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It’s the Journey that Shapes You

Jill Alexander

Do you ever stop to think how you got to the point you’re at in your life? Do you think about all of the small little moments that have added up to equal one big life? Maybe you don’t consider your life big yet. Maybe you’re still waiting for life to happen, or think that the best parts of your life are over.

The thing is, we are constantly on a journey. Whether or not we feel the changes happening around us is immaterial. Life is constantly moving and shifting, causing us to become multidimensional. Sometimes the shift is memorable like becoming a parent or experiencing a death. Sometimes it’s something that seems inconsequential like complimenting a stranger or allowing someone in front of you in traffic.

I’ve come to learn that each and every moment is special. It teaches you something and shapes who you are.

I’ll never forget my first runway. I was both excited and terrified. At the end of my segment, I was introduced and it was my turn to walk. I took a few steps out onto the runway, took a bow and returned backstage where I was most comfortable. All of a sudden, I hear the show’s producer, Gwen DeVoe, say to the audience, “Oh no Jill Alexander! That is NOT how we walk a runway at Full Figured Fashion Week! She came backstage, took my hand, and painfully made me walk to the end of the runway to take my bow. While in that moment, (and several years after), I was completely mortified, it shaped me. I have proof. Last summer, I attended a show to support Gwen and several other women in the industry whom I admire and love. In a break between sets, Gwen spotted me in the audience and invited me to join her on stage. She introduced me, congratulated me on my success, thanked me for my support over the years, and then invited, (forced), me to take a walk on the runway, by myself, not hidden by a collection. As I stepped up there this time, I felt so empowered. The audience cheered, I gave them a little shimmy, and walked clear to the end and took a confident bow. All the while, thoughts of that first walk popped in my head and I was able to say to myself, “You’ve come a long way baby.”

My point is, whatever life throws at you is meant to shape you. “Bad” experiences are not bad, they’re just temporarily uncomfortable and were never meant to get stuck on. Focus on the best, and let the rest make you better. Celebrate your awkward runway moments and your runway victories. They are shaping you for your true purpose.

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