2017. I loved you. You were so good to me. First you made me a momma again. This I will be forever grateful to you for. Next you brought along my beauty segment on MBC’s hit show Project Runway with Nivea amongst so many other exciting ambassadorships, such as Michael Kors, Puma, Aquafina and Baume et Mercier. Then baby Sienna’s Baptism which was an absolute dream. My little Luca’s second birthday and his first day at day care. I got to travel to London, Milan, Paris and Amsterdam. I hosted my very own first Master Class with Benefit Cosmetics which SOLD OUT. I also got to work with so many other exciting brands such as H&M, Batiste, L’Oreal, LUX, Jamaloukicon, and Uterque to name a few. So yes, you can say I’ve been busy, in fact, I’ve had my hands quite full, literally. I’m exhausted, but I’m happy and thankful that I get to do all this and raise a family.
That’s not to say this year hasn’t had its ups and downs, it has, there were times were I’ve felt overwhelmed and frazzled with two under two at home. After being pregnant for two years in a row, it was slightly difficult getting to know “me” again, while adjusting to the huge shift as a family of four. Striking a balance has been quite the challenge, but I feel like I’ve finally gotten the hang of things. And just like I do every year, I’m sharing with you some lessons I’ve learned in 2017 that I’m definitely carrying over with me to 2018. Hope they can be as helpful to you and save you lots of trouble.
1. Be Real. Nothing sells more than real. Being real means being true to yourself. Sticking to the values you were raised with and just being a genuine person. I’m not a model, I’m not a celebrity, and I’m not trying to be one, I’m a blogger and a writer. I was reluctant to join Snapchat because I wasn’t sure my unpolished messy life as a mother would be appealing to an audience that was getting accustomed to glossy influencer features and perfect looking-lives. But then I heard back from people, who told me they felt my realness, that they connected with me, that I made them feel good about themselves and felt like they could find a real relatable friend in me and best of all trusted my credibility regardless of any sponsorships. These are the things that keep me driven.
2. Perfection is a mirage. It’s an optical illusion. Striving for it is only tiresome and self-harmful. I’m not only referring to social media, I mean in life. I will never be the perfect mother, or the perfect friend, or the perfect cook. Although I thought I’d like to nail it all, my home will never look as perfect as I had initially designed it be and things will not always go according to my perfect plan. And it hasn’t been easy to take a step back and try to just accept that some things I can’t control 100% because I am by nature a control freak. And letting go, is tough, but it can be relieving and I’m learning to do that one step at a time.
3. You can’t please everybody. In fact, if you do please everybody it probably means you don’t stand up for anything. I work in a field were PR is everything, even if it means being nice to someone who just isn’t nice at all. Sometimes, its best to stay quiet about your opinion and the nature of this industry may force you to overlook things you are not comfortable with. But you know what, there will ALWAYS be that one person who judges you, that won’t like you or doesn’t want to work with you even if they don’t know you and guess what there will be even more people that appreciate your work and add value to it, so just move on. Do not waste your time trying to figure out why or how, just focus on how green the grass is on your side.
4. There’s nothing quite like getting back to reading; a Book. A beautiful paperback. A story, words, not captions. not articles. not quotes. Full pages, with plots and lessons and charismatic characters. It’s like feeding our hungry brains which have been so neglected and abused and drawing inspiration from works that made me fall in love with writing in the first place.
5. Forgiveness. Letting go. Of the past and present. Un-grudging a grudge. Un-judging a judge. Turning a new page with someone you never thought you would let in again. Giving someone a chance, a real chance to start over. It feels good, and it will allow you to forge stronger relationships and relieve yourself from the burden of being resentful.
6. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Never be afraid to walk away from projects or people that aren’t a good fit for you, no matter how luring they may be, people will respect you for your selectiveness. Trust that voice in your head and let it guide you.
7. Vacation. The mom guilt held me down. Then the what-if fear paralyzed me. Then came the scary intrusive thoughts of danger. Until my entire family and husband dragged me on that plane and forced me to accept that I too can get some time off motherhood. Yes, it doesn’t mean I’m selfish. Or that I’m not in the “mood” for my children. It just means that in order to be a good mother I have to be a happy, well-rested and somewhat satisfied with myself. I have to take care of me, and try somehow, to get a glimpse of the pre-baby me and know that a part of her is still there, so that I can come back and be the best mom I can be.
8. Change that look. Even if you’re so into your long locks. There’s a reason why they call it a makeover because in a strange way you do get to start over. It can be embracing a new style of jeans or shoes you never thought you’d pull off. Looking in the mirror and realizing you can be versatile can change your entire perspective.
9. Taking a break. If you look at my page, you would notice that sometimes I just go offline for an entire week. No posts, no stories, just radio silence. They call it digital detox for a reason. Although blogging requires a constant stream of original digital content, I decided I can march to the beat of my own drum and still be relevant. This year I chose not to give in to the pressure, even if it means declining some really great oppurtunities, even if it means letting my hair get messy and greasy and wearing my fat pants at home for a week, because at the end of the day, the life the matters is the one you actually live and love, rather than portray.