HAPPINESS | 27 April 2016

S01E04 | Labels can hold you back from changing the world

Here’s the thing: I’m sort of married but I still call Leon my boyfriend. And I know some of you will be thinking: sort of?? What does she mean? Well, in the Netherlands we have something that’s called ‘registered partnership’ (romantic huh) and it’s exactly the same as marriage but when we have kids Leon has to acknowledge the baby officially as his own. And I can almost hear you guys thinking: why didn’t you get a normal marriage in the first place? Because I hated the idea of marriage, that’s why. Wanting to have a piece of paper to prove your love for each other? It felt superficial and silly.

But when we were about to buy our first house together, we were required to have a ‘cohabitation agreement’ and that felt way too business-like. So we decided to get the registered partnership instead. It was in the official wedding hall with our nearest family members, which was lovely. But what I wasn’t expecting was that we had to give each other the hand and say ‘I do’. I seriously freaked out in that moment and whispered to Leon that I couldn’t promise to stay with him into eternity. Yeah, yeah, I know: poor guy.

But this year we’ll be celebrating being together for 10 years and I still want to spend every single hour glued to his side, so I guess he has nothing to worry about. But yes, it’s safe to say my romantic side is underdeveloped for sure. And the ironic thing is: I was so busy opposing to labels such as marriage, that in the end I gave the labels way too much meaning. And I think it’s something I do in general. If someone’s a singer, I’m having a hard time taking that person serious as an actor (except Justin Timberlake, that guy is a genius). And I get uncomfortable when I meet guys wearing full on make-up, even though I salute them for being brave enough to be whoever they want to be. It’s a label thing. You have everything neatly labeled in boxes and then one moment: boom! Everything is upside down.

But giving strict labels to everything not only results in chaos from time to time, it also prevents you from taking things to the next level. We talked about celebrating your uniqueness last week and it made me even more confused than I already was: what makes someone unique? A question which I find complicated and useless at the same time. This week I tried a different approach though, I looked at the question in the perspective of creating: what is unique or could be unique about your creations? Wait, let’s just quote Steve Jobs here:

When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

Pictures shot inside Fondazione Prada