Hi, my name is Dom.
Dominique actually but in the fast talking industry of Hollywood where I work, we had to shorten it.
Here’s a bit of my story because let’s face it - our stories are the real reasons why we do what we do.
They’re what motivate us.
If you met me 10 years ago then you’d remember that I was spunky, outgoing and motivated. I was a constant force of energy and creativity. I busted my tail to land my dream career; producing, directing and writing in the entertainment industry. I had taken the risk of leaving the city I loved - Chicago - and moved west to follow my dreams.
Along for the ride came my best friend/fiancé. Those first few years were tough! Emotionally, romantically, financially. We were both trying to find our way in our respective businesses as well as cope with being two fish out water in a town known for hanging you out to dry.
As time went on, we got married and began to acclimate to our new lives as Los Angelenos. We LOVED our city even though we couldn’t always enjoy it with the crazy long hours we were both working. I began traveling and spending 75% of the year on the road and he began building his dream businesses as an entrepreneur in the liquor management industry and owning his first restaurant.
It wasn’t long before I noticed a change in myself. I felt that vibrancy fading and a strong sense of fear was taking over. My fears were heavily rooted in finances as I often felt responsible for holding our small family together.
Over time, my fears grew and started to paralyze the spunk I once had until I was basically motivated and controlled by fear. The decisions I made were 100% fueled by fear. I took jobs only because they were bringing me a paycheck. I refused to allow my husband and I to spend money on vacations or going home to see family often because of what it would do to our bank account.
I made excuses that these were smart moves because of our ever-growing debt that we had incurred from moving cross country, but my fears were part of what led to the ultimate collapse of my marriage.
Eventually, it all came to a head. I had finally acknowledged I just wasn’t happy - which was a big realization for me.
Me, the always outward optimist had grown inwardly pessimistic. Somehow, I had lost my mojo. I had lost that “Dom-ness” that I’d been known for.
While the realization was a blessing, because I finally had an answer to what had been gnawing at me for some time, it was also a curse because I knew that in order to really be happy; I had to embark on a solo journey. My divorce was by far the most painful thing I’d ever experience.
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light” - Aristotle Onassis
Finding myself starting over again at a time when most people my age were already settling down, I realized that I had a choice - I could sit around, mope and let myself wallow in my situation or I could continue to let fear drive me to the Or I could take what I had learned about myself and use it to propel me into the next phase of my life.
*Photography by Casey Brodley