On this day, four years ago:

I recently shared with a friend my money-making ideas for this year off of teaching and one of those ideas is to get people to pay me to be in photos selling their products, to which he responded, in keeping with my greatest cringe-inducing fear, “So, you’re going to just be a pretty girl now?”
It drove me nuts because it’s the response that I worry about receiving the most and it’s the very first thing he said to me so, my worries are valid. I’ll focus on the positive and say I’m grateful for a chance to process my stance on this reaction in order to prepare myself for more like it, so here I go.
People have mentioned modeling to me since I was a child and my response has always been, No thank you, but I’d love to talk to you about what matters to me! What has mattered most to me has been my desire to help people who need help and to understand people who are misunderstood and to equip others with the tools I wish I was given when I needed them most. When I graduated high school, I began an educational path that allowed me the certificates and time and energy to do that and only that. Over time, I healed a few parts of myself that needed healing and I learned to love myself and I developed desires about myself and my own life and my own expression that I was not able to develop when I lived at home, for various reasons. Those desires are: having new experiences and feeling challenged and alive and sharing my thoughts with people in various ways and creating beautiful things that make me feel proud and bringing what is inside of me out and overcoming fears and exploring and understanding and learning and growing. There was a time when I thought focusing on the desires I had for my own life was selfish and bad, but due to a lot of healing and growing and learning and self-teaching, I no longer operate that way and I now equate my desires to expand my own life with my desires to expand others’ and I know that’s okay and good. 
For you to understand how deeply a response like the “pretty girl” response bothers me, you’ve gotta understand that I have exerted myself for 12 years in a career that is fulfilling and draining, in equal measure. I tolerated the exhaustion because I am willing to be drained by my passion. What I’ve had the most trouble tolerating is year after year of being the one person in my group of friends who has to repeatedly turn down experiences that I can’t afford. I’m tired of getting notifications that my bank account is overdrawn because my Netflix payment went through, while my friends are showing me photos from their trips to Italy. I put myself through school and I’m tired of feeling like I’ll never be able to get myself out of the debt that created for me because my income is set, and not enough to do anything extra, ever. I got to a point, recently, where the imbalance of the work I put out and the money I had coming in began to weigh on me. I started to really contemplate how much I value myself vs how much I was valued by the system that employed me. 
I value myself a lot and I was not valued by the system nearly enough.
What I did during my years in that classroom was too valuable to justify not being able to afford to live my life in my free time. I stepped out of the classroom for a few reasons: to broaden my reach, to embark on related, but bigger projects, to expand my life and my understanding of myself, to figure out how to make more money, and I stepped out because I felt like I had helped as much as I possibly could in that arena and I wanted to do bigger things in new arenas. I had pushed against all the walls until they were done budging and until I admitted to myself that they had been done budging long before I stopped pushing against them. I wanted and tried to redesign the system, but I couldn’t redesign a system while being a low-level part of it.
I don’t want to be a cog in the wheel anymore, I want to be the person who designs the wheel and builds the wheel and cranks the wheel. I’m ready for a grander platform and more opportunities. I have the passion and the drive and the ideas and the strengths for a grander platform. I didn’t always know this about myself, but I know this about myself now. AND! I’m also ready to do things because they’re fun and fulfilling to me, even if they don’t help anybody else! That’s a newer feeling that I’m into, as well. 
I’m going to be trying a lot of new things this year, and one of those things is making more money so that I have some to spend after my bills are covered. I am not going to ~just~ be a pretty girl, because nobody is ever ~just~ anything and I guarantee that women who play into their appearance to build a life for themselves hate this reduction of what they do constantly thrown at them as if it’s a mark against their character and not a flippant misunderstanding of the depth of their being. I already hate it, and I’ve only heard it once. 
I am going to become an expanded version of the woman I already am and have always been, who also makes money and can say yes to more L I F E and I’m going to explore the avenues that will offer me that reality while discovering more and more intricately what I’m on this earth to do. I’m going to make it all happen for myself, utilizing everything I’ve been given as well as the new skills I am picking up through exploration. I deserve it and have deserved it for awhile and I’m ready for it now and I needed to write all of this down