I came back from China, in broken pieces scattered on a serpentine path and without the slightest idea of how and where to start reconstructing myself. I have been away for the past 10 years and I was always on a journey filled with struggles, derived from my attempts to find a purpose in life, a meaning to exist, a place to call home, a man to call my lover and a career that I would find exciting and rewarding.
Needless to say, I have not managed to find any of that and the troubles that ate at me daily, forced me to flee inumerable times from cities, countries, jobs, relationships.
The only constant in my life is that I often feel lost, lonely and without a sense of belonging. The tendency, so far, has been to fill the void with my insatiable desire to find love and a man that can love me so much it hurts. I never experienced intense love and at the same time, healthy and uplifting. The more I couldn’t have it, the more I longed for it and created a whole fantasy of love inside my head. The reason for that might be that I am an incurable romantic. Ever since I was a teenager I felt like part of my fulfillment and my happiness was a man, another human being to make me whole.
I idealized the notion of love to such an extent that I almost served myself on a silver platter to numerous men that only intended to use me. I was constantly dreaming about longing for someone, for anyone that could make me feel awe, immense admiration and absolute, fucking, intense love.
After my 5 years relationship, the loss of love, no matter how much of a routine or just a comfortable prison it had become towards the end, I returned to my beloved home country, Romania.
Instead of focusing on healing and self-development, I denied my pain, I externalized my thoughts of failing in every single domain of my life and unconsciously, I decided that I am not worth being loved and treated with respect by men.
So, guess what? During the pandemic, I went for the easiest and fastest way to meet guys or “to have a chance at love” and that happened to be Tinder.
Tinder was like looking for the needle in a haystack, looking for a decent guy that matches me,that can give me that unconditional love and care I was yearning for, and who could ,at the same time, enjoy the same things I do: reading, art, exploring off the beaten track places, mystery, deep emotions…And I was kind of aware that I would have to sort through so many people that don’t even come close to what I really wanted, but still, I kept going and I allowed myself to be disrespected, humilliated, dominated…as if I was punishing myself for being a failure, for not being good enough, for not deserving to be loved.
During the first few months of 2021, I was marked by a painful duality, the naive desire that I could find someone to treat me right and care about me on Tinder, and the burning tendency to swallow every bit of rubbish that came my way, to self-flagellate by allowing men to treat me worse than I deserved. It all happend because I was in transition and because my suffering was clogged deep inside and on the surface I was, and to be honest, I still am, numb and frozen. I am still at the self-discovery stage and how erroneous it was to think that fulfillment comes with a partner that supports you and helps you develop.
The only thing that I have learnt is that when you are deliberately and desperately searching for love, you won’t find it.
Inner peace and happiness do not depend on a romantic partner.
I am glad I got to the stage of saying no, of stopping my desperate searches and my exhausting, repetive dates.
I had all these ideas in my mind about what I want and I met guys who were just selfish and in it for their own pleasure. They were exactly the accumulation of all the things I despised. They weren’t capable of giving residues of care, respect and kindness or of even being grateful for receiving. I do not blame them because I was attracting exactly what I thought I deserved, men for whom I was never enough, because I wasn’t enough for myself.
How did the dating stories go?
I met a few guys that were decent, and kind of compatible in terms of personality and values, but I didn’t really feel physically attracted to them.
On the other side, I encountered a few handsome men, whose behaviours, arrogance, selfishness and past traumas warned of difficulties and screamed “Stay way”. Did I listen to my intuition? Did I protect myself and love myself enough to refuse everything I didn’t really need or want? No, I kept walking on the path of longing, of painful, superficial, empty and aggressive sex on floors covered in wine, cigarettes and bites.
There was “The Viking”. I went up to him in a teahouse and started a conversation. I was superficially attracted to his looks. However, once I realised he sweats too much in bed and I can’t handle that smell and that behind his image of a strong, muscular guy there is negligence and a soft belly I started liking him less. Those things together with the fact that he was younger than me and sexually inexperienced, completely annihilated my shallow emotions. I led him on, got him to be into me, just to realise that he can’t satisfy me in bed and that he is not sophisticated enough in his way of being and in his way of expressing himself. His jokes about vomit, shit and boogers disgusted me.
There was Mihai, the 45 years old guy, good looking, kind of spiritual, but too sexually-focused, and with a huge package from his past. He was the way I used to see myself, smart, curious, with adventure in his blood, sexually-open to new experiences and not too fond of monogamy. But the fact that he was way too similar to myself challenged me and made me ask myself how far I’d be willing to go. It felt like it’s all about sex and sensual pleasure with him, nothing about emotions, empathy and affection. The little, vulnerable girl inside of myself wanted to be showered with care and undivided attention.
There was Razvan, too short and not consistent enough when interacting with me and way too humorous for my taste. Nothing was a normal conversation about deep, philosophical subjects, and all was about trivial shit and bad jokes memorised from the internet. He was smart enough, but in order to make up for his height he pretended to be too self-confident and took evertything as a joke.
There was Siri, the bistro guy, a blonde hottie suffering from exhaustion, a gambling addiction and a severe depression wrapped up in wit and bursts of maniacal energy. Deep inside, he is an emotionally sensitive guy who has been burnt too many times and wants to present himself as a tough guy in order to protect himself. He made it clear from the beginning that we are too different and we won’t be more than fuck buddies. Due to the fact that it was kind of a challenge for me, I started for an instant to think and fantasize about wanting more from him, but he was absolutely right, a potential relationship would have been disastrous. It became a sort of routine to meet biweekly for sex, even though the sex wasn’t even great or satisfying. He started telling me stuff about his interactions with other women, and when I started doing the same, I felt he doesn’t want to hear that. Wtf?
There was Cristian, a kind of a smart guy, but too selfish and with out of this world expectations from a woman. He boasted he is great with his communication skills, but he was awful at seeing things from another’s perspective and everytime I’d say something that wasn’t going down well with his perspective, his blood would start to boil and he’d start shouting. He was selfish in sex and too cold when out in society together.
Meeting all these men and dealing with all their shit, with their past baggage and expectations, all their self-focus made me long for an idealized past.
And then I realized that I have to stop searching and that I have to focus on myself and end this downfall of disappointments, of being used and abused and of making compromises just to feel less lonely.
From now on, it’s all going to be about me, about self-love and improvement. If anything else comes up on this path, I will be open for it, but I will not make it my purpose in life any longer. It’s time to heal!
Waking up in the morning to the sound of a ‘meow’, to a wet nose, to a lick on your face or hand or to any kind of greeting from your non-human friend can be an amazing way to start the day. The relationship between a person and his or her furry friend goes both ways, it is a relationship of mutual benefit and equal bonding. If you ask me, I also consider that human and non-human animals have equal rights on Earth and should be regarded as having an equal status and the same importance as a human being. Nowadays, domesticated non-human animals rely on their human friends for food, water, shelter and welfare. On the other side, people also gain a wide range of benefits from their companion animals, such as lowering blood pressure, alleviating the overpowering feeling of loneliness, reducing stress, raising blood oxytocin levels and sometimes, even reducing direct physical pain.
How far does the connection between people and their furry companions go? To start with, we know for sure that dogs were domesticated twice, once in Europe, about 16 000 years ago and once in Asia, 14 000 years ago, from two distinct wolf lineages. The purpose of domesticating dogs was for hunting and protection purposes. Another interesting fact that showcases the connection between dogs, cats and humans is that as far back as 12 000 years ago, human and non-human animals were burried together. Approximately 8000 years ago, when humans transitioned from nomadic hunters to settled farmers in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, cats became increasingly useful for dealing with rodents and other troublesome pests.
In ancient Greece, dogs were believed to ward off or prevent death and in many cases they were kept around temples and used as co-therapists because of their perceived ability to cure sickness. Pet ownership might go as far back as ancient Egypt, where pharaos were depicted in murals together with their animal companions. Scientific research does not show with certainty when non-human animals started to be kept as pets and became our closest friends and companions.
The truth of the matter is, that non-human animals have always played a significant role in our lives and archaeological findings are proof of that. These days, our furry friends might live in our houses, at farms or gardens, but regardless of their contribution to our society, they mean us no harm and they surround us with love. Thus, we owe them protection and respect.
The most foreward regions of the world to come up with animal protection laws, were Ireland in 1635, that sought to regulate the treatment of sheep, and Massachusetts Bay Colony, which regulated against cruelty towards domestic animals. In 1992, Switzerland becomes the first country that includes the protection of animals in its constitution. Five years later, in 1997, the European Union adds to the European Community Treaty an appendix on the Protocol of Animal Protection. The international law for the treatment and rights of animals has evolved considerably, and even though it varies from country to country, non-human animals have started to be protected against cruel lab experiments, cosmetic testing, direct physical violence, the sale and manufacturing of fur, depriving animals of freedom for shows and touristic purposes, caging and breeding animals, etc. The reality that each and every one of us should acknowledge is that non-human beings are sentient beings that deserve to live amongst us as equal beings, protected and loved.
Now, let’s direct our attention to Romania and to the defective system of animal protection. First of all, the laws are only valid for and refer to abandoned and stray DOGS, without any of mention of other stray animals. Secondly, up until this year, there was no specific authority for the protection of our companions, cases of cruelty and mistreatment of animals being directed to the local police force. Needless to say, fining or punishing the psychopaths or the careless individuals that hurt animals in any way whatsoever, is not a priority or never happens at all. Apparently, a separate Animal Police Force has been officialy established, but until we can rely on them,we should all do our best for the animals on the street and for all the animals that we come in contact with. I mean, how can two veterinarians in the police force manage all cases of animal cruelty and mistreatment in one entire county? That’s if they have the intention of doing their job at all. Meanwhile, stay strong animal lovers! For the others, let’s solve the problem of stray dogs and cats, neuter our furry friends, cooperate with legit NGOs (do your research beforehand), work with fellow animal lovers, be kind to animals and help those in need find a forever home. If you can’t or won’t do any of the above, at least don’t do any harm to non-human animals, who have been our companions for millenia.
Respect and love animals, save animals and in order to decrease the number of stray animals, neuter, neuter, neuter!
Earthquake Bird is a movie directed and written by Wash Westmoreland. It has been released at the London Film Festival on the 10th of October this year. It tells the same story as the book Earthquake Bird, written by Susanna Jones. In spite of its negative reviews and average rating, I found this movie inspiring and unsettling in an artistic manner. Right from the start, a heavy atmosphere, a sense of peculiar and tension floats in the air. The streets of a 1980s Tokyo, the faded colors with a tint of sepia transported me directly into the movie. Alicia Vikander’s character, Lucy Fly, is surrounded by an air of tragedy and guilt that accumulates slowly and stimulates curiosity. Her acting is excellent and throughout the movie she divulges fragments of information and secrets that build up this dramatic aura around her. In one of the scenes, where Lucy is with Teiji, a Japanese photographer that is equally as mysterious as her, she exclaims: ‘Death follows me!’. This proves to be a strong statement that defined her past, but also a prediction about the path of her relationship with Teiji.
Lucy Fly is a complex character that has definitely not been explored enough. She is an introvert person that carries an overwhelming feeling of guilt. She escaped Sweden to forget, to start anew, but she never managed to do so. Japan was supposed to be her second chance, but bad luck followed on her footsteps to the new, faraway land. Lily, the new girl in town, vibrant, naive in a way, but also a bit mischievous, is the opposite of Lucy. She seems to be quite superficial at the beginning, and Lucy considers her a burden. However, she somehow manages to get under Lucy’s skin. She starts to reveal details about herself, but everything is cut short by a speeded up twist and her being suddenly murdered. Her character is and could have been more complex, but the director chose to keep her as a standard antagonist, a woman who simply betrays her friend in search for intense, momentary passion. During her friendship with Lily, Lucy has an amalgam of mixed emotions towards her. She starts to like her as a friend, she is intrigued by her energy, by her contrasting persona and is at the same time, subconsciously fantasizing about closer, physical touches. All these contradictory emotions are mixed in the end with unbearable envy and Lucy’s desire to kill Lily. The intolerable urge to have Lily removed from her and Teiji’s lives stems from the fact that Lucy considers Teiji to be the only person that saw her for who she really was and Lily is a threat to her connection with the photographer.
Teiji, the photographer that documents the scenes and objects in the city and nature, maintains that he does not photograph people. He starts taking photos of Lucy and brings her back to his small studio apartment in an old, rusty, rundown building. His creativity, his silent nature, his good looks, his special enjoyment in photographing Lucy charm her. Teiji requires from the beginning that there be no pretense between them. He is a mysterious character that does not reveal much about his life. He definitely does not like small talk and is extremely private about his collection of photography. Lucy seems to be a photographic object for him, not a real person with feelings and desires. He is more stimulated by her images in the dark room, rather than by the real Lucy. He keeps all his photography in a locked drawer, which suggests that he is hiding either some dark secret or puzzle pieces from a traumatic past that he would rather dump in a locked drawer, but also in an imaginary, sealed safebox inside his mind. Teiji is a criminal and his photographs document the transformation of the victims, the paths of the murdered women and their final grimace and body posture after they have been murdered. Teiji murders Lily and only his sudden shift in passion possibly saves Lucy’s life. The movie cuts short any explanations or details of Teiji’s murderous instincts and motives.
The love triangle between Lucy, Lily and Teiji is part of a plot that blends in several spicy themes: love, shifting passion, twists of life, betrayal, guilt, death, murder, art, bad luck and peculiar circumstances. In spite of the fact that the second half of the film is rushed, and that the characters could have been developed more, the beauty of the scenes, the photographic facial expressions, the passive, faded warm colors, the eerie mystery, the build up of tension sprinkled with random, shocking exposes, the black and white photography collections, the old film camera, the rhythm and sound of the camera clicks, Lucy’s dark, timid and shaky personality, her longing for company, for love, her submissiveness to a tall, dark, mysterious and cold stranger and Lily’s unconstrained nature make up an exquisite, dreamy movie.
Today’s topic of reflection is relationships. Relationships are basic components of our lives as highly social beings. Probably most of us are part of several relationships at the same time, but it can often be hard to glimpse behind their thick layers. Frequently, relationships are extremely complex and can easily become a source of great pain. I was wondering how people unconsciously cross this invisible bridge between happiness and the point where their relationships are mostly filled with heavy feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and shame. Any kind of relationship, either with family members, friends or with a partner can, at any given moment in life, seem like an inescapable labyrinth that weighs down on you. You can, all of a sudden, find yourself in a relationship that seems absolutely broken, in a lonely place where the person who used to bring the most joy to you is now floating on the parallel bank of the same river. If in the past you used to walk hand in hand, in the same direction, reaching for the same goals, now you feel alone and misunderstood. Or worse still, you feel like you are not being cared for or listened to attentively. It is a strange situation dominated by feelings of isolation and disconnection even though you might be sitting right next to other people. At this point, any attempt at communication is a complete failure because you and the other person in the relationship are on different frequencies. It is almost like you both want to transmit a message and receive a message and you do your best to put together a concise message that can communicate your feelings. However, you fail because you are using distinct communication mediums. Say, it is similar to one using a phone and the other using an email. It ends in a connection error.
Concept of communication and communicating a message between two head shaped trees with birds perched and flying to each other as a metaphor for teamwork and business or personal relationship with 3D illustration elements.
I started to brood over relationships after watching a few Romanian short films (available on http://www.cinepub.ro with English subtitles, if you are interested).These shorts portrayed exactly a tangled spiderweb of painful and damaged relationships that suddenly explode and discharge cruel words and agonizing sounds. We can all agree that this type of extreme communication is damaging, but once in a while it sweeps over us, almost like a cold taking us by surprise each autumn. Sometimes, humans reach their limits and they need to release all the anger, the frustration, the anxiety, the shame, the bitterness, the despair, the jealousy, all the feelings that have been piling up inside of them. When we arrive at the point of utter fragility and desperation, our relationships become so dramatic that the tiniest of things can set us on fire. It is not about what has been said or what has been done, it is just the last blow, the icing on the cake or a mere raindrop added to a violent inner storm.
Dramatic portrayals of characters and relationships in the short films: a woman choosing solitude over attending a New Year’s Eve party because her friends invited her in the last moment and she felt betrayed (ask: what are your expectations of a friendship?; what is your conception of friendship?); a couple blaming each other for tiny mistakes or sudden actions during tense external occurrences; siblings fighting because of an unequal distribution of responsibilities in the family; an overprotective father and his daughter keeping secrets and fighting for her freedom; disagreements and shouts between spouses on how to treat their child; a man expressing his anger over the fact that he feels unsupported by his wife, daughter, brother and parents; a woman being ignored by a husband who is so taken with reading a newspaper and feeling invisible in her own house , etc. All these intense portrayals of relationships and the feelings that arise inside them illustrate examples of thwarted communication. We could argue that they are intensified or dramatized in order to create more artistic films. However, I suspect that the shorts can have such a strong impact on the viewers exactly because they feel so real. I can identify the intricate details inside my own relationships and in the relationships of people that surround me. The ultimate feeling that arguments, fights and miscommunication bring to an individual is that of isolation. Imagine being in a dark cave, completely alone! You are withdrawn from the world at that moment. It is as if your partner, friend or family member is not concerned with your feelings at all. You feel as if no one listens to you, or rather that they appear to be listening, but your words do not reach them.
Each of us have been, are or will be at some point in a situation where the way we communicate is not functional anymore. Our desires, needs, wants, goals, feelings and thoughts dissipate in the air and the person near to us seems so distant, so removed from ourselves. Maybe communication is not the problem, but rather our connection. The fact is that maybe we need more time to look within ourselves to find solutions, to listen more attentively to our feelings instead of looking to the other person for solutions and advice. In a way, we are very self-absorbed and everything is about we, we, we…how we feel, how we suffer, how overwhelming the feeling of loneliness is, how bad was our day, our week, our entire year. Maybe it is better to start taking small steps for improving the connection in the relationship by doing pleasurable things together and by actively listening to the other. I believe that we have, in general, become so selfish that we don’t really know how to actively listen to people with an open mind and heart. We listen in order to reply and to advance our points of view. Let’s direct our attention towards our inner selves! Let’s listen and understand more!Let’s identify our painful feelings at the incipient stages and express them in a thoughtful and loving way! Let’s try to deal effectively with the fault in our relationships!
I love people’s diversity and their inner resources of wisdom. Hence, a few years ago I decided to collect the thoughts and ideas of my friends, of acquaintances and travellers I came into contact with. Unfortunately, I got caught up with other things and I stopped doing it. However, I promised myself I will collect fragments of wisdom again. Here’s what I got so far:
” A poetic vision comes from observing a creative landscape, then act upon it. The key is to realize what the action will be, or will do to you and others. “ By Julien Pearly from France
” A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes!” Adam Barnett citing Gandhi from Edinburgh
“I wish I was
Where I was
When I was wishing
To be here. ”
By Cristina Grigore from Pitesti
“Words I spill on paper,
Ideas trapped in blue ink.
My thoughts are fireflies in flight;
They lose their light when
With clumsy hands
I catch them.”
By Ana from Brazil
“If you give a warm enough rope to hang itself it’ll turn around and bite the hand that feeds it.” By Ivan Rochford from Ireland
“O ramurica pe o stea –
uite, a incoltit luna!
Cine scutura mugurii
lucitori noaptea pe cer?
A intunecat un gnom noaptea!
Si ce a facut gnomitza?”
By Elena Daniela Smoke from Pitesti
“A smile and a pleasant turn of phrase.
Take pleasure in the mine of life. Happiness is a choice” Anonymous
“If we are attached to smaller joy, then it is impossible to attain bigger joy.” By Tashi from Tibet
“Words are not enough to describe reality” By Lawrence Pedregosa from the Philippines
“No smart quotes from me, my mind, thoughts, ideas change with every encounter.” By Ahmed Ismail from Egypt
“El medio es la actitud.” By Carlos Brown from Canary Islands
“It’s safer to believe in religion than not to believe. If at the end of time it’s proven that there is no religion , I guess we have nothing to lose.” By Immanuel from Nigeria
plenty of water
no fish at all.
“By Kokothett from Myanmar
“In summer the trees are full
In winter they are bare
No leaf falls in the wrong place.”
By Stan from Ireland
“It’s interesting to see how a combination of different perspectives can enrich or change someone’s outlook on life.” By Jeroen from Leuven
“Knowledge opens several doors, but you close the one you want to open. That will make the difference in your life. Which one is the right door? Nobody knows. Just make sure the way to happiness doesn’t become harder.” By David from Czeck Republic
“Confused? At loss at what to do? Don’t worry, you’re only human. Happiness is a state of mind.” By Florian Piron from Belgium
“All the small things matter!” By Julio Rodriguez from Ecuador
“Travel to unknown places will be nourishment for your soul. It’s about learning to leave friends behind , but gain so many new friends on the way.” By Lukas from Lausanne
“Every action should bring you more freedom!” By Sebastien from Lausanne