Getting older comes with a lot of mixed emotions. There’s the notion of having to deal with the physical aspects of aging – which is most often dreaded, but then there’s the concept of getting wiser and more knowledgable as time passes. So far I can vouch for both of these, although I do appreciate my appearance more with age, and that raises the question – is it because I look better or because I’ve gained the knowledge and wisdom required to appreciate my looks? Before you think I’m about to go on a narcissistic trail of thought here, let me emphasize what I mean by “appreciating looks”; having the confidence to walk outside with no make-up and still feel good about yourself. Every year, around my birthday, I like to take the time to look back at some knowledge I’ve gained, and the wisdom I have earned. As mentioned in one of my recent posts, we’re constantly a work in progress, and it’s exciting to keep track of just how we’re changing.
I used to be the girl who couldn’t even get the mail without wearing some layers of a little something-something on my face. Now, I honestly don’t care. Now that I’ve realized that spending hours in front of the mirror doing something you’re about to spend significant amount of time removing later anyways takes away from going out and actually living your life. This all came to me as I started interning at Elizabeth and James last year. Wearing my full face of makeup in burning late-summer heat, I looked around at these wildly talented people and realized that none of them were wearing any makeup. And they never did – until Halloween came around. But on the following Monday it was back to being fresh-faced and glowing with happiness radiating from loving what you do. So I tried it – uncomfortable at first, but as the months progressed, I ditched several products. Now, I feel MUCH better than ever before, because the outside of your head doesn’t represent what’s in it! Also, I have more time to focus on living my life, not worrying about makeup and rather spend my time focusing on the real issues in life – such as wtf is going on with the US election? And who the hell are you to tell me that I can’t listen to show tunes?
A thing that has recently been bugging me is how this generation doesn’t effectively communicate – yet we somehow say and share too much. We’re all too busy creating a certain facade on social media, as we want people to think we are living a lifestyle that we construct. And then we judge people based on it, from all possible angles. The lines between honesty and fabrication are being blurred. And sometimes our need to maintain our image gets in the way of our relationships. Posting a picture of a person doesn’t build or heal relationships, and judging other people’s actions and decisions doesn’t make you a better person. And this all comes down do – what does social media really mean to us? Just because you read my blog, doesn’t mean that you know what truly occupies my mind on a daily basis. Because that’s not the part of me that I want to share. Look, I’m sooo guilty of the fabrication of the reality I share. It’s an evil spiral of “it’s not okay to share anything circulating towards you should keep it honest, but no one likes a whiner, yet no one will believe that your life is amazing all the time” etc. You figure this one out and let me know.
A third thing that the 23 year old me is quite aware of is my (get ready for some brutal honesty) need to keep everyone at an arm’s distance. When vulnerable, I turn in to this terrible person who has to argue everything and make sure that you leave me alone (a light variation of Voldemort with a normal face). If the walls are coming down, expect some serious fire before you get to pass (horcrux). The commitment issues are erupting from all possible places, and my emotional availability has been on stand-by for at least the past decade. Consider me dead inside. However, I’ve recently learned to feel something. Anything. And the song “Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells Your Story” made me cry – something I couldn’t even do when my grandpa passed away. I’m now realizing that I’m not a robot, but an actual person (clearly, being an award-winning student has nothing on my limited intelligence and skewed self-perception). And I cannot do everything by myself. I get by with a little help from my friends. And I sincerely apologize to everyone who has been exposed to my emotional crossfire. As mentioned, I’m a work in progress.
Other than writing one of the longest blog posts ever (if you’re still reading, I applaud you), this past year has been filled with knowledge and wisdom that I will forever be grateful for. If I were to write all of the most important this down, I’d be at 20,000 words by using short bullet points. I’m not afraid of getting older, because I know that every year, I become more self-aware – and I somehow manage to make myself a little better, along with caring more about the people around me. So bring it on wrinkles and knee problems, you have nothing on the knowledge and wisdom I’m about to soak up in the sea of life.
Pictures from the very last and most sentimental shoot with Mari Bockmann