There are gaps between expectations and aspirations, gaps that need to be understood in order to be resolved. Between what you and those around you expect you to do, and that what you would actually like to do. Inspired by the SK-II Timelines video on fellow New Yorker Maluca, I want to share my story. 

rebecca laurey

“My American Dream.”

Maluca is a musician whose life is playing out very differently from what her immigrant mother was hoping for her. Her mother had a plan while she doesn’t necessarily have a set one for herself. Marriage is not a top priority for her and feels as though it shouldn’t define who she is as a woman and as a human. She wants to be free to do what she loves doing most without conforming to societal pressures. She wants to live her own “American Dream” and to feel empowered by her choices. This is me, expectations and aspirations didn’t necessarily match. This is my timeline. If you would have asked me what I wanted to become 15 or even 10 years ago, I might have given you a different answer. I come from a very secure background. My parents, both highly educated with university degrees, have always stressed the importance of education before choosing your own path. I can’t disagree with them on that, to be honest, because I do feel like my education has contributed to who I am and what I’ve been able to accomplish. Having an education does not only open doors to the “normal” job market, it also gives you confidence and something to work hard for. I needed that strong base to be able to do what I do now and I’m thankful for that. I was pretty insecure when I was younger, and I strongly believe that knowing I’d always have that degree to fall back on gave me the confidence to do something completely different. I mean, I can always go back or can’t I?

rebecca laurey
I’m the oldest of eight kids and kind of functioned as a second mom for years; having toddlers and babies around taught me a sense of responsibility. I absolutely loved it. But at the same time I felt like I always had to set the right example for my younger brothers and sisters, not allowing myself to make too many mistakes. My university years made me break free of that. I believed, and still do, that I should do something that I loved – something aspirational – and not necessarily that what was expected of me. Because most of my friends did choose that route, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Studying to be a doctor and then becoming that made sense for them. It was their dream, just not mine. I mastered in American History, a subject I absolutely loved, but at the same time I did not see myself pursuing it after graduating. The “obvious” or expected jobs were not what I wanted to do with my life. Not anymore at least. So I decided to completely go the opposite direction and pursue a career in one of my biggest other passions: fashion. This decision wasn’t necessarily met with a lot on understanding and respect from those around me. Not because they didn’t wish the best for me, but because they didn’t really understand. This is something I have struggled with over the years, because if you don’t have the same mindset and aspirations it’s sometimes hard to place yourself into someone else’s shoes – or at least respect different choices. I’ve learned it takes a lot of education and possibly years of proving someone wrong to finally gain that respect and many still don’t understand that what I do as content creator and stylist is an actual, full-time job. Although I’m okay with that now, I wasn’t for a long time and constantly felt the need to defend myself. I’m responsible for my own life and happiness, and this is what I chose to do with it. I had a dream to move to New York one day and my current job, something I created myself from scratch, has allowed me to do so. Some of my aspirations became my reality and I’m proud of that.

rebecca laurey

I’m very lucky to have a man in my life that has supported me and helped me built this venture from the ground up. There’s a culture shift going on that empowers women, and we’re right in the middle of it. Our parents, although very motivated to have a career of their own, are in the end from a different generation with different values. The time is now to create that space for yourself and within your relationship to be completely equal. I always knew I wanted my own career and be my own person aside from being one half of a relationship. I need this to be the best version of myself, and be the best partner I can be. We both have our own career paths and dreams, and always try to find ways to combine them or help each other achieve them. He understands that and has inspired me to just go for it no matter what the outcome is. If you never take big risks you will never really get too far. Being a creative means you’ll experience high highs and low lows, it takes courage and confidence to always keep going. Having a dream and being fearlessly unapologetic for it. Making bold plans and pursuing them so that you can draw your own timeline and make your own choices. The true lesson here is that you need to stay true to yourself and the things you want to do no matter what other people think.

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