The heart knows.

Back in December I worked on a two-day video shoot, hosting a 30 minute informercial for a medical practice here in Charleston. The show started airing on the local stations recently, and the first time I saw it, I ran into the living room and turned the channel so the kids could watch. 

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"Hey look! There's mommy on TV," I said, trying to sound upbeat but not too eager.

"Oh, cool," Dillon said. Then a moment later: "Can you turn it back to Cartoon Network now?" 

"What? You're not interested in neck and back pain?" I actually said that, but I was only kidding, and of course I turned it back to their cartoon, after I made them watch for one, long agonizing minute. 

It was a fun job, and I was proud to see how it all came together. The best part was working with Ashley Brook Perryman, a professional hair and makeup artist. Fake eyelashes? Yes, please! They have a way of making you look miraculously awake, a temporary fix to eight years of sleep deprivation. Here we are after a long day of shooting, outside in the humidity, and the eyelashes are still intact. 

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But being in Ashley Brook's presence is what really transformed me during those two days. Have you ever been around someone who radiated such good energy, you could feel it rubbing off on you?

Working with Ashley Brook made my "happy job" radar go off. I developed this radar well over a decade ago when I was still working in TV news. I'd study the baristas as Starbucks, my personal trainer, my hairdresser, and even the recent college graduate I interviewed once... I was fascinated by that young woman's story. She'd switched her major from business to fine arts and followed her passion for making jewelry. When we met, she was working out of her house. Today, she has her own store on King Street.

All of these people seemed to have an important thing in common: they loved their work and it radiated. I didn't know if it was because they indeed had "happy jobs" or if it was just how their personalities matched with the work, or both. Either way, back then, I felt a deep longing for that something... I wanted a happy job, too.

So when I found myself sitting in Ashley Brook's makeup chair a few months ago, I wanted to know how she got to this place in her life. She told me that after high school, she was all set to go to college and major in interior design. But she had this nagging feeling, like it wasn't really her thing. She thought she wanted to become a professional makeup artist, but she didn't know exactly how that would work. So instead of heading straight to college, she spent a year doing the research. She decided to move cross country and went on to graduate from the Make-up Designory (MUD) of Los Angeles. Years later, she's back on the east coast and she's made quite a name for herself.

Ashley Brook Perryman breaking and entering (with permission) to retrieve her makeup chair that got left behind on our shoot. 

Ashley Brook Perryman breaking and entering (with permission) to retrieve her makeup chair that got left behind on our shoot. 

ABP directing the hair and makeup training for Charleston Fashion Week. 

ABP directing the hair and makeup training for Charleston Fashion Week. 

I told Ashley that I was so impressed by her level of awareness—even back then, at 18—and how she stopped moving in a direction that no longer felt right, and started moving in a direction that did. That deep knowing... that's what struck me. 

"It took me many years to get to that place in my life," I said. I wished I'd developed the kind of knowing that leads to action sooner. "But, on the other hand, if I hadn't spent all of those years in TV news, I might not be sitting here in this chair, working with you on this really fun, professional freelance shoot." 

And I let that sink in.

I know... now... that I wouldn't trade all those years I spent in a career I ultimately left. I can point to countless good things that came from it. And maybe my "happy job" radar was at work all along, when I switched my own major to journalism and transferred schools. When I sat in class eyeing the cute boy who is now my husband. When life choices led us across the country, and back to Charleston.

That radar is my soul—my heart. 

Each day it beats, magnet pointed out. When it finds the light it's seeking, it knows. It can't help but be pulled in. I find comfort in that one big thing I've found to be true. And I'm grateful for the people who remind me.

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