The Back Story

How do I try to live A Life That's Radical? Let me share a little of the back story...

My bachelor's degree is in Visual Communications (or graphic design) from the University of Oklahoma. BOOMER SOONER! I was actually told by a professor that t-shirts weren't really graphic design and for some odd reason I believed that despite designing close to 50 shirts up to that point. Yet, as usual, God was good to bring apparel to my attention in various ways: I was the t-shirt chair for my sorority (who knew that was even a thing - well, they have shirts for EVERYTHING!), I worked at a t-shirt company downtown Norman, designed a shirt for an event I coordinated and some other things.

When I graduated in 2001 (yikes!), I didn't begin looking for a full-time job right away because I had planned to work for a camp north of Tulsa, Oklahoma doing graphic design and administration. I was able to go to Europe on a mission trip that summer (which was incredible and of course life changing) and while I was there, the plans with the camp job changed. Once I was back to the states, I began looking for another job opportunity. But, to all of our horror, September 11th became a date that is now forever etched into our minds. I remember sitting on the floor after a morning jog (I'm not a runner so don't get crazy!) and just happened to turn on the TV.

There it was.

The first tower had been hit and I witnessed the rest of this tragedy on that TV screen. So many things changed that day. And if I'm honest, I didn't fully understand what I was watching I was in so much shock. But those of us who understood even a little bit thought, "what now?" many emotions flooding and it never really let up. We will always have residual emotions from this historical day.

Seeing images of that day bring a flood of memories. Click here to visit the memorial website.

Seeing images of that day bring a flood of memories. Click here to visit the memorial website.

Little did I realize that it would affect the course of my life. I was pushing pretty hard to move to Tulsa and did some freelance work with companies up there and helped the camp with some design stuff. That door just wasn't opening without me trying to force it open. Once I realized this I tried to get a job locally in Dallas. I had a range of experiences with those design firms. One thing was the same though: no one was hiring. The opposite actually...the art departments were being downsized because, as usual, the fine arts are thinned in time of crisis, "We can afford to cut the creative's not as important." Um, what?? Pretty sad.

One place was super cool and I thought, "Maybe I could actually work here!" It was one of those places that just seemed unreal - everyone was young and hip and super cool colors everywhere. But another experience was so awful (I'm tempted to tag that business here but I won't). I would never work for someone so rude; I don't care what she would pay me! I walked out knowing this was NOT the route I was supposed to take for my life. Well, it just confirmed what I had been feeling the last 4 years.

If I'm honest, almost the entire time I was at OU I questioned what I was doing. I didn't enjoy graphic design and longed for the more artistic classes on my schedule. I considered several other creative majors and every semester threatened to switch but the four year scholarship kept me motivated to just finish ON TIME!

After my shock by the woman who had a major deficit in manners yet was somehow running the company, I called my college roommate who was a trusted and wise friend. She told me she was substitute teaching and I should try that for a while. "Hmm," I said, "I love that idea! I like kids and have always worked with them in some way. I should try that!"

My second sub position was a full-time opportunity to teach at the Allen High School art department. I toured the department, met the other art teachers and was offered the job before it went live...because I was the ONLY substitute with a degree in art. What? I know the Lord giggled. My sister was a sophomore at AHS at the time and was the one who let them know I had just been approved as a sub and could step in for her art teacher. Talk about crazy timing. Teaching had NOT been on my radar. This would be what people call "winging it" and "learning as you go" and "crazy". I had a nose ring and short spiky hair and I looked like one of them. I was 23.

Full-time in a role I have little to no real experience in, teaching the subject (sculpture) I had 1/2 of a semester learning? Start in less than 1 month?

Of course I said yes!

This "little" decision to take on the adventure led me to many cool things including meeting my husband and ultimately opened the door for apparel...

{to be continued}