the love of a pup can heal all
I have had more medical procedures and undiagnosed discoveries than a 70-year old woman. To paint a clearer picture, I am only in my mid-20s and otherwise live a healthy and active lifestyle. My health has been a whirlwind since as far back as I can remember. Up until 2 years ago, I had managed to stay afloat, but my body decided to jolt me back to reality and remind who was in charge. It began to collapse on me. Then I was hit by a bus, my safety, my security was stolen from me. My safe haven, my home was burglarized. The fragile infrastructure that I had tried so hard to keep together was cracking and crumbling under my feet. I realized that it wasn’t in my control, but what was in my control was the actions I could take to build myself back up.
No matter what medicine was tried, no matter what procedure was performed, the results came back as inconclusive. I became a medical marvel between my specialized team of 3 doctors who soon began to drift away without clear diagnosis and an unknown conclusion. I knew deep down it was bigger than medicine, but it seemed like my voice was just not loud enough to be heard.
At the same time as I tried to make sense of what was happening to me, Milo, my adorable pup, hit a stump too. He began to show and share similar symptoms. My family joked that it was because we were so close and interconnected. Our story is better left for another time, but we have always been tied together by the hip- or is it tail? The justification for why this was happening to him rattled me to my core because I felt so helpless. The same helplessness my parents and sisters shared towards me. I pulled everything within me to show them courage, resilience, and strived to do whatever was in my power to make them smile, laugh, or even just hear a small giggle.
This gave me hope. They gave me hope. I was determined to not to give-up, which I think is actually in my blood due to how driven both of my parents are. It is in my DNA and I really can’t explain it. I was told numerous times by various doctors that I “just needed to get over it,” that I was “making up my symptoms,” and “I needed to talk to someone.” But, I knew it wasn’t that simple and I was talking, actually very loudly, but no one could hear me. I knew the only person to cure me was me.
turn in health to making the career change jump
Hope combined with faith became my medicine. It consumed me and I loved the feeling. I cleaned my diet, I began to meditate and practice yoga, I began acupuncture, and I ran, I ran like there was no tomorrow (and still continue to run). The journey was long, the cure was painful, and it took 20 pounds and 2 years away from me, but I wasn’t going to be defeated. Surprisingly, I felt no anger or frustration for what I was going through, even to this day, because I feel like ultimately it helped me realize something bigger. It helped me grow and learn how fragile life is, how quickly something can be taken away from you, how valuable the little things are like family and love, and it made me realize happiness, love, faith, and hope can cure anything.
As I grew stronger, I drove my energy into my then accounting career, but I realized I was only driving it into the ground. Plus, it was slowing down and reversing the progress I had made on my health. I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, I was doing what I needed to in hopes that I would one day enjoy in the future. But, I am not a quitter so I pushed it aside and continued to give it my all. Even though I was so determined, the universe had something else in mind for me. I was given an ultimatum from my employer. I could take some time off to focus on my health and recovery, or if I had to continue to be away from the office (even with the approval of my doctors), they would have to let me go. This was scary and exciting all at once. I felt as if the door slammed in my face, but I was on a balcony overlooking the ocean with a cocktail in my hand. It was sort of relieving.
The decision was tough especially with my traditional parents in the background fearing my TBD future and leaving a financially stable career. I realized that I wanted to live a life of purpose with health and happiness at the forefront, not a life for a pay check. My health was more important to me than anything money could buy, and I knew that I wanted to focus on that. As well as deep down, I knew I wanted to do something that mattered. I wanted to make a difference, live a life where I enjoyed every moment, and I wanted to help empower those around me to do the same. Luckily, my parents couldn’t agree more with my decision.
finding purpose & passion
With my health as my primary focus, I realized very quickly that my passions had always been in front of me. I had just avoided them and pushed them to the back and into the darkness because I feared that they were not realistic. Two years back, I had begun to sketch and design as a way to release my creative energy. I had also begun to work as a personal stylist on the side to help support my medical expenses. I had always been passionate about sustainability going back to college when I worked with green organizations at my alma matar. I just never thought to put all my passions together. The clear vision of putting my health and happiness first brought all these miniature pieces of me back to light. It gave me life, and what I longed most purpose.
Through this realization, milo+nicki was born. Milo and I are an energetic duo that love hard and care deeply. Both of our lives have been full of highs and lows, but we have never skipped a beat on lifting each other up. We want to bring that same happiness, confidence, love, care, and authenticity to women all over the world. Through our brand, we hope to empower the ever-evolving women to conquer her fears, take a leap of faith, never give up on herself, and live a life full of color, even when it seems like it would just be easier to give up.
We personally know it definitely isn’t easy, but we are here and we believe in the power of being stronger together. By combining our vibrant, Indian and Zambian cultural roots with our passion for sustainability, living cruelty-free, and our bold personalities, we hope we can help women feel strong, confident, and empowered while tackling all that is thrown their way while letting their true colors shine.
Because all women are beautiful, tough, and brave. Milo and I know so and want all women to feel so.
Nicki is a personal stylist, avid runner and the founder of milo+nicki, a sustainable women’s ready-to-wear line designed to empower the ever-evolving woman through the vibrant colors of her culture, traditions, and life experiences. milo+nicki advocates for gender equality, sustainable living and animal rights through conscious, cruelty-free design and manufacturing in the USA.
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