This week marks the start of my relationship advice column for The Good Men Project. I can’t tell you all how stoked I am for the opportunity. If you’re new to GMP, a diverse community of thought leaders who explore men’s evolving roles in modern times, I hope you’ll check them out. To read my first weekly segment, answering a question on finding bliss and “the one,” visit this link.
To celebrate, I thought I’d share some of the worst advice I’ve ever received. Most has been well-intended, some I had the wherewithal to ignore and some came from the person closest to me: myself.
1. Darken your eyebrows.
When I was a teen and first entering the modeling world, I took advice from all industry pros to heart. Much of it was good (don’t pay anyone to model, don’t sign anything your agent hasn’t read and approved), darkening my eyebrows with brownish pencil made me look like I had furry worms crawling on my forehead.
Lesson learned: Don’t wear makeup 50+ shades darker than your face, and anything that makes you look like a creepy-crawler magnet. Aim to look like you.
2. Die your hair platinum blonde.
See explanation #1. When a stylist remarked, “You’d make a great platinum blonde,” I raced off to a salon and left two hours later with Barbie-esque hair. For about two weeks I loved it, relishing the attention. (People stare at you when your head glows.) But then roots appeared, making my naturally light hair appear dishwater-brown by comparison. Meanwhile, I felt like a faker. The frantic upkeep made me and my bank account crazy.
Lesson learned: Don’t color your hair vastly different colors than your natural shade, unless want to rock hot pink or rainbow stripes.
3. Don’t break up with a guy until after Valentine’s Day (or other holidays).
Strategic, right? *quivers* I gave this to myself and took it, multiple times, in my early twenties. Not keen on hurting a guy I planned to break up with more than necessary, I also wanted to make sure I had a date for those holidays. *moment of silence to commemorate personal growth* (If any of you guys are reading this, I’m so so sorry.)
Lesson learned: Staying in a wrong-for-you relationship is lonely, especially on holidays. Pretending you’re invested in a relationship hurts everyone.
4. Create fake identities to have conversations with yourself on others’ blog.
Eek! I’m so glad I didn’t take this. An acquaintance/internet genius suggested I do this when only my parents and 1.5 strangers read my blog. In doing so, he claimed, I’d intrigue people into clicking my (actual) name and visiting my blog.
Lesson learned: Being an industry professional doesn’t make someone an expert on you or your work. Also? Authenticity is everything.
5. Don’t quit.
I’ve heard this many times from well-intended folks—including when I’d decided to leave my first marriage, to trade financial stability in Miami for countless unknowns in LA, and to stop working on a novel to focus on non-fiction. In all of these cases, my instincts told me to leap. With one minor delay (clinging on to the novel for a bit), I did so. These leaps were some of my most empowering and important.
Lesson learned: There’s a big difference between giving up and moving forward. Staying in a relationship or venture because it seems safest or right to others can mean saying NO to our dreams—including those we haven’t yet conjured.
I now realize this list could’ve gone on and on, as could the list of awesome advice I’ve received. For now, I’ll leave you with these five and open the floor to you. What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received? Did you take it? Do you relate to any of mine? I love hearing from you! ♥