21 Things I’ve learned in 21 Years

After 21 years on this Earth ( wow, it is so weird to say that ) it is safe to say that I’ve learned some things. From laughter and joy, to failures and heartbreaks, everything that I’ve gone through has made me the person that I am today. I wanted to share with you some lessons that have made me wiser, stronger and more mature.

1. IT IS OKAY TO BE UNIQUE

Growing up, I was very quiet and shy. I preferred to be “behind the scenes” rather than being a “star”. So as you can imagine, I’ve had a hard time fitting in. Somehow, that didn’t bother me as much. I loved to hide behind my drawings and cartoons. It was a world where I felt safe, where I had the power to create my own destiny. I was that kid who watched as many cartoons as she could get her hands on and was pretty much obsessed with anime. I kept that part of me hidden though. People already thought I was childish so why would I give them another reason to do so? With time, I realised that it wasn’t a shame to be childish, nor it was a shame to like something different. Why would I want to blend with the others, to change just to be like them instead of fully accepting myself as I am? I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not just so that other people would like me. I don’t have to blend in. I am fine just the way I am, and God I’ve never loved myself more than I do now.

2. IT IS OKAY TO FAIL

For the past two years I’ve had my fair share of failures. If anything, they made me stronger. For the longest time I was trapped in a bubble where everything was rainbows and sunshine. It was like an alternate universe, meant to protect my innocence. I am no longer who I was in high school, nor who I was even 6 months ago. Failure brings pain but also wisdom. Each time you fail, you get up stronger. Don’t resent failure no matter how hard it hits you. Without it, you wouldn’t grow intellectually and as an individual.

3. LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS

They without a doubt know more than you do. My mom and dad are everything to me. Ever since I was little, they made sure I had everything I needed even when they had little money. They raised me to be humble, to appreciate everything I have and to be kind. They are always there to give me advice, to teach me the differences between right and wrong. Their wisdom, strength, unconditional love and guidance are essential. Without them I would be lost.

4. SOMETIMES YOU’RE GONNA MAKE MISTAKES

Not even your family and friends can help you avoid this one forever. No one has escaped from mistakes. If anything… provided you let them, they can make you a better person. As much as it hurts, it’s important for your self growth. It took me a while to see this, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, even when you ceased to hope for it.

5. EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON 

There is no coincidence. Every mistake, every failure, every friendship, every relationship happens for a reason without a doubt. I have learned that everything that I do or choose has a meaning.

6. YOU ARE BLESSED

I am ashamed to say that it took me some time to see this. In fact, it took something for me to not be blinded anymore. My failures in college came with their ups and downs. They’ve changed me in more ways than one. For the first time, I started to fully appreciate how blessed and loved I am. It’s funny how moments like this actually open your eyes to what is right in front of you. Yes, it made me be grateful for everything that I have, yes, I AM BLESSED beyond belief and I was too stupid to see it.

7. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FOR A CHANGE

I have the tendency to neglect myself. I know it’s not okay but sometimes I cannot help it. I have to remind myself to try and take it slow for once. This is based a lot on self confidence and also on self discovery. Think about it. There must be some moments when you just feel emotionally drained, when you want to scream or never get out of the room. Well that is when your mind tells you to take a deep breath and do something that you love, something that helps you heal and escape from your problems for a bit.

8. PEOPLE CAN GIVE YOU THEIR WORST

No matter what, there are some people you meet who just aren’t going to treat you well. We all have our demons, and sometimes we deal with them by unleashing their force on others. This is not an excuse, I know, but I try to be nice to them anyway. At the end of the day, treating someone as badly as they treat you is nothing more than revenge. It’s neither fulfilling or necessarily.

9. IT IS OKAY TO FEEL LOST

No one really knows what they want right away. If I really think about it, most of my friends don’t have an idea of what they want to be, and that is okay. To tell you the truth, there were moments when I felt so lost (still am some days) because it seemed that I was walking towards an endless unknown path. But then I realised, it is supposed to be that way. Not even my parents or grandparents knew what the hell they were going to do with their lives when they were my age. They figured it out along the way. I guess we all have to do the same.

10. LOVE YOURSELF

THIS IS A MUST! I cannot tell you how much my life has changed ever since I started to accept myself, to be more confident. Though I am nowhere near achieving my goal completely, I am slowly getting there. I now know how important it is to love yourself. If you don’t, not only it is damaging for your heart and soul, but also for the people around you. If you don’t love yourself, why would you expect others to do so?.

11. NEVER STOP LEARNING

Nope, I am not just talking about academic intelligence. You could be the smartest kid in school but not in life. So when I say never stop learning, I actually mean to take everything that life has to offer and turn it into a lesson. Life knowledge is just as important as academic knowledge.

12. HAVE FAITH

In my darkest of times, when I was in such a low place that I thought I was worthless, that’s when faith saved me. One night, when I was on the verge of having a breakdown, I decided to listen to some music since it always calmed me down. I opened up my Apple music and unknowingly searched for the song that would change everything for me. I somehow got to Rachel Platten’s new album, which I am not kidding, wasn’t even released half an hour earlier when I last checked. I was quite surprised, as you can imagine. As I was scrolling down, my eyes landed on the song GRACE. I don’t know why but I was really drawn to it. I pressed play and I started to be overwhelmed by this incredible sense of understanding. I had goosebumps and I was shaking. Never, in my entire life, has ever been a song to define my whole being like that until that moment. The answer that I’ve been waiting for such a long time finally revealed itself. That song brought me peace and comfort. Because of it, I’ve regained my faith in God, and also, faith in myself.

13. THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE WILL CHANGE YOU

I always trust my gut when it comes to choosing the perfect people for me. Let me tell you, I was never wrong. Every person that I’ve allowed to be in my life has changed me for the better. With their strength, wisdom, kindness and confidence, they’ve all played an important part into my life. They’ve inspired me to be better, to cherish every moment that I’ve been given, to be happy and to believe that I am capable of amazing things. I can never thank them enough for what they did and still do for me.

14. JEALOUSY HAS ITS UPS AND DOWNS

Believe it or not, jealousy can actually be a blessing in disguise. In the past year, I’ve had moments when I hated myself because I was jealous of the success of others. I thought: Why not me? Why am I not doing anything as amazing as that? It consumed me to a point when I started to become someone I couldn’t recognize. It was one of my lowest points. I felt useless, untalented and a failure. I had this mindset until I realised that I can actually use this as a motivation to fulfill my dreams rather than be jealous of something that I don’t wholeheartedly want. This is how this blog revived. This is how I started drawing again. This is how I started to practice my singing again.

15. TREAT PEOPLE HOW YOU WISH TO BE TREATED

I keep this with me everyday, especially now with how dark the world is. I never stopped hoping, believing that WE will be better. I think if I did, I would lose myself completely into this darkness. This is why I set a goal upon myself: to try each day to be kinder and to help people when they need it. I remember one time in my volunteering years when I participated in my all time favourite activity: “free hugs”. I was humbled and extremely touched at how many people were so open to it. Some even said they needed that hug more than ever. People are often evil and selfish, but there is also kindness, happiness and joy within them. I will never cease to stop believing, because there are people out there that are worthy of every drop of kindness you can offer. You never know when you can change someone’s life by just giving a small compliment, or a smile, or a hug.

16. YOU DEFINITELY ARE YOUR HARSHEST CRITIC

Whenever I do something, I want it to be perfect.  When something doesn’t turn out the way I envisioned, I feel incompetent. It doesn’t do wonders to my self esteem either. The main issue here is that I am too hard on myself. I see that fact, but its still difficult for me to not be. I have to get used to the idea that I am and always will be my harshest critic.

17. PEOPLE ARE SELFISH

I would be the first to say that I’ve had moments when I thought of only myself. I don’t have an excuse for this, but I am trying to manage it. I am aware of my flaws, I am not perfect, but every day I try to turn them into little helpers… helpers who make me want to be better. Humanity is selfish, and I am no exception.

18. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS

I’ve found that I am happiest when little things happen. Last summer I posted on twitter a picture with me holding Lily Collins’ book and went to bed. The next morning I woke up with my phone filled with messages. In the back of my mind I kind of knew why but I still thought Nah, there’s no way… I opened up my twitter, and there it was. Lily Collins saw my picture. My heart was full of joy and I felt pure happiness. Having one of my role models respond to my post meant everything to me. It’s not about the grand gestures, but about little things.

19. NO REGRETS

Your life is how it’s supposed to be. Even with it’s ups and downs, I’ve learned to never take it for granted and certainly not regret anything that I’ve gone through. And you shouldn’t either. Love your life because it’s priceless and irreplaceable.

20. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT

The truth is, I am not perfect. No one is. I have to stop trying to be flawless. I would be inhuman if I didn’t have my fair share of flaws. Instead of resenting them, I am trying (as I already mentioned) to analyse them and to learn from them in order to become the best version I can possibly be. We all have the potential to be great, but never to be perfect.

21. NOTHING COMES EASY

Oh boy, where do I even start. I mentioned already that I am childish. Well, this doesn’t come with disadvantages. When I had secured myself with a place in college, I felt free and capable of doing anything. I was so naive to think that from then on everything that I ever desired to have will fall down from the skies. Now I know that it’s actually the opposite. No one became successful without working hard.

X

Stronger than ever

“It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down. All that matters is you get up one more time than you were knocked down.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

Happy International Women’s day to all of you strong, brave, kind and powerful women. Since today is all about empowerment, I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been through for the past two months. I hope my little story will encourage each of you beautiful souls to access your inner strength even during hopeless times. So sit back and enjoy because I have quite a lot to talk about.

Let me start with the beginning. On January 19 I started my exam period. I knew it was going to be hard, or at least, I thought I did. Having as many exams as I did can overwhelm you because breaks seem to not even be considered (though they are essential) and you’re constantly extremely stressed and worried. This is normal though, any student goes through this; so why is my experience any different? Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve had a hard time ever since I started college. For some reason, any subject that was taught during my freshman year came as a shocking storm over me. I couldn’t really accustom to the new teaching method and to the extremely overwhelming pile of information that I had to learn in such a short amount of time. This lead me to fail miserably during my finals, and it’s pretty safe to say that it destroyed me for a while. I lost sight of my values and my strength. Though it took some time, I was eventually able to slowly get back on my own feet and try to seek hope again. Then, my second year of college began, and for a while, I was confident enough to believe that I will survive what was about to come. I decided that I would shut everything negative inside a small box in my mind. Oh boy, that was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made. To the outside world, I seemed fine, but on the inside I was still broken and marked by my previous failures. I got it into my head that past was past, it was too late to deal with those feelings; and I should go on without worrying others.

As a new exam period was approaching, I started to panic. Everything I’ve held inside of me suddenly seemed to break free from my chain and there was nothing I could do to control it. Fear, sadness, uncertainty were nothing short of what I was feeling. The morning of my first exam I was so panicked that I started to cry. I just didn’t want to disappoint myself of anyone else again. This is when I have to stop and tell you: DO NOT EVER SHUT YOUR EMOTIONS! You’re going to end up just like me, terrified and uncertain. Again, I was facing the same thing from last year, a situation I so desperately wanted to avoid. I remember the day I found out I failed an exam for the third time. My mind shut down completely and I called my mom in tears, desperately saying: I don’t think I can do this! I found myself in a black whole, drowning…

It is difficult, as you can imagine, to describe something which almost broke you apart for the second time, but at the same time taught you so much. It is easy to succumb to your feelings, to let them take control of your whole being, and honestly, if I would’ve taken just one more step, it would’ve probably happen. Failure is not painless or manageable or effortless, but hard to understand, extremely challenging and emotionally draining. If it weren’t for my mom, who is the strongest woman I know, my dad, my brother, my friends and my grandparents, I think I would’ve probably given up on college. They were the ones who told me: Keep going, you can do this. You are capable of amazing things. I realised right then and there how blessed I was to have this incredible support system. I also learned that hard work can lead to extraordinary achievements. So yes, I almost gave up, yes, failure is damn hard, but I’ve come to see that each time you fall, you get up stronger than ever.

I want you to know that just because I’ve won a fight doesn’t mean I won’t fail again pr that I won’t lose myself in the process. Nothing in this life comes easy. This experience has taught me to work hard, to keep going even when all hope is lost and to have faith that no matter what, things will get better. So for those of you who feel alone, or lost, I hope this will show you that everyone has to go through highs and lows. Do not doubt yourself, be brave and keep going. You’ve got this!

X

My road to Self Confidence (Part One)

“A flower doesn’t think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms”

There are 7.442 billion people on this beautiful Earth. Though this can be perceived as scary and leaning towards overpopulation of our planet, most of the time those numbers mean more than just a scale or an analysis. We often tend to forget that while we may be going through either an emotional time or difficulties in our lives, someone else out there may actually experience the same things. As humans, it is normal to share, to feel and to experience something similar. With this in mind, I want to share with you the beginning of my journey towards self acceptance and self confidence.

As a child, you never really comprehend what means to be confident. Once you gradually move towards becoming a teenager, everything you ever slightly thought about yourself changes. This is the “teen phenomenon” as I like to call it. It is a period of total confusion and hormonal change both in body and mind. I, of course, was a victim as every single one of you were. I remember the first time I actually gave a damn about the way I looked. I was 15 years old, ready to take my middle school graduation photos and right then and there my inner voice told me: you don’t look great.  After that moment, I began to be more and more aware of my imperfections, of my bushy and burned hair, of my smile, of my eyebrows etc. Having more and more pimples did not help as well. I cannot tell you or even count how many times I’ve stared at myself in the mirror, examining everything I thought was wrong with me. Soon, imperfection was all I saw. For the next four years of my life I would view everyone but myself as beautiful. How is it possible to find beauty everywhere else but not within you? My family would always tell me that I am beautiful, and though these comments were comforting, in the back of your mind you also think : oh but it’s their job to tell me this. 

In this fogginess of low self esteem, I never actually realised that what you feel about yourself is also felt by others around you. Until the age of 18 and even 19, I would not even accept my friends’ comments because I got it into my head that they were just being sweet. After I got my braces off (yes, I did wear braces for one year and a half), just before my 19th birthday, I finally felt a glimpse of that confidence everyone was telling me about. It was a great, but also, only the beginning. As I graduated high school, I started taking care of myself more. Instead of plugging the hell out of my eyebrows, I would let them grow and eventually find my natural shape. I started taking care of my hair which, at that time, unknown to many, was probably my biggest insecurity.  I was grateful of it being so thick and wavy but it was really difficult to manage especially because it was burned. I finally got rid of most of my pimples and my face was looking clean for once too. During this process, I also thought that I had to do this for everyone to like me more, especially guys. Yes, I said it. I wanted to look good for guys. Not the best goal to reach but I have to admit, it gave me the motivation I needed. Now, after I’ve matured a bit more, I’ve come to the conclusion that you should be confident for YOU, and not for anyone else. After all, you are all you’ve got and it would be a shame to continue hating yourself for the rest of your life.

As I am sitting here writing this, I cannot help but stress that I am nowhere near the finish line. I still have days when I don’t feel beautiful at all. Where I am now is probably the best level of confidence I’ve ever had. It is truly fulfilling to be able to get yourself out of your own damaging thoughts. I am really proud of how far I’ve come, and I will continue everyday to feel beautiful, to smile and to be confident. And so, this is just my first chapter, a start of a journey towards self love. I want each of you to know that you are gorgeous souls who deserve the world and beyond. Never let everyone else or even you let you down. You know what they say, you can be your worst enemy.

XX

What I’ve learned in 2017

Every year means change, and with change come valuable lessons. I never really understood the true purpose of growing up, of maturing and becoming independent, just like my parents did before me and my grandparents before them. The process is at first slow, or at least our young minds perceive it as such. Then high school comes and just for a second you believe you know exactly what you want, that you know who you are and what life has to offer. This though, cannot be further from the truth. Eventually University knocks at your door, a new chapter which is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. At first, you enjoy the liberties to a point when it becomes almost like a drug. This independence has never been as strong and persistent until now. This freedom is a blessing and a curse. While it can be fulfilling, it can also be blinding. Somewhere along the line, life wakes you up in the middle of an enormous mess.

2017 has been a year of revelations, a year which impacted me in more ways than one. A new piece has been placed in the puzzle of life, and along with it, my perception of myself and what’s around me also changed. I want to start by saying that all my life I had this view that I had to be perfect. I would watch various Disney movies and believe that I was worthy of having what those princesses had. Though it’s an unrealistic thinking, I must admit that I am a dreamer and I tend to overthink some aspects. I carried this with me for a long time and I forgot to actually live in the present. I treated everything in a childish manner and this made me become someone I wasn’t. And so, I’ve learned that yes, you can have dreams, but you cannot wait for God or anyone to make them come true. I’ve learned that it is impossible to control everything you’re feeling. It is completely normal to feel anxious or depressed from time to time. You feel, you care, you love. You are not a robot. I’ve learned that you should not take anything you have for granted. You are so lucky and blessed to have people in your life that truly care about you and love you with all their heart. It is easy to forget what is really important and also equally easy to complain about everything that is going wrong in your life. You forget that others may have it much worse than you but they know how to hide their sorrow better than you. I’ve learned that you can dream like a kid, but you can’t always act like one. This is not a game anymore. It is time grow up, to start your true journey and there are going to be some obstacles in your way which you never even thought of. Although at times they can get the best of you, remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and a lesson to be learned. Also, you are HUMAN. You are bound to make mistakes. If you ever thought you can be perfect, nope, you can’t. Everyone makes mistakes, but you cannot use them as excuses. It may hurt when the ugly truth is unveiled, but be GRATEFUL because though it may seem strange, it lifts a weight of your shoulders. Things will start to make sense and it is up to you if you want to learn from those mistakes, move on and try to be a better person. I’ve learned that God can help you even in the darkest of times, even when you’ve lost all your faith. And finally, I’ve learned that YOU CANNOT COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Everyone has their own unique path. The things which others want may not necessarily be what you want. Jealousy is a tricky emotion and can change you into someone you do not recognize. This past year I’ve learned more about jealousy than ever. It can consume you so much that you start treating the people around you in a way they don’t deserve. You may push them away, hurt them without realising the damage you’re making. Always remember what is most important to you. Do not be jealous of other people’s success. Instead, encourage them, be happy for them because you would want the same thing too.

I now close this chapter of my life with the idea that everything I have gone through thus far has made me want to become better. By regaining my faith, I have come to see that imperfection has its own beauty because it challenges you to be a better person. From now on, I am going to remind myself how blessed and loved I am and that dreams can come true if you believe and work hard for them. Each lesson makes you wiser and more aware of the world you live in.

To conclude this awfully long post, here’s to a new year and a new beginning. May all your dreams come true and may you fight each challenge that will come towards you with the fire I know each and every one of you has!

‘Cause every night I lie in bed

The brightest colors fill my head

A million dreams are keeping me awake

I think of what the world could be

A vision of the one I see

A million dreams is all it’s gonna take

A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make’

– A million dreams (The greatest showman)

Xx

Being a twin

For as long as I can remember, people have always been shocked when they found out I have a twin brother. Maybe it is because twins aren’t as common. I’ve even had people ask me if I could read my brother’s mind (typical stereotype of twins). Well spoiler alert, nope, I cannot do that, though sometimes I admit it would come in-handy. According to my grandpa, there’s record of twins in our family, who would always be born after four generations have passed. Now, I don’t know if I believe this or not. He also said to me one time that he always knew one of his children would have twins. Kind of crazy if I think about it.

Growing up with a twin is, well, challenging. In spite of what some people may think, twins have very contrasting personalities. While my brother would love everything involving computers, science and math, I would love to draw, sing and be creative. We were so different that one of my teachers even said to my mom that she has never met twins as opposite as we were. On top of that, we had our moments when we really didn’t get along at all ( I think all siblings have that phase 😅)

I never saw this as something unusual though. I love the fact that we each have our own unique characters and interests. Even though twins share a womb and a birthday, it doesn’t mean that we are by any means similar. We are like night and day, two separate people, yet somehow, we are connected. Every time my brother would get hurt I would feel that pain. Every time he would be anxious for a grade at school, I would be as well and I am sure that he would say the same. It is a feeling that I can’t quite explain because it’s been there all along.

And so, I can say with absolute certainty that having a twin brother is one of the best things. Though I don’t really say it, I appreciate him every day, even when he barges into my room to tell me bad jokes or when he gets on my nerves or when he reminds me he’s 5 minutes older. He has and always will be there for me and that is the beauty of a brother-sister bond. Though we disagree sometimes, we know we can count on each other. Being a twin can mean chaos, but it’s also unique, beautiful and unlike anything else.

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A different kind of December 1st

The beginning of December usually means two things: Christmas is coming and, also, my country’s national day. It is a day of joy when people gather around in our city center to see the fireworks with their family and friends. Now, throughout the years have I never really went out on this particular day mainly because my introverted side was giving me reasons not to. Last year was actually the first time that I’ve managed to convince myself to give it a go and since I really enjoyed it I decided to go this year as well.

The night started off normally as I met up with some of my friends in our central park. We decided to first check out the Christmas market since the fireworks weren’t going to be until 8 PM. Honestly I don’t know if this was a mistake or not because even though we literally got squished in that crowd, we ironically ended up laughing so hard as we tried to find our way out from it. Amazingly enough though, most of the people had our flag in their hands while smiling and cheering. For me, that was a confirmation that there is unity, that there is love for this country. Words cannot describe what I felt especially during fireworks. It was a magical moment filled with beautiful music that made you feel like you were actually in one of the Harry Potter movies. Seeing everyone smile and be in awe of how beautiful the sky looked because of them warmed my heart. I guess it is true what they say: Beauty comes from little things. I felt truly blessed that I was able to be alongside people who were feeling the same emotions as I did.

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Before each of us went home, we stopped at a little restaurant since we were all freezing and starving. Truth be told, it is a horrible idea to search for a place where you can warm up and eat on that day. We could barely find a restaurant that had a table available. I think we knew better than to continue searching but we really wanted to spend more time together. Perseverance can be quite rewarding because after almost an hour of searching, just moments before giving up, we found that small restaurant. At that point, I didn’t even want to order anything since even the waiter said it would take a while for the food to come.

After the others ordered, one of my friends asked us if we wanted to play a game. Immediately I was intrigued by her idea. She suggested that we each answer honestly to some questions. I remember the way we looked at each other, unsure, maybe a bit scared, but also excited and ready for what was about to come. To say that we shared one of the most intimate moments in a restaurant is an understatement. The whole world shut down as five people were about to pour their hearts out and didn’t even know it. The first question:“Why would you want to fall in love and why would you not want to?” had pretty similar answers. We all believe that falling in love with someone can be the greatest thing but also the most challenging and there is always that risk that you will get hurt. We each took our turn and listened while the other person was giving their most sincere answer. The second question was: “What would you want to feel when you are in love?” Now this question got us to really think about what we actually wanted. My mind without even having time to process it all, immediately took me to a quote I once heard from The Vampire Diaries: “You want a love that consumes you. You want passion, adventure, and even a bit of danger”. As I said those words out loud, I could feel the others staring at me.  The attention they were giving me was like a door towards intimacy. It is a terrifying yet fulfilling emotion because you get to open up and be vulnerable. Each of us managed to express some things we didn’t know we wanted until they came through our mouths. I will never forget when one of my friends simply said: “I want love, yes, but I have to fix myself first, and I am not there yet”. When you think about it, how can you expect to be treated like the most special human being out there when you don’t do the same towards others.

The truth is, we all need to acknowledge that we are not perfect, that we are flawed  and we make mistakes. It is natural to want love, to want affection and safety but it is also important to work on yourself, to realise that yes, you are going to make mistakes, but as long as you want to fix yourself, everything is going to turn out just as it is supposed to be. We often tend to forget that we are enough on our own, that self love needs to come from within. And with this I want to say that yes, I want to love and be loved in return but at the same time I know I need to be a better person before actually having that chance. Love can be a subject some people would want to avoid talking about, which is precisely why I think we ended up discussing it. Not everyone can allow themselves to be vulnerable around others but they know, all of us know that love is the greatest thing we do.

 

XX

Exploring Transylvania: Sibiu

There was always something about travelling that intrigued me. Every time I would go to a new place, especially somewhere with so much history I would imagine people from different times walking on the streets that now I am walking on. It is a feeling that I can’t quite explain. If I said nostalgia it wouldn’t really cover the whole picture.

I have been blessed enough to be born in the magical land of Transylvania, which I suppose many of you have heard of. I like to call it the heart of Romania and, of course, my home. It is a place of wonder, where you can find everything from hills to forests to mountains to rivers to breathtaking views. To be honest, when I was little I never really appreciated that I was born here. For me it was just a simple country with ordinary lands. As I got older I got to explore more and more of this incredible part of my country and I fell in love. Everywhere I go is like a portal which is hiding numerous stories, myths and legends. You could even say that Transylvania is our own real life version of a fairy tale. I know that some of you may not agree with me but trust me when I say this, only when you visit this place you’ll fully understand.

Last Friday I went on a short trip with my best friend and a couple of our old classmates from high school. We visited, or should I say revisited one of the most beautiful cities Transylvania has to offer, which is Sibiu. On our way we first stopped at some ruins of a castle which even now gives you a taste of the past. I couldn’t help but imagine how people used to live at that time. This is something I do every time I visit a place like this. I put myself into the shoes of people who lived in that ancient place and create a short story in my mind of how it might have been if I was alive then. It’s a nostalgic and euphoric feeling.

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When we finally arrived in Sibiu, oh boy, I cannot tell you how happy I was. Even with the gloomy weather, inside I was like a kid in a candy shop. It’s probably been my 4th time visiting Sibiu and every time I go it seems like the city gets even more beautiful than it already was. Unfortunately, because of the semi bad weather I didn’t get a chance to take as many pictures of this incredible city as I wanted but I guess there’s always next time :D. We had about 5 hours to explore while praying to God that rain won’t ruin our trip completely. While I was walking on the paved streets, surrounded by old and beautiful buildings, I felt like I was in another century. In spite of having my phone and camera with me at all times, the way which this city made me feel erased traces of the technology for a few minutes. I was no longer living in 21th century, but somewhere far in the past which only my own mind could comprehend.

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Because of these enchanting places I am proud to call Transylvania my home. A land where my roots originate from, a land which can be perceived as a portal to a different time. Let me tell you, the stories you hear about Transylvania are just a small glance. The truth is unveiled when you actually see what it truly has to offer.

XX

Alive

We all have those days when you’re just struggling. Life is a roller coaster and while I’m just at the beginning of it, I too have bad days. Yet, between all that chaos there’s always something bright. No one can really hate all their bad experiences mainly because they happen for a reason, they guide you towards this foggy road called life. The more I am maturing the more I see that the world around us is of unimaginable beauty. There is always light at the end of the tunnel they say, and I almost agree. What we fail to realise is that between those dark days, right in the middle, there is a small glittering light desperate to get your attention. It can posses any form but most importantly, it’s always small things. And so, I’ve decided to share some moments when I’ve felt most alive in for of short stories. For me it’s a reminder of how amazing and unique life is.

I have this tradition with some of my friends to go on the rooftop of our local mall, mostly after it gets dark, to relax. We even put some music we used to listen to when we were little sometimes to get the nostalgia going. It’s an intimate moment when we are most vulnerable. I cannot say exactly what it is about that place that makes it special, but for us it is. It’s a place of no limits, no boundaries, a different world which separates us from the city covered in lights. The more we went there, the more we felt safe and confident so naturally those emotions awake a slightly wild side. I know what you’re thinking: introverts have a wild side? Well I am here to answer that dilema by saying that yes, we have it but it’s a different version. With that in mind, imagine 5 people screaming from the top of their lungs: “BLOODY HELL” in a failed British accent. It may not seem like much, but for me it’s everything because while I am screaming that, I also get the problems out of me.

This past summer I went to stay at one of my friends from College for a few days. She was so sweet and each day tried so hard to find interesting activities for us to do. What she didn’t know was that I was extremely happy just to be there. She doesn’t live in the city so she is surrounded by forests and mountains. At that time I really needed an escape to fix myself and the fact that I was even able to go there meant more than she’ll ever know. Her dad too was extremely nice and offered to show us around, or to put it into his words, to give us a taste of their home. We hopped on the back of his truck and held on tight as he drove us through their forest and hills. I have never in my entire life experienced that kind of freedom. It was like a drug. I couldn’t stop laughing and at one point my eyes started to form tears of joy. The wind was blowing through my hair and the fresh air of summer made me feel like I was in a fairy tale, like I was living my grandparents’ childhood. Being a full fledged city girl, of course I’ve never quite experienced the countryside life so all of this was new to me. For the first time in my life I truly felt what it means to be free.

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My best friend has a dog and she frequently asks me to join her when she walks him. We have a little area in our neighborhood where people walk their dogs. Even though it’s in the city, the little river near this place gives our neighborhood a taste of nature and piece. You can never fully grasp how a walk can calm you. It’s also a way for us to spend time together since we go to different schools now. She probably has no idea how much these walks mean to me. We can sit down on a bench and just chat about various things while watching dogs play. Being able to do this almost every week has kept me sane during school year. I can shed my problems, laugh and even play with the dogs. I cannot even put into words how happy I am every time we chase after him when he goes too far or when we bring some snacks with us or when we listen to the wind. In fact, the other day my best friend was telling me how much her dog helps and supports her. Right then and there I realised that yes, he helps her, but they also help me too.

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Every night I have dinner with my dad and my twin brother while my mom watches us. It’s become a habit for us, mainly because we don’t get to eat that often as a family. Dad started this since we were in middle school. He knew that we didn’t get to spend time together during the day because he and mom went to work while me and my brother went to school. Mom joined in too and so began our nightly meals together. They would always ask us about our day and vice versa, we would laugh as my mom and dad tease each other. I don’t think I ever understood how important this was and still is until recently. Every day I realise how blessed I am to have the most incredible parents out there who have done everything to give me and my brother the best life.  I now cherish these dinners as they are the most magical moments. It is truly amazing when we all laugh at my brother’s silly jokes or when my dad makes a narcissistic comment. I honestly believe that these dinners make us closer as a family and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

XX

Lost and Flawed

For years I’ve seen people from all around the world build up the courage to put themselves out there and tell their stories. For me, it was and still is an act of bravery. Putting yourself in that vulnerable position is one of the most meaningful and strongest thing you could ever do, mainly because you can help millions of people with just one small video or post. I cannot tell you how much these stories helped me when I was in high school and now. They empower me. They show me that I am not alone. With this thought in mind I decided to share my story.

There are many things that I want to say. Some make their way through my mouth but the others are often too stubborn, patiently waiting to come out. In the end I always find my confidence when I write. I am able to access my deepest thoughts, to share them, to be as raw as I can possibly be. There’s endless possibilities, no shortcuts, no forgetfulness, no holding back. Some may find that pouring your heart out may be too difficult to bear but I, in spite of being shy, believe that expressing how you feel holds unimaginable beauty and truth.

For the past two years, I’m not going to lie, I’ve been really struggling. 2016 wasn’t the best year of my life. I had just finished high school and for one moment I truly felt like I knew what I wanted, so much so that I felt totally safe so to speak. Once I started college everything changed. I started questioning myself, who I was and what I wanted. The pressure was undeniable and I lost myself completely. Because of this I’ve ended up disappointing people that mean everything to me. The problem was that I couldn’t see the damage I was creating. I thought I was fine, that if I pushed everything away instead of not dealing with everything I was feeling one step at a time that it would be okay. How wrong I was. And so, early this year I had my first ever panic attack. It was the first time where I truly felt that the emotions were beginning to take over me. Instead of taking that as a sign, I kept going without acknowledging the truth. As the year progressed it became worse and worse. I experienced some failures in school which made me feel worthless. I took everything in my life for granted, from my family to my friends.They were there, especially my mom, dad and my brother, who have seen me at my absolute worst, but I was too isolated in my dark little world to see it. I am sure that they felt so helpless and didn’t know what to do to help me. This went on until I was hit by the cruel yet saving truth. After it was pointed out to me just how bad I’ve been, I began to slowly see all the damage I’ve left behind. There’s a true lesson that comes out of all of this: you can either let your mistakes take the best of you and consume you or accept them and try to become better. IMG_1304

Most of you will now think that I was depressed, and yes I was, on top of having anxiety and felling completely lost. In spite of everything that I’ve gone through, I have no regrets and I am grateful because if I continued going the way I was going I would have destroyed myself. Realising this does not make me completely fine and healed. I am just taking my first step into becoming a better person. Everything that happened thus far made me see that I am one of the most blessed people on this Earth because others struggle with so much more. It’s made me see that I am human, that I make mistakes, that I am imperfect, but that’s okay. Being human means to care, and when you care you love, and when you love you suffer. This is just a part of life and I believe that everyone is able to get through anything if they have faith. Faith that God is pointing us in the right direction, faith in themselves and faith that everything happens for a reason. I hope this will help some of you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Everyone struggles and we have no idea what is going on in other people’s minds.

  I am lost, and I am flawed, but that is okay!

“The quirky things that make you different are what make you beautiful”

When I was little, I used to think that celebrities were the embodiment of perfection. Every time I would see them on TV or read about them I would express in my mind my desire to be just like them.

As I got older, I started to see the bubble that was shielding them from reality.  What we sometimes don’t realise is that we are all human. We all make mistakes, we struggle, some more than others. I wish that I knew this back when I was 16. I was so insecure and shy. I lacked self confidence to the point where I would think that I was worthless. In short, I wasn’t capable of loving myself. I used to envy everyone around me and saw beauty in each human whom I’ve crossed paths with but myself ( still do sometimes ).  I would look at different celebrities and think Oh, I wish I was just like her/him, they’ve got it all figured out. If only I knew then how wrong I was. By the time I graduated I thought that I knew who I was, that I was ready for the real world. But let me tell you something that I would have liked to know back then, you’re never ready. I was just a 19 year old who was stepping into the real world and didn’t fully grasp the full meaning of that aspect. College life proved to be a difficult yet exciting change and for the past year I’ve grown so much as a young woman. I guess it’s true what they say that everything happens for a reason. The experiences that I’ve gone through so far have shaped my mind and soul so much that I no longer saw celebrities as inhuman. Of course they had fame and money but that didn’t mean that they were by any means happier than us. The more my blindness started to vanish the more I saw how vulnerable they truly are.


I’ve been a huge fan of Lily Collins ever since I saw Mortal Instruments: City of Bones in 2013. Once I heard that she was writing a book, more specifically a memoir, something told me that I had to have it.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get it when it was released as I am living in Romania, so I had to wait a little for Unfiltered to be released here as well. My life got so busy due to my exams that didn’t have the time to even think about buying the book. As fate would have it, I would get my hands on it when I needed the most. Two weeks ago my instincts told me that I shouldn’t delay it any longer and sure enough, three days later I had Unfiltered in my possession. Even though I was really excited I can honestly say that I didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to help me? Was it going to empower me? I will never forget the moment I turned my first page and read The quirky things that make you different are what make you beautiful. 

From that moment I was hooked. For the first time we were given the opportunity to see that a celebrity is nowhere near perfect but that imperfection holds an unimaginable beauty. Reading about how Lily struggled with anorexia as a teenager made me understand those who suffer from this more. I was almost in tears when she explained her fear of never being able to have children, a fear that I also have because of my small ovarian cysts. I have come to admire her more ( if that was even possible ) for her courage to share her life without any filters. Through her words, she encouraged me to love myself even if it will be hard at times, that I am enough on my own  and I don’t need anyone to complete me, that I can be silly because that’s our best part. I found myself relating to her more than I could have ever imagined.


As I mentioned before, I’ve had a hard time loving and accepting myself. I never saw myself as beautiful until I was 18 and still then it was just a small progress towards confidence. Yet everyday I tried to look at myself in the mirror and repeat that I am beautiful over and over again. I knew I had a long way to go but I kept trying not for anyone but myself. I had to understand that not everyone is going to like me, so I needed to accept myself as I am because there is only one of me. When I read her first chapter about her insecurities due to her eyebrows and that she learned to love what makes her unique thanks to her mother’s advice, something in me changed. It’s only been a week and a half since I read it but I can honestly say that I’ve never loved myself more. Of course my confidence still needs some work but I realised that if I don’t love myself then why expect others to. I also felt self conscious about my hair when I was younger. It used to be very bushy, and because of that I referred to it as “Hermione style”. I hated the fact that it looked so burned and I preferred it to be flat rather than full of volume. With time though I started to take care of it better and today I adore my hair, it’s become one of my best features and I always get compliments on it.



I was on the train, trying to get away from the city life when I reached a chapter where she talked about how she looked too young for her age. Believe it or not, looking younger than you are can be both a blessing and a curse. Everyone around me told me that I should appreciate it and believe me, I do, but sometimes it can be a bit annoying because people tend to treat you like a child. Reading about how Lily struggled during her auditions because she looked too young made me feel so relieved that someone finally understood.


 Also, like Lily, I like to surprise people too. I love the look on their faces when they find out that I’m 20 instead of 15-16 and that my personality is way different than what they’ve had in mind at first glance. I am also not a fan of drinking to have fun and sometimes I am too compassionate. I loved how she talked about tattoos, how a story could be told just by a simple tattoo. What impressed me the most though was the story of her abusive relationship. When you’re in that kind of situation, it’s hard to leave that person because you love them and in your mind you feel like you have a responsibility to help them. It must have taken a lot to speak up and accept that you deserve better. When someone shows you who they truly are, believe them. I will never forget this.

I urge everyone to get Unfiltered not only because you’re a fan of Lily Collins but also because there’s not a person in this world who cannot relate to her book. It has now become one of my favourite books that I will most likely re-read when I am feeling down about myself. The truth is, we are constantly evolving. No one has life figured out yet and even though sometimes things might be hard remember that things are going to get better and you are strong enough. We need to accept the things that make us unique! 


            Love Always and Forever”

                                               -Lily Collins