On falling behind sometimes



February was faster than me, and brought March in before I was ready. It flashed by before I could remember that there is sweetness in cold, thrill in anxiety, and life outside work. It ended in tears. Somehow March feels all the fresher for it.

On stress

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What I need right now. | Free People

How do you deal with stress? I am a very neurotic person who internalizes a lot of stuff.

I need a system for everything (no matter how disorganized it might seem to an outsider, it does in fact exist) and my own time table that I can work to. Time. It’s so precious and so fucking important. It’s important to make time for goal strategies, coping mechanisms… things that give me pleasure. It’s important to take time and practice gratitude for my many resources, both internal and external, but also for small pleasures. For the existence of rain and tea and old people who hold hands and waves and dogs who fart. I need to accept myself, my imperfections, and if I can, embrace my vices. I say this as a qualified stress management trainer, but more importantly as a human.

I use many techniques to blow off steam – sometimes I cry (which is a BIG deal for me, as for the first 25 years of my life, real events left me completely sober and devoid of emotion – I could only really cry in movies), sometimes I drink a glass of full-bodied red (I really believe we all need a vice, as long as it doesn’t define us), sometimes I chat to friends, sometimes I meditate… but mostly? I write.

Writing is therapeutic for me. Yet, it also feels meaningless in the absence of an audience. Writing is expression and expression is sharing, so if there is no one to share with… what’s the point? It feels weak and shallow to admit you need an audience, but so the fuck what? I met a brilliant artist years ago who littered his enormous pieces with romantic pastels and bicycles – we went to his studio to see his latest work. My friend was looking to buy so she was playing hard ball, remaining utterly stoic, and I followed her lead. We were there for about an hour ‘hmm’-ing to his paintings, and at the end he turned to us and said: look, I don’t care if you buy or not – do you like them? Do you like my work? I need to know if you do otherwise it’s meaningless and I might as well go live in a cave! I wish I could have afforded a painting, I would have bought one there and then. I understood his sentiment well. I’ve realised that actors, artists, writers… what they are really good at is observing the world. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we do not exist in a vacuum. They want to know that their observations are accurate of what they have seen, felt, heard, in themselves and others.

And it’s true with us. This is my truth. Do you see it? Does it resonate? If not, is there space for it within you? Do you accept me? To be an artist is to be human, and to be human is to be an artist – I really believe that. The best way I can think of to manage my stress is to let my art live somewhere – here. I am grateful to the others who give it room to breathe, and I am grateful to myself for the ability to write and the ability to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide.

It’s all about little victories.

On tiny changes

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The many faces of Madonna | Lost in Arabia

I’ve been thinking about transformation lately. How easy it is. How difficult it is. And how difficult it is to express. In movies, it is either depicted as some quick seismic shift in a character (I’m thinking about Bridget Jones turning her life around by falling off the gymcycle) OR the change event is so large it is impossible to ignore, and impossible to not explore. The two examples I’m thinking of here are transgenderism where the becoming is fully explored (e.g. Boys Don’t Cry) or death. All of these changes happen outside a person’s volition. Sexual expression and preference is not a choice, death is not a choice, change (as a choice) is not explored. Change as a choice (especially when the stakes are low) seems like a very bizarre thing to do, not least of all because people hate change. When the stakes are low, you sail along. There is no impetus for change. So what about people who don’t want to survive but to thrive? It’s not a high-stakes issue. What is thriving to each person?

For me I think it’s about pursuing my best self and always seeking opportunities for personal growth. I want to pursue my potential ideal self, even though I can make peace with the fact that I will probably always be a little overweight and not dressed to the nines (Coco Chanel’s ‘life is not a dress rehearsal‘ was the war cry of my late teens). But I can sneak a bit closer. I can transform myself in tiny little uneventful steps that will never become a movie, but are significant to me. I wonder how other people experience their own transformations. Are they aware of them? I talk about clothes because they are easily identifiable, and I believe a slight reflection of each person. And I can see my own transformations through my clothes. Just before I started my new job, I was convinced that I would only dress in black or white, because I wanted to be streamlined and efficient and no nonsense. What nonsense. But it reflected my attitude at the time that WORK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. And now, work is going pretty well, so I can relax and think about… butterflies. Reflections of light. New nail polishes, scented candles, relaxed conversations over tea and cherry liquor. And eventually, I’m sure, my closet will reflect this more bohemian attitude.

This isn’t about fashion. This is a gripe about tiny changes not being recognised. You could look at the same person every day, only to realise that they are completely different to who you knew five years ago.

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Butterfly stamps by Rebecca J Coles | Go Modern

On Notes from 2014

I keep so many notes on my phone that I never end up looking at again. When it comes to new music or a must-see movie, I’m ok with this oversight as I firmly believe that if it’s good enough, eventually I will remember to watch it without prompt (though Shazam and IMDB help).

Not so with random thoughts. So here is a short list of some I typed down over (mostly) 2014.

July 8th, 2013 – can anyone hear the word castrate and not think of Freud? // Why haven’t Matt Damon and Hilary Swank played siblings in a movie yet? // What matters most in life are relationships. Tech can connect people but its people themselves who make it meaningful. // Parents need to trust teachers. Mine told me to go into science and write. Parents thought otherwise. Ten years later, I’m doing it on my own anyway. // Website ideas: I need advice com? love stalker com? // What is the future of money?

July 17th, 2013 – flogeri Ellinida (fire-y Greek lady)

November 13th, 2013 – cognitive research experiment on disappointment : Group 1. someone comes with a friend; Group 2: someone comes with a friend and is asked to leave as their friend is recognized as more suitable participant; Group 3 (control) comes alone

January 27th, 2014 – Russ wrote The Happiness Trap for me. // Who wasn’t beautiful in that room? // Bad turbulence. I ask for more wine. I will not die sober. // This weekend clarified my direction.

February 2nd, 2014 –  Some people are carers and others are in need of care. // Speaking quietly, not used to being heard. // Ships passing through the night. // Social ties are formed out of necessity to survive/succeed. If you don’t have that need, or its taken care of, you can afford to be distant.

March 8th, 2014 –  Indecision is the exquisite pain of being eternally curious. // The after-effect of London is dancing.

March 17th, 2014 – It’s kind of fitting to be sitting in a restaurant called Machiavelli with some older ladies discussing their sons. One said: ‘My son, having shots at a wedding?! I never thought he was the type of lad to do that.’

March 25th, 2014 – You accept the love you think you deserve. (from Perks of Being a Wallflower)

April 22nd, 2014 – The lazy dominatrix: should you marry for money?

May 7th, 2014 – Identifying values is often a trial-and-error process.

May 8th, 2014 – Business is the warfare of the modern age; and I am the general. (from Made in Chelsea)

May 25th, 2014 – Single. Overweight. In debt. Unemployed.

June 6th, 2014 – Complacency leads to stupidity and obesity.

June 29th, 2014Turkish notes: I hate to be too Greek but I miss my morning freddo and the water here tastes different. // Racism isn’t so far from home. // The Turks might be cleaner than the Greeks. See: bidet. // I woke up to Woman’s World by Neneh Cherry. // It’s cold. // I love how stimulated I feel here. Athens doesn’t stimulate me at all. // Astrologers were the first psychologists.

July 10th, 2014 – Do you know any women that are like the women in Californication? Sweet and indifferent to who they fuck?

August 22nd, 2014Mykonos diaries: Air is so clean. I breathe and my lungs ache from lack of habit. // It’s the perfect place for two people: those who like having a good time, and those who like to judge. // Last time I travel without arranging my own room.

November 9th, 2014 – On people I never thought I’d be: gaga dog lover. blogger. pro Greek beach only. // On three items that used to define me: mirror, martini glass, suitcase. Current: blanket, markers, lipstick. // What is my blog about? Peeves: I think the word blog is ugly.

December 4th, 2014 – I’m scared of being boring. // People are aggressively adaptable depending on where they are.

December 22nd, 2014 – This morning a blind Chinese man was in the tube and they guys I thought were thugs were the ones to help him take a seat. The bigger ‘thug’ held him gently with his hands and guided him to his seat. The first ‘thug’ pointed him in the right direction. // moving clouds // kids in the park smoking pot // pink skies.

On my mind 12.02.15

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My dream home | via Messy Nessy Chic

+ I’m thinking of getting a plant for my studio flat. One of the things I really miss about my flat in Athens is the greenery. I would look out of my window and see leaves instead of office blocks and brickwork. I had plants filling up the balcony and in every nook and cranny. It was nice. Also, a good tip for buying flowers.

+ Seeking mutual weirdness.

+ A small dose of poetry.

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London Children’s Hospital by Fun Artwork | via My Modern Met

+  The perfect gift for healthcare professionals: I cannot wait for the opportunity to give this survival organ.

+ MY DREAM HOME (I know it’s in here twice, but that’s how much I love it).

+ A friend was telling me that memories might be passed down through generations – I was skeptical that it had a biological foundation, but now there’s proof.

+ StylelikeU has amazing series relating to identity, individuality, and style. I’m really into Dailies and What’s Underneath.

This made me laugh, this made me cry, and this just fascinates me.

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The Beatles singing on the rooftop (amazing that it was included in Across the Universe) | via Messy Nessy Chic

+ What is your relationship with your body? Accurate and eye-opening. We need to stop declaring war on our bodies.

+ I need a vacation.

+ I am obsessed with this song and choreography (and generally with anything shared by Why Aren’t We Dancing). You can just feel how tormented they are by their inability to get over each other:

On triggers

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Delft by Inez Kozic | via Abundance

After nearly six months, I braved a yoga class. My body was tight. I reflected on the connection between that tightness and my temperament last week. As my bones cracked with sweet relief, I flooded with doubts, fears, insecurities. They were loud and relentless and smashed against the stillness I sought. On New Years, I started filling out a diary that asks a new question each day. Are you a leader or a follower? Do you seek contentment or excitement? These are triggers that exacerbate whatever mental state I’m in at the time. But there are other triggers. Subtle ones I either forget or deny. The name of a street. The door of a nightclub. The way those people sit by the window in that restaurant. The tone in someone’s voice when they say outstanding. When you seek stillness, all of these triggers suddenly discover this perfect and incredible breeding ground to run amok. It’s painful and liberating – these little monsters are mine, and it feels good to let them breathe. I think this will be a good week. I might have to do yoga every Sunday.

On having things to say

783223_ForceM6988Nothing to Lose | Kelli Jean Drinkwater

I have four things to say today.

  1. My friend wrote an article for the Huffington Post with the sole purpose of giving courage to others who are dealing with severe craniofacial issues. I am very proud of him.
  2. This made me smile.
  3. I aim to write a blog post every Sunday. Because I have things to say (see above).
  4. I love makeovers and any variations thereof. The other day I watched A League of Their Own, and the scene where the girls are taken to charm school must be one of my all time favs. I was inspired to make a list of my own favourite makeovers, so here goes.

Grease

It’s always good to open with a classic. Some friends have argued that Grease is un-feminist as, in the end, the girl changes herself completely to get the guy. All I can say to that is SO WHAT. Can they seriously argue that Danny and Sandy didn’t belong together? Furthermore, isn’t it her right to change as she sees fit in order to pursue her dreams? And who is to say that Danny hadn’t also changed as a result of their relationship? But this argument is for a different time and a different post.

Killer line: Tell me about it… stud.

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Sister Act made me want to abandon my life and run away to join a gospel choir. But sadly, life does not always imitate art. Seeing Dolores van Cartier morph from uptight, selfish lounge singer to gentle and compassionate maestro without losing her playfulness and energy was absolutely inspiring. Whoopi Goldberg is stellar in this film, and I love the gentleness in her face in the final scene where they sing to the pope. It kills me. Shout out to Harvey Keitel and Wendy Makkena, though I was disappointed to discover it wasn’t actually her voice.

Killer lineOh, my God. She’s prayin’.

Miss-Congeniality

If I was a movie, I think Miss Congeniality would be it. It’s quite simply, fantastic and totally relatable.

Killer line: Eyebrows… there should be two!

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My heart breaks for Selina Kyle. But what a transformation. She deserves to be treated well, and a guy like Batman would be perfect for her, but she is too far gone down the road of mistrust for it to ever truly be. And I can’t believe Michelle Pfeiffer actually put a live bird in her mouth for this! I’m so glad she’s kicking ass though. I’m glad she gave Max what was coming to him. And I’m sad that she is self destructive. But I’m glad she’s got nine lives.

Killer line: Meow.

Have a great week x