I was graduating with honors from the University of Southern California as a Master in Strategic Public Relations – shortly after receiving one of the most jarring disappointments of my budding career. I had been on the precipice of a breakthrough (or so I thought) only to have the rug pulled from underneath me in characteristic, cold-blooded, corporate America fashion. Still reeling from the disappointment, I was unable to bask in my freshly acquired milestone, my masters degree, convincing myself that the reason for my lack of enthusiasm was that I had always known I would graduate. “Why celebrate graduation when graduating had always been the plan?” – It made sense to me at the time. I can only now admit that my vision was foggy and rife with uncertainty. And I didn’t even have the luxury of being in my comfort zone. I was in a foreign land, with home thousands of miles away.
Earlier that year, I had made the decision to stop taking money from my loving parents; to become one-hundred percent responsible for my finances. I was convinced that it would force me to unleash my capabilities to full capacity. I still am. How will I know how much I can do for myself if I keep relying on mummy and daddy to bail me out? Right?
I regretted that decision. Burning up your savings, jumping from one interview to another, while taking up unpaid positions to keep your skills honed would do that to you. I would breakdown over hours-long phone conversations with my phenomenal mom, relying on her for emotional support more than ever. And she came through every time, bless her loving heart. My mom would always say “No matter what happens, know that you will not be abandoned,” words of comfort that only made me bawl harder, unable to distinguish between the emotions that were coursing through me; despair from self-pity or exhilaration by hope? I’ll never know. But what I do know is that the only thing that kept me from going back on the decision was stubborn pride.
And even that was not enough. I was at the point of giving in and letting my parents cover my rent for the impending month when I received a text message on a Sunday morning, offering me a job in a position I had interviewed for earlier that week. And while that particular position didn’t come without its challenges, I had finally begun to catch my rhythm.
To cut a long story short, despite and because of numerous ups and downs, a year later, I am still here in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, aggressively chasing my life as opposed to settling for it. I am working in a coveted job, one within which I received a promotion only two months in. I am an award-winning producer and fledging performing artist, dealing alongside some of the most creative people I have had the honor of meeting. I have gone from skimming across interviews to granting them. And most importantly, a year later, I am determined to treat people better than I experienced when it was me on the other side of the table.
Even if I still feel like I haven’t begun to near my big picture goals, navigating stepping stones and being able to explore the lengths of my tenacity has become a personal accomplishment in itself.
What’s the morale of the story? You decide and let me know in the comments below.