Jeans Cheap Monday
Today, I felt weak. As a matter of fact, I have been feeling weak quite a long time. It is a bit funny how things that before enlightened you, do not seem significant anymore. I used to literally laugh out loud, while saying to friends and acquaintances the famous phrase “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but I’d much rather cry in a Mercedes Benz than in a Toyota“. Yet this present day, I don’t really find the fun part as appealing. It’s not like I have been lying to myself. Yes, I work within fashion. I am a materialistic person. I like things. But have I let things run my life? If so, is the idea of “having many things” the reason to weakness? That answer is the easy way out.
The truth is that I don’t think I can recall what being strong really is. I have felt it, but when I question myself, I can’t seem to give myself an honest answer. Perhaps it’s my “sceptic” (or what some people may call angry) look on pictures, but it seems that people see me as an overconfident, sure of himself kind of person, maybe almost cocky. I know this by heart. After all, you are how you behave or the persona you portray. Logically, a castle is only as strong as its’ walls, moat and overall, its’ exterior. Therefore, I built my castle: An image of an unafraid person. In work, it translates into a workaholic person with a high drive and energy for it all. In fashion, it translates into a stylish person, unafraid of unconventional ideas in clothing and design. And in plain old life, it translates into a loud, opinionated person with an optimistic view on life. Could that tough, strong wall protect and build the castle into a flourishing work of art? I thought so.
Yet as ancient Greek mythology tells, all heroes have an Achilles heel. I might not have been a hero, but at times I felt quite invincible. Within my own domain, of course. Having a strong exterior had become such a commodity, that I forgot and neglected the inside. My Achilles moment came and my whole wall somehow tumbled down. Exposed. It lead me to think about the true essence of actual strength. Who am I when it is all stripped away? When you stand there naked, both physically and emotionally, can you see the same strength you once thought you had? For the first time in a long time, I felt weak.
So, I have been feeling weak. Thinking, reflecting and trying to building the castle from the inside is not an easy task at hand, yet a golden moment came afloat. Society seems to condemn the exposed, the ones unable to take care of themselves, the weak. On the other hand, great men in all areas have risen from weakness and turned it into their strength. Ludwig Van Beethoven‘s deafness became no impediment on the creation of some of classical music’s greatest works of art. Napoleon Bonaparte‘s weakness through his short height complex only gave him strength to be a man “larger” than he was. Vincent Van Gogh‘s depressions and mental stability carried him to paint masterpieces, and set a ground tone for the Impressionist era within art. Suddenly, feeling weak did not seem like such a burden.
I realised that in order to feel and be strong, you have to know what being weak feels like. No up is gained without there being a down first. The question is how you turn that weakness into a part of your strength. I might not paint great masterpieces, compose great symphonies, or conquer countries and continents, yet I found my own self victory. Feeling strong is about building that inside simultaneously as the outside. Being exposed might have exposed my true self to others, but it also revealed who I was within.
I am 26 years old, and I have been hiding behind my “things“. Fashion or no fashion, I have been blind in the darkness, lurking away. What my final strength turns into and becomes is not as relevant anymore, but rather having the strength to step into the light and the process into it. Yes, today I felt weak, but I can finally open my eyes and somewhere out there, I see light.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places” (Ernest Hemingway).