By Jasmine Alleva
Instagram – @jasminealleva
The state of my room can tell you I am moving across the country in less than ten days. Nude underwear, comp cards, black heels, and old clothes cover my carpet in its entirety. The same two solid gray suitcases lie ajar, ready to be packed to the brim with essentials to carry me through the next indefinite amount of months. I tell people I am ecstatic and that this opportunity will be an adventure, but a huge part of me does not want to go and every tick on the clock makes my stomach drop in reluctance.
Six months ago, I came home from Australia. When I look back, I cannot fathom how that much time went by. For an entire half of a year, I have been home in Alaska, with people constantly questioning my presence, as if I have to explain why I am in one place but not another. It is very agitating and that is why I have to go. Not to appease them, but to show them that I can be anywhere I want to be.
When I landed in Alaska after 36 agonizing hours of flights and layovers, I could not contain my excitement. I had missed my family and friends so much. That day was joyful. The next few months were not.
I slipped into depression like one falls into a deep sleep. I couldn’t see it coming and then it encapsulated me. I no longer wanted to go do the usual activities I had previously enjoyed, I isolated myself from pretty much all of my friends, and I found myself crying for seemingly no reason at all. The heartbreaks I had endured in Australia followed me back home and decided to replace the friends I had once had.
I was exhausted and I didn’t want to do anything. I knew I would only be in Anchorage for a short amount of time, so I figured I would snap out of it as soon as I boarded my flight to New York. But, alas, when it rains, it pours; I found out I would no longer be going.
The countless hours of work I had done to land a New York contract had crumbled right in front of me and my hands held nothing. My agency had some internal issues with downsizing and my contract was ultimately nullified. The problems had little to do with me, but I was a casualty and my future was ultimately altered because of it. I cried. Hard. Then I drove to Taco Bell and cried into a Crunch Wrap Supreme. It was of minimal help.
Not too long after, I got the news that I was picked up by an agency in Chicago, Illinois. I was relieved, but I knew a lot of work had to be done before my departure date, which was about three weeks after I got the news. I looked for apartments, made a lot of contacts, and started packing up my room. Then my agency wanted digitals, which are raw images without make up or retouching. As it would turn out, the Taco Bell and pizza crusts I had wiped my tears with earlier in the month had sat a little too much on my tummy and I was told to stay home to lose weight. More heartbreak.
Weeks have passed since that day. I cleaned up my eating and tried to find balance in my life. The time I have had distant from modeling has left me with a lot of questions on whether or not I want to continue. At any given moment, I can quit. I know that. My freedom has been abridged, my confidence has taken beating after unrelenting beating, and I have compromised future plans. Why would I even consider trudging on in this madness?
A better question is: why would I let anything that happened in the past hold me back from what I could potentially accomplish in the future? The feeling I have of reluctance right now will eventually subside and be replaced with the feeling of accomplishment and an overcoming of my fears and challenges. I have been brave before and I will be brave again.
This industry, like anything else in life, calls for tough skin. I let myself get knocked down. I cried. I wallowed. I considered quitting everything. I found myself in a slump and I dug my way back out on my hands and knees. Though bruised, my skin is tougher than ever.
Change is never easy, but is necessary for human growth. Am I ready for Chicago? I don’t know. But it better be damn ready for me.