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

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.

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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!