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Freedom Culture

THE podcast BLOG

What a Trip to Paris Pushed Me to Do

I'm

STEPH

You've landed on my podcast blog page all about working and living in Freedom Culture!  As a small city Mom of 6, it has been imperative that I have flexibility in my work and life and I am just over here trying to share goodies that can help you find your freedom culture too!

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In the spring of 2019, I was feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, with my 40th birthday fast approaching. As a mom of six, I’ve always believed in celebrating birthdays to the fullest, not just for myself but also for my loved ones. But this time, I felt a pull towards something more significant, something just for me.

Paris had always been a dream destination for me, and as my milestone birthday approached, I decided to take the plunge and go solo. It was a decision that surprised many, but essentially, I knew it was something I needed to do.

Rejecting Societal Pressures

While Paris is considered one of the most romantic cities, I never imagined myself sharing it with anyone else at that time. Deep down, I knew that this was a journey I needed to embark on alone. And yes, the thought of venturing to Paris all by myself was initially daunting, but it quickly became a liberating experience. It allowed me to step outside my comfort zone, navigate unfamiliar streets, and make decisions based solely on my own desires. 

Others may have thought that I was selfish for taking that vacation considering that I am a mom of six but at that moment, I recognized it as something I truly deserved. Having worked tirelessly since the age of 17, I felt I had earned the opportunity to go on that trip. I understood that if I didn’t take that break, I was going to break and moms should not break. After all, mothers are expected to fulfill numerous roles and responsibilities that this society puts on us.

The monologue penned by Greta Gerwig for the character Gloria, portrayed by America Ferreira in the Barbie movie resonated deeply with me. She said, “It is literally impossible to be a woman. You are so beautiful and so smart and it kills me that you don’t think you’re good enough. Like we have to always be extraordinary, but somehow we’re always doing it wrong.  You have to be thin, but not too thin. And you can never say you want to be thin. You have to say you want to be healthy, but also you have to be thin. You have to have money, but you can’t ask for money because that’s crass. You have to be a boss, but you can’t be mean. You have to lead, but you can’t squash other people’s ideas. You’re supposed to love being a mother, but don’t talk about your kids all the damn time. You have to be a career woman, but also always be looking out for other people. You have to answer for men’s bad behavior, which is insane, but if you point that out, you’re accused of complaining. You’re supposed to stay pretty for men, but not so pretty that you tempt them too much, or that you threaten other women because you’re supposed to be part of the sisterhood. But always stand out, and always be grateful. But never forget that the system is rigged. So find a way to acknowledge that, but also always be grateful. You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard, it’s too contradictory, and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you. And it turns out, in fact, that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.

I felt tears welling up in my eyes when I heard that. At the same time, it’s great that this is being acknowledged and I hope that it sparks awareness and change as to how women are expected to act in our society.

Nevertheless in my heart, I knew I was going to be free from this. I wasn’t totally free from it yet, but I was headed in that direction. I’m not saying that you should also go on a solo adventure but if time alone with yourself can help then do it for your sake and for the people you love. Reject the social pressures placed on you and trust your instincts, take risks and embrace the unknown with open arms.

Discovering my Authentic Self

Being in a place where no one knew my name and where I could be whoever I want to be felt liberating. Without other people’s expectations on me, I was excited to see who I would show up to be. It was like starting anew, and it was incredible to create a new version of myself that was truly always there. It felt like I had already become the person I want to be.

While in Paris, I broke free from even the expectations that the tour I was part of had on me. I did my own thing and planned how I wanted to see Paris. I indulged in simple pleasures like leisurely strolling around its streets, savouring delicious food, and immersing myself in the city’s rich culture. With this, I gained a deeper understanding of my own needs and learned to show myself compassion and kindness.

Paris, in a nutshell, has provided the perfect backdrop for me to explore my authentic self without the constraints of societal expectations. Freed from the roles and responsibilities that defined me back home, I embraced new experiences with an open heart and an open mind. I allowed myself to be vulnerable, curious, and unapologetically myself. I chose to be, and never gave any attention to things going wrong, because that is not something I wanted to give energy to.  As Tony Robbins always says, “Where focus goes, energy flows” and it is so, so true.

You too can also find freedom to be your authentic self. Away from people’s expectations of you, explore new facets of your personality, and dare to dream boldly about the life you want to live.

Embracing Change with Courage

The journey to Paris ignited a fire within me—a newfound sense of courage and resilience that I never knew would shape my future decisions. Armed with the awakened sense of freedom I felt during my solo adventure, I took a leap of faith, trusting in my abilities, believing in the limitless possibilities that lay ahead – and I quit my job. I left behind its security to continue to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams. I confronted my fears head-on because I believe that I am made for more. I am meant for more and I truly believe that so are you.

As I reflect on that transformative journey, I’m reminded of the words of Caroline A. Wanga: “If you can’t be who you are where you are, change where you are, not who you are.” My trip to Paris served as a catalyst for change, empowering me to embrace authenticity, prioritize self-care, and pursue my passions with unwavering courage.

I also believe that there are opportunities for you to shine and make an amazing living by being exactly who you are at this moment and by doing what you love.

Yes, there is a way for us to do that. Are you curious?  Find more at stephsimons.co

Thank you for joining me on this amazing journey of self-discovery and empowerment. In the future episodes, we will continue to explore the many ways we can all create lives filled with purpose, passion, and freedom. Until next time, embrace the possibilities and dare to live authentically!

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Hi, I'm Steph

Just getting the hang of this podcast blog thing!  Haha...having 6 kids is easier than this!  I promise I won't stop until it's great!

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