We hadn't heard from Big Momma in a while, so we decided to see what was a poppin' on her MySpace. A new blog?? Wheee! We have to admit, we had been sort of lost without her advice. But first, let's recap as to why she's sharing her wisdom with us here and not in, you know, Seventeen. Yeah, here's that "truth":
I remember when I realized that my truth was that I wanted to serve you. I've talked about it before but in case you don't remember, it was a moment of clarity I had when I was in Milan during fashion week (I was 25), talking to the designer of Gucci (Tom Ford at the time) on the runway after the show. I had a complete out of body experience. I remember thinking - What are you doing in Milan, ITALY?? What are you doing actually talking TOM FORD (He's someone I had always admired in magazines and stuff) and wait...are you wearing head to toe VERSACE??? (This was the same girl who would wear her coats and bathing suits until they literally fell apart - just a few years before). There was a part of me that was just not comfortable with this wonderful life. I just didn't feel like I deserved it. Or better yet, I didn't feel comfortable accepting this life from God - sort of like when someone gives you a gift that's way too expensive and you feel awkward. I wanted to do something more meaningful to deserve this beautiful and fun life. It was at that moment that I realized my truth: I needed to do something more "important." Don't get me wrong. It's not that fashion is not a wonderful career - it was AMAZING. But I felt humbled by the gifts it had given me - and I wanted to give back. I knew that was the only way I could enjoy the fruits of my labor. That's when I decided to have a deeper conversation with YOU to help you create a roadmap for getting to a place where you're also super happy and living the great life. So basically, I knew I had to get out of the fashion department and learn more about the big picture.
And now I get to my point. Sorry - I talk too much, I know.
No, no, not at all, Big Momma! Please, continue!
So in the days after I had this epiphany, I was riding in a car with my boss at the time (the then Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan - the magazine I worked at). She said, "We're creating a one-time special issue of Cosmo and I was thinking of making someone on the staff its editor. Who do you think would be good?"
I was sitting in the front seat and she was in the back. I remember closing my eyes, smiling and thinking, "Yes! This is my opportunity!" So I said, "How about me?" She totally laughed. "Oh, Atoosa," she said. "You're a fashion girl. We need a REAL editor for this project." I closed my eyes and laughed. "Come on - I know. I'm just kidding!" But only my mouth was smiling. I wasn't angry or anything. I just felt so small.
This isn't at all a reflection of her. She was and is an amazing woman who taught me an important lesson: I couldn't be limited by her imagination. So when she left to go edit another magazine, I didn't follow her even though it was the "cool" thing to do. I knew that in her eyes I would always be "the fashion girl." So if I wanted to continue to bloom, I would need to be planted in someone else's garden.
Sure enough, only a few months later, that Someone Else entered my life. And within a few months, I created CosmoGIRL! And that's how I met you - My North Star.
But there was another lesson in the fashion-girl's story: Only you know what you're capable of. Everything else is just an opinion. And I had felt the sting of people's opinions many times before. I didn't get into my first-choice college. I was also the only one of my friends who didn't get into National Honor Society. Both subjective decisions- in other words: Someone else's OPINION. It can feel like a FACT when you don't get an honor or into a certain college. But it's not. I didn't make National Honor Society, yet I was also the youngest person in my school's history to get the Distinguished Alumnae Award. Listen, the truth is, by the time you make the achievement, you don't so much CARE about the obstacles you faced along the way. But keep this close to your heart when you DO face those blocks. College admissions? Opinion. Making the team? Opinion. Getting the role? Opinion. If in your heart, you believe you have what it takes to make your dream or truth come true THAT is the only opinion that matters.
Everyone else is fear-based. YOU are brave. YOU are in the driver's seat of your life.
And as long as you do the real-life work to back up your vision for yourself - you WILL reach the destination that's imprinted in your heart.
Big Momma's lesson number one: Don't be limited by someone else's imagination
Big Momma's lesson number two: Only you know what you're capable of. Everything else is just an opinion.
There are still people who doubt me. But I'm so glad you're not one of them. I believe in you too, my sister. Until we meet in person, you know where to find me, 24/7, as always.
PS - This weekend is my birthday - woohoo! Thanks for all the good wishes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Big Momma will be in the Hamptons with my family - low key, just the way I like it. I will eat an extra slice of Cold Stone Creamery cake for EACH of you - so I can REALLY be Big Momma. Ba-bum Ba-bum.
Atoosa, what do you MEAN there are still people who doubt you? Seriously, fuck those haters.