Happy New Year doll!
Last night I brought up the New Year in my new apartment in Brooklyn. It was a quiet night at home, and we had a steak dinner, a bottle appeared Prosecco And… I’m so proud of myself, I created my first Charcuterie! When the clock struck midnight, we went up to my balcony to watch the fireworks. It was a perfect way to connect in 2022, but we’re here to talk about 2021.
As promised, here’s my annual “Loving Myself” summary of my year through the lens of self-love.
This year I found myself doing unexpected things like flying to Scotland, moving to Brooklyn, and learning to ride a horse. I feel like I kept asking God, “What is going on???”
I feel like puppets who kept sending me private DMs on Instagram asking “what’s going on???”
Since we’re all trying to figure out what’s going on here, I thought this year it might be interesting to answer the first five questions you’ve been sending me from dummies consistently over the past 12 months.
Will TheCURVYcon return?
Like many of you, the pandemic has changed the course of my entire career.
I left my job with the company in 2014 to become a co-founder of TheCURVYcon. I am very proud of this company. I learned a lot while growing that company from a startup into the successful brand it is today. You’ve made a public statement as to why TheCURVYcon hasn’t come back yet. You can follow the details in this short three-minute Instagram video.
If you are in a situation where your career is not going according to plan, you may have been laid off or unable to work for other reasons. I know how you feel. When we put CURVYcon on hiatus, it felt like someone had snatched my career out of my hands and ran off with it.
I was devastated, panicked, and unsure of myself and what to do next.
With my unexpected spare time, I started browsing through my old magazines and planning books. The pages filled with all my other thoughts, dreams, and visions and slowly began to feel inspired.
The success of theCURVYcon has taught me that something I do well is serving plus size women and giving larger women what we want and deserve. While we wait for TheCURVYcon’s return, I plan to continue serving plus-size women through my own companies such as Cocoa by CeCe and brand CeCe Olisa.
The thing that helped me this year was giving in to my situation. Instead of focusing on what I lost, it’s a good idea to shift my focus to what I gain at this time. I don’t know when I’ll have that long to myself to think and dream again, so I’m totally selfish with my time.
Which brings me to the next question the dolls have been asking me about…
Are GarnerStyle and CeCe Olisa Still Friends?
Dummies, I must admit I was surprised by a number of you who sent me this question during 2021. So, let’s talk about it.
Are you chastity and still friends? Yes.
Did something happen between us? Yes… and I take responsibility for that.
In March 2020, as New York City went into lockdown, she made the decision to go on what she calls the “zeny phase” of chastity. The best way to explain my “zen phase” is with this quote from Emmy-winning Michaela Coel for “I May Destroy You,” as she says…
“I challenge you. In a world that tempts us to navigate other people’s lives to help us better define how we feel about ourselves, and thus feel the need to be constantly visible, because vision these days seems to equate to success somehow. Don’t be afraid to disappear from us, for a while, And see what comes to you in silence.”
In 2020, I knew three things were true: 1.) New York City was on lockdown 2.) TheCURVYcon was on hiatus and 3) I hadn’t been to meet my family in California for long. With these three things in mind, I decided that if you wanted to “disappear and see what comes in silence” then perhaps the time to do so.
Dolls, it got so quiet that Glamor Magazine noticed it!
As an unmarried, childless creative woman, I have a choice (some might say, privilege) to tune in to the world, go deeper, and simply focus on my dreams and creative vision. I write, take dance lessons, study design and have been able to launch Doll Butter.
I don’t know when I will have that much time on my own to think, dream, create and build, so I am completely selfish with my time and energy. TheCURVYcon is on hiatus, I don’t have a husband or kids who need me, I live alone, my bills are paid (thank you, God!)…I have a rare opportunity to focus on me and I’d rather give my all I have to achieve my goals now for as long as I can that.
My family and friends (including Chastity) were supportive through it all. They gave me my space, they are here when I need them and I am grateful for their patience with me.
I feel like I’ve finally grown up and become independent. I’m learning a lot…so let’s move on to another question that the dummies have asked in a bit.
What did you learn in 2021?
This question came up a few times, but I really liked the way this dummy phrased it:
It’s embarrassing to admit a lesson that was hard for me to learn or understand, even though it’s so obvious.
If you look at my career, I’ve never fired anything you dolls without a partner. For #PSPfit I had Abra, for CURVYcon I had Chastity, for Confident Creator Lab I had Jessica Lynn. Through therapy I began to ask myself why I’m afraid to walk my career on my own… The simple answer: I feel insecure, I’m afraid I’m not ‘enough’ and I feel safe with another strong woman by my side.
Complicated answer: Maybe it’s time for me to go from co-founder to co-founder.
In March 2021, I laid off my entire team and became a “one man squad” in my business. I have found investors interested in my desire to explore body positivity through beauty. I’ve shared with them some of my homemade beauty and hand whipped skin smoothing recipes and found a lab to help us replicate the skin smoothing benefits of a body butter I call doll butter.
Doll Butter quietly launched solo at Small Business on Saturday and pre-order sales were amazing. The tractor will start shipping in March and I am so excited to meet my first product. If you have already placed an order, thank you very much!
I find my independence and identity in my professional and personal life. Maybe you dummies get that because this question has come up so many times…
How do you maintain your honesty with yourself in relationships?
Many of you dolls know that I used to be very public in my dating life. I must admit that in those days I felt that having a friend of mine confirmed me as a woman. I felt that having a friend meant that I was beautiful, special, worth knowing, wanted, etc., so I talked about my boyfriend all the time.
Finding identity and value outside of a relationship can be really difficult.
It feels good to be wanted and pursued. It feels good to be taken up on dates and adoration. It’s good to have someone tell you how beautiful you are and how much they like you. I love that feeling, right?
Our challenge is not to wrap up all of our identity and value getting that from someone else…and boy is the challenge!
I am a Christian and I believe this is an area of my life where the strength of God is integrated into my weakness. I believe God put me on this planet for more than one purpose. Yes, I think it is among my many purposes, to marry a man and have beautiful children with him. But I have a goal beyond that…and chances are.
The thing that helped me this year was giving in to my situation. Instead of focusing on what I don’t have yet, it’s a good idea to shift my focus to what I can earn at this time. If you are concerned about losing your identity in a relationship, you may want to consider developing a strong identity in other areas of your life.
How can you make an impact in your family, community, school, church, world?
When I focus on it, my emotional life and identity tend to stay in balance.
How do I live a more sustainable life?
Dummies, it means a lot to me that you’re asking me that question.
A few months ago, TED sent me this invitation to Edinburgh, Scotland for a pre-COP26 climate change summit.
The TED Counttown Climate Change Summit changed me. My eyes have opened to what is happening to our planet and I can’t be silent now that I know. I listen, learn and read a ton. I sat down with climate change activists who told me emphatically that if I choose to start talking about climate change on my platform, it could negatively affect my brand.
They were right.
The first time I spoke about climate change directly, I lost 100 followers overnight.
So yes, talking about climate change is a risk, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
I am sharing this with you so that you understand my growing passion for climate change and sustainable fashion and to learn how I can help protect our planet. Once I learned of the crucial decade, I knew I had a responsibility to share what is happening to us and our planet right now. You can learn a little about the crucial decade by reading what I wrote in the Instagram comment below.
When it comes to climate change and sustainable living, I often hear people say that big business and the government need to do something about it. This is 100% true. I can’t help but wonder what we would do if big business and government didn’t do something about climate change…
I pray that major corporations and government make the necessary changes for a net zero future. In the meantime, I’m making a sustainable lifestyle change. I look forward to sharing ideas with you on this matter in the years to come.
I received a huge amount of “thank you” notes from my dummies for different things and it really touched my heart.
I would like to say thank you to each of you dolls for sticking with me. I love my job, I love what I do, and I love you all. There have been many times when I was feeling uncertain or doubting myself and suddenly one of you would send me a kind word, a note of encouragement, or a thank you note for something I created that helped you in your life. In those moments, this will be the little push I need to keep going. I felt as if God was using you as puppets to encourage me.
If you are reading this, I pray that God will keep and bless you and your family.
I look forward to what 2022 has in store for our community.
thank you. thank you. thank you.