“Because to love something that death can touch is the bravest thing we can do as humans.” Veronica McCarthy, Managing Editor at Atelier Doré
By: Gabriela Yareliz
Thérèse Desqueyroux. Does that name ring a bell? Thérèse Desqueyroux is François Mauriac’s most respected novel. It was turned into a film with the brilliant Audrey Tautou starring as Thérèse.
Spoiler and storyline breakdown (it was published in 1927– so if you haven’t read it by now— *eye roll*): It’s about a young woman who is a free spirit.
How free, is often debated. She grows up and marries a family friend, who is a financially well off, emotionally unavailable man who can add on to her own wealth. She marries him, and basically fulfills her wifely duties. She is quiet when she is expected to be, and she speaks when called upon. She had a child and forms part of the inner family gossip circle and high society. Her husband’s family is unsettlingly unpleasant.
Throughout, she begins to acknowledge what has been clear to her all along: her choices have not been true to who she is. Long story short, her husband has health issues and through his medication and treatment, she almost kills him by overdose. Yep. Super crazy. Interestingly enough, she isn’t sure why she has almost killed her husband (until later on). It’s a French novel, ok? If you want a real dark tale, read Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal. I remember it was one of my college love interest’s favorite books, so we read it together, and boy was that unromantic. I remember writing him a long letter about it and my analysis. He was so amused by my frustration that he wallpapered his French dorm room walls with my letter about Stendhal. Anyway, I digress.
The book opens with her trial, and her husband’s false testimony saves her (and their reputations), but the family subsequently keeps her in the house like a prisoner; she is only allowed to go in public for show, with her husband, for mass, on holidays, for funerals and weddings. At the end, her husband “releases” her, and she moves to Paris, health and spirit renewed.
Why am I sharing the disturbing tale of Thérèse? Something about this story has always stayed with me, and it’s the fact that we can all be Thérèse. (And no, I don’t mean her attempted murder; instead, I mean what drove her to her desperation).
How many people have you seen out there who have dreams, and the dreams are not acted on? Or people who rely on false realities and social expectation, when making important life choices. Some make themselves prisoners of other’s capriciousness, overbearingness or emotional unavailability. Some of us live as slaves to a system, whether it be the economy, politics, cultural expectations, work force or society, in general.
This isn’t about quitting your 9-to-5, or a piece against marriage or some piece justifying her almost poisoning of her husband. No way. That was crazy. That is wrong and always will be wrong.
This is about a conversation Thérèse has with her husband (wonderfully depicted in the film), where he asks her if she hated him. He wants to know what her motivation was for her strange actions. She simply said that she didn’t want to live just for show, as a puppet. She was tired of being a public spectacle that wasn’t truly seen, loved or understood but just fulfilled “her duty” which was dictated by everyone but her. I think anyone can relate to that.
In the film, there is a scene where she sees a small beautiful bird, and it is dead on the ground. She looks at it and sees herself.
For Thérèse, in her time, marriage was the jail of every woman who was treated like property. Today, we have other prisons. The thing is, in a time where media and technology, plus information flowing through it consumes us, we have all these values and expectations and responsibilities competing for our attention and demanding our submission.
Thérèse’s story reminds me about how important it is to always be mindful of our hearts and how we feel, and whether we are living in God’s purpose for our lives. Are you happy where you are? And if you are not, what are you willing to do to get what you want?
“There are only three requirements for success. First, decide exactly what it is you want in life. Second, determine the price that you are going to have to pay for the things you want. And third, and this is most important, resolve to pay that price.” H.L. Hunt
When looking at Thérèse, I think she thought she knew what she was supposed to want, but it was at odds with who she was and what she truly wanted. She focused on external things and factors, rather than her heart.
Are you happy with who you are? Do you have a dream? What is driving your decisions? Are you passive? Or are you actively pursuing? Are you doing things to appear a certain way? Who are you trying to please?
Our mindset is so important.
“Your input determines your outlook. Your outlook determines your output, and your output determines your future.” Zig Ziglar
What is your input? What are you doing each day to challenge yourself? To inspire yourself? To feed your true essence and to honor where you are and who you are? Do you worry more about others? Do you pay more attention to your fears rather than God’s promises? Do you respect yourself? How do you speak to yourself?
In the end, we are all that colorful beautiful bird. We are all Thérèse. Each person faces the same choices. The difference is whether we become the crushed bird who can no longer fly or whether we will be the one that keeps soaring and contributing beauty to the world.
This is all about where we want to go. This is not about where we have been. Dr. Stephen Covey states: “Live out your imagination, not your history.”
Tonight, think. What is in your heart? Let Thérèse’s story always remind you that you are meant to be free. It’s a cautionary tale. (And in France, perhaps just a tale). You are meant to be free. The minute you forget that, you have forgotten that you can fly. Be true.
“You are meant to be free. The minute you forget that, you have forgotten that you can fly. Be true.”
Let’s take a page from Gabrielle Chanel who said, “I decided who I wanted to be, and that is who I am.”
By: Gabriela Yareliz
I felt triggered today, and a bit more emotional than usual. There are days, sometimes, that remind us of how cruel and unconventional life has been. It happens.
It was one of those days. I know, not super inspiring, but I am being real. You haven’t felt that way? I cried it out of my system. Don’t worry. Crying is such an amazing cleanse. We all have those days where we feel like we are still in the place where the bus to hell dropped us off. Today was mine.
And then, unexpectedly at the end of the day, I saw the lyrics to this song printed in my handwriting on the side of a bag that I made with my best friend in junior high. We wrote all over this vinyl tote, with Sharpie. The lyrics to this song were that important to my junior high self. This was before my parents’ divorce, before I moved across the country, and before my dad and I didn’t talk for almost a decade. Before childhood was essentially over. I was still a kid with stars in her eyes. This was probably one of the last things I loved as a true kid, along with the Hilary Duff Metamorphosis CD. Ha.
I played this song tonight after not hearing it for years, and it’s like the world stopped. I felt like I was 12. It was the time before everything was so hard, before the trauma and baggage. Me. Just me. The essence of me. It brought the biggest smile to my face. It was me, little me, who has somehow survived it all, and she was smiling. I made it. I am still here. And I still like Liz Phair.
What reminds you of those carefree days? Listen to it. This isn’t about nostalgia, it’s about remembering the essence of you. Just smile. And never forget that you survived; you thrived; and you are still standing.
Doing this fun tag from the fabulous Tumblr platform. It’s making the rounds, and it’s a rainy, cozy, autumn Sunday. So, why not? Let’s do it.
[Image via @kendalljenner]
lantern – how did you meet your best friend? What were your first impressions of each other?
High school. She sat behind me in English class. I thought she was loquacious and always eating (accurate :)) She would make fun of this weird blue camouflage Old Navy bag I would use as a lunch box. Not sure what she thought of me at first, but she is genuine. You never have to wonder too long what she is thinking. She made me live adventurously. You know, she encouraged me to eat the cookies (I have always been pretty health conscious, so this is about as wild as I got).
frost – if you could give some advice to your younger self, what would you say?
You are human. Don’t forget that.
maple – is there a hobby / skill that you’ve always wanted to try but never did?
Cutting hair. (Other than the tragedies I did to my own bangs).
harvest – what fictional character do you most identify with? Why?
Sira Quiroga, from the book El Tiempo Entre Costuras (The Time in Between), also made into a series for Antena3. She was stronger than she gave herself credit for. She is based on a real person, and she lived in one of the most difficult periods of our history. She did it with grace, boldness, principle and passion. Not sure if I am like her, but I want to be like her.
fireside – if you had your dream wardrobe, what would it look like?
I am happy with my wardrobe. I am a simple person. I gladly wear and style anything someone gifts me. I wear navy a lot. I am a big fan of the Sézane/ & Other Stories aesthetic.
cider – a food that you disliked as a child but now enjoy?
amber – share an unpopular opinion that you may have.
Unsure of what exactly I believe in that is an unpopular opinion. Other’s opinions don’t change the opinions I hold that are rooted in truth and principle.
fog – how well do you think you’d do in a zombie apocalypse scenario?
Excellent. *rolling the eyes* I am small and I can run fast and climb things. Being short is excellent training.
jack-o-lantern – if you could look like any celebrity, who would you choose?
No one. I am happy being me.
spice – have you ever encountered a house that you believed to be haunted?
Not personally. Maybe a plant nursery, though.
orchard – share one thing that you’d like to happen this autumn.
Apple picking, for sure.
crow – which school subject do you wish you had an aptitude for?
I wish I could do math faster and in my head.
bonfire – describe your dream house.
Simple, uncluttered, old world charm, filled with lots of books, plants, and love.
cinnamon – if you had to live in a time period different than the present, which would you choose and where?
1904 in the Hudson Valley in NY. I want to be Samantha from American Girl. *grin*
cobweb – (if you’ve graduated) do you miss high school?
I miss the beautiful people. Things were certainly more simple.
cranberry – what’s one physical feature that you get complimented on?
maize – share the weirdest encounter you’ve had with a stranger on the street.
Too many. I live in NYC.
quilt – how do you take your tea (or coffee)?
Straight. No sugar.
pumpkin – do you think that humans are inherently good or bad?
Inherently sinful. Anything good in us is a reflection of God in us.
moonlit – are you a neat or messy person? Is your room / house orderly?
Pretty orderly. I like to clean. I am Monica Geller, minus her crazy closet.
flannel – have you ever gone on a bad date?
Sure. The guy was interviewing me and asking me resume questions. Weird.
cocoa – if you could have any type of hair, what colour and cut would you have?
I like my hair, I just need to figure some things out regarding making it look a bit better. I am still learning.
ghost – is there someone that you miss having in your life?
I had a closer friendship with a childhood friend. I miss her, but times change, life changes, and we do what we can with what we have!
If you want to share, answer a question or two from the tag in the comments!
“If you want to go to that next level, cut out negative sh**.” Gary Vaynerchuk
That means leaving behind negative
It adds nothing and subtracts everything.
Remember, you find what you are looking for.
By: Gabriela Yareliz
I really believe that a lot of healing comes from reframing things. And I don’t mean reframing things to look better than they actually were, but I mean reframing things so we can see what actually happened. Often, when we remove ourselves from the lens, we see things more clearly, and we can deal with the hurt in our souls a lot better. When we see what the truth and root of the matter is, a lot of things can make sense.
I have been talking a lot about accountability, values and relationships recently, which is something society at large lacks so much of. (Politics seems to provoke these topics). They affect everything, especially our relationships with others.
One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is be self-aware and work on our own baggage and characters and how it affects how we relate to others. I have caught myself triggered or going down a line of reasoning that I later reflect on, and I realize my reaction didn’t match a situation as much as it matched a fear deeply entrenched in me from a past hurt.
When I come to these realizations, I often apologize after spending time in quiet reflection and prayer thinking about how I can heal that, especially when I am triggered or provoked by attitudes or words I can’t control. The truth is my own reactions are what are in my control, and I take full responsibility for that.
Aren’t relationships rods that poke us, and when they hit a bruise, we whimper from the pain? Sometimes, I have felt foolish, not for my initial reaction but for being self-aware about it. Is it stupid to call yourself out on your own behavior that you are striving so hard to fix and begging God to transform? Does it sound too I-am-my-own-therapist?
I felt sort of foolish for a good day or two this week after calling myself out on something, and it’s a familiar feeling I have felt when I have discerned my own flaws and spoken about that discernment. My feeling of foolishness or perhaps shame went away when I heard the quote below, and while the situation doesn’t apply to me and it may not apply to you (the infidelity she speaks of), the underlying principle and talk about baggage applies to all:
“To my queens out there who have been cheated on by their men— it’s not your fault. Stop making it your fault. To my kings out there that have been cheated on by their women, stop making it your fault. Yes, women cheat, too. Now, here is the thing— sex is one of the strongest forces in the universe that we have to deal with.
This is about self-mastery. It’s not even about what is going on in the relationship. This is about self-mastery. Ok, so if you think just because somebody says they love you or you think just because they want to be in a relationship with you that that’s gonna dissolve all of their traumas they come with, you know what I am saying, or that they are gonna know how to deal with their traumas, nah. People are going to mess up.
So here is the thing— make sure you are with someone who is interested in mastering themselves and everything they come with. I know that there is a lot of pain that comes from infidelity, but relationships are a spiritual endeavor. Just make sure you are with someone who is worth it.” Jada Pinkett Smith
“Relationships aren’t about being with someone who is perfect, but being with someone who is constantly trying to master themselves.” Julianne Hough
So, there it is. I realized that my desire to master myself and all I carry in me, it isn’t foolish, even if it is seen as strange or treated with a certain detachment by others, and even if I repeat the mistake on my way to healing the hurt that serves as the root. In fact, that is what we are all supposed to be doing.
I agree that relationships are a spiritual endeavor. They fail because of spiritual things, like: lack of values and lack of temperance (self-control) and not caring. They fail because of all of these things, which means it may be logical to think they succeed when we do the opposite. They succeed when we have values, when we have self-control, and when we care. Most importantly, a thing to remember about spiritual endeavors is that it starts with ourselves, not with anyone else.
What needs a reframe in your mind? What is the root of your matter?
By: Gabriela Yareliz
Finding love is such a mindf***, as they say. Relationships are hard work, but I think the hardest thing of all that determines the rest of the story is finding that person. Who. People come together, oftentimes, for shallow reasons, (not always). But regardless of why or how they come together, the following is always true: whether it lasts rests on character.
I recently saw in the news that Vincent Cassel (51) wed Tina Kunakey (21). (We will not discuss the age gap– that is another post for another day).
I was surprised. I had been disconnected from monsieur Cassel, and I hadn’t seen him with anyone other than his ex-wife, a favorite icon of mine who has made many appearances on this blog, Monica Bellucci. (Seen above, and yes, I still want to age as well as her).
It has always fascinated me how, in human stories, we gather strength and try again. Whether it’s in love, life– anything. We can rise from anything and try again. We can be at the lowest low, and a year later, be continents away from where we started (figuratively and literally).
No matter what your story is, it’s important to value the new starts in life. It shouldn’t be cheapened or treated as unimportant. It shouldn’t be clouded by the past. It should be embraced. If you are going to be happy, 1) Get up; 2) Make sure you never settle; 3) Celebrate the new, well; 4) Be happy.
In this life, many shuffle along numb, defeated and distracted. But not you, no. Rise again. Wear that lavender shirt. (I see you, Cassel). Smile. When you get that second chance, show the world what it means to live.