I’m not Charlie, I’m just an observer

The events happening now in France concern us all, no matter our nationality or religion. It is a problem that people keep avoiding for centuries. As a journalist I feel gutted for what happened at Charlie Hebdo office on Wednesday. Seen from a journalistic point of view you’d say freedom of speech is just a utopia, that you can’t say what you feel and think anymore because you might get attacked.

Well, agree to disagree. We can’t look only at one side of the story, because it won’t be fair and professional. Back in 2008, my thesis debated the problem that minorities have in the society, the way they are treated and presented in the media. I thought things would change in 7 years, but apparently some things will never change if we don’t do anything about them.

When I was working in school we had a meeting regarding bullying and how much it affects the mental development of the children. A bully, according to dictionary.com, is a “blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people”. We might believe that bullying is just a temporary behaviour that goes away when you grow up, but the truth is , it doesn’t. Bullies are always going to be bullies, no matter what. We totally disagree with this behaviour, but what happens when it comes with consequences, when the bullied one backfires? Doesn’t the Charlie Hebdo activity looks a bit like bullying – bullying a minority which struggles every day, because people look at them funny, consider them terrorists and so on?

I know that violence is not the answer and totally disagree using it to show you are angry and that you had enough, but violence can come in many ways, not only physical. Sometimes words and images hurt more than a bullet and have the power to change the world, to turn people against one another. Doesn’t take much to pay minimum respect to other people who are inhabiting this world. Making people laugh is a great thing, but when you’re trying to do it by mocking other people, nations, religions, races, etc. – becomes revolting.

I was so curious what the murderers would have stated in their trial, but unfortunately I can’t, because our society knows to pay violence only with violence. From all the special troops that France has, they couldn’t manage to catch the attackers alive, or they didn’t want them alive. It’s easier like that, isn’t it? So nobody will know the reasons why this happened and will continue to blame the Muslim minority for everything bad that happens.

In these days I think we should turn off the TVs and really analyse who is the enemy in the whole equation. Hate doesn’t help us, it never did. Punishing innocent people as I’ve read today here is pure cruelty. Learning to understand one another is the thing that will stop all the conflicts. Stop bullying the weaker and fewer, because that is not what an evolved society does! Accept them and if you want to be funny do it differently. This should be a lesson for all of us and it’s never too late to learn.

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The magical diet*

“Cannot help but wonder if was free to arrange own fat according to choice would I still wish to reduce the amount?”- The Diary of Bridget Jones, by Helen Fielding

I was reflecting on this for the past 10 minutes as I’m too tired to do anything else. The gym exhausts me, but what exhausts me the most is the magical diet, the lack of sweets and the cravings. Oh God, I must have been an addict and not realising it all these years.

Our weight: the thing that gives us headaches from puberty till the day we die. I practically have a huge migraine by now concerning the subject. It was always somebody else’s fault (mum, grandma’). It’s like they were putting food into my mouth. But it is always easier to blame than accepting your mistakes. It’s like hiding behind a big wall that says “It’s not my fault I’m fat. Blame the society for manipulating me into buying all those chocolates and fast-foods.” Well, truth to be told, that wall is not entirely wrong, but I’m not debating it here and now.

The moment I realized I couldn’t carry my kilos much longer was in high school. My best friend and I decided to start a losing weight boot camp: going to the gym and eating less than 1000 calories a day (at one point ended up eating less than 200, but that’s how you get when you lose control). That was the moment my lifetime agony and battle with my kilos have started. Lost and gained them for so many times I lost track, like in a never ending story. Diet after diet, from cabbage soup to Dukan, tried them all and was lucky to have moral support in my friends who were on the same page. Even when we weren’t dieting we were doing it in our minds. Along the process, we were constantly forgetting that alcohol and sleepless nights never help, but we were having our own religion and diet was our guru.

Truth to be told, I’m not obsessing about my weight anymore, as I’m an older and wiser (?) self now. I don’t do strict diets, not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t. It’s too tiring and don’t want to get old too soon. But still, I can’t eat whatever I want, because in no time I’ll be like a Sumo fighter. So no chocolate, no sweets, no pastries, no muffins, at least not every day. If you come to think about it, this life of healthy eating it’s very dull: no artificial color, no additives, no sugar, no fun, just plain veggies and lean meat. I couldn’t do it on a normal basis. I have to cheat big (lots of sugar and calories), to start it all over the next Monday :). Lucky you, if you’re not going through this mayhem.

Analyzing it all, in the end it comes to this: being a woman is stressful (it’s usually us who stress about these things). Either you make peace with yourself, embrace the way you look and learn to love your curves OR enroll into a long-time battle with self. If it’s not too late for you and you can still chose, go please with the first option. It’s the safest and healthiest. As for me, I will still wake up tomorrow morning and do the same thing I do for the past 20 years: weight myself.

By the way, how do you deal with all these? I’m really curious, maybe I’ll learn something new.

*It’s magical because one day it’s there, the next day it’s gone, disappearing like a rabbit in a hat (can’t fight the urge for sugar for too long).

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How to look cool (and feel hot) in the gym

New Year, new beginning, new prospects and some resolutions. One of many resolutions for new years in general, is to lose weight. Being a woman I subscribe to this one too, this year. I don’t want to lose a lot, only to reach my high school weight (the bit when I was lighter). So My Private and Personal Trainer (aka U.B.) decided I have to hit the gym with him. Easier said than done.

You see, last time I went to the gym was 3 years ago and only for a short period of time (2 days in one month). I don’t really like the gym for the simple fact that when I exercise I like to do it  with no one staring at me. I find this place like real life Facebook. Usually people go there to socialize and show off, just like online. You’ll see those guys full of muscles trying to prove one another that they are strong; those good looking/fit girls who I have no idea what are doing there, except to get those guys attention and at last you’ll find 3-5 people who go there just to train, lose weight, struggle and sweat, and are laughed by the show offs. As you probably get it by now, I’m in the last category.

But this year,I decided to change my prospects and views and give it a try, as U.B. is always saying “Diet is not enough if you want to look good for the summer!” And he’s right. So each morning we wake up and hit the gym. The hardest part for me is the first one, as I’m more of an owl than an early bird.

At this gym, like in all the other ones, you can find all those three types of people. But I won’t get myself intimidated this time, therefore am going to stand out in my own way. Wsauna costumehen exercising you need to sweat in order to lose weight, but I don’t, not enough anyway. Searching online I found the answer to my questions: the sauna suit. Went quickly to buy one, but they didn’t have women size so went for men’s one, not a big difference, considering I’m a tall gal. Took it home and tried it on. It looks like an astronaut outfit for carnival, but who cares anyway, when main purpose is to lose weight.

This morning I took it with me, but wasn’t brave enough and only put on the trousers. So between that guy who thinks is the biggest in there and the sexy girl, you’ll find me, the fit astronaut wannabe. I’m lucky U.B. has a good sense of humor, as people were looking at me really funny. Maybe they were envious :).

So if you want to stand out in the gym and you didn’t know how, forget about sexy outfits (as most of the girls over there are dressed this way), try this costume and everyone will turn their heads towards you :). Plus it will help you sweat a lot.

P.S. Am going to write the motivational message  in the image on the mirror and read it every morning. It might help.

Just a short story

One of my hobbies, apart from blogging is writing short stories or poems. As time goes by, I’m going to share them with you. Here is one:

Chasing a dream

We went as far as the car would take us, because we had a plan and no one could have stopped us.

It all started one month ago when we first met. Jack was the bad boy I’ve always wanted, but was afraid to have and I was in my last year of high school, getting ready for life, not really knowing what that means. It was love of first sight, right there in front of the high school gate where I first saw him. He was riding his motorbike and I was mesmerized by this James Dean, with blond hair combed back and blue eyes that made me melt. I couldn’t even say my name when one common friend introduced us.

“I’m…um…nice to meet you!” it was all I could manage.

“So, what’s your name, if it’s not too much to ask?” said Jack, with a melting smile on his face.

“Gill, I’m Gill. That’s my name.” –acting more like I was trying to convince myself that was my name.

 And from that moment on, everything changed. Sleepless nights, crazy parties, we were living a life out of movies and I loved it. I saw a part of me I never thought existed. I couldn’t let it go away, so that is why three days ago we decided to run away. I was only 18 and Jack was 21, but we were ready or, at least, we seemed to be.

 Jack rented a car and suggested to cross the border and go to one of his friend who lived in another state. Our plan was simple: work for one year here and there, to get going, and after hit LA, where we could try-like many others before us- some acting. A very fragile plan, but for our young minds and hearts worked pretty well.

Plans are good even though sometimes life isn’t a fairy-tale and things never work, as much as you want them to. Our car broke, in the middle of the night, halfway through. We decided to hitch-hike and get where we wanted. But as we were waiting for a car to show up, Jack had a change of heart.

“I don’t know Gill, maybe this was a sign.”

“A sign of what?” I asked, not understanding exactly where this is coming from.

“Like maybe we should stop. We rented a car and it broke, what are the odds of this to happen anyway. And our plan…” He said all these without looking at me.

“Our plan what? You were the one who suggested in the first place. We decided…” – I didn’t know what else to say.

“Yeah…” he shrugged.

“What’s wrong? You don’t want to do it anymore? You want to go back?” I already knew the answers, but wasn’t ready to admit them.

“I don’t know. Sort of… You know, we are very young and this, all this is kind of serious.” –he looked at me while saying all these, the fear of the unknown visible in his blue eyes.

“You’re kidding me. You want to go back after all you put me through? “- I was furious and couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. “You know what, just go ahead. Just leave. I was stupid for believing a word you said. This, whatever it is, it’s over.”

I didn’t want him to see me cry. I was too proud to show my weakness. A little too late for that now.

“Please don’t cry. It’s just that I’m not ready and either are you.” He came closer and was trying to wipe my tears. I pushed him away, not wanting any comfort from him anymore. It’s like something died inside of me.

“Like you would know anything. Just go and leave me alone.” I didn’t want to see him anymore, but at the same time I wanted to hold him and never let him go. I guess my pride won this time.

Jack left. I wanted him to beg for forgiveness, but maybe that happens only in movies with happy endings. I wanted him to change his mind. He never did.

I called my friend, she came to pick me up. I was devastated but realized, for the first time in my life, that some things are just not meant to be.  

I never saw Jack again, though sometimes I wished I would. I finished high school and his memory is starting to fade away. Sometimes I still wonder if it was real or just my imagination. And if he was real, he’s now just the boy I went with one night, as far as the car would take us.

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Changing the approach towards Social Media

When talking about guilty pleasures, one of ours must be Social Media. Every single day I have to go on Facebook, on Google+, on Blogger, then over here and that’s how I spend a good couple of hours. I’m pathetic at times, I know, but it’s so entertaining. I can see what my friends are doing and just connect with them with a click. Also I can read the latest articles in the matters I’m interested.

But along the years I’ve changed all my perception about Social Media. It all started two years ago with a revolution, deleting my old Facebook account with hundreds of friends whom I never spoke with more than 2 times. I had few solid reasons to do that. One of them was the fact that I was spending too much time there, doing nothing productive, destructive more likely. Every single time I was logging in I was invaded by pictures from amazing holidays, by newsletters from friends who were travelling around the world, meanwhile I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I know comparisons are bad, but I couldn’t help it. So I was getting depressed at times, thinking I will become homeless soon if I don’t change something. And so on every day, I became anxious and cranky, not satisfied with what I had. After all this torment which lasted nearly a year, woke up one morning and realized where all my insecurities were coming from. Before logging in I wasn’t unsatisfied with my life or with myself. I was me, with all my qualities and faults, with my job that I didn’t love at all times but I didn’t hate it either and with my life in general, which was perfect just the way it was.

What changed me into this freak? I didn’t have a life anymore. I was stuck in front of the computer stressing I don’t live a glamorous life. What happened with all those days spent by the sea, with sun on my face, or with all those nights spent dreaming about our future? Did I forget about them along the way? Did I really forget what life is about? I became so lazy that I preferred to stay in front of the computer instead of figuring out what I want and go for it.

And that was the moment I realized it has to come to an end. I realized we must live the moments, not take pictures just to share them online. I deleted my Facebook and decided to start a new life. The miracle lasted for two months, after which I made a new Facebook account but only with my close friends. What can I do? Once you’re caught into this vortex, there’s no way out :). The big difference is that today I log in to check my family and friends and to post something from my blog. I don’t go to check everyone’s profile and photos because I realized the real moments are the ones not caught by the camera and your private life is not a Facebook page.

P.S.1 Once in a blue moon I check on all the other people I know just to see what they’ve been up to, but now I do it just for fun, because I know what I want and what I have and comparison doesn’t fit into my schedule anymore.

P.S, 2 Good luck TimeDancer on your new journey, without Facebook :).

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Women’s Rebellion Movement

 In a society that dictates you what to wear, how to behave, what to say or not say, I find my way in being “me”. Since as far I can remeber I was more of a loner, I loved being alone and do my own things. Even now, I just enjoy my presence. So, if I don’t agree with something I have the tendency to rebel and promote the feminist movement.

 Being a rebel as a teenager it’s fine, because it comes with the age, but as you turn close to 30 it gets really difficult. People expect you to grow up and behave likewise. Your parents expect you to get married and have some children A.S.A.P. Your boss wants you to be more like a robot. Your boyfriend wants you to be more of a house wife if possible and less independent. Even your friends want to hang out the same way you did in your 20’s.

But if everyone wants different things from you, how are you going to keep them all happy? Rebelling! I know it sounds a bit revolutionary but why not do it? Think about what you want, what makes you happy and if they love you, they will understand.

Your parents will eventually understand you are not ready to get married yet. And they will also understand your point of view about adoption..someday. Everything takes time.

 Your boss will maybe realize what a great asset you are for his company. Only true people can stand their ground and fight for their rights. Plus, if s/he doesn’t realize these obvious things, you can always get another job.

Your boyfriend will understand that being an independent woman is far sexier than being insecure and emotional dependent. Show him some examples and he can’t argue on that one. Almost all of the sexy and powerful women are independent and that makes them so desirable. If he can’t get your point, then get rid of him, life it’s too short to be spent with a short minded man.

About your friends, they have to look in the mirror and realize that the Bohemian nights are over and it’s really time to move on. You can still meet up from time to time, but no club is going to miss you if you don’t check in every week.

Oh and I almost forgot about the field where I am rebelling the most: fashion. Since as long as I can remeber I liked having my own style. And my own style means dressing up according to my mood. Today I can be casual, tomorrow classy and the day after tomorrow underground style. I chose to rebel and not settle for a single style. I am a complex human being and so is my wardrobe.

In the end, my advice for you in life is to always rebel and be unique no matter what others say or do. You have your rights to be unique so show them to the world. Be a rebel, be yourself :).

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