Read more. I looked at the words I had written a few days prior on my list of things to do for the year as I walked around Barnes and Noble in Union Square. I love that place. I was killing time waiting for my baby sister to arrive for us to have a catch up session over dinner. She was late as usual. I finally gave up searching on my own and asked where I could find Diane Von Furstenburg’s autobiography The Woman I Wanted to Be. Now any fashion girl worth her soul has an intense admiration for DVF. Even if you don’t like her design aesthetic you have to look at this woman in awe for what she has accomplished in the industry. In fact I venture to say that I don’t trust a girl in fashion that doesn’t love and/or respect Diane Von Furstenberg, creator of the wrap dress.
I dove into DVF’s book on the train ride home to Brooklyn, following an intense conversation turned debate with baby sis about dating. I fell under DVF’s spell even more, because I found so many parallels between her life and mine. I dare not lead you to believe that I am a wealthy jet setting fashion designer with a who’s who list of industry friends, but I saw myself in much of what she wrote. In lieu of giving you an essay on that I will let you in on what stood out to me most: her relationship with her mother and her life long pursuit of becoming the woman she wants to be.
Diane’s mother was an actual Holocaust survivor, and she had a determination to live and to see the best in life no matter the circumstance. If her mother could do that in the face of such terror, then how can we not overcome the challenges we face? Reading Diane’s account of how her mother was somewhat distant towards her, but that she came to understand the extent of her love after her mom passed made me so thankful that I see the value of my mother now while I still have her. For years I thought my mother didn’t care as much about me as she did my brother, because she rarely came to my defense as a child. I was never really coddled, even at times when I genuinely needed to be. I grew resentful of my mom for this during my teenage years. I came to realize years later that my mother was teaching me strength and self sufficiency. I am now appreciative of those times and my mom and I have the best relationship I could ever ask for. I am strong because of her strength. I am courageous because of the courage she taught me to have. I know how to love because of the way my mom loves me, unconditionally.
No sentence resonated with me more than when I read: I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become. That sentenced summed up what my life has been since graduating from college the first time in 2009. My friends were all in professional programs, and therefore had a clear understanding of what their career path would be following college. I on the other hand had no idea. I just knew the kind of life I wanted, and the kind of woman I wanted to be. Even as a little girl I knew that I wanted to be very glamorous and fashionable, and that I wanted a fun and exciting life filled with interesting people and great adventures. At one point I wanted to be a ninja spy. I kid you not I literally wanted to be a ninja spy like James Bond meets Foxy Brown. It seemed like a cool life until I realized spies have to kill people, so I gave up on that dream. Taking an inventory of my life right now, I see how blessed I am that I am well on the way to becoming the woman I want to be. I never imagined that I would be living in New York with a resume that includes three luxury fashion houses and a radio show. I stumbled my way here all the while knowing the woman I wanted to be. In moving to New York I rediscovered my love of writing and developed a more intimate relationship with the fashion industry. I am genuinely thrilled about my future. I have a slight idea of what lies ahead but I know for sure the woman I want to become and I am getting closer to her everyday.
You may not know what you want to do with your life right now at this moment, and that’s ok. I encourage you to discover the woman you want to become, and I’m sure you’ll find exactly what you should be doing along the way. You don’t need all the answers. Life is no fun that way. The fun in life comes from the surprises, the things you didn’t plan, or even the failed plans. You will look back on those moments fondly. Enjoy your journey. Every high and every low. They are weaving an amazing story for you.
I am obsessed with Diane Von Furstenburg’s book, and I recommend reading it. Her spirit comes through so clearly in the words. Her honesty about her triumphs and her shortcomings make her so much more human. I truly hope to run into her on the street one day just to say thank you.