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An excerpt from the story of my life, featuring my first venture

Indisputably, 2019 has been the best year of my entire life so far. The period immaculately simulated a treacherous roller-coaster with the lowest lows and the highest peaks. What a ride I’ve had and what a journey it has been!
 
I find myself prematurely reflecting on this year because I cannot contain the sheer appreciation I feel. Initially, external factors propelled me outside of my comfort zone. Before I could even brace myself, hardship after another seemed to knock on my door relentlessly. While at rock bottom, I saw the light only in the upward direction, and that was when I decided to embrace my vulnerability.
 
I vehemently impelled myself to engage in activities I would never willingly venture. With time I became more expressive, elaborate, patient, empathetic, authentic and most importantly, I stopped being risk aversive.
 
June 2019, deep in thought during a walk in the park, a wave of guilt struck me. Every day I was studying about the gravity of the climate emergency. I knew very well that the planet is rebelling, and climate change would completely ravage our lives as we live them today. Even then, consciously, I was doing just the bare minimum to help the cause.
 
The unrest within me kept building, I wanted to do more, but my biggest hurdle was my mindset. My lack of self-confidence and insecurities had stood tall before me for almost my entire life. Drowning in guilt, I was reminded of something a senior once told me while on an internship. He said, they were all faking it till they made it, which is why I should never be intimidated by anyone.
 
I decided to take the plunge, to fake my confidence until I actually garnered it. Then I slowly began my preparation three months before the day I held my first ever sustainable fashion sale in Pune, India. Studying in Canada, I was scheduled to go to Pune for two weeks in August. Since I was extremely short on time, I approached thirty friends and acquaintances in India through social media and pitched my intentions. Not everyone was on board, not everyone believed, but the mission I had set up for myself had already begun.
 
For most of the three months, I was working remotely along with my team while also being at university full-time. Work was slow-moving, but we managed to complete our market research and better understand the customer segment we were targeting.
 
When I finally arrived in India, we were just shy of two weeks when all the groundwork needed to be completed. My core team and I toiled persistently, sleeping only three to four hours a night. We were focused, energized and exhilarated.
 
Through setting up ‘Green In You’, our sustainable fashion sale, we were able to encourage people from a strata of the society; who never in their lives had shopped second-hand, to come out and normalize reusing clothes. We built a respectable environment which destigmatized second-hand shopping and sowed a seed for fighting against the 2nd largest polluter in the world, fashion!
 
Besides promoting sustainable fashion, upcycling and extending the lifespan of over a thousand clothing items, we diverted all our profits towards organizations working dedicatedly for women empowerment, sustainability, animal and human welfare.
 
Well aware of the fact that I am embarrassingly far away from even scratching the surface when it comes to tackling the climate emergency, I am keen to embark on more significant missions with the little confidence that lingered on from the sale.
 
I wanted to share my first ever disruptive experience with everyone, because for one if anyone ever feels the same as me, remember to take the plunge no matter what. Second, sharing my story makes me accountable, and just like that, I’ve pushed myself into embarking mission #2.

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Times have changed, so should we

I’ve observed second-hand clothing is still visualized as ragged, dirty clothing. This image may have been true in the past when apparel was purchased by the customer and then disposed after rigorous use.

However, today, people’s shopping habits have extensively changed because of stimulus from the fashion giants. The fashion industry nurtures consumerism. They introduced fast-fashion where brands like H&M, Forever21 and Zara among others have as many as 52 seasons in a year. This is far off from the initial three seasons brands had, in which styles would change as per the summer, winter and monsoon.

Since companies churn out brand new styles about 52 times a year people feel “out-of-fashion” quickly and desire new clothing. This trend has been going on long enough for it to have become a habit, and now the customer is looking forward to changes much sooner.

Therefore, unlike previous times, clothing gets discarded not because it is ragged, but simply because people are bored of it, it’s out of style, or a ton of new clothing has left no space in the closet for the ‘not so old’ clothes.

If these barely used clothes are still in their prime condition, they really should not be thrown away and swamp the planet, causing catastrophic environmental damage. Instead, we should work to get rid of the stigma present and normalise reusing clothes. Sustainable fashion is not just for the low socio-economic class; it is for every conscious individual who wants to appreciate and enjoy fashion in harmony with nature!

Times have changed, so should we.

In Miami

Here in Miami, I feel a strong sense of home. Just like Van Gogh, I’m conditioned to a frenetic search for love and homeliness.

The people here smile at me, dance with me. The sun shines on me and blankets me with warmth. The birds here glide in circles above, then they sing to me. Joining the birds are the rustling trees, the whistling wind and the babbling water. It’s an unmatched choir.

When I sit by the bay, a family of wild Manatees greets me. The dogs have love in their eyes. The lizards and cats patiently, beautifully pose for me. They let me capture them with all my senses.

Rebellion

My most favourite part about visiting the sea is the eagerly inviting pull of its waves while I stand on the edge of the salty water.

The cold wave always engulfs my feet and pulls me strong when it retreats as if it wants me whole.

Then my feet tickle when the sand anchors them like it knows where I belong.

I feel gratitude for the protection, I feel comfort on land. But, what if I was meant to be a mermaid?

An epiphany

Growing up, I’d wondered countless times about the answer to a significant question- Who was I?

We’re products of stories. Stories which we’ve been told since the beginning of our own time on earth. We live life staunchly believing in them and even everything they tell us about ourselves. When they’d call me a shy girl, I accepted it as part of my demeanour. When they’d call me stupid, I believed I just mustn’t have been born with what it takes.

They answered my significant question for me.

Today, perhaps a little too late or, maybe its never too late, I had an epiphany. I miraculously realized I never needed to know from anyone else of what I was capable. The instant I learnt how to speak and comprehend, I gained the ability to tell my own story, to dictate my own life.

If I write the story of my life and I say I am a confident, enthusiastic, smart, loving, courageous, beautiful, brilliant woman; then heck, that is who I am!

Nobody can tell me otherwise.