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.