Author : Aigner Mathis
Whew! Has it been a year already? My my my, where does the time go?
This time last year I was struggling to make ends meet while working two jobs. I was a cocktail at one of the best steakhouses in Dallas, TX (Shout out to Chop House on Main st), working as a fashion design assistant at Pink Lucy, and also killing myself to get to rehearsals at Artes de la Rosa in the evenings and on weekends. With all that going on you would think I would have been happy. I wasn’t. I realized I was putting too much of my time into serving cocktails, so I quit and began working as a fashion design assistant full time. With a degree in fashion merchandising, I felt that was the best choice at the time. Unfortunately, my degree and experience was deemed less valuable than I thought, and I was offered only $10 an hour for 40-55 hours of work each week. Yea, you read that right: ten fucking dollars. My bills were pilling up, I was limited to the extra curricular fun I could have because, well, I was broke AF.
My 25th birthday was coming up (it was July at this point & my birthday is in October) and I knew I had to make something shake. I promised myself long ago that by the age of 25, I would be out of Texas. Yet, here I was only a few months away from October, with less than $200 to my name and a whole lot of frustration. I woke up one morning face already stained with tears I must have cried in my sleep, and that’s when I heard God speak to me. I asked him, “what should I do?” and I laid there with my tear stained and crusty face until I heard his response: “Get Up. Leave. Trust Me”. Straight like that. I didn’t second-guess it for a second. That morning, on Wednesday, I left my job. Any sane person would have been stressed tf out. I mean I had rent coming up for an apartment I could no longer afford, car note and insurance, bills on top of bills, and college debt collectors who would not leave me alone. Still, I trusted Him. I listened. Instead of being stressed, I took the day and went to the pool, lay out, swam, danced, laughed and got a little too intoxicated.
The next morning I got on the grind! I submitted myself for multiple auditions and applied for more jobs than I can count. Let me tell you how awesome my God is and how quickly things can change when you have a little faith.
Thursday: applied for jobs and auditions
Friday: interview on top of interview. I got a call back for an audition and ended up landing a gig with ‘Lets Go! DFW’
Saturday: a little camera work for Lets Go! DFW & then rushed to another interview, I landed the job and was IMMEDIATELY taken to training
Wednesday: I left Texas on a marketing tour with four other individuals.
What a week! Just that fast, I had a job in my field, and another job that allowed me to travel consistently and get paid quite nicely to do so. All it took was faith.
Now a year later, I have been fortunate enough to travel the US, spent my 25th birthday in the most amazing spa & resort in Atlanta, Georgia, and started making over 4x the amount of money I was making at my fashion assistant job in Dallas.
Luckily, I’ve learned a few things as well from living out of ONE suitcase for a year:
- Excess is not necessary. – Don’t let people on social media fool you into thinking you always have to have the latest and best products/clothes out there. You truly do not need any of that to be happy. I shop at Walmart and have grown obsessed with wearing a simple $3 t-shirt and jeans. You’d be surprised how sexy you feel wearing a simple tee, jeans and heels. Nothing is wrong with simplicity and it certainly doesn’t hurt your bank account.
- Money management is key – I can’t tell you how much money I have wasted in this past year. Yes, majority of my money was spent on experiences and food, but in hindsight, I’m sure I could have gotten the same experiences for less money. Try setting up a budget, whether you are traveling or not, and stick to it at all costs. Make sure to add in a little “fun” or “play money” and of course make sure you have emergency money as well. Here are a few of my budget requirements:
- Responsibilities: bills, rent etc.
- It’s a good idea to have a portion (60-80%) of your paycheck deducted and put aside immediately so that you don’t even notice it or have any chance to spend it.
- Emergencies: I like to put 10% of my check away immediately. This is your “DO NOT TOUCH” You never know when you’ll need it. I even suggest putting into a separate account or using a separate bank all together for this so you aren’t tempted to touch it.
- Health/beauty: waxes, nails (if you are into that), hair (products/salon appointments), fitness membership (if that’s your thing) etc.
- Fun: traveling, food, nights out, concerts, clothes, etc.
- As childish as it may seem, I like to save mine in a hidden piggy bank. Yupp, a piggy bank. One of the kinds that you have to break in order to get into. I get real satisfaction when it is finally filled up. Smashing it and counting the money you’ve saved is super fun because you know it’s your “splurge” money. Besides, when you see how much you saved it’s honestly hard to justify spending it all on frivolous things anyways, and you just might end up putting some back for other responsibilities or savings.
- Responsibilities: bills, rent etc.
- Love is unconditional – while traveling, I barely ever got to see my friends and family, but the ones, who truly love me, always reached out and made sure I knew how much they missed me, were praying for me, or loved me. It didn’t matter that they could not see me. They loved and supported me. & that was and always will be, enough
- The best places to visit aren’t in any blogs or on travel brochures. The best places are the ones you stumble upon when you aren’t looking for them. Those random mom and pop run places that were built in a doublewide trailer (Shoutout to Santa’s Pub in Nashville, TN) or in a shack at the end of an ally. They are also filled with locals and the soul/love they put in the food is evident in every bite! So stop waiting in line at those fancy shmancy places and stop posting up in the popular VIP hoping to get a glimpse of someone famous, and start living your life without barriers and preconceived notions.
- Everyone is different – and there is nothing wrong with that! Our differences are what make us special. I’ve met so many different people from different backgrounds, cultures, religion and one thing we can all agree on: we are human and we deserve love. We bleed the same and most of us want the same things out of life & that’s ok.
- Relationships are less complicated than we make them
- Moments don’t always need to be pictured or recorded. Sometimes they just need to be LIVED – So stop taking pictures of that great entrée and just eat the damn thing! Stop snapping about having fun, and just have fun! Don’t do it for the gram, do it for YOURSELF!
- Your life is YOURS – stop blaming others for what YOU are responsible for. YOU are the one who dictates how well you will be paid, YOU are the one who must create your own happiness, and YOU are the one who has to live with your choices. I couldn’t blame the owner of Pink Lucy for offering me such a horrific and embarrassing salary, because I was the one who accepted it. I couldn’t blame anyone else for me not being where I wanted to be in life or not being happy because I wasn’t doing anything to make sure my dreams came true.
I took control of my own life, and in the blink of an eye, more doors were open to me. I am now on the last month on my yearlong tour and will be fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine by be moving to Los Angeles in August 2016. This Texas girl is going to the west yall! Since I put all my faith in God and in myself I have been blessed a thousand times over. I cant speak on every opportunity because I am under contract, but just know great things are happening, and they are happening faster than I ever imagined they would. All because I finally stood up for what I was worth and took a chance without knowing if I would fly or flop.
I cant tell you how extremely happy I am and how blessed I feel every **clap** single **clap** muthafuckin **clap** day. Lol
If you are at a point in your life where nothing is adding up, you feel stressed or undervalued, or you are just in a rut, I encourage you to take a leap of faith. Quit your dead end job, drop your deadbeat boyfriend or girlfriend, move to the city you want to live in, take a trip some place you’ve never been, and above all, BE HAPPY. We only have one life to live, might as well make it one you’ll be happy & proud of. Don’t just survive, LIVE.