Four years ago, I embarked on the trip of a lifetime to the US of A- a happy, smiling, successful real estate agent off to travel the continent. Little did I know how life changing that trip would actually be.
I had THE most incredible six weeks of solo travel, I can't even explain! (This was before my Instagram addiction so I don't even have a handy array of pictures on there I can point you to, but I'll share a few here).
I was the picture of health and youth. A self-confessed, twice-a-day gym junkie with a healthy appetite for adventure (and food!).
The biggest "solo" part of my trip was 11 days I spent in NYC. I'd rented my own studio apartment through AirBNB and I was determined to live like a local in East Harlem, albeit a much whiter, less-Spanish local.
On my third morning there, I decided it was warm enough (-2 degrees at 7am) to finally take a run through Central Park for some exercise. I ran for about an hour before stopping to take a break by the giant, frozen lake. After people and dog-watching for a few minutes while catching my breath, I had a good look around, it was actually so beautiful! The grey buildings of the city in the background; a stark contrast to the white of the park that surrounded me, when suddenly I realised......... I was completely alone.
I was completely alone.
In a strange city.
On a different continent.
Thousands of kilometres from anyone I knew.
Without a phone.
No one knew where I was. No one knew what I was doing. No one in this park knew me, and I didn't know anyone in the city.
This realisation should have scared me, but it had the opposite effect.... it empowered me.
I had an epiphany! "I'm doing exactly what I want, making my own decisions, all by myself", I remember thinking. It sounds ridiculous, but I remember thinking "Finally, I'm an adult!"
The rest of the trip was perfect in every way! I made friends for life with my bestie, Brooke who is NZ-born but now resides on the sunny Gold Coast, and is getting married later this month. I had incredible experiences of witnessing the Grand Canyon at sunrise; in Times Square I saw real-life snow falling from the sky for the first time; and I was exposed to Las Vegas ('nough said).
Did I mention that I met Jake Gyllenhaal?? (Gimme a sec while I pick up that name I just dropped)... In an alternate universe somewhere, we went on a date together and it was great, but I couldn't do the long distance thing, so I turned him down.
Upon my return home, I was thrust straight back into my daily grind, working half-days (12 hours), no social life and a mobile phone that WOULD NOT STOP RINGING. To top it off, I tore the meniscus in one of my knees and going to the gym became painful for my over-achieving competitive nature, so I stopped going.
I slipped so quickly into a funk, filled with overwhelming unhappiness at where I was in my life and how little I'd felt I accomplished. I was 25-years-old, living with my parents again after years of independence, consumed by thousands of dollars of debt, and suddenly loathing my job. The positive, perpetually-happy, chirpy, fun, outgoing, independent, work-loving, fit girl I was, had gone. It became so awful that I couldn't even manage to open my eyes in the mornings. The simple thought of facing another day not being my "perfect self" was terrifying.
I sunk FAST.
I took months of sick leave I'd accrued and only turned up to Open Houses on weekends, not wanting to disappoint my clients. This "shameful" way of being eventually lead to my quitting that job and doing nothing but watching Netflix and eating for 8 months straight. I saw a psychologist regularly and she gave me some great advice on how to deal with my emotions, but MAN it was tough going some days. I remember one day where my brain just told my legs not to bother anymore and I collapsed to the floor of our kitchen, unable to move for hours. Another time, I opened a bag of chips for a "snack" and what felt like a minute later, I put my hand in and reached the bottom of the bag- I'd eaten them all in a mindless haze. It's amazing what your brain can do to you when the chemicals get all weird and imbalanced! The brain is a powerful thing, treat it well and listen to the warnings.
At the end of the eighth month of this, I received an invitation to a wedding and I was determined to go and enjoy myself. But I didn't really believe that I would enjoy myself at all.
I'm so glad I RSVP'd my attendance because THAT WEDDING SAVED ME. I'd never realised how much I loved LOVE until that wedding. It was beautiful! It was perfect! It was everything and some! I understood that day that I wasn't a failure at life, I just hadn't found my true calling yet, and it was WEDDINGS and celebrations of love! I didn't know how or in what capacity I'd get into weddings, I just knew I would.
ANNNNNNND so I did. I started MC-ing weddings for friends and relatives. I had purpose in my life again! The MC-ing led to Wedding Day coordination, because I was there already, why wouldn't I step up! Then I started planning successful Hen's parties and Bridal Showers that people actually LOVED, especially the Brides-to-Be. And here we are, ladies and gentlemen.
Hire A Bridesmaid is quite literally my purpose. Ensuring that your special day is THE most special it can be. In every way. With no exceptions.
Since its inception (sans Leo, sorry), I've had the pleasure of working with some wonderful Brides and Grooms, stylists, photographers, planners, caterers, venues, guests, speakers and clients, and I've worked in many amazing places including the Sydney Town Hall, all of the Doltone houses (lol) and Luna Park. I've also worked with some big name clients including LendLease, Financial Standard, The Grounds and NSW Government.
I don't like to brag (but I'm gonna), I'm great at what I do because I truly love it. I found my calling and I'm so grateful to everyone who has helped me get to this point. Thank you.