‘Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and…
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?’
Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
G woke up this morning telling me : ‘Mom I had a really nice dream’.
And the first thing I want to reply is: ‘I don’t give a shit’.
He and his siblings almost got the end of me yesterday night laughing, fighting, switching the lights on until 10pm while I was trying hard to work on some excel spreadsheets and figure out how many button ups I can realistically sell this year.
Yeah I want to say I don’t give a shit but the endearing mama came back for a split second and I enquire about it.
–‘I dreamed that you, Dad, P., L. And I moved to a new big house.’
– ‘Oh really? What did the house look like ?’ I am thinking:’ did DH brainstorm him about moving to the countryside ?’ A hot topic between his parents
–‘It had a door to a garden and when I opened it I could see the trees and it was Fall and the leaves were red, yellow, green and …blue!’
– ‘Was there anyone around us?’ I am trying to come up with a quick brainwashing trick to get him to equal space to solitude and the slow death of his mom’s soul.
– ‘Nope; no one just us’.
– ‘No one huh ? So what are we doing then?‘
– ‘Dad did not work. You did not work. We never go to school. We play games all day. We watch the Yaya (iPad) every day. And we NEVER have school.’
OK… I sigh in relief: that is not the suburbs, it is the fucking Chocolate Factory !
As the three of them shoot off for school on their scooters, I am left to ponder what my dreams are actually made of?
What are my blue trees looking like?
The truth is my dreams hurt me too. When you live them, they make you feel furiously awake and alert. They also make you want to throw up because you are suddenly scared that you are not worthy of your dream. And you are really scared shitless that it will just crush right in front of your eyes. Dreams are super scary. I cannot but hear my father in law’s favorite saying about teams throwing up the towel seconds before the final whistle while they had the whole game in their hands. He always says: ‘He is afraid to succeed. He is afraid to win it’.
I always hated it. Having always been a sore loser and an ultimate fighter, I always thought ‘why would anyone on Earth be afraid of winning. Losing sucks!’
This morning, however I feel I may connect with its meaning for the very first time.
Wins breeds more craving for wins. Wins come with a responsibility to uphold a promise to yourself and others (if you feel you have succeeded on your own, you are misguided me thinks).
You get addicted to what you feel viscerally when you win. You get addicted to the look of your loved ones when you win. It is exhilarating. It is intoxicating until you cannot breathe because you can see the next move, the one after, perhaps the one after that and then things get blurred. And you ask yourself, what I am to do when all my moves are done.
So yeah major freak out. I really want to cry. If only I could cry. Note: there’s a now an infamous conversation between my assistant and me in which I told her, very shortly after we launched our online store, that I was not able to cry. She asked: ‘Why?’
I replied:’I don’t have the time to. Mind you, we are walking now and it is raining on my face so that would be the perfect moment to cry’. It did not happen but my assistant has probably kept this conversation in her notebook titled ‘The shit my boss says on a daily basis’.
Anyway, I could cry. Instead I blank out until I enter this quiet and bright studio and showroom in Brooklyn where two humble and super talented designers, sisters and moms, created one dialogue after another, one conviction after another a luxury leather goods brand working with American leather and New York craftsmen (more about their beautiful universe soon on my online store – fingers crossed). And my heart beats again. It beats so strong it wants to burst but the nauseating feeling is gone. For now.
I found my cure. No tear drops, just a new bone. When my own dreams act like an enraged bulldog biting my ass, I decided to rely on other women’s dreams and let myself carried away by their force and beauty. I will be a temporary parasite and blood sucker. Yes, that is my coping mechanism.
Should this fail, I still have G’s home and its blue trees 🙂
Also not that it is what I personally think but it made me laugh to see this statement in my Manhattan mini storage the day after my conversation with G.
Warning: since I have not updated my blog in over 4 months, my verbal diarrhea is in full motion and this post is long, obnoxiously long.
So what happened to me and my crew? It is not an over statement to say this: not ever before have we dug so deep in our resources as a family and that includes when I had to run the London 10K with no prior training whatsoever (do not snicker, i still have a dizzy head thinking about it!) AND when DH had a eye surgery making him blind for 48 hours, 3 weeks after the twins were born. Yeah I am letting you picture the situation…
Anyway, the last 6 months of my life have tested our resolve, who I am as a woman, who we are as a family and what life long commitment truly means.
Let’s back track to a few years ago, when on a London double decker bus I told DH that the main reason I did not want children was my utter fear of having to stay put even when the shit hits the fan. I told him ‘if you and I fuck up, I can and will leave it all behind to rebuild. I am survivor and that’s what I do. But I know that a child would be the one person I could never leave behind. It is the one relationship that if even it fucks me up I have to stay put. I will have to be IN it, FOREVER. And this is damn too fucking scary to me.’
That’s what I was feeling then and obviously me being me I got preggers twice in 2 years after that. Because I changed my mind and when I do, I cannot do things half-way.
We are now in 2015. My being a mother is no longer something I question. It is hard work, infuriating, blissful, challenging, self-revealing, physical, joyful and all that jazz. That is why I decided to have a fourth one: Another Garde. It is my curated online boutique for emerging brands which I have just launched a few days ago.
The gestation period was long – almost two years – although not as long as with L who at 3 year and a half still thinks he belongs inside my tummy (more about this in another blog post).
Every day, I felt my heart racing and pumping, often on the verge of bursting out of laughter or cry. Like when I was raided by freaking pregnancy hormones. Sleepless nights. Everyone asking when it is coming out and how you feel. Sleepless nights.
And you are tired, so tired, and emotionally fucked up, and you look like shit but you cannot look shit because you have just launched a Fashion venture so you try to look shit-ish instead.
And then it comes out and you look at it and you know the hardest part starts then: growth and nurturing. And you dig deep, deeper and deeper. And you know you are IN it and you cannot leave this one behind either. Because maybe for once in your life, you feel that this is what you are meant to be doing. I can say it out loud: most people think I am mental and insecure (friends: it’s ok. I know about it and I still love you) because my career path looks worse than a Paris subway map written in Mandarin and covered in pigeon’s poop. And they are right to think so: I am absolutely schizophrenic.
But as I wake up every morning, I cannot help but feel possessed: I HAVE to keep on and on. Despite the madness. Despite the sheer exhaustion. Despite that little snarky voice in my head that says:‘Who the fuck do you think you are?’
I keep on. I want to make women feel emotion, beauty, inner confidence when they come onto Another Garde. I want to support emerging brands to connect with these smart and confident women. I want to build connections, conversations. To be honest, I don’t give much shit about Fashion. Doing Fashion week is at the bottom of my priority list. However, I do believe that well curated and designed pieces can celebrate a woman’s inner kick-ass awesomeness. In the last 5 years I ballooned up and down through and between my various pregnancies; I have sometimes cried over how a bad cut just made me feel worse than I was. Oh yeah, fucking pregnancy hormones were not helping either 🙂
So that is why I do what I do.
In the meantime, my daughter P asks why their mom has to work all the time and probably wonders if I am exploring my pseudo-lesbian tendencies because I keep checking out beautiful women online – I am mainly trying to fix some html code, very poorly I must admit.
DH is becoming the SOLID ROCK that I – in the past – doubted he could be. Watching the kids, working hard in the office, signing checks to my company and just believing in me like no other. DH: I am so sorry you married such a bitch but she takes back every single word she said on that boat AND double decker bus. Random note to self: I probably should just shut up while in public transport as a general rule.
G is being G: trying to seduce my interns. And succeeding too.
L. recovered from a flesh eating bacterial infection. L. was lost in Central Park (within 1 minute of not watching him) and found 600m away from the picnic we were attending. I almost died that afternoon. L. is receiving 10 hours of Special Education support at school since the beginning of the week. I will write more soon about this because I am still trying to process all this.
Let me know what you all think!!! You are probably among the first ones to have supported my ambitions by all your nice comments on my ‘Mood of the Day’ series. If you like what you see, I would be very grateful if you could help spread the word! We only ship in the US at the moment but if I see some love coming from an overseas ‘Garde of Women’, I will get to you quicker than planned 🙂
Some snippets. Photography by Carolina Palmgren. Models: Kailah NG and Giannina Oteto
Knit vest by Foxx + Walsh
Hand made leather backpack by Moses Nadel
Black Cupro dress by H.Fredriksson
I waited for all this to happen for a long long time. The day my three kids would start pre school/day care and will no longer camp out in our living room. The day DH would start a new job. The day I would be a full-time entrepreneur. This day was also earmarked as the potential end of Red Lipstick Mama.
Last month was a hot mess of emotions, stress and unexpected new truths.
First stop: DH
After 3 months of ‘That’s the best time of our lives/I cannot wait for it to end/What did we do?/What are we going to do?/Where are we going to live?’ turmoil, many questions were put to an end with DH’s job offer. I probably got a couple of ulcers over this one: from 3 maybes, to a very long radio silence, to 2 maybes, to a long radio silence, to 1 yes and ‘please wait a bit’, to ‘why is no one talking to me anymore?‘, to finally ‘I am very sorry, I really like you guys…’ AND ‘yes, yes, and yes I am accepting your offer’.
Watching (and supporting) DH call, text, go back and forth between prospective employers and sweat profusely was more painful than watching a Michael Bay movie. One thing I know now for sure though is that my man will never be able to have an affair behind my back. He does not have the stomach for it: cannot withhold intel when being grilled, feels like a traitor when two-texting and…stammers way too much under duress. Yeah, the minute he’ll start flirting with someone I’ll sniff it out of him within seconds.
Second stop: L or ‘Blu’ Gunderson
We registered ‘le bebe’ at a French day care. He was beaming with pride on that September morning when we told him ‘that’s it, L, it is your moment’ . DH and I got all emotional; our baby was taking off. We are talking about ‘my lump’, the critter that still crawls 4 times a night into our bed to pull my belly fat and kicks his dad. He is the one (L, if you read in your twenties and are pissed off, tough shit. You were a little sucker) whom, we are convinced, would end up living next door, crashing our dining table every evening and asking us to act as matchmakers.
I felt a lot of relief and a little bit of guilt. I never quite managed to kick away the feeling that I have somehow failed him. I have never offered him the same stimulation that his siblings received by having a devoted nanny caring for them since they were 3 months old. L only had one friend; he missed zillion gym classes, never attended French classes, very rarely had music classes. Instead he would ‘hang’ at the local supermarket, entertain himself by knocking down the nuts tubs and get dragged away from the cookies aisle.
Therefore I was over the moon about his new ‘life’ . Of course after 1 week, the day care asked if we could pick him up earlier in the day because he could not stand seeing other kids leave before him. He apparently is just LOOSING it Chucky style…Story of my life.
Third stop: G or the boy in denial
I tried to talk to G about his beloved nanny no longer coming everyday. I tried to talk to him about pre school. I tried to talk to him about not being in the same class as his twin sister. And every single time I was met with either a long silence or the same sentence: ‘OK, can I watch TV now?’ I was thus unprepared to see my independent G crumble down, scream, cry, kick back, pull my hair so I would not leave him behind on his first day of school. Not prepared at all. Children and adults were crying and I had no clue what to do. Part of me wanted to hug G and flee with him and part of me felt ‘happy’ he was reacting and crying…The teachers were handing out some packs of tissues and mine is still full and stapled in the kids’ pre school folder. Every time I see the pack, I feel proud that ‘I did not cry’ and ask myself ‘Am I a heartless bitch?’
Fourth stop:P or the Ninja Princess
I can be tough(er) on my girl. God knows why. But I am going to say this now: with all the shit the family has been though lately, this girl is BOSS. No tears. No drama. Solid like a rock. Still totally nuts. She has been nagging me for a week now about me asking her very catholic teacher from her very catholic school if I, her atheist mom, could paint her finger nails with black varnish. Okayyyyy…
Fifth stop: Moi
I have finally time to focus on my startup Another Garde, my project and actually justify how I dilapidated our family savings for this venture. Turns out I don’t have a ‘my project’. There’s nothing, I realize, I can compartmentalize anymore. It is everything together in a hot mess (L’s speech delay, G’s ‘I don’t want to go school’, P’s peeing in her pants in class, doing financial projections, managing a programmer when I just very recently learnt what UX meant :/). Yes, it is all meshed together and it is all fine until…my chest starts hurting and I have some tingling in my arm.
Next thing I know, I am looking over Central Park with pads on my body wondering how I even got there. EKG results are normal but I am being asked:
‘How do you handle your anxiety?’
‘What do you mean? I don’t really feel anxiety. I am always the same. Like a flat line’
‘No breathing exercise? No meditation? No exercising?’
‘Nope. Maybe, I used to write more.’
‘Like a diary?’
‘Well I guess, a blog about a crazy mom. But stopped for a while…’
WHAT??? No blogging = heart palpitations?
Is my body telling me I can never let my alter ego go because she is MY only true project?
Strange shit happens.