#freelancefriday & #socialsaturday: We need to talk!

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#freelancefriday: We need to talk

Cheers my dears,

we need to talk! Take this as a #freelancefriday and a #socialsaturday post, as it is concerned with work and society. Both intertwined.

After having watched a video on Instagram from a German jazz musician, in which he talks about the artists and people from the event and entertainment industry suffering through the current crisis, and following that having had a conversation with an acquaintance (thanks for this, Miss K.K.), I decided it’s time to break the silence. I mean, I already talked quite directly about the risks and challenges of being a freelancer in another post – quote: “Every day that I don’t go to work is a day that I don’t earn money.” – but this here goes deeper and further.

So get yourself a tea or coffee and sit down. Because this is important.

We are all affected by the current crisis, that’s nothing new and nothing I should need to have to point out explicitly. And us living here in Germany or Europe, we’re still well off and should be grateful for it. Nevertheless, some things and circumstances need our attention.

Now in November at least here in Germany, it’s gonna be a Lockdown Light so to say – not so “light” and easy for all the small businesses, people working in gastronomy, the entertainment industry, freelancers, artists. Especially if they don’t have a well running online shop or if they live from selling products and services that are not able to be digitalised.

Second time this year that an uncontrollable wave threatens to wash away everything that hasn’t been fixed and anchored in the few months we had to gasp air. Many pub or restaurant owners and small business people fear having to close their facilities, not just for a month, but forever. Shut down and close their life work. Many musicians, authors, artists, theatre ensembles and others whose work is depending on tours, readings, performances, yeah, on social life, fear for their financial existence.

No, this post doesn’t aim to protest against masks and hygienic rules. To the contrary. They are necessary to save and protect the ones that need to be protected most.

But it’s a plea to support where we can. And we can. If we want to.

Saying “Well, what can one do, eh” right now, doesn’t help anyone. We have chances and options. Small ones. But also a small pebble in a sea can cause concentric circles.

If you’re now wondering, well, Gina, what is that you want, what should we do? I’m gonna tell you.

If you normally take your whole family out to your favourite Italian restaurant on a Sunday, then stick to that and order your favourite dish from Luigi every Sunday, because Luigi needs that! Eff the delivery apps that don’t have him listed, call him and order directly. Get over your laziness of finding an alternative that’s accessible with three clicks and don’t invest your money into big chains that already have more savings than Luigi could ever dream of, okay? Thank you.

If you’re said because you’re unable to visit the concert of your favourite band, buy CDs, vinyl, t-shirts, Merch and prove that it’s your favourite band. Or if they offer an online-concert with tickets, get your ticket. You would have spent the money anyway.

I hear you now, but we’re also struggling and need to take better care of our money. Yes, you are right. Absolutely. Good point. But let me calculate real quickly and I’m really bad at maths: If you normally would have spent let’s say 80 bucks on a ticket for the concert and you were refunded now due to cancellation of said concert, but you could purchase a vinyl or a t-shirt for let’s say 30 bucks, then it’s 50 bucks in your pocket and 30 in the pockets of your favourite artists, who are really effed and probably haven’t been sleeping well for a while now. Unless they hamstered ish loads of whiskey, wine and gin.

You love a particular poetry slammer but slams are dismissed? Well, I bet they have live recordings on CD or already published a book or two. Take the 8 bucks you would have invested in the live show and buy the book. But the book is more expensive than 8 bucks! Sorry, I forgot the pretzel and the beer plus the bus ticket/gas money/parking ticket you would have paid that night 😉 despite my lack of skills in maths I think you’re getting what I’m aiming at, huh?

For heaven’s sake, no, please, if you are struggling massively financially right now and your financial existence is at stake, please don’t invest your last button to help others, but help yourself first. Only if you have, you can give. But if you have a little, then give, cause you know what? That can save financial existences, and in some cases lives. What, 8 bucks are changing something? Yes, because if 100 people say that their 8 bucks won’t do anything, that’s 800 bucks that can’t do anything.

But you know something else? Even if you don’t have one spare cent, you can still help and support. How? By using your social media accounts to share contents of your favourite artists. Now you’re saying but Gina, I only got 20 followers, that’s not gonna be of any use. Even if I might repeat myself, I’m gonna say it again: con.cen.tric…cir.cles my friends. If one of your followers sees what you shared and clicks on the profile, finds valuable content and shares it again, we end up in the popular snowball effect and you might never now what kind of effects that can have. And I mean, does it hurt you? It doesn’t cost a penny, only three clicks while you’re taking a sh… bath. In comparison to the massive amount of free content you’re provided with by small businesses, artists & co. that’s a minimal effort, which might have a huge effect.

If you say now, hold on a minute, all this free content we get, well, they’re not obliged to provide it, it’s part of their normal marketing, then we have to get one thing straight: No, they don’t have to do it. They do it out of conviction. And for marketing reasons, sure. But mostly out of conviction. Because they have something to say. And they want to share it. Because they are convinced that it might help others, that there is something in it for someone. And rarely do they ask for something back in return. Because oftentimes a “Please support me during this time and buy my album/my book” is perceived as begging. While it’s just an appeal. And if you consumed free content en masse before and now are turning up your nose at those artists pleading for support and you call him pathetic or beggar, then please leave my virtual living room immediately. Merci.

Get another coffee or tea, my dears, we’re not finished yet.

We need to talk about Christmas, too. Besides the fact that it’s uncertain right now how exactly we’re gonna celebrate our family gatherings this year, I’d like to stick to the topic and talk about gifts and presents.

Another plea from my side: Please think, buy and invest wisely. If you normally would go to Luigi on the 25th to get your Scampi al Forno with all your family, then order from him on that day. If the family photo shoot you wanted to gift is cancelled due to restrictions, buy a voucher from the photographer to get your photos when it’s possible again. If you’re not super talented yourself in doing DIY projects and cannot timber a night table yourself, then search on etsy or other platforms or talk to your local carpenter who can make your idea a reality in a professional manner.

I don’t urge or press or ask you to spend more money than planned, I don’t ask you to donate to heal all the misery in the world, because – let’s be honest – when it comes to that, my heart could bleed every day and everyone of us could donate all their income and savings to ease the pain of the world. I just ask you to take a closer look at the investments you wanted to make anyway and to make sure whether there are alternatives which would help people who are really in need of support right now. You could help them make ends meet rather than throwing your money into the mouths’ of big companies that belch one time and smirk, knowing that there is gonna be a tomorrow for them. Unlike many small business owners, freelancers and artists. Yes, maybe the handmade calendar does cost 3 bucks more but believe me, they are well invested. And if it’s only for the coffee to get the small business owner out of bed to design your personal calendar.

And if you say now, well, they should have thought about things like that before becoming a freelancer or an artist, I ask you to hold your breath for a second. One person becomes a nurse out of conviction, which includes a permanent position. The other steps into the traditional family business, sells products to keep the tradition and is able to pay themselves a regular monthly income. The other becomes a musician, author, photographer out of conviction and passion to contribute cultural value to society. And these jobs rarely ever include permanent positions or regular incomes.

And I ask you: What would your life look like without the books you read? Without the photographs of landscapes that take you to places you’ve never visited and make you dream? Without the music that got you through your last heartbreak or that was the anthem to your big joyful moment? Without the handmade bookmark gifted to you by granny? Without the handmade and designed post card that you got from your best friend, on which she wrote a quote from your favourite author and that reminds you of the depth of your friendship whenever you look at it?

If any of these things resonates with you and now you got a song in your head, and if you want these things to still exist “when it’s over” (whenever that might be and whatever it might look like), then I beg you: Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.

Even if it’s just sharing content, a post, a story.

Concentric Circles.

with love, hope and gratitude in heart

Gina.

PS: I’m gonna speak about it on the balcony, too, so keep an eye open.

#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: 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.

Dear Brother

#tbt: I once submitted this one to a flash fiction competition with the given topic of “a lie”. Unfortunately, I didn’t win, but I hope you like it. 🙂

Dear Brother,

Probably you’re going to call me a liar, as everyone else does in our neat and
narrow-minded neighbourhood.
But you’re old enough now. Happy 21st birthday, little one!
I’m not going to put all the cards on the table. I’m going to make the whole house of cards collapse! The house you call home. The house you call your life.
Where do I start? I didn’t run away like Mum and Dad told you. They threw me out. Because I didn’t live up to their expectations. And failure is forbidden in this family.
How funny and paradox, when I think about it, as our beloved parents did fail on so many levels.
Mum isn’t as perfect and loyal as everybody claims her to be. That’s why Dad isn’t your dad.
Are the thin paper walls already shaking, brother?
You wonder why I didn’t celebrate your 18th birthday with you? They told you I left everything and everyone behind me when I ran away, right? Even you. But I didn’t.
They wouldn’t let me enter the house anymore. So I climbed the neighbour’s tree to watch you celebrate in the garden. Eating colourful cake and sipping soda. By the way, Mum didn’t bake the cake herself as she told you, she bought it at Cosmo Cupcakes down the road. I sat in that tree and saw you eating cake while Dad was filling up his tea with booze and Mum was locking herself in the shrubbery to call one of her lovers. Oh, and while you were enjoying your perfect party, I saw your oh so perfect girlfriend making out with your best buddy behind the hedge.
What a lovely party it was!
Remember when Mum and Dad told you they wouldn’t like you to participate in those BMX competitions because they were afraid you would get injured badly? Well, actually they thought you weren’t good enough.
And failure is forbidden in this family.
Dear Brother, you’ve been living a lie.
And that’s the truth.

Yours faithfully

Lying Lucy, the shame of the family

#sundaystory: Hautfarbe

IMG_9202

Die vorgegebenen Informationen waren:
a) Deutsch
b) Hautfarbe
c) Unbewusster Rassismus, Vorurteil, Unterschied
d) traurig

für Christian

Ich wandle durch die Straßen der Stadt. Einer Stadt der zivilisierten, aufgeschlossenen, westlichen Welt.
Ich schaue mich um. Und ich spüre die Blicke der Leute, wie sie an mir haften, sich nur schwer lösen, oder wie ich zufällig in ihr Blickfeld gerate und sie schnell den Kopf wenden um mich wieder auszublenden.
Ich wandle durch die Straßen eines Landes, das so viel zu bieten hat, das ich mag, in das ich gekommen bin, weil ich kommen wollte.
Ich wandle durch die Straßen eines Landes, deren Menschen mit dem Spiel “Wer hat Angst vorm schwarzen Mann” aufgewachsen sind. Und genauso starren mich manche an. Als seien sie ertappt worden. Nun müssen sie auf der Hut sein.
In ihren Blicken kann ich die Vorurteile förmlich sehen. Da steht es geschrieben: “Achtung, der ist gefährlich!”, “Mädchen, pass auf, der ist aggressiv!”, “Stell den bloß nicht ein, der ist bestimmt faul und vielleicht stiehlt er sogar. Seine Familie hat bestimmt nichts.”
Naja, also zum Einen kann ich keiner Fliege etwas zu Leide tun, zum Anderen bin ich so schüchtern, dass ich mich kaum traue Mädchen anzusprechen und wenn doch, dann käme ich im Leben nicht auf die Idee, ihnen etwas anzutun, und meiner Familie geht es gut, aber weil ich hier das Metier gefunden habe, in dem ich arbeiten möchte, das mich reizt und in dem ich gut bin, habe ich mich dazu entschlossen hierher zu kommen. Um mich selbst zu verwirklichen und das zu tun, was ich wirklich gerne tu, worin ich gut bin.
Aber das interessiert nicht.
Ich will nicht sagen, dass ich durch die Straßen eines rassistischen Landes wandle, um Himmels Willen, nein. Ich habe hier sehr nette Menschen getroffen, aufgeschlossene Menschen, die mich herzlich empfangen haben. Ich habe an der Uni mit Mädchen Kaffee getrunken, die keine Angst vor mir hatten, ja, die mich vielleicht sogar mochten. Ich habe Kinder getroffen, die mich angelacht haben und mir stolz ihr Kuscheltier entgegen hielten und mir sogar verrieten, wie es hieß. (Allgemeinhin sollte man anmerken, dass viele Kinder bei “Wer hat Angst vorm schwarzen Mann” überhaupt nicht an die Hautfarbe schwarz denken, sondern an einen großen unheimlichen Mann mit weißer Haut, der aber dunkle Kleidung trägt)
Aber ich kann mich des Eindrucks trotzdem nicht erwehren, dass ich hin und wieder, dann und wann und auch mal öfter mit unbewusstem Rassismus konfrontiert werde. Die Leute merken es vielleicht noch nicht mal. Aber wenn ich Zug fahre und neben mir ein Sitz frei ist, dann merke ich das kurze Innehalten der Einsteigenden, die einen freien Platz suchen, den neben mir betrachten, mich anschauen und dann doch weiterziehen. Interessant sind dann auch die, die sich doch widerwillig neben mich in den Sitz fallen lassen, weil sie denken, sie müssten es tun, damit ich sie nicht als Rassist abstempel.
Das ist doch verrückt.
Überall heißt es “Embrace Diversity”, Unterschiede machen das Land und das Leben bunter. Nur meins anscheinend eben nicht.
Es heißt, wir integrieren uns nicht, wir blieben eh nur in unseren Gemeinschaften. Und ja, ja ich treffe Freunde, deren Familien aus fast der gleichen Gegend stammen wie ich und wir kochen Gerichte von Zuhause und tauschen uns über Gemeinsamkeiten aus. Denn in dieser bunten Welt des Unterschieds ist es manchmal ungemütlich. Und einsam. Und Zuhause ist es warm. Zuhause ist weit weg. Das war, was wir alle in Kauf genommen haben um hier unsere Chancen wahrzunehmen; dass nun zwischen uns und unseren Familien wahrhaftig Welten liegen. Aber bitte, wie gern hätte ich die Mädchen vom Kaffeetrinken oder die Kommilitonen zu so einem Abend mal eingeladen, damit sie die Gerichte kosten können, die ich von meiner Mutter gelernt habe? Aber so groß ist die Freude am Unterschied dann wohl doch nicht, als dass sie das mal gern probieren würden. Leider, denn es schmeckt wirklich gut und ich würde gern meine Welt mit den Menschen teilen, in deren Welt ich mich bewege. Aber keins der Mädchen vom Kaffeetrinken und kein Kommilitone, dem ich bei seinen Aufgaben geholfen habe, hatte mal Lust mitzukommen. Weil sie dann ja doch recht einsam im Raum auffallen würden, mit ihrer anderen Hautfarbe. Haha, ja, das würden sie wohl. Einen Abend lang.
Und das, was sie dann einen Abend lang erleben würden, von dem herzlichen Empfang bis hin zu den komischen Blicken, eben weil sie anders wären, das ist das, was ich jeden Tag erlebe. Bienvenue dans ma vie. Willkommen in meinem Leben.
Aber so groß ist der Spaß am Unterschied und an der bunten Welt wohl nicht. Den hat man nämlich nur dann, wenn man selbst die Farben aussuchen und mischen darf.
Ich wandle durch die Straßen der Stadt. Einer Stadt der zivilisierten, aufgeschlossenen, westlichen Welt.
Einer Welt, die mich anscheinend nicht will. Oder wenn, dann nur bedingt.
Und wenn ich dann mal mit einem Menschen warm laufe, ihn beim Reden an die Schulter fasse oder wenn ich diese Person mit Wangenküsschen links und rechts verabschiede, dann schauen sie mich an, als hätte ich soeben den kompletten Teppich des guten Benehmens besudelt. Weil sie sie vielleicht befremdlich finden, diese Wärme, die ich von Zuhause kenne und die mich in manchen Momenten überkommt, in denen ich dann vergesse, dass man das hier meistens eher nicht so macht. Zaghaft setze ich wieder Fuß vor Fuß und bemühe mich, ordentlich auf dem vorgezeichneten Plan zu laufen. Ich sage artig “Guten Tag” und erkundige mich nach dem Befinden der Frau Mama, weil ich das als gutes Benehmen von klein auf beigebracht bekommen habe. Ich sage “Grüß deine Mutter”, weil sich das bei uns so gehört, als Antwort bekomme ich ein schallendes Lachen und ein “Aber du kennst sie doch gar nicht”. Wie oft habe ich mich gefragt, ob sie die Grüße wohl jemals ausrichten.
Es ist auch nicht so, als würden die Leute mich nicht mögen, manche sind sehr nett zu mir und laden mich sogar zu ihrem Geburtstag ein. Es ist auch nicht so, als wüsste mein Chef meine Arbeit nicht zu schätzen, ganz im Gegenteil, er ist sehr erfreut über meine Erkenntnisse und meinen Beitrag zum Firmenwachstum. Ein Kommilitone aus dem ersten Semester, den ich nach einiger Zeit wiedertreffe, freut sich mich zu sehen und komplimentiert meine sprachlichen sowie beruflichen Fortschritte. Ich arbeite viel, ich lerne viel, ich lese viel, ich übe die Sprache und setze mich mit der hiesigen Kultur auseinander. Möchte ein Teil davon sein und einen Teil von meiner Kultur, von mir, zurückgeben.
Embrace Diversity, Unterschied macht bunt. Aber anscheinend malen wir leider nicht gemeinsam.
Denn wenn das Verhältnis der Farben sich ändert, dann würdet ihr wohl im Raum auffallen, mit eurer anderen Hautfarbe. Einen Abend lang.
Und das, was ihr dann einen Abend lang erleben würdet, das ist das, was ich jeden Tag erlebe. Bienvenue dans ma vie. Willkommen in meinem Leben.

Gina Laventura © 2015

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.