Christina's Story: Learn, Love, and Grow.
There I stood, in a floral dress, with white patent leather shoes, my hair brushed and curled, looking out of the window waiting in anticipation. My excitement turned to disappointment as the hours went by, and he never came to get me.
The memory is so vivid.
We just talked on the phone the night before, and he told me we were going to Disneyland and that he had presents for me. At the tender age of four, the seeds of abandonment were being planted.
I can remember times where he showed up unannounced, and I was never allowed to see him or go with him; only later would I find out that it was because he showed up drunk.
The man I speak of is my Father, and little did he know he was shaping my future and providing me with the unwanted gift of insecurity, fear of rejection, and low self-esteem.
My Mother endured so much and protected me from as much as she could; she did everything she could to nurture me and provide for me emotionally. Without her, this story would have taken a much different turn.
She was overprotective and strict and worried – so worried, I wouldn’t understand her level of fear and anxiety until many, many years later.
I can recall being invited to a birthday party at the age of six; my Mommy drove me, again I was all dressed up with the gift in my hand, and when we got to the park, there was no party. I remember thinking they tricked me and did not want me to come to the party and that nobody liked me. None of this was factually true, but it felt so true for me.
For years I imagined that the world was against me, that I wasn’t worthy of love and that I was broken. There must be something wrong with me if my own Daddy didn’t love me.
It is an unimaginable weight to carry as a young child, and I carried it for a long time and to some extent still carry it to this day.
As I grew, so did the trust issues and ability to have relationships.
When I was around 8 years old, I was in elementary school, and I can recall having very few friends; I had two that I can remember. One was a very small girl with what I have to assume was a type of dwarfism (I am not entirely sure about that), and the other was a gorgeous girl from Australia. We were not a part of the popular crowd at all – like the farthest from it – already a misfit or outcast.
I knew who the popular girls were, and I so desperately wanted them to like me. So much so that I asked the most popular girl to invite me to her birthday party; I promised to get her the best birthday gift ever if she would just give me a chance to show her that I was worthy of being accepted. I got the invitation, and she told me exactly what gift I needed to bring in order to be allowed in the party; I will never forget, it was a Conair Crimper. My Mom took me to the store, and we bought that crimper, and off I went to the party! I just knew this was the day that everything would change for me and I would be officially liked and accepted.
The gift was ripped from my hands, and I just stood there with a sudden and deep understanding that I never had a chance of being accepted. I was about to abandon my two true friends to try to “fit in” because the desperation of being accepted was so intense.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I did manage to nurture a great friendship with the girl from Australia. Until one night when we were having a sleepover.
I can remember her room was plastered with New Kids on The Block posters; she even had the bedspread and sheet set. I woke up to a very uncomfortable feeling, and all I can remember is her stepdad rubbing my thigh, and that is where the memory ends. All I know is it was inappropriate and uncomfortable, but I can recall nothing more. To this day, I have no idea what really happened. I choose to believe that my brain has protected me from the details.
I pulled away from the girl from Australia. Everything that felt safe about my connection with her changed that morning.
Fast forward to Middle School, and by this time, I am getting a little naughty, I am acting out, rebelling, and starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Finally, a crowd that welcomed me with open arms.
Luckily for me, I was a terrible liar. I never got away with anything; my Mom busted me all of the time and saved me from myself. Because I found it so difficult to lie to her, I stopped trying and fortunately that path of destruction was a short one.
We lived in a well-known town by the name of Calabasas, CA. Now made famous by the Kardashians. But don’t get it twisted, I did not live anywhere near the rich people; in fact, I lived in the apartments on the other side of the rich folks. But something magical happened for me in Middle School. I saw what was possible.
I went to school with very well-known actors, actresses, musicians, etc… and for the first time in my life, I was exposed to affluence and money. Something I knew very little about; I am an only child from a broken home with a Mom that worked multiple jobs just so that we could get by. This was new to me.
Another seed was planted. The seed of possibility, the seed that dreams can come true. Around this time it was very trendy to wear brands like Guess?, Nike, and L.A. Gear – I had immediate rejection for all of these brands, kinda weird for a girl who so desperately wanted to fit in her whole life right? They didn’t mean anything to me. I loved Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne so one day I cut up my Metallica shirt and wore it to school.
It changed everything.
Suddenly, the girls wanted me to cut up t-shirts for them, so I did. And I charged them for it. A whopping $5 for them to give me their T-shirt, and I would cut it up and make it cute. That first $5 changed my life.
That is the very moment I found a connection to people through clothing.
In my sophomore year of High School, I got a phone call. It was my Father.
He said that he had been looking for me for years; I call bullshit because it ended up that he was about 12 miles from where we lived. I agreed to meet him for dinner. As I sat there at Black Angus in Ventura, CA. I could feel my body writhing with discontent. Here was a stranger sitting across from me telling me how much he loved me and explaining to me how he was not capable of being the Father that I deserved and how none of it was my fault. I didn’t really hear anything he was saying because I was so traumatized.
I left that dinner and decided I did not need to establish a relationship with this man after 16 years of abandonment. A few months later I got a phone call that he was in the hospital and dying from cancer. Now I was faced with the decision of going to see him or not.
I hid against the wall of his hospital room for what seemed like hours, debating if I wanted to go in or not.
I went in.
I held his pale, shriveled hand, and his quiet and labored voice managed to get out 2 words, I’m Sorry.
2 words. That was all I needed. I forgave him instantly. Somehow with his passing and those two words, I came to understand that it wasn’t about me, it was never that I was unlovable or unwanted or rejected or abandoned. It was that he was very, very sick. I felt a huge weight lift off of my spirit.
When I graduated High School, I knew I was not going to college, I had one goal in mind,
To make as much money as possible so I could start my clothing brand.
I will never forget the day I came home and told my Mom that I was going to become… Drumroll please… A car salesperson.
You can imagine her dismay when she thought about her 18-year-old daughter selling cars.
It was a MAN’S world, and you literally deal with rejection on an hourly basis. Was this self-sabotage? I think not.
It was Therapy.
I discovered that if you confront what scares you then you can heal and grow. I was the ONLY female car salesperson on a Ford Truck lot, and I had a lot to learn. It was at this time that I was introduced to what would end up changing the very fabric of my being. Zig Ziglar.
Enter the world of self-development, another undiscovered tool that changed everything for my confidence and talent. I was a junkie! I could not read enough books, listen to enough tapes (yes cassette tapes) eventually CD’s, attend seminars, and fully immerse myself in the world of self-help.
I ended up being the top salesperson, bringing home a check for over $18,000 in one month at the age of 18.
The fusion of fashion and personal power had begun.
Many years later I finally had enough money set aside to start my clothing brand, I was off to the races, I knew I had to combine personal development and clothing so that both of those things could help people the way it helped me.
I failed, over and over. Lost everything, rebuilt, account down to zero, kept going and eventually years later Beautiful Disaster Clothing was born. As you can see it was only out of failure that I made it to this point.
But my big lessons were not over.
So far I had grown through most of my fears, I gained self-confidence, I found my voice, I was working on my dream, I found the man and partner of my dreams and then on October 10, 2015 I got a phone call that once again changed my life forever.
My cousin Kate was killed in a car accident.
She wasn’t just a cousin, she was like a sister to me, I am an only child and she was the next-born child in our family, we were inseparable. She was my person. The grief weighed 1000 tons, I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, I couldn’t breathe. Lyla Blue, my daughter was 2 years old at the time and she held my head in her little hands after I fell to my knees.
I decided that no matter what, I would live FOR Kate. Because she couldn’t. I made a promise to her and to myself that I would fill every moment of my life with Joy for her and because of her.
That was the missing ingredient for me. I needed to learn how important joy is and how precious time is.
To this day I am keeping that promise. It is my passion and purpose to be of service to women through the fusion of fashion and personal power. It’s the only thing I want to do.
We are all broken, we are all imperfect, we are all scarred, and we have to learn, love and grow through it all. I am inspired by every single story that is shared with me and I thought it was time to share more of mine with you.
Thank you for holding space for me through this very deep dive into my past.
If I can leave you with one sentiment, it would be that you have to do the hard things, you have to face the difficult things and you have to look at what is trying to break you dead in the eye and decide that you will win. If you keep doing that every single day you will step into your power no matter what life throws at you.
With Love & Appreciation,