Sometimes we have ideas about ourselves that turn out to be completely false. Take me, for example – lately I’ve realized I’m totally wrong when I say…
I like to be alone.
I have a friend that’s single and I always used to say to her: “But it’s great to go on vacation by yourself, are you kidding, I dream of doing that!” Until the day I decided to make that dream a reality by going alone to Bali to reevaluate my life a few summers ago.
I understood pretty quickly why she made a face when I was waxing poetics about solitude.
I arrived, feeling thrilled, I got settled in my room (I’d been careful to choose a gorgeously sublime hotel, of course) and I was radiating joy and congratulating myself for being an accomplished, independent, and even adventurous woman (Yeah right, maybe a palace survivor or something).
I started my journal with grand words on life and the wonders of being alone, I went to a yoga class to reconnect with my deep inner self, I had a massage to release all the tension of my suuuuper stressful life, and after a day and a half, me, my new age B.S. and my me me me, all started to get bored to death.
I was lucky, though, because I connected really quickly with a great girl (vive the blog!) named Bella, who had grown up in Bali, and she literally saved my vacation. Three days later, I was partying at her house and running all over Bali with her and her friends.
That trip taught me to completely de-romanticize the idea of traveling solo. And to stop saying stupid things to my friends (“I dream of going on vacation alone!”) when I don’t know what I’m talking about. Ok ok, I do know some people who really do like to vacation alone.
But it’s not as easy as it looks. For me, solitude is good in little bits at a time. Like, for a few hours. I need to share with others, meet people, and talk. And party! I’m just a deeply social person. I know, I probably could have just asked you all, you could have told me!
I’m a city girl.
It’s probably my childhood in Corsica, in a small town with a kind of well, a small town mentality that inspired my fascination for the big cities.
But if I were actually a city girl, I’d take advantage of the city more often. In my opinion, a city girl is someone like my friend Delphine. She rides her bike everywhere. She always knows about the latest exhibits, shops, and cultural events, and she’s always trying new restaurants.
Me, I’m not a very good city dweller. After the initial discovery period where I pounded the pavement from East to West and North to South, now I’m the one who always misses art shows (even the ones that last six months) and I’m still faithful to the same restaurants I liked at the beginning (sure, I’ve tried new ones, but I’m definitely not laying in wait) and I’m always trying to come up with a plan to get out of the city.
It took me a long time to realize, but maybe (probably) one day, I’ll go live in a more relaxed place with simpler pleasures, like going swimming whenever I want, like when I lived in Corsica – and I’ll go back to the city for inspiration, I’ll fill up on its energy and creativity (I’ve just come back from Tokyo, such an incredible city, so inspiring, so vibrant!) I’ll go to all the art shows, and people will call me a country bumpkin, hahaha.
Because as we all know, it’s when we visit a city that we actually have time to take advantage of all it has to offer. When we live there, we just endure it. Except for the true city girls who love it to death, like Delphine!
I’m crazy about fashion.
No, it’s true, I do love fashion. For a long time, I didn’t raise an eyebrow when people talked about my “passion for fashion” (I love how that sounds in English – you have to say it with a posh English accent haha) But I think saying I’m crazy about fashion is a bit of an exaggeration. For some people, fashion is an all-consuming passion, a religion, a lifestyle.
Me, I’m not a huge fan of shopping. I have a theory about this: it’s not that I don’t like shopping, it’s just that there are very few shops that really inspire me. In Tokyo, I can tell you, I was pretty much walking around with my debit card in my teeth, that’s how excited I was to buy things there. But despite all the efforts of online stores, I have a hard time getting inspired when I shop online. Seeing millions of clothes in pack shots just doesn’t excite me.
I’ve known girls who are truly crazy about fashion, and nothing stops them. They know their credit card number by heart, they can see themselves in clothes without trying them, and they always have a good reason to want a new pair of shoes.
But not me, so much.
I love beautiful clothes, but having too many makes me dizzy, like eating a meal that’s too rich. Super sophisticated fashion series with geometric poses in magazines make me ask questions about the meaning of life (when are you supposed to wear that? To go where?) And my favorite style is always the simplest and most relaxed.
That’s why I started this blog by taking photos of people in the street. After that, street style kind of exploded, and people started asking me questions in interviews like: “Since you’re such a fashion addict, can you tell us some of your shopping secrets?” “Hmmmm, uhhhh…buy less?” because basically what I was looking for from the beginning was cool fashion on real girls.
When I see friends who are editors or bloggers, the pleasure they get out of creating outfits, spending hours online looking for good deals…all of that makes me tired just thinking about it, so I think, no, I’m actually not so crazy about fashion after all. At least not in that way.
When I like something, I wear it every day, in a million different ways. My recent love for white Repetto Zizi’s has been causing some serious Instagram problems, by the way. The other day, I swear I told myself people were going to think I only had one pair of shoes, which shows 1/ my modern stupidity and 2/ how social media pushes us all to consume more.
I love fashion for what it says about us. I like fashion that makes a person beautiful and doesn’t draw attention to itself, I like when it reveals something about your personality. I like clothing that has patina, I’m not always running after new things every month. I like to see the same piece of clothing more than once on a person, and I like to think I carry my handbags often enough that they’ve kind of become a part of me.
It’s funny, don’t you think? The ideas we have about ourselves, whether they come from other people labeling us, or we’ve created them all by ourselves… What about you? Do you have ideas like that about yourself?
Translated by Andrea Perdue.