• Erika Achilles

Almost Famous...

It always makes me laugh when people comment how glamorous my life is, how stylish and fashionable and perfect my world must be. The truth is, on most days, I’m about as unglamorous as it gets!

I’m probably one of the most real people you are likely to meet. If I’ve somehow managed to convince you otherwise because I run a fashion company with a website and social media full of pretty pictures, or even because sometimes I’m having a good hair day on my Instagram stories, well let me set you straight. I am not the perfect wife, not the perfect mother, not the perfect friend or boss. Not. Even. Close. I’m not perfect at anything I do - well except for making a mean macaroni cheese – but the other stuff, the life stuff – oh yeah, I’m struggling.

Here is my typical day, the stuff you don’t see...

  • My dryer goes full time even if it’s a sunny day with endless loads of school uniforms / sports uniforms / work uniforms…

  • Getting lost even with a GPS (but I am known for finding hidden gems because of this)

  • Endless vacuuming as I have two cats plus the neighbours cat has decided she lives with us now too

  • Teenage dramas, sports practices, homework… “I need a piece of cardboard like now and I need to print this out this morning before school and the printers not working.”

  • Running out of bread and milk because I haven’t had a chance to get to the supermarket (while you’re there can you get me some wine too)

  • Following up seriously overdue accounts from our stockists with a debt collector (my most hated part of business)

  • Dealing with suppliers and stockists in different time zones (saying yes to an online meeting time then later realising it’s at 11pm not 11am NZ time)

  • Visiting my team and dropping off more labels because my maths isn’t great, finding a solution to a fabric issue, trying to read my own handwriting on my sample notes…

  • Making dinner – bulking out a chicken stir fry with 2 minute noodles for extra to go around the always starving teenagers. Or serving a loaf of bread with a cottage pie. Put a roast in the oven and walk away. (It’s definitely not Master Chef at my house).

  • Sometimes the highlight of my day is getting into my dressing gown, lying on the couch with a glass of wine and catching up on Coronation Street.

I feel like it’s important to say this. It was important enough for me to base a whole book around. I am so incredibly flawed in big ways, small ways and sideways. Yet even though I fail over and over again, I don’t let it deter me. I still wake up every day and try again. Some days I feel like I’m getting close to the best version of me, other days I have wine and cheese for dinner.

Somewhere along the way, women got the wrong information. I see other people's Facebook and Instagram pages with their happy families or exotic lifestyles and it all looks so perfect, like nothing could ever faze them. I have to remind myself that no one’s perfect. I'm sure they have their ups and downs too, because I know I too am guilty of only showing the highlights reel.

I think what people mean when they say your life looks so perfect is that they mean your life seems happy. You look content. You look optimistic. You’re always laughing. Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparison is the death of joy and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday. Figure out what makes you happy and do those things. This seems like the most obvious idea in the world but it seems very few people intentionally choose the things that bring them joy. I don’t mean build a life around massages and fancy dinners (or maybe you can!), I mean you should spend more time doing things that feed your spirit: more long walks, saying no to the things you feel obligated to do but actually hate, call a friend, have a glass of wine, a bubble bath, take a long lunch. You are in charge. Think about it.

Erika x

P.S. I’m wearing the new Freedom Top – Watermelon. This is way outside my Black comfort zone but I love it. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

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