“Breaking the Rules”: Inspiration from Stephanie Van Burk

2/18/18

Featured Photography by Devinn Pierre

2:27 P.M.

Mood: refreshed.

Thoughts:

So, while on my daily YouTube stroll, I ran across a well-known “Both Sides” video on Jubilee Media’s channel. Usually, “Both Sides” involves two people, and each person takes turns wearing headphones while the other person either expresses true emotions for the person, or tells secrets.

I felt a healthy mix of emotions at this video. I felt inspired by the insight from the two people in the video.

Mostly, however, I felt enamored by the two people. I’m always drawn to people who seem different and march to the beat of their own drums, and these two REALLY set off my uniqueness radar. The edgy clothing, the almost-androgynous look and the carefree, “I don’t give a fuck what you think about me” attitude. I was ALL FOR IT.

I was especially drawn to the woman in the video. She had a vibrant, inspired and adventurous personality that I’ve always aspired to have myself. Plus, the way she spoke in the video reminded me of a situation I had been in in the past. I marveled at how someone as cool as her could have something like that situation in common with me. I wanted to know more about the personality behind this person.

So, what does my creepy ass do? I looked her up on Instagram. And, I found her.

Thus, what I’d consider a beautiful friendship was started with a woman named Stephanie Van Burk.

Originally born and raised in Switzerland, the daring Ms. Van Burk grew up a model from a young age, and graduated from college with a major in fashion design. However, she was called to the streets of L.A. by love and excitement, and has been living there for the past four years.

She’s continued her modeling career, and her style is normally what I’d consider LIVELY, sexy and beckoning.

Photography by Jaki Capozzoli

I finally got up the courage to message Ms. Van Burk via Instagram to get to know the message and personality behind the person. I was actually pretty nervous about how to approach her. To my pleasant surprise, though, she was very open, willing and eager to tell me about the messages that she found most important to spread to the world:

“Authenticity is key. I have an open view on life and love. My main message for people is: Be honest and stay true to yourself and your feelings. Free yourself and your fear. It’s the best way to live life 100% as we only live once. Don’t be worried about how society and people around you consider you. Some will like you, some [will] not. Keep your head up high, and be confident in what you do. We all have a unique purpose to accomplish in this world.”

She continues on to say,

“So, keep your eyes ahead, instead of wasting your time on those who wanna drag you back. Believe that true change for yourself comes from within you and not from anyone else. Love yourself, [as] you are all unique and beautiful humans. #freeyourfear!”

I, for one, know that I definitely needed to be reminded of that message. Oftentimes, especially in the case of mental illness, it’s easy to forget that authenticity and staying in touch with yourself are some of the most important and vital parts of self-care. We’re so busy living in our heads, trying to seem “normal” so as to appease the people around us, that we seem to forget who we TRULY are, and where we REALLY come from.

Even being reminded of this, I know it’s gonna take me some time to really grow into this message. I know there are others out there, like me, who have to grow into at their own pace. That’s totally fine. Though, I also wanted to know if this message was something Ms. Van Burk also had to grow into. She said:

“I’ve always been like that.”

She then let me in on a little secret of her’s:

“For me, being this way has a healing power on me. It keeps me positive, happy and healthy.”

So, there we have it, folks. She’s been exuding confidence for as long as she can even remember. That, to me, makes her even more inspiring, and I wanted to share her and her message with the rest of you.

It’s never too late to start living your best life. Just like Ms. Van Burk, all we need to learn to do is practice self-acceptance, and stay in tune with what we really want in life. When we do, we need to go for it.

After all, Stephanie Van Burk didn’t get to where she is simply by complying with society’s rules. And that’s why I want to learn to break them in my own way.

Photography by Lucio Pontoni

I want to send a HUGE thank you to Ms. Stephanie Van Burk, and her willingness to help me with this post. This post wouldn’t have had the same radiance without her support and input. Plus, she’s amazing to share a conversation with.❤️

If you guys want to find out more about her, visit her social media links:

Stephanie’s Instagram

Stephanie’s Twitter

Stephanie’s Facebook Page

Stephanie’s Tumblr Page

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