Honestly, it’s mind blowing that I’m sitting down writing this post. It’s 6PM the night before my last day of work for 2021, and it’s absolutely bizarre that we’re already Mid-December when it feels like Labor Day was last weekend and January was just a few months ago.
Let me begin this by saying: if you were a client of mine this year: thank you. Thank you for trusting me, for investing your time, energy and money in working with me and for showing up and creating magic with me. I’m weepy at my computer thinking about how many amazing women passed in front of my camera this year, and that it’s an absolutely incredible feeling to look back on such an abundant, full, year. I say it all the time, but we truly do have the best, kindest, coolest, HOTTEST clients in the world, and that’s a privilege I’ll never take for granted. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
2021 was a weird one. A good one, but definitely weird. I ended 2020 with a sense of awe, a certainty that it was the most magical year of my life yet (yes, even in 2020). Last year, even with the non-stop feed of unprecedented times pulsing in the background, I checked off ALL of my big goals. Bought a house, got a studio, survived my first year as a full time small business owner, etc. And so as 2021 rolled in, I felt confused & nervous thinking about what I wanted; Between the delicate position of being at a high point in life and being pandemic-programmed into not feeling safe to make plans more than 3 weeks into the future, the goal setting & resolving & manifesting didn’t come easy to me this time last year. I didn’t know what goals existed out of simply trying to survive, a sentiment that had colored all of my early twenties.
Looking back at the year now, I realize that not every year has to be a BIG year. This idea that we have to be moving and building and quantum leaping every month of every year is a LOT and now I understand that I move in cycles of Building & then settling, moving & then resting, quantum leaping & then ENJOYING the beauty of my own creation. 2021 was a year of simply letting myself get acquainted with a life much more comfortable & dreamy than anything I’ve experienced as an adult.
In early February, my grandfather died. This was the first time anyone even remotely close to me passed away. I didn’t really come out of that situation with any beautiful poetic takeaways, except for the fact that we need better mourning rituals in America, because looking at a corpse in a casket is not it. The night of the funeral, my entire family descended onto the tiniest, most midwestern dive bar you could dream up, got hammered drunk and hugged each other talking about how much we loved & were going to miss Papa, and that was a really beautiful, bright spot in an incredibly awful week. I arrived at the airport the next morning, immediately projectile vomited into a trashcan, and then endured a full day of multi-hour delays, while on the phone with hospice vets because our cat was actively dying at our neighbor’s house while we were away. He was running around, dragging entire packages of meat off of the counter and patrolling the neighborhood one day & within a week he was being laid to rest in our backyard. He was here & then he wasn’t. First week of February goes down as one of the worst on record in my 26 years. But we press on.
As always, I can’t really remember March.
In April, I took my first (of many) rich-bitch trips to New York. The magical thing about Virginia is that its a 45 minute, $150 plane ride to NYC and so that was the most obvious option for me to spend my quarterly bonus. I booked myself a room at a hotel I’d spent all of college yearning to visit (it was THE influencer hotel of 2016), got the soaking tub & champagne package and had. a. time. My second day there, I woke up from a champagne induced nap to a text telling me that I had been approved to rent The Dollhouse- my dream studio space and a HUGE upgrade from the 500 sq ft apartment I’d been working out of. Securing the space was one of my favorite lessons in non-attached manifestation this year, and I’ll hold tight to the way it felt to walk through Manhattan that night knowing I’m able to get everything I want. My fairytale weekend ended with me on the bathroom floor of The Standard desperately trying to fit all of my flea market finds into my carry on suitcase. Nothing if not on brand.
In April, I also finally brought on my first team member, Allyson. Not quite sure how I was managing before she came into the picture but that was my best business decision yet.
In May I finally paid off all of my consumer debt. For months I aggressively payed down the balance on my VW Tiguan and within 2 weeks of the balance clearing, it had major engine failure & was literally shutting off while on the highway. I had bought the car in 2018 and from day one it has had bad energy attached to it, and over the years it had grown from an inconvenience to the very bane of my existence. And so I set my sights on something better: an old ass Toyota 4Runner. After weeks of looking all over, I finally found one and by some miracle, they took my POS Tiguan as a trade in. I paid in cash & felt like a bad bitch driving it off the lot.
In June, we officially moved Daytona Lamade Boudoir into The Dollhouse. The surreal feeling hasn’t worn off, almost six months later.
In July, I took a month long sabbatical. It kicked off with a 5 day pilgrimage to New England with my best friend, the same trip we’ve been taking since we were 11. My grandparents sold their cottage in Rhode Island; a practical but heart breaking decision and so we drove 12 hours to soak it all in one last time. We slept in the back of my truck, spent our mornings at the sweetest Parisian coffee shop, our afternoons poking around thrift stores and our evenings around the dining room table playing hot dice. It’s the way god intended Rhode Island to be experienced, and it was bittersweet from start to finished. We stopped in NYC for a night on the way back, had a time, made friends, had brunch and then packed it into the 4runner and headed south.
Someone asked me this week “was it amazing to have a month off of work?” and my answer was “not at all.” A month long summer sabbatical sounds so dreamy on paper, it looked so pretty on my 2021 vision board. But with all of the changes that had happened at a dizzying speed over the prior 12 months, I was white knuckling my business. The relationship I had with work had evolved into something toxic & draining & I felt incredibly overwhelmed by the fact that I was 26 with two houses, a team and books full of women who were *investing* in working with me. I felt like I had to be *on* all the time, so when the time came for me to take a sabbatical, the walls went up hard & fast. I wanted NOTHING to do with my business because I was so over-stimulated by it. But the abrupt change of pace cracked me open & laid bare just how much of my worth & identity is rooted in my job. It’s my dream career on every level, but taking time apart from it really showed me how co-dependent I had become with it. Still working on that.
So within a week of getting home from Rhode Island, I found myself laying on my couch convinced that I’d have to close my doors by the end of the year. I told myself that there was no way I actually loved what I was doing if I loved not working this much. I started planning to just go get a desk job making less money but also less decisions, with the ability to leave work at work and also maybe go to the doctor. My fellow self-employed friend kindly reminded me that people with desk jobs don’t get to take a month off of work just because they feel like it, which was a nice reality check.
Over the rest of July, I also started realizing how much I was working, living & communicating in my masculine. It’s a common symptom of being a small business owner- when you provide the stability and the vision and the plan and the execution and all of the urgent tasks feel so logical & pragmatic, it’s easy to neglect the feminine, flowy, creative energy that makes it all feel fun. And that sentiment was echoing ALL over my life. So the rest of the summer was a lot of work around THAT- around achieving balance, chilling the fuck out and seeking joy as often as productivity.
August was sleepy. Getting back to work was an adjustment.
Since September, it’s felt like a free-fall of being really, really busy. In a fun way. Something shifted in my work since September and I’m truly so proud of what I’m creating at every session. It feels more raw & inspired & energetic than ever before and I’m so ready to keep riding that wave.
I’m coming out of 2021 feeling like I know myself and my business SO much more than I did last year. And this time, I’m bubbling over with ideas & goals of what 2022 will be, and I truly cannot wait. Thank you for being along for the journey,