The phrase “voir la vie en rose” is used to describe: “seeing life through pink tinted glasses”, a naive or overly optimistic point of view.
I like my pink tinted glasses and I’d rather concentrate on the positive things in life, especially when times are tough.
In the 1980s, I was a student at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, in the south east of England, studying French and Italian.
In our fourth and final year, a friend of ours put on a student fashion show in a bar, with clothes donated by Benetton. I was asked to model in the show and I strutted my stuff, absolutely terrified, to the song La Vie En Rose, sung by Grace Jones. I never wanted to repeat the experience, but the song has remained a firm favourite of mine.
A dear friend of mine from those student days, recently found these photos of me.
Talk about a blast from the past ……
The song is included in Grace Jones’ 1985 album, Island Life, and the cover picture (above) is one of the most famous images of Grace Jones. It was created by her then-partner Jean-Paul Goude,by hand as a collage originally, since digital photography did not yet exist.
The impossibly graceful arabesque is actually a montage of separate images, following Goude’s ideas on creating credible illusions with his cut-and-paint technique. The body position is “anatomically unlikely”. The picture was originally published in New York magazine in 1978 and subsequently used in the music video for Jones’ hit single “La Vie en rose“. It has been since described as “one of pop culture’s most famous photographs”.
At that time in my life, I had few worries about my future. As a soon to be graduate, employment opportunities were numerous, I was going to move to Paris to live with my future husband and environmental problems were barely on my radar.
Today’s young people are faced with a very different and uncertain future. As we adjust to the current COVID-19 health crisis, it seems that many people, including myself, are hoping that this is the wake up call that is so desperately needed to change back to a sustainable and slower life style.
The young woman in this photograph didn’t know that she was going to live the rest of her life in another country; she didn’t know that she was going to have a handicapped child that she would spend twenty years caring for; she didn’t know that she was going to battle with deep depression; she didn’t know that the planet was being destroyed.
The young woman in this photograph also didn’t know that she would live the next thirty four years with the love of her life; she didn’t know that being a mother would be both the most wonderful and the most frightening experience; she didn’t know that she would be capable of facing and getting through very tough times; she didn’t know that those tough times would teach her so much.
My sphere of influence is very small. It is limited to how I care for my family, friends and animals. It is limited to my choices as a consumer and voter.
What can I say to my daughters, who are anxious about the future?
Well, not much really. I have no crystal ball. All I know is that bad things happen, life is not “a long peaceful river” ….
But …… I can try to show them that how we think about our circumstances is far more important than the circumstances.
So, I chose to believe that we will learn, we will do better, that my daughters’ future will be different but also better in many ways.
I chose to keep looking through my pink tinted glasses ….
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