SAYING YES TO YOUR CALLING
Not even 9 months ago my career consisted of a string of 9-[insert obscenely late hour] workdays amounting to little to no inspiration, slaving away in front of a tiny computer screen. The promising sweet relief of the weekend would come around; only to find myself Sunday night utterly exhausted after a full Saturday catching up on errands leaving me with a recurring date with Netflix, ice cream, and my coziest pillow. All this only to wake up the following week to do it all over again. Sound familiar?
Please note that I am in no way bashing or belittling the structure of a traditional 9-5 career. It is just that since I was a young girl, I always had two passions when it came to my future career: 1) Building something of my own, and 2) Reaching out to and building community with other girls around me. I believe that within each of us is an inherent calling; a whisper where our deepest longing meets the possibility of reality.
When we are young this unique blueprint inside us seems so tangible and within reach. This is the reason why it is so delightful to ask little children what they would like to be when they grow up; their expectations are so bold and pure. But somewhere along the timeline between childhood and adulthood, life often steps in and shatters those dreams with unexpected twists and turns. We look back on our childhood hopes and shake our heads in disappointment and resentment. Often we resign to keeping our heads down, making due with the "cards we have been given", not daring to take a leap of faith in fear of facing more rejection. And so we stay stagnant in our comfort zones and meanwhile, our inherent calling slowly but surely fades like a stranger we used to know.
This was me. And maybe it is you too. Mindlessly clocking in and out, losing more and more gusto for the life around me with each passing week. But at least I could pay the bills right? Oh my, for so long I became an expert at making excuses, standing in my own way of fulfilling a bigger destiny that the four corners of my cubicle. Because my company was so grossly understaffed with an impossibly heavy workload, I was never able to enjoy the basic luxury of paid time off until my wedding and subsequent honeymoon in Mexico. I remember in those two weeks feeling so blissfully free. I don't think I quite knew the extent of how enslaved I felt in my job until I took the time to stop, look up, and breathe. I remember standing on the edge of the ocean with my palms lifted up to the skies along with a prayer, crying out to God to deliver me from the droning bondage in my workplace.
Within a month of returning home from my honeymoon, I began to find a refuge from the monotony in my fashion blog. For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about the art of dress in the way that I can only imagine a painter becomes awakened as color dances together in harmony on a blank canvas. Previously, I would exclusively post style inspiration and advice on my website. However one day I was feeling particularly defeated after a long commute home from work and decided to write a blog post on my honest and raw struggle in the corporate fashion industry. I still remember each click of my finger over the keys slowly pouring out all the tension and anxiety I had been holding in my muscles.
Over the course of the next few weeks I found my heart spilling over more and more in shared words on my personal joys and struggles, whether it be my celebration as a newlywed or my challenge of comparison on social media. Diwa Dollhouse became a diary of sorts; a safe haven for me to vent out my innermost thoughts. I will never forget the first time I pulled down the facade of perfection and allowed my most authentic self (flaws and all) to shine through on my Instagram. At first I was extremely self-conscious and nervous as to how the public world of social media would handle my new #nofilter approach; but the moment I logged on I was shocked to see the encouragement and camaraderie of my followers! What inspired me the most was their gracious vulnerability and openness in response to my honesty. I found myself overjoyed and for the first time in my career, felt truly aligned with my calling.
In July of 2016 I put in my resignation and said goodbye to the corporate fashion industry with full intention to start a movement to empower women through fashion on my blog. It's been about 9 months and I wish I could truthfully tell you that from the moment I let go of that familiar ledge to now that the journey has been effortless and easy. No; on the contrary it has been paved with frequent challenges along the way. The secret however is that within each obstacle is an underlying life and/or career lesson that is no more or less valuable than a rare gem. Slowly but surely I have (and continue to) build a business of my own that is committed to women discovering a revelation of their worth.
Last week I had the honor of standing in my best friend's wedding at the beautiful Turks and Caicos. Because I now get to create my own work schedule, my girlfriends and I decided to stay an extra week to soak up the sun and bask in fellowship with one another. My phone was often left at home while I ran off on a new adventure for the day; whether it was exploring a new beach on the other side of the island or tasting the island's best fresh seafood. Since I quit my job to start my own venture, I have been on four vacations, get an average of eight hours of sleep a night and finally know what it means to "unplug." Exponentially more gratifying is the deep privilege I have every day of logging on and connecting with my incredible Insta-family. With every post, I am deeply humbled by the stories exchanged with one another in the spirit of authenticity. I know that my mission is to empower women through fashion but it is I who find myself daily enriched by the friends who share their precious time to connect with me and the work that I love.
Maybe you currently find yourself at the precipice of insanity at a job you are increasingly resenting. Maybe someone in your life shattered a dream you once had, calling you "unrealistic." Maybe you still have a little whisper inside you asking, "Could there be more?" If I were to choose one piece of advice to share with anyone resonating with anything I have just shared, it would be this: The only reason the enemy of your soul tries to stop you is because he has peeked into your future. And ohh baby, is it BRIGHT.
Xoxo, Diwa Doll
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Photography: Lyda McIver Photography