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Day 18 Sustainable Living: Freedom is Yours

Cindy Rangel

A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.
— Melinda Gates

Ever since I was young I knew I had a boldness and strength in me.  I knew because my life challenged me a young child and it continues to challenge me.  I accept those challenges, difficult as they may be in life.  I share my story so that you may have the courage and inspiration to meet your challenges and know you are not alone.  

Let's face it.  We all have challenges and we all decide to deal with them in our own way.  They are here for a purpose.  That purpose is to grow as an individual. I am here because of my challenges.  I meet them where they challenged me.  They are not going away. Today I will share my journey to California because I am now creating a sustainable travel handbag business and I want to share my experience with you. 

I arrived in California 8 months ago but it was really a long awaited journey.  In fact, I was much in denial about California.  To say it was a long time coming meant that it was an 8 year journey. Yes, it took me 8 years and other life events to realize California is my home.  I am originally from Chicago and I visited California a handful of times.  My first impression was eh, what is the big deal?  But truth be told, I was indifferent. I was ignoring the calling and the silent pull toward my passion.  This is how indifferent I was during that time. 

I disregarded the lure of a big city like L.A. and it's vibrant culture.  I overlooked the beautiful sunsets and backdrop of the mountains California offered me.  I silently resisted the change life was offering me and all the wonderful opportunities that awaited me.  I visited other cities and traveled to the Pacific Northwest but still continued to consider California.  But I would have to look to another endeavor before I could finally settle in California. 

I began another business but it never really spoke to my calling and inner drive. And I really tried to make my way in that business.   I renovated two homes with my husband. That experience in the real estate and renovation process really gave me an understanding of what really spoke to me and continues to speak to me.  The making of clothes and creating a business continued to call me.  Of course, the endeavor of building and starting a new business created wonderful experiences that I use today.  But what continued was this need to create my own business.

I am an entrepreneur and I believe in creating an apparel business  built on ethics, solid craftsmanship and transparency for the people and the planet.  This is my passion.  I am content here.  However, my journey was a rough one.  It was not smooth and I am thankful for those experiences. Why? Those challenges and journeys make me the person I am today.  Without them I am not the same person today to continue my journey.  I needed them.  They made me stronger. The were harsh and I learned. The lessons made me smarter, faster, savvier, more curious and more persistent.   They made me more free.  

 So how did I arrive here in California and what made me resist it so much?

California was the state that I was so meant to live in and it's hilarious how much I resisted this place I call home.  I love being outdoors.  I am environmentalist.  As a child growing up in Chicago, I was always freezing and I grew very tired of the four seasons.  I longed to be outside ALL the time.  And California is the place to be outdoors.  When I finally moved out here, it was a no brainer.  I knew after a month I was HOME.  The great outdoors, the great weather and the fashion industry was all here in California.  I was sold.  I wanted a change and really go back to my roots, apparel and entrepreneurship.  

And this wasn't the first time I had the opportunity to move out here.  I had the opportunity to attend graduate school here but I resisted. Why did I resist? I am still trying to understand that questions but I resisted and we must not resist.  WE must listen to ourselves. We must carefully listen to the vibrant pull of what we love because in listening we can really begin to embrace life.  

Lesson learned: don't resist your calling even if looks like a silent resistance.  Listen to your gut. Take a risk on what you really love.  Don't wait. Just go and breathe because you are going to love yourself for it. Although it may seem different, a big change, a small change, an indifferent experience, you need to listen to YOU.   You will meet your freedom there.  That's why you should listen, but listen very carefully and don't wait.  

Freedom is here and now.