Hey hey. Hope is one of my all-time favorite concepts and having you tell me I spark that in you is amazing, to say the least, so thank you. And no need to apologize.
For the longest time, I used to wallow in self-pity WHILE feeling superior to others, not the healthiest combo as you can imagine.
I knew I had to change eventually and taking baby steps, I tried to be less skeptical of others, more open (towards strangers or people who I didn’t share the same values with) and more vulnerable. Putting yourself in a place of pure genuineness usually means you’ll surround yourself with likely minded individuals (bonus: being authentic yourself, you can spot truth and falsehood from miles away).
I decided I’d rather be forever alone than in bad company, and ironically, the moment I made a conscious effort to get to know myself better, I strengthened my old relationships and built some amazing new ones with others.
I fell in love with parts of myself I didn’t even know were there.
Meditation and/or just taking time to myself helped a lot, we are SO accustomed to being around other people or being busy and having things to do all the time, that we rarely get that in touch with our inner self. Call it gut feeling, instinct, heart, whatever- as Rumi said,
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.
Surrounding yourself with goodness means you will start to feel good/better- about yourself, others and humanity in general.
Still, no matter how actively you put yourself in an honest, loving, non-toxic position, you can come across the worst people, the furthest thing from kind or genuine. We all do. With these people, what works is (trying) to remember, it’s NEVER about me. Keyword trying. I distance myself as much as possible and try to not take it personally.
It gets easier and easier with practice, pinky promise.
These kinds of people have years of built-up tension, resentment, sadness and who knows what else. Unresolved issues remain so until we work on them. Maybe these awful individuals are not even aware of them, and maybe these people are trying, but aren’t quite there yet. The fact remains, not about me.
I’d also like to mention writing down what I’m grateful for, I feel like that made a huge difference- there’s plenty of research to back it up, but I feel like it all goes down to I have all these good things going on for me, wow, I’m lucky being a wonderful realization.
Plenty of good things are happening all over the world and despite what watching the news would have us believe (or feel), life is better than it’s EVER been– “at least” assessing poverty, literacy, health, fertility and overall freedom. That’s saying something, right?! And there are so many good people around, girl, you’re one of them.
Never has a book more beautifully, heartbreakingly, intertwined violence, sexual abuse, obesity and being a black woman than Roxane’s Hunger.
I read about women’s participation in politics and decision making, abortion laws, women’s health and rights. I read on schema formulation, modifying (unhealthy) rules and assumptions, reactions to trauma and grounding techniques- which brings me to…
I got a pro account on my favorite site that’s the leading online resource for therapists, and the guy who runs it gave it to me for free for some work I’ve done for them, hashtag blessed.
chocolate pie pudding (my friends mocked me for hours for this one *cries*, honestly, I don’t even know why I made it I don’t like pudding?!?)
Inside Out, The Jerk, Clueless, Do Over, Lion King, Invisible Man, Bad Moms 2, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Battle of the Sexes, and Silence of the Lambs. I have so many opinions and most of them are bad.
I broke a New Year’s resolution as early as on the 8th. I finally started planning- my days, weeks, months. I’ve been meaning to for a while and I’m so glad I finally did- I can see my progress, what I need to improve, what I’ve already improved and feel proud of myself and get even more done. Highly recommend. I finally got back into film photography, but haven’t been able to shoot as much as I’d like. Went to the beach, to the lake, to the mountain. My family and I got drunk on my mum’s birthday, we laughed so hard, I’ll cherish those moments for a long time.
I rushed to the balcony, the closest place to the sky and said out loud “God fucking bless”. First of all, I’m not even religious. You know what they say,
No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake.
I see God in beauty, in the faces of the people I love, in this range of feelings I am grateful enough to feel and witness and be part of and feel one with. I see it in the tens of unlikely chances I have been given by strangers, friends, lovers. I see God in moments where I find myself uncontrollably smiling about too-good-to-be-true-but-actually-true things that have happened to me.
I felt it this particular day when I was in the kitchen doing the dishes and started crying in awe at this song, which I decided in a matter of moments was now my favorite song of all times. A string of sounds made me cry and in that, I see my God.
My God is nature, but not limited to landscapes and weather. My God is art and in my art and other people’s art, I find and refind God. In books, for which I would happily sacrifice days of my life for if asked to do so. There’s no sacrifice and there’s no compromise with my God because the days I’d sacrifice and this piece of art and God and me are one. There’s no ultimate separation. I see God whenever the sky turns into a color I can’t fathom, I can’t name, I can’t fully comprehend or hope to comprehend.
I see it in recovery, from eating disorders and mental health disorders, from toxic people and relationships and feelings and substances, from fear of the past and the present and the future. Recovery for me is a second chance and in the endless second chances and twelve thousand second chances I’ve been given, to recover and keep living- and so I did- and in that, I find my God.
I find God in truth and in work and in authenticity and in vulnerability and in little and not so little synchronicities. I find God in pennies I find on the ground and in the way that immediately puts a smile on my face. I see God in the people I could’ve easily never met if the circumstances wouldn’t so magically allow for me to do so. I see my God whenever my friends are flourishing. I thank this God for their existence, and selfishly, that our existences are intertwined.
I find God in dancefloors and kisses and flowers and smiles. In knowing that I can find answers to so many questions and I can quench my thirst for the unknown just by typing a few words into a device who is never selfish with its knowledge. I find God in photographs that can so vividly bring me back in time and make me relive experiences which would’ve otherwise slowly started fading from my mind. I find it in movement and in ocean water and in sex and in the way two people who love each other can create another human being.
I find God in conversations so satisfying they feel like accomplishments and in accomplishments themselves. In how lucky I’ve been in so many cases that now I almost expect good things to come my way on a daily basis. They so often do. In humanity’s neverending quest to do better, love better, work better, be better- and despite what you believe in or whatever/whoever your God is, as long as it’s helping you better yourself (and hopefully others), isn’t that what matters?! 🙂
“Life is fleeting. Ideas, inspiration, and love endure.”
In that truth, I see my God. I truly like what I see.
Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Enlightenment – Robert Wright
Difficult Women – Roxane Gay
I love professor Wright and felt particularly proud of myself for being a meditator while reading. Felt a little too emotionally stable for Difficult Women, I found the writing pretentious and myself looking forward to the book ending. The last piece, Strange Gods, was my favorite. Also, I found a typo, it’s been two weeks and I still haven’t stopped laughing.
I also did some extensive research on ibogaine. I didn’t have to write on the topic or anything, but I stumbled upon it and found it sooo interesting, that I kept reading until my eyes fell out.
Wrote about the inevitable stress associated with the holiday season. Wrote about heartbreak and uncommon things meditation helped me with. Was invited to become a helper on InstaWell. Was featured in One-Bread December’s newsletter with Four Thing You Can Do To Help. Usually, I get jobs that match my skills via email and then apply, so it’s me reaching out to them, but I received two invitations to send proposals this month, so they were reaching out to me and that was cool.
Reached the 300 consecutive days and 500 sessions milestones on my favorite meditation appand they followed me on Instagram lol. Made it work with a loved one, and I’m so happy we did. I had gold, shiny, glittery nails all month. Threw a house party. Michael Kors banned fur. Played tennis and went swimming and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I recently got back from Kosova, where people speak the same language, have the same traditions, national holidays, songs, food as we do, but we’re geographically separated. Only by law though, we’re still secretly together. So close, so far.
I went to meet my best friend, who I feel such a deep, intense connection with. I met her at uni, and we both knew when we saw each other, that the other was a cool person we had to be friends with. Not a lot of words were exchanged, but vibes don’t lie. Nor hips. I digress… Shakira Shakira
I got to hang at this cool place that gave off such 90s vibes, the posters, the tiles, the fonts used, the way food was served, the bathroom sign to not take your time in there. My friend got off early from work and just seeing her filled me with love and joy and smiles and bliss. La vie en rose impersonated.
We got home, put on some good music, and as I waited for her to finish her bath, I thought of how excited I was to tell her everything. We can’t talk much when we’re apart, so a lot had been happening she needed to know about. With her, though, it feels like she already in some way knows.
She’s me and I am her and there is no other way besides feeling completely heard and loved and understood.
We had wine from a box and talked and talked and talked. The next morning she made us Turkish coffee, which I don’t usually prefer, but damn that one was good. We walked from the suburbs, where her place is, to the city’s center. The suburbs felt pretty, well, suburbial. And I don’t get that suburbs vibe often, if ever, where I live. Again, we talked and talked and talked and it was just one of those days. It felt like we were in high school, the hanging around for hours, not really worried about work or projects being due or anything really. We felt like we had plenty of time then and full ownership of how we chose to spend it- and that’s what it like felt that day.
You’re too young in middle school to enjoy yourself, too busy when you’re in college, and life after that is well, just merciless, whereas high school hits that sweet spot.
(Talking about high school years, high school itself represents all that’s evil in the world.)
I spilled espresso on someone’s jeans, hugged my friend a hundred times, never complained about the cold, cherished the fact sandwiches there always come with the yummiest fries and sauces, then went somewhere with a lot of musicians photos in the walls, where they played old, gold music. Watched a thriller, meditated, tried and failed to sleep…
Later that night we went to the place my friend works at. On Saturdays, they played music at the underground bar, which was filled with beautiful, well dressed people enjoying their dinner and drinks. My friend’s colleagues and boss were so nice and caring, to me and her.
I felt extremely proud seeing her making it all effortlessly work. I drank wine, smiled and was in awe at the amount of people that would actually sing along when the singers told them so. The way it should be!
Another friend joined us as we went to a club opening, clouds in the ceiling and discoballs and tequila shots and mirrors. We danced and danced then drove to a high point (mountain?) and admired the city lights and laughed a lot and sang screamed along to all the songs on the drive home, we actually drove around the block again (and again). I fell asleep as friend nr 2 touched my hair and I hung out with her the next day. We talked about life and spirituality and growth and Hunther Tompson, almost had three coffees in a two hour span, ate some delicious food, was mesmerized by her little sister’s hyperactivity and enjoyed Paolo Nutini and overall amazing music on the way, as the now covered by snow mountains in front of us saluted us.
cherish those people in your life that feel like sunshine
more spontaneous decisions
more singing along lalalalalalaaa
tequila makes you feel good
only say things you really mean or keep quiet
you should feel proud at how good you feel when you’re alone (means you’re in good company)
bring a book
Enjoy your weekend bbys, I know I enjoyed this one 🙂 🌹
Guess who’s back, back again… I haven’t written in here for more than a month* now, but I have been writing. I’ve been working on some exciting projects, I’ve made new friends, reconnected with old ones, read many books (or as many as having a corneal ulcer for a while allowed… more on that later), had conversations so satisfying they felt like accomplishments and overall learned a lot. Today I want to talk about panic.
*plot twist- even this post is an old post
If you’re a real Panic at the Disco fan, name 5 discos they panicked in. Thought so…
Jokes aside, panic attacks can also happen at clubs. They can happen anywhere and be triggered by anything. However, most times, other people won’t be able to tell you’re having a panic attack unless they know you very very very very well.
What even are panic attacks though? Glad you asked. Yes, majoring in Psychology automatically means I’m granted the right to read minds.
Referring to my handy dandy (I can’t believe I actually just said that) Oxford psychology dictionary, a panic attack is a period during which there’s a sudden onset of intense terror, fear, apprehension accompanied by signs and symptoms such as shortness of breath, fear of dying, increased heart rate, etc.
I find them extremely interesting to research, the reason being anxiety’s nature, anxiety isn’t inherently bad, it’s our bodies’ normal response to danger, however, panic attacks and anxiety disorders run on our disability to distinguish real danger apart from well, perceived danger. So, our bodies are having the same reaction they’d have if a bunch of wolves was chasing us down.
What’s up with that, body, huh? I thought we were friends?!
“But we are, I loooooooove you”, body replied.
Our bodies and minds really do love us and fight their hardest to keep us standing, case in point being eating disorders. Somehow, we manage to live through them and thrive, despite how much we might’ve fucked our bodies up at certain times of our lives. Similarly, depression, or any other mental health issue. Our insides are rooting for us!
Actually, a normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 60 to 100 beats a minute our bodies could go on functioning normally for days, even weeks, at 200 bpm. You’re not going to have a heart attack, and you’re not going to die, even though that’s exactly what it feels like.
Remember, a panic attack in itself is harmless and a little bit of anxiety is completely normal and even healthy. It prepares us for important events and milestones, you can see how if we failed to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not, we’d be in trouble.
So the goal is to learn to live with them (and what we can do about it) rather than try to avoid panic reactions or anxiety.
Managing your panic attacks
First of all (lol), there’s nothing you can do to avoid a panic attack because usually, it will feel like they came out of nowhere. It’s true that they usually coexist with a mental disorder, but they’re not caused by anxiety.
A technique that has proved very very very *contemplates whether I should add another very* effective is progressive relaxation, tensing and relaxing your muscles during the day for up to 30 minutes can significantly decrease the frequency of panic attacks.
When you are having a panic attack, it’s helpful to remember you’re not going to faint, or “go crazy”, or die. It’ll be over soon and whereas trying to breathe mindfully and relax help, remember, panic attacks aren’t dangerous. It doesn’t feel that way, but you’re not going to lose control, you can still leave your class, stop the car, get out of the supermarket,
YOU ARE IN CONTROL.
Things that help are noting:
* When it happened * How the situation was and where you were and who you were with * Evaluating the fear from 0 to 100% * What was happening in your mind and what were you thinking would happen. Exposure to triggers is helpful to build healthy reactions to them, for example, if going to a certain place causes you to panic, you can try going there for shorter periods of time and evaluating your fear each time, not overwhelming yourself and looking for quick progress is key.
Decatastrophizing also: yes, you thought the worse would happen, but did it happen?! What are the actual chances of it happening? Would it be very horrible if it did happen, for example, you stumbled upon your words when interacting with someone else, i.e. ordering a drink? As the name suggests, evaluating if it is a catastrophe. I have so much more helpful information to share on this, but patience, dear child, patience.
Other people having a panic attack
Someone who suffers from panic disorder, said: “I wished people would just hug me and tell me it’s going to okay, not it’s okay or are you okay”. Obviously, some people don’t like to be touched and respecting physical boundaries is very important, but the other part I think we could all agree on. For a lot of people, myself included, being asked whether we’re okay causes even more anxiety.
Like I mentioned, unless they know you very well, other people won’t be able to tell you’re having a panic attack (which I find particularly relieving). Reassurance and support are your weapons, just make sure you know what your loved ones would prefer you do if you notice or they tell you they’re having a panic attack. After all, you’re not lying to make them feel better in the moment.
When we’re kids, we learn that what’s beautiful is good and what’s ugly is bad. Cinderella, Prince Charming, Beauty and the Beast teach us that physical appearance and being kind/compassionate/smart go hand in hand. Every day we make judgments on other people based on looks, and vice versa. First impressions affect how we view the other person, especially knowing how humans are creatures of habit- we don’t enjoy being wrong. If my first impression of you is that you’re cool, I’ll subconsciously look for positive cues to prove my theory and dismiss the ones that tell me you’re a jerk. But I digress…
The halo effect is the tendency to make general assumptions about people based on appearance traits. Said in a slightly freaky way, I assume you’re friendly because of your face.
On average, we live for 78.3 years, most of us remember people after the age of 5 and communicate with 3 new people every day. So all those years (leap years included. Pet peeve of mine, when people completely dismiss the existence of leap years. They never did anything wrong for you to treat them like that!!!) and all those people, would equal 80000 people, enough to entirely fill the London Olympics stadium. Could I’ve found a more contemporary comparison, yes, would it make that much of a difference, no.
Also, did you know that the human brain is incapable of creating new faces, so that stunning girl in your dream last night? You didn’t make her up, you saw her somewhere, hopefully, at your favorite bar, realistically, on Instagram.
Shout out to Thorndike btw, who published A Constant Error in Psychological Ratings and was the one who discovered that a negative perception of ONE trait usually took ALL the others down with it.
So I showed people 4 photos, of two men and two women, where a couple was considered attractive and the other one wasn’t, at all.
I KNOW BEAUTY IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT, BUT RESEARCH HAS TO BE DONE, OKAY? *insert iconic tweet*
I won’t include the photos cuz that’s how I roll. 50 people had to rate them from 1 to 5 for their intelligence, kindness, honesty, and success.
And I mean, it makes sense ~cognitively~, it’s cost-effective time wise. You have the luxury to “know” the other person based on a simple overview and comparison to other people you know that look like them.
Well, the results are in. Apparently, the handsome guy was deemed the most trustworthy, then the other guy, then the chicas *cough fuck that shit cough*. The most intelligent were the not-so-handsome guy, the pretty girl, not-so-handsome guy and the not-so-pretty girl.
The most sincere? The pretty girl, then the not-so-handsome guy, handsome guy, and not-so-pretty girl. The pretty girl was also thought of as the most successful, again the not-so-pretty girl at the other side of the spectrum portrayed as the least successful. Same with self-confidence, where the pretty girl was the most self-confident one and not-so-pretty girl as the least confident.
Pretty when you cry. JK I never found out what that means, but I mean, these flowers are dying and they’re just standing here, oblivious, shining, LIVING.
As you might’ve already guessed, it’s worse for women. I mean, imagine, the pretty girl and the not-so-handsome guy have the same mode. However, the pretty girl took home 2 out of 5 positive qualities, and no one rated her as unintelligent so that’s cool.
By the way, I researched this with three other people and there’s even a cute/awkward video to prove it. Those were the days…when I actually emailed the study to the professor with a smiley face as the subject line and said, and I quote, GIRLS FTW, in the conclusions and I still got a perfect score #unreal
But yeah, the not-so-attractive group was thought of as less successful, less kind, less trustworthy, less this, less that.
What can you do? Realize the payoff that comes with being attractive. Stop judging people on looks. If you’re on the not-so group, remember, those that mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind mic drop
Thank you for reading.
Asch, S. E. (1946) Forming impressions of personality, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 41, 258-290
Atkinson, C. The link between physical attractiveness and likeability.
Bargh, J. A., and Pietromonaco, P. (1982). Automatic information processing and social perception: the influence of trait information presented outside of conscious awareness on impression formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 437–449
Goldman, William, and Philip Lewis. Beautiful is good: Evidence that the physically attractive are more socially skillful." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 13.2 (1977): 125-130.
Grcic, J. (2008). The halo effect fallacy. Electronic Journal for Philosophy, 2008, 1-6. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 35(4), Apr 1977, 250-256.
Regan, D. T. (1971). Effects of a favor and liking on compliance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 7,627-639.
Rosenzweig, P. (2007). The halo effect, and other managerial delusions. McKinsey Quarterly, 1, 76.
Rosenzweig, P. (2014). The halo effect:… and the eight other business delusions that deceive managers. Simon and Schuster. The halo effect: Evidence for unconscious alteration of judgments.
Thorndike, E. L. (1920). A constant error in psychological ratings. Journal of applied psychology, 4(1), 25-29.
Thorndike, E. L. (1920). A constant error in psychological ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 4, 469-477.
Timothy Coombs, W., & Holladay, S. J. (2006). Unpacking the halo effect: reputation and crisis management. Journal of Communication Management, 10(2), 123-137.
Toi, M. and Batson, C. D. (1972). More evidence that empathy is a source of altruistic motivation, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 281-292.
Udry, J. Richard, and Bruce K. Eckland. Benefits of being attractive: Differential payoffs for men and women. Psychological Reports 54.1 (1984): 47-56.
A long time ago, in far far away land, there was a princess. The princess tried to distance herself from other princesses. She did so because society brought girls down, thus she equated being a woman with being unworthy or not-as-worthy as the male counterpart. She quickly learned that things and activities that were deemed girly weren’t as worthy. A girl would be congratulated and frowned upon for the same thing, in the same day! What’s a princess to do?!
The princess didn’t live in a castle without a wifi connection or a library nearby. The princess quickly learned about internalized misogyny.
I’m the princess. I educated myself and now I love my fellow princesses queens!
V, who has such a stressful job, but makes it work LIKE A BOSS. She’s so strong and I’m proud of her!
N, who has now quit smoking for more than 3 weeks now!!! This is the longest she’s ever gone since she started years ago and I’m SOOO proud of her.
S, this kick-ass, gorgeous, funny as hell, princess I’ve been friends for years now. She’s finally realizing her worth and that she deserves ONLY the absolute fucking best. I love her and I’m so proud of her!
A, bureaucratic shit can really get to you. Especially when it will affect your education, combined with people that are so inexplicably, unnecessarily mean and rude- while being miles away from friends and family. Despite it all, she’s handling it so well and I’m so proud of her.
G, who is the first Albanian vegan I met and is doing her best to save animals and spread the word for a compassionate lifestyle. I’m so proud of her! Also, the night I met her, I’m 80% sure my cat had peed in my shirt AND she said nothing about it, I mean….
Remember the cool feature I talked about? You can now highlight and share your favorite excerpts (if you have any, of course, lol) yayy 🙂
Look, I’m not perfect- and according to Jay Z, nobody walking this earth’s surface is. A lot of people are more educated than me in a lot of subjects. Hell, there are thousands of people that are more educated than me in my areas, ones I’m quite familiar with, invested on, that I know a lot of, that I pour my heart and soul into, etc. There’s so much to learn and I’m eager to continue learning and developing all my life.
Today I’m talking (writing) about the stigma around mental health. Here’s to hoping my message comes across the way I intended it and at least one person reflects on their behavior and helps make the world a better, safer, nicer magical place. Or something like that.
Warning: no digressions/rants/going on a tangent ahead. I’ll keep it simple and sweet.
We need to FUCKING stop. Stop glamorizing and romanticizing mental health disorders. Not getting out of bed for days. Not eating. Anxiety. Suicidal thoughts.
It’s not ~cool~, edgy, and if you really are hearing voices, you need help.
Like, seriously, though. At least she’s now wearing the cute but psycho one.
Stop *jokingly* saying you are-or telling others they- are schizophrenic/bipolar/anorexic/PSYCHO/ in need of getting into a psychiatric ward.
There’s a literal expression for that in Albania, and that sucks, especially considering inpatient isn’t terrible or an experience that scars you for life, as the public thinks *cough cough* or mainstream media makes it to be. If anything, people with suicidal tendencies or ED-s SAVE their lives when they get hospitalized.
Straight up, I don’t understand the trend with captioning your photos with self-deprecating humor, or all kinds of fucked up shit, when you’re actually fine**. If you really have more issues than VOGUE (last time I checked, 2883) don’t you think you should talk to somebody?
I know people mean no harm (and also don’t believe words hold ANY kind of power, something I strongly disagree with but will talk about some other time*). Such phrases and patterns of thinking, especially when expressed so loudly, as in everyday conversations and/or social media refrain people with actual issues from seeking the help they need.
If you’re reading and wondering when is the right time to reach out (friends, family, online resources are helpful), thinking you need help usually means you do. You don’t have to be delusional, have a certain number of thoughts throughout the day or a certain weight (in your ED journey) or anything.
To the people reading with mental health issues: I love you, stay strong, get help. There’s nothing FUCKING wrong with you. Medication, therapy, reality testing, journaling, learning to live –and thrive- with your intrusive thoughts***- there’s so much that can be done! So much for you to experience. We’re all rooting for you.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend.
*I keep my promises OKAYYY!
**I know some people use humor as a coping mechanism. Whatever works for you, boo.
**Did you know: everyone has them? Yeahh, everyone. Nothing to be ashamed of.
On my way here, a little girl begging on the street grabbed my hand and wouldn't let go. With her tiny hand in mine, I went with my usual phrase when people in the street ask me for things, "I'm sorry, but I can't". Being the actual child that she is, she childishly says she isn't going anywhere until I give her something. I tell her she can tag along, but I'm sorry and can't do that.
Her equally young brother is waiting for her to come back from this hopefully-fruitful hand-holding session.
We lock eyes after a second, then she angrily lets go of my hand in a gesture of anger and disappointment. I think of how the logical thing to do is thoroughly wash my hands when I get to my destination. But why?! Research shows a lot of people don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom, masturbating, changing diapers, and this is only the tip of this iceberg that I'm not surprised by. I'm not the most hygienic person in the world myself, as I figure (and research proves) a lot of other people aren't as well. So who cares?
Almost immediately I think of all the times people have had a problem with me touching or cuddling stray animals. For years now, people have ~been so kind to~ let me know all the diseases and infections I'm now prone to because I wanted to pet that dog. That's what you get for not being able to resist the cuteness. Looking into that cute dog's eyes though, makes my heart break into a thousand pieces and that's why, for me, it stopped being a matter of cuteness a long time ago.
It all started when I was a child. My grandparents had this big house and an even bigger garden where all kinds of animals lived, some of which I don't even the exact name for in English. Yeah, that diverse.
We had names for most of the chickens and each of them had its own distinct features and personality. This particular day, it was the first time my uncle came back from Greece since he'd left many years ago, and the first time I met his new family: his wife and son. Unrelated, but, my cousin and I spoke different languages and were too young to speak English, however, I swear we understood each other completely. Like, freakishly so. In Albanian, we call that the language of blood, ain't it amazing what our brains can accomplish?! Now that we both speak English and the internet exists, we hardly ever talk, lol, but anyway...
I saw my grandfather kill with his bare hands (and probably a knife) one of my favorite chickens. I burst out crying and tried to stop him, but my grandmother took me out of there and gave me this BS explanation of what was happening. I've talked with a lot of people who had a similar experience growing up, maybe not the actual slaughter, but you know, "losing" animals they'd grown to see as friends and part of the household, even if they'd only stayed with them for a few days.
Now, for as long as I can remember, I'm affected deeply by animals. I might see a stray dog, in a safe place, and just looking at him smiling (smiling dogs are a thing and you know it, don't @ me) /waiting for someone to play with him /show him even the tiniest bit of attention, and I get goosebumps, a bump in my throat, shivers... I've gotten pretty good at not having an emotional reaction every time, or even most times, but injustice gets me to my fucking core.
Why are some animals in loving homes, being bought for hundreds of dollars, getting toys while others are ran over in highways, left there, kicked, and a lot of other cruel things that I won't go over because a.) everyone knows b.) I'm in a coffee shop and I don't want people asking why I'm crying in the club right now, okay?!
Why are there big corporations protected by state laws making plenty of $$$ in the most disgusting of ways, but this old lady near my place, coming from miles away to sell her fucking produce in the city and make just a few dollars a day, is surrounded by ~7 cops and required to pay huge fees and move the fuck out of there?
I know, I know, I'm just describing...life, but -speaking from a place of privilege- I love life, I love the people and the places and the possibilities that life has to offer. Just realized; I didn't come here to write about police brutality, so I won't get into that (just now), but about animals and the shit they go through, unfortunately, figuratively and literally*.
Also, in the country I grew up in, you almost never come across LGBTQ/POC issues, or even members of those groups. There are only a few publicly known trans people, who work as prostitutes and are harassed, and the occasional coming out story, whereas the only POC you meet are Roma people, who are usually asking for money, so yeah.
Maybe, that's why, growing up, animal cruelty was the thing that most got to me, that, and because, they're voiceless. Actually, a lot of animal rights advocates consider themselves a voice for the voiceless. As women, we might be silenced for speaking up, but at least we can do that; animals can't defend or speak for themselves.
All they can do is love us unconditionally, as they already do, and just hope for the best: that we don't hurt them, kick them, poke their eyes out, bury them in the ground alive**...but instead love them back.
My heart breaks and breaks having to write this, and I haven't even said anything about the animals killed for food and what they have to go through.
To end on a more positive note, I've cuddled all the stray animals and touched all the people and nothing has EVER happened to me (lol), Germany banned fur farming, a lot of makeup companies are going cruelty-free, the demand for meat and meat products has decreased dramatically in developed countries, demand for plant-based products has risen and they're everywhere now (and very delicious too). This is happening because of the people, the ones that have gotten their facts right and chose to DO SOMETHING! Be it Meatless Mondays, cruelty-free makeup products, only getting faux-fur, not throwing rocks at cats minding their business...
Every little helps. Animals all over the world thank you.
*Not to get into details, but a lot of animals live in such tiny spaces before they're slaughtered, i.e. chicken's cages are on top of one another... Well, you can put 2 + 2 together...
**PETA offered 10000$ to the person that can tell them who did that *insert an adjective so horrible that it hasn't been invented yet here* thing