This time last year, I did what a lot of people picture as a “new start” — I cut all of my hair off.
Well, about over seven inches, but you get the gist.
In the moment, it was symbolic. I was ending 2017 with a lot less than what I had at my peak of that year (let’s be real, one would say I peaked in mid-2017): jobs, relationships, personal confidence. In all honesty, it was a time of disappoint and let-downs that I didn’t really know how to handle. So I chopped it all off.
I started 2018 pursuing not one but two freelancing gigs, as you all know by now. And as you also know by now, they came and went in the same year they started.
But thinking back on it, the first few months of this year have taught me some very very very important lessons. I learned what it means to work your ass off but still question where your value lies. I learned that you don’t always have to love your job, and show that love through social media. I learned that you’re allowed to say no to the things you think you have to say yes to. I also learned that I can sometimes hold onto things and people that are no longer meant for me. But I’m still working on that one.
So, I took these few lessons, boosted my savings, turned down a full-time job in the process, and saved up for a trip to Europe. I can honestly tell you that wasn’t on my agenda going into this year. But the beauty of life is that most life events and opportunities cannot ever be fully predicted.
These details aren’t all that new to all of you, since I’ve been talking about them all year. But now that I’m almost three months into working for myself and moving out of the town and state where I grew up, I have a few things I would like to say about that.
It hit me recently that 2018 has brought me one of the best gifts of all: the ability to stop making excuses for pursuing Hungry Grl as a full-time job. I truly hit the point of not sleeping on what I’ve built. As much self-confidence as I do have in myself, it wasn’t 100% built into what Hungry Grl had the power to become. There was a point I wanted to forget about this platform all-together. What was the point? Shouldn’t I be focusing on getting a full-time job at a big-name publication? Am I too old for this shit? Who even cares about what I have to say?
And one day it hit me. It really, really hit me. More than it ever has before: if I have an audience that interacts with me about life on a daily basis, why wouldn’t they interact with me in a bigger way?
So come September, after a trip to a city that raised Hungry Grl, I found myself longing to go back and be a part of its creative community. It hit me that I could make my own business come alive in a Steel City. So I stopped sleeping on the possibilities of what I could be doing on Hungry Grl, and I took a leap. More like a 6 hour road trip with a packed Wrangler to a new house type leap, but you get the idea.
Basically speaking: I finally spoke my potential into existence. I put myself out there. I emailed big-name companies asking them to work with me. I followed just about the entire culinary population of Pittsburgh. I networked every second I could. But the beauty of this city is: every person I got to know, both new and old, had my back with introducing me to people that could benefit from my services. And in the process, I haven’t forgotten where my roots lie (@New Jersey).
So, here we are. I’m sitting in a Starbucks on the last day of 2018, the same company I sat in in 2015 when I started this all. My hair has grown out (and it’s most definitely turned into my favorite haircut ever) but I’m thankful for my many chops at the end of last year. Because without them, I wouldn’t be here right now.
But, I also wouldn’t be here without the proof that the people that follow me care not only about my bagel and coffee orders, but you care about Hungry Grl’s success. You care about the grl behind the Instagram and you want to see her succeed. The love, support, and compassion my followers have shown me this year is what has kept this account alive and running. I cannot begin to thank every single follower for interacting with what I’ve built, especially on the days where I share aspects of my life because they are things I need to hear myself.
So, I’m here to genuinely and truly thank you all. You have given me the confidence, drive, and faith that I can be my own boss in life. Sometimes it doesn’t fully hit me that I actively run and pursue my own business. That I can recruit my own clients and produce work for other people hustling alongside me. From my amazing family and friends to complete strangers, thank you. 2019 has a lot in store for my account, and it’s all going to start with my followers.
Say it with me: We’re making 2019 the year of endless success and good eats.
I’m starting this year by launching a newsletter, which is something that I’ve been talking about pursuing for months. So, if you want to be a part of hearing my words and foodie advice in your inbox every week, send me your email. My DMs and email are open. We’re pursuing everything on our to-do lists in 2019!!
Here’s to pursuing all of our goals in 2019 and eating the best meals in the process. Also, if you want to work together, my contact info is only a few clicks away.
Here’s to another year of staying hungry,