Our story begins with the day that I read a tweet from Rogie King and replied thus:
His response, mere moments later, left me staring at the screen for 30 minutes.
You’re enough now.
I don’t think I’ll ever be express the whole of that feeling, but to say it hit like a truck would be a criminal understatement. A few exchanges later and I was in a DM group for a meetup that I could not have been prepared for.
Fast forward a month or so to the upcoming flight. I’m sleep-deprived. I have some pads and paper and not one single business card in sight. I wrestled with that feeling for a week only to come back to, “No one asked for those. No one cares. You were invited as-is, so go as-is.”
7 hours of planes and a few tacos later found me in Portland, OR on my way to a Nike store and full of tacos from Stella’s. Rogie and Zack met me soon after getting there and we walked to Powell’s where we talked and asked questions.
I’m really doing this. I’m out here and I have no idea what’s going to happen. This is f*cking awesome.
“This week is going to be the week of ‘YES’, OK?”
My first “YES” was impulse book-buying from Powell’s right after meeting the rest of the Haus crew.
Everyone was funny and upbeat. I determined I’d like whatever this week would turn into as Quentin and Chris skipped up the street.
I mentioned that it my birthday was the next day, so I was given eggs benedict and coffee in bed and I’ve never felt less deserving of anything all my life. I will hold Ryan responsible for this forever because he was the only person I told I even liked that particular food.
Reminder: I had not met even one of these people until the day before.
Let me tell you, there are good people in the world. They’re apparently in Portland designer meetups. I went to Multnomah Falls and took photos while avoiding certain doom with Jesse and Drew.
Most of my time was spent listening and then asking about things. We got some Lebanese food and returned to what we called the Designer Haus for a bit of a nap only to wake up to a gentle invite downstairs where there was a birthday cake waiting for me.
Another reminder: I had not met even one of these people until the day before.
It was cake and horror movies and trivia, but beyond all of that… care. Like care. At this point, I’m already lowkey resenting the whole idea of going home. At this point, Savvy pours out a puzzle and we start working on it. Light amusement turns into intense focus and we demolish it, cursing and laughing the whole time.
It’s 2:30AM. I need to sleep.
This is my last day. I ask myself really painful questions and write the answers in my journal. Afterward, I ask people how they became the cool designers they are. The answers have good and funny stories. I am alive with possibilities for things. Rogie asks me if I want to go to Creative South.
Listen, Rogie. At this point, I’m going anywhere you suggest, OK?
After a while of writing and plotting things out, I head off with the boys to have good Indian food and weird ice cream with Cacao fruit jelly. It’s delicious. I’ll work up to the Pear and Bleu Cheese ice cream some other time. The lady at the counter tells me that this scoop is on her and that I’m brave. I believe her. I believe everyone.
I listen to Jim, Chris, and Ryan talk. I could listen to them talk forever. They care so much about so many things and it makes my heart happy listening to how much they care about things.
We walk about for a bit and meetup with Scott for a chat and oysters, then it’s off to the Dribble meetup with the Haus crew. It’s fun. I talk to people about the things they do, they ask me how I ended up in Portland and I tell them that Rogie told me I was enough, so I went with it. We reminisce about 90s music in the car. The driver gets in on the enjoyment. We’re a car of laughing people crossing some indeterminate amount of bridges.
How does this city have so many bridges?
I still can’t believe I’m here and doing any of this. I’m going to hate flying home, but we keep the party poppin’ for the rest of the night. I talk to Scott and he tells me that I should take more risks. Darian gives me an enamel pin and lets me know I can talk to him any time. Jody and Rogie talk for a bit and give me hugs.
Eventually everyone sleeps except for me. I write a thank you note and hope they find it the next morning.
I’m awake until the Lyft comes to carry me to the airport. I’m high on this whole experience. I miss everyone and I’m still in Portland watching the sunrise. I have eggs benedict at the airport. They have a lot less love in them, but still taste good.
I need more of this. A lot more. Thanks for telling me I am enough, Rogie. Thanks for everything.