Some of the saddest days of my life were when I felt lost. Lost without ambition. Or maybe there was ambition, but it was buried deeply within one of my own worst fears: judgment.
I was called “queer” before I could even write. I was continuously embarrassed in front of my entire family by a family member telling me the way I was sitting was “sissy,” and how boys don’t cross their legs that way.
Imagine that same little boy, today a short and loud little man who still fears the judgment of others.
Sure, my life appears almost perfect, but I assure you it isn’t (whose is?). I’m still growing, and there are MANY ways I grow if given the room. For me, it’s gardening, working out, cooking, drawing, writing, and creating; all these things allow my mind to reset.
When I first became a dad to my eldest, Alli Mae, I learned that writing was a great way for me to clear it out. For me to stop, think, re-think, or overthink. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and publicly write about my own personal experiences and feelings, or talk on the podcast, has yielded the most growth in my life.
Writing and talking are two things I am good at. But recently, I’ve started to dive into other avenues.
Am I a designer? Um… No. But when an opportunity arose to create a little girl’s dress with my eldest, I was excited yet terrified.
A few years ago, I wrote an inclusive children’s book called “The Adventures of Addie Underwater” with our middle daughter, Ella. Since then, I always knew that I would know when my eldest’s project would show itself.
My oldest little girl loves to use her imagination in all forms. Alli Mae started to render her own design for the dresses. She created one dress design with folded butterfly sleeves that looked adorable.
I, too, had my own ideas, but it was more of a list of important features that I wanted on a certain dress. No sketches from me!
Our next step was to take our designs and ideas to an incredible dress boutique in LA, Kid’s Dream. They have been a supportive partner of my work for over 4 years. Before I knew it, I had pitched a new twirl dress.
At this point my heart is pounding out of my chest. My daughter is so excited, but for me… que the dark music and dim the light. In walks fear, anxiety, and failure.
Those feelings get stuck in my head and I cannot get them out. Lexapro does help with the looping of thoughts, but doubting myself still happens daily. Maybe it was because I didn’t get the support of being who I was authentically as a kid, and teenager.
I was taught to hide myself and not allow anyone to know who I really was, not even by crossing my legs “wrong.”
I have learned that support from others really helps when the voices of failure loom behind me.
Support comes in all forms. But most of all, the best form of support is remaining empathetic to others.
Back to the story. Kid’s Dream said yes to the dress!
My daughter and I will have this memory for the rest of our lives, and no one can take that away. Bringing your own creativity into this world is vital, for yourself and those around you.
With that said!!! Find our NolaGirl twirl dress at nolapapa.com
Use discount code NolaGirl15 at checkout for 15% off
Feature image: BSA Photography