Friday, September 30, 2016

Stand Your Ground.

Studying abroad, to me, is more about the main dish living experience with a side salad of education. I've been here nearly a month now, and already, I feel like my mind has expanded and my experiences have taught me a lot about other people, particularly a lot about me.

One comparison in particular between my living experience and my educational experience is about standing your ground. Wavering on the precipice of the unknown, I've learned that time and time again, you will be questioned. Not only that, but you'll be pressured, swayed, doubted, and pushed so far into other concepts and ideas that maybe are a little foreign to you.

Well, it's good and it's bad. At the one end, the feeling of stepping into the unknown is tantalizing. I'm not talking about experimenting with drugs (answer will always be no), but about maybe going out to clubs, rather than spending a night in. Trying something different and experiencing something you've only had preconceived notions about, but safely, always.

However, I have also learned that there is a time and a place to stand your ground and say no. There's a difference between stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, and being pushed into something you know you do not want to do. And it's tough, because sometimes, the lines are blurred and I find myself perseverating over the two, wondering if I'm making the right decision.

It's like this in school too. I have some tutors who claim that the only way to win and be successful in the fashion industry is to play their game. Abide by the rules, for it's a dog eat dog world, and you'll eventually make it. Then I have other tutors who preach to us the importance of standing your ground and doing what you know in your heart to be the right thing.

It's a mixed bag. What I have left feeling though is that no matter what, you cannot lose sight of who you are. There is nothing wrong with stretching and growing in ways that are maybe not the most cozy to you, but you have to stick true to yourself. Like a tree stretching it's branches in all directions! Still growing, yet always grounded.

Through this all, I've also learned that I don't need to go out and find out what makes me unhappy. I know, in my heart, that I thrive best doing the things that are aligned with my values and as much as I may be dubbed "the mom" of the group, I will never lose myself for the desires and wants of someone else, no matter how persistent and pressuring they may be.

A recent successful example is a little photo-shoot I did with one of my peers. He needed a model and I happily obliged, only learning later that it would be topless. Convinced that it would be done in an artsy and alternative manner, I nonetheless proceeded to go through with it, knowing it would be an experience for me. And boy was it!

Definitely my favorite pictures. Getting a little handsy is part of his job!

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