Inspiration / Life / Refined by Fire

Refined by Fire : Beautiful Beginnings | Arielle Estoria


Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria

Photos c/o Dani Dazey, Vanessa ToddKara McFarlaneKaren Marie

Born and raised in foggy Northern California, Arielle Estoria Leda Wilburn is a writer, speaker and creative. Her ultimate purpose behind her work, and in life, is a diligent pursuit of instilling and reminding people of their worth through words. She is made of sass and good intentions, and has a deep love for car karaoke, brunch and flowers.

No one really told me what would happen after the jump, they just kept telling me to jump.  It was as if everyone around me knew that my life was going to be so much bigger than anything I could have imagined except me. 

The year before graduating college was filled with terrifying moments of uncertainty.

Do I go to Grad school?

Do I go home back to Northern California and live with my parents?

Do I get a “normal” job and work for ‘the man” (whoever he is) for the rest of my life?

It’s almost as if the moment you step off that stage, you have to have it all figured out: where you’re going to live and what you’re going to be.  And I missed that whole get a husband by the time you’re out of college memo, so I was figuring all of this out on my own and hardcore stressing out about it.

Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria

Eventually that day in May came around and I walked across that stage with no plan to grab at the end of it.

I woke up the next day thinking I had missed something, this wasn’t “my plan” and I felt as though I didn’t have any purpose.

“I’m just going to move home” became my safety statement for anytime I felt like giving up, or felt scared of not knowing what was coming next.

Shortly after graduation I got a job, then another one, and another one — until having less than two jobs felt weirdly abnormal.

Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria

I hustled all day and all night but I was happy and felt filled with purpose, until one of those jobs came crashing to an end. I wasn’t being paid, I wasn’t at peace in the work environment and I knew that bad things were happening behind closed doors.

I had to leave, but I grieved the loss of a connection I had hoped would make all my dreams of becoming a poet come true.

I was back to not one or two but six jobs – doing all that work just to (barely) feed one person.

What in the world was I doing?

Was this my purpose–to live life as a struggling artist?

Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria

I never would have imagined that not even two years later I would be traveling and doing poetry, that I would have gigs every month doing what I love. No one told me and yet everyone knew, except me.

The fun part is not knowing because if we did, it would deter us from enjoying the journey of it all.

Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria

I had the honor of writing and performing a poem for The Yellow Conference, a conference equipping and encouraging creative entrepreneurial women. The 2017 theme was, “The Present Journey” because we can get so caught up in where we’re going and how we’ll get there but ignore the importance of the moments it takes us to get there. This is a snippet of the poem I shared with them below, in hopes that it would also encourage you and your journey.

Where you are right now 

Is exactly where you should be

Your story is not any slower or less important than anyone else’s

And your journey is not in vain,

it is the very place where you slowly become 

exactly who you are meant to be 


See it’s not about where we are going

It’s about how we are getting there 

It’s about every small beginning before our first leap

It’s about how we ignored fear and decided to take the first leap 

It’s about how we are still afraid and yet we do it anyway


Where you are going, will not be the most magical

The most magical is in the mountains you climbed to get there

It’s about how resilient and brave you were to keep climbing


Remember how you got here

the little beginnings, the soft whisper of starting

The tug on your heart that convinced you that you were made for more

Because you were made for made

The uncertainty you felt and yet the passion to keep going 

Dedicating your life to whatever may come your way 

Every tedious step, a beautiful addition to the story — to your story 


So embrace the JOURNEY

You are not done yet

For it is only the most beautiful beginning 

Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria Refined by Fire | Arielle Estoria

Take in all these moments, even the really hard ones. The moments when you’re crying on your bedroom floor or in your car.

The moments when there’s no money in your account and someone offers to take you to lunch–put your pride down and go eat the free food!

Take in every beautiful and hard valley moments so that you can appreciate the view from the mountain. Take a deep breath, know that you are filled with purpose, and enjoy the journey.


Arielle Estoria







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