Wonder who I am?

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When people ask me where I’m from, I get really frazzled and say something silly and dismissive like “oh…everywhere!” It’s because I can’t really pinpoint where I grew up, or where I’d call home. I’m sure there are many people out there who’ve moved around far more than I have, and I wonder sometimes what they say when people ask them this question? It ‘s kind of like asking someone “so…tell me your life story – you’ve got two words and they’ve got to name a place”.

I was born in Boulder, CO. All I remember about it is big trees and bigger mountains and even bigger beignets bursting with powdery white sugar from Lucille’s…but I’m pretty sure the beignet thing comes from a later childhood visit…as I doubt my mother would have let me eat those at the age of 2. I only lived in Boulder for 2 years or so, after which I spent a small amount of time in Australia, Georgia, and then settled in Northern California. I lived with my Mom, my Aunt, and my Grandmother in Chico, CA for several years before we moved to the small town of Ashland in Southern Oregon when I was 9.

I don’t remember wanting to be anything specific while I was growing up. I remember an Archaeologist stage, a Physicist stage, and a short stint where I was convinced I’d be the next big thing in modern dance. I settled on Fashion Design somewhere along the road, and moved to Center City Philadelphia to get my degree at the all girls’ art school Moore College.

With the help of some incredible friends, cherry mountain dew, and a lot of bagels, I got through four years of cutting, sewing, washing charcoal from under my nails, and painting tiny squares during the wee hours on our large studio tables. While I enjoyed every minute, and did my best to wow the critics and blow the teachers away, I was definitely missing something.

During Middle School, High School, and college, like many young adults, I scrounged for income with various side jobs. I took on various roles including grocery store cashier, grocery bagger, strip club waitress, high end hostess, babysitter, paid date, amateur model, retirement home server, Theater usher, bartender, cat sitter, maid, landscape artist, go-go dancer, jewelry-maker, art salesperson, mass tie-dye-er, and more.

Throughout my life, I’d always done a bit of yoga here and there. In college, to combat my hunched back from hours of sewing, my stunted student social life, and, of course, all of the bagels (or more accurately the pounds they turned into), I began doing Bikram yoga at a center city studio on Rittenhouse Square. I don’t remember much about what the classes felt like then…except for this GIANT bald man who always made us do Lion’s Breath (“STICK OUT YOUR TONGUE AND CROSS YOUR EYEBALLS AND SAY HAAAAAAAA!”) every class. I also remember taking a date to class once and watching his bulging biceps attempt to wrap around each other in a massively dangerous interpretation of Eagle Pose.

I remember thinking at the time that it would be the BEST job ever to be a Yoga Teacher, but that it would never be a sustainable lifestyle. How could you afford to live on it? Nope. Impossible.

I was hired on the spot for the position of Assistant Designer of boys and girls Outerwear and Swimwear at Target Corporation right out of school. I’d interned there the summer of my junior year and (while I partied quite a bit more than I worked) somehow managed to use my degree in fashion design – focus on bridal and one of a kind evening wear – to make CADS of children’s underwear that were good enough to impress the powers that be. While I had a few great mentors at Target, and learned a lot about myself and what I wanted, it was a mostly miserable experience littered with tiny glimmers of success, small snippets of creativity, and quite a few very bad life decisions.

I started going to yoga at the CorePower Yoga down the street from my house about 6 months after I started working at Target. I finally decided (after much wavering and non-commitment) that I needed to take the plunge and enroll in Teacher Training. From the moment I signed up, almost two years into my time at Target, my biggest goal was to leave the Bullseye behind and spend as much time as humanly possible in the yoga studio.

I learned from this experience what I have probably re-learned several times since – that I can only put ALL of my heart, my energy, and my creativity into one thing at once. I nearly got fired from Target (that’s a story for another day), and ended up quitting – one of the best days of my life – in October of 2010. I started teaching Yoga full time, and only a few weeks later was offered an hourly management position at the Downtown Minneapolis CorePower Yoga.

The rest is history. I don’t want to write about it because it might spoil how dazzlingly perfect it is in my mind. While there were challenging times and I surely made mistakes, it’s been the most fulfilling time in my life thus far. After managing the Minneapolis Studio for just over a year, I was asked to move to Los Angeles to manage the LA CorePower Yoga region! At the time (this past January 2013) the region had three studios. Now – only 6 months later, there are 6 six studios, hundreds of amazing teachers, and a Management Team (in LA, in MN, and everywhere there is a CPY) that make me feel supported and loved wherever I go.

LA is different. It’s new. Every day something happens that surprises, shocks, inspires, awes, and/or challenges me. I’m committed to taking life one breath at a time (when I can remember to do so) and to writing and sharing the WONDER I experience in this crazy city, and wherever my adventures may take me. I normally have trouble writing…I was never a journal keeper…so I’m taking a friends’ advice and writing this as if I am writing a letter to someone I care about…someone who I want to share the world with, and at the same time someone I don’t know. I am committing – right now – to write once a day. Right here. For a year.

So, on June 22nd, 2014…I wonder just what I’ll be wondering at. I wonder if I’ll make it that far. Commitment is just a word, after all.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” 

— Neil Gaiman

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