It is bright and early on Tuesday (well, on the West Coast) and I hope your Monday was stellar and shit.
Today, I wanted to do a tiny bit of reflection on growing up and fully becoming oneself. This post may get cheesy real quick— you’ve been warned. However, I would like to believe that I will touch on things that may make sense for some of you. Deal? Deal. Leggo.
Ten years ago, I was a completely different person (aren’t we all, though?). I mean- COMPLETELY different. My value system was not the same, I was a little stuck up, and —the biggest thing — I thought I had my whole life figured out. I was gonna graduate with a degree in finance, get married at 27 ish, move into a house with a white picket fence, adopt a puppy, get a job in my field of study and pop out 2 babies. Dunzo.
The thing is, I now realize that I never took the time to wonder whether I gave 2 shits about any of the things above. I mean— yeah, some of those are milestones that many of us seek in life, myself included. Still, looking back, I am a little shocked at the fact that NEVER even questioned whether this very path was MY path. I just accepted it as being so and charged ahead.
What I am wearing: Skirt: here, Top: here, similar here and here, shoes: here. Photo by Ringo Cheung in Hong Kong.
Fast forward a few years, life took some strange turns. I ended up in California, did not get married until 30, realized I hated finance, built a career in marketing and am in no rush to get babies ( I did get the puppy 🐶) . Here is the thing— I could not be happier with my current outcome. I am SO glad none of the things I wanted in my early twenties panned out; I realize today that I would have been miserable.
I do believe that the complete 180 described above happened as a result of me being forced into new beginnings (broke up with my longtime boyfriend, graduated from college, grew apart from my best friend at the time, moved across the country to grad school). Those events set me free and allowed me to actually pursue what I wanted, and not what was expected of me, because I had nothing left to lose. I learned a lot about myself in those few years and grew leaps and bounds.
Today, I would like to chat about what I learned through those defining moments. Please share some of your defining life moments in the comments as well, and let’s all grow together!
Growth Lesson 1: The people around you may love you, but they can’t see the world through your eyes.
This is literally the most important thing I have ever learned: just because people are nice does NOT mean you should listen to their advice. The fact that they love you and wish you to succeed does NOT imply they know what is best for you. And yes, that includes your closest friends and parents.
In grad school, I did exactly the opposite of what I had done my whole life (aka been prescribed by my parents). I went for a (more) creative degree, started a fashion blog (it was named Dafrastar too), and finally indulged into my love for fashion and beauty (that I had refused to nurture before because it felt vapid). I got to do what made me happy and still got a job after school, so win-win.
Growth Lesson 2: You can’t prevent mistakes, but you can learn from them.
Literally no one has ever learned anything without making mistakes. Not one single human.
Therefore, be sure that you will make a lot of them, and some very dumb ones at that. You will look back and wonder what you were smoking.😄
Still, the most important part of a mistake is not the deed itself, but what you learn about yourself and the changes you subsequently make. Growing up is realizing that you do not know everything, and that you always have an opportunity to make better choices for yourself and the people around you. Doing the same thing over and over is the definition of insanity. Don’t be insane, especially when you fall flat on your face a couple of times.
Growth Lesson 3: Listen to yourself, and have the courage to act upon what you hear.
To grow up —truly grow up— one has to be very, very honest with themselves.
Work on listening to yourself, understand your own wants and desires, but also make a solid inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, with courage, work on forging your own unique path, based on who you are and what you know you can achieve. Don’t be delusional, but give yourself some credit.
My personal example: I always knew I was good at languages, but I went to a high school focused on math and physics because it was the prestigious thing to do. It was a horrible 4 years, where I saw my grades dwindle and my insecurities soar. On the surface, I was cool as a cucumber; deep down, I was battling with the truth, which was that I was not cut from the same cloth as my classmates. I painfully made my way through graduation, but guess what: a few months ago, I met 2 of my previous classmates a few days apart. Without talking to each other, they both wholeheartedly agreed that I should have never gone that path. See??? I was fooling no one!
Growth Lesson 4: People don’t care, so you might as well do you, boo.
This one stings a little, but is still very true. People are all looking for their own happiness, and spend exactly 0.01 seconds a day thinking about you and what you do. Shying away from taking on new challenges or trying new and better things because of “what people will say” is literally the dumbest thing you can do. Period.
Growing up means realizing that what people think about you is absolutely none of your business. Not always easy to remember, but true. Live for you!
Growth Lesson #5: Be open and be kind.
A common thread with all the lessons above is acting on new things; this one is more about attitude. A major part of growth is being open to new people, cultures, experiences, ways of life— overall, things that are deeply different from the usual. I truly do believe that no growth happens in a silo. Living a sheltered life surrounded by similar people can lead to intolerance and overall ignorance about the world.
My biggest learning experience was moving to the US. My 2nd biggest learning experience was actually opening myself up to the American way of life, which did not happen until a few years in, when I stepped out of the protective “International Student Posse” bubble. Interacting with people who were very different from me was scary, but oh so useful. In most cases, curiosity turned into tolerance which then morphed into acceptance. I learned a lot more about myself than I learned about others in this discovery process, and the exchanges created by my new openness broke a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions I did not even know I had. I do believe that I am a more mature and better-rounded person as a result.
As a conclusion, guys, growing up has nothing to do with age. It has everything to do with discovering oneself, making peace with it and using this newfound identity to reach for others and for the stars. I personally strive to keep seeking growth every day, and I hope you do too.
On to the outfit!
So, I went to Hong Kong over Christmas. It was an amazing experience in and of itself, but I took advantage of my time there to do a photo shoot. When I tell you it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, I am NOT exaggerating. I will eventually dedicate a whole post to that whirlwind of a day, but man— was it intense, and incredibly fun!
The bustier: This is a random studded leather bustierI got from Forever 21 EONS ago. It made my “Donate” pile more than once, but somehow always made its way back to my closet. It is not super supportive, the cups have the depth of the teaspoon and it digs into my armpit fat, but I still love this cheap little number. Not meant for busty ladies AT ALL, and mostly sold out (except here). Similar here and here.
The skirt: I fell in love with this skirt several moons ago on Etsy, and I finally got to wear it! It is exactly what it looks like: a huge, voluminous tulle skirt that serves you drama by the fistful. It needs no petticoat to poof up, which I love; however, it wrinkles VERY easily; I ironed it for 1 hour before it could be photoshoot ready. It just makes everything look grand; I am not giving up on finding a way to dress it down though. Watch me.
OK – Dassit!!!!
Thank you guys so much for rocking with me; share some thoughts below! What did you learn when you grew up?
Until next time,