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Month: June 2016

Feeling alive

What moments do you think of when I say a moment that makes you look above your personal horizons? When you suddenly see your emotions and issues from a different perspective? When everything you have been worrying about seems so tiny or irrelevant because you’re looking at a bigger picture?

To me, this happens when I see a really good movie. Preferably at the movies because that way you physically step out of your own life and into the space of the movie. When a movie makes you feel Something that isn’t part of your everyday emotions. I can’t think of a better example but it happened to me when I watched The Fault in Our Stars. Feeling sad and happy and confused all at the same time. Cancer – luckily to me right now – is not a part of everyday life. But in that moment when you encounter something that is out of your rut, you realize that him not texting you back or the exam next week is not going to matter in the long run – to me, that is what feeling alive feels like.

It also happens to me when I hear certain news – this week hearing about the death of Christina Grimmie or the night club shooting in Orlando. Something that shakes up your life and makes you think. And then you need to force your head back into your own routine, while also subconsciously still reevaluating yourself and your choices.

Feeling alive, how morbid that other people’s death caused this feeling in me this week. I’m only now realizing how dark that really is. Also The Fault in Our Stars is concerning the topic of death. Maybe the concept or realness of death is making me feel alive, forcing me to see that life is more than my personal environment and worries.

This is not the direction I wanted this to go in. I wanted to point out that I like this feeling of being alive, present and active, I like looking above my horizon. But I feel like I can’t say that right now.

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About Manhood

I recently watched ‘The Mask You Live In’, which is a documentary on male struggle in the United States. I highly encourage you to watch it – it’s good brain food and it is available on Netflix.

After last week’s post about emancipation, today I’m going to address the opposite topic. Well not opposite necessarily. Let me explain. I wouldn’t label myself an extreme feminist – of course I’m all for emancipation as you know, but I don’t identify with the term. Especially because of today’s topic.

To clarify some terms, sex is biological differences in males and females, and gender is the social construct around the sexes. Different ‘extremes’ of feminism either wants to get rid of these constructs and live in a gender neutral society or fight for equality for the sexes. Either way, I feel like this is discussed in today’s society and worked upon, so I don’t want to focus on this topic – at least not today. Today is about what it means to be a man.

Don’t cry, man up, don’t be a sissy… the list goes on and on. These phrases are only the tip of the iceberg of what it contributes to be a man in (american) society. Why do we treat the sexes so differently? Why are men the strong gender, why are they not meant to cry and why are they allowed to see women as a sexual object? The answer is in the way they are raised and taught by society.

The stereotypes and phrases the society poses on men, which are practiced in families, harm boys and men in many ways. Expressing emotions and speaking about intimate issues is difficult or nearly impossible the way men are brought up today, and unless there is a discussion about this topic, hardly anything is going to change. This girl-boy thought process is limiting and harmful – I know this is what feminism is fighting but maybe the problem I have with feminism is with the word itself. Fighting for equality is the essential aspect – whether that includes increasing the numbers of women in leading positions or changing the way men are brought up.

Being a man shouldn’t be a performance – neither should being female. I don’t know why the sexes are being treated differently, it is deeply rooted in history – but now should be a time to change that.

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Stress and meditation

 

In the spirit of Elena’s post last week and all emanzipated women, I will be my own hero this week and all the weeks to come. This is why I am currently at university trying to juggle way too many projects and tasks at once so that I can progress and achieve my long-term goals. And you know what? I wouldn’t want it any other way. But this also means that I am late on this week’s blog post and that the uke has been sitting in my room waiting for me to spend some time with her for over a week now.

But as my favorite saying goes: “Drink some coffee, put on some gangster rap, and handle it.” So that is what I am doing at the moment.

So today, I want to share with you my way of handling the busy times.

Meditation.

I know that this is not for everyone but if you feel like you are running in circles, you lose focus easily, or feel like you can’t slow down, it might help you. Meditation makes you stop in your current tracks, reflect on your current well-being and keeps you grounded.
It’s not always easy to start, so I suggest going to a class (Yoga is usually also an introduction to basic meditation), read a book, or (my newest finding) an app to introduce you to the concept. I recommend the app Headspace (both for Apple and Android). It guides you through meditations and helps you in understanding how the mind works. Trust me, 10 minutes a day and after a week you will feel a difference. It’s not groundbreaking but everytime you relax a little more, you are one step closer to letting the thought things in life go and gain some perspective.

I want to leave you with this simple understanding of thoughts and how to gain some perspective from this crazy thing called your mind:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xAeJKgupPI

(This video was made by the creator of headspace)

Much love, Maria

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Love & Relationships

Historically love is not necessarily connected to relationships, nor is it the other way around. For that matter the concept of romantic love is relatively new, sparking in the mid-1800s. Yet today love is probably the number one discussed topic between girlfriends, uncountable movies have been written about it and the tears shed over love could probably fill multiple oceans. But would we even share the same definition of love and romance without all the Hollywood movies, love songs and Valentine’s Day presents?

I personally I don’t appreciate Hollywood romance movies and the idea they leave in young girls’ head – including mine when I was 15. The guy does not have to make the initial move and in my darkest moments I don’t have to be saved – I can do my own saving, even if it might take some trial and error, I will manage. The fact that it is 2016 and most of my girlfriends still expect to be chatted up drives me crazy. We tie our own shoe laces and everything, go get yourself that date you’ve been thinking about for the past 2 weeks but have been too scared. “He could take the first step if he really wanted to”. Guess what, he could be thinking the exact same thing. Use your voice, it might not always work out the way you planned it to but occasionally it will, and that will feel good. I guess what I am trying to say is to not be a character in your story but to be the story.

As emancipated women – we do everything ourselves. We work the same jobs as men, we raise kids on our own and fix our bikes on our own. One of my New Year’s resolution this year was to be my own hero – ask for less help when it comes to difficult, mostly technical tasks that I would usually ask my dad to do. For that matter, I am planning to show the world that I can kick some ass in my future career – so why shouldn’t I start being badass in my day to day life? I want to be the though one – I don’t want to be rescued, especially when it comes to love. Prince Charming is a pretty concept, but what are his qualities that you can build a relationship on? The fact that he is good-looking and just bumped into me at the right moment doesn’t seem to be enough for me. Love sparks attraction, but a relationship needs to be built on more than ‘just’ love, not every time you fall head of heals for someone you are going to end up in a happy relationship with them. Love needs to be established in everyday life, not only on first dates and adventures. To me anyway, a long term relationship is built on intimacy.

“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” – F Scott Fitzgerald

After meeting that someone special, the way they see and think of you is important. Girls need to be perfect, loveable – lovely. Lovely is one of those words that only perfect girl-next-door use, while they braid their hair the way they always do and smell like their signature rose sent. Maybe I am just bitter but is that the type of perfect that is attractive? Who actually is like that? I am moody and realistic, far less easy to romanticize but nevertheless lovable. Am I still lovely even though I probably spent more time thinking about death than about my nails?

I guess you are able to tell that I have a serious problem with movie stereotypes. Today, love and relationships go and in hand with each other. It seems strange to think you used to marry someone you didn’t love or even really know. Or that love didn’t use to be red roses and anniversary dates. I guess I want to draw attention to the fact that the concept of love has been on a long path and only relatively recently took a turn to roses and butterflies. If things like love can fundamentally change in a matter of 200 years, it is important to see that societies’ standards of relationships need to be interpreted by everyone in their own way. No 90 minute Hollywood movie can show you how your life is meant to be.

Much love, Elena

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How to move on from a broken heart

Having your heart broken or breaking your own heart is terribly devastating and trust me, there are moments in life where I don’t understand why love has to be so wonderfully beautiful and so utterly complicated at the same time. It’s not easy. But right now, I don’t want to write about the sweet, chaotic mess a heart can be in, I want to be bold and practical and stay focused on how to move on after a heart break. Here is goes:

  1. Distract yourself

This is so very easy to say but hear me out: I don’t mean filling your day with meaningless tasks, running from one activity to the other, never stopping so that you don’t have time to think. What I do mean is giving your life a new purpose, a distraction which drives you to a better place. Think about it as progress, dissolve yourself into a passion of yours.

  1. Slow down

This plays together with the point above. Slow down, do some reflection on your part and start to think about yourself. Meditate a little if that helps you. Find some other form of relaxation which helps you work through the pain rather than pushing it away. I know that sometimes I don’t want to stand still because I am scared of what awaits me in the silence. But there is no running away. Face it now.

  1. Be physically active

Sport is, no lie, the best medicine. Now, if you’ve never been physically active, don’t overdo it. If running is not for you, that is totally fine. Just find something that makes you happy. Go look for gym classes. Go swimming, do power yoga, take a step dance class, the possibilities are endless. And trust me, your mind thinks differently when you do sports. The feeling of exhaustion after a great work out, is one of the most calming and addictive feelings out there.

  1. Stop idolizing your ex-lover

Stop thinking of them as the good guy, the hero, prince charming, whatever. They are most certainly not. If they were, they would be sitting next to you at this very moment massaging your feet or whatever. But they are not. And I know this is the most terrible realization, but you need to think rationally. What advice would you give a friend or sibling in this situation? You would tell them to move on, wouldn’t you? You would want their best, so be kind and love yourself more.

  1. Take the high road

Don’t think of revenge, don’t sabotage your surroundings, and don’t do something you will later regret. I know it’s one of the hardest things to do, but take the high road. Months or years down the road, you will be so glad you did. The best revenge is to live well. Focus on yourself, take the time to improve yourself.

  1. Act out of love

You will probably run into them again, you will have uncomfortable conversations with your friends in which their name is mentioned and an oblivious friend will go on about how wonderful the new girlfriend is and how great your ex-lover and her fit together. Yeah, that really sucks, but act out of love. Love is stronger than anger. Love will make you happy, anger will drag you down into that dark, dark place. So smile and pretend for a while. Fake it till you make it, is what I’ve heard. And trust me, there will be a time where you are genuinely happy that you are free and they are gone. Because one of the biggest criteria for a relationship should be that the other person wants to be in it with you. And if that is not the case, you are better off without them.

  1. See it as a catharsis in your life

I know it hurts. But this pain will make you stronger, break down all the parts in you, so that you will come out a better, stronger self.

Plato once said that love resides in the person who loves, not in the person who is loved. You are able to love and to feel and to trust and to be hurt. Be proud of that, it’s more than some people will ever experience.

 

Much love, Maria

 

 

 

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