Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Other Dirty "F" Word-Feminism

I have been struggling with whether or not to post this blog for quite some time.  The wake of the election, and people's reactions to it have stirred up a lot of emotions.  The only thing I can speak of is my personal experiences with this phenomenon.  So, here it goes.

I didn't consider myself a feminist until this election.  I realize that this statement will raise quite a few eyebrows, considering the main platform my brand is built on is empowering women.

I didn't realize how much time I spent hating women until this election.  I say that knowing that I was definitely wrong in my ways, and having done everything in my power to change.  I was definitely not one with the feminine energy as I so preached.  I was terribly judgmental, and downright rude to other women.

From a very early age, I was taught that other women were a threat.  Because this was my narrative, I couldn't help but attract that sort of energy into my life. Society enforces that anyone who is prettier, skinnier, or more successful than you must be a "bitch" and we hate her.  I was raised to believe in a man supporting you 100 percent, and that you should always put his business before yours.

This story was so prevalent in my every day life that it might as well have consumed me.  Guy friends of mine with jealous and possessive girlfriends had "psycho girlfriends." Not thinking, "Duh, Payton. She's got every right to be insane.  He cheats on her left and right! Of course she hates you! She thinks you're banging him!"I sure as hell turned into that girl when I got cheated on!

I was in a serious relationship with someone who very proudly considered himself a feminist---he was incredibly vocal about this.  His version of feminism translated into embarrassing me in public by drunkenly yelling about sex in crowded bars, "because we should be cool about it!" Not standing up for me when I had been wronged, "because you're a strong woman. You can handle it."Not holding the door open for me after we had become exclusive, and it ultimately ended up in turning into him revealing that he had a terrible porn problem, and had been cheating on me nearly the entire length of our relationship with an old girlfriend...who knew about me...and was married.  No wonder I thought women were awful. And what kind of feminist subscribes to porn that is filled with violence and name calling? Why would I want to be a part of either of those groups? I then realized that lumping all feminists into the "Angry, bitter, lonely, ugly" feminist group is like thinking all Christians are like those crazy Westboro Baptist folks. There are bad eggs in every community.

And then this election happened.  I witnessed us swearing in someone that has blatantly assaulted women.  I finally came to grips with the fact that I was repressing my own abuse of several years, and dealt with it. But, I noticed something starting to shift in me.  Maybe it was dealing with my own shit, and maybe it helped that I was finally with someone who is completely supportive, and such a damn gentleman that it hurts, but I started to pay attention to all of the good that women were doing in this world.

The marches, the woman trying to get families at her kids' school a Christmas, a friend of mine who spent all of her winter trying to help the homeless in camps, the one who owned a female-centric brand that was donating money to all sorts of good causes...all women. I started to embrace the magic that women possess-the empathy we are capable of, and not only our ability to multi task, but the strength to deal with it all!

I started reaching out to other women who ran their own businesses....I started a group for all of us to meet up and to support each other!  This introvert hosts groups now!!! It finally clicked in my head! When women support other women--really, truly support them, magic happens.  My books started filling up with high paying gigs , I finally had a network of female friends like I had craved for so long!

I learned that there is absolutely no wrong way to be a woman.  I can dress up, tackle my to do list, bring home some metaphorical vegan bacon, and then fry it up and serve it for my handsome husband! I can be feminine, and powerful, and strong, and soft...all at once.  And if another woman wants to live their life in a different manner, and isn't hurting anyone, as a feminist, it's my job to tip my hat and to move on with my life. I mustn't judge! (Side note, a wonderful side effect of accepting this way of my life, and having become so busy is that I don't really have time to think about what other people are doing with their lives! I'm too in to supporting my own tribe, and building my dream life!)

So, what I'm saying, guys and girls.  Is that feminism isn't an awful, dirty word like we are trained to believe. Support your neighborhood girl bosses, and lift each other up.  We don't all have to live in this pink, glittery world full of unicorns, and we don't all have to be best friends, but we can all agree on the fact that being a woman right now isn't the easiest path to navigate.  Let's be more understanding, and remember at the end of the day, everyone just wants to love, and be loved.

Payton Dale, Feminist.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Living Your Most Badass Life

Hey, readers.

Wow! It's been four months since I've sat down to write an entry here.  I have been keeping up with my writing, only now it is for magazines, and my own personal journal.  So much has changed, and I am excited to share with you!

A few weeks ago, my sister and I were having lunch together.  She turned 21 in August, and was feeling confused and scared about the direction of her life.  The pressure to have a life plan in place was starting to take its toll on her, and her demeanor was that of someone about to enter into the ring at a bull fight.  I remembered that feeling all too well.

The moment that best summed up being 21 was when the house that I was renting from a friend, flooded.  There was something that went wrong with the washing machine, and the next thing you know, my backyard was a pool of jeans, and the smell of moldy clothes wafted through the air.  I sat on the floor of my living room, in the water, drinking vodka from the bottle and crying.  I looked back on that memory, and felt an extreme gratitude for it.

During that time period, I wrote down the life that I truly wanted.  My journal entry was three pages, front and back, and I described the home I wanted, the partner of my dreams, the dogs I longed to hear pattering around the house, and the job I wanted so badly that I could taste it.  I was determined to make this life mine.  With a determined slam of the notebook, I held my head high, and was ready to tackle this plan.

And then, I lost steam.  This is the vicious cycle of the self-help junkie. I took the easy way out.  I was broken, and attracted broken people to me.  I had this realization that every single failed relationship (romantic, friendly, family) had happened because my pattern of being broken, and attracting people who were only in to being in my life when I was down.  My relationships always ended with me trying to better myself, and the person I was with feeling threatened by it, me getting fed up, and walking away.

And then, a book fell into my hands.  "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero was recommended to me by my friend Shelby.  I started to implement her teachings, and immediately began to notice differences.  I removed toxic people from my life.  I hired a life coach.  My business started to grow.  My now husband and I started dating.  In a period of seven months, my world is barely recognizable to the one I had at the start of 2016.

Readers, I woke up today next to the man that meets everything and then some that I described in my journal entry, nearly five years ago.  He is kind, and considerate, and gentle, is the most handsome man I've ever laid eyes on, and truly the best friend that I've ever had.   We live in a home that is even more beautiful than the one I could have ever described in journal entries. Our precious pups are snoozing in the sun room.  I have meetings, and client followups, and a bank account that would allow me to take myself out to a nice lunch if I really wanted it...for someone who used to dig for quarters in her couch to find a few bucks for a cup of coffee, that in itself is remarkable.  I walk around my home and look at the kitchen that is bigger than an apartment I once had, and could barely afford to pay for.  I smile at our wedding photo that hangs in our beautiful living room. And I feel for the first time in my twenty five years that this is the life that I was meant to have.

I'm writing this to give a bit of hope to everyone out there that is struggling.  I know what it's like to live on beans and rice, and to crash on your friends' couches, to feel alone, even if you're with someone.  The feeling of things never getting any better was so comfortable to me, that when they did, I was scared shitless!!! But, I'm here to tell you guys that you've got to start living your life on purpose and WITH purpose.

So many people let life happen to them, instead of making it work for them.  "Oh, I'm stuck here. I hate my job, but this is as good as its gonna get." "I don't really love this person with every fiber of my being, but it's better than being alone." "I really wanted to be a (dancer, writer, nurse, photographer, teacher) but it'll never happen..." Cut that shit out.  You are going to die one day. It's time you start living like it.

Get your hands on that book, or any book that will help change the way you look at life.  Hire a life coach by any means necessary.  Start a meditation practice.  Get an accountability partner.  Download the 5 Minute Journal app, and start each day with it (It has you write down the three things you're grateful for, your intention for the day, and affirmations) Write down your dream life game plan, and do something small every day to chip away at it.  For me, it's planning the next Fashion Friday videos, following up with clients, researching the latest trends...for my mind, it's writing and meditating, for my home, it's cleaning a little something every day so it doesn't pile up...the life you want is attainable, but you have to be willing to do the work for it, and to divorce yourself from the mediocre life you once knew.  It's terrifying, and it's hard work, but it must be done.

I love you, guys.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beauty Products I Love: Summer 2016

Hey, readers!

Like I mentioned in this week's Fashion Friday, it's the middle of summer in Nashville...and it's hot. Like breathing soup when you walk outside hot.

This Spring, I made a deal with myself. I told myself that I would start investing my money into self care--I now have higher quality cosmetics that are just as much fun as they are better for my skin, and I even have a day time and a night time routine to care for my skin. In my journey, I've learned what works and what doesn't work for my face and hair. I thought I would pass these along!

Elizabeth Mott's Thank Me Later eye primer.
I discovered Elizabeth Mott on a whim. Amazon suggested this relatively new brand to me after my search for cruelty free cosmetics. The company will send you free samples in the mail for you to try before you buy! I was on the search for a new eye primer, so I had them send me this one. It's been a GODSEND, you guys! I am fairly oily, and most of the higher selling primers leave my lids feeling greasy. I can't wait to purchase more of her products in the future. This keeps my shadow and liner on all day.

Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Sea Salt Spray
I picked up a sample of this at Ulta the other day when I went in for shampoo. My hair is that awkward in between not curly, but not straight texture, and the roots get greasy while the ends will dry out quickly. In the summertime, it's not been easy to go for the effortless bedhead look that I lean towards in the less humid months without looking like Phil Spector's wig. You know the one. After I shampooed and used a Moroccan oil serum in my hair, I let it air dry, and then wrapped the front sections of my hair with a 1 inch curling iron. I then flipped my head over, sprayed fairly liberally with this product, and flipped back up. A few scrunches, and I was ready to go. It's been going strong for two days without feeling crunchy or stiff.

Trestique highlighter sticks
So, something else I would really suggest is getting the Ipsy bag. I get samples (and most of my bag this month were full size products) sent right to my mailbox every month of well known and some not so well known brands. You take a quiz when you sign up to insure that you will actually like your products. Mine are all cruelty free brands as well! Bonus! Anyway, I am fairly new to the whole highlight thing. I know I'm late in the game. I always ended up going overboard and either looking like I had white circles under my eyes like I had laid out in the sun in giant goggles, or looked like someone could have drilled for oil on my face. Not cute. These sticks are highly pigmented, but just the right amount of sheen, are easily blendable, and are foolproof when it comes to application. I was really impressed, and will definitely buy this product in full size when this one runs out.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
This was another sample that I picked up while waiting in line at Sephora. The green color is quick to throw most off, but since I am fair and have uneven skin with some redness, I knew that the green would remove the ruddiness from my complexion.  I was really impressed with how a little bit went a long way. Combined with a finishing spray on top of my base makeup, my face won't budge all day!
Pick up a sample at your local Ulta or Sephora. It's half the cost, and will last you forever!

Those are my current go-to favorites to get me through the rest of the months. I really do suggest looking into upping your routine in the summer time. I have always felt disgusting during the hot season in Nashville. It's really hard to feel and look your best when it's hotter than Satan's butthole, but that's still no excuse to stop trying to put your best face forward. Plus, you deserve to take that time out to do something nice for you. Maybe for some of you, that's makeup, or maybe it's meditation. For me, it's both. Do you, readers. Do you.

When it all comes together...

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What Goes Around Comes Around: Summer Trends and the Original Inspiration

Hey, readers!

As we approach the end of July in Nashville, I am counting down the days until we have reached fall weather! Summer is my least favorite time of the year, and honestly the season I have the fewest outfit options for.  I can't stand the hot and humid weather! But, I have found ways to style myself that are casual, and I find that I'm not entirely melting by the end of the day. As many of you know, I love to incorporate vintage pieces in with modern ones. I feel like this is not only the best way to save some dough, but also the most fun way to get unique items for less! Fashion comes and goes in twenty year cycles. That's why the 90's are back in a huge way.  I have found that it is friendlier to my wallet and the Earth to try and track down the OG items instead of investing in new ones. Here are a few of this season's latest trends that I have managed to find for less.

I am seeing these EVERYWHERE lately. I feel like everyone is trying to do something outside the box with this trend. These were huge in the 70's, therefore, big in the 90's, and here we are today. I am seeing tops like this retail in boutiques for $60 and up. Here's one I found online. It's from the 70's, in brand new condition, and only retails for $22. Plus, no one else will have this one! I have an off the shoulder top that was actually a wedding dress I cut up. I always get compliments on it.

Jane Birkin rocks TWO trend this season: The crop top and the off the shoulder. 

These have been trending quite a bit. Lots of celebs are choosing to go all "matchy-matchy" on us. But, I assure you that your local thrift store or vintage boutique, you will find something similar for a fraction.
The OG Matching separate gang:
You can find matching sets from the 90's starting at $25 online! Channel your inner Dion and Cher.

I love gladiator sandals. I really do. No shame. I know that they're a dividing shoe, but these had a momeny a few years ago, as well as a few decades ago! I wore a pair of 1970's gold knee high pair to my senior dance, and people gave me looks.  Guess I was just ahead of the curve. I only paid $15 for mine at a second hand store!

Former Supermodel sisters Jenny and Pattie Boyd had these gorgeous purple suede gladiators that I have been lusting over for years. 

So, readers, as you can clearly see, there are no new ideas in fashion. People keep reinventing the wheel and slightly tweaking it. I love seeing how designers come up with new ways to do so, and how people on the street interpret their creations. What trends do you love this season? What are you so ready to be rid of? Comment below! 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Things A Man Should Have In His Closet By 25

Hey, readers!

After my last post, I had a few requests to do the same for the gentlemen! So, here we go. The top 5 things I think a man should have in his closet by 25!

Let me preface this post by saying one thing. I don't think everyone should dress the same. These pieces will mean different things to different people. But, here are the building blocks to point you in the right direction of being able to find your own unique sense of style.

ONE. A well tailored suit.
When I say "suit" most of you all will cringe and think of those baggy things your dad wears when he has to dress up.  I always feel like a suit that doesn't fit makes you look like you are playing dress up in your dad's clothes.  I prefer a man in a suit that looks a bit more 60's mod-very fitted and usually with some fun color and patterns brought in with ties and shirts, but this could mean whatever you want it to mean! While basic black is best to start your suit collection, have fun with it.  Shop off season to save even more money on these. I assure you that this is a purchase you will not regret. My personal favorites for men's suits right now are local Nashville designer named Eric Adler and Roxenstone.  They incorporate really unique patterns and textures in with very classic tailoring. It looks modern, yet won't look dated in a few years.

TWO. Well fitted, high quality jeans.
Stop buying your jeans at Old Navy. You're a man now. You deserve to dress like one. Figure out what cut and wash works best for your body type. Lots of stores like Levi's, Lucky, and even a few boutiques have denim experts on hand to assist you in your hunt. Go to places like Nordstrom Rack to get deals on a name brand if you can. Not all denim is created equally. You will wear these more than anything else. Use the cost per wear formula to figure out if the purchase is worth it. 

THREE. T-shirts without an ironic message on them.
Fellas, we are adults now.  Please stop wearing shirts that are meant to be funny, dirty, or ironic. The crime is worse if these shirts came from Hot Topic, Target, or the like.  Instead, replace your go-to casual pieces with either plain, high quality cotton (It's OK to invest in these as well) or a cool band t-shirt. (Also, for fun, google Ironic t-shirt and see how many mugshots come up!)

FOUR. Button downs that your mom didn't buy you. 
We all know that your mom will buy you ill fitting shirts from Kohl's to stick under the Christmas tree. Avoid these at all costs. Seriously, most moms mean well...we love you, moms. Fellas, learn how to buy your own dress shirts. You will need these for the office, or for date night. Learn how to care for these, and invest in an iron while you're at it! My favorites for men are Paul Smith, The Kooples, and Ben Sherman. 

FIVE. A tailor.
OK, so don't keep your tailor in your closet, but you get the drift. Not everyone is going to be the same size or shape that the clothes on the racks are made. And that's OK! A tailor is the difference in making your $100 suit look like $1000...From George Clueless to George Clooney. 

What do you think you need in your wardrobes, guys? I'd be curious to hear. And now, just because he was the sharpest man of all time, here's a photo of Cary Grant for you to swoon over.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

5 Items Every Woman Should Have In Her Closet By 25

Hi, readers!

I turn 25 in September. It's coming up soon!

As I reflect back on the last decade of my style (around 15 is when I really got in to expressing myself with clothing) I think about how I have evolved in my wardrobe choices, mistakes I have made, I thought I would share what I believe every woman should have in her wardrobe by the time she hits a quarter of a century!

ONE. A really nice, tailored blazer.
Now, I have a far cry from a desk job, but I found myself gravitating towards suits in the last few years. I really love how a woman looks in a tailored suit.  I found a black  Gucci blazer at an auction for a whopping $4.00. I wear it all the time, and it has definitely paid for itself. I even did a Fashion Friday video based around how to wear it with a vintage band t-shirt. This is one you want to splurge on. None of that disposable H&M or Forever 21 stuff. You're an adult now. You deserve to dress like one.
This incorporates several pieces I speak about! Fitted blazer, high quality vintage designer bag, and jeans that fit! 

TWO. A high quality bag.
I really like vintage designer bags. I am really geeky about the history of different fashion houses, and tend to lean towards the 70's styles (shocker) Shopping vintage is a way to get high quality for next to nothing. My collection has grown over the last few years. I have around five bags that I can wear with every single outfit for any occasion. My vintage Louis Vuitton was a gift, but still cost only as much as a strap for a new bag costs from the company! Vintage is also a wonderful way to not support buying new leather. If designers aren't your thing, then invest in a high quality, basic tote that you can take everywhere. You can always change it up by tying a scarf on the handles!

THREE. Jeans that fit! Really!
I lived in flowy vintage (and usually flammable) dresses for years.  They are still my go-to in the summer time. However, as I've matured and worked in this industry for a while now, I find myself reaching for my jeans more than ever! Having a short torso and long legs made it difficult to shop for jeans, but after doing some research and finding my fits I like (Paige and Rachel Zoe) I know my sizes, and can score them on the sales racks for $30 usually! I wear them nearly every single day. And a dark wash, high quality jean that fits is always going to make you look more polished than a spandex based light wash. I promise! I have boyfriend and skinny jeans in my closet, but I am always a fan of a mid-rise flare. They're classic and universally flattering.
FOUR. A dress (or outfit) that you know works for a formal event.
If I had to go to a wedding, funeral, or red carpet event this evening, I would have something to wear. My go-to formal dress is this gorgeous purple vintage Halston wrap dress that I got at a thrift store of all places! I've posted that several times on here. I recently was given a jersey stretch black jumpsuit that has been worth its weight in gold. I've worn it without a jacket, with a blazer, with a tassle belt, and have managed to make it work in six different scenarios. If it's a suit, a wrap dress, or a jumpsuit, you should have something in your arsenal that you can throw in a suitcase and go.
This year's Fashion Week red carpet. Fitted blazer with sequin detail over the black jumpsuit, a vintage gold glitter clutch, and the leopard boots from the first photo. 

FIVE. Knowledge.
It's crazy how fast trends come and go. The second that something comes out on the runway, fast fashion retailers have a knock off on their shelves. I say that every woman should have knowledge about what goes into her closet for a multitude of reasons.  Do you know who is making your clothes? Is it a big box retailer making profit off of people in sweat shops? Is it a small business in your community? Is it a designer who's doing everything themselves? Do you know how to care for your clothing to make sure they last? Are you purchasing something that will end up in a landfill at the end of the season? Or making a purchase that will be worn for years to come? As we get older, we need to realize that we vote with our dollars. Fewer high quality pieces will always be better than a closet full of crap that no one cares about. It will limit the "I have nothing to wear" scenario, and will make you feel better. Ask questions. Where are these clothes coming from? What are the conditions of the workers in the factory? What is this made of? It's fascinating! I look forward to saving for pieces to invest in, rather than going to the mall every weekend to throw away $15 on something everyone else will have! Find out who the local designers are in your town. They make the best (and most interesting) friends!

What do you think you should have by 25? What about what you should ditch? Comment below! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What They Don't Tell You About Chasing Your Dream

"Follow your bliss."
"Do what you love, and the money will follow."
"Leap out into the abyss, and a net will appear."

I'm sure that you have heard all of these expressions before.  These sayings are about as commonplace in the self-help community as green juice and yoga mats.  They are also things I repeat to myself on a regular basis. 

But, I'm here to tell you the honest to God truth about following your passion. 

1) It's the hardest thing you'll ever do.
2) If you follow through, it's the most rewarding.
3) You are 100% responsible for your own happiness and your life. And that is terrifying. 

I have been working on the vision I have for myself for the last seven years.  I've had the worst day jobs, terrible clients, and have had negative twenty dollars to my name.  I've developed health problems, had my electricity turned off, and have lost my home twice due to my never ending quest for Payton as I see her. I've had people tell me that I was certifiably insane, and have lost friends and family members over it.

Becoming who you are is a growing process. It hurts. And it has moments where it sucks. And I'm here to talk about those times now.

We live in a world where people think that things just "happen" for other people.  This is due to two things, I believe.  The first being social media, and the other is people's subconscious  desire to be mediocre, because that's all they've ever known. Hear me out.

Social media is meant to be people's highlight reels.  We often make the mistake of comparing the footage we left on the cutting room floor to other people's best ofs. I am so guilty of doing this! Oh, so-and-so just did something I want to do, has the relationship I want, or just bought a house! Here I am still renting a home, and feeling like crap, and I think I may be getting fat again and...and...and..what? It's second nature to compare ourselves to others. When I hear my friends do this, I want to take out a spray bottle and spritz them in the face like you would an animal you're trying to train. One of my favorite stylists has this approach she uses with her clients when they're unhappy with something. It's called the "Yes!...and?" Approach. "That person has smaller thighs than I do." "Yes! And?" "And? I want thighs like that.." "Ok, what are you willing to do to change your habits to attain what you want? Working out? Negative self talk? A healthy lifestyle?" Most people get lost in the "yes" and forget to add the "and!"

I've tried to be as real as possible on my social media feeds for this reason.  You'll see on today's post a photo of awkward pre-pubescent Payton. I'll have videos of me making a fool of myself. I will talk openly about my struggles with BDD, overcoming eating disorders, and depression.  Because when we are willing to own up to our bullshit, we can help others own theirs, and potentially help them heal. I also do this to talk about the struggles that we all face as human beings.  I think that once we find out that the beautiful, thin woman who seems to have everything going for her-great clothes, an exciting life full of travel, or whatever she has that you want is a person with her own demons, it makes her human. It connects us.  Unites instead of divides, if you will.

The other thing that is my biggest annoyance is the fact that most people want to be miserable deep down.  This is on a subconscious level usually.  I used to be one of these people, and on days when it's really difficult, I struggle to not fall back into the comfortable patterns that I used to cling to like the old jeans that fell off my hips.  I'm talking about the "I can't make money doing this." "If I were going to be able to live this way, it would have happened already." "I'm not good enough. There are fifty people I can think of who are better musicians, or artists, or real estate agents, or underwater basket weavers than I am." "I'm just not meant to live a life like that." "I'm not special."

Now, readers.  Take all of these beliefs that you may have about yourself, and shove them up your asses (respectfully). Those excuses are easy.  Those thoughts are comfortable.  Because, guess what? Stepping outside of your comfort zone is UNCOMFORTABLE. Just like your teeth coming in as a baby, or your bones growing as an awkward twelve year old, becoming who you are is painful. Like those stretch marks that cover my body, there will always be a reminder of this pain. But, they fade!  There will be tears, and maybe even some blood. And you have to be willing to accept that.  Living in your old beliefs is lazy. It's like wanting to lose 100 pounds, yet all you do is sit on the couch, eat the same stuff, and complain about not being supermodel thin.  How do you expect to change your life drastically in a physical way if you refuse to change your habits? The same approach needs to be how you come at your thoughts.  You can't expect change if you refuse to change!

You guys, I have had so many people tell me that "Things just happen to you, Payton." And I halfway want to laugh, and halfway want to scream. One person in particular was speaking about my weight, and my career.  This person had no idea the trials and tribulations that I had experienced.  She wasn't there the nights I laid awake in bed, crying because my bank account was in the negative.  She had no idea I spent hours the day before trying on clothes, trying to find one good thing about this new body I inhabited.  I am only the person I am today because I have made the decision that most people consider foolish...the decision to wholeheartedly answer the call I was whatever cost.  I have gone hungry, I have forced myself to get out of bed when I didn't want to, and I have done jobs that even if they had the slightest thing to do with my industry, I would do them. (I have taped down a lot of boobs, y'all) No one sees the struggle. They just see the end result.  

But, you know what? I answered that call. I didn't know what I was getting myself into.  There was a day where I got really quiet, and when I heard the whisper.  I have followed the voice whispering with absolute blind faith, stopping to fight off the blues.  And it's never an easy task to fight them off.  
You guys, you are here for a reason. You have been given a purpose.  It's your job to fill that you sized void while you are here. If you don't try with all of your might to do what you were put here to do, it'll come out in some other icky way--like drinking too much, sleeping with the wrong people, or eating your feelings like I did. But the only way that you are going to be able to step up to the plate to become who you truly are supposed to be is with work, a solid support system, and pure, unabashed faith. 

You are here because the world needs you. It's not always going to be easy. But I promise you, it's better than living a life full of mediocrity and wishing you had done X, Y, and Z.