From Montreal to Antwerp: to remember is to live again
As Arianne Moffat’s lyrics say, “it is in original format that I return to Montreal”. Once again, I have just returned from a trip. Every time is special for me. These words, which I discovered more than twelve years ago, still fill me with lot of emotion. It was in the summer of 2006 and I had recently returned from my studies in Antwerp, Belgium. Just like in the song, I went through a stopover in Amsterdam and I had too much luggage!
I was twenty and this trip was my very first. It was one that marked the beginning of my adult life in many ways. A few days ago, in November, I returned to Antwerp. As if to close a cycle of my life, I needed it. A look back over the last twelve years made me remember the ordeals I went through, but also how they taught me to become a strong, independent woman.
It is still difficult for me to talk about these experiences in more detail. I often felt alone, with no one to count on other than myself. It was as if I were at the bottom of a pit of despair and I had to go back to see the light. But every time, I came out mourning a little more, with memories that would follow me for a long time.
Julieta Rosibel / Instagram @titatraveling
When I was younger, I was a very anxious person. For as long as I can remember in my life, I have been. Behind my smile, I hid for a long time my deep pain of living. I was a lonely child, melancholy and withdrawn. Hard to believe is not it? This is the reaction I have, sometimes obtained, when I shared my story with people who knew me later in my life.
I have not always been that smiling person who dances energetically. I did not always walk up, nor was I able to speak up for myself. However, I wanted to live differently.
Thanks to many efforts and medication (I’m not ashamed to say it), I learned to manage my anxiety and to open up to others to focus on the positive impact I can have on people I meet. It’s continuous work and there have been years where every day was a battle and times when I thought I was nearing the point of no return.
My start at university, and especially my stay in Belgium, was a kind of truce in my life where everything was fine. It was a time of joy and discovery. Then, I had the opportunity to travel to seventeen countries between 2006 and 2018. I visited places as unexpected as Lebanon or Iceland. Many of these places were part of my childhood dreams. I saw them in books and movies. These images have become mine.
To tell the truth, traveling was sometimes a way to escape, to go away from my concerns and to be somewhere where no one could find me. Despite that, traveling allowed me to open myself to other cultures, to overcome certain fears, and at the same time, to have more confidence in me.
During my recent return to Antwerp, I went back to where I lived and followed the paths that I traveled so long ago. It seems that according to nostalgic people, to remember is to live again. I relived not only twelve years of adult life, but also episodes of my childhood. It made me feel good a lot.
I have trouble explaining how, but I managed to overcome and turn the page on several chapters of my life, which were still unfinished and still hurting me. This year, I found a peace that I have so long sought. From now on, I see my future with much more confidence than before.
Julieta Rosibel © Nadja Lee Photographer, Antwerp 2018
Now I do not doubt why I live. I sincerely believe that if I help someone to assert themselves or have more esteem or confidence, that person may be able to help someone else and so on. I also know that my involvement must go beyond the field of fashion. It is by realizing that I can encourage and influence other women like me, even by doing small things, that my life makes sense.
Nothing gives you power, you just have to take it.