I used to ardently believe that I was destined to become a celebrity someday.
That I had no idea what exactly I was fated to be famous for (my dreams of singing were shot to hell at age seven when, upon attaining a coveted copy of the Bodyguard Soundtrack, I’d relentlessly belt out my very own rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” and stare imploringly into my mother’s eyes yearning for her validation), mattered little, because I was absolutely convinced that I was the next voice of a generation.
In an earnest attempt at her version of diplomacy, my mother would then reply (the same way as she does today) – which is to say, as lovingly and nurturingly as is possible [for her]:
“Brooke, you have NO voice.”
And just like that, it seemed as if my visions of attaining celebrity bore as much resemblance to reality as an H&M shoulder padded blazer does to an authentic Balmain couture wonder. Some things can be faked — some can’t.
But even upon graduating from college at age twenty, I still halfway believed that I was going to be someone, that God had thrust me forth into the universe with that extra dose of stardust that seems to catapult people from the left side of an island to the face of well, let’s say… a Balmain campaign (Any opportunity to insert a Rihanna reference is one that I can’t/won’t pass up.) Blame it on our starlet-saturated culture, or on my grandiose delusions alone — but a life of mediocrity just felt like a departure on par with, say, catching a flesh-eating bacteria during what was meant to be an uber exotic island getaway (oh, girl, you thought you were going to the Maldives?)
And yet, for five years of my life, I continuously took the wrong job(s), meaning those that were – you know — wholly unrelated to any long term aspirations that I’ve ever actually had (thereby catalyzing daydreams of requests for renewable lithium prescriptions)/resided in a city that I didn’t exactly want to call home/went to law school when (inconveniently) I was far more attracted to the idea of law than the actual practice of it/and cancelled a wedding set to take place at the Plaza eight months prior to its scheduled date.
So, all of that kind of jarred me.
Somebody once told me that our adult lives should bare a strikingly close resemblance to the ruminations of what our five-year-old selves would’ve aspired for us to realize. That’s not to say, of course, that I should actually be teaching third grade right now, or dating a dark haired man with slightly tanned skin who looks a little bit like my father and drives a white Mazda Miata down the Long Island Expressway (My five year old self was apparently very detail oriented,) but it does mean, that somewhere deep deep down, maybe we already know who we are – or at least –who we’re meant to be. And sure, we can’t necessarily tap into the intricate details of it all, but I would argue that the foundation is indelibly engraved at the outset.
In many ways, my five-year-old self was stronger than my twenty-five-year old self. The silk fuchsia and green ball gowns that I used to rock to kindergarten (thanks again, Mom) belied a hybrid of sorts – a little big soul who knew, without question, that she wanted to be independent, fearless, strong, goal oriented and successful. Mini me (literally) would never have settled for anything – and that’s because she knew that she didn’t have to; in fact, she recognized that even the whisper of such a proposition would have been absurd and wrong.
The last time I wrote to you was on the heels of a life altering time in my life, one in which the days passed so quickly that all I could do was hang on – in the way that you might if the breaks on your car suddenly stopped working while you were doing a hundred and fifty miles per hour down the Pacific Coast Highway. The fear that you’d expect to accompany such a change somehow subsided entirely; instead, it was supplanted with a peace that only arrives with self actualization, and I simply — and complexly, succumbed to the universe’s cataclysmic will for my life.
People talked, friends disappeared, dynamics were permanently altered, and all that remained was a blank canvas of an unwritten existence that I could choose to draft for myself line-by-line, letter-by-letter. It was sink or swim, and I had to learn to reshape my perspectives, to take some harsh hits in stride despite how untrue they might have actually been, and (perhaps most importantly), to come to terms with the fact that there’s really no such thing as control anyway – it’s literally nothing more than an illusion.
So yes, in the last ten months, I’ve changed – a lot. I’m talking the equivalent of, well, let’s say, getting full body liposuction, a boob job, blonde hair extensions and. . . like, a face transplant.
When I drafted my last blog post in September, I discussed the fact I was quite literally banging on the doors of the biggest news networks in New York armed with nothing more than copies of my backwoods birthed demo reel as my supposed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory golden ticket of “entry” gravelling/pleading/begging to land a position in the field of broadcast media.
It felt like being sentenced to a life of daily DMV visits, the kind in which you receive the same deadpan stare from the robot person behind the desk, who clearly derives NO GREATER PLEASURE IN LIFE than taking your number, tearing it up and sending you back to the beginning of the line simply because you filled out the last letter of your surname “illegibly.”
And then things all changed. It’s hard to explain why I stopped blogging for such an extensive period of time, but for whatever reason(s), I just couldn’t put pen to paper and write a personal piece, which is unusual for me, given my penchant for journaling. If I had to psychoanalyze myself for a moment, the supposition would be that I just wanted to learn how to live my moments instead of photographing them. And although I missed writing, I needed to let the transformation take place and to become who I was meant to be.
But, I can report to you (no pun intended) that last week, I finished producing another piece scheduled to air on MSNBC; I now live in the city that I’ve always known was my soulmate, I’ve been blessed enough to encounter an array of people who have helped catapult my career onto trajectories that I never thought it would see. Most importantly, I’m happy with my life – not because it’s always ideal or because I have everything all figured out (actually, I have close to nothing figured out) but because I’m moving forward on a course that I know my five-year-old self would have been proud of – and that makes me feel alive.
These photos represent a rebirth of sorts.
There’s that Vivienne Westwood quote that says “buy less – buy better,” which is exactly what I’ve tried to do in the past year, extending the motto far beyond just the pairing down of my wardrobe and into the more personal realms of my life, as well. I’ve come to realize that while there is nothing simple about me — stylistically, mentally, physically, or emotionally – I can become the person that my five-year-old self would have wanted to be just by following my own uncomplicated truth.