August 08, 2011

We can't escape our essence*

andrea_superhero_boots_600.jpg
Me and my favorite red boots, photo by Tracey Clark, Canon Digital Rebel XSi

I had a revelation while watching Project Runway recently.

Project Runway is the show Heidi Klum hosts where a group of designers go through a series of design challenges-- like using only party supplies or newspapers and make (mostly) outrageously beautiful and interesting garments. It's thoroughly inspiring, and in a world where nearly every show is full of violence and other nonsense, I love that this show is totally inspirational and creative nonsense.

You should know that there was a moment in my early 20's when I considered fashion design school. I come from a long line of clothing and shoe retailers, passionate shoppers, and even a textile designer thrown in there somewhere. So the fashion thing is kinda in my bones.

While watching Project Runway the other day though, I had this moment (when the contestants were behaving badly) that I thought, Oh thank god I didn't go to fashion design school. Those so wouldn't have been my people! And then, a beat later, I realized something even more true: I would be exactly who I am right now if I had gone down that path. Sure, I'd be better dressed, probably with a cuter haircut and better makeup skills. I might have an online clothing boutique instead of a list of e-courses, but fundamentally I would be the same person offering the same service to the world.

Ultimately, I can't escape who I am.

I played the fantasy out even further. I imagined a blog, similar to this one, where I talked about creativity, fashion, working for myself, what inspires me, etc. It might be more of a fashion/design blog, but it's spirit would still be the same. Can you picture it?

I believe that the way we are meant to serve the world, ultimately what's underneath everything we do, is immovable. Whether I was online or not, into fashion or food, photography or swinging on a trapeze, my message would be the same. The way I live my life would be the same. The way I am moved to serve is the same regardless of the form it takes.

Is this true for you too? Is there something that you have always brought to every job you've ever had? Play? Compassion? Creativity? Generosity?

Even while I was working in a clothing boutique in San Francisco all those years ago, I was often playing Mondo Beyondo style games with the other women who worked there. We would be bored during a lull with no customers, and I would suggest a game. I'd pull out a pad of paper and ask everyone in the store what totally outrageous and wonderful thing they'd like to have happen in their lives. Then we would write them down on tiny slips of paper and hide them underneath the cash register. Every few months or so we would pull them out and see if they came true yet.

We can't escape who we are.
We can't escape our essence.
Nothing is wasted because we brought ourselves along for the ride every time.
Don't despair. There are no mistakes. No matter what path you are on, you are on your path. And every day, every moment, is an opportunity to bring your best self to it.

Posted on August 8, 2011 08:41 AM
Comments

I love this post & I love how you celebrate who you are! You are an incredible role model. THANK YOU!!

Posted by: Mollie at August 13, 2011 12:03 PM

thank you. this is a key to inner peace, that i need desperately some times. love your blog!

Posted by: Claudia at August 12, 2011 01:26 PM

Oh thank you for this. I really needed to read these words today. I think I'll read them every day for the next week.

Posted by: Rockyann at August 11, 2011 02:45 AM

Recently I reconnected with my first college boyfriend on Facebook, we had not seen or heard from each other in 27 years. We only dated for 3 months our first semester of college and I never understood why he dumped me. He called me a few days after we found each other and I asked him that question. He said that I was so sweet and generous and always had a smile on my face and he wanted to save me from his own sarcastic/sardonic personality. The funniest part is that neither one of us has changed a bit, but I didn't realize that I was sweet and generous then, I thought it was something I figured out later...funny, no?

ALSO, I love, love, love Project Runway. When I was a kid/teen I used to pick out fabric and patterns and my mother made my clothes. She even made my wedding gown and all the bridesmaids dresses. I can't sew myself, but I guess I was designing stuff. Watching that show makes me SOOOO wish I could sew.

Posted by: Sarah at August 10, 2011 02:17 PM

Recently I reconnected with my first college boyfriend on Facebook, we had not seen or heard from each other in 27 years. We only dated for 3 months our first semester of college and I never understood why he dumped me. He called me a few days after we found each other and I asked him that question. He said that I was so sweet and generous and always had a smile on my face and he wanted to save me from his own sarcastic/sardonic personality. The funniest part is that neither one of us has changed a bit, but I didn't realize that I was sweet and generous then, I thought it was something I figured out later...funny, no?

ALSO, I love, love, love Project Runway. When I was a kid/teen I used to pick out fabric and patterns and my mother made my clothes. She even made my wedding gown and all the bridesmaids dresses. I can't sew myself, but I guess I was designing stuff. Watching that show makes me SOOOO wish I could sew.

Posted by: Sarah at August 10, 2011 02:16 PM

This is very comforting to me. As a person who continually asks if I am serving out my purpose in this one life I have to live, your words bring me peace that I truly grasp. Thank you.

Posted by: Hands Free Mama at August 10, 2011 09:59 AM

FIJWyQPh

Posted by: tncQhAe at August 10, 2011 09:59 AM

This is very comforting to me. As a person who continually asks if I am serving out my purpose in this one life I have to live, your words bring me peace that I truly grasp. Thank you.

Posted by: Hands Free Mama at August 10, 2011 09:59 AM

Thank you for this Andrea, the thought of this brings me back to base and I think I'm going to be mulling this over throughout the day. It kinda reminds me of something an old yoga teacher used to tell us: "wherever you are is perfect".

Posted by: Mel at August 9, 2011 11:49 PM

I definitely needed this message today. Thank you!

Posted by: Desiree at August 9, 2011 04:30 PM

Gosh, Andrea, lately you are so especially inspired. When you hit one of these beautiful streaks, I am reminded of the reason why I've been following your blog for years. There are moments where we all likeminded people seem to be hitting the same magic spot at the same time, and one of us stands up and says so. And I can always be sure you stand up quite often. Thank you.

Posted by: Marina at August 9, 2011 04:28 PM

true-er words were never spoken.....

Posted by: marilee pittman at August 9, 2011 12:39 PM

I think this is so totally true. Thanks for reminding me at just the right time that my path is the one who is supposed to happen.

Posted by: Suki at August 9, 2011 10:52 AM

jeez louise, i love you! every time i read a new post from you it just RESONATES! many, many thanks to you here in this virtual community you have created.

peace,
robyn

Posted by: Robyn Moore at August 9, 2011 10:44 AM

Thank you for this...I read it late last night before bed and have sat with it all day today....you are so right! I enjoy your blog so much....thank you for sharing yourself with the world.

Posted by: elizabeth at August 9, 2011 10:33 AM

Love this.

Posted by: Meagan at August 9, 2011 07:23 AM

Is age 39-40 when you get to be this wise? Because I have no idea how I'm going to gain that wisdom in the next 2-3 years!!!

I have always bugged my friends for crazy "photo opps." My favorite is me pretending to give birth to a golden buddha statue in Maui after a few too many mai tais.

Posted by: LauraC at August 9, 2011 05:53 AM

this is delicious and resonates deeply, as last year when we moved, i came across 10-year-old journals. when i read them, i realized that my essence, desires, hopes, and musings have remained largely the same (even as dreams have been realized and as i have, hopefully, become more conscious on the journey). thank you for sharing these insights, andrea.

Posted by: melissa at August 9, 2011 05:24 AM

As always, your posts seem to speak directly to me at a time I need the message the most.

Going through a divorce, even one that was my choice, has left me feeling lost, unsure of myself, and overall pretty glum. I often wonder what kind of person I would turn out as if I were staying married versus choosing to leave a marriage that was very sad. What kind of mom I will be either way, what kind of artist, what kind of business owner.

To your point though, I am me. I give myself to the world in a way that is unique, like no one else (we all have our individual way of sharing ourselves and our talents with the world), and that will still be there whether I am single, married, still working in the insurance field or finally doing my photography full time. The setting doesn't matter, it's the main characters that make the difference.

Thanks for the post, and for the blog. And for the record, I also wanted to be a fashion designer when I was in my early 20's. I wouldn't mind borrowing the better haircut and better clothes from that girl, otherwise, I'm happy with where my path took me, or where I took my path.

Posted by: Samantha D at August 9, 2011 05:23 AM

And if you had that "other" blog, you'd probably have the same readers who all think you're amazing!

Posted by: nina at August 9, 2011 05:13 AM

Thank you for that Andrea. I suddenly feel at ease with the start of my day :)

Posted by: lucy at August 8, 2011 11:33 PM

Wow! That's such an amazing concept, I'd never really thought about life and possibility and essence in that way before... but I see the truth in what you are saying.
It's funny, because I had recently been pondering my aspirations at 17 and 27 and wondering what to make of myself at 37 in relation to those dreams. I'd been bordering on regret, but now I see that I may not have ended up all that far away from where I am now... and thank goodness!
Thank you, as always, Andrea for your wonderful insight. Your words and images are such powerful catalysts for change (for the better!).
Kat xx
PS While we're on fashion, where did you get that stunning dress you wore in the photo on your July 25 post (on the beach in Oregon)? Please tell me they ship o/s!!! :-)

Posted by: Kat at August 8, 2011 09:09 PM

Oh my goodness....these words could not have come at a more perfect time.

I think we are exactly who we are. We cant escape it. We must embrace it. Even looking back to when I was a child, the same core things were there with me. It is just me....I can't deny it or run from it. It is beautifully uniquely me. And that is a wonderful thing.

Thank you for this Andrea. I really needed to read these words today.

Posted by: Jennifer at August 8, 2011 07:52 PM

RE: The superhero boots!

they are made by Fornarina and I've been searching ebay high and low for another pair. I'm a 37 if anyone finds them!
:)

Posted by: andrea scher at August 8, 2011 07:30 PM

Yes - please share where those boots are from. they ROCK. And I'm not sure. I tend to be rebellious wherever I go. On some level. Even when I am my own boss. I take that everywhere I go! rebellion! It is a great strength too - I must say. I am always researching things from all angles and I don't take some thing at face value - I have to figure out what it is in my own way - and if it is for me or not. I'm also always pretty down to earth, open to learning, and always craving being independent and creative. I also love to help others so even when I was selling wrapping paper and rubber stamps at paper source I loved helping people. so I guess I would always be a bit rebellious, down to earth, and helping others while craving creativity and independence. hmmm. Interesting.

Posted by: Catherine Just at August 8, 2011 07:19 PM

You are a fountain of wisdom. I'm blown away by the honesty and bizarre timing of your posts more often than I comment. But for this and all of the ones that came before it, thank you for sharing these little hits of clarity and truth.

Posted by: Micheline at August 8, 2011 07:09 PM

I agree. I really do. Thank you for bringing this topic up. It's good to take a sec to recognize that there is this thing we can count on about ourselves. No matter what I have done, my essence has shown up (even when my head may have said it didn't make sense for my essence to be there, my heart/spirit knew better).

Posted by: Jennifer at August 8, 2011 05:43 PM

reallly needed to read this today,had been recordng my dreams and the ways they show different futures,paths chosen.thanks.

Posted by: katie at August 8, 2011 04:31 PM

Oh boy, I really do love this. Thank you for these words.

PS. Where are those cute red boots from?

Posted by: Megan at August 8, 2011 04:31 PM

you are awesome. thank you for this.

Posted by: Nicole at August 8, 2011 03:38 PM