It can be very difficult to survive in an environment that is filled with BIG EGO’s in the form of (competition, judgment of your looks, size and anything else they can find wrong with you) on a daily basis.
I remember when I was in Tokyo for the first time, I was 17 and it was my first modeling contract. A client asked me about my freckles. He said “ummm can you get rid of them and if so how long will it take?”
This was the beginning of my career and in a way also the end. The idea I had of the glitz and glamour went right out the window. The reality of this industry had set in and I was devastated. Needless to say I continued doing this career for another 15 years. WHY?
The money was great for what I had to do . . . or so I thought. Pose, travel the world, stay fit, wear beautiful clothes and meet incredible people from all over the globe. Not bad right? I got to make as much money in a day as my parents made in a week and I was young and figured this would only increase right?
What this career also did (for me) and not (too me) was break me down. I say it happened (for me) because in a sense it is exactly what I needed in order to get to where I am today. After years of ego play (comparison, perfectionism, jealousy, competition, uncertain identity, survival of when the next job will come and will they trade me in was a CONSTANT pressure. But I also see now that it was a career that was FORCING me to find myself and be grounded in that. This career will expanded your view of reality and the world but if you are not grounded in who you are, you will not survive in an image based business.
Do I regret it? NO! It was my spiritual training in many ways. I had to literally train my mind each and every day into a more positive place in order to survive. Those fear thoughts were running high for a VERY long time. And for a very long time I failed to get the lesson. The lesson of NEEDING to focus, exercise discipline and surrender to a power beyond me.
I failed at that a LOT! I would try to escape the fear thoughts by giving into them and becoming them. I would buy into my fear and most of the time I turned my fear inward, into self criticism. This went on for too many years to count. I would look at my body with eyes I didn’t even know. I was never good enough, constantly finding flaws and punishing myself for not being EVERYBODIES “perfect”. This was a survival zone and I was barely surviving. If I did not work, I would not be able to afford to eat . . . at that time I probably thought that was a good thing. . .not to eat.
I had every book on the planet outlining spiritual law and even quantum psychics so that I could understand the truth of the world. It is one thing to understand it but it is QUITE another thing to actually LIVE IT.
As a model you will never satisfy every client, there are thousands you will work with. But I learned the most amazing lesson of my life . . . How to become MY own perfect.
I learned self acceptance through experiencing the millions of opinions of unattainable perfection around me. I discovered that I will NEVER be everyone’s perfect so I might as well be my own version. It was killing me (literally) to reject myself every single day because of someone else’s idea of what I SHOULD be.
Finally after 15 (plus) years, I took a little break and I started a daily practice in the principles and the spiritual understanding I had studied and gained over all these years. Those concepts that were extremely challenging for me all of a sudden got much easier to apply now that I wasn’t up against EVERYONE else standards every day.
I began to TUNE INWARD! I meditated, prayed, wrote and studied as I had for the past 15 years but with no one else’s opinion in my head accept MINE . . it was much easier.
And then . . . the magic happened! I began to hear a voice I had dearly missed. A voice that was SO positive and loving and complimentary. At first I thought I was making it up 😉 But I heard it every day when I would STOP thinking. It was very WISE and nurturing so I went with it. This voice would make sense out of the most complicated matters and give me suggestions for further growth. This voice was who I truly AM.
My message with this blog is that you can live a life of beauty and joy but it won’t come from the opinions of others or the opinion of your own mind. It will come from the wise guide that lives inside. Your inner voice, your connection to your truth.
You must become quiet, you must listen and you must trust. This voice will become louder but you must practice ALLOWING it to come through rather than drowning it out or forcing!
Today I still come up against old patterns of thought and I struggle to not act on them BUT I also have the tools to redirect those thoughts and let them go. I know a deeper truth and these days that deeper knowing is what rules.
I also know that I asked for this experience. As a teenager I heard the sweet voice but I looked endlessly for confirmation of its truth outside of me. I looked toward the opinions of others for a constant measure of where I was at and what I was doing wrong. I found myself in an industry that would give me what I was asking for on a constant basis and that was (opinion) not (truth).
I still model but those opinions are NOT the authority any longer.
Looking back, I remember wishing for guidance, for someone to show me how to go inward. I searched high and low for someone to lead me. A mentor, a spiritual teacher, anyone BUT now I know that I was meant to discover this process on my own. The truth is that even if Jesus himself or Buddha or whomever you believe to be an enlightened being had appeared and showed me the way, at that point I still would have questioned it and thought I could do it better. Trust me, I know that sounds crazy but I guess I needed to see for myself 😉
Today I find great fulfillment in sharing my own wisdom from experience. My hope in doing this is that I can help someone else find their way HOME.
Candace van Dell