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

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

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!