Conforming to others is a helpless task

Illustrator Valesca van Waveren used to think she had to conform to others to was to feel a connection. In Issue 36 she tells us about finding true, authentic friendships. 

“I’m somewhat of a nerd, a waverer, naïve and slightly slow,” Van Waveren says. “I might also be a bit odd. These were the last things I wanted to be when I was younger. I thought everything would work out in the end for me and my relationships with other people as long as I was just as brazen, funny, attractive or popular as they were. Because of course this is what we all ultimately want: to feel a connection.

But trying to conform to everyone else is a hopeless task: In the end, who is everyone else? It’s something that’s constantly changing. And suddenly becoming brazen or attractive is something that only happens in those coming-of-age movies. It’s best to just want to be more like yourself instead of hiding or being a chameleon.

I wish I had found out sooner that true, honest and authentic friendships really do exist. Friendships with colorful, kind, strong, amazing people who help to remind me who I really am. I have also learned that you can help yourself start to achieve this by putting on fun clothes. This helps you show other people who you really are without having to say anything.”

  • More stories about Valesca’s illustrations can be read here.
  • You can visit Valesca’s website here.
  • You can find more life lessons from our illustrators in Issue 36.

Text & Illustration Valesca van Waveren