“Sex & the City” through a scientific eye

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During my college years I researched women in media a lot and for the research purposes (and for fun of course) I explored women’s magazines and tv shows focusing on the messages they are mediating. Even if this is a very popular and a bit trivial topic, it doesn’t mean it can be approached without any scientific method. It is easy to get seduced by certain assumptions and it is easy to develop (and incorporate) your own opinion in your research process, which could be tricky (concerning the fact that it should be strictly objective). Anyway, this time I’d like to share a part of my research work on one of the most popular series of all time: “Sex and the City”. If you are interested in research about women in popular media in general, check out my book published under the title: “Femininity Image in Popular Media” (2015).

Now, let’s discuss the “Sex & the City” adding some theoretical background to it.

Many scholars researched this type of media content before and put it in a post-feminist era, where “women’s material needs have been met and politics of feminism is no longer necessary for women’s advancement” (Vavrusi, 1998), but women of post-feminist era (in media as well as in real life) are still struggling with social norms and labels trying to shape their own identity in tensions between the traditional and the new meanings of femininity (their roles, appearance, sexuality, behavior…). Who are these fictional female characters in media representing? What messages are they mediating?What are the “new social rules” they want to create and why?

Performances of female gender in popular culture present a sort of “information” for “real” women (and men) who consume that content and in a way also a “guide” for identity building and current trend-setting. There are many films and series of 20th century portraying stereotypically feminine woman as romantic, helpless and wanting to be “saved” by a “Prince Charming” (f.e. Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”, 1990), and those elements have not disappeared today, but are incorporated in the “new archetype of contemporary women” that is “less anchored in pursuing marriage as an ultimate goal, but more focused on carrier and relationships” (Tuncay Zayer L. and others, 2012). Gill (2007) talks about the shift from objectification to subjectification of female body and the focus on individualism, choice and empowerment considering women’s sexuality and body image in post-feminism. Scott (2010) defines the post-feminist subject as a woman who possesses active political agency and subjectivity, control of her body and is liberated, a woman who chooses between work and home, straight and gay, butch and femme style. “One of the ideal representations of the post-feminist subjects (smart, successful, single) is Ally McBeal” (Jackson, 2006).

Except the struggle between “feminism vs. femininity” (meaning-> strong independent vs. stereotyped and dependent woman), Southard (2008) mentions two more, equally important struggles of a post-feminist era: agency vs. victimization” and “individual vs. collective. The first one suggests that there is a complex treatment of empowered “women of action” and the “victimized women” who need a help from a man. The second one means that a woman has a sense of “fierce individualism” (autonomy, privacy), but also identifies herself as a “member of a collective force” (friendship, sisterhood, public).

Sex & the City (SATC)…

…is based on female friendship, (mostly) heterosexual relationships and professional success of four women living in Manhattan, NYC. The series approaches femininity differently from any other cultural products by that time, characters cross traditional gender role boundaries and set new forms of femininity (and masculinity). According to the description of T. Zayer and others (2012), the bold sophisticated and knowing voices of the protagonists mask their very ordinary, traditionally feminine desires”.  Characters’ conversations in coffeehouses and bars represent an important part of the show. They share their experiences, laugh together and discuss their problems. Their dialogue incorporates big issues and taboos of that time such as abortion, miscarriage, menopause, breast cancer, single parenthood, interracial relationships, homosexuality, masturbation, phone sex, golden showers, sex in public and many others with “humor and severity in equal doses” (Southard, 2008). In her analysis of SATC, Cramer (2007) mentions the “undesirability of the single status and the elusive goal of marriage”. It is true that these 30 and 40-something women sometimes feel a “state of panic” for not being married (especially Charlotte), because they are often confronted with not only social judgment and discrimination (others their age are “all” married), but experience loneliness and fear of “dying alone” (Miranda freaked out because of the thought of her cat eating her face after she dies alone in her apartment). On the other hand, they often joke about marriage and enjoy the singlehood (“If you’re single, the world is your smorgasbord”, Samantha). Male characters are “stereotyped, undeveloped and often labeled” (Cramer, 2007), so they are sometimes subjects of jokes (“Mr. Cocky”, the “We” guy, “Catholic guy”, “Mr. Pussy”). Only the ones in serious relationships with the ladies have real names (except “Mr. Big” whose name is revealed in the last episode). Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte all put their friendship in front of every relationship and stay loyal to each other all the time (at least that’s the intended message). In Dykes’ words (2011), “family bonds are replaced by friendship bonds”, because characters’ biological family is not even mentioned in the show (except when Miranda’s mom dies). The question is: is their friendship really always their top priority (especially when it comes to “men hunt”)?

Brasfield (2007) criticizes the series for being too stereotypical about other races, classes, religions and sexual orientations and represents only “white, heterosexual, upper middle class women”. Miranda and Samantha dated afro americans who were stereotypically presented and both relationships ended quickly by ladies insulting them. Lesbians are showed as cold, rude and unfriendly in the episode where they visit Charlotte’s gallery and then reject Charlotte’s company because of her heterosexuality. Miranda declared herself as an open-minded for dating a bartender, but she felt uncomfortable in Steve’s “shitty apartment” as she calls it.  Miranda’s and Steve’s relationship ends when she admits to herself that she is ashamed of Steve and they didn’t get back together until Steve became a business owner. “On the surface, gender and sexual orientation are intersections within the story line…a deeper understanding of this presentation shows us that patriarchal thinking is internalized within these women” (Brasfield, 2007).

Humor is also a big part of the show. Characters make fun of themselves for “their devotion to their quest to find the perfect man” (Dykes, 2011). This irony about the conventional social norms is a new big thing as well as the open women’s conversation about sex and laughing about their experiences with men. “SATC” might be “attempting to figuratively deconstruct the status quo of gender (patriarchy) and its essentialist ethos” by playing with reversing the idea of gender and conventional characterization of the female role, as well as, ”depictions of ‘new’ empowered woman” (Lorie, 2011).

Lorie (2011) talks about fashion in the show and the symbolism behind it: the characters build their own style (identity), but also confirm their status and income. An example is the scene where Samantha sees a Birkin bag and says: “When I’m seen tooling around town with that bag, I’ll know I’ve made it!”. Samantha celebrates the power of “female unity and empowerment” and  “having it all” (Lorie, 2011) when she opens a window on a girls’ party in her apartment and screams: New York, we have it all: great friends, good jobs and plenty of sex!”

Characters have dated various types of men, broke the heterosexual boundaries, got engaged and married, broke engagements and marriages, had sex “like men”, were obsessed by men, enjoyed their singlehood and felt miserable and alone. All that represents a mixed and unstable process of hetero-socialization and dating practice of the “new” women. In Samantha’s words: “This is the first time in history the women of NY have had as much money and power as men, and the equal opportunity to treat men as sex objects”.  The assumption about sex in the series is that sex and sexual pleasure are fundamentally positive, fun, good and moral thing.

“Moral reasoning” in “SATC” is mostly created by Carrie’s thoughts, questions and interactions with her friends and at the end of each episode, she “comes to some truth or value about relationships, sex, herself and her friendships” (Cramer, 2007). The biggest value in the series is finding your own female authenticity, meaning: finding your “real self” and your “real love” (Zayer and others, 2012). As much as characters loved sex and freedom of choices, they often felt hurt and got emotional because of that “deliberation”. In the first episode, Carrie decides to have sex “like a man” as a part of the research for her column. When she though she made it, she got stuck by emotions and was hurt in the end. The opposite representations of “agency vs. victimization” are Samantha and Charlotte. Samantha “embodies the politics of second-wave sexual liberation” and Charlotte offers a more “conservative perspective on women’s roles”. Both women are often left unsatisfied and punished by post-feminist politics (Southard, 2008). Miranda wanted “no rescue” after her eye surgery from her boyfriend Steve but in the end, embraces Steve for his help. All of them are in a space between the empowered and the victimized post-feminist, just in different ways and situations.

Carrie…

…a newspaper columnist, holds the group together and presents the narrator of the program, so she is interpreting her and others girls’ stories and she creates the most intimate relationship with the audience (sometimes even talks directly into camera) while she writes and researches for her column. She is “both inside and outside of the plot, subverting the traditional Hollywood formula of what constitutes integrity in voiceover” (Dykes, 2011). Carrie is searching for the man in her life” while at the same time, she struggles to maintain her independence, and this is where the show’s central emotional story line happens. The tension between femininity (search for the man) and feminism (independence) is evident in many aspects of her character. She is a fashion addict and spends a great amount of money on shopping (she couldn’t pay her rent once because she spent all of her money on shoes), she likes to change outfits and wear high heels and she talks a lot and gets emotional. On the other hand, she depends only on herself, earns her money and doesn’t have to ask anybody to approve her decisions about her ridiculous expenses, neither her dating of various types of men (as “trying on different outfits to find the one that suits her best”, Zayer and others, 2012) and she doesn’t need to apologize to anyone for her regular sex life (feminist empowerment and independence). When it comes to “Mr. Big”, Carrie’s biggest love, her femininity comes out in a very strong and often very traditional way (even desperate). She is willing to do whatever to make him say “Carrie, you’re the one”. She pretends to be perfect in front of him, she suffers, feels pain and cries when their relationship doesn’t work and feels like the happiest person in the world when it does. In short, her life (and happiness) revolves around men, mostly around “Mr. Big”. No matter what happens, she will always stay loyal to herself (and her friends) and rationalize every situation as a learning experience (Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with” (Carrie)).

She finds the biggest support and love in her friends and knows that, whenever her heart gets broken by a man, they are the ones that will always be there for her (It’s hard to find people who will love you no matter what. I was lucky enough to find three of them” (Carrie)). Carrie is the voice that speaks directly to women and for women, she questions things you are not supposed to question, she shares her private (sometimes embarrassing) experiences (with readers of her column and  with the “real” audience of the show). With her talking out laud, the show “breaks the silence, so that women can begin to tell their stories and speak about sex differently” (K. Akass, J. Mccabe). She “establishes intimacy and honesty” between the viewer and herself and interprets male-female conversations by “filling ‘the gaps’ between what is spoken and what is meant between men and women” (Dykes, 2011). When the four women are chatting, there’s no need for “filling the gaps” because it’s all “on the table”, revealed and honest.

Miranda…

…a corporate lawyer and a relationship cynic, presents a woman who puts her career first and finds it hard to commit in a relationship. She has a skeptical and ironical view on marriage and makes jokes about it, but in the end, she finds herself with a child and in love with Steve. Southard (2008) argues that “Miranda clearly gives voice to the conflict between feminism and femininity- she embodies second-wave equality politics as she finds in her high-powered career all the evidence necessary to release her from expectations of feminine behavior”. Sohn (2004) explains the character of Miranda: “With her quick wit, pragmatism, and deeply held opinions, Miranda Hobbes represents the realist in all of us”. Further on, Sohn (2004) points out that Miranda was “the most brittle of the women until she met Steve”. Steve was sweet and caring and patiently tolerated her pessimism and excessively commitment to carrier. They broke up twice in the show, but after all, ended up together. Miranda faced her biggest fear of “feminine world” when she got pregnant. She considered abortion, but didn’t do it. “During her pregnancy, Miranda was such a non-traditional expectant mother that she made us wonder if she’d made the right decision” (Sohn, 2004). She was always busy and very confident in her professional life, but at home, she often felt insecure, lonely and lost. That’s why she hired a maid and a nanny. There was a conflict between Miranda and her maid, a traditional Ukraine woman Magda. This is one of the examples:

Magda: “You should make pies. It’s good for a woman to make pies

Miranda: If I want a pie, I can buy it

As time was passing, she became more confident in her motherhood, but from time to time she felt uncomfortable about her body and lack of femininity. In one episode, she attended a belly dance class to release an “inner goddess” in herself, but she couldn’t feel comfortable and ran away from the class. She also felt like men are threatened by her success, so once she lied about her job on a date and introduced herself as a stewardess because it sounds more “helpless” and “dumb” and that’s what men search for according to her. It’s like when single men have a lot of money, it works to their advantage. But when a single woman has money, it’s like a problem, you have to deal with it. It’s ridiculous. I want to enjoy my success, not apologize for it” (Miranda).

Samantha…

…a PR executive and a sexual libertine, is a confident and powerful female who knows what she wants and goes for it. She’s the oldest of the women, but preserves her youth by wearing provocative outfits, exercising, dieting and visiting spa centers. She is successful and independent, very bold in her shocking statements (“My weekends are for meeting new guys so I don’t have to keep fucking the old ones”, Samantha) and very opened about her rich sex life. There is no sexual act she will not try, no kink she won’t indulge. She’s self-made, self-protective and, for a long time, saw monogamy as a disease she didn’t want to catch” (Sohn, 2004). Nevertheless, she was caught in emotions several times and even considered short monogamous relationships (even with a woman), but it didn’t work out until she met Smith Jerrod, a handsome young actor who became a star thanks to her. When she found out that she has a breast cancer, Smith was there for her as much as her girlfriends were. One of the rare moments she felt miserable and vulnerable is when she woke up one morning with the flu and broken shades and there was nobody to help her. But Samantha was mostly very confident about her lifestyle and often brought up intimate details and taboo issues in conversations with her friends. Samantha is not attracted to the idea of marriage at all and domesticity is a foreign term in her language. Marriage doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. Just an ending” (Samantha).

Charlotte…

…an art gallery owner and a romantic optimist represents the most traditional female example of all the characters. She dreams about a fairytale, a perfect wedding and a perfect husband. She disagreed with Miranda about buying an apartment: Everyone needs a man. That’s why I rent. If you own and he still rents, then the power structure is all off. It’s emasculating. Men don’t want a woman who is too self-sufficient” (Charlotte). Of all the women, she suffered the most because of her singlehood, so she ran into a marriage that didn’t work in the end in the way she had imagined. She always “stayed resilient, left when she wasn’t satisfied, and never lost sight of her dreams” (Sohn, 2004), even though she grew a bit more over the time and became little more open-minded. Her story ended happily, but in the different way she had imagined. Her Prince Charming, Harry, didn’t look as the perfect man in her head, but it turned out he was exactly what she wants. She converted to Judaism to become his wife, had a “disaster wedding” and adopted a child after miscarriage. In spite of all “imperfections”, she found her real happiness.

We could see development in representations of female identity over time, but also the same stubborn post-feminist struggle of self-definition that characters are facing. The post-feminist freedom is obviously not only a challenge for the patriarchal system, but for women, too. They have the freedom to make their own choices and create their lives by their own rules, but still experience insecurities and dependence in many ways. “Heroines of typical post-feminist television have too many choices, too much freedom, too much desire and this has led to never-ending searching and to depression and dysfunction.” (Ya-chein Huang, 2007).

I’ll finish this article with one of the lines from the series:

What if Prince charming had never showed-up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, split out the apple, gotten a job, a health-care package, and a baby from her local neighborhood sperm bank? I couldn’t help but wonder: inside every confident driven single woman, is there a delicate, fragile princess just waiting to be saved?” (Carrie)

 

 

 

 

Sugar, Peel & Cream

I recently discovered the magic of the ancient Egyptian sugaring (depilation with sugar) and since I am going to the treatments for six months now, I can say with certainty I have never been more satisfied with any cosmetic treatment before. Even my beautician says she is delighted with my skin (and I can agree). I’ve always had a soft skin, but sugar made it perfect. I don’t struggle with any irritation or redness after the treatment and, the best part of it- I don’t have to think about my hair for a month. It is worth the pain :-).

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Skin softness probably comes from genetics, but also a lot of credit goes to body care, like peeling and body cream application. Body peeling should be applied 2-3 times a week to feel the difference. The skin after it is just so amazing that you become addicted to it. I often make my own body peeling with some sugar or sea salt and I add olive oil or even better- coconut oil. It is important to know your skin type and properly treat it. You can be your own dermatologist sometimes and easily detect your skin’s reactions. If any irritation or redness appears, it is advised to stop using the product immediately. In general, the face skin is much more sensitive than body skin and it has to be treated very carefully when it comes to peeling and creams, don’t play with it. Body skin is more tolerant and therefore more opened for experiments. If you are not into making your own body peeling, you should try products from Body Shop, Rituals and Lush. You won’t be disappointed :-).

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I tried almost every possible body lotion, cream, butter and oil on the market and I cannot say there is one perfect product out there. This is, after all, a very subjective thing, and honestly, the higher price doesn’t always mean a higher quality, often it is just a brand name that upgrades the price, just like with everything else. It is important that the product gives your skin the hydration it needs and that it stays nurtured and soft at least 4 hours after the application. I don’t like products that give me sticky or oily feeling and that’s why I avoid butters and oils on daily basis, especially in the summer. Natural coconut oil is good to use once a week as a “special spa moment” for your skin and it is advisable to apply before bedtime to avoid possible marks on cloths. I cannot imagine having a shower without body lotion afterwards. There are a lot of light summer versions that feel so refreshing, especially products with aloe vera and lemon juice, a must-have ingredients for cooling the summer heat.

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Put some music on and enjoy the summer feeling. Never skip the morning shower and don’t forget to drink a lot of water when you wake up (add some cucumbers and mint for a better taste). Sing under the shower, let the water runs all over your body! Don’t be afraid of a bit colder water, be brave and try it (gradually). It is very good for blood circulation and has an anti-cellulite effect. Avoid hot shower and long hot baths because it makes your skin flabby over time. Colder shower will wake you (and your skin) up and you will immediately feel blood running through your veins. It is so good to feel alive and healthy and the morning shower is a great way to remind yourself of that every day. Apply a shower cream with kindness, take a moment to enjoy the freshness. Shower is a great place for creating your little spa centre. You can put some hair mask and let it work while you’re cleansing your face or you can put some face mask until you peel off your heels. Finish your spa treatment with a body lotion and enjoy every bit of your skin. Give your tights a little massage, feel how they’re becoming brighter and firmer every time. Feel the scents of all the magical ingredients, drown in the beauty of your own skin, follow the rhythm of your curves. Your body is so special and unique, nobody else owns such a body. Learn to appreciate it and love it every day. Reward yourself with a little dance in front of the mirror before you put your cloths on and step into a new day with a big smile on your face :-).

 

Perfect plans, imperfect reality

Why is it so hard to get up early in the morning or hit the gym after work? Why it seems so boring to eat healthy every day? Why cannot we just be happy with our daily routine? Why is it so hard to follow a plan? Why do we constantly give up?

“It will never be perfect!”

I’ve always struggled with keeping my nutrition healthy as well as maintaining my workouts. Although I was never overweight nor did I have any health problems, I’ve often felt like I am not living my full potentials because I am not in my best shape and I am not eating right, sleeping right, working out regularly…It has made me feel exhausted, even depressed. Better lifestyle not only improves my physical condition, but also my mental state, I am more focused on what I do, I have more energy and I accomplish more during the day. I proved that to myself million times. But, I still like to sleep longer, eat sweets, delay things “for Monday”. I know that my daily routine will never be “perfect” and it is okay that way. I’m not punishing myself for that and the repeating “failures” are not hunting me any more. I just balance between responsibilities and pleasure the way I can (crossing both boundaries occasionally).

I tend to ignore my alarm clock (especially on weekends) because I stay up late at night. My thoughts go wild when the rest of the world sleeps and I seem to have so much energy at that time that I could go jogging, but what would you say to an idiot who runs around the block in the middle of the night? Then, I just do Yoga instead. When I can’t fall asleep, I often think about my choices, my life, my friends, my relationships, my diet, my job, my plans…and I get hundred ideas about what I could do differently (better) tomorrow and how could I improve things. During the night, the magic happens in my thoughts: I come up with a new fitness program, I develop business plans, I practice speeches, I discuss my relationship problems, I fight with my ex-boss, I even think about the world’s issues like pollution and terrorism. This crazy brainstorming with myself looks very promising and all of my plans seem very achievable. I get so excited about them that I can’t wait for tomorrow.

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“My great plans somehow look different in the light of a day”

For example, I often imagine I would start my “perfect daily routine” with a cup of tea followed by a group of  morning stretching exercises and a mini spa treatment for my skin. But usually when the sun comes up, my great plans somehow fall apart, somehow look different in the light of a day. I often feel like I’m hundred years old when I wake up and I suddenly lose all of the enthusiasm from the night before.  All of my ideas seem nothing more but a nice dream. And also, reality often has other plans for me. My great ideas are then somehow “put on a hold”.  There is another phone call that messes up my schedule or I oversleep or I get a new assignment that I didn’t count on the night before. And let’s be honest-I am sometimes just lazy and I don’t do what I have planned because I am not in the mood for it. I am not saying I’ve never had a “perfect” morning routine or a fulfilled day. I just cannot manage to accomplish all I have planned every singe day. I am learning to be fine with that (finally). I was always pushing myself to perfection I could never achieve, and now, I am just done with regrets. I am using my night-time to finish things I didn’t during the day, I moderate, I compromise, I eat vegetables as well as my ice-cream, I workout when I can, I walk to clear my mind, I sleep longer if I get a chance. Life is too short to feel guilty all the time.

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“All the answers you need are inside of you”

I’ve always felt the lack of self-confidence in my life. The reasons behind that feeling of “not being good enough” are always deeper than we think and I know I still have a lot of work to do, but important is that I figured out that something was constantly blocking my way to achieving my goals and I am sick and tired of accusing myself for it. I am tired of the feeling of constant failure and I am quitting the endless chase of “perfection”. I am starting to live in the moment the way I feel is the best. I am breathing in the happiness of a new day and I am being thankful for the things I have, not constantly thinking about the things I haven’t. I am making plans along the way, without any expectations. I am doing things that make me happy and I don’t take any failure tragically. I am not trying to fulfill nobody’s concept of a “perfect day” but my own. I am finding pieces of my happiness in my little daily rituals. There is nothing more beautiful than a morning shower after a workout, or a healthy breakfast in the early sunshine. But I enjoy my bubble baths with a glass of wine as well, and I still watch romantic movies with my ice-cream, without feeling guilty. This is all part of me and I am not giving anything up if it really makes me feel happy. I enjoy those little moments by thankfully and consciously living in them. If my plans turn in an another direction than I imagined, it is fine. I am looking for my own perfection in my own way and in my own time.

Everybody knows the difference between good and bad choices. Everybody knows what makes them feel good and what makes them feel bad. Never before in the history of the mankind has there ever been more information about healthy lifestyle and effective time-management than there is today. I don’t know if this is good or bad because there are more and more unhappy people every day, but one thing I know for sure- we cannot make excuses for “not knowing” any more. We have all the information and all the tools we need. The only thing we don’t have is our own piece inside. We don’t listen to ourselves enough. A successful daily routine is a very subjective concept, there is no universal goals to be achieved. There are some tips for (almost) all people, which are already explained in millions of self-help manuals, books, courses and magazines. There are many motivational apps and websites that can help, too. But there is only one universal truth that applies to everyone: The best expert you can get for yourself and your life is YOU. Only you really know yourself and your problems and weaknesses, so only you know how to deal with them, how to heal them and how to change them.

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“You have the power to change your life”

You don’t need to be a fitness trainer to come up with your morning fitness routine, you know which exercises are good for the abs and which for the legs (just google it if you don’t). And you don’t need to be a life-couch or a shrink to know how to cope with stress or depression, just take a walk and think about the blessings in your life. Think positively, read a little, engage with yourself more and listen what your body is telling you. Learn from other people and their experiences, get out of your comfort zone, travel. Only you have the power to change your life. All the answers you need are inside of you.

Just Be Yourself. Always.

I didn’t write for a while because I had a lot going on recently. Honestly, I forgot about my personal problems and identity crisis because I was too busy preparing myself for job interviews. The thing is, I didn’t have time to think about anything, which is, according to my experience, the best cure for any kind of mental problem, trust me. If you feel depressed, just don’t have time to think about it, do something that will trigger either your creativity or your adrenaline, engage in any kind of challenging activity and get out of your bedroom and daily routine in order to get out of your head. I am not going to talk about my depression here, I just wanted to share my state of mind and tell you a story about not giving up and being yourself, always.

Months ago, I posted my CV on every possible job listing web site on earth and I sent around sixty job applications. Then, I waited in a good faith. Rejections started to hit like bullets, every morning a new one. I was invited to several job interviews in person, some of them were over the phone or via Skype. Then, I received more rejections or even worse, I waited for the answers that never came. I started walking and jogging around the block, I was intensively blogging, eating big ice-creams and taking long bubble baths. I started reading “Eat Pray Love” because I needed some kind of strong mentoring, something to hold on to. Wine and chocolate became my best buddies. I researched about moving to Bali, about the power of Yoga and meditation and I considered the option of opening my Yoga fitness centre. Even a job as a receptionist in a Bali wellness resort never seemed more attractive. In the meanwhile, I became the world’s best house keeper, my laundry was always clean and I cooked every day. I was doing body-peeling 3 times a week (as prescribed) and I polished my nails daily. My state of mind was another story. It was collapsing and my patience was waiting for an explosion. I almost packed my bags and left to nowhere.

One day I got a call from a job agent. She was searching for someone with experience in office administration and invited me for a pre-interview. I got there without any expectations, tired of false hopes, tired of everything, with literally, nothing to lose.  I was like a washed cloth, feeling hundred years old. My mind was like: “You wanna hurt me? Go ahead, I can take it.” The interview was not bad at all, I actually liked the agent because she seemed to understand me, she did not look me with a suspicious eye (like many people do when I speak German). After the interview, I was feeling restless and couldn’t bear waiting for another answer in Vienna, so I went home to Zagreb, just to switch my mindset to another program.

After a few days I got a positive answer from the agent. She told me that the company I am supposed to work for is interested in meeting me personally. I caught the first bus to Vienna and prepared myself for the “real” interview.

The company is big and powerful, which instantly made my palms sweat and my belly nervous. I sucked my feelings in, put my lucky shirt on and dragged myself there. The company is in the centre of the city, where everybody are so nicely dressed up, looking wealthy and happy. I arrived earlier and sat on a bench across the street looking directly into the company building. Lots of tourists were passing by which reminded me of my first arrival to Vienna. At the beginning of my journey here, I often felt unsure in everything, mostly in my decision of leaving my hometown. I was alone and simply lost, in every possible way. I grew up with time (still not completely), learned to deal with fear and loneliness in the way I could, and I crossed a lot of my personal boundaries along the way. I was preparing exams in German, bartending on weekends and maintaining my turbulent Skype-relationship at the same time. I moved four times in five years. I experienced two relationships, hundred love dramas (of all kinds) and million breakdowns and break-ups. I was financially broke for a few months in a row, living on a few bucks per week. I realized in that moment on the bench: I succeeding in everything that crossed my path so far. I felt something I rarely ever felt before: I was PRIDE of myself. I was so aware of my accomplishments, they became so real and so amazing. I said BRAVO to myself for not giving up and for being here today. I stood up, took a deep breath and crossed the street.

I felt like I was on some kind of crossroad. I thought it was going to be either a total disaster or a total success. I decided I was going to give them all I have in this interview, all I really am. I was going to put everything I had on the table, like my last gambling stake. I was aware of my weaknesses, I was scared of failure due to my limited German skills and my limited knowledge about the business they are dealing with (or any kind of business actually) and I was aware of the fact that I don’t have an amazing experience nor self-confidence. Still, giving-up was not an option anymore.

The office manager and her assistant welcomed me politely in a meeting room and offered me coffee and water while we had a small talk about the weather. Million thoughts were crossing my mind. The usual questions about career experience and goals followed soon, together with my “favorite” question: “Why did you study journalism and now are applying for a job in office administration?” The true answer would be: “Because I am not interested in most of the real journalism at all, except maybe Cosmopolitan-kind of journalism, and when I was choosing a college, I search an academic field according to “No Math included”– criteria. Plus, even if I wanted to do journalism, there is no way I could do it here in Vienna in this horrible language”. But instead, I said: “I chose it because it is interesting as an academic field and, back then, I was not thinking about working (exclusively) in journalism” (which is also true). Then I talked about things I am good at, about things I am familiar with. I was completely aware of every moment of that interview and I was answering calmly. I was smiling a lot, like I usually do. I honestly said I was aware of my imperfections, but I strongly emphasized my strengths, looking them in the eyes, using strong adjectives, like goal-oriented and organized. They even tested my computer skills and, after an hour, the manager switched the conversation in English. I was tired and overwhelmed, but English was my comfort zone, so that was my final plus, I guess. Then, the unexpected came…

The manager asked me whether I would like to consider a career in her team (!!), but not as an administration assistant, but as a Junior Account Manager working with international partners (!!??). It means I didn’t get the job I applied for, but I got a better one, a higher position that was not even close to my professional knowledge and experience (!!). The company would actually need to invest in my traineeship in order to prepare me for the “real job”. The manager made that decision according to my character and probably some of my skills, but I couldn’t believe I got her convinced I was good enough for the job, and more importantly, that I succeeded to do that in German (!!). That’s really something to be proud of, trust me. I felt like the luckiest person in the world, like Will Smith at the end of the “Pursuit of Happiness”, like I won the lottery. I wanted to cry, but I waited until I was outside of the building. I called my mom immediately and said: “I did it, mom. I did it, finally.”

There are million tips about the appropriate answers and behavior at a job interview. I prepared my answers according to those tips every time, but after all, the thing that helped me the most was my inner voice and my natural behavior. It is hard to “sell yourself” today and be completely open, but it is important that you stay true to yourself and don’t lie, don’t promise things you cannot keep or pretend you are something you are not. Somebody will recognize that truth, somebody will see that potential, somebody will see the best version of you (even if you don’t), and then, when you got that chance, everything will seem to fall in the right place and simply – it will all work out in the end. Just don’t give up on yourself, ever.

The week after I got the job, another company called me and invited me for an interview. I went just to see the outcome. I got that job as well.

Trapped in a romantic movie

When I was a teenager I imagined my future romantic life as a complete fulfillment of my happiness. I thought that girls with boyfriends were so lucky. I wanted love so badly. I used to dream about my imaginary boyfriend when I fell asleep hugging my pillow. Romantic movies were (and still are) my favorite guilty pleasure (plus “Ben & Jerry”). The only difference is I stopped hoping that romantic scenes are actually going to happen to me and I am hugging my real boyfriend now instead of my pillow. But still, I love my fictional characters, just like “Star Wars” fans worship theirs.

The characters take me to my little world of big romantic dreams. The world where things like rationality, time and money are irrelevant. The world where only romance is important and it seems so crazy, pure and honest, without other interests involved. The world where only love matters and it is so strong that it conquers all the obstacles and triumphantly wins over everything and everyone standing in its way. It doesn’t matter how often characters fight or how badly they hurt each other. It doesn’t matter if they are separated by distance or death or time. They just cannot live without each other and they have to find a way to be together in the end. I love that intense game of passion and sacrifice, that fight for happiness, that rules-breaking and breath-taking.

But what would happen if I lived in one of those movie stories? Not in the movies, but in the stories. In other words:

How would I play those roles in my life?

What would I do if I found myself in those situations?

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“Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends. P.S. I will always love you” (P.S. I Love You)

What if I was Holy from “P.S. I Love You”? Could I be brave enough to continue my life after Gerry’s death in a way he prescribed in his letters? Would I bear such a loss and would I be able to love again? Could I take a year off to find myself again just like Elizabeth from “Eat, Pray, Love” did? She took a self-searching journey after her divorce and she found her path in the end. Could I afford myself a whole year of “escape” just for finding myself? Could anyone do that today? Why is it such a luxury to put your own life on a pause? And why is it so hard to let go and move on in real life, but looks so cool and life-changing in movies?

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“So, miss me. Send me love and light every time you think of me… Then drop it. It won’t last forever. Nothing does.”

Movies are so simple and they end exactly when things become too complicated or too real. For example, in “The Holiday”, Amanda and Graham get together during Christmas holidays in London and they know their relationship cannot go any further because she needed to go back to L.A. in a few days. In the end, she canceled her flight and decided she’ll stay for the New Year’s Eve. But what would happen after the New Year’s? It seems it doesn’t matter. What matter is they are happy in that very moment of the big ending. And of course, a romantic song starts to play in the background saying: “Life is great”.

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“I finally know what I want and that, in itself, is a miracle. And what I want is YOU.” (The Holiday)

What if, after a while, Allie and Noah from “The Notebook” realized their relationship cannot work any more because they fight too much and it is just getting worse with time as their emotions fade and they realize their love isn’t so strong any more as it was when they were young?

What if Gerry from “P.S. I Love You” stayed alive and his relationship with Holly collapsed after few years because he couldn’t stand her demanding character anymore or she realized she couldn’t take Gerry’s false promises and just wanted a stable relationship with a reliable grown-up guy for a change?

Well, when we watch movies, we always pray that the main characters end up together. Everybody would get so sad if they don’t, right? But could you support the same version of the screenplay in your own life? How brave are you really when it comes to love? How far would you go for it? Would you run away? Would you change your life forever? Go against all odds and risk it all? Would you follow your heart?

If I were Elizabeth from “Eat, Pray, Love”, would I really took that journey or just stayed with David, vanishing in a daily routine?

If I were Allie from “The Notebook”, would I be brave enough to choose Noah in the end? Or would I choose an easier option instead?

If my life was a movie I watched as I teenager, would I love it? And if I didn’t, would I played it differently later? Would I make the same choices if I got the second chance?

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“Stop thinking about what everyone wants, stop thinking about what I want, what your parents want! What do you fucking want Allie?” (The Notebook)

Female Guilt Circle & the Eternal Discontentment

There are million life stories of women living under stress due to their failure of satisfying certain standards of perfection. No matter if they fail to impress their bosses at work or if they cannot find their soul mates by the age of 30 or if they don’t manage to squeeze gym in their daily routines, women generally tend to feel guilty and unsatisfied all the time.

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We live in a world where nudity is becoming a new fashion seen at every turn. It is so over-used, so rinsed and boring already. Girls are growing up too early. The whole humanity is being brain-washed with shiny commercials, selfies and pushy self-help tipps (How to be happy? How to lose weight?, How to survive being single?), turning us into consumer junkies running around shopping malls like idiots trying to find a piece of happiness in a purchased item. Half of the globe is on some kind of pills. Depression is the new state of mind cured either by obesity or drug addiction. The excessive fitness is considered a healthy option. Being in a physical shape is not a choice anymore, it’s a social demand. If you are not a gym member or you don’t have an Instagram account, you are from another planet. Who sets those trends? Who sets the standards for perfect life/mind/body today? Kardashians?

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If you are managing to keep a healthy mind & body in this world, you won already.

But let’s not be so pessimistic. There are good stuff in the world today. You can customize everything nowadays, choose between millions of options, from a hair shampoo to your business plan. Everything is being delivered at your door, made just for you, adjusted to your needs and your lifestyle. We can do everything by ourselves today, we have Google and You Tube tutorials, we can become whatever we want and create our daily routine the way it suits us. But in spite of all technology, schedules and customization of life, we still cannot make it on time, do it the way we planed, fulfill all the expectations.

And another thing is, INDIVIDUALITY screams from the media: “Be yourself!”. Still, many women look the same, or at least they try to. If it doesn’t work in real life, it doesn’t matter. Filtered, photoshopped and fake-smiled will be just fine. Photo is a new reality, right? And my life happens on my Facebook account where all of my friends live. Now, strike a pose and show them the party was great. And all the flat ass-ladies, please stay out of the frame.

Now, try to eat that piece of cake without remorse.

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My grandmother never visited a gym in her whole life and she didn’t work either. She spent her lifetime housekeeping and raising children. She was never frustrated or under stress, she didn’t even know what the word STRESS means. And she never thought: “Oh, I am a bad mother, I couldn’t make it to the parents’ meeting today” or “Oh, I look big in this dress, I’ll definitely need to cut down on my carbs”. The last year of her life she spent in a nursing home. When she got a served meal for the first time, she began to cry. Never did anyone prepare a meal for her before. At that moment, she wished she hadn’t spent so much time at home, but it was too late. It doesn’t mean she was unhappy with her life, she was just fine with her own reality.

My mother, on the other hand, is a total opposite. She could never settle for the traditional version of a woman’s life at that time in Croatia. She built a successful career and it became her passion, her marriage, her love. She could never calm down and just enjoy the moment, she was always working. “In order to be a single mother with an ambitious career, you just cannot afford to relax”- she used to say. Today she wishes she had more time for the books she always bought, but never read. But still, she doesn’t stop the race. She cannot help it, she is a workaholic on sleeping pills. This is her life and she doesn’t know how to live differently. Nobody can see the pain hidden deep in her heart. Some things will always remain untold. It doesn’t mean she is unhappy with her life, she is just fine with her own reality.

I am happy I carry the heritage of both mothers inside of me. I can learn from their experiences, as well as their mistakes. Interestingly, my character can nicely fit somewhere in-between my mother’s and my grandmother’s, which gives me hope I will be able to balance both destinies. I am not sure which life was happier or whose choices were wiser. But one thing I know for sure: My grandmother would never trade her life for her daughter’s and my mother would never trade her life for her mother’s. I think I can continue the same tradition.

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Women are putting too much pressure on themselves. In every possible way. Too much expectations. We have too many plans, but not enough time and will to fulfill them. And then, we feel frustrated. We feel GUILTY.

Try to let it go for a minute, just relax and ask yourself:

  • Have I ever took a walk without a goal?
  • Have I ever enjoyed doing nothing?
  • Have I ever decorated a meal for myself?
  • Have I ever eaten a cake without counting calories?

We shouldn’t put so much stress on ourselves if we want to stay healthy and don’t lose our minds. Let’s set some new rules that won’t drive us crazy. I would say to all women:

  • Set daily goals and be realistic. Keep it simple. Be patient
  • Live in the moment and make the best out of it
  • Go with the flow. Relax and enjoy your time, your success, your sunny days
  • Be flexible because life is
  • Be active: climb the stairs, walk around, clean the house, ride a bike. Your body is made to move
  • Solve problems as they come, don’t plan too much in advance. And don’t invent new problems by over-thinking
  • Be creative: with your ideas, your career, your style, your parenting, your love life, your food
  • Eat healthy because you’ll feel better, have more energy, be healthier and live longer
  • Set priorities. Learn to say NO to negative things/frustrating things/exhausting things (or people)

You’ve heard all these tips already, I am not reinventing the wheel here. But this time, try to UNDERSTAND them, try to LIVE them, LEARN them, READ them all over again, PRACTICE them daily. Don’t think: “Yeah, yeah it’s all very nice, but I have bigger problems in my life, I don’t have time…” If you don’t have time for yourself, for your happiness and your priorities, no one else will. It’s up to you, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. I am not here to set up your standards. Just remember you have the POWER to choose your life for yourself today. Choose it wisely and don’t settle. Do it in your time and in your own way. You have all the freedom in the world. Use that advantage. My grandmother couldn’t.

 

Let’s Take a Shower & Restart!!

Water is THE CORE of life, the beginning of everything. Often we forget to appreciate it until we become thirsty or dirty. I am terrible when it comes to drinking water, I barely even drink 0,5 L a day. I have to change my habit and now I know I will.

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Right after I woke up this morning I went jogging around the block and I forgot to drink any liquid before my run. I’m rarely thirsty (hardly ever), so it’s not a miracle I forgot. As I was coming back, I felt nausea and dizziness climbing the stairs to reach my apartment on the 6th floor. I got scared I’ll pass out. I didn’t do any spectacular training this time, I was just completely dehydrated. I promised myself then: I will never forget to drink water again! I even bought myself a little fancy bottle online to make my water drinking more fun. Yes, I know, it’s stupid, but I’m willing to try everything.

When I finally got a little better, I decided to take a shower. I was still pale and felt weak, my strong heartbeat was the only thing I could hear in the silence of the bathroom. Life is funny, you know. Just when you forget to appreciate it, it kicks you right back in your head, almost knocking you down to the floor (literally).

I took my cloths off and let the water fall over my head. I felt so ALIVE, like never before.

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The shower has a special place in my daily routine. It is my SPA center, my RELAXATION corner, my PEACE OF QUIET in this noisy world. It is a place where I go not only to wash myself together with all of my thoughts from that day, but also a place where I can find some COMFORT and JOY being in a colorful world of my beautiful soft body care products. This is where I get lost in the fresh scents and false promises of a lifelong beauty. It is a place where I smile, where I sing, where I feel beautiful.

This time, this was also a place where I gave thanks to all the blessings in my life, a place where I cried. I felt so good being “alive” again, feeling good again. The shower saved me, refreshed me, took me back to life. It was like a baptism ritual, like a new birth, like some kind of restart of my mind. Like a second chance. I went under the shower as one person and came out as a newborn. I felt like my sins were washed away, my doubts dismissed and my questions answered. Water was my cure, my salvation.

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Enjoy little things in your life because they can be so BIG if you choose to look at them that way. Simple things, everyday things. Sometimes even boring things. Don’t take them for granted because you might lose them. Make SPECIAL LITTLE RITUALS out of them. Enjoy them, embrace their EVERY MOMENT.

Be there and breathe it all in. Don’t wait until you become thirsty to appreciate water. Drink it, love it, let it flow and let it wash all of your bullshit away. Clean yourself and be naked in every possible way.

The Failure

I messed up. AGAIN.

I didn’t follow the plan I made. I disappointed. The plan was to be better, to live better. The plan was to start early in the morning and don’t waste time on stupid things. The plan was to use every minute that’s been given to me. The plan was to walk more, to socialize more, to invest more time and effort into my projects and relationships, in myself. The plan was to do the work on time. The plan was to be a better friend, a better girlfriend, a better daughter. But I failed. And then, I failed again. And again. After a while, I just ignored my plan and acted like I never had one. I started losing confidence and faith in myself. I don’t know why I was sabotaging my own possibilities for a BETTER LIFE.

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So many times I thought I cannot do this any more. I was sick of trying again. I decided I’ll quit trying and just be another ORDINARY person who drags through life waiting for time to pass.

It became so frustrating, so messy and a bit boring with time, because I tried so many times to change things in my life. Last time I actually followed a PLAN was probably 12 years ago. I decided I was going to upgrade my grades in school by the end of that school year. The plan was to become more active in classes, so I started to speak out even when I was afraid to say something. Gradually, my plan turned out very well. I did it. My grades were fantastic by the end of the year.

I think about times like that often and I still admire myself for some of the accomplishments. I remember that FEELING OF SUCCESS, like the feeling when you finish the last exam in college or when you make your parents proud. That good feeling that says: “Life is great!”. You feel like the king of the world, you feel like you’re going to be somebody some day. How is it possible that I was more disciplined and more focused on my goals before, even when I was a child, than now when I’m a “grown up” and when I should “go for it”, fight for my life the most? Why is it so hard to start living the way you want to? To start fulfilling your dreams? Are we all slapped by reality so hard in our faces that we just give up on our dreams so easily?

I guess we are all AFRAID even before we start. We are afraid of that awful FAILURE.

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It is easier to be an ordinary person who survives day by day without any ambition, without any challenge, without getting out of that comfort zone. Every day is pretty much the same then and you don’t have to be afraid or feel discomfort at all. It is a good life, I guess. Could be. I can even imagine myself being happy in that life for a while. It is doable, especially when you have a support group that loves you beside you. It is a very calming and comforting thought, I have to admit. But then, something’s missing and I cannot help it, I get that ITCHY FEELING every time I think about it. I cannot stay still and pretend I’m completely okay with that version of life. That “safe” one. I can even see myself SCREAMING INSIDE, wishing something happens and stops me from going further. On the other hand, there are times when I feel alright and calm like this, when I enjoy being SAFE and WARM, but then I usually stop thinking about what I really want, too. I stop thinking about what I’m supposed to be in this life, about the big “PURPOSE” question. I think: “Maybe I don’t need anything else, I am just fine with my life like this”. But am I really being happy in that moment? Or am I just being COMFORTABLE?

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Yesterday I cried for a whole day. Just cried over my life and the person I’ve become. I wanted to become somebody else or just disappear from this world, from all those staring faces in my head asking me: “Are you okay?!”. I tried to walk and think about everything, but it didn’t help. I just walked around a park and couldn’t think about anything clearly. I was empty and tired of all those thoughts. I was angry with myself and I realized I was pushing people away with my closed behaviour. I was over-thinking everything and I was creating unnecessary problems in my head. People who care about me and love me don’t deserve this version of me. I couldn’t bear it either.

Then, I took a bubble bath and lit some candles and I just stared at the candle light for a while. I tried to calm down, tried to breathe again. I felt so small, so unimportant, so vulnerable, so DISCONNECTED from everything. I wanted to be alone, so I started a fight with my boyfriend in order to create a SPACE for me and my loneliness. I wanted to scream and throw it all out, I wanted to scream so badly, but I couldn’t in that moment. I missed those days when I was living alone. The thing is, being alone wouldn’t actually help me and I knew it. I just couldn’t bear the fact someone’s helping me and taking care of me. I couldn’t accept any kind of love in that moment.

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The road to TRANSFORMATION is not easy. It’s not straight and it’s not short either. But if I choose the other way, I will die. This is the game I cannot quit and the PERSISTENCE is the only rule. When I fall, I need to get up and keep on going. Just keep on going until I get there. I don’t want to hide beneath the FEAR anymore. Beneath the IGNORANCE. Beneath the COLDNESS. Sometimes I find it hard to really “be there” and I escape in my thoughts, I cannot face reality very well and it is manifesting in different ways like:

  • postponing daily obligations (lack of the ability to concentrate)
  • terrible lifestyle (longer sleeping hours, eating crap)
  • having hard time falling asleep (too many thoughts in my head, sweating)
  • lack of self-confidence (avoiding social occasions, avoiding eye contact, giving short answers, bad mood)

I don’t want to make excuses anymore. I am sick of “I can’t do this” and “I am not good enough” and “I’ll start on Monday”. The thing is, grabbing a big box of ice-cream and sleeping until noon won’t solve any problems, it’ll just create the new ones, like:

  • the guilt
  • missed chances
  • bad mood
  • weight gain
  • losing friends

So now, I can…

a) ACCEPT MY LIFE AS IT IS and just be “comfortable” in my old habits

or…

b) I can START CHANGING MY LIFE by:

  • following my inner voice
  • facing my fears and discomfort
  • accepting imperfections
  • decorating my daily routine in my own best way
  • trying harder
  • being patient

I can become the BEST VERSION OF MYSELF by gradually changing my thoughts, my behaviour and my decisions.

Day by day improving. Day by day becoming stronger. Day by day becoming a better person.

After I took the bath that day, I tried to hide my wet eyes together with my feelings, so I decided to go straight to bed. On the way to bedroom, my boyfriend came to me and hugged me. I was surprised. I didn’t have any choices, I had to surrender to his arms. After a while, I couldn’t hold it all in anymore. I couldn’t be cold anymore. I just accepted his love and his help. I wasn’t ashamed of my tears and my feelings anymore. I cried like a baby. And he held me the whole time. His arms were full of hope and his eyes were full of kindness. I took all of my masks off and told him everything. He wiped my tears and listened to every word I said. Than he told me:

“I wish You could see yourself with my eyes.”

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I hope my experiences on this journey will not only help me, but somebody else as well. I want to share my hard times and my good times, my tips, my experiences and my knowledge. Because life is so beautiful. Because life is a gift. And we have to share it with others.

Let’s take a walk

Breathe in. Breathe out. Let’s do this.

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I finally took that sneakers out of my closet and went for a walk. After a while, I couldn’t understand why I’m not doing this every day. The weather is so fantastic, the city has so many possibilities for sports and leisure outside, so many parks and bike roads…Why am I wasting my time inside or drinking coffee at the local bar? Why am I not walking anymore?
Recently I spent a weekend in Amsterdam with a good friend of mine and it was so refreshing. We walked for two days around the town. Just walked and talked, getting to know how people live, how they are spending their time. I loved it so much. People were outside, hanging out with friends, laughing, riding bikes (maybe even too much :-)) and simply enjoying the Sun. We were a part of that world for two days, a part of that dream, that escape from our boring, hard and sometimes even sad realities. We forgot our stupid problems and lived in every moment. Why couldn’t we all live like that everyday? Why is it so unusual to enjoy your town and your everyday life the best you can, but EVERY DAY? Why do we live good and consciously only when we are on a vacation? I know, there are things to do…we all have to work/study/take care of things…of course we have. It would be sad if we didn’t have anything to accomplish. But what about us? What about ME? What about MY LIFE? The one I want? The ONLY ONE I’ll ever get. Isn’t life supposed to be enjoyed instead of ENDURED?

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Walking around those few blocks for an hour I realized I am not living at all. I am simply just WAITING for my days to pass. At least most of them. I am waiting for weekends, waiting for summer, waiting for my future job, waiting for my happiness. I woke up one day thinking: “Oh, tonight is the new Biggest Loser episode on TV, can’t wait!”. And that was the highlight of my day. I mean…REALLY?!

I cannot do the laundry anymore (there’s no end- EVER!), I can’t stand answering my WhatsApp messages every day (to the same people), I cannot talk to my mom for hours anymore (about my career goals), and I am sick of those happy Instagram profiles (that I check all the time without a reason). I need a BIG CHANGE!

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I spend a part of my walk in tears because it is not easy to face those important life questions and really be honest to yourself without crying (at least for me). I tried to hide from the people on the street, but they were f***ing everywhere (!!), so I decided I’ll just ignore them. It is not easy to admit your fears and weaknesses to yourself. I though about my chosen profession and my decisions that brought me where I am today. Maybe it was all wrong and I should have known better. I listened to other people too much, I cared about other opinions too much. I was afraid of critique, of failure. I though about my mistakes, my relationships, my wrong choices. And then, I though about LOVE. Endless torture and the most beautiful thing at the same time. Sometimes it seems so easy and kind, so simple. I think I got it all figured out. But then, I fall into pieces one day and I don’t know what I feel anymore. My whole life becomes so WRONG when love isn’t “working” right, when I start to question it or doubt it.

I started to run, run like never before, I wanted to run away and never come back. I hate this feeling. I thought about moving to the “End of the World”.  That’s often on my mind as some kind of “need to escape”- thought. The “End of the World” is a beautiful place far away, which often includes a beach and the Sun (of course), and I see myself smiling there, being peaceful and happy, far from everything and everyone I know. I think it’s alarming when you want to escape your life so badly and, moreover, when the escape looks so attractive.

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Then I though about moving to my homeland. It is still a change and it’s more realistic one, more down-to-earth, and even my friends & family could understand that. But what could be so good about it? It is not exotic at all and it is not home either. It is not the same place I left 5 years ago. People have changed and the economy has got worse. What could I possibly do there? And my parents are there. Everyday. All the time!

At the end, I thought- maybe I should stay here and DO SOMETHING with my life here. Make something out of the opportunities I already have, out of the relationships I am already in and out of the things I’ve already started. Why would I escape everything and everyone? What is it so bad about my life anyway? There are good stuff here, I am aware of that. Am I NOT GRATEFUL enough? I should definitely change my PERSPECTIVE, not the continent.  Then, I will gradually change my life, too.

I finished my walk with a smile because I felt good again. I needed that conversation with Myself. It is like a confession ritual, like a reset button for my life, like a beginning of something NEW. Something GOOD.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Let’s do this.