“If you’re somewhere and they don’t get you, don’t stay there.” It was the last day of my fashion journalism course. I had been feeling out of place in an educational setting for the first time in my life. However, her lectures were comfortingly honest. And now the Professor Fraser with the British accent was saying exactly what I had been needing to hear. Who is Nastasha Fraser-Cavassoni, I wondered.
Sex, drugs, rock & roll with high society aren’t the usual suspects of the backstory one expects from their professor. Yet there they were in her memoir, After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land. As she spilled the English tea, what really drew me in was the daring self actualisation of a young woman and all the highs and lows that accompanied it. Once again I found just what I needed. Answers to unresolved questions that I carried with me from the start of attempting to have a career in the fashion industry.
Do I have to be perfect? Perfect as in the perfect stereotypical size, shape, color, and life decisions up until that point. At one point, prior to my transition into a fashion career, a coworker informed me that I’m not even skinny. Couldn’t argue with the facts. And clearly everyone else is flawless. At least social media and our fear of being vulnerable would suggest that’s the case. We know it’s not true but it is easy to forget that we’re human, unique and learning by way of mistakes.
Once we move past the unrealistic expectations we’ve placed on ourselves, we wonder is it too soon or in my case, too late. Fear of being “washed up” and recognizing the clock stops for no one turns out is a reality shared by us all. This moment doesn’t arrive alone. No, it’s tangled with questioning if we are where we want to be. Is this the right direction and is too late to get there. The fear is up front with the ticking of the clock in the background. Yet like for Fraser Cavassoni, many others and you, it is not too late.
At one point while during her career, Natasha found herself crying in a stairwell following a conversation that suggested she wasn’t going to realize her ambitions. It was jarringly familiar. So many no’s have felt like a never. A game over. A collect your things and give it up. It’s easy to forget that rarely does one opportunity hold all the keys to our dreams. In fact, out of the many, we just need one.
If I had read this book a few years ago when just beginning a career transition into the fashion industry, I would have glossed over these moments. The highlights we read and often see of another’s life helps pull us through. They are a shot of energy. But the lowlights, their struggles is where we find our humility and maybe even strength. Here we no longer have to wonder if we’re doing it alone. It’s true what they say. There is strength in numbers.
After Andy was a reminder of the humanity that makes itself apparent when we’re becoming and exploring. I can’t deny it’s scary with points of closed doors and uncharted territory but comforting to know we’re all making mistakes along the way. So yes, I did find an answer to my initial question. Natasha Cavassonni Fraser is someone who would eventually remind me that we aren’t alone in our fears and definitely not our questions.
Originally published at medium.com