A Happy Life: A Choice and a Challenge

Maybe I was three when my father started out as the fearless journalist that he is. I don’t remember much about his initial journey except for the fact that we kept moving because his job would continually transfer him from place to place. But I liked the perks of being a traveler at such a young age. It was always a dream life until I saw the negative aspects of having a life constantly on the move.

I had to often change schools due to our constant moving. And so I had to start all over again. New classmates, new classes, and the struggle of carving out my niche again and again. It was a struggle. I was often bullied. I am not sure why, but it happens a lot to to new students who join a class late. My grades suffered, and I turned into a low scorer—slipping from the top-five ranks in my class. It wasn’t about grades to me, but my education suffered a lot in the process. My sense of identity and emotions were impacted, but I was determined to keep going.

In spite of horrible experiences at every new school I joined, it was difficult for me to explain this to my parents. I didn’t feel it was an obstacle real enough to be dealt with, and back then, I didn’t believe anybody cared much about it. I realize how much things could have improved had I chosen to talk about it with them back then. I realize how much better a child’s life could be if their accounts of bullying and teasing at school were taken seriously. It’s so important to talk about these subjects, and it’s a shame that we do nothing about it, even today.

This is something I know I want to work with. Bullying is a serious issue, often unacknowledged but immersed deep in the memories of both the victim and the bully. I am aware of the mental impact, and how fatal can it be for an individual’s growth. Of course, my past bullying is not what defines me today, but it has taken me a lot of effort to build myself up to what I stand for now.

Despite these experiences, I still had the courage to dive almost anywhere in an ocean full of career choices. At first, I wanted to be a criminal lawyer, but it wasn’t a “safe” option for a woman so lovingly protected by family. Being an actor was too atrocious due to the casting couch legacy of the industry. And modeling was a bad choice, too.

It’s not that I wasn’t allowed to choose my own career, but the layer of protection provided by my family restrained me from trying different things. As a result, I wasn’t sure of what to be when I entered college. I don’t know when and how I rebuilt my learning skills, but I remember I was happy when I came out as a top scorer upon graduating from my alma mater back home. I later earned a master’s in business administration and started working as a marketing professional for well-known brands in India.

But of all the choices I wanted to make, something that stayed with me since my childhood was dance. I danced to whichever tunes I liked; it gave me my spirit and a sense of being…and deep down, a sense of calm in the strange world I lived in. I could dance at any time, and it’s something that I believe will stay with me until the very end.

I am not sure when these things led me to develop an interest in fashion. I became addicted to fashion trends, or styling streaks. I remember being excited about trying new things, spicing the look up while experimenting with new accessories here and there. I finally found a passion in fashion.

When I go to my job at Michael Kors everyday, or when I worked for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, it felt like the best possible use of my MBA and my interest in fashion. I might even start my own fashion blog someday—who knows? But with all the creative satisfaction I get out of my job, I am finally in the happiest space of my life. I have a loving husband, and I am finally living the life of my dreams in a way that I would never have been able to predict as a kid.

Ananya Soni

About the Author | Ananya Soni

Ananya Soni is a marketing professional who works for Michael Kors. She is an avid reader of literature, and when she isn't learning about fashion evolution trends, she can be found dancing to her favorite tunes. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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