11 Dec 2017

Starting with an irrelevant note: how did I assume that Bobbi Brown wasn’t white? Because of her surname, of course. This will give you an idea of both how intolerably ignorant I can be and how I am not into make-up (though of course I could have figured it out if I’d given it a better thought: the Bobbi Brown brand was born in the 80s-90s, there were literally no make-up artists of colour who stood a chance of succeeding back then, and there still aren’t, save Rihanna).

Moving on. I’ve come across this article about Bobbi Brown and her new professional ventures in the entrepreneurial world (a new hotel and a life-style brand). It doesn’t matter that I am not massively interested in make-up, I am fascinated by the worlds and the minds of entrepreneurs, I would kill to know how (HOW???) they get their sh-t done, and get it done so successfully, and, yes, if they can, can I? (Not that I would know how you can set writing onto an entrepreneurial path, but I will humour me.) Whenever there are pieces to read which can provide me with a window into what it takes to be an “achiever”, I will read them. I am rarely captured or convinced by “must believe in yourself/must be confident at all times” advice, since it’s already a given that I feel neither and the approach is too philosophical which means no one can agree on one thing, but, despite that, I would still like to believe that “I can”, or else I am f-cked, aren’t I? Therefore, I look for practicality in people’s stories, for something that is possible to follow, to emulate, something that’s doable, real-life. If something is “in theory” – there’s no use for me in it, innit?

I have heard so much, overwhelmingly much, about how up to 20 hours of each day is dedicated by the “successfuls” to work, to their craft, to grinding and hustling. F-ck. I barely have a few hours while Sofia is at school to sit down and do a writing task at hand. Where the hell do you get 20 hours from? And how can you live a life on no sleep? I have always had friends who claimed to be “owls”, preferring nights to daylight, and I have never been one of them. I had also suffered from insomnia for so many years, sometimes still do, that I get into a panic mode about not getting a night’s sleep. Proper trauma. I would start to shake and break out in cries if something is keeping me away from sleep, I am a snowflake when it comes to rest. Of course, I can stay up a night here, an evening there – but on the reg? If lack of sleep is essential for success then I am afraid I’m going to have to come to terms with remaining an underachieving loser forever. Enter Bobbi Brown and the most useful and reassuring description-by-the-hour of her work day: wake up before 6am, go to bed before 10pm, start work around 10am, finish work around 6pm. THIS I can almost do – yay!

What else can I practise? Making phone calls on the go – check. Wearing trainers – check. (A piece of trivia: I have three pairs of never-worn high-heel shoes decorating my book shelves, they are fabulous works of art I will never use in the way they’d been intended.) Coping with stress through talking or writing – definitely check. Duders, I am on the path and I am coming for you!

Potential-but-totally-real challenges? An entrepreneur really just means you’re good at making things up and figuring things out, and being resourceful, and having fun. That’s one thing I forgot for so many years — I was doing what I was doing because it was fun. And now it’s fun again”. The “figuring things out” and the “being resourceful” are possibly problematic because I am not sure if I am? Too many a times I have used my undeserved privilege in utterly unproductive ways – mostly by waking away from a problem at hand – and, while the privilege implies that there’s no payback for quitting, there’s also no gain. Does everyone think about it this way? Am I the only one who’s been so stupid?

I suppose the one change in me that is undeniably certain is that, after decades of not caring or not preoccupying my mind with it, I have grown to be obsessed with work – the mechanics of it, the decisions that go unsaid, the behind-the-scenes, the what-is-nexts – I rush to analyse what I find available. There was a time when my own father was an extremely successful businessman. My regret? Not giving it a single f-cking care back then.