I read a quote the other day that said “your story is part of your brand. If they don’t know you, they don’t care about your products.” I share a lot about my life on my social media but it’s only what I want you all to see. The thing is, there is so much more you don’t know. So here’s my story…
I was born in Sacramento, CA, and grew up in Oak Park. Home to local gangs, violence, and drugs. I was raised by a single mom of three (the new norm) and I had a great childhood. She never made life look hard. My older brother and sister were very different than me. I was shy, quiet, a book warm, loved to draw, kindhearted, sensitive, giving, patient, and stayed in the house for the most part. My brother didn’t like me to be out in the streets. Everyone would say I don’t have street smarts…they were right.
Fast forward a bit, I attended Sacramento High School and had the option of graduating early. It was a year earlier than planned but I knew what I wanted to be, a fashion designer. I applied to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco and was accepted. I got into the school of my dreams but ended up not going because I didn’t qualify for financial aid, and though my mom offered to sell the house so we could afford it, I declined. I graduated in May of 2005 and made the decision to take a year off of school and then attend Sacramento Community College.
After a year of being in college, getting all A’s and crushing it, my nephews were in a car accident. Their father was in a coma for months, my sister quit her job to be by his side only to find out he had another baby on the way. When he woke up, she packed everything and moved to Georgia. A few months went by, and she returned for Thanksgiving. Taking care of two kids on your own isn’t easy and I could tell she needed help so I offered to take in one of the boys until she was back on her feet. She kept asking me how I would make it work and i said, “I’ll figure it out”. Long story short, I became a full-time aunt at 18.
Going from living your life as a carefree college student with minimum bills to a full-time mom of a 1-year-old with no experience or time to prep was hard. I was financially okay for a little while but bills just started adding up. I started using credit cards which would then go in collections, and I couldn’t afford a babysitter so that I could go to school so I changed my classes to be online. Well, I still needed time to study and actually do my work but I couldn’t find/afford a sitter for that either. Needless to say, I dropped out. It was hard because I felt like I had failed. I felt like I was failing him. He became my new purpose, every decision and step I made would affect him and all i wanted to do was provide the best life for him. Soon the time came for me to let him go back to his mom, my sister, and it crushed every fiber in my body. I felt lost and I felt empty. I never wanted kids until I had him. He changed my entire life.
It took time to heal and get back into the groove of things. I ended up moving to Los Angeles on a hope, a dream, $500 in my pocket, no car, bad credit and no plan. I literally had to figure it out, and fast.
Within two weeks I landed a job in the fashion industry where I participated in fashion shows, learned so much about the business, and helped in LA Fashion Week. I did it all and learned that this was not the field I wanted to be in. I wasn’t happy at all. I would work all day and then come home and paint my pain. It wasn’t until 64 paintings later that I decided to pack my stuff and move back home to Sacramento.
Again, I moved with $300 in my pocket, no car, bad credit, no plans and this time I had one dream, to have an art show. With $300 to my name and no idea how to plan an art show, I made it happen. Within one month of being home, I found a temporary job at a real estate firm and planned a successful art show making $2,400. Life felt good again.
Six years ago I had nothing and was mentally at what I thought was my lowest point. As of today I now have more than $200 to my name, great credit, my own car, I’m a permanent employee at my “temporary” job, have my own art business, I am founder of the charity Give Back Sac, and I am a homeowner. It took awhile to get to this point but it hasn’t been easy, for most it never is, but I’ve always lived by the saying, I’ll figure it out, and that’s exactly what I continue to do every day, take it day by day and figure it out along the way.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about me and my life. Though there is so much more I could tell you, I hope this gives you a little more insight as to who I am.
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