#writerswednesday: Write it off your Chest ! – A Writing Exercise for Everyone

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#writerswednesday: write it off your chest

Cheers my dears,

today it’s #writerswednesday again and due to the current crisis I came up with something different.
I’ve prepared a writing exercise for you as a little video class to help you release pressure and breathe properly again.

It’s for everyone!
You don’t need to be a writer, poet or to have any skills in advance.
All you need is pen & paper.

The exercise consists of a little warm-up and three exercises.

Join me 🙂

I hope it helps you to get through these tough times.

If it’s helpful and valuable for you, feel free to share it with a friend.
I’d love to read/see/watch your results, so please tag me if you publish something from this exercise 🙂
Also feel free to leave some feedback in the comments below

take care, stay safe & sound and healthy

xx

#randomramblings: Courage, Contemplation and Creativity during Crisis

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#randomramblings: Courage, Contemplation and Creativity during Crisis

Hey my dears,

no, today there won’t be a #sundaystory* but an interims post due to the current situation.
It’s not easy and it feels like the world was turned upside down, many things aren’t as we knew them or as how we got used to them for years, decades or even our whole lives.
I will avoid to repeat what is said in the media each and every day and what we hear from friends and acquaintances, as I assume that we all are already overloaded with information. On the other hand, it’s not my aim to pretend that everything is peachy sky and vanilla cake with cherry on top. It’s not.
But those who have been following me for a while now or even know me in person might have noticed that I have a tendency to be optimistic. I’d like to call it pragmatic optimism.
Because once a friend told me “Okay, Gina, now we have talked one hour about the problem, let’s talk at least one hour about the solution, that’s much more useful.”
What I’m saying is, I don’t try to sugarcoat anything or to confront it with blissful ignorance. That’s not me.
I don’t have solutions for the situation. But I’d like to try to contribute to spreading some light. And you can guess my medium of choice.
I hope the text will be more structured than my thoughts are right now and that you can take something away from it.

There will be more posts following according to my categories #modelmonday, #writerswednesday, #freelancefriday,#socialsaturday that are especially written for this time of crisis.
Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter, if you want to stay up to date.

Here now some perspectives on what we might do during this time, learn from it and take away from it.

Time
Now we ended up at what I already pointed at in a different post.
“We will never have time, unless we take it.”
Many didn’t take it, now it’s there, wanted or unwanted.

Instead of focusing now on what your everyday life normally would look like and what you would normally be doing and where you’d normally be, we can maybe switch over to a more pragmatic and useful approach.
How often did you say something like “Well, if I had more time, I would finally repair the squeaking cupboard door”? Or paint the walls, tidy up, iron shirts, take care of wooden furniture with special treatments, repot the plants on the balcony or whatever. These are productive things.
Of course they can be applied to personal stuff as well, like “Yeah, if I had as much time as XY, I would also do my nails, try out new hair styles, but in contrast to her I have to…” Or “As much time as he has, no wonder he already finished that game”, read this and that book, whatever comes to your mind.
Also popular “If there weren’t so many distractions at home and I had more time, I’d also love to do sports at home.”
Well, the fact about the distractions is real, but let me try to help you with this. God knows I’m not an expert, but as someone who works a lot in the home office and belongs to the more active (some say restless) types, I might have some tipps and tricks for you.

We order the above mentioned:
– productive / pragmatic
– fun
– training / learning / education
– sports

Especially if you’re not used to working at home or educating yourself at home via online courses or the like, the own four walls hold many distractions in store and you might end up in a never ending story.
Tendency is quite high, that it makes most sense to start off with the things on the outward to eliminate as many distractions as possible.
So repair the cupboard door at first, tidy up that bloody chaos drawer, dust off the lamps, clean the floor, iron the shirts, etc. etc. etc.
As said, just make sure you don’t end up in a perpetuum mobile, because while being busy with task A, you might recognise in addition to task B and C many more tasks until Z and then restart the whole alphabet with A’ and so forth.
That’s why I recommend the method that I also used in my IGTV video on instagram and here in one of my blog posts:
Take manageable portions from all the things you have to and want to do, so some that you might really be able to finish within a day and start with those that add to structure.
So, before you start neatly decorating your washing machine with washy tape, please start with tidying up and sorting out the cupboards and drawers and then work your way to cleaning up and then go over to the details. (Unless the details are a little creative pause for you and you feel secure enough to return to the have to’s vs. the want to’s)

Education and learning is another productive and pragmatic way to spend your time.
Now you can learn the language you always wanted to learn, read the business book about topic XY. Many content creators are offering free online courses and e-books right now. #solidarity, so if you’re interested in audio books, languages or DIY projects in your home or whatever, you can browse through the diverse platforms and find free material or get some good content for a small budget from an expert.
Same goes for sports. Many trainers with own apps are offering the subscription for free right now or for less money and some gyms offer free courses on youtube, etc.
And fun, like playing games, finally reading again or listening to music, is not to be forgotten.

The biggest problem is probably the lack of routine that is normally dictated by your everyday life. I understand that.
But, I have good news for you: You’re now the captain of the ship!
You can build your own routine. It’s not easy, I admit, and it takes time, yes and yes, I hear your arguments “Yeah, then I have a new routine and everything goes back to normal, so why?”
Yeeeeeeeah…..no! Other good news: You can also take some of the things you like from your own routine and implement it later into your everyday life 😉

Here now the pragmatic approach:
Take a big sheet of paper. We’ll use the method that I used in the above mentioned video and post and apply it onto this case.
Write down all the tasks that have to be done, should be done and that you want to do. Then categorise them according to work, fun, sports, education & learning for instance. Just randomly onto the paper.
Ready, list everything that comes to your mind, go!

Ready? Great!
It might look like a lot now.
Now take another sheet of paper and create lists according to the categories you chose. (I recommend making them colourful)
And now take a closer look at all the things you wrote down on your random sheet before.
Let’s say you gave your list the colour green for household stuff. Now mark everything on the random sheet green that has something to do with household.
And now put it into the list, preferably according to a logical principal, like mentioned above.
Does it make sense to start a big clean up and then sort out the cupboards? Or would it be better the other way round?
Try to imagine the processes and to list them in a manner that makes sense, so that you don’t end up having done one task seven times in three weeks and totally neglecting another one that you wanted to do.
It will take a little moment. Just do it.
Great.
Now do the same with the other categories.

Amazing. Now you should have structured lists and an overview.
If you like to, you can put it into your calendar or just do it according to your mood and energy level. When you get up in the morning and during breakfast or the first coffee you’re thinking “Ah, today is a good day for sports”, pick something from your sports list. “Today I feel neither creative nor sporty, actually I just wanna chat with my friends”. Okay, do it. Call your friends. While you’re sorting out your wardrobe for instance. 😉 By the way, your friend might even help you decide what items to keep and which ones to donate or sell or give away. How does that sound?

Me personally, I’m a friend of picking at least one thing that I have to do and one thing that I want do, but often I’d also go according to the “What do I feel like today?” principle and then combining the tasks from different categories.
I recommend picking at least one thing you have to and one you want to do.
So, before I do six things I want to do, I’ll pick one to two, three things from the list that have to be done. This way I have success and fun in one day.
The Kinder egg for adults so to day 😉

Before this post gets completely out of hand, I’m gonna throw in some things you might wanna do:

household
– sort out your wardrobe and donate or sell the items you don’t want and need (doing something good and earning some money)
– structure your cupboards and rearrange them
– laundry, ironing, taking care of furniture and floors
– dust off the lamps
– archive photos and store old data from your computer on external hard drives

sports
– online courses and videos and using what you have to get some sports into your day
– if you can’t motivate yourself on your own and maybe live alone, try to find online groups that meet at a specific time of the day and do sports together
– computer games with sporty activities are also an option

business (a separate post concerning business will follow)
– now’s the time to restructure and relaunch your website
– depending on the branch you’re working in, you might find new concepts for your sales, marketing and online services
– you can create special offers and spread them on the various platforms you use

education / learning
– finally you can dedicate yourself to your DIY projects, the material for your self-made shelf is already rotting in your cellar, isn’t it?
– learn something new, a language, cooking, how to cut your hair yourself, doing manicure at home, drawing, whatever it is that you have been interested in for a long time and always wanted to learn

fun & relaxation
– take a long walk through nature and listen to the wind and the birds
– read
– listen to audio books
– finally watch the movie / series you have been longing to watch
– call friends
– playing games in the analogue world with room mates, partners, family or online with friends
– creating and designing birthday presents (especially for those that won’t be able to celebrate their birthdays due to the crisis, hello my Aries babes, don’t worry, postponed doesn’t mean cancelled and we have to celebrate according to the opportunities, and there will be opportunities in the future)
– meditation / relaxation techniques
– dance through the room

This is just a small list, but maybe there are some impulses in it that inspire you. I hope so.
Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments below and share your tipps and ideas. Sharing is caring.

And now imagine this:
What if we all learned something from this situation and took something away from it?
What if, when everything is slowly returning to a level of normality, we got out of it more toned, more educated and if we met all our loved ones in a fresh and rearranged home and took hours to exchange what we have done and learned?

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s difficult and hard, especially for families with children, who now also have to do home office and are not used to it. For those that still have to go to work with worries in their hearts. For the care givers, doctors, retailers and tradesmen, delivery people and craftsmen, farmers and all the small and medium sized companies and self-employed people, that are confronted with big problems and worries and sorrows.
I see you and you’re brave. True heroes. I have nothing but gratitude and respect for you and I’m thinking of you!
But maybe you too find something in this post, that might spread some light onto your sorrowful soul and that nurtures it with positivity and calmness.
I’m not free from sorrow either, but I decide consciously for hope and optimism.
And I share it with you. I hope your arms are open so that you can embrace it.

Take care, stay at home, stay safe and sound.

xx

Gina.

* the #sundaystory will be paused until my upcoming book is published. I need my resources now to keep my business running and creativity flowing. I hope you understand that. Please bear with me.

#socialsaturday: International Women’s Day 2020 or Be the change you want to see

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Hey my dears,

I know, I know, the order seems to be a bit off, but it will all get tidied up, don’t worry.
On the 8th of March it was International Women’s Day and if you haven’t seen my content for it yet, please go to the balcony and have a look at the highlight IWD 2020.
As a good housewife is supposed to, I did not just only tidy up and clean my analogue home and put the spring decoration up, but here in my virtual home as well. 😀
I hope you like the new design and the touch of colour and that it makes you come and visit me more often here.

Now, let’s roll up the sleeves and get to the relevant topics:
New Year’s Eve alone close to the sea gave me the opportunity to reflect the old year and let go of it. The trip rewarded me with fresh wind and motivation to make 2020 not only a new year, but to set the sails for a new decade.
I hope you’re feeling the same and that the first quarter of the year has already been positive for you. Observing my direct and indirect surrounding, I have the impression that 2020 already brought some massive changes and shifts for many people and I’m excited for which surprises it has in stock for all of us. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it.

With a big portion of creative energy, I’m currently working like a maniac on different projects, I hope to share with you quite soon.
Therefore, I haven’t produced specific poems or texts for IWD this year.
But let’s take a moment to think about all the amazing women out there. Which woman comes to your mind first?
And which three ones are following? Which women do you find inspiring?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

And now, please sit down, we have to talk.
Let’s not pretend, to be simply human isn’t always easy.
But as a society we even manage to make it even more difficult for certain groups.
This can be referred to nationality, religion, outward appearance, skin colour, sexual orientation or sex and gender and certainly to many more attributed, as there is always someone to be found, whom one could give a hard(er) time.
But because recently it was International Women’s Day, let’s stick with this group: Women and people, who identify as such.
I don’t think I’ll have to mention all the hurdles, obstacles, challenges women are facing, it’s somewhere along the lines of beauty ideals marketed by media, the balance between work and family, unequal pay for equal work and society’s expectations towards the sexes and genders in general. The list is long.

I alone won’t change that. You neither.
But as Teresa von Avila, a woman herself, said “If many small people do many small things, the face of the world will change.”
And I think if everybody starts where they are, use what they have and do what they can, something is going to move and change.
But what does this mean in detail or what can it mean concretely?
I don’t own the stone of wisdom and I don’t have a one-fits-all-ready-made-solution, but I have some suggestions.

How about if we started reflecting our attitudes, opinions and convictions about masculinity and femininity while taking a walk or sitting on the sofa?

Is it fair, when I expect of my mother, sister, partner, colleague, that she not only fulfils all the roles society has for her, but that she does so perfectly?
Is it fair, when I deny a career focused woman the capability of being a good mother? Is it fair, when I deny a housewife the capability of having a sense for business?
Is it fair, when I don’t expect of my father, brother, partner, colleague to fulfil all the roles society has for him and he doesn’t have to be perfect at it, either?
Is it fair, when I deprive a man that stays home with his kids instead of going to work of his masculinity and sneer at him?

No, it’s not.

To reflect is certainly the first step to insight, which in turn is said to move something. And then?
Thinking alternative ways. Then walk.
How about if we started being a bit kinder towards our colleague, who has been coming to work with an out-of-bed-look for a week, because she has been working her pretty, but less toned butt off to juggle two small – teething and feverish – kids, her work and social life? Just brew a coffee for her and get her some lunch and tell her that she’s doing an amazing job.
How about telling the guy that stays at home with his kids, that especially because of society’s prejudices he is brave to have made this step? When we asked him how he’s feeling, why he’s doing it and whether he now considers his wife less of a woman and himself less of a man? And when we told him that he is also doing an amazing job?

That was the soft version. Let’s come to the bolder option.
Calling someone out on their bullshit.
Is it fair, when nudging out of frustration and touching without consent is dismissed with words like “boys will be boys”, which later turns into “a man is just a man”?
Is it fair, when we repeatedly listen to people in our direct surrounding telling us how we should live our lives and which definition of masculinity and femininity we have to obey?
Is it fair, when we give the responsibility for our own actions out of our own hands and put it into the world view society proclaims?

No, it’s not.
And now?

How about, if we started to teach our children that they can become and achieve anything, regardless of their sex and gender? What if we taught them that it’s okay if a boy wants to play with dolls and that “But she’s a girl!” is no legit reason to exclude the sister from the football match?
How about telling the aunties and uncles, who on every occasion – and big birthdays and especially weddings seem to be perfect occasions – tell us, either with a pitiful or reproachful manner, that we “will find the right woman one day” or “the right man will come” into our lives, but that we could put a little more effort into finding someone, just because we attend the event without a partner or ring on our finger?
Who wants to go one step further, can of course switch over to telling them lovingly that they should mind their own business. Or you could chink a glass, get the attention of everyone and have a 20 minute rant until even the guests in the back seats understood your point. The choice is yours.
How about not hiding behind “I’m not responsible for that, my husband takes care of that”, but actively reflecting and pondering on our understanding of femininity and masculinity and the tasks, attitudes, challenges and chances that are connected to it?
How about taking responsibility for our own actions, which starts with reflection and thinking about what we could change?
How about taking responsibility in our social constructs and stopped accepting certain platitudes and excuses?
How about telling our interlocutor that this action or those words were utter bs?

As you can see, there are manifold options to start somehow somewhere in order to change something.
But if I continue the list, this post will end up being way too long and nobody’s gonna read that much.
Furthermore, change and growth starts within oneself, within everyone.

Nevertheless, I do think that if everyone started with themselves and did what they could, that it will have an impact.
As it’s so often said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
2020 is a new decade. It’s time to not just share these quotes, but to actively work with them.
Nobody’s perfect and not everything is gonna work out (directly).
Trying implies the possibility of failure, but it doesn’t have to. 😉

If you haven’t read my latest poems concerning the relationship between men and women yet, come to the balcony.
Attention, explicit content! 😉

Cheers my dears, take care

xx

PS: If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, revisit the page and subscribe to stay in touch and get updates on blog posts, my upcoming book and special offers and events.

#socialsaturday: Reflections & Resolutions

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#socialsaturday: Reflections & Resolutions

Hey my dears,

I don’t know about you, but reflecting on 2019 makes me go phew, what a year!
There was a time when I’d make new year resolutions after reflecting on the year that was coming to an end.
Which in turn just meant starting the new year with additional pressure instead of letting go of the pressure of the past year.
So, I turned to having wishes and visualising them.

But first, I’d do the past year justice and reflect upon it.
Sum it up, go through the ups and downs, see what I learned and what I can still learn.
Then I turn to visualising my wishes for the new year.
Without pressure.

For some it’s the next big career step, for others it’s building a home and family, for others it’s doing more sports, calling mum more often, and for many it’s taking more time for themselves.
And that’s exactly what I decided on to bridge the old and the new year.
Thus, I decided to spend New Year’s Eve all on my own in a place that I love: close to the sea.
Just me, myself and some salty splashes of water, to wash away what needs to be washed away in order to clear the path for a new year.

I have no idea how it’s going to feel, maybe I’ll hate it, maybe I’ll love it.
But as nowadays so many people on social media are talking about self-love and even Felix Jaehn sings about putting love on yourself first, why not travel alone and end the old and start the new year with the one person that was, is and will be with you each day, every day?
Take them by the hand, listen to them, their wishes, their needs, their desires, hopes, dreams. And promise them that you’re going to support them in their endeavours.

I know, many think it’s brave, some say they could never do that.
You know what? I do believe you can do it, if you really want to. I do believe, if you set the “can’t” aside, you’d be astonished by all your capabilities and abilities.

And let’s be honest, today it’s so easy to go somewhere alone and still not be alone, just by being glued to your phone.
And it’s also easy to “travel” alone to a place where you know people.
When I talk travelling alone, I really mean travelling somewhere where you are on your own, for your own.
Of course, you shouldn’t throw your phone away, you should tell someone that you arrived safe and sound. But maybe reduce it to certain hours where you’re available or if you feel like sharing a beautiful sunset, do so, but you know, your story will be available for 24 hours, so just check the likes and reactions 18 hours later, that’s fine.

How are you gonna make and take time for yourself if always someone is slamming the door open and talking to you? And even by invitation because you just posted a sign saying “come on in, you don’t even need to knock”!
No, I’m not talking “digital detox”, but neither am I talking “me-time” which consists of 100 selfies and 10 food porn photos a day.
I think you get me.

All I’m saying is: There lies beauty in spending time alone. In solitude.
And mind you, solitude is not the same as loneliness!
Even if, you know what? Bearing loneliness can be an indicator for power. Finding a soothing beauty in solitude and even cathartically crying can show you a lot about yourself.
I know, I know, I don’t make travelling alone sound really sexy, I’m sorry.
But believe me, it is!

In a hectic world, where “I’m busy” and “I don’t have time” seem to be the most frequently used expressions, I think it’s important to remember that we will never have the time, unless we take it.
And if this “me-time” should serve its purpose, then we should take that time for ourselves. Taking walks with ourselves, listening to ourselves, and embrace everything we might encounter. Yes, the good, the bad, the ugly, the imperfect, the desires, the flaws, the longing, the wishes, the dreams, the ambition, the hurt, the pain, the joy, the fun, the goofy, the ridiculous. All of it.
Cause we are all more than one thing.
But we will never find out, if we never take the time we never seem to have.

Whatever you have planned for New Year’s Eve, I hope you take some time to reflect on 2019, visualise your dreams and wishes for 2020 without putting pressure on yourself and that you make it safe and sound into a new decade that holds so much in store for you.

So long, my dears

loads of love

xx

#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

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#socialsaturday: Superficial Society

Hey my dears,

actually the first idea for a title was “why do we desire that people desire what we desire?”, but then I thought it might be too long. And maybe too confusing.
But seriously, why do we do that?
Okay, okay, I see, I need to put some structure in here, otherwise we will get lost in a hundred topics.
So, give me a sec. And a sip of coffee.

Okay, back to the topic.
What distinguishes us as humans from animals?
I mean despite regular hair cuts, clothes and make-up and hot baths instead of licking ourselves clean like a cat.
Well, philosophers would say reason and language. Homo logos, you know. Which also implies a correlation between language and divine logic or sense.
Can we just wait here a second.
Reason. Well, I don’t know about you, but recently I’ve seen people doing more things that – at least for me – don’t fall under the category of reasonable than I could put in one blog post without boring you.
I mean, take simple things like throwing trash onto the street while walking when the bin is just 2 freaking meters away from you. Does that sound reasonable?
Or pushing your pram into the bus in such a way that no one can get from the front to the end while the bus driver is yelling that everybody should move further to the back and then you shout at the people who kindly ask you if there was a chance they might pass by. Does that sound reasonable?
Other way round, going to the gym to train your biceps so that every girl would fall for your trained body straight away and wants to touch it, but then being at the train station and watching a mother with a toddler and a pram and not helping her get that pretty heavy thing up the stairs, does that sound reasonable?
I think you get what I’m aiming at, but believe me, there are hundreds of millions of examples where I think doubting reason within people is kind of a daily sport.
(Btw: this doesn’t exclude myself, countless times that I kind of watch myself and then wonder “Well, Gina, was that reasonable? Is there any logical thinking left in your head or is it just on top of your neck to look good on a portrait, sheesh, girl, get your shit together!”)

Language. First, let us ask one simple, but very important question: What’s it good for?
Is it just for me to name things and so that I can define things that pop up in my head and explain them to myself?
The keyword is communication. And this means (at least according to various sources I looked up for this post) the sending, receiving and exchanging of information (or things).
But it’s about sending and receiving. Normally this includes two or more people, doesn’t it?
(Don’t judge people, who use this human tool also to communicate with themselves, it’s just you explaining your own thoughts to yourself, which I consider pretty fine, don’t worry.)
So, why and when did communication turn into one interlocutor using the other one as a stage to put their own life narration into the spotlight?
I mean.. where is the exchange?
Believe me, my dears, I commute too often with public transport and even one time forgetting your earphones makes you notice too many things around you. But on the other hand, it’s an impulse for blog posts, huh?
So, please, play this game the next time you’re sitting somewhere and listen to people talking. And I mean, for a while.
Can you find exchange? Like real exchange? Or is it rather everybody just talking about themselves and then it’s the other one’s turn?
Just observe.

Now for the desire part.
Reason and language flow into it, if you are wondering now why I talked about that before.
So, let’s take some pretty common conversation, okay?

Situation 1: Two people graduated from high school.
A: And what are you going to study?
B: I’m not going to study.
A: What?!
B: I want to do an apprenticeship.
A: Ah.

Situation 2: A student (B) living from a part-time job and a credit and someone being at the end of their apprenticeship (A) and already earning “real” money are talking.
A: And when are you going to move out from your parents’ house?
B: Well, actually I’m aiming for higher education and want to do another degree once I finished the first one.
A: So, you don’t want to move out until you’re what? 28?

Situation 3: An engaged or married woman in the process of family planning (A) and a woman focussed on her career (B) are talking.
A: And when are you going to marry?
B: Hm?
A: When are you going to marry and have children?
B: Um, dunno?!
A: Well, darling, we all don’t get younger, do we?

Why is it that we seem to desire that other people desire what we desire?
And this assumption wouldn’t even be the worst thing. The worst thing is the next step that oh so frequently follows:
Judgement.
As if our life narration was the only valid one.

If your greatest desire is to study and you have the privilege of getting a chance to do it, then value it!
There are people who would love to, but that don’t have access to education, let alone higher education.
And if your friend decides that studying isn’t their cup of tea, then congratulate them on their choice and wish them all the best.

If what you define as a desirable life includes moving out as early as possible and having a space of your own and you get the chance to get it, value it!
Maybe your studying friend would love to have a place of their own, too, but they had to decide about their priorities: flat or next degree.
Who are you to tell them they made the wrong choice just because your choice would have been different?

If your vision of a desirable life necessarily includes getting married and having children, and you found the right partner and you were physically able to give birth to healthy children, then guess what, value it!
And if you found fulfilment in that and you think “wow, now I truly know what I’m here for!” than that’s great. But who are you to tell another woman that unless she has children she doesn’t know her purpose here on earth? Isn’t that a bit harsh?
And even if she doesn’t want to, or didn’t find the person with whom she’d love to, who are you to judge someone else’s priority list?

Let me tell you something:
We will all be judged one day. But that’s not our job, believe me.
Who are we to tell other people which desire and life narration is valid and which is not?
And when did we get so presumptuous and arrogant to assume that our choices are the only right ones?
When did we forget to stay open and listen and see the world from different angles?
When did we forget to communicate?

And now for reasonable communication:
Why don’t we listen? Why do we act our lives out on a virtual and now even analogue stage as if it was the best play ever written and any other narration was invalid and less worthy?
Can we maybe change the narration?

How about

Situation 1
A: Are you going to study or do you want to do an apprenticeship?

Situation 2:
A: What are your plans and desires for the future?

Situation 3:
A: Do you want to marry and have children one day?

On a grammatical level, most yes-or-no-questions or questions without suggesting an answer, offer more space for real communication.
Be open, be interested, listen. And for the sake of an open and less superficial society: Don’t judge!
Please.

Can we maybe start asking really cool and interesting questions again?
Like
How are you?
What makes you happy?
What’s your favourite dish?

I could go on writing about this subject, but I’ll leave it at that. For now.
As always, feel free to comment here, share your opinion with me via email or Facebook or Instagram.

So long, my dears.

xxx
Gina.

#socialsaturday: Idols vs. Inspiring People

#socialsaturday: Idols vs. Inspiring People

Hey my dears,

there is something that I have had on my mind for quite a while now and I thought it’s about time to tackle the topic.
So, today we’re gonna talk about the concept of idols and inspiring people.

Why? Well, first of all, because I consider it interesting and as this is my virtual space here… but moreover, because I think it’s an up to date topic, especially in times like these, where social media is as popular as it is.

According to the Oxford Dictionary idol has the following meaning:

and according to the same source, inspiration has the following meaning:

As a creative you’re often asked “Who are your idols?” or at least I have the feeling that this question pops up from time to time. Or the other way round, creatives stating who their idols are.
On the flip side, the question “What inspires you?” comes up frequently as well.
And I can’t help myself but feeling the urge to make a distinction between both. (Which is also supported by the fact that the dictionary makes a distinction.)

To go a bit deeper, I personally have a slight rejective feeling towards the word idol, as for me, it has a connotation of wanting to be like one’s idol or even worse, being them.
And now taking the definition into account, it also has this aspect of God and worship, and yes, I know it’s said that humans were build in the image of God, but I don’t know…
Let’s take an example: I love Oscar Wilde’s works. I adore his writing style, his subtle social critique and I read about his personal life as well.
But would I call him my idol? No.
Because that for me would imply that I wanted to write like him, be like him, which for me includes a bit of being a copy cat or neglecting my own potential, talent and not searching for my own voice as a writer.
And sorry, Oscar, but I do not consider you a God. (Although we tend to say things like “Gosh, this man is a GOD.” and yes, colloquially everybody knows what’s meant by that, but in serious terms… no.)

Even if we take someone else as an example, maybe less male and less dead (God bless him), I wouldn’t call Elizabeth Gilbert for instance my idol. Sorry, Liz.
I really loved reading her books, some of her approaches caused a click moment in my brain, made me think and took my thoughts down other roads that I didn’t perceive before.
But that’s what I’d call an inspiration. Not an idol.
Because, with all due respect, I wouldn’t like to swap my life for hers.
And I guess that’s the greatest part within the process of distinction I’d make.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved meeting her on a reading tour in Germany for her book Big Magic* two years ago and I was really touched when my question was one of the last ones and she took her time and even asked a little more to understand my question correctly before answering.

*Hi, Liz, if you read this, I was the girl asking about how to know when it’s fear trying to take over and when it’s your intuition telling you not to do it because it’s better for you. (I took the leap of faith and did it, overcame the weird feelings, put myself through it and the outcome wasn’t as great, so my intuition was right, but I consider it a good lesson in many ways and I’m still more than grateful for your advice and words.)*

Okay, back to the topic, my friends.
I consider her an inspiring person, in terms of writing, in terms of being a person.

But with all the movements I perceive on social media, I get a little worried that these two terms get mixed up a lot and people call youtubers and influencers inspiring when they are actually treating them like idols, not questioning the actions of said person, but tending to follow their example and just do the same.
And this uncritical worshipping is what worries me a lot.

Suddenly, you get up at 5 a.m. because your idol does and you go to the gym because your idol does.
Which is nice. Nothing against early birds and gyms.
But did you question whether it fits your individual body type? Whether it fits your schedule?
Maybe you’re the type of person that is better at working out later, maybe you’re the type of person that needs to sleep 8 hours, but your idol just needs 6. And this doesn’t mean that you’re bad and your idol’s better.
It just means that you’re different. And guess what: That’s okay.

Maybe you start eating like your idol, but your body type is different and within a certain time span you realise that you have low or no energy and wonder why.
And one of the worst things that happens then is the comparison between you and your idol, leading to the assumption that you are weak, worse or incapable of achieving what your idol achieves.
So it leads to a negative self perception.
And isn’t that weird? Odd?
That’s why I say idol for me includes a bit of this aspect of copying.

If the same person I just called your idol, we now call an inspiring person. What would change?
Well, you’d watch your inspiring person get up at 5 and maybe you’d try it too and realise that 5:30 is better for you.
Your inspiring person starts their day off by going to the gym, you try it, too, but you realise you’re slow in the morning, need your breakfast, and working out in the afternoon after finishing work, is much better for you.
You read a book of an inspiring author and this takes your thoughts on different roads, you play with words like they do, but you take the inspiration you got from them and mould them into something that fits your personality, character and nature, instead of just copying.
That way you have a tendency to grow, to find something out about yourself, your body, your time management, your writing voice, which in turn has a high tendency to lead to a positive self perception. And there is no need for comparison between you and the person that inspired you.

Taking the above mentioned definitions into account, inspiration has a divine quality, as the divine influence is mentioned.
But this doesn’t mean that you worship the inspiring person like a God. But that you perceive the divine spark that they were maybe touched by and that they now radiate into the world.
It is also connected to breathing in, inspiration.
But you know what, breathe in. Through the nose.
Do you think you absorb e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that is included in the air? No.
There are a million little filters, that do their job, before the inhaled air reaches your innermost parts.
And if you apply that onto inspiring people, it’s quite similar.
You inhale this inspiring thought, but it runs through your own little million filters before reaching the spots deep inside of you.
And these filters are your critical approach, your own opinion, your personality, character, tendencies, preferences, etc.

So, don’t get me wrong, I don’t dub anything as good or bad, I just came across this topic and it has been lingering on my mind for quite a while and after having had a conversation about this topic, I decided it was about time to let this be my first #socialsaturday post. Thanks for the inspiration, mate.

As long as you keep your critical perspective, it might be okay to have an idol, I just worry about this copy cat components that I perceive sometimes when scrolling through social media.
I myself am more than grateful for all the inspiring people I was allowed to meet on my way, be it in person as Elizabeth Gilbert, or on paper, like Oscar, be it my closest friends, my creative crew, or just a stranger I had an inspiring conversation with.

As these thoughts are just thoughts and not set in stone perspectives, please let me know your thoughts on this topic!
You already know my creed inspiration through communication, so please delight me with your divine sparks.
Feel free to comment or send an email or slide into my DMs on instagram.

Enjoy your weekend.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Reclamation – A poem in episodes

The special series I announced on my blogwarming party

a poem in episodes, by gina laventura

norbert josefsson

Don’t label my body
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

Don’t try to narrate my story
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

Don’t bathe in my glory
As if you had the right to
Cause you don’t

norbert josefsson

This body is not yours to label

norbert josefsson

This story is not yours to narrate

norbert josefsson

This glory is not yours to bathe in

norbert josefsson

You don’t own me
I only owe to fate
I write my story
I worked for the glory
Your bodies
Narrate different stories
And that is fine
But my body is my body
And my story
With all its failure and its glory
Is mine

Gina Laventura © 2017

A huge thank you to everyone who hopped over to instagram and followed the series there bit by bit and for all the comments and feedback.
It was a very special series that we produced last year and that I didn’t want to publish “just like that”, or just instantaneously (see what I did there?), so it was clear to me that I’d publish it when the frame was set. And when the blog finally went into relaunch and I was able to present my new virtual home to you, it felt like best choice that this series should be the first decoration on the long wall.
I hope you enjoyed it. A lot of energy and emotion fled into this one.

Blogwarming Party

Hier Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen

norbert josefsson

Welcome!

Grab a drink, take a seat or join me on the dance floor and let’s celebrate together.
The sofa is already there, decoration is not yet complete, table and chairs are ordered but not yet delivered, so take some cushions and make yourself comfortable in my place of creativity, my new virtual home.

Just like a housewarming party where not everything is 100% ready and perfect, I throw this blogwarming party today, where the frame is set, new layout plastered on the walls, but some details might still be added or removed in the course of the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it here and that you come over and visit me often.

After two years of not blogging, many months of planning the new layout, structuring ideas and setting up a whole strategy and subject schedule, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter in order to progress and proceed here, my fingertips are still covered in colour, my hair’s a mess and I’m still sweating.

But you see me with a smile on my face as it feels good to be back.

Let me give you a quick “room tour”. – Everybody should know where the loo and the fridge with fresh beer is, huh? –
On top you find the different topics.
The portfolio offers you an insight into my photo and video repertoire.
The about section offers you information on me, this blog and my work. Same in German below.
The services section gives you an overview of the services I offer on this website, including modelling and writing with the specific services of poetry & prose for special occasions and professional storytelling.
Contact & booking explains itself, I guess.
The Creative Chaos Cloud shows you all categories which you can find blog entries about, so that you can quickly get to the topics you’re interested in.

So much for the room tour, I hope you’re gonna find your way and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m trying to be a good host, you know.

What are the plans for the next weeks, what do I offer and why should you come back?
First of all, I’ve worked hard on a concept and contents that might be of value and interest for you.
So, here is what I came up with:
I will blog four times a month, so once a week about topics connected to the different fields I’m working in. One topic a week, that is.
Thus, what you gonna get is this:
#modelmonday: Information for models and photographers, funny anecdotes I experienced during 10 years in front of the camera and other info connected to this field.
#writerswednesday: Information for writers and readers, food for thought, inspiration and impulses revolving around writing and reading.
#socialsaturday: Random topics connected to us humans interacting with one another, social phenomenons, questions, perspectives, impulses on social topics.
#sundaystory: Yes, the sundaystory will be back and we gonna play again. If you don’t know what the sundaystory is, please click here. I will announce the next round early enough, but this won’t be before August probably, as I still owe two of my readers their stories.

After this blogwarming party, where you can take your time to stroll around and look at the redecoration, the new furniture and features, there will be a special series on the balcony, a.k.a instagram. So, don’t forget to check out my plants on the balcony, too.
Plus, I will also take you with me behind the scenes of creative productions in the insta stories.
The special series has been a production with Norbert Josefsson, which we produced last year, but I considered it so beautiful that I kept it for a special moment.
And I think that moment has come now.
So every day, starting on Friday, 15th June, I’m going to post one picture with text on instagram and facebook, which will add up to a series of six. On Thursday, 21st, you will get the complete series here on the blog as well as on instagram.

After the special we will start off with the first sundaystory on the 24th, as it has been two years of me owing these stories to two of my readers.
I hope you’re still there and I hope you still gonna read it.

Which leads me, after the organisational part, to the speech I’m supposed to give on such an event before everybody starts popping bottles like crazy – or at least that’s what I’m gonna do –.
Ahem, clink clink, ladies and gents, may I have your attention please: (you better grab another shot and drink, this is gonna take a while – or just skip the part written in italics – the perk of being here virtually and not in reality)

Thanks for being here tonight, for sharing this moment with me, for taking some time out of your busy day to join this celebration.
I’d like to thank all of the followers here on WordPress that stayed although I haven’t blogged for two years, which, in nowadays time is like an eternity.
Also I’d like to thank all the followers on instagram that didn’t unfollow when I didn’t post for six months, which is close to social media suicide.
I’d like to thank the virtual community for staying with me, supporting me and being patient with me.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people, especially my closest friends, who virtually and in real life sent me their positive vibes and words, who encouraged me to keep up the work, who relentlessly kept asking about my work, my art, my blog, my writings and my poetry, who invested their time and energy to provide me with tipps and tricks, good advice and knowledge about social media, who gave me input and impulses for new content, who were patient with me when I asked for advice and feedback and who were loving and caring when I had to say “no” to events and instead had to sit down and work, who shared their nurturing positive energy with me and who knowingly or unknowingly inspired me and fuelled my motivation.

Without all of you, your patience and support, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating today.
It wasn’t an easy time and task, but now we’re here and I raise my glass to all of you. I’m forever grateful.

martin zethoff

Now enough of the talk and enjoy your time here, I hope you gonna stay a little longer and come back frequently.
If you have any questions, let me know.

xxx
Gina.

Why Editors matter

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

IMG_2535

And with editor I mean reader, like the person who does the proofreading before something goes out into public.
Why is this work an important work?

Well, first things first.
We are social beings and our interaction with one another relies on communication, be it verbal or non-verbal. “We can not not communicate” as Paul Watzlawick said.
And of course we know that there are different purposes or intentions why we communicate, or at least this is what you’re taught when you study language and literature.
I don’t necessarily want to go into the details of Friedemann Schulz von Thun’s model of “the four sides of a message”, where he says a message has an informative content, an appeal/plea, self-revelation and says something about the relationship between the speaker and their interlocutor. If you’re interested in further details, you can check them here.
But for the sake of the argument let’s stick with this:
A message can be informative, appellative, persuasive or convincing.
So, when talking about business communication, say you want to sell a product or a service, but also in private communication, say you want to convince someone of your argument, I think we can agree that all these channels of communication have one thing in common: a purpose.
But what is this purpose?
When your message is informative, it’s the simple purpose that you want to pass this information, you want to feed us this information.
When your message is appellative, you want us to react upon that appeal, right?
When your message is persuasive or convincing, you want us to agree with you.
What all of these have in common now is not only that they have a purpose, but that they actually have the same purpose: You want to generate a RESPONSE in us.
But what happens if your communication fails?
Well, in the best case: nothing.
In the worst case you generate a response in us that is not the one you wanted, so you feed us information that we either don’t need or can’t handle or that we’re either incapable or unwilling to swallow.
Or your appeal was set out to generate a verbal (“say something!”) or a non-verbal (“do something!”) reaction in us. If your communication fails, we neither say something nor do we do something, in the best case. In the worst case we say what you don’t want to hear and we do exactly the opposite of what you were aiming at.
Or your persuasive or convincing communication fails and we disagree with you.
So, basically in all cases you’re getting a “no” where you actually wanted to get a “yes”, to keep it simple.

Well, nice talk Miss Laventura, but what does this have to do with editors?!
Editors – in the best case – are language lovers. Or at least they know their tools and how to use them. Their tools? Words.

Now, next lesson:
You might tend to think that the way we think determines the way we speak, so that our way of thinking influences our language, right?
Correct. But this works vice versa, and that is a point that many people unfortunately miss.
Let me give you some examples: The Inuit apparently have round about two hundred – 200 !!! – different words for “snow”. How many do you have? But why? Probably because their surrounding is essential for their survival and it is crucial for them to know what kind of snow there is in order to survive.
The Hopi Indians don’t use tenses as we’re used to using them. In the example given in our classes they tried to convert it into English, which ends up being a picture of a man who stands at a wall and in all cases says “He ran”. So, same position, same posture, always “he ran”. What is your natural reaction to that? Exactly, most probably “WTF? Did he run, does he run or will he run?!”, because these are the categories we distinguish time frames and time lines by, right? It just doesn’t get into our system of thinking. Because our language also had an influence and partly determined this system of thinking.
Of course there are easier and more popular examples like the fact that the English language doesn’t know a word for “Fernweh” – the longing for a far away place – or that simply spoken often there are some words that do exist in one language but bear no equivalent in another.

Back to the editors. As said before, they are language lovers or at least know how to use their tools.
And I don’t necessarily mean the manipulative and persuasive use of language that you often find in advertising, that is a topic of its own, although I’d say it plays similar keys on the piano.
But it’s about using stylistic devices (yes, the nasty ones you learned at school, alliteration, personification, etc.). For what? Yeah, now you got it, my friends: for the purpose! In order to get the message across, to generate a response (and when it comes to business or advertising, of course aiming at generating not only a response, but a specific one).
Language can resonate with us, it can move us, hurt us, maybe even heal us.

What I mean is this:
“The categorisation that takes place in emotional amorous relationships serves as a destructive force to the true meaning of the emotion itself.”

or

“Love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick.”
Which one sticks better with you?

Why are we to blind to see
that a little poetry
moves so easy
from mouth to ear
so we listen, so we hear
with a smile or with a tear
what somebody has to tell?
That’s poetry’s magic spell.

(yes, just created that within a minute, wasn’t planned for this post, but hey, that’s life, response and stuff)

Okay, well Miss, now you have shown that an editor should know their tools, fine, but the title claims to give an answer to the question why editors matter.
You’re right, sorry, I’m drifting off sometimes, lovely topic of language, broad topic, amazing, love it.
Okay, I owe you an answer.
Look at the picture that accompanies this post. It’s German, I know.
The first one says “You will stay in our heart fo ever” and the second says something like “always loved and never forgtetn.”
Yes, exactly that was my reaction as well!
These hearts were sold before All Hallow’s Day, supposed to be stuck into graves.
Would you buy them? Would you put them onto a grave of one of your beloved ones?
Yeah, thought so.
But why is this a fail?
It’s not just the fact that there are spelling mistakes in it, but it bears a deeper level.
Let’s analyse it: You wanted to sell this product. You wanted us to buy this product. You offered a product and you wanted to generate a positive response, a “yes” in us, manifested in a non-verbal reaction by buying this product.
So, these products actually ending up in store and offered for purchase show different things:
First, apparently the person putting the letters on it didn’t check it. Apparently there was no editor who double-checked. Apparently there was no final check before you put the products into boxes and delivered them to the store.
But you know what the response is? No.
And do you know why the response is “no”?
Because the lack of proofreading, the lack of double-checking carries a message of its own.
And this message is that you don’t care.
That you don’t care about us, that you don’t care about our response because apparently you believe that we’re still going to buy it.
And you know what accompanies this “no”? Repulsion. Because deep down inside and subconsciously it shows a trace of disrespect and arrogance and maybe even a little insult to your potential customers.
This is just one example. Feel free to apply it to other fields.
If your website is full of spelling mistakes or you switch tenses or use wrong words, it always transports the impression that you don’t care about your readers/customers.
Moreover, you might give false information. And I think we can agree that there is a difference between “I’ve worked hard” and “I’ve hardly worked”, right?
And with that you work against yourself as by using wrong words or being careless about proofreading, you generate a response in us that is counter productive to your actual purpose and intention.
In the worst case, we will remember you as someone who doesn’t care and stop buying your products, stop reading your newspaper, not buy your book, not book the services offered on your website.
Nowadays the half-life period of a message is so short that it renders many people careless, because “nah, who cares, tomorrow this piece of information will be old and forgotten”, “nah, it’s alright, they’re gonna understand” is the mentality that we tend to live by.
It’s just language, right? And it’s just on a language level that you don’t care for us customers, right?
In person you care for us like a true nanny, it’s just the language level that lacks your attention, right?
It’s just language, eh?
Is it really?
Think about what we discussed beforehand, how language also reflects on our system of thinking. Therefore, it has an impact on our behaviour, doesn’t it?
Even if the argument “a careless behaviour concerning language shows careless behaviour in general” might be a bit too far fetched, it somehow does indicate it to a certain extent, doesn’t it? Deep down and subconsciously?
Don’t get me wrong, please, don’t take it as an offence.
I’m not saying that you don’t care about your readers or customers.
I’m just saying that this might be the subliminal message you’re transporting, the impression your readers/customers get.
And okay, not every reader or customer pays detailed attention to it, to some it doesn’t matter, but there might be potential readers/customers who will always stay exactly that: potential.
Because their reaction might be “if they care as much about me as they do about their grammar, I’m not gonna go there”.

And THAT, my friends, is why editors matter.
Because they can help prevent those scenarios depicted above from happening, because they know you, your message and your interlocutor and they find the right approach to the right channel to get it across, they can help you when all the other work concerning your project has rendered you stuck in a rut and you just want to get it done.
Because they are language lovers or at least they know their tools and how to use them.
Their tools? Words.

PS: Yes, I am cross with myself each and every single time I find spelling mistakes in one of my blog posts, although I don’t earn any money with my blog.
PPS: Yes, “love becomes a lost lullaby when we label it like lipstick” was taken from my book Labelled Love, although normally I find it strange when people quote their own works.
PPPS: Yes, well guessed, I am an editor 😉

Creating Controversial Content

Gina16Oct12-192
Photo & Editing: Dave Greensmith, 2012

Controversial content can raise awareness, right?
Often it does.
A “Fuck” in the title is almost a guarantee for clicks and reads, isn’t it?
And when you utter a controversial sentence, you can assume that a huge discussion will break loose, right?
Controversies polarise and that’s why they often gain attention.
That’s why many people use controversies on purpose.

I once created controversial content.
But not on purpose.
I created content. The story Underground.
And back at that time (still on the old blog) I got a response to it.
A response that showed me that I actually had created controversial content without being aware of it.
Suddenly, when reading this comment, I was confronted with a critique of this story, because the comment criticised the headscarf that is mentioned.
It was said the headscarf was a sign of oppression through the patriarchal system.

My first reaction to that?
“Sh*t, I need to delete this story, it’s controversial and bears the potential to polarise.”
I was shocked because I didn’t expect this controversy to arise from this story.

But you know what the good thing about a critical comment is?
It makes you shift your perspective onto the very thing you created.
Because what happened next was that I started arguing for the story, like I would defend my argument when it comes to literary analysis.
So I was wandering through my room with a cup of tea in my hands and hold an imaginary dialogue, or monologue, and said
Well, first of all, neither is the headscarf condemned nor is it glorified in this story, second, don’t read too much of the author into the work, as it’s only the character’s perception described, thirdly, take a postcolonial reading to it and you will see that Orientalism is at work here, as the character associates exactly the attributes to the woman that can only stem from an Orientalist point of view, like “I smell a thousand scents of the Orient, spices and perfumes, bodies and wood, sand and the sun.”. Furthermore, this aspect is even criticised in the story when it is said “[…] I want to listen to two thousand and two stories told by her.”, which aims at showing that still the stereotype of “1001 Arabian nights” is at play here, because although the amount of stories is doubled they are still limited, which shows a critical claim that the Occidental point of view is limited and doesn’t grant the woman of Oriental origin an unlimited number of stories. On the other hand, the story also shows a disappointment raised by the fact that the perception is shaped and therefore somehow limited to a certain extent, when in the end it is said that “And I will never know her stories. And she will never know that I wrote one about her.” after the two characters separate. So, it shows the sadness that those two characters and their perception of each other and of themselves will never be as close as they could have been.
This was just a little excerpt of the monologue, but I hope you can see what I mean.
Had there not been this critical comment, probably I would never have changed my perspective on the content that I myself created.
Because, to be honest, everything mentioned in this monologue had not been in my mind while creating this story, only after receiving the critical comment and when I started arguing and discussing my own work was it that I could read more into my own work and engage differently with it.
And today I’m glad that I didn’t delete it, and I’m thankful for that critical comment, because it opened my perception towards a new perspective.

It still didn’t make me want to create controversial content on purpose, but I think it helped me overcome the fear of putting something out there that might be controversial or have critical comments as a result.

It was a perfect example of inspiration through communication and I invite you all to think about it.
I invite you to overcome your fear of putting yourself or your work out there because someone might criticise it.
Critique can be a great chance to change perspectives, to see more, experience more, and it is an interaction between you and your audience, but also between you and your work.
I’m not saying “try to take sh*t from the naysayers as something good”, no, please don’t.
But if it is a constructive critical comment, don’t be afraid of engaging with it.

So long, my dears.
Be kind, spread the love.
Be creative. Be yourself.

#prayfortheworld

My dears,

the posts I promised you are either in the making or were already finished and timed.
Regarding the events that took place IN THE WORLD during the last days everything else falls silent.
Therefore, today once more a poem of farewell.
In silent memory.

“With every breath we take
and every move we make
we carry them with us
the loved ones,
the lost ones.
In memoriam.”

#prayfortheworld #prayforpiece

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translated from the German original

Since death has taken you away from me
I learned how fragile life can be.
Life’s journey we all share
but seldom there are hands that care.
Now we think it’s broken, the bond
that once was so strong,
but no one can ever break this bond,
neither devil nor death are that strong,
because it defeats the storms and rises up above
and teaches us the true power of love!
This bond connects us all,
stays with us when we rise and fall,
yet it is not always perceived.
During all the things that are still to be achieved,
we carry it with us
in the depths of our hearts.
We overcome the pain and defeat the harder part
because deep down inside
we feel the caring hand at our side.
The bond did exist once and will never vanish
because it will never be banished
and continues to live within us.
With every pound our hearts are giving
the memory does carry on living
in love itself.
With every breath we take
and every move we make
we carry them with us
the loved ones,
the lost ones.
In memoriam.

Gina Laventura © 2015

In Memoriam

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

img_1781

translated from the German original

Since death has taken you away from me
I learned how fragile life can be.
Life’s journey we all share
but seldom there are hands that care.
Now we think it’s broken, the bond
that once was so strong,
but no one can ever break this bond,
neither devil nor death are that strong,
because it defeats the storms and rises up above
and teaches us the true power of love!
This bond connects us all,
stays with us when we rise and fall,
yet it is not always perceived.
During all the things that are still to be achieved,
we carry it with us
in the depths of our hearts.
We overcome the pain and defeat the harder part
because deep down inside
we feel the caring hand at our side.
The bond did exist once and will never vanish
because it will never be banished
and continues to live within us.
With every pound our hearts are giving
the memory does carry on living
in love itself.
With every breath we take
and every move we make
we carry them with us
the loved ones,
the lost ones.
In memoriam.

Gina Laventura © 2015

Prison of Perfection

Perfectionism is a prison
Competition is a cage
Reflection often ends in rage
and weeping in wisdom.

Embrace your perfect imperfections
and compete with yourself
to leave the cage,
reflect upon your rage
until you weep and become wise.

Wisdom reflects upon the competition with perfection
after the rage turned against the cage
that once was a prison.

Gina Laventura © 2014

Head Holiday

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar


Photo & Editing: freshandjuicy

An endless to do list.
One task completed, two others added.
The thought about all the things you would like to do (again) if you just had some time again. But first the washing has to be done, the house has to be cleaned, the bills have to be paid, the project has to be worked on, the emails and papers have to be sorted, the duties have to be fulfilled.
But then, yes then, when everything is done, then you can read the book you got for your birthday four months ago, then you can go to the theatre again or cosily relax on the balcony, or catch up with the thirty-five episodes of your favourite TV show or play a computer game again to complete the mission.
When did long to-do-lists become a sign for ambition? When did we decide that workaholic was the new career goal, no matter what branch we’re working in? When did stress become a synonym for eagerness and success? When did “you look exhausted, you should eat and sleep properly again” become a compliment that appreciates your body shape and is a hint towards your eagerness?
In this list like success plan even the things that are enjoyable and lovable become another to-do-nuisance, like “call Sarah”, “reply to Mark’s email” or “going to the cinema with Susi and Jo”. Are we still enjoying? Are we enjoying the time we’re now spending there or are we already structuring the next day in order to get the things done, for which there is no time left now because of the visit to the cinema?
Time…Factor time…always a topic. Especially in a society that is determined by phrases like “Time is money”. Maybe time is money. But moreover, time is precious. We just have it once. Once the minute is gone, you’ll never get it back. Sitting down from time to time and reflecting upon how you would like to (not should or have to) invest this precious good can be quite helpful.
We are stressed out, frantic, we run from appointment to appointment, from goal to goal, and we always believe to one day reach the point where we finally have the time to do all the things we’d like to do. But what if we never reach that point? What if there is always another point added to the list? What if we can’t help ourselves but to put another point on the list, because we are not used to and moreover, can’t handle a blank piece of paper anymore? What if we didn’t know what to do with it?
And what if, yes, what if we just took the time we think we didn’t have? What if we just followed the urge to walk through fields and forests after the first coffee in the morning? What if that was exactly what gives us enough energy to get eight instead of three things done from our to-do-list?
What if you took the little timeframe between the things that are to be done to start reading the first chapter of the book you got for your birthday four month ago? What if we replaced complaining about an urgently needed holiday by taking time for ourselves? Holiday in the head. Head holiday.
Be it during a stroll through fields and forests or while reading a book on the balcony or while sitting in the next café observing strangers, it doesn’t matter that much. What if we took the time and enjoyed it? And what if, yes, what if that would be exactly the method that makes it easier for us to get all the things done that are to be done?
Everybody’s talking about the great work-life-balance and everything has to be optimised and perfected, be it the working moral, the working method, one’s own look, the wardrobe, the time management or one’s partner. But with all this craze for optimisation we forgot to pause now and then and to enjoy what we already have (achieved), to say thank you. With all this perfectionism we forgot to be good, to be good to ourselves.
We’re not talking about lazing around or taking things not seriously, but we’re talking about stopping the monkey business in our minds in order to breath again. To stop optimising and start reflecting and realising. To sit down instead of running around.
To hold the eyes closed for a moment and taking a holiday.
A holiday in the head. Head holiday.

Can we ever make it right? Against constant blaming and shaming

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar


Photo & Editing: No bilis

It is noon. Coffee break. I’m scrolling through Facebook. In the newsfeed: a friend liked this photo.
The picture shows a German TV hostess. She wears an outfit consisting of a jeans blouse and jeans trousers in the 70’s style, you know, a pair of flares, brown belt, sunglasses and a charming smile, standing against a wall.
The caption says something like “My favourite outfit these days, cool and comfortable, perfect for mommies.”.
So, first of all, I’m not entirely sure what this lady wanted to express with her saying “perfect for mommies”. Maybe she meant that it is a loose fitting outfit that conceals the traces of the exhausting procedure of giving birth, like stretch marks and the maybe not-yet-completely-trained-and-toned-belly. Maybe she meant that the outfit is so comfortable that it allows you to do all the things you want to do with your child, like playing, sitting down with them in the grass, crawling through the mountains of toys, whatever. Maybe she meant that it is easy to wash, so when your baby decides to puke over your shoulder or your toddler thinks it a good idea to build a mud cake on your lap, that jeans is a robust material that is easy to be cleaned afterwards. Maybe she was just proud, not only of having given birth to a beautiful child, but also for finding an outfit that made her feel comfortable and attractive, because, yes, even after having given birth you are still a woman and everybody likes to feel comfortable within themselves and maybe this outfit contributed to her feeling absolutely gorgeous.
But maybe may be.
Now, let’s roll up the sleeves and rub our palms for the really interesting part (which I guess already dawned upon you): the comments.
Despite the fact that there were comments stating that she even looks more beautiful after having given birth than beforehand, that her shape was now better than before, there were many critical comments, to put it in a nice way. There were comments stating exactly the opposite of the before mentioned, namely that she looked better before she had had her baby, that she was now too thin. That the trousers were an ugly no-go, which was actually one of the mild ones, because, well, okay 70’s style flares might not be to everybody’s taste and this is a free country and you can state your opinion about style.
The really striking ones were of a different nature. There was one comment that basically said in German “Im Röckchen siehst du besser aus”, which is likely to be translated as “You look better in a skirt”, but it’s not just “skirt” because “skirt” would be “Rock”, but the suffix “-chen” always intends to make something small and cute, so basically it says “You look better in a neat, small skirt” and at least to my mind a “small skirt” would mean a short skirt, because when using the term “Röckchen” nobody actually thinks about a long hippie like gypsy skirt that goes over your knees or covers your ankles..
Another one, which was really, well, I can’t even find an adjective went like this:
“You should rather buy a push-up bra”.
Phew, yes, let us digest that for a moment and take a deep breath.
So, sticking with the comments saying that she looked more beautiful now.. Well, I’m not talking from first hand experience, but I guess a pregnancy can do something to your appearance, for better or worse, and if you look absolutely happy and radiant because you are proud and happy, that’s fine. The bugging thing is that these comments drew on the fact that she now seems to be slimmer than beforehand. And I’d say that says a lot about nowadays’ society, where everybody is talking about the “after baby body” and women compete in “who gets back into shape within the least amount of time”. This puts pressure on them and frustration on those who didn’t land in the top 100 of this competition, leading to frustrated comments like “Yeah, well, good for you that you are back in shape, but not everybody is a celebrity who’s capital often consists in their appearance, and guess what, I don’t have a personal trainer…” etc., etc., etc.. Don’t get me wrong, I do not dub the last fictive comment as invalid, because, c’mon, that’s the argument that is always played across the table when it comes to topics like that, and it is just a fact that many celebs are working with a personal trainer and try to get back into shape asap.
But this is not the point right now.
No matter whether the comments are envious, frustrated or admiring, they all draw on the same craze. Please, could we keep one thing in mind: This woman just gave birth some months ago! So, actually, her body performed a frigging natural miracle.
And maybe, just maybe, she is not so slim now because she did a lot for it and because that was her intention, but maybe, just maybe the procedure of labour was exhausting, maybe there were complications and she was stressed out and worried about her baby’s health, maybe she wasn’t well during pregnancy, maybe her baby is not one of the sweet “he already sleeps through all night” ones but doesn’t allow her to sleep more than two hours each night. All this can also contribute to a different shape. Just saying.
By the way, the last argument also serves as an answer to the comments stating that she looked better beforehand and is now too slim.
Now, let’s turn to the “Röckchen” thing. And the push-up bra thing. Both comments from male writers by the way. Well…seriously?!
Okay Mister X, I understand, your personal opinion is that short neat skirts suit her better because..she has beautiful legs and can show them or because they support her proportions better, right? Just your personal opinion, right? And Mister Y, I guess, your personal taste just prefers big boobs, huh? Alright, free country, everybody can say what they want. And they do, especially when feeling safe in the vast anonymous sphere of the internet.
But what I mean is, is that what the image of a woman looks like? What it has to be? Is that what defines women as women: big boobs and short skirts?
Can we just take a second and remind ourselves that no matter whether this lady is a celeb and being watched by the public eye and using all those social network channels to share her experiences and events of the day with her fans and ‘putting herself out there’ or not, that she accomplished more than just looking good? (although that most probably is part of her career by the nature of itself) If she decided to wear her “perfect for mommies” jeans outfit during work (which she actually did) that doesn’t make her a less competent TV hostess, that does nothing to her skills or all the competences she earned during a career that started in the late 1990’s.

The ‘funny’ thing is this: Let’s just play a game, are you in?
Let’s imagine she would have uploaded a picture in a neat short skirt, push-up bra and either tight tank top or cool blouse with cleavage. Imagine that for a moment.
What would the comments be like? “Oh, you look radiant.”, “Beautiful”, “Wow, so sexy after having a baby”? Probably, yes.
But is it unlikely that the comments would also include “You are a mother now, you shouldn’t present yourself like that, where is your honour, do you think your child would like his mommy be running around like that?” and the like?
So, I really ask you: Can we ever make it right? No matter how you do it, you do it wrong.
And yes, we all know that we cannot please every single person on this earth, that is normal. But why is it that people always have to blame and shame each other?
One way or the other there always seems to be something to criticise, to rant about. But why?

And this is just an example taken from a photo on a social network platform, a small example. Let’s open the blind a little bit.
If you are a career oriented business woman you are judged for not wanting children. Here it comes: mostly by women, not by men! By your own ‘fellows’.
If you say that you definitely want to have children because you think they are a huge contribution to the fulfilment of your life, you’re judged for being old fashioned, not emancipated, etc.
But this is not exclusively reserved for women. Men are also confronted with those controversies.
When you decide to take over your family’s business although your original plan was to follow your passion and do something else, you’re judged for giving up your dream and conforming with the expectations of others instead of living your life according to your own wishes, even if stepping into the family tradition might have been your free choice and a deed you did with all your heart.
When you decide to follow your dream instead of taking over the family business, you’re judged for putting yourself first, being egoistic and letting down your family.
Oh, great! You see? Apparently there is no way of doing it right.

But why do people still so often try?
Why is the want to be everybody’s darling still so present?
As if the struggle of combining the wish to live up to your full potential and choosing the ‘right and reasonable path’ wasn’t enough.
Why do we blame and shame and judge so often?
Is it because we blame and shame and judge ourselves so hard that we need to project it onto someone else to let all this pressure and frustration out?
Is it because we are so hard on ourselves that we automatically are hard on others?
And if so, does that not mean that we need to work a little harder on being patient, loving, caring, forgiving and kind to ourselves?
What if the way we treat others was the way we treat ourselves? What if the way we treat ourselves was the way we treat others? What if this worked vice versa?
Maybe a wake-up call to rethink the way we’re behaving not only towards others, but also towards ourselves.

Be kind. Spread the love.