Fitting in is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It is the reason that moves our actions and choices in life.
We have been brought up with the conviction that if we fit in (a group, at school, at work) we are normal.
The bottom line is that if we want the same things, and have the same problems, we are scalable, so we are ok. And we find this situation strangely reassuring.
“If my friend does not do that either, then I am fine, I am ok”.
“I know I can talk about my problems with her because she has been through the same, so she knows better”.
But does she really? Are we really so convinced that if someone else has already experienced the same situation they are going to be supportive and give us the right answer?
Someone, please, give me a map
I remember when Ethan was born, they gave me charts reflecting what averagely a healthy baby should measure in terms of length, weight, etc. I was worried all the time because Ethan never fitted into any charts or measurements.
My mother-in-law kept asking my opinion, what was my instinct about my little one, but my reactions was “An opinion? I know nothing about babies!”. I could not understand what the right answer was and I was continuously looking up books or the Internet for reference.
My engineering approach to something I was totally new at – being a mum – was simple; you are average, you are ok; if you are not, you worry.
After a while my common sense kicked in and I slowly started making sense of what was going on and I got better at it. I threw all charts out of the window with a sigh of relief and I became a mum.
As human beings and especially as women, we need support, understanding and a bit of gossip. And I am no different.
I have always been a sociable person. I love being with people and sharing ideas, but somehow the ticking of time and what I had been taught being a grown up meant, took over my very own nature. I stopped being who I am to try and become someone else’s idea of what being an adult was.
The reason? The reason was and still is fear. Fear of being judged, disapproved and shamed. And if any of this happens, we are out of the group, rejected and maybe – at least in our head – laughed at.
We all have a clearer idea of how the system works and we do not want to be kicked out of it. We have made such a stupendous effort to be uniformed that it would be terrible.
But would it be really?
Of course for most people it would be. And the reason is that if you are different, you think and feel different, then you are material for gossip.
People talk about people who do things out of the ordinary because nobody talks about those who never do anything bold.
Being an outcast vs taking risks. My story
I felt an outcast for a long time because I was never understood or supported by my parents.
I was not fitting their scheme of things because I was talking in terms of beauty, being happy and doing what feels right. We were coming from a completely different mind set.
For them life was a question of money, keeping your head down and doing what you are told because that is the right thing to do. And I have always been sorry for them because they have chosen to live in fear of living. And that is a terrible life sentence.
For me a fulfilling life is something different, it is about taking risks.
And even if you do not consider yourself as an artist, in order to live, you have to take risks.
Every time you meet someone new and decide to talk to them, it is a risk.
Every time you speak up in a meeting instead of staying there in silence and with your mind full of ideas, you take a risk.
You take a risk when you decide you do not want to follow the mass, you make a leap into the unknown and take responsibility for your successes as well as your downfalls.
This is what life is supposed to be. Your own beautiful risk, and nobody else’s.
That is why I decided to make art and to share it with you. Because photographing women is my passion in life and I want you to be my model.
You may like it or not, this is my own personal risk, but if you never try, you will never know what it is like.
Would you risk with me?