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 Messy: On 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!