Sté Dupont (26), shop owner, Kortrijk

Sté Dupont (26), shop owner, Kortrijk

I’M SO SCARED TO AGE

Sté is manager of her own conceptstore Oats and Heremiet. She's a nostalgic woman thrown back and forth between adult and childhood. We interviewed her in her shop in august 2017.

Of course I want world peace, but what I’d really like is to return to my childhood. I had great teenage years, very unworried. I struggle with growing up. With the responsibilities adults have to carry. With all the things that rest on your shoulders. From bills, to the fear of becoming ill or losing someone. As a child you just snuggle into your mother and everything returns to safety. I have a positive outlook and try to ignore negatives, but it’s not easy. Being independent is very fun, but since I’ve been working time goes so incredibly fast. When you go to school, a year lasts so much longer.

I SAT ON MY MOTHER’S LAP UNTIL I WAS 18

Immersing herself in nostalgia is something she does consciously. “I then play music that’s embedded with memories, seek clothes from the time, or visit places I used to go to as a child.” She collects perfume bottles for this very reason. “A perfume belongs to a stage in life. A touch of scent from those bottles sends you back in time immediately. The scent of my mother for instance. I sat on her lap until I was 18 years old.” She laughs. Returning to the past, doesn’t mean she regrets things. “It’s more so about the relaxed life style that belongs to young years. Untenable in Belgium. I think you need to move when you want that. To Bali for instance. Also a dream.”

PARENTS ARE ALSO ONLY PEOPLE FORM FLESH AND BLOOD, WITH DREAMS AND FEARS

At this moment she is standing in her own clothing and coffee shop, cooking sweet potatoes, making coffee and combing her hair. When a costumer walks in she says: “Sorry, I was daydreaming there…” She is, honestly, a tad jealous of people who are younger than her. “I’m so afraid to age. To deteriorate physically, but also that I will not have done things. I want so much. But aging also taught me things. You realise how the world works. That your parents aren’t heroes, but people of flesh and blood, with dreams and fears.” Those fears are ones she struggles with herself. “They come when the sun goes down. I’m really not unhappy, but at night I tend to mull. I try to ignore this. I really have something good. Always had. I can place things into context, except for the aging. Maybe with years going past, I take things too seriously. My dad always tells me not to. When he does, it’s better for a moment."

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Ann-Julie Vervaeke (30), director, Ghent

Ann-Julie Vervaeke (30), director, Ghent