My Why Behind It All

To me, Rhodes Wedding Co. and Travel and Bloom are so much more than just businesses. They are a way for me to connect with others, to be inspired, and hopefully be an inspiration to them as well. I live my life with passion and there is a purpose to everything I do. Every artist, intellectual, entrepreneur and inspired soul that we collaborate with, I reached out to them because I connected with their story and/or their art—it made me feel or muse upon something. I'm so grateful to be in a position where I'm in contact with such inspiring people. And when someone reaches out to me I respond with 100% honestly and vulnerability in hopes that they will do the same.

Lately I've been under the weather and feeling very uninspired, discouraged even. I've been struggling with the whole idea of purpose and what is the point of all this anyways? Why do I strive so hard to better myself, to rise above my negative thoughts, to do anything? Then I received an email that snapped me out of it. 

A little backstory... a few weeks ago I heard from a gal who was feeling quite similar to how I felt and she was struggling with some life altering decisions. I had no idea why she was writing to me and didn't realize how much what I said could make a difference but I replied just the same. After I sent the message off I had hoped that it would find her in better spirits and inspire her to make a decision that truly made her happy. Then some time after I received this message and it came at the perfect time to lift my mood...

Hi Jessy! I emailed you a couple of weeks ago and in the time between then and now, I have decided to take a drastic turn with inspiration from what you told me! I am ditching this 80,000 dollar debt from an art school and transferring to a school instate and somewhat ‘reuniting’ with my boyfriend of 4 years, getting a degree in nutrition, working towards making people aware of the long term effects of genetically modified food plants, AND I started a Kickstarter for my self made personal business called Crystal Caves Jewelry. I wish you could have seen me before I emailed you... I’m now so excited about life, pursuing what I love, and boy, is stress down. I also wish I could show you how much your email helped me and opened my eyes. You’re a beautiful person inside and out and I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me. I hope all is well for you, I’m so happy you’re in good health, and cheers to a wonderful year!
— Emily Bernardo

This is my why, the why to everything that I do—to inspire others and to be moved by their success and happiness. I hope that if you're ever feeling down or questioning your decisions or even your purpose that you shift your focus to what it is that makes you happy, to your big dream, to what it is that truly fulfills you. I am so moved when someone is following their heart, living their dream, and has found contentment within it. And that's what happened with Emily. Here's a bit about her in her own words...

The Then:
I grew up in a suburban city in Texas, right outside of Dallas with my two super great brothers and parents. Ever since I was 5 years old I wanted a career in the arts. My father made a career out of his construction business but he always wanted to be a writer and my mother used to paint these beautiful landscapes of places she had never visited before, but gave up art and now works in her friends flower shop taking orders and filing papers. So I guess I could thank them for my love for art, but they both obviously have regrets about leaving behind their talents and passions to follow money. To them money seems to be king. I, being the only child out of three that is an artist, definitely have had my life planned out by them to live out what they wished they had done. 

The Now:
So here I am, sitting in Savannah, Georgia at an art school that isn't for me. Ever since I got here i've been trying to figure out what to do with myself and trying to figure out a way to get out of here, a way to turn in the direction of what I want for myself... but it felt like I was standing at road signs pointing down different paths, with blind eyes. You Jessy, changed that. Your response turned my eyes on and it felt like I could see those road signs clearly. You talked about your past a little bit with me and you brought up a more broad path when I thought I needed to specify to find the answer. I never even considered to study anything outside of art until you responded to me. I've never felt a lightbulb go off when it comes to what to do with myself, but, you flicked the switch! I cant even describe how much you have affected me for good. You managed to help me shape my life from such a distance, I can only imagine the experience you give others you meet in person. Now, thanks to you, I'm very excited about nutrition! Now to get there is another work of art in itself.

The Family:
You know that feeling as a kid when you go some place to visit for a week, and it's all so exciting for a few days but by the end of the trip you're itching to leave? By the end of this quarter I will have been feeling that itching 'vacation's over, time to go' feeling for about 20 weeks. It has been so emotionally exhausting. I'm extremely emotionally vulnerable, deeply loving, and maybe even 'overly' empathetic, crying when others are in pain. So, when my parents push me to be here because of their own regrets, it's hard for me to put aside my pain for them or the pain that I may put them through by not fulfilling their dreams that are not mine. It's such a struggle to feel like i'm throwing away their last chance at what they wanted for themselves, and move towards what I want for myself. It is emotionally draining, and i'm sure you have felt drained and conflicted many of times before as well with all that you have endured and risen from. I've experienced a deep, situational depression. Felt like a tug of war rope.

The Relationship:
This isn't just with school for them but also my relationship with Ken. I am young but have been with him for 4 years. He balances me and I balance him, we are both extremely genuine which is important to me, and above all else, he is undeniably my soulmate. My parents do not think that it's possible that I have found that so early and I'm not sure that they ever thought that they found their soul mates. I know what I feel though, and I know it's not a passing young love type of thing, so I have no option but to push through their disapproval of my not being with more people, and push through their otherwise unfair dislike of Ken.

The Goal:
BUT now with your help, I feel like a hand has kind of scooped me up and out of that pit. I'm always a particularly sunny person, 'wispy' as other people say, and i'm getting back to feeling that way internally as well now that I have made changes according to what I want for myself instead of what other people want. Honestly, fuck being tied to such a large debt, and fuck being manhandled by American colleges. Quoted, they're now a 'necessity' priced as a luxury. That sounds like the base of a society that is forced to have constant worry instead of being able to just live and love. Anyways, I am now, no matter my parents' want for me, am going to be moving back to Texas soon to finish school there for nutrition. I'm also creating wire wrapped healing crystal jewelry not just for fun, but i'm trying to make a business out of it which I wouldn't have ever thought to pursue before you. First i'm using Kickstarter by the project name of 'Crystal Caves Jewelry' to possibly be heard about by anyone interested in that stuff and also possibly be funded so I can expand and create an online shop for them. I want to have my house with the little farm, and large garden and practice what i preach with nutrition, have a beautiful backyard yoga area to teach part time to clients through nutrition, and keep making art through Crystal Caves if it grows like I want it to! You have seriously given me peace of mind, Jessy. And you have seriously helped me see what I want for my future and given me the courage to go for it! Because it's us who lives our lives and nobody else, right? So we shall make it into a life that's exactly what we want to live in. And I thank you for giving me that 'eye sight'.

Here's a glimpse into Emily's life...