Girl Gone Authentic - Bruno Barbey - Living

Chapter: …and this is the part where you find out who you are

It’s time to start dreaming again. I asked the sea to carry me through to my next wild chapters, where each page surprises and fills me with purpose and a love so pure it’s contagious.

For a little over a year, I have not known how to let go of what was perhaps the boldest (maybe even most foolish) endeavor of my young life. A trusted person convinced me that I was capable of starting and running a successful business. I half believed him. Terrified as I was, I took a plunge into the deep end. 

In my naivety, I fell head over heals with the thrill of something new. The lows were low. The highs? I do not recall many of them, but, the possibility that I could stand for something, I could be a voice, I could be heard… kept me intoxicated enough to keep at this hellish instability I had created for myself.

You see, entrepreneurship to me was something someone with a trust fund or an impressive amount of zeros in their bank account could take seriously. The rest of us? Or let me say…as for me, growing up where money was scarce and dreams were scoffed at, I could never follow my spirit. I learnt at an early age to suppress all things that would lead my wild spirit astray. I never imagined how my future could look like lest I got attached to an unattainable ideology. I chose my friends very carefully – only those with both their feet and head on the ground would do. 

Oh, don’t feel sorry for me. I was afterall the best student in most of my classes. This brain of mine is solid gold. The problem has always been my fragile heart. It has been called oversensitive, childish, soft – but it too wanted the respect my brain had earned, so it learnt to harden.

A wounded spirit, a proud mind and hardened heart.

I founded Stacii Bazaar rooted in storytelling. She would bring attention to the finer details of what we wear and invite to our homes: delicate craftsmanship. She would remind us of the time we lived simply and in harmony with nature: an authentic approach to what we now term as ‘sustainability.’ This would also be my life. I would not preach, I would live by example: slow and steady. How intentionally beautiful. 

And so the journey began.

What I had not anticipated was that Stacii would crack me open. All of the frivolous pieces of me that I thought I had neatly hidden came gushing out. Often overwhelmed, I did what I could to keep this thing that I was creating alive. She took and took, and when she wasn’t taking, she was breaking and breaking. I write this now, calm and composed, realising for the first time that there is nothing left to break or take. So, perhaps she served her purpose well.

I am now at my softest, and most tender. Although I have had the courage to look – I mean really look at myself – I have not had the courage to speak or write about this deep heartbreak I have carried with me. On most days, I am relieved, and I’d dare say a little excited to finally rest and bask in these slower, quieter days. Once in a while the overachiever in me wakes up with a deep sadness that ‘I failed at something I cared so deeply about.’ I allow myself to sit with the feeling. 

How unfortunate it would be not to tell you, my friend; that in between the cracks, I found myself? I have embraced and mourned so many versions of these women in me that I am no longer afraid to hold on or let go when Time asks of it. The mighty walls the wounded little girl had built to hide her beautiful imperfections are mostly ruins that safe keep the warmth of soft words and a spirit that believes. 

Funny how these things work out. What began as a journey to financial freedom morphed into the death and rebirth of Self. As I go about constant change in this maze of seeking purpose, you taste all parts of me: sweet, sour, bitter – spit it out, swallow it if you like. I am proud of the bravery to be all of me with each season that comes without a worry of how you will receive me. It would be a pleasure if I landed softly on your senses. 

…and this was the part where I found out who I was. Dressed in fear, self doubt, and very little grace I walked the long journey. I feel it in my bones that this coming chapter will favour my ‘why.’

I am ready to dream.

Image: Work of Bruno Barbey, Niger river delta, Nigeria. 1977.

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