I have had the uncanny feeling for several months now, maybe a year(?) that I am on the brink of big discovery. Just like the Universe has set about to align things in my life to finally come together to do something I was meant to do. Does that make any sense?
If you know me and have read this blog a long time, you know that I don't believe in coincidences. Not at all. They mean something. They must. Coincidences, in my estimation, are winks from God and the Universe that you are, indeed, on your path. Whatever that path is, but truly that the path is where God intends you to be... somehow, some way, we find our way to Our Path and, as I'm finding out, as we allow ourselves to be gently guided and do our very best to contribute positively and meaningfully, we are rewarded...
This sounds kinda 'fluffy', but let me try and explain where I'm coming from:
You all know by now that I wanted to be a fashion designer. I got the education. I went to Rice University and Parsons School of Design. Wanted to follow in the footsteps of James Mischka and one of my guest instructors and Parsons grad himself, Isaac Mizrahi. I thought that would complete me.
I moved in that direction for a long, long time. Felt kinda empty the whole time. Like something just wasn't right. Couldn't put my finger on it, but it nagged at me. After Rice, I interviewed at Conde Nast for Vogue magazine to work as a gopher (yes, think Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada) and work my way up in the fashion world. I was offered the job. Something didn't settle with me (could it have been the hiring manager plainly stating that I would only make enough money to live on PB&J's and share an apartment with probably 6 others until I moved up through the ranks?). No, it was something deeper. I cannot explain it still. Now after 11 years, I can only explain it that it wasn't God's will. The Universe was trying to dissuade me and made me physically ill at the thought of working for Anna Wintour and Vogue magazine.
After that interview, I sat with the homeless people in the basement of the Met Life building and contemplated the weird sensation taking over my body. I had just TURNED DOWN A JOB TO WORK FOR VOGUE MAGAZINE! Was I crazy? No, in retrospect, I was just following my gut instinct.
Fast Forward a year: still love fashion, kicking myself that I turned down the job at Vogue, and now I'm sitting in Ethan Allen in Houston, TX (River Oaks) working as an interior designer. Felt like I couldn't get further from my dream, when in walks my future husband. The cattlerancher from Venezuela.
If you haven't read the post about how we met, you should. It was a 'love at first sight' thing that storybooks are made from. I am not kidding you, or exaggerating, when I say that when I laid eyes on my Lone Ranger, I knew he was the One. I didn't even see his face, I didn't know how his voice sounded, I didn't even know his name. But he was IT.
Now, take me: a Midwestern girl, determined for bright lights and big city... dreams of art gallery openings, museum fundraisers, and haute couture on catwalks throughout New York and Europe... looking at a man who didn't speak my language, from another continent, a world full of manure and pedigrees, cowboy boots and straw hats. Do those two people sound compatible? I never would have believed it in a million years but the moment I saw him, I knew that I was home.
The Universe had put him in my path for a reason. We married.
I fought the new world I found myself in for a long, long time after we married. I wasn't listening. Wasn't receptive that this was all part of a Big Plan. For YEARS, I bucked the system that was my life and lived a very unhappy existence. Its almost unimaginable that I didn't wind up divorced. Even that makes me think that God and the Universe have been working at this right along. I can't form words to describe the unhappiness and anger I felt for many years about being married to this weird lifestyle that I didn't fit into.
Then one day, something suddenly changed. We had moved to Madisonville, TX which is really a world away from just about everything. For almost the first whole year here in Madisonville, I was like a hermit in the house, never venturing out, extremely depressed. However, in retrospect, I think we were brought here to settle our spirits, heal our bleeding wounds and start over. I ventured out of the house and found a new world waiting for me.
There are two ways to look at living here on the ranch. At first I felt suffocated by nature, torn away from the hustle and bustle that made me feel productive. I didn't like small towns, I didn't like the rancher's lifestyle (you work everyday and there are no vacations and 8 hour work days... most days are 14 hours + and animals could care less that its a government holiday!), and I desperately missed my family and friends. However, one day there was suddenly a shift in my outlook...
I don't know how to explain when it happened or how it happened. I almost think that we were brought here to bring us closer to God, re-ignite our faith, and eliminate all of the distractions that were keeping us from success.
By success, I don't mean monetary. The success I am talking about is just a calm and contentment in our hearts. Here we don't fight like cats and dogs, here we are raising our son, here we are building a business from the ground up that has its ups and downs but is rewarding and valuable... The successes that we have achieved here have been more spiritual, more familial, not monetary.
Having not grown up with livestock, just dogs, I knew nothing about this business. Absolutely nothing. I didn't even want to know anything for many years. Then suddenly one day, I started to become interested. After 9 years of nothing more than osmosis, I have become pretty knowledgeable to tell you the truth! And in the past 2 years, I have begun to forge my way into this life and make my own contribution, and it started with Fab Farm Design.
Fab Farm Design was like the tip of the iceberg. It got the ball rolling and helped me gain confidence as a business woman, confidence in the world of livestock and all things western, and helped me find my niche in my husband's world, which had been a big thorn between us for many years.
In the past year, I started working directly with my husband on the ranch. We discuss the cattle business, the horse business, he asks me for my opinion and I honestly give it. Instead of fighting against the world I live in, I have started to embrace it. And its weird, it feels right. Its the same feeling that I felt when I saw David that day in Ethan Allen before we ever even met. I feel like I'm home. Its the right fit. Its the feeling I thought I would feel sitting in the offices of Vogue magazine, but didn't. Its that gut feeling that I am on the right path, contributing to something bigger than just my own life or my family.
And following that gut feeling and doing my best in this world I live in every day has produced some interesting results lately...
We are in a recession. A down economy. Its hurting every sector, not just the banks and the auto industry. The cattle markets are at record lows, ranchers and farmers are getting less money for beef and milk, despite the growing prices in the stores. The horse business? I can't even tell you how many hundreds of amazing horses are for sale right now for rock-bottom prices because horse's aren't a necessity and people need money to live. These are two factors working against us in a big way.
However, we are surviving. Not only are we surviving, we're flourishing. Ever since I stopped fighting this lifestyle and chose to embrace it, its almost felt like everything is aligning in the right direction for us. We're moving in the right direction. We're consistently selling and gaining exposure worldwide, we're starting new programs and pioneering new things in both markets that have never been seen before. By combining efforts and concentrating on what we do best individually (hubby is working animals and I'm promoting them), we are winning together as a team.
I don't know what it all means, or where we're headed, but my gut tells me that we're on the right path. A path that I certainly never would have believed that I would happily be traveling on, but one that feels right nevertheless. As I look back, I can't quite believe I didn't accept that job at Vogue, can't believe the strange circumstances surrounding the way I met the man who would become my husband, can't fathom how I endured several years of unhappiness and unfulfillment, and I can't believe that I ended up here.
Here I am content. Here I am contributing to my life and making a difference, not just in our lives but in the lives of others. By giving of my time and my ideas, they are coming back tenfold and I'm prospering. Here I feel closer to God, feel like I have finally stepped off the detoured, rocky path I had been on for several years, and I'm back on smoother road... I've really followed my gut instinct, stood up for what I believed in despite how uncomfortable it made me, and I've had faith that God will see me through. I don't think my journey is over yet, by any means, I still have a lot ahead, but I finally feel like I'm traveling in the right direction and I'm moving along it happily. Allowing myself to follow the path the Universe laid out for me has started to make a difference. I am at peace. I am successful. I am home.