Good Evening Darlings;
It's Canada Day weekend, and I thought that while I watched the too-early fireworks from my balcony window would be the perfect time to try to string together all my thoughts over the PUG Changed My Life contest and results...
I'm going to start by addressing what I am sure most people are wondering; of course I was disappointed when I didn't win the trip. So were all the other hundreds of entrants. My joy that Allie, someone who had felt like she was less than worthy, had gained the opportunity to feel like royalty supersedes that. The beauty of the universe is she only gives you what you want when you're ready for it and life is a lesson-less walk without disappointment, which brings me to why I am so grateful to have won second prize.
It's true that I already had started building a small collection from PinUp Girl Clothing. It's been a huge part of my transition. What you likely don't know is that a large part of that transition was learning how to save money to acquire these nice clothes, trying to convince myself I deserved them, while living statistically under the poverty level. I have spent the last three years going to college under student loans, literally half killing myself to earn A's (I had two small strokes last semester), and making very little money modelling and working as background in the film industry while I try to network and learn and perfect my art to earn my way into principal roles.
Prior to the aforementioned three years, I spent seven barely avoiding living on the streets. I am 25 years old, and at 15 I had no money, no family, alone in the middle of Toronto. At 16 I was living in my own apartment, I had learned how to "hustle" in the streets without selling myself or stripping. I knew prostitutes, I knew drug addicts, dealers, homeless youth who would hook via the internet to fund their next meal and fix. I wanted to help them, not be them.
17, 18, 19....that's when it changed, that's when I changed. A little bit, any way. I had a string of legitimate jobs. Jobs I hated, jobs that paid the rent and the bills and put food in the fridge...and that I despised. 20, 21, 22...laid off, a year with no work in a failing economy, and slipping quickly into wondering how I was going to avoid old habits.
What I never had over all these years, what I didn't "experience", wasn't lack of friendship, or love, or empathy, or the lesson of resilience...I lacked the privilege of understanding what owning nice things felt like. I had cheap clothing that would fall apart, I had ratty old furniture, a bed with a permanent dip in the middle, a cold apartment in the middle of the ghetto with prison white walls, no feeling of love, and nothing worth stealing.
22...I go to college! Year One, I love it. I do well. I prove everyone wrong. 23.Year Two. I realize my passion for law, was actually a passion for justice, and I wanted to bring messages to the world, not the courtroom. 24.Year Three. I start trying to teach the lessons I have learned to others. The value in valuing yourself. I still cry sometimes when I look in the mirror, and I determine daily it will not be for naught.
25...Awaiting Year Four's commencement...I win this awesome, generous contest! I am overwhelmed, and humbled. I have had some success, some let downs, and many struggles. I am grateful for them all. I am grateful for this. As a woman who has had nothing, who has learned how to work for things, and who has now been lucky enough to receive things, who still lives in that ghetto, and who is still striving to be more than her circumstances, who feels lucky to call herself a starving artist, I appreciate this with every ounce of my being.
In hindsight this whole situation stood to remind me that when you are truly appreciative of the smaller things, bigger ones will find you...
your time will come.