It is quite fascinating to work with excellence driven people.
It can also be exhausting if you are not on the same page. It can be emotionally lethal if you don’t engage your emphatic abilities. Simply, if you are not ready yet.
These people consume energy by creating both beauty and hell.You might be just an afternoon snack if you two are not a match at that moment in time. Just as it happened when I met John Gallianno.
He was the head designer for Christian Dior at that time, just a few years ago, and it happened in Paris.
I had the chance to enter the Dior office, the famous 30, Avenue Montaigne Dior as a makeup model. I remember the feeling of entering a special energetic field. I remember the brightness, the flowers and the perfume.
I remember my fear and my desolation.
The casting was an event for me. As a model you have to visit a lot of places for castings and I have seen a whole bunch of creative spaces which did not give me such an intense feeling. I’ve been to dark, overcrowded, empty or hidden places in some kind of old mansions in the middle of vegetable markets(in Asia mostly).
It takes days and days to prepare for a fashion show. On that day it was only casting for the makeup. I got chosen. My agency was happy. I was tired.
Pat McGrath, the famous makeup artist, her team and a hairdresser were there. They were creating a few versions of the makeup and hair so that later the designer would choose the most appropriate one for the show. They were chatting while working. Pat’s assistant was always on the phone talking to people. I remember her being genuinely nice with the models. It doesn’t happen very often.
After a few hours when the makeup was ready and me dead we went down into a large room where the designer and his team were preparing the show. A casting was in full swing. Groups of girls were holding their modeling books like babies close to their chests.
There I was. In the studio of a real creator, a designer.
A large table occupied the most space in the center of a large, long white room. Enormous vases with pink roses stood on the table. Mannequins wearing versions of the looks were lined up along the walls. John Galliano was hidden in a cloud of smoke. He was sitting behind a table, together with his 2 other colleagues. They were watching the girls walking. After a moment, we were asked to stand in front of him so that the makeup people could describe the proposals. He was nodding listening.
Our eyes met for a second when he inspected the makeup I was wearing. And I inspected him.
He was very quite, calm. He asked to come closer so that he would see. I was thinking about my bad shoes and my cheap dress.I was sad because in that second I realized how much I had to work on myself as to be a match to that type of energy. I never wished for anything else as not to live outside that type of creative field.
Now I am working with W. the Oberkellner. He is a also a creator, a perfection seeker but a different one. A dinning room kind of perfection. He is angry. Angry with himself and the world. His actions don’t have a positive source of energy. Instead he is feeding his need of control while munching on other’s life energies by discouraging, ordering around and talking in disrespectful ways to them.
While working with him I feel the need to grasp for air .The first days I felt like drowning underneath the pressure in the kitchen, the anger against W’s ways, the scratchy relationship with a frog ( will get into it another time) and the rest of the family of hotel owners. I hear that this situation has been going on for years, that everybody who came here to work with W. left running. He consumes them by making them feel like crap using the pettiest methods one could think of. Criticizing each and every action or appearing in the middle of something and jumping right at it to change it, because, according to him, it is not good enough even if a moment ago it was. He is watching your behavior while trapped inside the pressure he created. A distrustful person is behaving like that. Someone who has fought a whole life to get up and be important. Nothing wrong about it, just the method he is using is crappy. I will have the patience to understanding him and his reasons but the results of his actions speak for themselves. Everyone is leaving and he stands alone full of himself.
So, why? How come I am now here when just a few years ago I was watching John Gallianno straight in the eyes?
The gap, there was a gap between the external and internal world, the possible and the expectations. I felt empty and sad at Dior’s mansion. I remember that casting as a crossing point in my life. I decided to turn my life around and to start building a bridge over the void in me. This meant, and still means, facing all my fears and learning to understand and to see them as my teachers.
In Paris I was nothing but a possible face to be used in some kind of show or campaign. If skinny enough. If happy enough. I wasn’t. Now I am in Zeltingen Rachtig crossing knives with sad W.
I feel that I can do it this time.
I often think about all the people I’ve met on the way to where I am going. I try to understand what each of them had to teach me or bring to my attention. Each of them helped me see myself while I was reflecting themselves.
I want to see the view from the other side now. I want to get closer to my true self.
Where are you now? What are the people in your life reflecting about yourself? How do you want to be? What do you see? Why? Just start by thinking about it.