Tag Archives: life

Image

Well, that pivotal time has finally come, I’ll be permanently resigning from dispatching within the next 30 hours. My center will be closed, and my blind leap of faith begins towards pursuing this company. I blogged about this very day several months ago in “Risking it All…” just awkward to see this day actually arrive.

I am grateful for what I’ve been taught over the last almost 4 and a half years.  Honestly, without this position or the opportunity given to me by my supervisor, I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to begin building my company, to obtain the goals I have, or have met some amazing people I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know….

So when people ask me if I am sad; I honestly can’t say that I am.  I’m proud of how long I held in for, when I wanted to walk away so many times in the past.  I persevered at a time when I wasn’t sure if I could. Therefore, I can comfortably hold my head high, feeling that I did an excellent job, and hope that some of the impacts I’ve made will go on through the people I’ve been able to help.

My last hope is that the next dispatchers are as passionate about their job as I was, and that my officers continue to improve the communities they serve.

As this chapter now closes, I am optimistic and anxious to start the next one; the Cargo Train one…

Thank you.

():-)

  Well, that pivotal time has finally come…..

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My life lesson to the world…..

My life lesson to the world.....

People Change….. 🙂

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Addiction

ImageI was 14 years old, and who’s not surprised? I mean, with all the crap from what was going on at school, and the less-than-perfect home life.  I was a sitting duck, and searching for ways to escape from reality, and forget my problems. What started out innocently enough, quickly turned into an addiction that lasted for over a decade.

My addiction was night clubs.  If music was a religion a nightclub was my church, and I was a devout follower.

My love for dance in general attracted me, but it was the atmosphere, pounding bass from the Louie Devito remixes, and being surrounded by mobs of club enthusiasts; that kept me going back almost every…. single…. weekend.  Night clubs became my new home away from home, and my way to escape.

Club Excalibur was the first club I ever stepped foot in.  It was an underage club that catered to the under 18 crowd, but I didn’t let age deter me from sneaking into 21+ clubs by the time I was 16-17. It didn’t happen often, and I never pushed my luck by trying to score drinks.  I was there to dance!  I eventually made my way to Club Liquid once I was old enough to get in (17+) and it was the local hot spot for the younger club crowd. Getting in the “VIP” area (upstairs) was always the ultimate goal of the night.  You could only go up by invitation, therefore, you had to know someone or get someone’s attention.  This was why I always made it a priority to become friends with the security guards.  They hooked me up….a lot, and I was lucky to get to hang out with a few local music artists (Toya, Pretty Willie), producers, and lots of wanna-be groupies. Liquid was where I began to build a reputation from club kid to networker and promoter.

As soon as I hit 18, my obsession blew up!  I began hitting up as many night clubs as I could all over the St. Louis area.  Then, I took my addiction to San Diego, Chicago, and even Mexico.  At 19-20 years old, I began dancing with a group for a local St. Louis club as…I guess you could call us… “go go” dancers.  We’d choreograph routines and perform them for tips….good times.

I hit the peak of my freelance promoting when I moved back to Chicago in 2008.  I started promoting tattoo studios and artists, special events/parties, etc.  My phone would be toppling with text messages and voice mails for future events to hit up, and being this was my only source of income at the time, I rarely missed an opportunity.  I was always looking forward to that next gig because you never knew who you might run into too, or where a connection would lead, therefore, it was non-stop and exhausting.  My feet would be covered in blisters from spending 10 or more hours in heels, making countless rounds and striking up a conversation with as many people as I could before dawn approached.

I eventually ended up suppressing my nightlife addiction when I met my husband at a promotional gig I as working at Navy Pier, but even to this day and after all these years, I keep that club kid part of me alive and well, and more than likely, I will have the launch party for CTA….at a night club.

— FiN

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

First chance I got….I ran away!

I graduated high school in May 2003. Accomplishing what some said I never would, and I had never been happier to prove them wrong, and most importantly, I had survived high school. Kind of weird to say and a bit dramatic, but it’s true, especially considering that some kids (even today) …..never do.

I felt like I was released from a prison in a way. The day after graduation…. the sun was brighter, the air was lighter, and for the first time in almost 10 years….I felt relief! HALF of my nightmare was finally over. I felt empowered; feeling that whatever life was going to throw at me, it couldn’t possibly be much worse than what I had already been through. I felt I had nothing more to lose and everything to gain…..including a new future.

My mom had hoped that I would go to a local college, but honestly, hell would freeze over first before I’d agree to stay local. I wanted to be in a place where I knew no one and no one knew me. I needed to start over and college was the only solution of making that possible. I began to research colleges that were over 200 miles away…I thought it would be a good distance to start with. This ambition is what lead me to Chicago, but there was a small problem with my decision….. I didn’t know a damn thing about Chicago….NADA! I barely knew where it was in the state of Illinois, let alone, how big of a culture-clash it would be. I had no idea how big it was, how busy it was, the diversity, how to utilize public transportation (most people drive everywhere in St. Louis) or how dangerous the city could be to a 19-year-old social butterfly like myself with limited street smarts. This in turn made my family insanely nervous for my safety, but bless them, they didn’t stand in my way of wanting to go.

NEXT STEP: Get accepted into a college! Easier said than done!

Due to my horrendous transcripts from high school, I had to “wow” the admissions department to get accepted. Initially, I was technically rejected, but I was not about to take “no” for an answer. Therefore, I had submitted an admissions essay on why I wanted to attend ILIA, and needless to say…..they were very “wowed” with my letter; stating it was “incredibly passionate”, and the initial rejection was reversed, and I was officially accepted into the Illinois Institute of Art as a fashion design major. Even though I couldn’t really draw or sew worth a damn….still….I had never been so happy before in my life.

I moved into my new place the night before my first day of classes. It was a large studio on the 17th floor that overlooked parts of downtown and the Sears Tower. That first night was an awkward one. I didn’t sleep…I was excited, but scared knowing that for the first time in my life…… I was completely on my own. After I managed to freak myself out enough, I ended up taking a walk outside to the front entrance of the apartments (in my PJ’s and slippers), and met my first college buddy, Brendan*; a tall, lanky, curly-haired street artist from Madison, WI. He was very laid back and had a open personality that made it easy to start up a conversation with him. We sat and talked on the bench for about an hour or so, going back and forth about where we were from, and how nervous I was about going to my first class considering that I didn’t have a clue on how to get to the campus (2003…no smartphones or GPS apps). So Brendan politely offered to walk with me since we had the same Design 101 class together, and through him, I met a group of friends that were my backbone while I was there. It was amazing! I literally woke up every morning, looked out the window, and said to myself, “OMG, I made it, I’m here”, and I just remember the incredible feeling of happiness, hope, gratitude….emotions I wasn’t used to experiencing on an everyday basis. As time progressed, everything was going so well, classes were solid, friends were awesome, times were good, and of course, reality was about to hit me like a ton of bricks.

……I had ran out of money. I could no longer afford my monthly housing costs, and with no money for school, there was definitely no money anything else, and I began to fall apart rapidly knowing that I was on my way back to the town that I hated beyond recognition, and that I had worked so hard to get away from. It was the first time I ever really felt as though I had failed. Feeling that I missed my one shot to become someone and to do something extraordinary was absolutely devastating to me. A few weeks after finding out of my financial situation, I ended up returning back to my small town, back in with my mom and right back to square one. I was down, but wasn’t giving up yet. I had another plan!

*Dedicating this post to the memory of Brendan Scanlon aka “SOLVE”

Brendan was murdered in Chicago, June 14, 2008. He was 24 years old.

— Thanks for looking out for me and creating the best prank on my mom ever!

Image

I sent my mom this picture, and told her this was a real “tattoo”

……she fell for it.

Circa 2003

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ready to Risk it All!

Sitting in my office, enjoying the few moments of down time from dispatching on the radio. I start scrolling through my Twitter time line and coming across another story of success for a new start-up company that has secured (what is to me) a massive amount of funding, $250,000 to be exact, and all I could think of was “OH MY GOODNESS! I ONLY NEED A FRACTION OF THAT AMOUNT TO LAUNCH MY FIRST LOCATION”. I felt jealous and motivated at the same time. It’s an awkward feeling, and it’s an experience I have had many times before since I start putting my ideas into motion. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

I can see all of the vital pieces I need to reach my goal in opening the Cargo Train headquarters/home-store, and it gets tougher the more time passes by and you still haven’t found what you are looking for. This is one personality characteristic that I do have, which is a lack of patience, especially when I am trying to be the first store and company of its kind in an open market area. I want to take advantage of having some breathing room to establish my company and begin building its reputation and customer loyalty without the competition smothering me, or being branded as a ‘knock-off” or “copy cat”.

As of right now, the closest location of my main competitor is over 15 miles away from where I want to launch.

Feelings of despair trying to knock you off course and try to make you lose your focus, and all you have to keep yourself going is knowing what an amazing opportunity your company really is, and not just for me, but for my future partners, employees, customers, and for the community itself. The biggest challenge is getting the ones who have the ability to take your venture to the next level believe in your idea as strongly as you do. Strong enough to confidently partner up and bring all of the pieces together.

I know I will be an incredibly strong force to be reckoned with in this particular industry. My strategies and advantages give me leaps above my competitors, and I am keeping those strategies very safe and quiet until the time comes to utilize them. The connections and relationships I have been developing and growing over the past 10+ years, & everyone who is standing by waiting for me to inform them that we’ve secured a financial partner(s) and are finally ready to hit this industry with everything we’ve got, is the pivotal moment that I am waiting for.

I’m working for that opportunity to prove what I’ve been speaking out about for the past year, and to show what I am fully capable of doing. After all, I was born and raised in the “show me” state…ironically.

My husband and I are currently in talks of relocating our family from what was our dream house into a much smaller place, as well as, begin to sell off as many of our belongings as we can. All of the money saved and earned will be going into, what I am calling, the “CTA Dream Fund”. This will be the beginning of the financial foundation of my company. It breaks my heart to let everything we’ve worked so hard for go, but this company means much more to me than my possessions right now.

A big part of getting to where you want to be is having the strength to let go of what you have. – Me

We are currently searching for available places to call our new home.

():-)

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Positive Impacts

To the ones who were/are there for me, one day I WILL show them that their love, support and encouragement has never been in vain.  I made a promise that one day I would have the opportunity to show how much that meant to me, and this business is a great start in keeping that promise, and an perfect motivator to keep pursuing it; too never give up…

I had been thinking of a way to always show my gratitude to those who have/are helping me reach my goal  — then came an idea that would work well with my urban store design, and a way of showing that gratitude; creat a Gratitude Graffiti Wall.  Why not? 

This wall would display the names (with permission) of the positive impacts that give me the strength to continue on this very long and crazy road; whether it’s the few teachers that took extra time to help me in my horrible situation, or  those I have met along the way of launching my company.  It would be a very public way of sharing my successes with them.  Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ just doesn’t give it justice.

I never forget where I come from, or the ones that made it possible……ever!  ():-) 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

A Dark Beginning

I never thought I would be here, at this moment, speaking up and out about launching a business that was created out of the most devastating times of my life, needless to say, this business venture is INCREDIBLY personal on many levels, and is still difficult to talk about its background origin.

I was encouraged to begin this blog by a wonderful and intelligent woman who met with me just recently. She is only the 3rd person to hear the motives (story) behind my business.  The motivations for my company come from a very dark and almost deadly place.

When I was a little over 3 years old, I had experienced the suicide death of my father. My memories of him are far and few but I did remember that he was a respected Sergeant for the police department.  He was what I would call a “community cop”.  He went around to the residents to check up on the elderly, always making sure everyone was taken care of.  He had a huge heart and a passion for his work, as well as, many talents for law enforcement, (expert shooter and a gifted memory) he even persuaded my mother to go to the police academy; to become an officer (which she did), and I was just a big daddy’s girl right from the beginning.

My father was diagnosed manic bipolar in the early-mid 80’s, not really sure when, and he ended up having to retire early due to his medical condition.  This ended his career and his dream.  Shortly after, his condition got worse. His behavior became very extreme.  Extreme from both sides, good and bad.

My mom would tell me stories on how he was just the most amazing and kind-hearted person at times, and at others, he would become very violent for no reason at all.  He began to have incidents that would put me and my siblings in life or death situations not realizing or being able to control his behavior.

That day……….my mother said she had a ‘gut feeling’ something was wrong.  She had been working at the police department the night before, and ended up napping on the living room couch. when she woke, she glanced over into the dining room, and saw my father laying in the doorway, and she said she just knew that he had done it. She grabbed me and my siblings, frantically pushing all of us outside with a neighbor, and of course I had no idea what was going on.  I couldn’t comprehend at that time what suicide was, or understand, why I would never see my father again.

My mother tried to recover, but it was never the same.  She was on her own, with very little money, and eventually, we ended up moving.  She had decided to send my sister to my grandmother’s because it was to overwhelming for her.  My sister wouldn’t move back in with us until almost 6 years later.

My mother did what she could to help with what I had seen of my father’s suicide.  She placed me in therapeutic sessions through the early elementary years.  Counselors asked a lot of questions about that day, but all I could do was focus on my Dad being in a good place, and that he was finally safe.  I tried to hang on to the few positive memories I did have verses reliving a memory I didn’t even want to acknowledge; let alone talk about.

The magnitude of my father’s death didn’t hit me full-force until around age 10-11 years old, when I finally understood what suicide was, and then the questions of “Why did he do it?  “Didn’t he love me?”, ruled my life. I looked for answers everywhere, even my church when the priest proceeded to tell me to accept the “fact” that my father was burning in hell for all eternity for committing a cardinal sin. This instantly pissed me off and ended my relationship with the church. Quick to follow was a massive depression, guilt, hopelessness…his suicide devoured my spirit completely. When he died, he killed a small piece of me as well.

In the following years,  I would become sleep deprived due to graphic nightmares that kept me up every night.  I knew it was my mind trying to relive that day,  but I refused to allow the memories to surface.  I pushed them down, and began covering them up with things I found beautiful. I was able to find relief in an unexpected place that opened the door for me to begin consuming knowledge about the fashion industry, and at that point, I fell in love with it. Not realizing that my new found love would be exceptionally bittersweet.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: