Interview 001: Rose Truesdale
I’ve been quietly working on a little project wherein I ask people I admire a bunch of questions about their path so far. It's an interview series I'm titling Infrequently Asked Questions because I like to think I'm clever, and because it's comprised of the types of questions I wish someone would ask me - questions that acknowledge the hard road that is becoming a substantive person; questions that require the interviewee to examine his or her purpose in a way that makes us readers feel like we're sitting in on someone else's therapy session (which is my idea of a good time, Idk about you.) I wanted like... soul information. And I wanted the process of answering them to be fun and enlightening.
In the interest of fairness, I've answered my own questions first. But from here on out, I'll be publishing a new set of responses from a different human weekly. For now, here's mine:
What character stuff have you had to actively work on over the past several years?
I have a tendency to slip into “peacemaker” mode, so learning to stick up for myself at the risk of inconveniencing others has never come naturally to me (lingering daddy issues. It’s cool.) Whether that means using my voice to ask for a raise, tell a guy I’m seeing that whatever we’re doing isn’t working, matter of factly inform someone I love that they hurt my feelings, bow out of a project that sucks up all my time but doesn’t feed me… acknowledging the importance of my comfort level with any given situation and addressing concerns therein is hard as shit! But my happiness is worth fighting for, and no one reaches badass status by letting other hapless humans run their life.
Other perpetual self-improvement themes include becoming more honest/ less wishy-washy, and checking my over-achieving, multi-tasking impulses before I become a smoldering heap of burnt-out zombie soot.
How are you doing on that stuff now?
Better. Not perfect. A friend recently made me a necklace emblazoned with the phrase “NOT YOUR BITCH,” which I wear under all my clothes like a sophisticated adult woman. Ok, I don’t wear it under ALL my clothes, but I have been trying to channel that sass, and the honesty and self-respect required to stop being an indentured watergirl and start being a boss. Truthfulness and self-care play into that, too, so I think (hope) that’s all on the upswing.
How would you describe your purpose?
I have a dual degree in vocal performance and poetry – a super practical life’s path I HIGHLY recommend if you want to be a millionaire. Not. I’ve also tested out several different jobs and side hustles: I’ve been a Chicago Chocolate Tours tour guide, an art school figure model, a hilariously uncoordinated burlesque dancer, a black belt in taekwondo… My most recent focus has been in the wellness sphere, which is my favorite sphere, so far. All this to say, I used to think that in doing this various and sundry stuff, I’d summon some glimmering purpose that defined my role in The Universe. Really, though, it all boils down to connecting with people. If I’m able to facilitate those connections via a creative pursuit, sweet! When someone tells me they relate to something I wrote, it’s the best feeling in the world. But creativity is really just the vehicle. The precious cargo/ end goal is SQUAD 4 LYFE.
(I feel like I should mention that my number one squad is my family. Hi Mom.)
Define your career... Then tell us how it's different then you thought it would be.
I’m doing business development, marketing and events for a wellness brand that marries all of the things I love: art, fashion, health, sustainable living, etc.. And I’m most drawn to projects that involve writing and partnering with likeminded brands, which in millennial speak means I like content creation and collaborative marketing. So. Cool. I thought I was going to be an opera singer.
Do you feel like you've made it yet? Have things clicked? Explain.
In some ways, yes. I have a much better idea of what my hirable skills are, and I know that those skills, in conjunction with my particular breed of social butterfly-ism, make me pretty damn desirable. But I’m still perpetually broke. I’m not my own boss, and I’d eventually like to be. I have in-unit laundry, though, so… benchmark hit!
How do you think others perceive your path? Do you care?
That all depends on who those “others” are. My family thinks I’m some sort of avant garde, purple-haired party girl, and they’re not wrong. My guess is they think I lack focus, and they’re not wrong about that either, though my twisty career journey is finally starting to make a little sense. A lot of my friends are avant garde party people, too, so we’re on the same page there. But across the board, everyone thinks I work too much, and I do care about that last bit because it’s true.
Speaking of others, how have your relationships shaped you?
This could be its own novel (and hopefully will be one day), but suffice it to say: girl power was a huge part of my upbringing. My mom showed my sister and I how to be ferociously independent and guard our freedom at all costs, while loving and supporting the people who stick by us... because women can do just fine as islands, but they'd be more content as peninsulas, you know? Mama Truesdale is also one of the most original, artistic people I know, so I feel incredibly fortunate to have been influenced by her gifts. Love you, Mom!
Bad relationships have positively shaped me, too. Growing up, I had to sort of invent my own world to mentally escape a nocuous environment. Pressure makes diamonds, though. I’m creative because life was nicer when I inserted a bit of imagination. In terms of friendships and romantic relationships, I think I gravitate toward people who accept me for who I am and feel no need to “shape” me, though I’m energized and encouraged by the people I’ve chosen to have in my life.
What's your perspective on life like now as opposed to 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Five years ago, I was fresh out of college. I loved my boyfriend and thought we’d be 2getha 4eva... until about 10 months later when he dumped my scrawny butt. I had an eating disorder that ruled my life, and a daily existential-identity combo crisis because I was having ZERO fun trying to be an opera singer, so I wasn’t really trying. I thought I had failed everyone. And I lived in a one-room studio wherein I could touch the stove from my bed. So, hot damn! Acknowledging that, I’ve come a pretty long way as a mostly functional, emotionally intelligent person with some direction. I’m definitely more accepting of myself, and I have more faith that everything will work out because thus far, it has.
Ten years ago I was an artsy fartsy seventeen year old. I was president of every club and I was also prom queen. I think seventeen year old me would think I was really neat, and would admire that I’m trying to build a life for myself that’s uniquely my own, because even at seventeen, I knew a career in opera was probably not the right choice for me. But I had to try it on, just in case!
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to feeling comfortable with stasis… that happens at some point, right? I don’t necessarily want to feel settled in a married with babies kind of way (definitely not now. Maybe not ever.) but I do want all of my emotional dust to clear, and I want a light at the end of my hustle tunnel. In the short term, I’m looking forward to unplugging a little bit and loving on my family over the holidays.
In your daily life, when are you happiest?
I’m legitimately happiest when I manage to sneak out of bed at the crack of dawn to drink obscene amounts of coffee and work on my own writing projects. That hasn’t been happening as often as I’d like lately, so I’m going to have to make a routine adjustment! And I’m lucky enough to see some of my close friends almost daily, so rehashing whatever growing pains we’re enduring is a circadian source of comfort.
On the other hand, how do you pull yourself out of a funk when you're in one? And how did you most likely wind up in said hypothetical funk in the first place?
Unsurprisingly, I pull myself out of a funk by doing the things that make me happy: I write and I emotionally cuddle with my friends. Duh. Who wrote these questions?! (I did.) I wind up in a funk when I'm burnt out and/or have been taking subpar care of myself, so eating a lot of green things and running and yoga-ing are important self-care practices of mine, as well.
Any other questions you wish someone would ask you?
Q: How did you come to be such a dazzling conversationalist? Are you willing to share your beauty secrets? What is your spirit animal?
A: Clearly, no one has ever asked me the first two questions, so I do not have answers prepared. But I’ve thought a lot about the last one, and I am a flamingo.