Hey Y'all! So another story for another day, but I've recently been taking a course in leadership called Global Citizen Year Academy- meeting a lot of amazing people, doing a lot of fun projects, listening to amazing speakers, and doing lots of self reflection! Anyway, one of our first assignments was to draft a speak-up, in other words, a story based on who we are- our values, our experiences, and present that to our learning groups. I wanted to share my speak up with you all because I've found it shows a little more about me and hopefully it can inspire you to go forth and be fearless in pursuit of your dreams.
It's called Purposefully Imperfect, so here you go:
Some things in life take you by surprise. They open up unimaginable doors, they tear you down to build you up into a person only God can conform. I realize that now, reflecting on my life, on my experiences- or lack thereof depending where you stand. I shift, I change, I adapt- ever since I was little; creating pathways to achieve success whether that be in friendships, in entrepreneurship, in competition- paths that I have found lead to endless discovery in personal reflection, psychological reimagination, and pure tactile inventiveness. I love to create, I have a passion in design, I am an imagineer in all meanings of the name, for hand me a trail and I’ll run or place a blank canvas in front of me and I’ll fly. I am curious beyond comprehension- combined with an eagerness to learn with inquisition toward the arts, sustainability side of things, manufacturing in developing nations, fair trade, generational craft, embracing people surviving and thriving while living their own perceptions of success. I’ve loved Global Citizen Year- I’ve loved this opportunity to not only meet others, but grow intellectually into the person I strive to become. It has become so very clear to me that what I am truly passionate about, my purpose stems from one trait that I respect, I admire, and I will always aspire to maintain: Work Ethic.
A simple pair of words, yet the single set of words that I find no matter who you are or where you’re from I can always count on someone with good work ethic. I play soccer, I’ve run cross country for school- I go to school- I thrive in school, I’ve started a couple of businesses, I run a million clubs, I work on the weekends, I volunteer and find volunteer events for anyone and everyone around me, my wheels never stop turning and adventuring into new projects and in all that I’ve discovered work ethic is not something that can be taught, but something that is within us all- a skill deep within our hearts that grows the more we challenge it-
I come from a long line of workers. My great grandparents immigrated to America from Ireland and Italy working everyday as tailors in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan to forge a sustainable life for themselves and their immediate families- passing on that fight for liberty in my grandparents, my parents, and consequently, me. When you look at the people around you, you really take time to think, you realize how much of them resides in you. Spending the first five years of my life in New York, I don’t remember what it was like, but I do remember the colossal change that was our move to Texas. Five years old leaving behind my best friends at the time, coming to a land of shrub trees and hot summers, yet we learned to adapt. My mom moved my two brothers and I all by herself while my dad worked in the city to pay for our family’s new adventure. Naturally the change took root and I rebuilt my network in North Austin. I learned how to make friends and always enjoyed creating art. My new preschool gave us the opportunity to sell our artistic masterpieces at a school-run spring festival for 5 cents a sheet and boy did my entrepreneurial eyes light up! Moving then into kindergarten, meeting a girl who came dressed as a monarch butterfly- I was mesmerized by the idea that she had made her costume out of recycled materials through a program called Quest. I fought for years taking tests until third grade rolled around and your girl got into the creative problem solving program that was Quest. Finally time to put those creative problem solving and entrepreneurial skills to the test, I made and sold custom covered notebooks for anyone who wanted one. My mom was doing craft shows at the time, selling her hand designed products, and she inspired me to sell my notebooks at the craft show within our local coffee shop. My mom is a saint, she taught me the business side of creativity so when we started our business together CiMi Shine when I was in 8th grade, we had a lot of fun putting our designs on products that embraced the joy we felt through creating. Some of the best connections we have are the ones we take for granted- my relationship with my mom is one thing that I could never explain- maybe it was all the roadtrips we’d go on to soccer tournaments when I was younger, maybe it was her involvement in teaching me all I know about art and design, or perhaps the chocolate chip cookies she taught me how to make that I still bake day after day, she gets me more than anyone on this planet.
Anyway, we were building our business, and at that point we had moved to Dripping Springs. A new town, a new school, a new community and I was completely, overwhelmingly mentally destroyed. I had built this metaphorical foundation in my old town- my network was massive, my friends were tight, and I was friends with everyone, for my mom always taught us that others don’t remember what you said but how you made them feel- I’ve always taken that to heart in my relationships. Hard work building a reputation as a child and moving away from it all- starting fresh. But it was not all sunshine and rainbows, for I had to learn how to converse, how to meet people without a reputation of my past, how to sell myself into this new community to feel a part. The problem was, I was so good at being the salesman that I forgot what it meant to be me, for to this day I’m still trying to find my 7th grade self full of joy- without a care in the world- just pure drive fueled by hope and excitement.
I was a ball of fury on the inside and complete sunshine on the out and throughout freshman year I maintained this bubbly persona, but it wasn’t until sophomore year that I completely broke down. I met my school counselor and just balled, for through those years I continued athletics, I was getting into clubs and volunteering, I was the top of my class academically, but mentally I was done trying to be this perfect person. I had to learn that it was not only okay to fail, but it’s okay to fall. I found that where I lacked solace was the confidence within myself, for the expectation I set for myself was exponentially higher than that I set with others and I couldn’t tell you why, but I lack trust. Moving away from my roots, I felt extremely lost, so I resorted to the only thing I knew how to do and that was work everyday, pile it in, try to make friends by saying yes to everyone who invited me to a club that seemed remotely interesting. SO much work, never saying no, making acquaintances with so many people, yet I found I had no time to develop those connections into anything outside of high school. It took me four years, but as this senior year has rolled around I finally understand why God has put me through mental distress- why he will keep forcing me into the panic zone five times out of ten- it’s because I have now found the confidence to say NO. Because within me is a work ethic that is defined by the generations before me, within me is a self made masterpiece that has so much work to be done- yet has so much drive to please the people around her by embracing her own passion in design that that is what I want to give others. The confidence to cultivate their inner masterpieces. Paint their canvases, build their sculptures, defined not by laws of man but by laws of imagination.
Some things in life take us by surprise- they break us down until the thoughts and the pain we feel in our minds become one and the same. I’m not gonna tell you that I am fine, for though I have been practicing balance, we never truly heal from the pain of the past, but like Mother Teresa says “at the end of the day it is between you and God, it was never between you and them anyway,” I have found a way to turn my experience into one that has not only made me the person driven to success I am today but one who is not afraid to face change with an open mind, not afraid to meet others and hear their stories, to trust in others- because at the end of the day we are all human beings just trying to be our best selves. I have learned our best self is the best that we can be and it doesn’t matter if your best self today is worse than your best self yesterday- if you work hard, if you strive to be something, do something, love something, there is nothing that can’t stop you from finding success in that. That is my purpose to empower others to find confidence, be confidence, and create the confidence to be their best selves and be okay with that everyday within their lifetime.
I hope you enjoyed my story, and I hope this inspires you to share yours!
The sun is shining, the world is full, and the day is ready for us to conquer new adventures! Lets have a beautiful day!