I envy Jasmine and her magic carpet.
James and I spent a lovely* weekend at home with my family, and though we’re exhausted from lots of eating and flying, we are back in the city and I am desperately trying to produce content for our co-blog in between the 9-hour stints I’m doing in the 90 degree Tretorn stock room, bidding farewell to the last of AW08 and making room for all the amazing girl-apparel for SS09.
*Editor’s Note: The term ‘lovely’ being used only to state that there were no serious conflicts, minimal violence and profanity, no tears and very little irreparable emotional damage. There was also a hedgehog and boiled ham. Both umbrellaed loosely under the aforementioned term.
And let me tell you, the only thing for which I’m more excited than Tretorn SS09- the brand’s first comprehensive line for women since the flagship launched just under a year ago– is Boston and VOR. I blame Cate Hewett, for being generally enthusiastic whenever I talk to her, but especially for having firecracker passion for this project.
Being home always offers a great reference point for where I am versus where I was. I reserved my parents for graduation, which falls the day after I get back from Boston. I answered a thousand questions about VOR and Boston and the apparel and the trip. I ate more food than I even knew I could fit into my body at any given point.
And I realized for all the changes I’ve made, I’m still very much the same little girl I’ve always been at heart.
When I was very small, I believe in fairy tales. I also wished on shooting stars and chased fireflies and spent one week seriously investigating an old tree in my backyard because it had all the telltale criteria of a fairy ring. You can blame my mother if you’d like, but I was raised to see the world for the good and the wondrous things it holds for us to enjoy. For which we should be grateful, for which we should work hard. For all the things we should appreciate.
I think little girls grow into two types of young women. There is the kind who relinquishes her wonder in the world and focuses on something more acute, something more grounded and perhaps substantial. She finds motivation in the tacit, the real, the credible. It’s not a less-satisfying existence, and I don’t think she compromises anything. She just, at some point, shakes the fairy dust off her clothes and out of her eyes, yawns herself out of the dreams of childhood and steps into adulthood awake and alert, with new dreams and aspirations.
And then there is another type of young woman. I myself fall into this category. We still look at the world and seek the good there is to be found, starry-eyed and brimming with hope. We wake up every day with an enthusiastic leap back into our waking lives, ecstatic at the promise that for the next eighteen hours, we get to watch our dreams play out before our eyes for another day.
I still believe in fairy tales. If not for their literal plots, then for the formula that they suggest. The heroines are always strong, intelligent women who work hard to achieve their dreams despite overwhelming obstacles. I won’t pretend it’s not a value that my father instilled in me as well, but the stories that speckle my childhood are addled with the underlying message that hard work will conquer all if true love won’t. Or can’t.
The stories teach that it’s OK to grow up to be a woman who remains unafraid to follow her dreams, to cultivate her ambitions. On the worst days, the real world can seem intimidating at best. It’s a sigh of relief at night to be a young lady who understands that taking a step back from any barrier affords not just perspective on the issue, but reassessment of the approach. If the glass slipper didn’t fit, Cinderella would have asked for a half-size up. Belle would have bought stock in Nair and appreciated that snuggling in the winter would cut down on the heating bill. And don’t quote me on this, but I’m fairly certain that Snow White ended up with a multi-billion dollar apple pie pastry franchise.
These stories tell tales of women who live daily the sentiment that doing the most and best you can with what you’re dealt is the key to winning the game. And that hope is the most dangerous asset to lose along the way. It’s something a girl should never surrender, no matter who or what the adversary. Right along with integrity, dignity and her real hair color.
I’ve always known I’m one of the lucky ones. I love my family. I’m a nerd by nature, my hunger-lust for knowledge propelling me with enthusiasm for school. The faces have played in and played out of my life a bit, but my people have always been of exceptional caliber; I’ve always had amazing friends and phenomenal role-models. People we would all consider ourselves lucky to know, to call friends or acquaintances.
People from whom I’m humbled and privileged to say I have the chance to learn.
And that’s what I believe happens when little girls grow up to be young women who aren’t afraid to unabashedly follow their dreams. They follow the formula from the stories they hold so dear and appreciate that the help and guidance available to you in life are indispensable tools. You simply need to be smart enough to utilize them, to appreciate and respect the people kind enough to bestow them upon you.
I’ve gushed before about how excited I am to be able to work in such close proximity with Cate Hewett for the month I’ll be in Boston. After thanking her for some kind recognition in the company newsletter, Cate revealed a couple bullet points on the professional arsenal she calls her resume. And then I died. Of respect, and awe. Because when I tell you that her professional repertoire is everything I hope mine will some day be, I am not kidding.
Half of learning how to be successful in the game is learning from the rest of the team, taking counsel from the captains and the coaches, throwing in your whole heart and soul every day. Making them at the very least not sorry that they called your name instead of the girl standing next to you when it was time to select teams. Not only does Cate seem like one of those people who lifts your mood and brings with her a general sense of mirth, or well-being, but she’s very, very good at what she does. And, as I hope to take this managerial stint of mine in a customer-service and operations direction (who knows, maybe even trying to tie in all that PR and administrative assistant experience), I cannot even express to you in intelligible English how excited I am to have the opportunity to learn from her first hand.
I’m serious. James asks me about how I feel about Boston now that it’s coming right up, and I manage to squeeze something through my vocal cords that sounds like, “EeeeeeeEEEEEEMMMnnnnnnffffffttttttssssss!!!” I am so classy and articulate.
So here I stand, a woman-child hybrid trying to figure it all out as she teeters in adorable shoes dangerously close to the precipice of adulthood, and can I just say, this is awesome.
It’s everything the fairy tales promised me it would be. I have the opportunities to work hard and contribute to a team of passionate people every day. I have a great family, and fantastic friends. I don’t want for anything. I wake up every day to find all my dreams coming true all over again.
The future is exciting without being unstable or overwhelming. I’m the author of my own story, calling my own shots with integrity, a developing sense of self and, increasingly, something resembling grace.
And what if I go to VOR and the unthinkable happens and PUMA corporate decides that I must be given insurmountable loads of work, and that I should report directly to Cate Hewett herself, every day, for the rest of my life? What if?
Well, once they revived me from my bliss coma, I’d have to give James a call to tell him to cancel our broker in New York. Because every smart princess knows that chasing dreams means you need to find a patient and understanding prince with a white horse who’s willing to ride off into any number of sunsets with her. And who’s willing to let her bring all her shoes.
Because in my fairy tale, no opportunity is off-limits, out-of-bounds or beyond consideration.
And James already told me he’d move to Boston if I’m offered a spot.
Happily Every After sounds lovely. And it doesn’t break my heart to say it’s looking more and more like we’ll end up there some day. But for now, I’m very content to live Happily Every Day.