Free to be ME: a beautiful work in progress.

Photography: Etienne Boulanger

Photography: Etienne Boulanger

Written by Marlee Klemm

Between the lines

We all have one thing in common, and that is that we are all human, even if sometimes we wonder 'where the hell did I come from?' We can in fact be sure that we live and breathe the same air and we must eat and drink water to survive. Am I right?! We may come from different countries and have completely different backgrounds, morals and values, however it is these complexities of socialisation that form who we are as individuals. As a progressive society we should really be embracing the different characters and array of personalities in which makes this world so damn interesting. As individuals and as professional team members these are the points of difference that should be given special attention; embracing each other’s unique traits and encouraging one another’s strengths in order to achieve a life of fulfilment. First and foremost we must be able to identify our own personal strengths and what makes us who we are, then be willing to work with these. To live your best life is to be your authentic self, to live within your power.


So I hear you say 'what does she mean, within my power? Or perhaps ‘easier said than done' and sure you are right to question such statements. To be in your power is to be confident with who you are, to be confident with your choices and proud of the person you are - all encompassing, all embracing. This rollercoaster we otherwise know as 'life' is forever showing us that with the good comes the bad. We live and we learn daily, almost every minute we learn something. Life is shaping us constantly through our own experiences.


We all have a story and no ones better or worse than the other! Each story is relative to the individual, which it involves. It is how we choose to live out the story which determines who gets their 'happily ever after' or should I say, 'happily until after'. This may sound slightly morbid, honestly though there is no happily ever after. We grow during the difficult times and thrive during the peaks and the cycle repeats. If it was not for the moments of struggle, the hard times and the challenges life throws at us, the good times, and monumental moments wouldn't exist. Existence itself would be mundane and oh so boring! It has been through my own experience that I can sit here and feel confident in what I write. Life is Beautiful and I want to share a small piece of my story, a small experience that I had recently. A synchronistic moment that perfectly reflects the idea that life is in fact, work in progress.



Nestled in between friends and strangers alike, I sit on the floor of a converted carpark rooftop bar. Feeling like I am tucked away in some far away ski resort, I sip on my rosé in the middle of Berlin and relax. I had spent the day going over my journey of self - discovery, awareness, love, empowerment, personal growth and the pursuit to happiness. I reflect over my experiences, self-education, and the importance of the mentors and people who inspire me. Thinking about the direction I will take for this article, I laugh at the synchronicity of the moment. 'The Future is Female?' reads the flyer for the event I am at, an all female line up of music, starring one of our very own Aussie Queens, Lask! There was also a separate space set up where a board of women sat to discuss issues of women in the music and event industry. Yes Queens! Everything about this moment was confirmation I was right where I needed to be.

I had caught the wrong train, arrived half an hour late, and one minute before Lask started. I was disappointed but also relieved to have made the beginning of her set. I felt instantly comfortable in the warm room, among the diverse, all-inclusive crowd.

A young woman caught my gaze and waved at me to come over. I had spotted her earlier and had wanted to tell her I loved her style, Queen to Queen! With no hesitation she launched in to a sort of monologue, “I don't know why but I really wanted to meet you, I saw you and instantly felt that you have a really nice energy about you, what's your name?“ she said. Chuffed at her remarks I blushed with a smile, introduced myself and asked her name in return. “Tara“ she replied as she continued to tell me how she believes it to be important to express these types of feelings in these moments. Nodding in delight, I couldn't have agreed more! An abundance of questions were very forwardly thrown my way. Tara had no problem with openly acknowledging my physical appearance, my self-confidence and general 'I don't give a fuck' attitude. She was so direct in fact that I realised I had never personally acknowledged half of the things she was saying but I agreed wholeheartedly with her analysis. What was quite confronting in a way was also extremely refreshing. The genuine interest Tara had in my being was surprising and encouraging at the same time. Her appreciation for me, as I am, was truly humbling.

Tara began to tell me about herself, not holding back on the intimate details of her life. I soon learnt Tara has Bipolar and that this day she was having a 'good' day. She told me there were days, sometimes weeks where she struggles to do anything at all, but still she does her best to break free of the debilitating restrictions the disorder brings her. Going for a short walk, making a meal, meditating, self educating, to even making conscious choices when it comes to watching television were just some of the things that help her to be ok with who she is. Interacting with others and sharing life experiences helps her remain connected, it is what inspires her when she needs it. Tara's confidence within herself and her ability to get through the hard times was truly inspiring and better yet, a confirmation of my own thoughts relating to self empowerment and ‘Living Your Best Life’. The disorder was not her; only a part of her. The acceptance of 'self' just as you are, is so important. Embracing the shadow, grabbing it by the balls (Yes Queen, women can have balls too!) and using it, as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth is one of the most powerful things we can do.

Tara became distracted by a transgender woman walking by and took the opportunity to acknowledge this woman’s strength, showering her with compliments and encouragement. Yes Queen! Tara continued to share her struggle with Bipolar. The interesting thing was that the struggle seemed to be success for her. Tara exhibited so much compassion for herself but also others around her. It was through her open communication and expression of self that allowed her to connect and have meaningful moments with others. Her ability to be authentic was contagious. She was real, raw, and speaking truth! 'This girl is on fire'!

I was standing in front of a mirror, my own experiences, ideas and opinions were being said straight back at me - Tara, my mirror. A perfect sign from the universe I was on the right path to writing this article.



Stepping in to my power all started when I made the executive decision to stop giving a fuck of what people think about me. Now this statement can be interpreted in many ways. So let me be clear in saying this. We are all our own CEO in life and not giving a fuck simply means living a life of self assurance, living as freely as possible to express ourselves as we feel most fitting whilst remaining aware of others differences and respecting that matter of opinion is not always the same. I was tired of living a cookie cutter life where I felt unappreciated and unable to be myself. I knew I wasn't being myself because I was always questioning my behaviour and unable to truly feel liberated by my choices. Always trying to impress others or fit the mold that others so desperately wanted me to fit for their own benefit.

I realised I had to make some changes in my life, but where to start?

'Embrace the uncomfortable' they said 'It will be difficult' they said 'but it will be rewarding' they said...and how right they were. From speaking openly in situations that don't align with what I see as right, or justified; to wearing clothes that reflect my personality, my mood, and most significantly that I feel comfortable in. These were a starting point. By being true to myself, although daunting and at some times terrifying the results were extreme! I found the more often I spoke my truth, reflected who I truly was at the core the more people genuinely respected me. Time to listen to my thoughts, opinions and ideas. The more I was ME the more people around me felt inspired and comfortable to be themselves. This chain reaction honestly has been the most rewarding aspect of my journey so far.



We must have compassion for others and most importantly ourselves. Each day make the effort to better our best selves, for ourselves! All we can do is try. To ‘Live Your Best Life’ is to accept that you are not perfect and you will sometimes fail. However, it is these moments where we learn, we become creative, and we are able to reflect before we “dust ourselves off and 'try again”!

Step in to your authentic self, be brave and accept. When we face darker times we have the opportunity to grow. It all starts when we take control of what we can and let go of what we can't. By taking responsibility for our own destiny we empower ourselves to move forward, while inspiring others.

Dive in to the uncomfortable, sign up for a short course, join a yoga studio, meditate, exercise, jump online and investigate different independent development options, online tutorials, YouTube, read books and remember to always laugh and dance at every opportunity.

Remember failure is success! If I had arrived on time that day in Berlin, if I hadn't got on the wrong train I may never have met Tara. I may never have had that experience. I may never have learnt the things I did that day about myself and about Living Your Best Life – as a work in progress!

Event: PRIZM, Berlin, Klunkerkranich.

'Girl is on fire' Alicia Keys

'Try Again' - The late Aaliyah once said: “Dust yourself off and try again”.


Sarah Fritz