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Mrs. Right

Since the invention of fairy tales, little girls listen to stories about princes saving their queen of hearts from dragons, bad step parents or just from a long-lasting good night sleep. The perfect man, knight in his shining armor, ready to be there for a beautiful woman. He is handsome, intelligent and simply charming. No one can resist – except for the problem: Does he really exist? Disney, Hollywood and fairy tales suggest that he certainly does. Yet, no man on a white horse ever knocked on my door, when I needed help. When I desperately asked for savings from my math homework. And no man ever woke me up, when I overslept.

On the other hand, if a man would wake me up after my own personal 100 years sleep, I definitely would not look like a sleeping beauty nor would I be thankful towards him for waking me up. Further, if it would be as simple for me to lose one shoe and another man returning this shoe, to determine that we are now officially dating and can get married – I guess, even men would appreciate this simplicity.

But life isn’t as easy as singing to animals and they suddenly clean your house – even though I would do anything to make this reality. To be honest, one reason could be that I am not a princess. I know that there are a lot of girls and women about there that picture themselves as princesses, I think it is important to know what message that also conveys: While princesses are always beautiful, fairy tales’ picture them as most likely as helpless and always in need to be rescued, just waiting for true love and Prince Charming. In modern days people even link the description of “princess” with someone who is spoiled.

I know it shouldn’t matter what others think of you and if you want to be a princess, go out there, be the best princess you can be and disregard the next paragraph. For all the others:

Think about yourself and your strengths. Do you really need to wait for true love until your life is complete? Do you really need savings by someone else? And can someone else truly save you? I know we sometimes go through hard times, and it is great to have a shoulder to cry on. It is great to talk to someone you love about it. And it is great to get support from others, when needed. But is really only Prince Charming capable of doing so? And isn’t also a big share of the help you need, support, courage and motivation from yourself?

And I know that it is a beautiful picture of girls and women in long beautiful dresses wearing a crown – but you don’t have to be a princess to wear a beautiful dress and even a crown – if you feel like doing so, do so! It doesn’t matter if you are a scientist, a social media creative, a teacher, etc. you are beautiful – with or without the title of being a princess.

So, don’t wait for Mr. Right to start living your best life, to save you from an uncomfortable situation or to finally feel complete. Find the strength within yourself, love yourself as good as you can, be your own Mrs. Right – because that is true love.

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A Round of Applause for Sexism

As I have mentioned in one of my earlier post, I always put “lose some weight” on my New Year’s resolution – with mediocre success, to describe it nicely. Something in my brain seems to be disconnected and translates my resolution into “gain weight”. And for what it’s worth – I’m pretty good at the latter. At least one talent.

Because there’s something, I’m definitely not talented at: dancing. Growing up with a sister that trained hard to become a professional ballet dancer, this was always the main thing how people separated me and her from each other asking if I was thedancer in our family. “Oh, you’re not the dancer? Who are you then?” – was always their answer when I had to tell them that I was stumbling not dancing, making me identify as the non-dancer of our family.

Nonetheless, it might doesn’t look as if I am dancing – I actually do enjoy moving my whole body to the beat. And in order to end my exponential weight-gain and finally get this point of my New Year’s resolution, I found my way to Zumba, a dance-sport that is the most of fun (not only for me, but also for others to watch me trying to follow those steps). However, due to its stereotyping, I experienced that men not often participate in it. Even though, in old stereotypic terms, they would have a good view on a group of girls shaking their butts, it is considered as a “women’s sport”. This doesn’t mean that men are excluded from it, they just don’t really go.

Yet, if there is a man, the Zumba instructors always seem to be pretty happy about it. Maybe, because they see it as a compliment that their moves are hip and genderless, maybe, because they like seeing men shaking their butt. This is just guessing and does not represent a final nor valid answer. But that’s what I like about Zumba: everyone is welcome. If you’re a talented dancer, or if you’re just like me, a dance-dyslexic who still likes to shake it, and also, you’re welcome no matter your gender. In the end we’re just a group that wants to sweat, dance and might even lose weight.

At my old gym they made Zumba classes available and after a thousand of lazy excuses I finally went to class. And it was so much fun, so much shaking hips and jumping around like crazy, that I went there a second time. This time, a man showed up, too. And not long after class started, the instructor brought attention to it. During a quick water break a young woman next to me couldn’t open her water bottle. She was a little bit dramatic about it, so it caught the instructor’s eyes. “No problem”, she said and took the bottle, “We have a man here, he can open it!” She gave it to the man, that sweated just like anyone else. And due to the liquid salt water running out of his skin, he struggled to open the bottle. The music stopped and everyone waited to finally dance again, yet, here we were waiting for this water bottle to be opened. Eventually, he managed to open it and the instructor demanded applause: “Good thing, we have a man here to help us out!” And as sad as it sounds, there was no sarcasm involved.

It’s not the fact, that the man struggled opening the bottle. We all sweated and it would have been hard for all of us. But most of us could’ve accomplished it as well.

You do not have to be a man to open a bottle of water. Sure thing, men have the possibility to be stronger than women thanks to biology, but that doesn’t mean every man is stronger than a woman and uses his biological advantages. There are enough times, where woman can open a bottle, lift something heavy, hold a door, etc. just as well as a man can and some of us are might stronger than some men. Gender doesn’t necessarily define strength.

Yes, it was nice that he helped opening the bottle. Yes, he might even deserved the applause. But he did not deserve the applause because he was a man. He deserved it because he helped. And I might be going out of a limb here, but I’m pretty sure that every other women in this room would’ve helped as well, and might would’ve accomplished opening a bottle, too. Despite their gender. And help is the only thing that needs a round of applause not the stereotype of the shining knight that helped a helpless maid in need.

Let’s applause people who are willing to help – no matter what gender they are.

Posted in tips

3 Thoughts Against Structural Sexism

  1. Watch your language– it’s an old video, yet it speaks volumes. Men, boys and women are asked to “run like a girl” and suddenly they walk ridiculous and slow. Later, girls are asked the same question and they run normal, full speed ambitious. It doesn’t matter if you are a fast runner or not, but don’t undersell you or a whole gender just because of the gender. We all have it in us to train, to run and to be fast – it is our own decision and not the decision of our gender if we make something out of it or not. I understand, that most of the people know that girls can run fast, too, and that it is just a saying, but by manifesting those sayings in our language stereotypes won’t go away and will always leave us with a bitter sweet taste impacting lives subconsciously.
  2. Don’t judge because it doesn’t fit your idea – I love the saying “live and let live”, yet I think this isn’t practiced enough. We judge people around us all the time and maybe it is not avoidable, but we should all stop judging because somebody does not behave the way, we think he or she should behave due to its gender. This is especially the case in our idea of “real men don’t cry”. We teach boys and men to hide their feeling, because it is unmanly. And heaven forbid, they shed a tear. On the same side we expect girls and women to be overly emotional and if they are, we blame it on their periods. But everyone should be allowed to have a bad day, to express their feelings and to live their own live – despite their gender. If you feel like crying, go for it. If you feel like hiding your feelings away, also go for it. Just focus on yourself and don’t judge others, especially regarding their gender, because it is none of your business what others do and if they fit your idea of the right behavior as men or women.
  3. Be critical– TV, movies, radio, family, friends, school; there are always things that just play into structural sexism. You might cannot change it, but it does help being aware of it, so you can do it better. If you have the guts, even point it out. Ask yourself why a company only has male CEOs? Ask yourself why in movies women most of the time need saving from a man? And ask yourself why there are so many jokes about women belonging in the kitchen? This should be something that should not be easily accepted by no one – no matter the gender. If you don’t like the term feminism that is fine but consider it as equal rights. And as soon as everyone starts asking themselves those questions and sees stereotypes that are socially accepted critically, we might can change something. 

Source of Picture: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/228276274834236081/

Posted in general, Movie Review

The Favourite

Why you should see it and what you can learn from it

It’s been now almost a week that I’ve watched Yorgos Lanthimos’ amazing movie The Favourite and I can’t stop thinking about the movie and its message – and here’s why:

In Short:     The period drama, mixed with good comedy and laughter, tells the story about two cousins Sarah and Abigail, competing with each other over the heart of Queen Anne. Though their reasons do involve love for the Queen (in a romantic way), it is mainly about their own positions in the kingdom and power gained over Queen Anne’s political decisions.

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What we can learn

About love:   In the movie both, Sarah and Abigail, try to convince the Queen that their love for her is real. While Abigail does so by complimenting Queen Anne and never asking for a favour, Sarah is brutally honest and uses the trust of the Queen to support the Whig Party. Sarah does not back down and tells the Queen when her make-up isn’t right, when the Queen is acting “mad” and, to the chagrin of the Queen, Sarah shows little to no interest in the 17 rabbits, Queen Anne keeps as a replacement for her 17 lost children.

Yet, in a heart moving scene Sarah claims that this is love. That she might seems unfriendly, but she would never lie to the Queen and will always be there. Unlike Abigail, who would only say things that please the Queen, but do not have any deep meaning.

Queen Anne, however, chooses Abigail over Sarah, later realizing that this was a mistake and that Abigail certainly does not love the Queen as much as Sarah did.

Despite her blackmailing and influencing Queen Anne to support the Whig Party and the ongoing war with France, I think Sarah teaches us a valuable lesson about love.

In my past relationships I experienced that either I or my partner expected to have a fairy tale relationship. A relationship that is filled with compliments, harmony and only good words for one another. A partner, who unconditionally loves you and only sees your good sides. A love, that survives distance, jealousy and mistakes. Yet, this hardly ever represents the real world. Though the honeymoon phase gives you this amazing feeling inside, it’s a phase that cannot and will not last – thankfully. Humans are flawed and so are their relationships- and that is totally fine. Because truthfully, would you rather have your partner tell you when you look like a butcher because your makeup is all over the place or would you rather not know, even get a compliment and go out looking like that?

A good relationship builds on honesty and trust. And you want someone you can trust to tell you the truth no matter what. This doesn’t always have to be negative, but it is also true to compliments. I’d rather receive one honest compliment than thousands that do not mean a thing, because they were just said to be said.

Further, it is not fair putting your partner up to a responsibility to always represent a happily ever after. You’re not a prince or a princess living in paradise with singing birds – and as you can see, even Queen Anne wasn’t granted a fairy tale.

About self love:    Reading other reviews of The Favourite, I came across a lot of people disliking Abigail – which I cannot understand. Even though she is the Queen of intrigues, I completely admire her. She’s the younger cousin of Sarah, yet, due to her fathers mistake, she is not a lady but just a maid. But Abigail isn’t satisfied with what she has become and is ambitious to work as hard as possible and, yes, to scheme and plot, just to be a lady again.

At the beginning she was very thankful towards Sarah for granting her a chance and providing Abigail with a job, so when she was asked by the competing party of the Whigs, she denied any help due to her unconditional loyalty to Sarah. Yet, she soon had to realize that her loyalty was not appreciated by Sarah and that there is no one to be trusted – except for herself.

As she approaches the political competitor of Sarah in order to make a deal, he asks if Abigail changed her side. Her answer still resonates with me: „I was always on my side, it just happens that what I want aligns with your needs“ (freely quoted). She later states again that she’s on her side, while shooting pigeons and blood drips on Sarah.

And this is power and self love perfectly combined. Something that everyone needs to remember. You have to be on no ones side, except for your own. Surely, this is no excuse for doing bad things and it should also not motivate you do bad things, just as Abigail poisoned her cousin, but it should be a reminder that in the end you should act and do things that are good for you. If you’re in a toxic relationship or in a situation, you’re not feeling well, you are allowed to change it – for your own sake. You should always cherish your own health and act in order to benefit you. Again, this does not mean that you should be egoistic and careless about others, but don’t grant people or things unconditional loyalty if it is toxic for you or even is holding you back. You should always strive to become better and satisfied with who you are, and in order to do so, you need yourself on your side. Don’t let people bring you down because they want you to be on their side, even though this would affect your success or health. Put yourself and your well-being always first and remember self love equals power to be the best version of yourself.

In conclusion:   There is a lot to learn from these strong women portrayed in The Favourite. We learn that it is in our hand to determine our path, to reach our goals and to take care of ourselves. It is in our hand to be on our side. We learn that love is more than a fairy tale. Love is messy, love hurts, but it is honest. If it is only sunshine and flowers, it probably isn’t the real deal. And lastly, we learn that even a Queen isn’t granted a happily ever after since she was blinded by compliments and never trusted in herself but others.

For those who admire a strong female lead, (to a certain degree) role models, a great movie that leaves a lot of room for interpretation and is a masterpiece cinematographic-wise – just do yourself the favour and watch the Favourite!

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Posted in general, tips

How to make yourself your home?

  1. Ask yourself when you felt really home – and don’t underestimate yourself as a factor in this feeling:We tend to project everything good we experience onto something without noticing that we played a role in it as well. For example: I used to go with my best friend for a cup of coffee on a regular basis. As I moved away, I stopped that habit – what’s the use of spending three pounds on a coffee, just to sit alone in a corner and reminiscing about better times? Due to my New Year’s Resolution, I finally found the courage to go on my own and sip my Vanilla Latte. And it was amazing. I spent the time relaxing, focusing on that little luxury of coffee and getting to know the people of my neighborhood. Though it would’ve been great to have my friend with me, it was just as great being with myself. 
  2. Get rid of the old and free yourself:Making yourself home means that you have to cut some ties to old ways. This does not mean that you have to leave people or places behind, but you should get closure with the old idea of home. You can do this by revisiting some special places or by reconnecting with old friends. If you feel like some bridges are burned down for too long and you won’t be able to revive old relations, that’s completely fine, but forgive yourself and don’t find the fault in yourself. Some things are just not meant to have a future – yet, the relationship with yourself lasts forever, so you should be the number one priority (regarding the following point, this is not an appeal to be an egoist). 
  3. Selflove, Selfcare and Self-acceptance is key:Practice selflove and selfcare in a monthly ritual. I know, sometimes money and time is tight, but there is only one of you. And if you don’t take care of yourself, who else should? You are important and wonderful and therefore you should cherish yourself the way you deserve it. Try to put some money aside and reserve yourself one day in a month, where you treat yourself, you have a date with yourself, or even a day where you challenge yourself (e.g. overcoming fear), so you can get to know yourself better and get to know what makes you feel great – because that is the key to find home inside yourself. 
Posted in general

Are we home yet?

About the concept of home and why it shouldn’t necessarily be “where your heart is”.

Growing up, I moved quite a bit and quite some distance – which led me to question the concept of home in a young age and brought me to different answers during my different stages of life.

Home, or so I initially understood, meant the place where I actually lived with my family in this very moment. But somehow my classmates always regarded me as “foreign”, just because I might pronounced words slightly different as they did and maybe because my favorite soccer team did not match the mainstream of my class. Our house, our street we lived on, my school – none of this gave me a real feeling of home. So I reconsidered.

Maybe home was more than just my bed and my roof on top?!

My sister jokingly claimed that our heart was coined by the town we were born in and our souls by the city we grew up in. This did satisfy me for quite some time, until I started to meet amazing people and started to connect home with the feelings I felt with those people. The saying “home is where your heart is” became a new meaning: Home suddenly meant to be surrounded by people I loved and gave you that warm feeling inside. I found home in my family, my friends and relationships. But just as humans are flawed, so are those relations you create with them. Home came crushing down as people left my life and I left theirs. I felt once more lost on my search of feeling and being home – until I moved to London last summer.

I realized home did not mean my little dorm room and the shared bathrooms and kitchens. It did not mean my new university with campuses all over the city and students from all over the world. It did also not mean my new nor my old friends or my family’s house back in Germany.

Home was not somewhere or in someone else to be found, but home is inside me. This does sound either very simple or just plain mad, but as long as I have myself, I am home.

Let me clarify what I mean: I can only influence my surrounding to a certain extend. Putting my trust in one place or one person to be my safe place, my home, puts them up to a responsibility they cannot always fulfill. And that is totally fine. But in order to spare me another heartbreak or upsetting experience, I should put that trust into the one thing that I can fully influence: Myself. This does not mean that I am perfect, but as long as I practice selflove and selfcare I can grant myself the same warm and safe feeling anything else would. I can find habits on my own that make me feel great inside and that I can practice all over the world no matter if I like my house, my neighborhood or the people that surround me. And in moments that I disappoint myself, I can work on myself and try to improve and better myself – surely, in a respectful way, because putting yourself down does not bring you anywhere (as mentioned before: Selflove is the key!).

And with this in mind; no matter where I go or move next, I’ll be home. 

Posted in Allgemein, tips

3 Tips for a New Year’s Resolution

  • Dream big, but be fair to yourself: Your list should include two types of goals: goals, that are easy-to-reach and others, that are high-aimed and challenge you. This way you ensure that, even if you fail to reach those big ones, you still accomplished something – and ticking off some boxes and goals is always a good feeling.
  • Make your list dynamic: As I mentioned in my other post, some goals are just not meant to be or you even realize you don’t want them anymore. Sometime you realize in the middle of August that there is one goal you want to reach by the end of the year. Allow yourself to adjust your goals, maybe every three months, so your New Year’s resolution is more realistic and reachable. 
  • Surround yourself with motivated and ambitious people: It is completely normal to sometimes feel stuck or just lose motivation, therefore it is always good to have somebody that helps you go through with your plan. A friend and I, for example, wanted to work out more, so we send ugly, sweaty pictures of ourselves to the other after we went training. Seeing the other person doing something for their figure, inspired the other to go to the gym as well.

picture source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/394135404860467645/?lp=true

Posted in general

New Year, New Me?

Why I chose no New Year’s Resolution 2018 and why I’ll never do that again

I used to be a big planner: I had my life goals, my 5-years-plan, my daily and weekly To-Do-Lists and never missed writing down a New Year’s Resolution. Sure, this didn’t mean that I always achieved what I have planned (losing seven kilos has been on that list now for quite some time – I’m only fifteen kilos away from reaching that goal by now…), but I needed that structure to reach goals that were important to me (as you can see, losing weight is not my highest priority).

Especially in 2016, I was very successful holding on to my plans – or at least so I thought. I got the internships I wanted, I worked hard for amazing grades at Uni, I produced short movies, and I successfully pursued my passion of writing. It was a great feeling: It seemed like everything I wanted, I was able to reach.

Then – right before the New Year 2017 things came crashing down. I was really devastated, yet, I tried to keep my head high. I made new resolutions trying to build up on my success of 2016. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to reach any of my goals.

I ended up being frustrated thinking that this “new year – new me”-thing was just not my style. Why would I need a new year to start my success? What would really change between the 31stof December to the 1stof January?  It’s not like my brain goes: “Oh, a new year – let me be more discipline”. The same goes for Mondays: Why would I be more sportive just because a new week started? So I decided to quit. Quit writing to-do-lists, quit pursuing my 5-years-plan and definitely stop making New Year’s resolutions. Just because it’s 2018, nothing would change anyways.

And it actually did not. The new year came, and nothing had changed: I was still successful in pursuing my plans and ideas, even without a ‘game plan’.

But it was the worst. It felt like I was rushing from one deadline to another, without a minute to breathe. Having no structure made me procrastinate and I just felt lazy not being able to tick a little box off, after I had accomplished something. 

Maybe I was bound too tight to my To-Do-Lists, but I felt like running and running without reaching anything. And that made me realize: I might don’t even need the structure of plans, but I need to visualize what I actually accomplish.

And for sure, I do not need a new year to determine if I will be successful or not, but why not go with the flow? In January everyone is still motivated to pursuit some goals and it might helps being in an environment of motivation to keep your own resolutions alive. Yet, it is important to not forget that seemingly failing to fulfill all of the resolutions does not mean a whole year was a failure. You are not competing against your plans – because no one knows what could happen during that year and sometimes some plans are just not meant to be – at least for now. So this year one of my resolutions is: take it easy! Even if I don’t change myself completely, that might be good. Maybe I don’t accomplish this or that one goal, but maybe I’m succeeding in something else – something that is not on my resolution.

One thing is for sure, this new year will not determine everything, but my resolution will be kept dynamic and can be changed over time – making some adjustments here and there, so when I sit down end of 2019, it be easier for me to realize and visualize that some goals I thought I wanted to reach in 2018 were not meant to be and others, I couldn’t even think of in 2018, are represented on my New Year’s list.