AMANDA CHASE • Expander Humility Series
I'm so excited to announce this new series, THE EXPANDER HUMILITY SERIES, as an act to begin expanding all of you guys out there as a whole. In my manifestation process, what actually creates space for our manifestations to come through is when we expand through “seeing is believing” in others. It shows our subconscious mind that such is possible for us. Therefore, deeply relating to another person that we identify with through their background, culture, struggles, and failures, and then witnessing their success allows us to believe that the same is possible for us. Once we have that “ah ha” moment of, ‘they did this so I can too’, we’ve successfully expanded some space. Goodbye wellness fluff and perfection, and hello truth, realness and human connection.
Therefore, I couldn't be more excited to introduce our in-house creative consultant Amanda Chase! Amanda left her full-time gigs in pursuit of entrepreneurship and has gone on to consult some of the most inspiring names that we all love and cherish. But most importantly, she's the founder of an incredible company, Coconut Yoga, where she has her sights set on transforming the underserving childcare programs as we know them today into expansive and conscious ones!
When people ask me what my background is, I always just say American. Because honestly, both my parents' families have been in the US for several generations. My dad’s side of the family has been living in Maryland since the late 1700’s (seriously, my ancestor, Samuel Chase, signed the Declaration of Independence). And my mom’s side of the family is from Ohio, first coming to the US in the late 1800’s. So, I’m pure American. Sure, a little Italian, a little German, a little Hungarian... but I mean does 4% count? I guess I should order a 23&me. ;)
My upbringing was (looking back) quite unconventional. My mom and dad had me in their late 20’s/early 30’s. They both worked a lot so I ended up going to daycare from the time I was 12 weeks old until 12 years old - going before school, after school, the first one to be dropped off and the last one to be picked up (more on that later). I’m the oldest of two, my little brother is four years younger than me. They divorced when I was 8 years old due to an affair my mom was having with whom would become my step-dad (spoiler)!
Two years later after the divorce, my mom and stepdad got married. We moved into a big house that they built together. My dad was always around, he lived 10 minutes away from us. My mom made it a point to have him in our lives - at birthday dinners, holidays, games - you name it, my dad was going to be there. And that eventually lead to her realizing that she missed the old family, she missed my dad (hello, a second set of affairs), and she separated from my stepdad a couple years later. They ended up trying to make it work, but that didn’t last. They got divorced two years ago (married for a total of 15). My step-dad moved to Baltimore. My mom stayed in the big, now empty house without my brother and I. And soon enough my dad moved in. Just this past Christmas Eve (yes, last month), they surprised us that they were going to be getting married the day after Christmas. And so, that’s the roundabout way of saying that my mom and dad are married but I have a stepdad too! Like I said, quite unconventional.
SMALL TOWN OR BIG CITY
Maryland is a small state and Frederick County, where I grew up was definitely a small town. It’s an hour outside of Baltimore and DC - a lot of people move there who want to raise families and commute into the cities. For me, there wasn’t much to do outside of play with friends, go to soccer practice/games and hang out with the local kids. Life was simple.
CRYING ON THE FLOOR
Here is a blog post on it!
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I found myself in the fetal position on the floor of my 4th-floor walk-up apartment in NYC that my now ex-boyfriend and I had lived in together for 4 years. He had said two words that I was always terrified to hear from him, “I’m done.”
Let me set the scene… we were almost on our 5 year anniversary, two weeks prior, I had just quit my full-time job in pursuit of following my dreams of creating wellness content and teaching children yoga. I had no idea where my next check was coming from and I had no idea what I would be doing for a career. All I knew is that that career wasn’t working for me anymore. I didn’t save any money and worst case scenario, I’d ask my now-ex (for the first time in my life) to help me with rent that month in case I needed it while I figured things out.
All of these things flooded through my mind as those two words directly hit my heart. I panicked. Not just from him saying we’re breaking up - because that was so painfully hard to hear and process but because all of those other super important life things were flowing through my mind. WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO NOW? I have no job, no money coming in and now no apartment. I can’t go back to Maryland. I can’t fail. I can’t. I said this out loud to him and I started to shake in panic. For the first time in my life, I TRULY didn’t have the answers. And, he hugged me because he could see that my livelihood was on the line, not just our relationship. But that hug was the most I could get from him at this point. I was on my own. Literally, he left me and said he had to go -- to where? I didn’t ask. I didn’t care.
I fell to the ground in that fetal position, just holding. I was in shock. I couldn’t breathe. Feel. Think. Just cry. Those tears kept coming and coming. Until I had no more tears. I closed my eyes so hard and long that I swear by the time I woke up it would all be a terrible nightmare and this wouldn’t really happen. I opened my eyes and reality set in. He wasn’t home. I was alone. And this was real. I looked at my apartment in a different perspective from down there. I started to look at everything that made up our apartment, our room, and our life, the 5-year relationship and everything that went with it, was now going to be gone. Nothing. Vanish. Done. Just two words - I’m done. I called my friends and my mom. They told me I would be okay. I had to be okay. I just had to. So, I got up the next day set out two cups of coffee as I always would and went on with my day. I just kept going...
Self-worth. I had very little. It was completely attached to the work I was creating, which I had just quit my job, and was now being re-evaluated. It was completely attached to my relationship with my ex. Our lives became completely intertwined, not knowing where I started and he began. I basically didn’t have any idea of my own self-worth. My identity was tied to things that we're now vanishing from my life. Once we parted ways, I was able to find myself again. To see what kinds of things I liked to do outside of our relationship. To see what kinds of foods I liked to eat. To see what kind of people I surrounded myself by. To see who was around even if he wasn’t. This was a huge eye-opening moment - finding out who was still there. I was finding out my self-worth and my identity all at the same time.
I knew that working in fashion was no joke. I knew what I was signing up for and I lasted for a couple years before I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the unnecessary competition. I couldn’t take the lack of team-player mentality. I couldn’t take the rude phone calls. I couldn’t take the passive-aggressive emails. I couldn't take the corporate politics. I couldn’t take the 12 hour days. I couldn’t manage the laundry drop off’s, morning/mid-afternoon coffee pickups, 3 lunch orders a day, 3 schedules/calendars and 10 meetings per person to manage. I couldn’t handle it. I never worked out. I never ate healthy foods. I never had any time for myself. I ended up getting a 5-day chronic migraine from the stress and unhappiness. And then I just stopped. I decided that it was time to find something new. I had had enough when someone else got the promotion that I had been working for, for the past two years. The position that I thought I had proved through blood, sweat, and tears. And so, I started applying for positions. Something smaller, something less corporate and something less-fashiony. Somewhere where I didn’t have to put on “work” clothes. Somewhere where I could create beautiful inspiration things… and within 1 week of searching for a new job, a position at Garance Doré opened up looking for a Studio Coordinator. Thank you, Universe.
LOST ALL SELF-RESPECT
Self-respect is something that I can honestly say I didn’t know much about until that 5-year relationship ended. I gave up everything to keep that relationship going. I stopped listening to my intuition because when I would, we’d end up in a fight or something not working out. So, instead, I kept the peace. That’s when I lost my own self-respect. When I realized that keeping a relationship, which let me be the first to point out now was completely unhealthy, was more important than respecting myself. He remembers I’d point something out that made me upset that he did and he would make me feel like I’m the crazy one for feeling that way, instead of possibly understanding where I was coming from. This back and forth of being like - well, I feel this way and he would say, you're completely wrong - had my intuition completely blurred.
I tell people I’m dating (consciously being single at this point in my life) now, this is how I feel, and it’s valid enough. Take it or leave it.
SINGLE / TOXIC
The longest time I’ve been single has been a year since college. I’m a relationship person. And this point in my life was one of my unhappiest times. I was at The University of Maryland, College Park studying for my BA in Psychology. Sounds great, right? No, I had wanted to go to FIDM, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising to study Visual Communications. My family, who helped me pay for school, refused to let me study “fashion” without getting a “real degree” beforehand. So, those years at UMD we're miserable for me. I felt like the black swan. not wanting/enjoying tailgating, going to football games, drinking Irish coffee at 9 am, I had no real tribe, I was not in my element. I was miserable. And then on top of it, I wasn’t attracting a partner. Looking back, my self-worth was so low at that point. I was sleeping with guys who weren’t interested in committing and I was studying something that made me utterly cringe. Self-worth was a complete mirror to this time of my life. To this day, that time of my life still makes me cringe.
I knew what I wanted to do for a career when I was 15 years old. I was on a plane from Florida to Maryland looking out the window and I thought to myself right then and there… I want to be a creative director/EIC for a fashion magazine, creating content that inspires people. 14 years later (I’m 29), I can honestly say that I am living that dream completely. I’m a creative consultant for holistic wellness brands, helping to spread real healing and I am the founder of Coconut Yoga, a children’s yoga company. Last month, my business cards for my consulting company arrived. I had designed them myself and sent them off to be printed. They arrived on my birthday. I instantly started crying and said to 15-year-old self, you made it. 14 years later.
It always terrified me that I didn’t have enough “industry connections.” It always terrified me that I didn’t grow up in a big city. It always terrified me that I was creative or expressive enough. It always terrified me that I was “too nice” and could never compete with those fashionistas that made working in fashion harder than it maybe needed to be. But, each and every day I got up and put one foot in front of the other and put in the work, put in the hours, networked as much as possible, made authentic connections and kept always going.
The first step: create. So, I wrote in my journal to express my feeling and made mood boards. I would spend hours on the floor of my room cutting up magazines, throwing away tons of mood boards that didn’t end up working out. I did this for years, just for fun (or looking back, maybe it was practice). The second step: research. I read every book about how to get started in the fashion industry. Three things kept coming up: 1. go to Fashion School 2. first job needs to be an unpaid intern 3. Get your ass to NYC. So, that’s what I did. It was too big of a step to go from suburbs of Maryland to NYC so I went to what I thought would be the happy medium, LA to study at FIDM (after UMD). Then I used 3 credits for an unpaid full-time internship at Seventeen Magazine in NYC. My direct report at Seventeen was the person who forwarded me the Michael Kors Creative Services Assistant position, which ended up being my first full-time fashion position.
Just realizing that every single thing in my life is a result of my own efforts. I never relied on my family. I always stood my ground with my passions. I always had a vision. I always made it a point to make that happen no matter what. I literally just never stopped regardless if it was hard, tough. It’s the behind-the-scenes things that matter most. How we talk to ourselves when things aren’t clear or easy. How we keep going through the pain. How we continue to push through. How to be authentic. Living authentically has been the most humbling thing I’ve ever experienced because it pushed me to be appreciative of everything that I’ve created for myself.
The first moment was when my ex-ended things with me and I ended up creating content for some of the most inspirational people I knew at the time. I held myself up during the hardest time and realized that I am worthy of something more than what he was able to provide to me in my life. The second moment was on day 4 of OPULENCE workshop, I realized that I want to build my consulting business bigger than I had ever dreamed of before when I was playing small. I realized in that moment how many badass things I’ve created over the years and how I truly did it all with grace, authenticity, and humility. I can truly say that I’ve done everything in my life from all the hard work I put in for myself and just showing up and TRYING.
WHO EXPANDED ME
In the early beginning stages of my fashion career dream, my expanders we're Dani Stahl, Style Director at NYLON Magazine and her monthly feature Factory Girl, Whitney Port and Lauren Conrad, attended FIDM and worked at Teen Vogue, Annabet Duvall, freelance stylist and editor for Seventeen Magazine, Marco Antonio, Visual Communications teacher and freelance consultant who now teaches yoga. Creatively, I’ve always been drawn to the works of Juergen Teller, Venetia Scott, Enza Petronio, Self Service Magazine, Garance Doré, Richard Christiansen, Chandelier Creative. Now to more recently, women in the wellness industry especially those who manage to not only have a successful creative, wellness business but also are creating an intentional family/home life: Lacy Phillips, Jill Willard with her meditation companies, Amanda Chantal Bacon with Moon Juice, Jenni Kayne with Rip & Tan, Paula Mallis with WMN Space, Founders of CAP Beauty (love their branding)... just to name a few! Oh, and Oprah (circa 2006 when she was still on TV at 4 pm EST).
ADVICE TO LOWEST SELF
I’d like to tell myself that I’m always going to be okay. That I don’t need to be scared. That we’ll always get through it, no matter what.
I’m currently overcoming a limiting belief that I can’t be both successful in a career and within a relationship. It’s something that I didn’t see in my family dynamics, but it’s something I’m deeply in creating for myself. And, the fact that my ex broke up with me right before my “dream career” started doesn’t help with that limiting belief. I’m also working on this idea of NOT SETTLING - dating the people who are great but not everything I want in a long-term partner.
I love thinking about the incredible things I’ve manifested in my life. I have a couple favorites. The most recent is the car that I just bought two months ago. I had never bought a car before. I had nowhere to begin. So, I asked a ton of people about their process. And finally, I decided on the car - 328i, two-door, used but not older than 6 years old, under 60k miles, one owner, tan interior and under $300/month including warranty. I manifested every single thing on that list, just one month after finally understanding what I truly wanted. Despite my initial thoughts on how this car would “reflect” on my image and thinking to myself - who do I think I am, buying a BMW as my first car?!
Proving to all those people early on in my life that didn't think I could do it (and mainly proving to myself) that I can actually live out my dream of creating content that inspires people all the while being nice, friendly and happy.
I am currently in the process of trademarking an umbrella company for Coconut Yoga (name and details still TBD) that will allow us to have a branded space and that will redefine the daycare industry. Stay tuned!