I wanted to write you a hilarious post about summer Instagram use (I swear, it would have been so funny. Next time…), but instead I felt like giving you a real update.
And when I opened my Instagram, I saw this quote:
“The important thing is this: to be able, at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” By Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
I don’t really know who he was (after Googling, it looks like he was the guru of the Beatles, among others) but his words really resonated with me.
It’s so great and strange to be able to document your own life. Especially when you try to be authentic and don’t say too much nonsense like “everything is amazing, we’re laughing so hard over here with our perfectly thin bodies!” – and you try to stay true to yourself.
Especially when you go through profound changes and you don’t even recognize yourself.
In three years’ time, without making any sensational announcements, I slowly left the world of fashion shows (I just couldn’t do it anymore), I fell in love (yeesssss), tried to get pregnant (it didn’t work), changed cities (finally!), bought a house (one of my life’s dreams) and on the inside, I went through a kind of revolution that I think I can finally (well, I hope, anyway, because revolutions are exhausting) look back at.
It’s strange how we can get stuck on an image of ourselves. Often, when we’re young, we say: “I want to find my place in the world!” That’s good. But once you’ve found it, sometimes you get stuck there. So be careful not to find too much of a place.
I think I was kind of paralyzed by my place, in a way.
By the things people expected of me – well, mostly by what I thought people expected of me.
For example, I thought my loyalty to you, my readers, had to be impeccable.
I thought I had to continue posting here regularly, no matter what happened in my life. For a long time, that regularity was a great exercise for me, pushing me past the limits of my creativity and shyness.
If I got sick? No worries, dig down deep and find something to write. Devastated by a breakup, a health problem? No worries, just keep going. It was like how I kept going to fashion shows even after I was really tired of it. Or how I stayed in some relationships long after their expiration date.
I think I had such a desire to be the good girl who does everything right, and to prove I deserved the success I’d achieved, that I lost track of what I really wanted, and what really made me happy.
That led to a lot of different things. I didn’t feel good, and that’s probably why my friendships were shaky, I made some not-so-great life choices, gained an uncomfortable amount of weight, my inner monologues weren’t the best…the list is endless. For a long time, I tried to address the symptoms (come on, you have to exercise, come on, you have to meet more people, come on, you have to work a little more) without ever getting to the root of the problem.
At one point, I had gotten so used to trying to do things “the right way,” I couldn’t even make a decision by myself anymore. I was looking on the outside to tell me what I was supposed to want.
I want to talk to you about that, because I think it happens to women pretty often.
We have the ability to push ourselves past our limits and to be self-sacrificing, which can be wonderful, but also toxic.
And we can take that really far, and it can make us incredibly unhappy. But the truth is, these days, we will all live more than one life.
We need to redefine the idea of “finding our place,” the different paths to getting there, and what it means to have a career. Give ourselves the freedom to have some downtime.
And we shouldn’t hesitate to let go of the person we used to be to make room for the one we could become.
And as I’ve said before, we need to demystify the notion of “success.” Nothing bugs me more than the model of success presented to women these days. Under the guise of pushing us to feel “fulfilled,” it tells us we have to be completely photogenic (from head to toe, in addition to having a perfect house and perfect vacation, and with social media, nothing really belongs to us anymore), we have to be a doting mother, a paragon of health, and of course, have an absolutely thrilling career. All the while being politically correct, a feminist, and a philanthropist.
In my opinion, trying to force yourself into that mold is the complete opposite of success.
Having a perfect life is an exhausting and often lonely work.
Relaxing and pursuing what makes you happy, on the other hand, that’s when it gets interesting.
Connecting with your real desires sounds very cliché, and it can be super frustrating because it’s probably the hardest thing to do when you’ve always been taught to please others, whether it’s your parents, your friends, your partners or society in general.
But it’s worth a try, even if you just take it one step at a time.
(Which is actually one of the reasons why I love Guillaume Canet’s film Rock’n Roll, it’s on iTunes if you haven’t seen it).
So sometimes it’s important to get a little out of place. And not do what is expected of us. To surprise people, disappoint them, break things off, make mistakes, and live your life.
Oh, and before I go, I also wanted to say: whatever you do, whether you’re really in tune with yourself or not, there’s never a moment when you finally “make it” and you can just let go of everything because you’re “perfectly happy.” Life is so much bigger than clichés, life is a journey.
OK, I’m not going to get into the details of my private life today (but I will soon). I just wanted to give you a real update, because you’ve been asking me for one for a while. Thanks for checking in, by the way, it warms my heart!
Translated by Andrea Perdue