Alex Goes Back to High School, Part 4: Tennis Court Confessions

June 27, 2018

Photos by Esmirna Tapia
For part four of this series I decided to dive into experiences following my graduation. There's so much I've learned about myself/life in general during these past ten years and I thought it would be nice to share these life experiences with you all. Here's ten eleven things I went through in the past ten years, and my take on each item.

Before we dive into it: I think this is one of my favorite outfits inspired by stuff I wore back in the 2008...more like 2006-2007, but it all falls under that same "era". Jeans and tee are from American Eagle, long-sleeved shirt is vintage (and thrifted), necklaces are all from AE from 2006, and beanie is from Forever 21.
1. (2008) The loss of a relative, such as your dad
I have to say that 2008 was the most difficult, mind-fucking year that I've gone through in life. November '08 was the year I lost my dad. His death seriously came out of nowhere; no one expected it. To this day; it is difficult to deal with funerals, I'm always at a lost for words when it comes to being sympathetic to others who lost a loved one. MY first experience with a death was my dad's very own death. It will forever leave a bittersweet taste in my mouth.
  I remember I cried during my dad's funeral; and I then pretended like nothing had happened. I had to keep a happy and confident attitude for both my mother, sister, and ex girlfriend. I was miserable; deep down inside I was dead, but I just keep moving forward with school and with life. It was six months after my dad's passing that I truly began to mourn his death. I cried nonstop every single day; I locked myself in my room and I disconnected myself from everyone. My grades began to deteriorate and I had to drop from all my community college classes. I regret holding everything in and I wish I was more expressive of my feelings and emotions. I'm not saying that moving on should or will be all peaches and cream...what I'm saying is that you need to find a support system, even possibly seek help from a therapist.
2. (2009) Don't hold on to toxic people in your life
I met my ex in 2006, and at this point we had dated for over three years. I want to say that by our second year our relationship had completely changed and we fought nonstop every single day. I know I have my flaws, but this girl was extremely immature and self-centered. She never seemed to realize how her actions could affect others. She was jealous, insecure, and you could not rationalize shit with her. I thought we could fix things and I invested so much of my time and energy trying to do so. I stopped talking to close friends because of mom even hater her! We broke up every other day, so when we finally DID break up in December '09; I felt depressed and I thought I had lost it all. I decided to put the relationship past me and I began to reconnect with old friends, my family, etc. I decided to enjoy life and do stuff to please myself, and no one else. Adios "witch" (everyone in my fam calls her that, lol).
3. (2010) Facebook saved my life
So after my breakup in 2009, I decided to give myself time before jumping into another relationship; I needed time to get to know myself more; I really wanted to get my shit together and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Come late January, someone added me on Facebook. This person and I had 4 mutual friends, I didn't think much about it and I accepted this friend request. I talked to this girl for hours through Facebook posts until I decided to ask her for her phone number. We texted and talked all weekend long and after three days of chatting, I told sent this girl a text message to say: "I LOVE YOU". 
A week passed by and we finally met in person...inside a Starbucks in Calexico. There she was, the girl of my dreams...Esmirna. We had/have so much in common, and we just understood one another. I wasn't really looking to start another relationship, but after getting to know Esmirna more and more I knew I wanted to be with her. I KNEW she was the one, I knew she was going to be my girl/future wife. When you know, you know. And there's no need to wait.
4. (2011) Life goals/plans can easily change
In late 2010 Esmirna and I decided to move to Phoenix to finish school and to be able to be together everyday (considering we lived two hours away from each other). I began working full-time at a call center and Esmirna continued her studies at the Art Institute. I SWORE to God that I wanted to follow my families footsteps and become a dentist; I had a VERY sudden change of heart and I decided to switch careers, and I began focusing on Finance and Economics.
Oh, and we adopted Zoey from the Humane Society. She is like my best friend (and I literally tell her that all the time, lol)

5. (2012) I married my best friend
2012 was crazy y'all; in April I got let go of my call center job and I was devastated because our wedding was in November..and we needed coin to pay for our wedding! Getting fired was like a blessing in disguise; I applied for a job at American Express and I got it! Seriously Amex is one of the best places to work for and move your way up. I began as a Customer Care Professional for Corporate Cards, I literally killed it for two years and I had the highest numbers within the entire Phoenix department! We're talking about 75+ employees; I ranked #1! I then applied for a Payroll position and I got the job. So many good things came out of Amex, and till this day Esmirna and I only use our personal (and now business) cards for our purchases.
  I made more money than what I was making prior to Amex; so we were able to pay off stuff for our wedding. Esmirna and I got married on Black Friday lol(November 23, 2012), and we had the best wedding ever! (Thanks to all of those who helped out!) On Monday we went back to work and school. =)
6. (2013) I began to blog
#OOTD. So I was always behind the lens taking photos of Esmirna's OOTD's. I've always been very expressive or artistic or whatever the hell you want to call it, and I wanted to showcase that side of me to others. I began to blog; part-time I may add, and I'm glad I began to do so back then. "Blogging" was still kind of fresh and new so there wasn't much competition. I learned the highs and lows and I decided to commit myself to blogging to possibly make it into an actual business in the future. I always wanted to start some sort of business and I felt like I had finally found the perfect one!
7.(2014) I got my Bachelor's Degree
I freaking finished my Bachelor's in Finance and Economics at Grand Canyon University! I don't know how I did it; I ran on about 4 hrs of sleep per day, I DOUBLED up on my classes just to finish in 2014 (my life-long goal was to have my degree before I turned 25), I worked 10+ hours per day and I would spend my lunch breaks couponing (yes cutting coupons) to go buy stuff after work. Side note:I STILL have a massive stockpile of detergent and stuff I couponed because I knew moving to San Diego would be expensive as hell!
8.(2015) I moved to San Diego
  So I turned in my last assignment on December 14, 2014....I was officially a graduate! it only took a few days to then quit my job at American Express and move to San Diego...the promised land! We lived with my in-laws for about a month; I then went back to Arizona (on my own) and I packed up my entire apartment in one big ass U-Haul (again all on my own) and I made my way to San Diego!

9.(2016) The Casual Boardwalk becomes an LLC.
I think it only took finishing school and moving to San Diego, anddddddd shooting with Henry (I love you Henry!) to realize I wanted to commit to blogging full-time and to make my platform grow more and more every day. I went from around 1,000 followers to over 30,000 in a little over a year. I hit 30k+ when I was at Coachella 2016 and Forever 21 reposted a photo across both their Instagram accounts! in 2016 I began to get the chance to partner up with brands and create content for them. "Gigs" started to pick up and I was making a decent amount of side money to pay for my blogging expenses: outfits, trips, photography. Henry kept pushing me to set up an LLC and I went ahead and filed all my blog then officially became a business!
10.(2017) I became a workaholic and it nearly destroyed my relationship
People don't realize that blogging is not all fun and games; you have to take photos, edit them, be active with your audience on Instagram, post, send photos to clients for approvals, come up with creative photoshoots, do pullings and fittings for your OOTDs...there's so much that goes into blogging that I sometimes get upset when people think you can just take a pic of your outfit, share it on Instagram and then call yourself a blogger/influencer. 
Please don't take me wrong, I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T post your outfits and what not on IG, I'm just saying that I wouldn't call myself a "blogger or influencer" if I wasn't truly committed to delivering unique content to my audience every single day! It's like calling yourself a vegetarian if you only eat LIKE a vegetarian once a week and you eat tacos every other day. I often get asked how to become a blogger and influencer, and my answer is mostly around the fact that you need to commit to what you want to share with your audience; so if you're doing Fashion or OOTD's...commit to that and don't be sharing your meals, or beautiful just confuses your audience on what your feed is all about. Pick a niche and stick with it. I know it can be hard and boring but trust me, it pays off! Once you grow your audience, you can then begin to "evolve" and you can share your #foodporn pics (on your feed) once or twice per month. Keyword: Curate your feed ;)
Anyways...I spend countless hours working on this blogging thing, and it took time away from spending it with Esmirna. I was spending less and less time with her, I seriously was more committed to my phone than my marriage. I'll be honest, we got into fights and disagreements and arguments. Seriously, every time I was trying to prove to Esmirna that I needed to give it my all to see a "return" on my investment. I think she then understood how committing to blogging had its perks when blogging itself helped pay off a big chunk of our debt, and I even bought her a Saint Laurent bag for her birthday! We still might have disagreements from time to time, but I think we are both on the same page and we understand how helping one another with our projects REALLY helps a lot in the long run.
11. (2018) I learned that life can be a d!ck, so I don't have to be one
  I can't begin to count the number of times I've encountered stuff not coming out as planned. I might plan a shoot on a specific date because my client needs the photos by a certain date, and it then begins to rain, or people cancel on me, or I get sick...or the one time my car was breaking down, or the time......ok I'm stopping right there because you all get the point. One thing I learned is to stay cool, and be cool. Don't stress over stuff you can't control. This motto should seriously be inked across my forehead "everything happens for a reason".
  And that is the honest truth! God/life/whoever you look up to or praise has a plan for you, and we just need to understand the silver lining behind each potentially negative thing that happens to us. I appreciate being in a shitty 3+ year relationship with the witch my ex: that helped me assess what I needed to work on from MY end and it helped me learn how to value and love my wife. I knew how to distinguish a bad relationship from a good one. ;) Now, when my VW broke down and no one could seem to fix it, I was able to trade it in and lease a brand new Jeep for a few more dollars per month. I swear, everything happens for a reason! Be open-minded and appreciate the good things in life. There's no reason why you should be so bitter and grumpy. Turn that frown around and live your life!
With that being said, thank youuuuuu all for following along the #AlexGoesBackToHighSchool series! I hope everyone enjoyed taking a trip with me down memory lane, and I hope y'all got to know me a little bit better. I love you guys/gals, thank you thank you thank you thank youuuuuu so much for all your support! Here's to the Class of 2008 and I'll see you all later this year at our reunion!


PS: sorry if there's any typos...I'll go over my post later this week! I've been writing this in between meetings and at my hotel room during my trip to LA!

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