Zoë on being internally driven

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I think that used to be one of the most intimidating questions I’d ever heard back when I was 13. How the heck was I supposed to know? Back then, my biggest concern used to be what colour sneakers I should buy for P.E. However, by the time it came for me to go to university, I had grown out of my childhood fashion dilemmas and had my heart set on being a chef. I had my mother’s full support, but every other family member tried to give me an alternative. My father suggested I study interior decorating and team up with him and his architecture firm. Both sets of grandparents suggested I go into medicine, one set even said that they would send me application forms for the local college to be an X-ray technician. Other family members  and friends would always gave me the ‘ oh that’s cute’ face when I told them my dreams and goals. I was basically on my own, but you know what? Not for one second did I buckle under the pressure of doubt. I knew exactly what I wanted and I went for it.

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sunglasses – random London market jacket – zara top – boohoo leggings – boohoo booties – H&M

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In 2008, I left my little rock in the sun, Jamaica, and went to The Culinary Institute of America. Hands down the #1 culinary school on that side of the world. This is where I met one of the strongest women I know and someone who has turned out to be one of my best friends: the wonderful Dionne Reid. Ten years, numerous restaurants and 5 countries later, all the persistence and hard work has paid off. Not only can I work any section of a kitchen, but I am now training to become a restaurant manager. There were times I doubted myself, times the hours were too long, the work stress too difficult, the lack of a social life or interaction unbearable. Times I hated putting on the tough role of being the only woman in the kitchen, trying hard to stay afloat in a man’s world. I had many moments when I wanted to pack my bags and go home, give up on being so adventurous and just have a normal life. But God took me through every step of the way, over every single hurdle. He kept me focused and kept my feet planted but most importantly gave me strength. I made it through and am STILL making it through day by day.

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So the moral of my little story today is this: Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something, especially yourself.

There is a whole world out there, it seems scary but there is actually so much waiting for you to experience, to expand your knowledge and broaden your horizons. Don’t hold yourself back from anything your heart truly desires, if the passion is there a way will always be made. Never give up on yourself, don’t let people put you down, everything you go through will always pay off in the end.

Even now my grandma will still drop a line like “It’s not too late to be a doctor.” Honestly all I can do is smile when she says it because I know what my heart is set on and I know I believe in me. You can do anything you put your mind to, your biggest supporter is YOU! Once you remember that, nothing else matters. As my man Bruno says ‘ Don’t believe me just watch!!’ Every time I here this song it just gives me a burst of confidence and energy. I hope it does the same for you 🙂

 

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