2016 was a very… formative year for me.
For the first time in years, I didn’t feel like talking, writing, sharing, or showing myself very much.
Like everyone, I went through moments of pure joy and moments of struggle…But for the first time, I also went through things I didn’t want to talk about publicly.
A lot of times, I just wanted to curl up in a ball. Go in my cocoon. I didn’t go to many parties, I didn’t celebrate my birthday, I didn’t make many new friends. I couldn’t explain why, but meeting new people felt exhausting. So I saw fewer people, I didn’t travel as much. I wrote less, I shared less. Really different than my usual rave party of a life.
Maybe it’s the 10 years of the blog, being outside of myself all the time, that finally caught up to me. It’s also probably an after effect of writing my book, which was as thrilling as it was exhausting. I’ve moved toward a new way of looking at life, with more perspective, more kindness…to others and to myself.
It’s also the burnout I went through in March that forced me to rethink my priorities. Now I realize that even that burnout, I didn’t really take seriously. I was a bit ashamed of it. I don’t like the word “burnout”, I don’t like what it implies. I don’t like the whiny sound of it. No one did anything to hurt me. But even that very important moment in my life, I wasn’t able to share it with you as I would have liked, with humor and philosophy.
Beause the fact is, sometimes it’s difficult to find the lesson, and to come up with nice inspiring stories about things right when you’re going through them.
Usually I see a beautiful story in everything. If I can’t see the end yet, it’s because the story isn’t ready to be told – that’s what I tell myself.
More than once, I felt weak, incapable of being “on top of my game”. Fragile. I felt fragile – me, who built my identity around my strength and sense of humor. I thought I was invincible!
But. As with any time the sky darkens – usually the clouds are hiding something more important. We grow, we learn, we evolve. We look back and say we’re happy we went through all that and wouldn’t take it back for a second.
2016 is the year I understood to what extent I didn’t know how to love myself and tried to find the way back to the self-love I had lost at some point during my adolescence. With that, some of my relationships got richer, some got worn out. Some were broken in long, painful ways. Friendship can hurt just as much as love, don’t you think? I put other relationships on hold. Without feeling guilty, because in 2016, I also learned a life can’t be built around guilt, but on truth, love and respect.
And simplicity. I also learned to love my friends as they are. My rare true friends, they know very well who they are, I accept them and I love them beyond their impulses and flaws – which they return five times over, because when it comes to impulses and flaws, I’ve got tons.
Those friends who supported me so much and were so patient with me, I often told them: “I promise you, I think I’ve figured it out, I’ve found myself again, I’ve changed, I’ve finally got my bubbly energy back, I’m coming back, I’m going to be social again, lighthearted, funny!” – only to fall down again the next day. Who knows, maybe even now I’m not totally over it!
That’s the way it goes with moments like that. They always last longer than you’d like them to.
If only we could bounce back in one day, right?
Today though, it’s 2017, and I’m totally able to see the bright side of that most interesting year. I look back, and I’m filled with gratitude. Every tear (don’t worry, I’ve always cried a lot. I laugh a lot, I cry a lot), every emotion, every disappointment has taught me so much.
One of the most important things I talk about in Love x Style x Life (my book, whose message I love more and more by the way) is the idea that in life, you have to follow the energy.
Seven years. Seven years since I arrived in New York the way you head to a party already tipsy – drunk with success, love, and a desire to be a part of something. Right away, I knew New York and I were going to have a passionate relationship. And it really was passionate! So passionate that I was very scared of the day when the magic would go away.
And that’s what happened. For a few years now, I felt the excitement wearing off. I envied the friends who came to visit, so thrilled to be here, with that thirst and curiosity to wander the streets and absorb all the sights and sounds and jump into speeding taxis.
Chris and I felt the same, and we decided to do something about it. Why wait to try new things, to change your life?
Yes it’s scary, but that’s where we feel our energy is driving us – and we want to honor it.
2016 is the year I learned, slowly but surely, to connect the inside with the outside – what I am with what I do. Stop following the well-worn path, stop looking for answers to my questions outside of myself. Follow what feels right, natural, easy.
Life shouldn’t be a constant battle. If it is, then something must change.
We’re taught to fight ourselves, throw ourselves around. Jobs we hate, people who aren’t good for us, role models who make us feel miserable.
When my readers approach me, it’s often to say that thanks to me, they were able to find their way. Nothing makes me happier. Sometimes, they tell me they feel lost and don’t know what to do. When that happens, all I want to do is sit down with them and see how I can help. And to me a big part of helping is living what I believe in.
Finding yourself doesn’t stop just because you’ve found the right direction. The freedom to be yourself is a path you have to maintain every single day, otherwise it gets overgrown and you forget. It’s easy to let yourself be swayed by the messages we hear everywhere: “This is what beauty looks like! This is what success looks like! This is what happiness looks like!” and we get lost all over again.
So there you have it. I won’t apologize for the person I wasn’t in 2016, that in-between character that even I had a hard time recognizing – on the contrary, I want to celebrate the moments of doubt and change, of withdrawal.
Those things always mean there’s something deeper going on.
And sometimes, being is enough. You don’t always have to be doing things, proving things, don’t always have to be present, or fighting.
In this period of resolutions and renewal, it’s good to remember all that.
The new year doesn’t have to start as a fight where we resolve to get fit, kick ass at work, be a better everything, save the world.
Instead, I want to start it in peace and in love.
Sometimes it’s okay to be less. And people who love us will allow us plenty of time. As much time as we need. And our fire will come back, maybe it will be the same as before, maybe it will be different, who knows? That’s the magic of life. And sometimes it’s okay to not tell your story. To take a break.
I wish us all a fantastic 2017 filled with peace, acceptance and joy. Let’s be smart, let’s be silly, let’s be talented or empty, but let’s be ourselves.
Let’s be connected to the deep being within, our inner child, who is confident and full of love for ourselves and for others. Let’s be patient, and let’s be kind. Let’s take care of ourselves and the world around us. That’s my only resolution.
[I was about to ask you to forgive me for being so serious and preachy and dripping with good wishes, but this is what came to me today and that’s my truth right now. So : no apologies! Instead I send you lots of kisses! Muuuuah! Happy New Year!!!!]
Translated by Andrea Perdue