Declaration of Love – To Myself

My dear reader,

Valentine’s Day is over, you did it. You survived this day of consumption and declarations of love (which should be made every-single-day).

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really care for Valentine’s Day as such, as day where you feel the need to express the love to your partner, by sending him or her flowers, by crafting some beautiful heart-shaped pillow/letter/anything for your lover or by simply not mentioning their flaws on this one day. Not to be misunderstood, I love all of what I just listed. But I do not subscribe to doing them only once per year on a day called Valentine’s Day.

If you are part of facebook, it’s inevitable to notice the madness that comes with this ominous day. I read articles by lovely ladies trying to strengthen all the single ladies out there, trying to prepare them for the big day, reassuring them that they are amazing, smart, beautiful and don’t need a man to fulfill their wildest dreams. Were you aware that Valentine’s Day is apparently a threat to the self-esteem of a woman? I did not until last Valentine’s Day. And this made me really sad.

I want to tell you how I spent my Valentine’s Day. Now as I’m thinking about it, I remember that it all started at a party. Friday the thirteenth, we had had a huge exam, testing us on the history, cultural world and literary productions in America since the very beginning. It was a bid deal for all of us, so we felt ready to shake it all off at a little get-together. I remember a friend asking me what day it was and I self-evidently answered ”Sure! It’s Friday the thirteenth!” No, it wasn’t. I had lost all my sense of time, so he answered ”No, it’s past twelve, so it’s Valentine’s Day!” And then he gave me a biiig and looong kiss on my left cheek. He was so sweet.

That is how I started into Valentine’s Day.

When I woke up at home after the party, I did some cleaning. First things first, if the flat is not tidy, my mind and heart aren’t either.

At around two I met my wonderful friend Ronja at Friedrichstraße in Berlin. First we visited a friend of ours, Marina, at All Saints, we did some (shoe) shopping there (I feel so guilty) and in Marina’s break went for a coffee near the Spree. It was beautiful. You know these moments where everything feels right? Where you feel overwhelmed with how content and happy you are with your life? Yeah, that was one of these moments.After finishing our coffees, we started walking back towards Friedrichstraße and Ronja and I decided that it was time for some bookstore-bliss. And good God, I had never seen that many beautiful and special books in one place in my whole life before. It was total beatitude. I decided for Girl Trouble by Carl Dyhouse which is about movements of feminism in the history of England.Luckily for me, Ronja chose to give a beautiful version of Pride and Prejudice to me, its cover is a very special black and white drawing. I felt blissful.

Lovely you, I wholeheartedly hope that you too had an incredible Day of Love. And I hope that you decided to have more of these in your life than just once a year. I hope for you to manage to tell yourself how much you love yourself with all he little flaws and quirks that make you so spectacular, special, unique and perfect.

I’m going to start by telling you: I love you. Now it’s your turn.

Yours forever,

Josephine

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I need a shift in perspective…are you with me?

Hello my beautiful reader!

I am very happy that you’re on my website right now, I feel that I have something so important to tell you!

But first of all, I’ll tell what inspired me (or rather forced me) to write this text: I am having an exam very soon.

And all of you know how this feels, so much to do and so little time. I feel that I am in a cage right now, trapped in my own body. I feel my chest cording up, I feel my breathing being shallow and my whole body being very small…

What is this power behind my thoughts that can bring me in such a situation, that can execute things on me so restraining?

Why am I not turning this power into something positive and beautiful- it obviously is very strong.

What I need right now is a shift in perspective. And I want to tackle this shift by focusing on things I am grateful for.

You are very welcome to join me in my attempt to free myself from the bad thoughts and open up to the more empowering ones 🙂

What are you grateful for? Take some time, and think about that. It is fine for you to come up with the basic (and nonetheless very very important) ideas like for example my family, my friends, my dog, that I have a place to live in.

I am grateful for my body. I am grateful that it is healthy and strong, that it enables me to go from A to B, that it makes me create beautiful things (like Brezel-Jewellery!) and that I am born healthy. Thank you very much, what ever there is out there. I am grateful for having the body I live in.

I am also grateful for all the interesting, funny and weird encounters I have on the U-Bahn every day. I love seeing so many different people with their diverse sense of style, their differing ways to act in public (once there was a really bad smelling stain on one of the seats and the woman who had seen it first warned everyone to not sit down there, once she was gone, the next lady took it as her job to tell people to not sit on there and it went on and on..). Thank you, people, for being so interesting and brightening up any traveling experience I have on this yellow tube!

And now, lovely, go on and create your own little list of gratefulness! Shift your perspective! You’re never as stuck as you think you are! You have the power to change your life!

I am grateful for you,

Josephine

You Cannot Save Them All

Some of us bear an indestructible will to change the world and help people inside ourselves.

It doesn’t matter who it is, we want to help them. Help them see the world differently, in a way that might be more pleasant for them. We want to help them understand us. We give them a smile but they might not return it.

This post today goes out to all the do-gooder, to all the lovely ladies and gentlemen who carry such a strong, warm and light power inside themselves. We always want to improve the world. But sometimes, the world doesn’t want to be improved.

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Lately, my mom and my aunt had had an argument- and as families are- it got dirty. Before that incident, my aunt had send me rather rude messages concerning the way I choose to dress myself- she would say immature things like “Eww” or “Why do you have to disfigure yourself like that?” To be honest, I was shocked as well as hurt. Especially, when I told her that I enjoyed the way I dress and that I could do with my body what I wanted to, she did not stop. She would go on comparing me to a cow (she didn’t like the FAKE septum I was wearing), at that point I thought, ok well, she doesn’t get it. Let’s leave it at that.

Unfortunately, a day later my mom talked to her (not about me) and they got into a fight. My aunt hung up while my mother was still talking to her and things like that. Then I made a mistake.

I messaged my aunt, telling her that she hurts people with the way she behaves. I wanted her to leave my family alone as long as she doesn’t realize what her words did to people. That her words were rough and full of incomprehension. What I tried to do was make her see that her words had an effect, that they actually hurt. 

Unfortunately she didn’t see it that way. In fact, she didn’t even react to my statement but felt personally offended and wished to no longer receive accusations. I was furious. I was shaking, I was crying (yeah, it all got really deep), I was calling my mom who didn’t answer the phone, then I called my dad, we talked and laughed and finally- I took a bath.

Seriously, that was the only thing that seemed to make sense at that moment, taking a bath.

And while I was building animals and my very own little foam-pony-farm with my bubble bath I realized: some people are not worth fretting about.  Some people don’t want your help, so that all your efforts to support them will be fruitless.

It is not YOUR job to make them see, you can try and help them but if your efforts stay unsuccessful- leave it alone! It’ll only take up all your amazing time you could spend doing so many beautiful things like taking care of yourself! Or thinking about which dish you’re going to serve on your birthday, or about that interesting seminar paper on feminism/a TV series/animal rights. Or you could read this amazing book that is waiting for you in your bookshelf.

Who you can save is yourself. Invest as much time as possible in yourself- educate yourself, read about psychology, human rights, history, politics, pretty much ANYTHING that’ll broaden your horizon. You can make yourself see, but you can’t help everyone to see what you’re seeing.

I know you’re amazing and hard-working and lovely, don’t waste these qualities on people who cannot appreciate them.

Shine on,

Josephine

The Power of Empathy

I was talking to my mother on the phone earlier. I had uploaded some images from my camera to my computer, there were lots of old pictures on there, so I decided to scroll through them. And I was shocked!

What I saw was a me I didn’t recognise. My face was bloated, my smile was crushed and insincere, my facial expression unsatisfied to the core. I can remember that time very well, only a few months have passed since the day these pictures were taken. It was amazing how I felt my energy draining from my body, my mood suddenly changing from content to contemplative and grave. I could feel myself being in that situation the image presented me with. I could feel how unwell I felt, how my days were determined by a tremendously strong wish to end this all (not life, but this lifestyle I was leading). I wanted things to change but I couldn’t. I felt completely helpless and dictated by powers that didn’t lay in my hands.

In that period of my life, I ate without thinking, I chose to see the negative in life, I felt an enormously strong urge to have a boyfriend, I didn’t want to leave the house, I didn’t want to be exposed to social interactions. The bottom line is: I wasn’t myself.

I told my mum about this flashback. And what she answered was simply beautiful.

My mom tried to help me find out what had been wrong. I think I was eating that much because I was lacking social bonds. You know what people say: Even when you’re surrounded by many people, you can feel unbelievably lonely. And that is just how I felt! So I ate. I ate because I was emotionally stressed. Hach, stress, that son of a bitch.

Anyway, I didn’t only feel lonely and missed my family but furthermore I was still suffering from a break-up (that first major break-up, you know what I mean). After having said all this, my mom said, with a voice full of empathy: You suffered a lot. You suffered so long and so greatly. I could feel my body open up, I felt my heart being surrounded by warmth and love. It was beautiful.

Words and how we speak them can have an exceptional impact on the people around us. These words can change something. They have the power to make things clear to you. When we speak our words the way we feel them, we can truly shift perspectives of our dear ones.

I am a big advocate of giving a voice to feelings. What my mother did for me today was that she showed me how much I had suffered on the one hand, but on the other hand she always directed my view on how much better I am now, how much I’ve grown over the past few months. How I stepped from the passive into the active mode.

Make use of your feelings, utilise them for making other people and yourself feel better. And most importantly: Be empathic with yourself. You deserve to be understood. Don’t be to hard on yourself and others.

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the position of someone else. We all have the ability. But we’re using it too rarely. Empathy is a gift, it makes you understand people who might act in a way you first don’t understand. But by trying to see yourself in the situation another person is experiencing, we might understand why that person is acting the way they are acting. And we might see that their comment wasn’t meant to hurt.

Choose to see the positive.

I love being empathic, I hope you do too.

Goodbye dreamer,

Josephine