And so it starts, the whole ‘New Year – New Me’ BS we hear time and time again when January 1st rolls around. ‘Why would you wait until a New Year to be the person you want to be? You can be that person anytime you want’ read a friend’s Facebook status. It really got me thinking.
As someone who tends to live by the ‘All or nothing’ mantra, I have definitely aimed for unrealistic goals in the past recent years. I have been the person who joins the gym on January 1st and quits by January 7th. I have tried several ridiculous diets thinking I would wake up with the body of Candice Swanepoel. I have worked so hard that my social life was non existent and I partied so much when I wasn’t working so much. I have also dated people I probably shouldn’t have because they were ‘a challenge’.
What I have come to realise recently, is that I am someone who is way too hard on themselves. Being in an industry where your job is to be criticised and you are a product not a person does take its toll. I guess it’s kind of like an addiction that creeps up on you – you get knocked back and rejected so many times but there will always be a new and exciting place to visit, an amazing agency that wants you if you lose 5 pounds or that ‘huge casting’ your agency tells you will be your big break. It’s a hard thing to quit and I have a few friends who have tried unsuccessfully to do so.
Modelling is an industry which has many pull/push factors to it. Sure, I had a lot of fun during my time travelling, but when I look back I wasted a lot of time doing jobs that just weren’t me because my agency told me to. No, I wasn’t asked to pose naked or anything like that, but I was pushed in a catalogue direction – great if you want to earn money and are good at looking cute on command. To be perfectly honest, I was never interested in earning money and although I am aware that in the industry my look would be described as ‘cute’, I’m actually pretty awkward when it comes to smiling like a Japanese Harajuku girl. Deciding to study instead of travelling to Japan (a place I had been trying to get sent to for a year) gave me a level of freedom. I dropped the agencies that weren’t listening to what I thought was best for me and now only accept jobs that I feel benefit me creatively regardless of money.
Another thing modelling does is affect the relationship you have with your body. Before I started, I literally barely thought twice about my naturally skinny 16 year-old physique. Fast forward 4 years and it became something I was thinking about every two minutes. ‘I don’t eat carbs’, ‘I’m only eating fruit today’ or ‘I’m detoxing’ became frequent phrases in my vocabulary. After a while, these crazy diets seemed normal to the point now where I will eat a slice of bread and feel full having given up carbs entirely for 9 months two years ago. Getting out of that rut of not eating certain things is hard and something I am still trying to come to terms with. Going back to my hometown for Christmas, I ate ‘normally’ and was surprised to find it did nothing to increase my waistline. I also found that after neglecting any form of exercise, going to the gym and running on a treadmill increased my mood and made me feel better about my body even though I hadn’t pushed myself too hard. Like, I know us girls are supposed to be all about the weights over cardio right now but I kind of think ‘why not just do the things YOU love to do rather than follow the latest fads’?
Personally, I feel like I learn more about myself when I go home every year rather than the rest of my time spent in Hong Kong as it allows me to differentiate between lifestyles. I guess if I was to make any resolutions this year it would be to be realistic and to say ‘no’ more when things are either not for me or get too much.
In a roundabout way, what I am trying to get at is that balance is important, (yes I know you’ve heard it a billion times, probably from your mother) but no, really it is. It’s something I won’t learn on January 1st when I won’t wake up looking like a Victoria’s Secret model, it’s something that I, nor anyone else should put a time limit on.
I’ll work out when I feel like it, I’ll also have a burger when I feel like it and try not to feel bad. I will budget my money better so I am spending less on ridiculous things like bee pollen and am not afraid to check my bank balance. I will make space in my day to focus on relaxing so workloads don’t take over and make me stressed. It’s more about changing won’t’s and cutting things out into will’s and taking things one step at a time
It’s a learning process.