A Decade Past - a New One Beginning

Saturday July 7th 2007 -  The day I arrived here - beautiful Victoria BC Canada.
It is crazy to think that was a  decade ago - just shy of 24 years old - not having a clue what was coming, only that I needed a change. A chance to find myself , a chance to see what my heart wanted, what my soul was crying out for. All I knew is I needed a change.
I had done all the growing up that London Ontario had for me ... so it was time to take everything - all my preconceived notions of my self and what others thought of me - or what I thought they thought of me. I need to try and leave that behind and find the room to make the mistakes and have the set backs without judgement of familiarity and ideas of what you were to become - those things in life that can hold us back (without even realizing it). I needed to take all my hurts, the darkness I lived in, and the pain that I hid with me and find a way out, find out who I truly was. I knew, deep down that this was the only way I was going to see what I was made of and who I was without anything holding me back, where the only thing that could hold me back was me. 
So, this day marks a complete switch from everything I knew, everything that was comfortable and seemingly easy (the path of least resistance so to speak) to the unknown - the challenging. The day I chose me - for real.
The day I marked my life as my own, the day I stood up for me as best I could in all my weakness and insecurities and said "I will find myself and I will find a way"  I followed the nudge in my heart to do this for me and after a 4932KM drive away from my home, my family, friends, loved ones - I drove off the ferry into world of new possibilities - which at the time scared me to my core.

Jenn and I moved into a two month rental and from there we had to try and find jobs and a place to live - just two months to find a way to make money and somewhere to call home. I  started to realize very quickly just how little I knew about myself and about the world. Giving yourself so little time and money after dropping yourself into a strange city gives little time to manoeuvre and very little room for error.
I knew deep down what I was doing - I knew this was going to be my home -  I felt at home in Victoria from the first time I visited the beautiful city at the bottom of Vancouver Island. 
What I didn't know was what I had the strength to be - I was terrified of what i would find out about myself and that I was not going to be successful at all - every single fear and insecurity came like a massive wave over me - taking over so many of my thoughts. "I'm not good enough", 'I'm too weak", "I'll never make it", "what am I doing - how did I think I was strong enough for this?" etc - but deep down I kept hanging on to the belief that I knew I was going to make it and failure was NOT an option. I had to make it and not just make it but succeed beyond everyone's expectations... including my own.

Victoria took me in immediately (but not in the ways I expected). This process was not  warm and fuzzy - it was not comfortable and soft - but, it was necessary. Like a teacher you loved to hate ... hard on you because he/she knew you were capable of greatness - you just needed to learn that for your self before you believed... 
Therefore - it helped me grow up. . . fast and started the process of finding out who I was. 
Just over a month in, as I was looking for a job (at this point completely desperate), I wound up stumbling into Pine Lighting un-showered and quite dishevelled - yet somehow I got the job and started my first day with an Honors BA in Kinesiology that felt completely useless and having no idea were to begin or how there could possibly be so many different types of frigging light bulbs, to now owning the store that saved me that day.

I think we saved each other, the store and me. I also met my now business partner who is like a sister to me, and who  will attest to the fact that because of this store, we saved each other a few times as well.
Pine Lighting and Chrystal pushed me and allowed me to find and be myself, to feel comfortable - gave me chances to screw up, get back up and try again. Each of these things taught me (and continue to teach me) how to be a strong, independent woman and that I was good enough exactly as I was. That I could do anything I set my mind to and the space and arena to figure out what that was. This store gave me the environment I needed to test my wings and, in time, thrive at many different levels. I love this store and I love how it is tied so tightly to me ... I love that it's failures are mine along with it's success' - how it moves with me - through my ups and downs and how it forces me to continue to change and adapt myself to situations - as it needs to as well. 

It was here, that I also met the love of my life about the same time I moved here,  a man who has changed my life, in more ways than I can count or wrap my head around. He has taught me so much; about myself, life, love, as well as how to get through struggles and hardships. He is my tether, my true north and something I will never take for granted. He is truly my favorite thing. His belief in me and love of me is unwavering and my appreciation for him is beyond explanation. 

There is still so much to accomplish and so much to strive for - every day I look for ways to better my business - but to also better myself and the people around me.
I have so many more things to do with my life and so many more stories to tell. As I take this step into the next decade of my life on the West Coast with more aspirations and goals ahead of me -  I know there will be many more challenges and ways to grow,  moments where I have to push myself beyond more comfort zones. Personal and professional growth is an ever changing adventure - a life long process, but I know I have the strength to over come and I definitely know that through ups and downs / failures and success' - I will continue to be and show more of me than I was the day before - and learn more about what that means every 24 hours.

There have been many times I regretted the decision - many times I wondered what I was thinking and why I decided that this was so important. Times I doubted myself, times others doubted me, times I wanted to run away back to the suffocating familiarity that I lived in and all of this could have taken me right back where i started.... instead I am here sitting at my desk in the fantastic Lighting Store that I now own  - wondering how it is possible that these last years past so fast and at what point along the way did I become this woman - this business women.
Looking back on who I was then and the wants, desires, and hopes I had for the future - the fears that I lived with every day and the dread I had of what may come. I can honestly say I am proud of myself thus for for who I am and what I have accomplished in life, as a person and a professional.  As I step into this next decade - I am excited for what this next chapter will bring to my life. 

Photo by 365 Day Media - June 2017 - Victoria BC


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