anyway and stayed with the company for over a year (working at Ann on the side). At first, I liked it there! The pay was good, the job was interesting, and it was fun getting to see celebrities almost every day.

About halfway through my time there, something snapped. The cons began to outweigh the pros. Rules changed, expectations were raised, and pay stayed the same. The job began to take over my life, and all the while, I did not hear one word of praise from my boss. Perhaps I would have felt different if the position was remotely related to my writing career, but it wasn't. So I didn't. I realized I had to go, but I was scared to take another leap of faith. My health suffered.



On Halloween 2010 I totaled my car. I had been sick and on medication but decided to stop by a co-worker's party anyway. On my way home, I had trouble concentrating. I came around a curve too fast and smacked into a parked car. I spent most of the night in the hospital, being poked and prodded as I was tested for various conditions. At the end of it all, my boyfriend and I had to walk home. He didn't have a car at the time and mine wasn't drivable. It was 4am, we couldn't find a taxi, and I was wearing a neck brace. I hated myself.

This was a turning point for me. I knew I had to take control. My life had to change, and the only person that could do anything about it was myself. The process began when I started this blog in December 2010. It forced me to buckle down and hone my craft. It allowed me to meet so many other people with similar dreams, and that motivated and inspired me. In February 2011 I left my job. It was incredibly difficult and painful... I felt like I was breaking up with a cruel boyfriend while terrified of being alone again.

The next month was truly amazing and healing. I traveled to Las Vegas and Michigan. I was promoted to part-time manager at Ann Taylor, which gave me time to concentrate on my writing and photography... and because of that my blog began to grow! I was finally able to focus on what I was passionate about and for that I was willing to give up my old income. I was happier than I'd been in months!








My last big moment of change happened just a few weeks ago when my boyfriend and I broke up. As hard as it has been to deal with I know that it's what's best. We'd both grown since college but in different directions; we no longer had the same vision for our futures. Though I do believe that compromise and adjustment are essential for any relationship, I do not think it would be fair for him to have to change something major for me (and vice-versa). We had such a rich history and loved each other dearly but that doesn't always make it right to be together.

As I adjust my living situation and hunt for a second job, I know that the strength I have garnered will pull me through. I'm not worried because I've made it this far and I'm still standing. I truly believe that when you make the right decision, everything else will fall into place. This is a theory that has been proven fact many times for me over the past two years. I overcome each obstacle a stronger, smarter person. I'm excited to see what happens next. Are you with me?

28 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing! it was a great way to get to know you. im excited to see what happens next for you!

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  2. I am ab-so-friggin-lutely with you!! Throwing in another cliche for you, but it only gets better!! Keep at it Steph, not much gets you down :)

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  3. Mos def. What a great story! It's very inspiring. I think some people think that following your dreams is easy, because you're pursuing what you want. But I think following your dreams is so hard. Life can be really difficult and setbacks seem even more massive when so much is at stake. It's good to read stories like this, to help gain perspective and to encourage us to follow our dreams.

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  4. This is such a great story! The way you and your ex met was so cute, although I am sorry that it did not work out. You are such a strong a courages person. You are an inspiration to all the people thinking about taking a leap and moving away from everything they know. Great post hon!

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  5. I really, really loved reading this - it sounds like you've had a really amazing journey so far and I relate to a lot of it (I quit my job to move to another country for grad school). I just know that the rest of the journey is going to be nothing short of incredible for you!


    xoxo ~ Courtney
    http://sartorialsidelines.com

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  6. With ya, girl! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. The jobs, the boyfriend, the writing career - apart from me being more of a city kid, I feel like we have so much in common. I've come to realize that writing is never a straight career path, and college boyfriends... well, those rarely work out in the end. Just by your take on it all, though, I can tell how strong you are. Here's to the next chapter!

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  8. Great sharing Steph--- I know most of your story, but it was great to read it here all at once...

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  9. i loved reading this. it is inspiring that youve been strong enough to get through all of this in such a short period of time! you seem like a strong and passionate person :)

    <3 steffy
    Steffys Pros and Cons

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  10. i thought i liked reading your blog until this post. now i love it. you are such a true and honest person, and honesty is something i struggle with on my blog. i am so concerned with making everything look and sound good, that i am not letting my true self come through- and i know that is what people would really like. you are not afraid to be yourself on your blog and i really appreciate that. there is so much i can learn from you as a writer and a spirit. keep up the awesome work.

    xxoo
    www.paperplanesandmaryjanes.com

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  11. I love your moving to Cali story! It is very inspirational. I've lived here pretty much my whole life, but I did move away during college and that was pretty scary. Good for you and good luck on the job hunt!

    (I need to meet you at Ann Taylor one of these days. I'm dying to look at the fall collection everyone is talking about.

    Heather

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  12. Totally with you!! How brave of you to share this story with us! I can definitely relate when it comes to leaving the place you've only known and trying to find your way back to your passion. I know I spent a few years of early adult life in a tail spin because I was chasing the wrong things (and then wondering why things didn't work out!)

    " I truly believe that when you make the right decision, everything else will fall into place."

    You are absolutely right about that and when you keep that in the forefront of your mind, opportunities and people that you never thought would help you get to where you need to be will be there. We writers are very creative and resilient people! We always know how to make it work! ;)

    Good luck to you!

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing. Not to be clichéd, but I actually do believe that when a door closes, a window opens. Something big will come around for you. It seems like you are the type of person who will make things happen for herself.

    I have been through a similar experience: I basically got dumped on the phone by my boyfriend of two years, went into a tailspin, and figured out that the only way to get through it was to be awesome. So I moved to NYC, started grad school, started a new job.. and became awesome.

    Do it.

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  14. I loved this, thank you for opening up and allowing me to get to know you better. We have a lot and common and I am so happy that you feel empowered by all you have experienced (as you should).

    Veronica

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  15. Am I with you? I am following you! I am so glad you were able to get yourself together, more so I am proud of you for wanting to attain true happiness from within. Sometimes we have to follow our own paths and do what is best for us. I love this post, thank you so much for taking the time to write it and share those emotions. I have grown a lot too in the past year, and I am glad both of us are happy. I am always here for you if you need me, honestly, if you were in NYC we would be best friends! Love you darling!

    XX!
    YvonnaLivianna
    YvonnaLivianna.blogspot.com

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  16. Hey

    I too have been through some trying time sthat have led to a much happier and fulfilling life - what is meant for you will not pass you by!
    Hoping you will continue to blossom and grow!!! Afterall, it all comes from you, from a place filled with love (to create the most positive outcomes).

    http://smalltimequeen.blogspot.com

    Love your blog too.

    Queenie x

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  17. I am so with you babe. As sad as I am to hear about you and the boy breaking up I see so much brightness in your future. Be clear in what you want and relentless in your pursuit of it. And let me know when you're coming down to Sac for a visit. Got a spare bed waiting. xo. -Bella Q
    the Citizen Rosebud

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  18. Great post Stephanie! Change can be a scary thing, but I know you'll meet it head on and make it into some thing amazing! Good luck in your future endeavors I know you'll be getting some good blog material and I'll be looking forward to reading it!

    Emily Hanna

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  19. Thank you for sharing your story sweets. You are so brave!

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  20. The part of your post where you told us how your old job was making you sick sounds a lot like what happened with my first supervisor at our now-liquidated employer; he was actually planning to leave when the hammer came down for us all last Friday.

    Anyway, may you keep on rockin' in the free world, kicking more ass and taking more names! Big hugs!

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  21. Look at you with Blonde hair! That's such a movie start shot!

    You've had your ups and downs and you've held your head up high through it all and that's the way to do it. Have faith and keep pressing forward :) You're strong enough to get through anything!

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  22. I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog! I too, am a girl from Michigan, who moved to California. I have been here two years. :] It definitely has had it's ups and downs being away from my best friends and family. But it's all a learning experience that makes you grow as a person.

    Your newest follower!
    Julie

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  23. What a wonderful story and truly one that is inspirational at this time in my life. A couple of months ago, I woke up, sat straight up, and out loud to myself said "something's gotta change." Well, here it is 2 months later, and I'm still in that same bed, in the same house, saying the same thing. I know I have to do something - I know I am not where I am supposed to be in my 34-year-old self. But it is SO scary to break those chains - whether they're tied to family (as in my case), town, relationships (which is lacking if ya catch my drift ;), etc. I am working on it, sooooo slooooowwwwly, honing my craft as you said...working towards my goal while still trying to gain strength & courage to make a change/move. Your post reiterated that I'm not alone, and I wanted to thank you for that. Even though time spans are a few years off, it is so relatable and even more INSPIRING!!
    So, thank you for the reminder to "grab my kahunas" (as my dad would say...to his daughter...) and make the change that I know so much is needed. Then the rest will fall right into place if they are supposed to. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And most of all, best of luck with your next adventures as a city girl!!

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  24. your story is so inspiring. i think sometimes it's our lowest lows that result in our highest highs. keep up the GREAT work - you have a fab blog with so many amazing followers!

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  25. GIRL I AM WITH YOU! I read every word and I love you like a crazy person and want to hug you a million times.

    You are braver than so many people who stay at places they hate, jobs they hate, and people they can not live with. You got this life thing in the bag, Steph.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  26. Wow... It's crazy to read all of this because I lived it with you! I love reflecting over the past and realizing that who we are today is because of every day we have lived. You are an amazing woman and I am proud to say I was on that journey with you! :)

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  27. Hey Steph! I love your story! I admire your courage, your perseverance and your attitude! I got so excited when I saw the pictures of you and Brynn in Vegas!! I remember when that was taken! So happy to have met you there! It makes me so joyful to watch you follow your dreams. I am so proud of you and all you have accomplished.
    Keep on going girl! You've got the world on a string!

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