Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Why Leaving NYC Was the Best Decision for Me

Why I really left NYC.
Picture this it was 2015 and I was depleted. I mean every sense of the word depleted. With a handful of people that I could call friend, I was broke, lonely and depressed. Yes, depressed. Finally it dawned on me.. it was time to go home. 

Whenever someone asks "How did you like living in New York?" I try to answer this question as carefully as possible. Why? 1. I don't want to scare anyone out of moving to one of the most magical cities on earth. 2. I know that my story is heavy and very few can understand my experience in the Big Apple. So, I usually  give an answer like "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." or "I loved it but as expected NY is tough and expensive. It was time to go." As many of you know, I'm an open book. There aren't many times when I hold back my honest opinion but I found that my truth was confusing some. Here's my story...
This is me on move in day at Astoria Park.
Before moving to NYC I saved up $8,000 in 3 months to give myself a head start on
my new journey. I was BEYOND excited. Just think, a dream that I've had since I was a little girl was coming true. "Momma I'm moving to NYC!" So, this small town girl packed up her UHAUL and moved in with her cousin and his girlfriend. I couldn't get enough of the city. Around every corner was a new experience and don't even get me started on the amazing food (drool). The opportunities are endless and life is about to begin, or so I believed....

Fast forward 6 months and I'm working a part-time job for $9.25 an hour and with $75 to my name. How did this happen? My job sucks. The girls I work with won't speak to me. I'm lonely. I'm struggling in my relationship at the time because my work schedule impedes on our phone time. How did I get here? This city of big dreams and bright lights has now become a dim back alley that is slowing killing my dream and my spirit.

 So the New York grind begins.
Ramen. Jumping turnstiles when I can't afford to pay for the train. Dollar Pizza.
Cheap happy hour drinks. Bare Foot Wine. You know... the works. I appreciate this time the most because it taught me to appreciate every single moment in life, even the lows.

As outgoing and as friendly I can be,  it was rather difficult to find friends. Working in the fashion industry is tough and a lot of the people are as fake as the photoshop the swear by. So there were many lonely nights and a lot of doing things alone. Dating helped alleviate going places alone and it allowed me to learn the city in a new way. Still, this was the beginning of a depression I'd be in for another year. I began to isolate myself because people weren't very nice to me. Soon the anxiety attacks were becoming more frequent and the thought of everyday life seemed more and more overwhelming.

Can we pause here?
So listen.. I grew up in a strong Christian household. Mental illness is something that you "pray about" and "Give to God". When talking about my depression it was very difficult for those around me to understand because to them depression is not of God. Pair that with the "Strong Black Woman" expectations and you have a recipe for disaster. Getting out of bed was difficult. Having everyday conversations was exhausting. I was so close to depletion that it was scary. There was this feeling that I couldn't quit even though I felt myself drowning. In the last few years I've seen an increase on encouragement of unhealthy behaviors. For example, "You can't sleep during the grind." or "Push past the sadness, it's only temporary." There are time when you'll sleep less and you gotta push through your emotions but let us not forget about those moments when you need to recharge your mind, body and soul.  I wish someone would've shook me and told me to run as fast as I could. But I stayed and I continued...

Day by day. New experiences regularly. Taking moments to sit on top of my favorite rock in Central Park to reflect on my life. Slowly but surely I was getting things back on track. I now had the luxury of living paycheck to paycheck but that was better than my $75 realness. 

The more success I obtained in modeling, the more money I was spending. When you attend events you have to look the part and I made sure I did so. Combine that with life mishaps, photoshoots and traveling I was now in debt. Capital One offered me more than enough to live off of by the time my paycheck at my new job started to decline so the swiping began. Fast forward to January 2016 and I had a total of $10,000 in credit card debt. Yes, I said it. 10,000 US Dollars. Owed. To Capital One. That doesn't include my student loan debt and other bills to add to the increasing weight on my shoulders. I was in over my head and it was TIME TO GO. 

So, I called my parents and explained my current mental and financial state to them. Without hesitation they told me to come home and... here I am! One year later and the majority of my debt is paid off and I've had the opportunity to save so I can prepare to move out soon. Living in New York was one of the most necessary experiences of my life and I'm grateful for it all. You couldn't pay me to relive it BUT I'm grateful nonetheless, lol. 

I didn't write this post to discourage anyone from moving to NYC or ask for pity. To be honest, I witnessed a lot of people find a great circle of friends and success during my time there but that wasn't my story. I experienced the other side of the Big Apple that takes a bite out of you instead of you biting it. The experience changed me for the better and made me SO much stronger. My world is different and I learned that it is limitless if you allow it to. Always shoot for your dreams and never fear failure. There will be times in life where you will try and the outcome may not be as expected and there will be times where you receive more than you could imagine. Although I saw myself living in the city longer than I did, the amount of memories I have there are endless. Know when it is time to stand fight and when it is time to go and collect more armour to win the war.

Peace and Blessings.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

My Eggs Aren't Cracked Nor Scrambled.

For women, there are questions that start to frequent your conversations as you get older. Seeing as though we are in a time where the internet is very much a part of our everyday lives, I felt that putting all of the answers in one blog post could alleviate this issue. So, from here on out I will forward this post to anyone who proceeds to ask me these questions lol. Enjoy. 

Don't you want to get married?
Yes, very much so. I'd love to be married and I planned on being so by now but the stars haven't aligned yet. If good men were just falling from the sky things would be very different.. unless it's raining men and no one told me. 

Aren't you afraid you'll be alone forever?
No. I know I was made to be a wife. I was placed on this earth for a special man, it just isn't my time yet. I feel like there may be things I need to accomplish before I meet my king. I can feel it deep down inside that there is someone specifically for me. I'm learning that we must both be on a great journey and when we come together it'll be so undeniable that the wait will be worth it. 

Don't you want to have kids? You know you're getting older right?
Excuse me while I laugh... Yes. I am getting older. Yes. Doctors stress the increase of trouble conceiving at an older age. I am aware. However, my eggs aren't cracked nor are they scrambled. I spoke with my OBGYN and she says I've got more than enough eggs to get it done when the time comes. I LOVE children and can't wait to have my own. HOWEVER, I refuse to have a child before I am ready. I don't want to bring a child into this world based on the ideals of society and the judgement of others. They won't be raising or financially supporting my future children (yes, that's plural). So many people think that life is supposed to go one way and that's it... If you haven't noticed by now my life is the opposite of what society says it should be and I love it. So, my children will come when the time is right. I'd like to have a husband to help and support me along with some stability in my career before I start a bringing kids into the world. My hectic schedule would never allow me to be the mother I have always dreamed of being. Being a "baby momma" has never been on my list of things to do.

Don't you think your standards are a little too high? Do you think that kind of man really exists?
I take peace in knowing that what God has for me , is for me and I won't miss a thing. It frustrates me that women are expected to compromise their standards based on what others say is possible. There is a difference between a woman knowing what is right for her and what she wants from life and a woman with a list of requirements that include height, weight, salary, etc. Love looks many different ways and often doesn't come in the form you expect. The man that God has prepared for me will not only be the things I want but or importantly, the things I need. 

Don't you think you need to slow down? You don't really want to be married if you plan on keeping up the pace you are. 
There is a time and place for everything. Slow down?! Why? I'm at a place where my career is moving in the right direction. Of course relationships come with sacrifice and I plan on doing so but that comes with prioritizing and scheduling things accordingly. Honestly, all of these questions annoy me 😂 I've been in great relationships. Yes, I have time constraints that others don't but I make time for everything that is important in my life and the man I love is no exception. 

I'm tired of apologizing and explaining myself. I've made a conscious decision to be the woman I am destined to be and I encourage everyone to do the same. Unfortunately a lot of women sacrifice who they are and what they want all in the name of love. I believe that the two can co-exist. You can be you and find someone
who loves you through it. Again, sacrifices will have to be made, schedules will have to be adjusted and travel arrangements will be increased but if it's worth it.. I'm all for it! I don't want to look back on my life with regrets. Regrets that never took a shot at my dreams. Regrets that I paired myself with someone who didn't love all of me. Regrets that I gave up who I am to contribute to someone else, especially when we can empower one another. 
I hope this blog inspires other and makes women who are like me feel a little more comfortable when people start to ask these probing questions. 
Stay inspired. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Truth About Why I've Been Missing

Here's why I've been missing.

I wish i could say it were due to my busy schedule, but it's not. I wish I could say I lack the inspiration, but I don't. I wish I could say I've lost interest, but I haven't.

I have been missing because my message has changed significantly. I have been missing because I can no longer be true to my blog and write about the things that spark my creative flow without rubbing people the wrong way. I have been missing because my life has been on a constant shift and God has given me a new set of eyes and the way I view the world is very different. The rose colored glasses are long gone and the world just seems like a different place.

As I'm sure you've seen from the countless photos I post.. I am a black woman. Usually, I don't walk around with that in the forefront of  my mind but lately it's been the only thing I can think about. At times I feel hopeless. I feel afraid. I am infuriated. I am disheartened. I am worried that whenever one of my family members leaves the house they may not return due to an encounter with the wrong authority figure. That in itself is another blog post waiting to be written but it's the reason I've been quiet.

After countless debates on Facebook and trying to enlighten people on a world outside of their own if gets a bit draining.

My world has been shaken and my truth is uncomfortable for many. Yet.. I know I've been called to spread the word, my knowledge and use my platform for good. So... I'm back. Better than ever. Woke. (Yes, woke. Woke - Being Woke means being aware.. Knowing whats going on in the community. Urban dictionary) Unapologetic. 

I hope that you all enjoy the transition that will occur but don't fret... I'm still Desarée at the end of the day and you will be receiving the same content as before.. Now you just have a little more content to explore. 😘✌🏽️

Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Anxiety & Depression Story... Yes This is Real.

So. I filmed this video November 4, 2015. I've finally mustered up enough guts to post and patience to wait for my computer to convert the file. I was very anxious filming the video and posting it is just the same.

The key to life is to share your gift. To give back. I know that people can benefit from my story.. so here I am to tell it. You know God has funny ways. He'll take you through the father to help others weather the storm. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

I Thought That God Forgot About Me

2015 has been the most trying year of my life. I have had some major losses and hard times in the past year. I have felt my lowest of low, lost friends, lost myself and struggled with my spirituality. Don't get me wrong.. I am blessed. I woke up everyday with air in my lungs and a job to go to but it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did.

This post is not for pity. It's for progress. It's for the person who felt most like me in my time of need and for the person who may feel like there's not way out.

Being raised as a Christian teaches you faith and believing that even when things get tough you will overcome. I can't tell you how many Sunday School, Bible Studies, and Vacation Bible Schools I've attended through the years because I've surely lost count. I can't explain how many bible verses and children's church songs I can recite after you say one single phrase. I'm also not sure how many words of encouragement that I selflessly have shared with others when they were in need just because the Lord placed it on my heart. With all of these things y'all.. the knowledge, the foundation and the urge to share a message to someone, somehow they were nowhere to be found when I needed the most.

Due to working retail I was forced into working on Sundays. At first it didn't take an affect on me because I still had my joy. After weeks became months and I hadn't gone to church things started to change. It's as if I was on the same radio frequency listening to my favorite DJ and all of a sudden I started to drive outside of the coverage area. The static started to creep in. At this point I could hear what he was saying still but the strength in the voice started to fade away. The longer I continued to be absent from fellowship, the less I read my word and the more anxious I became. (I won't go into the anxiety and depression too much because I'll be releasing a video about it very soon.) This is where life became the toughest. Not only was I physically on my own (remember I have 2 friends here, literally) I also was spiritually disconnected. And THAT my friend is a recipe for disaster for a person like me. I feed off of the energy of others. Good or positive and receiving no energy left me down and drained.

As time passed I would pray but my prayers felt unanswered. It felt as if Jesus had disconnected the mainline (told you about those church songs I can recite on cue). I felt lost. I felt abandoned. The words of encouragement from friends and family fell on deaf ears. I could no longer hear. I could no longer see. I could no longer understand why I was in this dark place and how God decided to leave me here. All lessons in life are in preparation for what's to come in the future and I will tell you I know exactly when God was trying to prepare me for this loneliness BUT it affected me way more than I anticipated.

Looking in hindsight I realize these things:

1. God will never leave nor forsake you. When I was feeling lonely and he couldn't get through to me I had a few people that he sent to me specifically to aide me in my time of need. Fiamma (all the way in California), Kristin (friend #1), Garvin (friend #2.. G you're not #2 in my life I just named you second so get out of your feelings), Ky (my day 1), Ashley (although she didn't know it) and my guardian angel Andres. These are the people who helped me the most during my trying time. I can never repay them for helping me carry my cross. Even when I was down they still believed in me.

2. You have to make time for the Lord. After I was denied Sundays off I found a loop hole.. I requested off every other Sunday. Not a single soul could complain because I was helping them meet the needs of the business and meeting the need of my soul. I requested a daily verse from my bible app and of course I talked to God even when I felt he couldn't hear me.

3. We're not in control. You think that you can force things, you think that you can change the direction of the tide but if you change those thoughts and go with the wind while you continue to do everything that you can in the midst of the storm you'll have your foundation built when the sun shines again. Somebody help me I'm preaching!

4. LET IT GO. You have to give all your worries to God. Cast all your cares upon him for he cares for you (Another 1, In my DJ Khaled Voice). Do not worry about the things you can't control. That's life. Things won't always go your way but those things that are too much for you God is bigger than. Let him take away the worry and you keep fighting.

5. Wake up and smell the roses!! I almost missed my year. I almost missed all the blessings. I went on vacation... TWICE! Miami and Dubai. I rode a freaking camel people!! I was published in a 3 page spread in The NY Daily News (like what?!?!) I met Jaleel White.. like forreal Stefan Urkel was supposed to be my man. I'm modeling for a company who's racks I would shop at my local mall growing up. I mean I am blessed. I live in New York freaking City and I'm alive. I'm not homeless. I'm not hungry. I'm not naked. I'm blessed. I have a job for one of the biggest american designers at the moment. #blessed

Count your blessings. You will get through. Trouble don't last always. Every storm leads to a rainbow.. never give up. Never lose sight of the dream. You will steer of course sometimes but you've got what it takes to get back on track.

It feels SO good to be back!!!!!


Friday, November 13, 2015

The Day I Found Out My Dad Was A Janitor.

From the time I can remember my parents have always been hard workers. When I was young they opened up Hair Bizzz Barber & Beauty Salon together and ran the business along with my aunt. My mother and Aunt were the main hair stylists and my father did the managing. I didn't realize it then but they were molding my idea of what greatness is. I would watch them spend long nights in that salon working and building relationships with their clients. My father would make bank runs, keep the salon stocked with everything from the latest hair products to snacks that held the customers over while they spent half the day there (you know how hair salons have you there all day). Those were the days..

After my parents decided to close down the business my mother continued to work in local salons and my father picked up work elsewhere to continue earning for our family. It's funny but if you sit down and have a conversation with my dad it seems like he's worked for every company under the sun. I'm not sure there's nothing this man can't do and if there is he'll master it after you give him the manual.

For a few years my dad was working for an up and coming computer company. He would come home and tell us all about the funny stories from the office and how my sister and I should never end up like those people.  One day my mom fixed dad lunch and drove to his job to drop it off. After 10 minutes of him not answering his cellphone (In true John Rutledge fashion) she asked me to run it inside. I walked in and asked a woman "Do you know where John is?" She replied "John? Who is John?" I replied "John Rutledge. Brown skin man. Glasses. About this height" She then said "OHHH!! John the Janitor! Follow me!" As we walked through the room full of cubicles she led me to the back door where my dad's car was parked outside. If anyone knows him you know this man can sleep anywhere.. especially in that van he has lol. I then found my dad sleep with his smock on and cleaning supplies. I was confused because I had no idea my dad was a janitor but I also felt my heart break..

You see.. I'm not ashamed that my father was a janitor. Not by any means. He did what was necessary to provide for my family. Even if that meant humbling himself to clean up after others just to keep a roof over our heads, he did just that. The reason my heart broke was because at that time my dad should have been retired. He should've been in the sun on a beach in Florida with a drink in his hand. Although that day was difficult it was a pivotal moment for me. That day gave me purpose. When I started modeling  I had my ideas of what I wanted to do for myself and of course I had a plan to get my mom that Cadillac she always said she wanted.. but this day changed it all. This day showed me that I had to grind so hard that my family no longer had to work. My parents worked their butts off to make sure that we were provided for and the least I could do was make sure that they had nothing to worry about.

I say all this to say that I am PROUD of my father. He did his best to be the man that our family needed. By no means is he perfect but he damn sure is perfect to me. I applaud him and all of his sacrifices. The nights he worked overnight. The days he stayed out in the cold cutting wood in the backyard so my family could be warm during the winter. The rides to school he gave my sister and I everyday even though he didn't have to. My daddy is the man and I love him. I just hope that I can repay him at least 1/2 of what he's done for me and continue to make him as proud as he's made me.
Mommy I know you're reading this... I'm SO proud of you too. You have made me into the woman that I am... but this isn't your post. You're next I promise lol *muah*