Catie and I met 17 years ago when I was riding my bike around my new neighborhood looking for friends. In this time, we have dyed our hair, debated Harry Potter, watched every Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, overcome immense loss and fought for our dreams. Catie is the epitome of resilience, maturity and elegance. She is the ultimate role model in that she is constantly rising to the occasion and pushing herself to be more. She's an art history scholar, yoga instructor, start-up maven and oh boy, is she in full freakin' Bloom.
HOW WILL YOU BLOOM IN 2016?
I was in finance for 5 years and was unhappy because I always imagined that I would be in a more creative field. An opportunity with the Pusheen licensing team came to me three months ago that enabled me to pursue the creative role that I had been dreaming of. I can say that even if I feel off balance on a daily basis, I’m having so much fun and I’m learning more about myself. My opinions matter and in just a short time, I have already inspired change which is powerful and scary at the same time. In 2016, I hope to grow into this role because I’m finally allowing myself to fully pursue something that I love.
CAN YOU TALK ME THROUGH AN OBSTACLE YOU HAVE FACED AND DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS OF HEALING?
I lost my younger brother three and a half years ago to cancer and throughout his illness and after his passing I suffered from anxiety and depression. However, it was through this experience that I learned a lot about self-care and how to ensure that I am my best self as much as possible.
"...happiness isn’t a location, it’s not a place that you arrive at and stay but rather, a passing emotion. In order to remain happy and to be your best self, you have to constantly fight for it and keep treading water to stay in that place."
The hardest part for me about having an ill family member and then further, having them pass away was instead of experiencing love and support from some of my closest friends, I often felt those people turn away because they didn’t know what to say or how to act around me. Discussing illness and passing is such a taboo subject in our culture because people don’t always know how to comfort in these types of situations. For many, their natural reaction was to give space and allow me to experience my grief in private and as a result, I felt alone through much of the experience. I lost touch with some friends and to this day, have not rekindled my relationships with them.
Because I processed a lot of grief alone, it forced me to take a better look at myself and understand that I was all that I needed and it was only me who could bring myself through this difficult time. I learned to take a hard look at the people in my life and ensure that the people that I kept close were those who truly loved me, cared about me and supported me through my journey of ups and downs. I took an intense look at myself and really thought on how I could become not better, but the best version of myself, which was a more powerful, more understanding me.
YOU TALK ABOUT BLOOMING INTO THE BEST VERSION OF YOUR SELF, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS EXPERIENCING TRAUMA TO ALSO HELP THEM ACHIEVE THIS BALANCED SENSE OF SELF?
The most important thing is to always remember that people love you, care for you and want the best for you; however, you have to figure out what works best and you need to ask for what you need. Processing loss is an individual journey and I would say to be open to different venues of healing. When you are going through trauma, everyone has the cure—you need a therapist, antidepressants, exercise, this that, shake it off. You must check in with yourself and try a lot of different things to see what speaks to you. For me it was yoga, meditation and therapy but I forced myself to be open to anything and everything to get me through that dark place.
I would also say, “Don’t be embarrassed.” You don’t deserve to feel that hurt every day of your life and you can try to actively make a few changes every day to feel a little better. There’s a quote that I love from Eat Pray Love which is so dorky but whatever, and it essentially explains that happiness isn’t a location, it’s not a place that you arrive at and stay but rather, a passing emotion. In order to remain happy and to be your best self, you have to constantly fight for it and keep treading water to stay in that place. You will never get to a place where you are happy every day of your life but you can practice active self-care and surround yourself with the best kinds of people. You’ll have to work hard, but the challenge is worth it. For those people who have a friend or family member going through a difficult time I would say reach out. I don’t believe anyone is ever burdened by a kind text or a thoughtful action. It might be uncomfortable but that person probably needs you more than you realize.
HOW HAVE YOU OR HOW DO YOU LIFT UP WOMEN?
My biggest goal in my interactions with other women is to have an authentic and open dialogue about insecurities because we all have them and almost all of them are unfounded. Most people love you the way you are and no one sees the things that you see. There is so much more to your self worth and confidence than what is on the outside. Because of so many pressures in our society, it is easy to focus on our exteriors for a sense of confidence and self worth which is the last place we should be looking for it! We can’t carry those little digs from our pasts with us especially when these are oft not our truth. When I hear the negative self-talk, I try to reframe it or discount it so that we can start to be more body positive.
LASTLY, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR INFINITY AND BEYOND?
I want to be fulfilled in all aspects in my life. I feel stable in my relationship, my friendships and more and more so in my career. I love my small business culture because of the entrepreneurial nature and I don’t feel like a cog in the machine. However, I have this little voice that keeps getting louder and louder, telling me to start something. I don’t know how I will answer and what will come about but I have been meditating on it for a while now. I don’t know what venue it will be in but my long term Bloom for 2016 and beyond has to do with responding to this newfound drive, this voice that is pushing me to do and be more.
A KICK BUTT FORUM THAT AIMS TO INSPIRE, COMFORT AND UNITE INCREDIBLE WOMEN (& DUDES) THROUGH DYNAMIC INTERVIEWS