“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

– Cecil Beaton

When I was sixteen, I felt pretty darn normal. I had 3 siblings, went to church every Sunday and sang in the school choir.

Then something amazing happened, I got my license. Everything changed. The new freedom was almost like a license to be more me than I had ever even known. No more asking for a ride and trying to explain why it was so important that I go to this that and the other. I was able to work to earn money to shop at thrift stores on Melrose, buy any new album I wanted at the cool record store, and go see every band that came through LA.

From 16-17 I was on cloud nine. I had it all figured out and life was good. I also had my first core value: Freedom.

Having been raised in a very religious household had it’s blessings. I always considered my actions and remained pretty darn pure through the majority of high school. Honestly, I’m grateful I did not pursue some of the things my friends chose. I remained hopeful and a dreamer because I wasn’t constantly crushed by the consequences of teenage brain. I was treated with respect by my friends and perceived as a spunky gal in old man pants. Nothing like polyester leisure suit pants to keep the boys away.  Second core value: Integrity.

But I didn’t have any clue what came next. I knew I wanted to dress like a girl and feel pretty, so I wore dresses every day. I wanted to sing in a band so I tried out and started gigging every weekend with a fun group of guys. I continued to evolve and meet new people along the way.

It wasn’t until I saw my friends getting accepted into college that I began to panic. What was going to do? My job at the mall was cool for now, but once I got out of high school it would be lame sauce. My parents modeled two precedents I could hope for, marriage or management. Without money for college, I’d need to hustle, not hope.

My hairstylist at the time asked me what was going on and, of course, I told her everything. She was encouraging and gave me little tidbits of advice. I felt better. I had just found out the fashion school I had dreamt of attending would cost a fortune. She mentioned a program she attended while finishing high school that gave her the skills to become a licensed hairdresser. This was the answer I needed!!! I was able to start the program as a senior by dropping my electives and leaving school early. Third core value: Curiosity.

I went to school until noon, had beauty school until 5pm and still worked at the mall. I was hustling for sure. But looking back, I never let anyone tell me who I was or what I stood for. I respected the people in my life and continued marching to the beat of a different drum. I was a free spirit and didn’t let things trip me up. I have continued to respectfully decline advice from those who wish to have me follow in a way that confirms their agenda. I have remained dedicated to my vision of living the full expression of me. My mission in life is to help others gain the courage, confidence and clarity to live a life curated. Fourth core value: Authenticity.

Whether or not you have your established your own core values or know your life’s mission,  you can at least consider how you want to feel as you start your day. For me, those feelings are free, radiant, curious and authentic. Set your own intentions, forge your own way, view each day as a  brushstroke in one of the many masterpieces housed in your carefully curated gallery of experience.

Live a Life Curated.


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Marci Jean

Posted by:Authentically Be

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