10.18.17

If you loved author, photographer and media entrepreneur, Amanda De Cadenet’s The Conversation on Lifetime a few years back, you’re in luck – it’s coming back and coming to you.

Amanda’s interview series, The Conversation, featured Hillary Clinton, Jane Fonda, Lady Gaga, Arianna Huffington and more for honest chats on the topics, concerns, and experiences relevant to women today. With her brand new books It’s MessyOn Boys, Boobs, and Badass Women and Girlgaze, Amanda is bringing her raw honesty and decidedly female perspective back to the masses and we’re thrilled.

We asked Amanda to divulge ten lessons she’s learned along the way – and boy did she. Here’s what Amanda de Cadenet wishes she could reach back and share with her younger self…

One:
Getting Fired Is Part Of Succeeding

Getting fired is usually accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame — the idea that one has failed in a task that they have taken on. But actually, being fired is one of the healthiest things that can happen to you! It teaches you a lot about yourself and forces you to take some serious consideration as to where your talents lie, your passions, what you value, your truth. It is an invaluable tool for understanding how to move on and create a positive change from an unpleasant experience. Roll with the punches, pick yourself up and move onto something that you will be better at and appreciated for.

Two:
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks

Life is messy. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone fails, but you need to be willing to take risks — and that means risking failure. If you are not willing to take great risks, then how do you expect to achieve great success? And ultimately you will learn more from any failure than you will success. Any failures I have experienced in my lifetime have helped shape me into who I am today.

Three:
Question Those Who Know More Than You

Don’t ever be afraid to admit that you don’t know something. Everyone started at some point of not knowing and was then taught, so if you want to learn more about anything, ask questions! Then one day, when you know, pass your knowledge on, and help others to understand too.

Four:
Understand The Difference Between Love + Obsession

I’ve lost my mind over a love or two in my life, and it has taken time and practice – practice in heartbreak and healing, as well as practice in knowing myself – to understand there is a difference between love and love addiction. Falling in love with a raging lover can happen to anyone; what’s important is how you respond to it. Some of the most beautiful, talented, intelligent, creative, kind and loving women I know have been unable to overcome their love addiction to leave an abusive relationship. So why, you ask, would I or anyone stay in a detrimental relationship? Because I didn’t think I was lovable, I didn’t believe I deserved better, and I didn’t believe that anyone would ever love me again. It doesn’t matter how many people claim to adore you, or how fit, successful, smart, talented, funny, kind or compassionate you are. None of it matters if you don’t see and cherish your own wonderful self. And back then, I certainly didn’t.

Five:
If You Don’t Understand What Feels Good Sexually,
How Can You Expect Others To?

From a young age, women tend to define good sex by how pleasurable it was for their partner, not for themselves, but sex is and should be reciprocal. It’s not about girls serving boys (I have found, in my experience, this applies more specifically to heterosexual relationships). Our experience is equally as important to our partners and if we do not value the importance of our sexual experience over others and don’t know what feels good, then we can’t expect anyone else to. Knowing what turns us on and knowing how our bodies respond is so important for enjoying a healthy sex life, and we can’t expect someone else to figure it out for us.

Six:
Your Vagina Is Your Own + You Should Never Conform To Any Societal Expectations of What It “Should Look Like”

From my first experience of getting a full bikini wax (nothing but skin), I discovered a lot about my vagina and how it had changed over time. What I discovered were stretch marks that snaked from one side of my pubis to the other and a FUPA —a fat upper pussy area, as described by my friend Amber V. At first I was shocked, “If you hadn’t opted for that natural twin birth… now look what you’ve done to yourself.” But I then reminded myself what was truly important, that my body has held three full-term, healthy, strong, fully formed babies. People I love. With all my heart. Be thankful, Amanda, not resentful. My vagina is my own, and when I see it I am reminded of the absolute joy in the world that it has brought me, not what porn culture has conditioned me to expect.

Seven:
Being Skinny Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

As someone who has experienced being thin and miserable, I can tell you that the whole ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ line is a bullshit myth. The truth is, when I have been at my thinnest I have also been my unhappiest. I now refuse to be body shamed! My boobs, which have raised three happy children and accompanied a very happy husband for over 25 years, are also healthy boobs! And after many years of navigating my shape and the ‘problems’ my body has caused other people, I’ve committed to never allowing anyone, including myself, to make me feel bad about me.

Eight:
You Have The Ability To Do What Makes You Happy

Every successful woman or person I’ve ever interviewed has talked about the difference between having a good idea and actually acting on it. They’re not like, “Oh, I’m going to wait until it’s all perfect.” No. I’m launching. I’m putting it out in the world, and then we’ll clean up whatever we need to clean up. Every single person has the ability to make the things that we dream of come true; you just have to have the courage to act on your ideas.

Nine:
Forget That There is Only One Love Of Your Life

Life is constantly in motion and it seems that we are always changing with it. Although you may think at one point in your life, the person that you are with is the only one in the world for you, as time changes so do people. A better concept is that there is a love for different stages of life, and that might be one person or different people. I look back at the different loves of my life and consider myself lucky. Lucky that I had some very important loves of my life and lucky that I have such an amazing love of my life now, and I concentrate on taking it one day at a time.

Ten:
The Platonic Love Of Your Girlfriends is Crucial To Long-Term Sanity + Success

Following on from loves of my life, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the female loves of my life, and these ones tend not to break my heart or move on like the other variety of loves. These are the ones who are there for me, without judgement, with reason and reliability to support me and celebrate me, through thick and through thin, ’til death do us part. Our connection is just as deep and meaningful as those of my lovers and should be honored and valued. I would be there within a heartbeat for any of my closest girlfriends in the hour of need to help them as best as I know how, and I also know that they would for me too. And that support, trust and honesty is the basis of the most meaningful relationships.

What lessons would you want to teach to your younger self?
Share your wisdoms below!


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  1. 11. Stand up for yourself! As a girl in my 20s, I entered the 30s/40s/50s/60s world of teaching, and gosh, did I get pushed around. There are a lot of women who are not happy with their current situation, and don’t want you to be either. Some of these women will try to bring you down. Be on the lookout for joy stealers. People that can’t stand that you are happy. They will do everything in their power to bring you down, but don’t let them. Stand up for yourself.

    Laurie | 10.19.2017 | Reply
  2. ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ line is a bullshit myth – Thank you for this! I went from 270lbs to 130 in less than a year on a doctor monitored diet and I was not happier skinny. Far from it, I became terrified of food and did not recognize myself in the mirror. I was more self critical of my body after the weight loss than I was before and shockingly so was everyone else. When you’re overweight people generally don’t comment on your body, it’s too PC, but when you loose the weight everyone seems to feel like your open game for unsolicited comments and recommendations. I couldn’t go a day without some random comment from a colleague or family member. I wanted to hide away. I’m a medical professional and always felt I had good composure but this shattered me. I rapidly put weight back on as a form of self comfort and I felt like an absolute failure as the daily comments came in worse as to why I “lost my willpower” or “what happened to you?” It took the next year for me to get myself together and understand what a healthy life meant to me, that food was not scary. What I ate was never the issue, WHY I ate what I did was a better question to ask myself. Now I’m much happier and healthier, healthy weight, healthy mind, and I LOVE food but now I don’t self-medicate with it to my own detriment.
    You mentioned the importance of platonic love with girlfriends.. talk about my saving graces! Never once was I critiqued by them, only supported with great compassion. I’m grateful that we are all at an age where we are past wanting to keep up appearances that our life is perfect and we can confide in each other that our white picket fences aren’t perfect, some days far from it, and we need support. We can have a laugh about how our bodies are changing from when we first met, 20-30 years ago. There’s a beautiful comradery between us and it’s nothing but positive and empowering. We all agree none of us would change our lives since we first met, our adversities have been our biggest catalysts for positive changes and any failure a sign we at least braved to try!

    Naomi | 10.19.2017 | Reply


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