I sank into the couch wanting to escape for an hour before crawling into bed.
I have been pouring my heart and soul into building a Kickstarter campaign to debut my third collection of handbags. And although it was another awesome day working with my friend Cameron on the campaign, I needed to zone out and not think about crowd-sourcing for a few minutes, more on this in a moment.
We are writing a script which I will narrate for the Kickstarter video. The script has been tricky to nail, and has consumed many hours of our life as of late. We are trying to find the Soul Carrier voice and really zero in on what the Soul Carrier mission wants to accomplish.
You see, for a long time, I have infused into my brand the tragic story of my parent’s fatal accident. I was the girl that survived a fatal accident that took the lives of both her parents. I was the girl who learned to pick up the pieces and pursue her dreams of design school versus law school. I was the girl whose aim in life was to get people to ask the question my mother posed to me moments before my father’s SUV flipped out of control and killed both my parents “Where do you want to go….?”
That story stops people in their tracks, it turns heads, and tugs on heart strings. However that story, does not necessarily bridge the gap to what I am actually up to in the world right now = designing and selling handbags!
True, the answer, that emerged from my mother’s last question, was fashion, design, and artistic collaborations in regards to where I wanted to go in life. BUT, leading with that story really does not highlight the actual roots of Soul Carrier or how it came to be.
There is a A LOT of sweat equity in Soul Carrier. And there is a lot that had to take place to build the brand to what it is today that had nothing to do with my parent’s accident.
It always stung when girls would ask if I would be creating Soul Carrier if my parents were still here. I perceived that they were asking from a place of jealousy because I had the seed money to start this business. But that question really stung, because it discounted the years I spent at Parsons, the courage it took to move across the country and build a new life in New York City, the grind of working in the fashion industry, or the many hiccups and heartaches I have had to endure to bring my vision to life.
Soul Carrier is a conscious fashion company. And my mission is to design beautiful, impeccably-made products, that make people feel spectacular for being seen, and known, as someone stylish, sophisticated, and capable of standing on their own.
I want to turn Soul Carrier into a Benefit Corporation and make explicit my desire to include charitable contribution as a Soul Carrier stakeholders. Benefit Corps use business as a force for good (For more information on Benefit corps visit http://www.bcorporation.net/).
I want to give to Crisis Nursery, the children’s shelter in downtown Phoenix, because I have a heart for orphaned children, and my parent’s accident helps explain that reasoning. Yet, leading with the story of me being a survivor is no longer something I can hide behind.
I do not want to be defined by my parent’s accident and I definitely do not want to go through life as a victim. However, the story of my parent’s accident is my safety blanket. Hiding behind that story is safe – people see me as survivor versus a designer, when I lead with that story.
It is incredibly vulnerable and scary to bring something to the world that is born from your soul! To put yourself out there and share your designs and art is not always an easy thing to do.
However, it is now time to stand on my own and be more than a survivor. It is time to be what I actually am in this very moment: a designer who wants to light the world with mindful fashion. A girl who wants to be a luminary, dent the universe with her impactful actions and behaviors and advance humanity in light and love.
I am genuinely, authentically living my dream – blending work and play into a beautiful life that I love! I feel complete alignment with my soul’s greater purpose.
So back to the moment on the couch. Little did I know what I was about to get into!
I turn on the two hour episode of Grey’s Anatomy – the one where Dr. Derrick Shepherd is killed in a car accident. I have never felt so much empathy for a television character! As I watched the character Meredith say her final goodbyes to her husband, my stomach lurched, and I started shaking with tears. The whole episode felt all too eerily familiar to me. My heart bled with emotion for Meredith.
Then the remix of song “Chasing Cars” by The Wind and the Wave came on and I lost it. I truly lost it.
I remember being ushered in by a social worker to say my final goodbye to my father. My mom never even made it to the hospital. My father’s dead body lay on the hospital bed and Jaime and I grabbed his cold hands and numbly squeezed them for the last time.
I downloaded the song “Chasing Cars”, by The Wind and the Wave, and let myself fall asleep to it, old memories of May 21, 2000 sweeping over me. The song is beautiful, and haunting, and I found it very therapeutic to just let the sadness of it pull all the tears out of me.
Watching that episode, made me feel like I was back at my parent’s funeral, and in a strange-somber way it gave me a little bit more closure on a wound that has been open for 15 years.
15 years ago I had to let go for the last time. And now I need to let go of the story of their accident in defining my brand. That fateful day will forever be frozen in my memory. And the amazing life they granted me and the wonderful people that they were, will never leave my soul. I love them with every fiber of my being, and that will never change.
“I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own” — Chasing Cars
And it is now time to gracefully find my own. It is time to just be Jennifer Paige Boonlorn and let go of fusing Soul Carrier with the sad story of their deaths.
With all my heart and soul I love you mom and dad….it is time to find my own.