Almost four years ago, I had my first ever Canadian experience when I did my exchange at Queen’s University. I would be lying if I said that it was what I truly wanted but life has its funny ways to teach me a lesson. Saying that I fell in love is an understatement : I felt so embraced, I felt so alive, I felt like my home was Canada. So after completing my Marketing Masters, I didn’t think twice and moved to Toronto. It’s been almost 2 years of Canada and it’s been a ride. A crazy ride of life changing lessons, self-discovery, disappointments as well as unbelievable achievements. Before I go all Eat Pray Love on you, there are so many ways one can go through a self-growth journey, there is no need to move to the other side of the world like I did. But in my case, it felt necessary.
10 THINGS I LEARNT
TO LIVE WITH MYSELF
It felt like I was running away from the person I was and just focusing on everything and everybody else. Moving forced me to be alone and face myself for the first time: I couldn’t rely on anyone but myself to make me feel better when everything went wrong. I took time to do things that truly filled me, to learn to be selfish, to stop trying to control things that were out of my control and to go beyond my fears. I had to learn to stop depending on people and to feel whole without any best friends, family or boyfriends being involved in that wholeness.
TO SPEAK UP
I was a loud thinker and a shy speaker. Now it’s kind of the other way around as I decided to stop overthinking and just speaking whatever the hell I am feeling, even if the person concerned is not going to be happy about it. Let me tell you that it is not easy but I learnt to respect my feelings and to act upon them. It led me to a healthier mental place and to feel freer in my relationships.
THAT SELF LOVE IS HARD, BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE
Having to live with myself taught me to accept myself: I learnt to go beyond my insecurities and to own a confidence I never thought I would ever have. People usually tend to think that I am super confident because they focus on the person they see in Instagram squares, but living a virtual life doesn’t mean you have any less insecurities. I have struggled so much in the past with how I look, how I think and how I am that I used to think that there was no way I would ever love myself. But I was wrong. Loving yourself is a work in progress, it requires you to think and feel differently, to accept who you are regardless of how ridiculously stubborn your mind is. I still struggle some days but I am happy to say that any other day I wake up thinking ” You go get it because you are totally worth it”.
TO PUSH MY LIMITS
I set so many limits to myself in the past, I was basically living in a box. Moving away helped me to go out of my shell and literally get out of my comfort zone (I mean I legit switched countries). It felt like a huge slap in the face in the beginning, it felt so wrong at first that I wanted to undo the whole thing. I set so many expectations based on my exchange that I wasn’t embracing what life was giving me at the moment, a lesson. Eventually I grew out of it and started making most of it, I unleashed a more sassy side of Neguine and allowed myself to be a little extra sometimes. I was lucky to encounter people that completely shook me to my core, both positively and negatively, and who brought so many things my life was lacking. Fashion school also completely redefined who I was as a professional by giving me the best gift possible, I suddenly began to be more confident and proud of my work.
THAT FIGHTING FOR WHAT YOU LOVE GETS DIFFICULT
Find what you love and BAM everything will be perfect? Bullshit. Finding what you love is just the beginning to an endless war. Sometimes, you win some battles and that there is nothing else you would rather do but other times, you feel like quitting because you aren’t seeing the results to your hustle. I gently laugh when people tell me I’m so lucky to have followers and likes but, it isn’t free honey. It takes time, hustle, determination and a huge amount of faith to fight for what you love. But it’s worth it.
WHO LOVES YOU WILL FIGHT FOR YOU
Just like you would fight for them. Don’t let anything become unilateral, don’t chase anyone who doesn’t deserve your energy. I found myself often giving excuses but who truly cares about you really don’t need any. It was painful to realize, because I was constantly questioning my own self-worth. Like what the heck is going on with me? Til the point where you realize you can’t be questioning yourself based on anybody else’s actions, or lack of actions.
YOU WILL CHANGE AND NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO UNDERSTAND
When I moved, I changed drastically. That is something that was inevitable, it was needed, it was sometimes beyond my own understanding. It was hard to deal with my people and to get on common grounds, because some of them assumed I was still the same person. Changing helped me see who my true people was as they still loved and embraced me the same as before. I also learnt that it is okay to let some people go and that there was truly no one to blame for relationships ending. Not them, not me. Just life doing its job to get you to better places.
TO THINK DIFFERENTLY
Everything, everything truly starts with your thoughts. Training my mind to cut all the toxic thoughts and choosing the healthy ones is a daily challenge. Simply because it is so easy to excuse our lack of success with all the bad that has happened to us, allowing ourselves to be victims of faith is easier than fighting back. I realized that my thoughts truly have the power to shape my reality and to attract better things to my life. #thesecret
THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING BETTER OUT THERE
Did you ever think: what if it never feels as good? What if I am never happy like that again? What if I never find better? I used to, all the time. I held on so strongly to the great moments that I didn’t thing anything better would ever happen to me. I left my family, friends and basically my whole life in Barcelona thinking that I would never find better than that. Turns out what I have today is totally different but I feel infinitely happier than how I felt two years ago. I learnt to accept myself, to react better to things that I couldn’t control, to find my own balance. I felt like I could never find something as valuable but I found myself ( CHEESY NEG MODE OFF).
TO HAVE FAITH, EVEN WHEN EVERYTHING GOES WRONG
It’s easy to believe in yourself when everything goes well but it is very hard to keep such beliefs when life isn’t the way you expect it to be. I am not as optimistic as I used to be, but I learnt to believe in a different way. While I used to think ” X is what I want, X is what I will get”, I learnt to let go of “X” with the knowing that life will always find its way to drive me home. Just like it did four years ago, because deep down life knew. It knew that Home is Toronto.
TODAY I’M WEARING: H&M blazer // PEACE COLLECTIVE tee // LEE vintage shorts // GUCCI bag // Shein Shoes
All pictures by Darius Boustantchi