If you look at Australian actress Melissa George‘s Instagram of her Parisian apartment, you may think it’s something you could never achieve. But you’re wrong.
The actress has built something that money can’t buy, and that every mother can give her children.
Freedom, and a peaceful home.
If nothing else, I want everyone who sees this photo to walk away with that: especially if you’re literally thinking about walking away.
In her Instagram, George explains how she came to find the apartment:
“I was given 48 hours to find a home in Paris. I went Into a real estate agency with my boys in tears saying I am not French, without work, no one to sign for the lease, etc. and I am in need of a home for us three immediately. The agent said ‘come with me’ she opened the door to my home and I fell in love,” she writes.
Yes, many women who flee with their children do so with the clothes on their back only. They don’t have the resources to make a stunning, well-furnished home within just a few months.
But the thing is, you don’t actually need a well-furnished home for it to be beautiful. All you need is freedom, peace and safety.
It sounds trite, but unless you’ve been denied that, you can’t really estimate how valuable those things are. I know, because I once lived like that. Once upon a time, I too fled in search of the freedom, peace and safety my son and I deserved.
I was given 48 hours to find a home in Paris. I went Into a real estate agency with my boys in tears saying I am not French, without work, no one to sign for the lease, etc. and I am in need of a home for us three immediately. The agent said “ come with me” she opened the door to my home and I fell in love. I then started at one end of Paris going to every single antique market ( best memories ) and even finding 18 th century desks and tables on the side of streets calling Uber and begging them to take my belongings home ! ( not one turned me down ) merci #uber and in two months I created a space that makes our spirits soar. Less is best. Perhaps my new vocation. My papa came recently and re did all my antiques as they were falling apart and now my boys can jump all over the furniture. The lamp on the left was an old coat stand that I turned into a lamp myself.
When I left, our first home was a small granny flat above someone’s garage. I remember my sister helping us move, standing in the tiny lounge with tears in her eyes.
“Don’t worry, this is good,” I reassured her. And it was. It was the happiest home we’d ever had. I was thirty-three, a lawyer, with a two year old son, living above someone’s garage: in the most beautiful home I could ever have hoped for.
So I know that you shouldn’t look at George’s stunning home and think it’s an unattainable standard. Because it is possible for everyone to have a home which, as the actress says in her caption, makes your “spirits soar”.
As has been widely reported, it’s not always been like that for the 41-year-old mother of two. In March 2017, George shared her story of escaping alleged domestic violence on Sunday Night, saying “things couldn’t be worse”.
She said that in September 2016, her partner and father of her two children, Jean-David Blanc, attacked her in their home, leaving her beaten and bloodied. While a judge found both parties guilty of assault, both are appealing the ruling. Since their split, the couple has been unhappily sharing custody of their boys, Raphael, four, and Solal, two.
George’s story of needing to flee an allegedly abusive family situation is common; White Ribbon Australia estimates that one in three women will experience violence from men in their lifetimes. Yet, at first, her situation seems very different. Unlike many other women, George didn’t have to find crisis accomodation with her children. And it only took her months to establish the new home.
But ultimately, every mother is capable of giving her children, and herself, a form of the same thing.
So, I want to say to any mother considering leaving her home with her children: you too can have a home like Melissa George.
It might not be as perfectly put together, and if, you’re reading this, it most likely won’t be in Paris. But I promise you that the beauty will come from your happiness.
Even if you’re not quite there yet, please know that it is absolutely possible that you too can one day have a beautiful home that will make your “spirits soar.”