How I Got To Finally Be Ok With Not Knowing It All
I feel like I need to do a little life update here. It might actually be of help for me to write it all down, because a lot of change has been happening. I don’t know if you know this, but I quit modeling recently. Maybe you didn’t know I modeled at all. But yes, since the age of 13 (I’m now 30) modeling was the only job I’d ever known. Recently, I decided it was time to try something new.
The way I put it to my agent when I broke the news to him was, “I need a new set of challenges.” I know that probably sounds weird to a lot of people, but, as Gretchen Rubin points out in much of her writing, happiness can only be cultivated in an atmosphere of growth. I was no longer “growing” as a model, and I think that really started to bother me. There were about a billion other reasons that factored into my decision as well, but those are for a different post.
I also felt like my brain was trapped in my identity of “being a model”, meaning I struggled to let myself explore who I actually wanted to be because I was so stuck on being what I thought I was supposed to be, as a model. This would probably not happen to people who don’t feel the need to try to be perfect. When you’re comfortable being you, you don’t really need to try to be what others think you should be. Since I’ve never been comfortable being me, modeling has allowed me to ignore that defect – to push down my lack of identity and bury myself in a “model identity.” I don’t even know if I’m making sense to you right now, but getting it all out is cathartic…so thanks for giving me space to do so.
So anyways, I’ve got a new job now. As my body and mind were rejecting modeling more and more, I started to poke around the internet for job opportunities. I wasn’t doing any formal searching really; I was just kind of opening myself up to opportunities, I guess you would say. Although it’s only been about 2 months since, I can’t remember what led me to their site, but all of sudden I was at thisisaday.com looking at two links: one that offered the opportunity to be one of their “wear testers” and one that offered a job. I clicked on the job link.
Bullet point after bullet point in the job description, I thought, “I can do that. Oh I can do that too! Oh my gosh I can totally do that!” It was awesome! I applied. I’ve never had a formal resume before, but I found a template in Word, filled in the blanks, changed a few things that I thought looked funky, and sent it in. In the description, it also said to expect 1-2 weeks before I heard back, but an hour later, there was a message in my inbox inviting me to come in for an in-person interview.
I have to take a moment here to recognize how proud I am of myself for taking this step. See, intentionally or not, modeling did this thing to me that made me feel like I wasn’t capable of anything much beyond smiling in front of a camera. I knew I was dang good at it, but we all also know that modeling doesn’t last forever. So I always had this little undercurrent of panic inside me, and I always told people that I “just want to be a mom.” And that sentence is actually true, I do want to be a mom. But I realize now I was using it as a cop-out because I had convinced myself I wasn’t capable of anything else in the business world, that I wasn’t smart enough or savvy enough or connected enough. But I’m learning now how untrue that is.
The way I was thinking was kind of like if you’d never cooked a meal outside of frozen pizza in your life and you walked into the bustling kitchen of one of your favorite restaurants, glanced at everything they were doing, and said, “Oh I can’t cook, I don’t know how to do any of the stuff they’re doing.” Of course you don’t know how – you’ve never even tried it. But as my mom always reminds me, my personality has always been “if I can’t be amazing at it right away, I don’t want to do it at all.” Practice and failing and trying again and all that completely necessary life stuff has never been for me. And that needed to change. I even just now came across this infographic of all these little dots that represented “collected knowledge” (which I think I have a good amount of) and then next to those little dots were more little dots but each with lines connecting them to another dot. The first graphic was labeled “knowledge”, the second was labeled “experience.” One can know a lot, but without an understanding of how to make use of that knowledge, how to connect that knowledge to something meaningful, what good is it? This is where experience comes in and why I felt so strongly that I needed my own experiences outside of modeling.
I spent the first several days of my new job convinced I was going to be fired. I wasn’t even sure what, if anything, I had done or was doing wrong…but I just knew I wasn’t doing as good of a job as they expected me to be doing. But, I kept working to remind myself (although not this poetically):
I give myself permission
to occupy new spaces and
explore unfamiliar waters.
The goal isn’t perfection –
the goal is showing up.
I have only been working at this new job for about a month now, but I have learned so much. And do you know what has been the most important thing I’ve learned – like, really, truly, finally absorbed into my brain??? That it’s not only ok to not know it all, it’s IMPOSSIBLE. And I am exactly where I am supposed to be. <3