Wednesday, September 21, 2011


'Mommy, mommy!' Nika comes into the kitchen, frantic, holding something in her perfect little fist, shaking it at me.

'Look mommy, someone made a list, give me a pen, they forgot strawberries! Isn't this a list, this is a list, isn't it, mommy?' she continued waving the rectangular piece of paper in my direction. It looked.. foreign, right away.

I take it out of her little hand and instantly blood shoots up into my face and my knees turn cold. I felt literally, sick at the sight. A piece of paper from a hotel notebook, from Eastern Europe.

'Park (just walk around), Japanese tea gardens' - I read, shaken.

'Where did you get this, kitten?' I ask Nika and she bounces off to the other room. Climbs under the coffee table and gets a book out from underneath it. I had been reading that San Francisco guidebook. Why had I not stumbled onto that paper?

My heart was beating so heavily, fast and strong against my rib cage, I almost felt as though someone punched me repeatedly. The spot where I felt my heart beating suddenly felt bruised.

I was shocked at my own reaction. Shocked at the sight of the paper. Shocked at Nika finding it. Shocked.

Shocked flicking through the book, to suddenly discover it was scribbled over. All of it. I felt a cold wave run down my back, I think I just stood there for at least three minutes, blocking the rest of the world out.

In my mind, I traveled back to another time and place..and person. 'What the hell is this?' I grudgingly held out an organizer which blatantly obviously gave away that it had once belonged to a woman, the exhausted and famished man in front of me just stared, he clearly wanted nothing but dinner and sleep.

I had no shame or modesty, I threw the leather-bound book right at him and anything that was within vicinity of my reach. He begged me to calm down, the whole time persuading me that he neither knew that he had that organizer nor was he even aware of its existence - it was from the previous year, his former fiancee's. Containing details of their never-to-be wedding, plans and reminders, and just like that, through briefly skimming it, I knew everything I should have never known. I was livid.

Livid at him for still having it. Livid at him for ever being with her and livid that he had been so close to marrying her. Livid that he opted to  be living a whole different life, instead of coming after me, when I left.

Ballistic and hysterical, I was packing my bag - I was going to leave, and I told him that. 'Third time this month?' he was sarcastically smirking at me, as he emptied the contents out of my bag out, back onto the bed. He was right, it was the third time. It was what we did most - we broke up every two to three weeks, and he always kept me from leaving or convinced me, with empty promises and in vain built my hopes up too high for me to be able to leave.

Scooping the clothes in one handful, I threw them back into the open suitcase. I then slammed it closed, and dragged it out of the apartment door. He rushed downstairs using the staircase and caught me just as I exited out of the apartment block.

The previous time he caught me at the elevator. Before that .. the corridor, front door, bedroom - each time, I got closer to leaving.

In the following times, he would catch me on the street, in a taxi, at the train station and finally the train. Several months later, I got onto a train, and he only came after me a year later.

Back to 2011. 'Give me a pencil mommy, we have to add strawberries to the list!' Nika insisted at me.

Hands somewhat shaking, I took the guidebook and quickly tore out the post-its that had been used to bookmark pages. I took the list and quickly, as though it was on fire, stuck it into the book and similarly quickly, put the book away back onto the bookshelf where it had come from, behind the glass, turning the key.

'Let's make our own list, munchee', I beam falsely at my toddler. 'Yaaay, our list is better anyway, it will have strawberries on it!' Nika beamed back at me with the widest smile.

She soon fell asleep but I didn't even try, I cooked some food and straightened the flat up as best I could. My boyfriend called before his night out with colleagues to ask how I was doing. Hours later, when I couldn't fall asleep, in reply to an sms that he sent saying he missed me, I typed up what happened.

Yet instead of pressing 'send', I opted to discard the text and rewrote it, saying I missed him and asked him to give me a big hug when he comes home.. And he did and said he loves me very much. I love him too.. And in less than a week, we're leaving on a three week trip.

Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
Ambrose Bierce 
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Placebo Effect

There has also been measurable evidence, that medical drugs' efficacy is amplified by means of the placebo effect. Patients taking doses of such medicine only had immunal response when fully aware of ingestion. - That is in summary, what I read in a medical article on, don't even ask why, instead I'll explain what I'm getting at.

Money. We all need money. Some people need it in order to survive, others just to live and a few select lucky ones, believe money is just a minimalistic factor of being happy, be it due to these select few being filthy rich, or admirably portraying indifference to or acceptance of being poor or modestly middle class.

How the placebo effect affects me: I like working, I do. Up until recently, I struggled to make ends meet and due to more often than not, my self-harming inflated sense of pride, I would not accept financial help until being cornered with bills.

Now I work enough to keep me busy, even then, most days I struggle to pry myself away from my happy toddler and loving boyfriend, even for that little bit of time - at work, I can't stop thinking about how much I'd rather be with them.

Working is a placebo for me. Something I do, sometimes, for the sake of having it to do - besides the other important things.

I got told that all in all, I sit around at home doing nothing most days - nevertheless, somehow my toddler is happy, food gets cooked, things for the home get ordered and received, the kitchen and for the most part, the whole flat is clean and organized (albeit I do get help with the cleaning), laundry must have found a way to do itself too. We're always totally stocked up with groceries and never do I forget to sort the phone, internet and landlord billpaying. As well as at times funny, miscellaneous but nonetheless necessary things like fridges breaking down, kitchen panels needing to be ordered and picked up - I try to be as hands-on as I can about sorting all of that.

I know I'm not particularly locking myself up in a lab, searching for the cure for cancer .. But I do many things, that make the people I love most, happy. Whether or not my boss is satisfied is really a secondary tier concern. I just don't care.

If I plunged into work, be it something I still enjoyed doing, I would not be able to take spontaneous time off to go away on vacation, or stay home because Nika doesn't feel well. I wouldn't have the energy or incentive to greet my boyfriend with smiles when he comes home at 10pm. I freaking like the way I live, nay, love it - we're all happy. So why on earth do these childless, more-or-less single 'career women' get under my skin when they pass judgment on me.

I work every day. Not much and often I get days off during the week, but I do work.

Would I love to get a Bachelor in business psychology at Kensington or a Master in European Management at Emlyon, as I had initially planned? Sure! Would I not be ecstatic, in contrast, to drop all this corporate shiz and go back to working with special needs children? So much! Will any of that make me happier than my little family? Not even remotely close. Does that make me a failure or poster-child for 'lost potential', I don't believe so, and that is what ultimately matters. I can do many things that would make me feel as though I'm part of a puzzle in this society, without selling out.

I want another child, one day. There, I've said it. My boyfriend is a fantastic father, and any child would be lucky to get to call him 'Dad'. I want him to keep looking forward to coming home to me because I'm all smiles and kisses.

What these corporately broken, steel-headed women don't understand, is something ever so simple: relationships are NOT a 'demand, negotiate, supply', 'time race to sell while value is still high', 'marketing and financing', 'forecasting and implementation' - that doesn't work.

I grew up on an island where job opportunities were skim and only the privileged by heritage got ahead to really become successful as they have a head start on everybody else - if it's unrealistic, to picture yourself making a fraction of the money the people in your exact position abroad make, or better yet, they actually get promoted and don't remain static - what do you learn in a place like that? To find happiness outside of corporate success, money, acquaintances that don't even know your child's name.

I don't need that. I don't claim to have the perfect life, because I have yet to find something I'm truly successful in, besides being a mommy and a significant other - but this would be for me, just to have something to show for .. I have all the time in the world to make my way towards that slowly and it will never interfere with the immediate things that make me happy. My little family.

I have already met and left too many people who prayed to the wrong gods, and lived for the wrong things - fame, fortune, thrill, success. Whereas I have never been one to pray, but as I have said many times, if I did pray, it would be for love, happiness and health.

And in retrospect - at least I KNOW what creates a placebo effect for me, these poor abovementioned women live it and have no idea.
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Live. Love. Learn. Laugh.

It's not easy taking that giant leap into the relationship you believe is 'the one' - I'm not going to surprise anyone by announcing that all relationships are different and so are the people, but this is about me.. And my story is this..

Nothing about the relationship itself has been difficult - not a single thing. There have been no arguments, no major disagreements, no self-sacrificing.

What was difficult is turning my head to face the other way, as though pretending that my boyfriend has no past and later realizing that that was indeed, not good enough - I had to find out, understand and accept every little detail. It's not bewildering in the least bit, to anyone who's been in love at least, to comprehend how difficult it is to picture the person you're so hopelessly in love with.. with someone else. The thought makes your stomach churn and gives you (or at least me) hot flashes and cold sweat all at the same time.

I had already made that mistake once - you know, 'deny now, deny always and only deny' that my significant other had a past which indeed, wasn't me.

Do you know what happened? The relationship was in ruins before it could really commence into a commitment. My ex was over his ex, and she was over him - I was the one who wasn't over them as a couple, even though, clearly .. they were no longer. This time was different and thus, more difficult. As really, the only thing that's more difficult than blindly denying every little bit of evidence, is wholeheartedly accepting its existence - it really hurts.

I've felt rejected, hurt, afraid - you name it, I can't say it was in vain, nor can I claim I had basis, but I've always said one thing about my emotions - they are what they are, and there's no logic to them. Slowly but surely though, I've got to a point where I can honestly say that none of the past matters anymore.

Life couldn't be more different in comparison to last year. Last year, I was terrified my boyfriend's past would have more impact on the future than the present we had been so nicely living out.

I hated where I lived. I had trouble establishing even remotely, the stability I so longed Nika to have. I felt alone and scared about the future.

These days, in par, are so different. And albeit a part of me wishes that I had known everything would work out apriori, another part wants to leave things exactly as they were, because there is nothing that would quite make you appreciate better times as much as the pure, raw fear and uncertainty that you had just been feeling.

The realization that indeed, times are changing, and fast.. Came to me the same evening, entwined with a piece of news. And you know what.. There and then it dawned on me. This all happened one evening, when the sky looked as though it were on fire. As though a sign of change of seasons, of time..

The past.. He was over it, the people involved in his past were more likely than not, over it - and there I was making the exact same mistake I had made all those years ago - I was the only one -still- not over it. And so, unlike last time, when indeed, the demise of my relationship was soon to follow, this time I decided that no more, will I think or fear what was. Only what has been and will be is my concern.

And it helped.

I love the place I instinctively have grown to call 'home' because it's exactly that to me. It's beautiful, not just externally, but because of how safe I feel there. I love my boyfriend telling me that he's going home at the end of a long day - and I love that it's the same home.

I am not scared, worried, upset, hurt or insecure about many things anymore. My few existing fears, worries and insecurities are now only about the future, isn't that fantastic? After all, I wouldn't quite be myself without this plethora of emotions!

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