THE DEATH OF MY CREATURE OF HABIT
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a creature of habit. As a young girl I had developed an affinity for "same-ness." In the "Nika Dictionary" this can be defined as "creating a space of regularity with the purpose of feeling safe and sure." My pattern of "same-ness" manifested in the meals I ordered at restaurants, daily routines and even friends I chose. My deep desire for stability was especially prevalent in my fear of leaving familiar environments like my hometown in Garland, Texas.
I felt stuck in high school. Stuck in the impossible standards of conforming to perfection, stuck in an awkward body trying to understand itself in the context of puberty, and most of all, stuck in a small town that no longer resonated with me. Deep down I had a big dream to explore the world of fashion in the context of one of the most adored cities in the world: New York. However; every choice I had made in my life thus far directly contradicted this daydream. Instead of focusing on achieving the grades to land a decent college scholarship, I spent most of my time invested in the latest gossip and hottest parties. Regardless of the constant disrespect and blatant immaturity of my toxic high school relationship, I was completely convinced that I could never move away lest we break up and I be doomed to a future as an old single cat lady drowned in sorrow and loneliness. Although my standards for life had exponentially lowered throughout my turbulent years of adolescence, I was certain that although bland and mundane, a certain fate was better than the unknown.
And still, the longing deep inside me for more refused to quiet. Even in my most rebellious moments of self damage I could feel the vibrations of hope coursing through my soul as if to say, "there's more...there's more...". After a particularly chaotic fight with my boyfriend, I decided to apply online to LIM College, my dream fashion school in Manhattan. I remember half hardheartedly clicking the "submit" button, sure that nothing would actually come of it. I never even disclosed my desire for New York to my boyfriend as I was sure he would write me off as a crazy and nonsensical dream chaser who would surely crumble under the big city pressures.
Imagine my utter shock when one seemingly normal day, I got a letter addressed from LIM College in the mail. I still can feel the way my heart stopped as if in those few moments the world ceased to spin on orbit. My family gathered around me as my shaking fingers ripped open the envelope and in those final seconds I thought to myself "Could there really be more?" My mother and sister's screams of joy in the background gave away the verdict faster than my eyes could scan that first sentence on the letter stating that I had been "ACCEPTED." My eyes remained fixated on the piece of paper in my hand as I felt the rush of possibilities sweep through me like a coursing river. I fell to my knees in tears, stunned that regardless of my string of destructive choices, I still had a second chance. A chance to step over the ledge and finally allow faith to catapult me into greatness. A chance to choose more; to be more.
To no great surprise of mine, my less-than-thrilled boyfriend broke up with me shortly after I broke the news of my inevitable move to New York. For weeks after, I mourned what I was sure was the biggest heartache the world had ever known (thanks to Taylor Swift's enabling reinforcement!). In the time leading up to the big move, fear began to creep into my bones, paralyzing me from being able to rejoice in my approaching transition. All of the "what if's" plagued my mind as I began to grasp the reality of relocating from the safety of my small town to the unknown territory of a big city. What if I became too homesick? What if I never made any new friends? What if I realized I actually hated fashion? What if I wasn't enough?
Instead of liberating me from my life of monotony, the vast expanse of possibilities began to cripple me in panic. The creature of habit that had grown to inhabit me was writhing and squirming; completely out of its element. I had spent my whole life so intimately intertwined with consistency that it had become an idol. Relocating to a brand new environment and way of life had caused years of disordered thinking and behavior to bubble up to the surface and for the first time, I had no choice but to deal with it head on. I found myself at a crossroads. The first road meant submitting to my dark and imaginary anxieties, thereby missing out on realizing my most extraordinary self. The second meant boldly standing before my creature of habit, calling out the monster it had become and slaying it once and for all, thereby reclaiming the bright future I was intended to have.
I chose to fight; to wage war against all the lies that told me NO and for the Voice of Truth that always told me YES despite my kicking and screaming insecurities. I had gone almost two decades shrinking back like an undeserving pauper when in reality I was created in the image of God to move forth as a QUEEN. I fought not only for the adult version of myself that had been abused and mistreated by the lashes of darkness, but also for the young girl in me that once hoped and fully believed that anything was possible. I took back the unknown and made it beautiful again; replacing uncertainty with confidence in The One who holds ALL things in the palm of his hand. The Word of God became my no-fail weapon against the enemy in myself. When doubt would sweep in I countered with His promises.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
"Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be." Job 8:7
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:18-19
Truth slowly but surely began to uproot even the deepest lies in my heart, soul, and mind. With the power of Jesus sustaining me day by day, I became vindicated from my longtime shackles of fear. For the first time in my life freedom marked my present and shone brilliantly into my future. And while a part of my heart still ached for the home that I loved and the goodbye's were bittersweet, I was able to stand with steady conviction as the woman God was refining me to be. When I boarded the plane to LaGuardia Airport, there was no way for me to know that I would go on to graduate summa cum laude, land a buying role at the infamous Barneys New York, make lifelong friends, and meet my now-husband. In that moment of take off, my confidence in Him was enough to carry me as high as the plane lifted off up and towards the sky.
Alas, the creature of habit was dead.
The creature of redemptive possibilities reigned supreme.
Xoxo, Diwa Doll
Featuring Santa Marguerite
Photography by Lyda Ham Photography