leaving wasn't easy
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"Low moon don the yellow road
I remember something
That leaving wasn't easing
All that heaving in my vines
And as certain it is evening 'at is now is not the time

I remember something
Finding both your hands as second sun came past the glass
Love, a second glance it is not something that we'll need"

-BI

Anna Myers
new york, from me to me
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the pink umbrella diaries: got caught in a snow storm in brooklyn, celebrated a kid's party in greenwich, got lost in tribeca, saw a lot of art, ate the best tacos of my life (sorry Nic ily), got approached by four different girls who winked and started a conversation over my 'treat people with kindness' bag, which greatly confused my dad but made me the very, very happiest, thought I could ice skate for a brief second then realized I really shouldn't, wore a lot of yellow, was very very cold, found broome and greene and cried a little, talked to a lot of strangers and cried some more, saved dad from a killer squirrel, met a dog named maisie, met a boy named connor --

made peace with new york

 

 

I used to wonder how things would be different, had I ended up in NY as planned instead of London. I used to think I'd be a different person, perhaps happier, perhaps less lost -because however bad things got, I still had shiny new york as an ideal image of how life could have been. Because… that's the kind of thought an eighteen year old girl has, I guess. 

And god, do I kinda wish I could still believe that.

In the end, it wasn't the dream that died nor me who killed it --it just twisted on itself one too many times and fizzled out without a sound. Without me noticing, really, until I walked the same streets I did all those years ago and struggled to recognize them. I struggled not to compare them to the ones I found across the ocean -the ones I made my home, broken bones and all. 

 

 

I found a way to bury the dream and only keep the memories I wanted to keep. 

The smell of coffee as I walked into a gallery on 26th and 10th, the spot I cried all those tears at when I was fourteen, the bagels by the bookshop. The square where I sat for 20 minutes trying to gather myself before going into the building because I was so nervous, road signs making me laugh, brooklyn in the clouds. The people, the volume, the glitter, the gold. 

Myself at fourteen, and seventeen, and nineteen. At twenty-three, saying goodbye to a few things but also saying thank you

Until next time.

some things for the new year
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Your gut instinct is almost always right. Oil on toast is not dinner. Stop making excuses for people who gratuitously & continuously hurt you. Water the fucking plants. Support your friends’ art. It's okay to struggle: that's probably what makes this whole thing worth it. Learn your favorite songs on the piano even though you’re not a virtuoso. Drink more wine, less tequila. Drink more tequila, less coffee. You're allowed to change your mind. Take more baths. Stop saving the nice candles for special occasions. Unfollow Kendall Jenner on instagram. Your mom is probably right, just accept that. Realize there’s a difference between eating an entire cake at 3AM and getting a second serving of the same cake at 10PM: one will make your stomach hate you, the other will make you very happy. Go to the cinema by yourself. Call your grandmother more. It’s okay to want what you want. It’s okay stop wanting what you don’t want. Send thank you notes. Get over your fucking self and stop sending emails two minutes before deadline. Try not to pop a coronary every time you open twitter -you really can’t live like that for the next three years. Never go months without listening to your favorite One Direction album again, that shit is happiness in a bottle and you know it. Take more bad pictures, take more good pictures. Fuck the bullshit you don’t wanna deal with anymore, just fuck the bullshit. Fuck the fucking bullshit. Delete those numbers off your phone. Listen to your body. Accept that some days you won’t have the energy to leave your bed, and that doesn’t make you any less of a good person. Eat more pasta. Wear your red boots more. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, not people who make you want to cry.

 

Keep showing up. Keep coming up with reasons to keep trying.

 

Forget your new year's resolutions on the first of january, do whatever the hell you want. 

 

Treat people, but especially yourself, with motherfucking kindness.

 

Happy 2018, baby.

 

listAnna Myersnew year
Diamond Dust
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This piece was first published on Dear Damsels.

It was a split second, barely even noticeable. One moment I’m handing my card to the woman behind the counter and trying my hardest to tune out the song blasted through the speakers. Something about a bird, freedom, driving down a midnight road. Groundbreaking lyrical genius, undoubtedly. I’m bitter, and cold, and I can’t wait to get out of there. One moment I’m counting cheese, pesto, red peppers, batteries and liquid soap, and did I forget anything? why can I never just make a fucking list, why did mother never teach me that becoming the kind of person who makes lists will solve like, 70% of my problems, why can I not just pretend I’ve got this under control. The next, something cracks and hisses in the air, I feel my knees buckle and my hands lose their grip. It was a split second, barely even noticeable. Anyone could have missed it.

 

I wish I had. I really do.

 

*

 

The drive back to the house is short and silent. I don’t turn the radio on, you don’t ask me to. You leave the bags in the back and I lock the car, we walk to the door together, but not really. You leave the light off and the living room door open, but for the first time in a long time it feels more mocking than it does an invitation. I scrub the snow off my boots, watch slivers fall to the carpet like traces of diamond dust I wish I could bottle up, like fragile unspeakable secrets that grip my heart and shake my shoulders as I listen to you whispering into the phone on the other side of the wall. Little white dust for little white lies, I think, and I suddenly can’t stop shaking. I walk up to the bathroom and turn the tap on, wait until a thick fog has settled on every surface then step under the scorching hot water, alone. 

 

*

 

Winter brings a few surprises, old and new. A frosty wind runs through the house and my frozen bones, my insides grey like mold, weak and rotten like I’ve never felt before. The car keeps stopping and starting. When we get it checked at the place in town they say it’s only old and run its course, and I feel like crying although I’ve never even liked that stupid car. I start shopping at a new supermarket further down over the hills. Their vegetables are mostly brown and they never have my favorite brand of pickles but I can walk around the neon-lit aisles without looking over my shoulders, so I think that’s a plus. I start making lists. It doesn’t solve anything, but it’s a start. The neighbors’ dog runs away and we spend two days looking for him. We find him on the third day, curled into a ball by a log near the lake, quivering and terrified and small, so small. I hold him tight and stroke him softly, thinking I know how he feels. I start working late. The phone is always ringing. You take your phone calls in the bathroom with the water running, loud, and I shut my eyes and feel my body sinking into the bed, into the floor, into the foundations of the house, deep at the center of the Earth where I won’t hear whispers and I won’t make a sound. We eat melted cheese on stale breadsticks sitting on the armchair by the fireplace, flames cracking either side of us as I dream they’d rise higher and higher and engulf us, destroy us, forgive us.

 

Some good things: NOVEMBER
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Hi hi hi! Well. I've always wanted to do a monthly roundup of things I've been loving, if only so that I can look back after some time has passed and cringe at my nonexistent (read: excellent) music taste, or count the number of times I can recommend the kind of books that make you want to stay in bed all day / buy a large bottle of wine before my friends start yelling at me again (sorry, guys). 

And I mean, if anyone gets recs or ideas out of this, I'll definitely be happy about that, too. I mainly expect yelling, but we'll see what happens.

So, here it goes: some things I've loved in November! Things that made me cry! Things that taught me something! Things that made me want to curl up in a ball and die (in a cool way -get it? get it?)! Things, things, things! All the good things!


I started off things in November on a very happy note (lol) by reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I carried it in my bag for a month before finally forcing myself to start it -not because I thought I wouldn’t like it but because I knew it was gonna break my heart into a million little pieces… and boy oh boy, was I right. Here’s what I wrote down when I finished it: how something could rip your soul out and heal it at the same time I do not know. What I do know is I have never, ever read anything more hauntingly beautiful, and though I might never find the words to describe what it meant to me, I can borrow Willem’s (and someone else’s, which is a whole other story) to express what it felt like: home. 

‘So tell me this: I must be absolutely sure. This place I’ve reached, is it truly Ithaca?’

 

I bought The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith at a time when I desperately needed to read it (funny how that works, isn’t it?) and I 100% wholeheartedly recommend it if you don’t know what to do with your life / want to feel better about the state of humanity (all of us, right?)

 

Everyone’s favorite thing in the entire world is currently Call Me By Your Name, and I am everyone. It is my favorite thing in the entire world. I saw the movie twice and haven’t been able to shut up about it since. I still wake up in the middle of the night whispering ‘Is it a video? IS IT A VIDEO?’ and start crying again. It’s THAT good -and if you haven’t seen/read it, I don’t even know what to say to you. If you have, come cry with me on Twitter. 

ps. shoutout to my flatmate who had to witness me bawling my eyes out in the fetal position first thing on a monday morning, courtesy of the last 50 pages of the book. André Aciman, you know what you did, you bastard. 

 

My dear friend Bianca Bass took me to see Battle Of The Sexes and MAN, IT’S SO GOOD. So!! good!! Thoughts:

1) the trailer doesn’t do it justice at. all.

2) I love Steve Carrell

3) I really really love Emma Stone

4) I FUCKING LOVE WOMEN

5) I cried so hard (in a good way… sense a theme yet?)

 

Let’s talk about this season of Crazy Ex Girlfriend. Why? Oh, it’s only one of THE BEST shows currently on television. Rachel Bloom is a major badass and ever the source of life inspiration when you feel like you’re never gonna get out of bed and do adult things with your adult life again. I’ve felt like that a lot in 2017, and a lot of my friends have too, which is why this show is so important. I’ve never seen mental illness depicted the way it is in Crazy Ex-gf, and for that I am forever thankful. 

 

Onto the Nonexistent Music Taste Section, my favorite part! Because even though I've been yelling I HATE ALL MUSIC FUCK THE MUSIC INDUSTRY since the Grammys failed to nominate my baby Harry (f u grammys), I really really love music. Some stuff I’ve been playing on repeat this month:


Recite Remorse by Waxahatchee, whom I discovered through Laurie Anne. THANKS LAURIE ANNE! I love Waxahatchee now!

mood: hampstead early on a sunday morning, coffee in hand, leaves crunching, doggies playing

 

Magnolia by Eric Clapton & John Mayer, which I’m aware is technically is a summer song, but it’s John fucking Mayer. There’s never a wrong time to listen to John Mayer.

mood: lights off, candles lit, bathtub filled, quiet paradise

 

Cherry by Luna Shadows, but listen to all her songs because she's so so good. 

mood: friday night walking through crowded London with headphones on. bonus points for views from millennium bridge

 

Miss You by Louis Tomlinson, because if you thought I was gonna get through an entire post without mentioning 1D, you don’t know me at all.

mood: HELL YEAH, THE POP PUNK 1D KING WE DESERVE!

 

Your best american girl by Mitski. Thanks for rec’ing it and making me cry, Ally, ily. 

mood: I have a lot of feelings

 

Burning by Sam Smith, because boy, the boy is good. Like, really fucking good. 

mood: I miss my ex (I don’t really, but this song almost makes me wish I did)

 

Relief next to me by MUNA because it makes me wanna DANCE and SCREAM and LAUGH HYSTERICALLY for reasons I am not gonna go into since I don’t *really* want people to yell at me  

mood: I miss 2014 / I'm not gonna open ao3, I'm not gonna open ao3, I'm not gonna open ao3

 

Landslide (cover) by The Japanese House, since my Spotify Discover playlist is A LITTLE BITCH whose only mission is to reduce me to a sobbing mess. Not that it takes much, but still. 

mood: writing and feeling like I’ve got my life together until the last chorus hits and I just stare into the void forever

 

Bye Bye Blackbird by Joe Cocker. Listen, it’s fall and I’m a nostalgic 90s baby, sue me.

mood: Meg Ryan old style rom-coms, autumn in New York

 

Visions of Gideon by Sufjan Stevens. Do I even need to explain this one?

mood: literally just crying until the end of time

 

Some other stuff:

Australia voted in favor of same sex marriage! The world is (occasionally) a very good place!

 

I went to Emma Gannon’s CTRL ALT DELETE podcast live recording on the topic of Money x Starling Bank, found my friend Martyna there, had a very good evening and heard some very good advice on a topic that usually makes my throat close up. Stop tapping that damn card anywhere and everywhere, Anna, and learn how to budget. And for the love of god, don’t leave your taxes until half an hour before deadline like you did last year.

 

I did a photoshoot with a team very very talented women and I’m in love with the results / the side of me they managed to capture. You can see them here

 

My friend Jackie hosted a Thanksgiving dinner (two turkeys! five pies! three servings of mash! ‘MURICA!) and it was the perfect evening, complete with lots of wine and cute hand-drawn menus and familiar accents and me losing at charades but loving every minute.

 

This got very long! I’m kinda sorry but I also had lots of fun writing it, so I’m not really that sorry at all. Love you all (and by all I mean my one faithful reader, my mother, but also anyone else who bothered to read this entire thing, you’re my heroes).

 

I just realized that next time I do one of these it’ll be 2018 and now I’m sad. Bye.

 

A xx

monthly roundupAnna Myers
Supernovas in your eyes
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It starts as a lie, but it doesn’t really feel like one because you’re lying to yourself more than you are to others, and somehow that makes it okay. 

 

It goes like this, you’re walking alone and looking for a sign.

 

You’re paralyzed with fear and shaking in anger, because everything is difficult and nothing’s the way you imagined it. You can see how it ends and it’s not the way you dreamt at seventeen. But it’s real and it’s messy and it’s alway been all or nothing with you but if there ever was a time to be brave, this would be it. 

 

There’s a song in your heart and it’s one you haven’t heard in a long time. 

 

Maybe this time, it sings, maybe now. 

 

It goes like this, you walk ’til you reach the top and take comfort in the silence of the night whispering sweet nothings in your ear. The moment is fragile, almost breakable. But you walk that line, and it’s yours, and it’s glorious. 

 

It takes a song, and a hill, and a blanket of stars. Or maybe they’re city lights, asking to be seen. Begging you to remember. Shining brighter than they have in months, in years, since you last let your eyes wander and your knees buckle on this same muddy ground, because you’ve always been a sucker for tradition. 

 

All the places you’ve seen and the lives you’ve lived merge into one with every new intake of breath, and you can almost see it. How it goes. 

 

How maybe, it doesn’t have to end.

 

It goes like this, home is a foreign word on the tip of your tongue but it feels sweeter than it ever did, and that in itself is a victory. 

 

It goes like this, the life you dreamed up at seventeen is nothing but a reminder  of all the ways you’ve changed, and you’re starting to like how that feels. 

 

It goes like this, there’s greatness in small moments and big moments and in yourself. There’s supernovas in your eyes and the echo of a song worth singing, worth coming back to. 

 

It goes like this, there’s a hand helping you up and a sprint to your step; there’s four empty boxes of brownies in your bag and a black notebook with the words ‘we don’t know where we’re going but we know where we belong’ written on it; there’s candles on your nightstand, art on your walls, and the neighbor’s lilac tree is starting to blossom again; there’s an open tab on your laptop, a plane ticket you almost bought. Almost.

 

There’s the promise of it, shining brighter than anything you’ve ever known, telling stories you’ve already told but you’re only now starting to believe.

 

Maybe it’s time, it sings, maybe now. 

 

It goes like this, you stumble on the same notes you did four years ago on a sunny afternoon, and you remember to say thank you this time. You remember what they’ve done, and you look down at your feet but you’ve stopped looking for signs.

 

Green like the grass, the eyes and the light. 

 

Like that (and this) glorious, glorious start. 

 

Anna Myers
On Enthusiasm
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I’m a big believer in sharing feelings. As an actress, it is quite literally my job description to share feelings with the world on the daily. As a human person alive on Earth, I think it's nice to do so regardless of whether I’m getting paid for it or just chatting to a friend.
 

I’ve always been an open book, and a very enthusiastic one, too: I was my High School friends' laughing stock, and have been labeled crazy by more than one ex-boyfriend because of my… eagerness, shall we say. And while at seventeen, of course, it did feel like the worst thing in the world to be different and weird and too much, what the last five years gave me, besides a lot of UTIs and a chance to truly perfect my karaoke rendition of every single one of Celine Dion's songs, is perspective.
 

And now? I fucking love it.
 

I LOVE being an open book. I love getting excited about things, getting so excited that I start crying in the middle of London or jump around my room at 3AM (come on, doesn’t everyone do that?).

 

Loving something so much that your heart starts racing and your stomach jumps up to your throat, your brain short-circuits and you just want to JUMP UP AND DOWN LIKE A FOOL? It’s the best feeling. Be it a book, a song, a film, a boy, a girl, a new friend, a puppy, an upcoming trip -anything works, as long as it makes you feel alive.


It’s a feeling I wish on everyone I love -but lately, I’ve been feeling like maybe some people I love don’t wish it on me. Not in a mean way, necessarily, just in a ‘I don't really get what you're saying nor am I interested in learning more about this thing that makes you happy' way. Which, while not mean spirited, still hurts like a bitch. 

 

I thought I’d left the "you’re so weird, Anna" years behind, which is why I didn’t really know how to react when, over the past couple of months, I started feeling like the odd one out again. Again. Five years on, still the weirdo with the big hair who gets too attached and cares too much, feels too much, laughs too hard. And I’m sick of it.


I don’t understand it, and I don’t want anything to do with it. Maybe it’s a British thing (nothing against Britain, obviously, which I love -just a note on stereotypically British reticence), which is why I’ve always felt at home in crazy-sister America, where no one will spare a second glance if they spot you jumping up and down the street in excitement -or even better, they might join you. And look, I know, America has a lot of faults. So do I, for that matter. But at least we’re trying. We might fail while we're at it but at least we're trying. And we’ll be the weird ones, we’ll be the odd ones out, but fuck it, who the hell cares.

 

Seventeen-year-old me? She would have cried a lot and obsessively studied the cool-girl’s moves to try and change herself, try to be quieter, more complacent, more appealing. But here’s the funny thing: twenty-three-year-old me couldn’t care less.

 

Twenty-three-year-old me is going to be as loud as she wants, and as enthusiastic as she feels like being. She’s going to talk about the books she’s reading, and the songs she can’t stop singing, and the films that have changed her life. She’s going to keep gushing about cute boybanders and that one cute puppy she saw on her way to work, all the while dramatically singing along to Celine Dion.

 

She’s done trying to appease you. She’s done trying to change you and your cold, cold ways. Wondering if she’s being too much if she should stay quiet, if she should bite her tongue, if she should pretend this song doesn’t make her want to dance when it really, really does.

 

So many songs make me wanna dance, and I want to dance to all of them. I want to talk about what inspires you, what infuriates you, what makes you FEEL something, anything. I want to spend time getting to know you and loving every minute of it, not waking up one day and realizing I never knew you at all. 


Thing is, our time is limited. And how we spend it matters. For every bad date I leave wishing I'd stayed home watching Friends re-runs, and for every coffee date with people I haven't seen in years, whom I have nothing in common with anymore, I could have been doing creative work, playing with a puppy, or eating the best pizza of my life.

 

For every conversation I have that leaves me wondering if the person I'm talking to cares at all about what I'm saying -or worse, leaves me feeling belittled, patronized and uninspired- I could instead talk to someone who ENCOURAGES, MOTIVATES and EMPOWERS me.

 

Someone who might not necessarily like the same stuff I like, but will love that I'm excited about said stuff. And in return, I'll listen to them telling me about what they love, because isn't that what we're here to do? 

 

To love people and things and places and puppies (but especially puppies), as much and as hard as we can. To cry at movies that touch our hearts and be the last ones to leave the theatre. To laugh really loudly and jump up and down and dance in the street and share these experiences with as many likeminded people as we can. Because that's when the magic happens. 


When we share feelings, instead of simply feeling them, we contribute to creating more art and inspiring more people than we would just going, 'uh, I kinda like this' alone in our bedrooms.

 

Fangirls are the ultimate proof of the power of enthusiasm and LOVING STUFF SO MUCH YOU WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT IT. Yes, they get a bad rep (wonder why, uh? Funny how it's all good and dandy when it's men caring about football, but as soon as a teenage girl likes a boy with a floppy haircut it's the end of the fucking world as we know it) but they are the prime and sometimes sole driving force behind multi-million dollar industries, providing just as many jobs. And their voices are loud, so loud you can't ignore them: which is why you all know about Justin Bieber and that guy from Twilight but nobody knows anything about sports unless they're really into sports.

 

That doesn't mean you have to like Justin Bieber, just like I don't have to like sports. What it does mean is that if your twitter bio reads 'A bit of madness is key' but you make fun of people for being too much, and make them feel guilty and apologetic about their enthusiasm, then you might not be that #mad (UGH) at all. Really, you're just an asshole.

journalAnna Myers
In repair
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So, the last couple of months have been tough.

Can't get out of bed tough, like, ignoring calls and texts and deadlines and meals tough. And while I love escaping from my problems as much as anyone, this time I'm very aware that they're just gonna be waiting for me at Heathrow with open arms, looming and cruel and snarky. Oh and it's probably gonna be raining, too. 

 

But.

 

But, there's something about big skies and shimmering lights, or are those stars, or are they your eyes, something about walking for miles every day and crying whenever you damn feel like it and drinking sangria at a table for one and meeting strangers in taxis and singing along to your favorite songs together with 6000 people on a hill under the stars swaying and swaying and swaying 'til you gotta hold each other lest you all go down. 

 

And go down I did. 

 

I spent July pretending I was fine, skipping lunch and dinner in favor of an entire box of chocolate cookies at one in the morning. Every morning.

I went home and kissed my parents and brother and dogs a lot, and thought maybe, the worst was over.

At the end of the month, I dialed a number I’d been avoiding for longer than I care to admit, and thought fuck, the worst hasn’t even begun.

 

I spent August working working working pretending pretending pretending dodging questions invites emails worried looks and frantic phone calls from my mother. I took down pictures from my bedroom walls and bought a lot of plants in an effort to feel like an adult, but they died within two weeks because life just, doesn’t work like that. 

 

I cried in a tiny pharmacy in Kentish Town and a convenience store in Dalston and on Embankment bridge and at Waterloo station at rush hour where a woman asked if I wanted a hug, which only made me cry harder but in retrospect might have been the nicest thing a Londoner has ever said to me. 

 

I went home again because my parents’ ultimatum was “either you do or we’re getting the first plane to you” and because twenty-three might not be that young but it might just be young enough for parents to still know best. I locked my phone in a drawer for ten days and read a lot of books, ate more pizza than anybody with a dairy intolerance ever should, and smiled in pictures for the first time in a while. 

 

At some point I turned my phone back on and asked for help. I asked anyone who would have me, and I tried my damn hardest to actually listen, for once in my life, to accept the help I so desperately needed. 

 

One friend suggested I dive back in the madness, one that I go back to university, one that I move home, and one offered me a job. 

 

I got on a plane to California instead.

 

Before I left, my mother said to look for signs wherever I could find them, so I did. I looked for one in Silver Lake and Malibu, on Wilshire and on top of the Hollywood Hills, on boys’ lips and in songs and in friends’ warm hugs, in a sketchy vintage store where I found a Mick Jagger vinyl I’d wanted for months and in overspilling American portions of what could be described as “comfort” but definitely not food.

 

I watched the sun set in a blur of blue orange purple fireworks and cried a little, fell down the Griffith Observatory stairs, twice, got lost more times than I can count, walked out of a couple of pilates classes, sang, well, screamed every word to What Makes You Beautiful surrounded by teenage girls having the time of their lives, cried some more, mumbled something unintelligible anytime I got asked “what do you do?”, and decided that I like making signs up as I go along more than I do looking for them. 

 

It’s an Aquarius thing. 

 

It’s also a stubbornness thing -the stubbornness I’ve inherited from my father and two out of four grandparents, how we just can’t accept that sometimes you try and you try and you plan and it’s all for nothing, because when you think you’ve finally got it down life shuffles all the cards and finds a way to bring you right back to start. 

 

So from that start you’re gonna have to come up with a new plan, and fail at that too, and fall on your ass so many times that you’re never gonna want to get up again. Until you do.

 

And like I said, go down I did. 

 

But I'm also luckier than most, surrounded by so much love it makes my heart burst, and looking down at the city of angels with supernovas in my eyes as my plane takes off towards rainy Heathrow, right and wrong turns, real life. 

 

It sings back to me, you're in repair. Not together, but you're getting there.

 

On success, and choosing a life for ourselves
Lara Angelil Portrait

The first time someone told me “You’re going to be very successful”, I was eight years old. All big hair and pink velvet trousers, I was a loud, chatty and sometimes bratty overachiever with a heart of gold and a lot of plans for her future: from princess to teacher to queen of the world, and occasionally, President. Of course.

 

I wasn’t shy nor silent about my plans, either, which is why adults would always take a shine to me. They’d give me a big smile together with a pat on the back and repeat, “You’ll go far, kid”. I would smile back and store the moment in my ‘happy thoughts’ mental folder, where one after the other they’d start accumulating. But the more people told me how great my life was going to be, the less it began to feel like a friendly auspice, and the more it did a weight on my shoulders. By the time I graduated High School I’d lost myself under a pile of responsibilities and too-high expectations I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to meet, and I loved but simultaneously hated the idea of success.

 

Success no longer felt like a shiny gold thing to strive for, but instead a burden weighing me down. Suddenly I was no longer sure I even wanted to be successful, but I had no clue what else I could be since all I’d been told for the better part of a decade was that I was going to “make it” -whatever that meant. I tried to sabotage myself and my scholastic career, then when that didn’t work, tried the opposite strategy: aimed higher than everyone else, higher than I realistically should have, higher than anyone I know. And while I don’t consider myself by any means a failure of a (young) woman, I am just not as successful as everyone thought I would be.

 

Which prompts the question: who knows better? Is it the people looking in from the outside, the ones who will never know my feelings, struggles or path? Is it them, with their futile advice and uninspired opinions?

 

Or maybe, maybe I do. Am I not the only one who can decide what success should look like to me?

 

Whether I want to be the CEO of my own company by the time I’m 30, or move to Spain to grow tomatoes, is my own choice. I am the only one who knows what will make me happier -and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be a CEO, we need to start asking ourselves whether that’s something we actually want, or if we’ve just been conditioned to believe we do.

 

Having been born and raised in the western world in a post-capitalist society, I do not know what it feels like to grow up without hearing every single day of my  life that ‘if you want something badly enough, and work hard for it, you will get it’ -which is a great idea in theory but works to my disadvantage if maybe, just maybe, I don’t happen to want what everybody else wants.

 

My grandfather is still convinced that simply graduating from University -any University- is enough to qualify for a great number of the highest-paying and most competitive jobs in the country: not out of naivety nor stupidity, but because when he was my age, that was in fact the way things worked. Of course, that’s not the case anymore. We all want more, we want better, we need to have it all. We have raised the bar so high that landing a nice, secure job is now practically considered the bottom of the ladder, a starting point from which to start climbing up to the top. Higher, always higher.

 

Sleep deprivation, impostor syndrome and stress-induced illnesses are rampant, while less and less of us consider themselves truly happy -and no one even really knows where we’re going with any of it! What happens when we’re all multi-millionaire CEOs with the perfect Instagram feed, but overworked to the point of needing hospitalization?

 

We need to stop idolizing successful but possibly miserable millionaires (American politics, I’m looking at you), and instead start looking at the great number of happy people doing perhaps small but beautiful, important work. We need to ask ourselves what it is that we truly want to dedicate our lives to, and dig deep into the why behind that. What that why is, and where it comes from.

 

Because hey, if it turns out you do really want to be CEO of a company, all the better. But if you should find that what your heart desires is to grow tomatoes in Spain, please, allow yourself to start accepting that, too. And maybe book that flight. 

essays, journalAnna Myerssuccess