keep your eyes open

I didn’t quit. I haven’t quit. But people are going to say that, anyway. People always say what they want, anyway.

I’m taking a step back from modeling and dipping out of the game for a bit. This is entirely nerve-racking, as I’ve been trudging along in this industry and career for the better part of seven years. I’m living in hopeful anticipation of the journey ahead and looking forward to setbacks and heartbreaks and the day where I arrive at the station in life where I’m surrounded by all the apples this world has given me, proclaiming exhaustedly, that I tried to bite into as many as I could.

This isn’t to say that this door is closing and I’m certainly not slamming it, but I’m looking toward the other doors it has opened and setting my sights on whatever may be behind them.

Part of me longs for travel. Another part longs for the intellect and community I’ve lost in this time. No longer do I want to frequent Los Angeles, dropping in like a recovering addict to a trap house, for my dose of disappointment nor do I want to have mindless conversations regarding things I do not care about or people who do not love me (or you), but want our money.

This is, however, a success story. I left Alaska on a dream and I made it. More than once, I made it. And I will continue to make it, but I want to do it my way.

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that no one knows because no one talks about it and here I am, failing to do my part in sharing. This life isn’t glamorous and is seldom glamorous. I have worked hard. The dozens upon dozens of creatives (photographers, videographers, make up artists, stylists, set designers, etc…) I’ve been fortunate to be around – work hard. I cannot tell you the amount of unpaid, tireless hours that go into our jobs, but I can tell you that the work never stops. It never stops.

By putting myself out there, I have received a lot of support. However, I have also been on the receiving end of a lot of negativity as well as cruelty. My intentions were never to harm anyone. I never wanted to incite anger or malice, but it turns out, I couldn’t avoid it. In order to be an inspiration to someone, you’re going to be a fucking joke to someone else and that someone else ALWAYS seems to have Twitter or another avenue of letting you know you’re a fucking joke to them. That’s okay. I did what I did and I’m proud of what I have accomplished and I know in the future, I will be proud of what I continue to accomplish.

I realized that I was toying with the prospect of turning the page when I found my hand down in the corner, playing with the thought of maybe moving on and maybe moving on before I was ready. There is no point in reading the same page over and over again and now I feel it is time to see whats next.

I had been thinning out my closet. I sold my iPad and then I put my camera up for sale, along with the nude heels I had worn to every casting in the past four years. It never did hit me that I wanted something else until my sister asked if I was about to “commit suicide or something”. This wasn’t a joke, but a genuine concern asked by my baby sister, who asked in the only way she knew how. I don’t want to kill myself and I haven’t in a while, but I want to kill this false image. I don’t want her around anymore.

One of my agents used to ask me, “who is your audience?” when talking about social media and I would brush her off. “Who is my audience?” I’d say it over and over before shrugging my shoulders and posting my next image, not caring too much as to who I was reaching or who was trying to reach me. Until it got away. My audience? Jesus, was I writing a college application essay? No, but I learned in a sometimes frightening way that this actually mattered. When I look back now, I wanted nothing more than to reach the girl I used to be. Not a single thing mattered more than going and being an inspiration and someone to look up to for the girl I used to be. And now, sometimes I don’t feel very kind. Sometimes I don’t feel very pretty or very successful or very smart. And I wonder if I disappointed her, but she was much more forgiving than I am now. I want her to be my audience. I’m playing for her again. And for girls like her: wide-eyed, optimistic, nervous, timid, and insecure.

I wanted to be a voice for those who didn’t have voices and an inspiration to those who were scared of trying. Anxiety is something I deal with daily and even now, typing this, I’m nervous about the backlash. I’m nervous to be this vulnerable. I know I will walk into the grocery store here and become aware of yet another rumor that has been spread about me due to this post and I’m nervous. But I’m going to do it, anyway.

I didn’t quit. I haven’t quit. I’m not going to quit. There is so much tied up in a highlight reel that contributes to falsities, making people (including me) feel like shit. I no longer want to feel discouraged or inadequate. I’ve decided to make this what I want it to be, to change directions, and to turn the page.

You’ll be hearing from me. And you’ll see me around. But you can say what you want, anyway.

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