Smells like May II.

It’s funny how our mood can change in a matter of week or two. When I was writing my previous post about May I was feeling so euphoric I felt I would hug every single person on the street. Some two weeks later, I wouldn’t even hug myself (if it were possible), let alone someone else.

At this very moment I am smiling, drinking black tea at my favourite cafe, it is raining outside and I am writing a new post about May. Why? First of all, because May is slowly coming to an end and you never feel the same about a thing that’s ending than you do about the one that’s just about to start. Secondly, because moments before publishing the previous post I spontaneously deleted two passages that were originally in the first draft. I deleted them because I didn’t want to let myself be overwhelmed with sentiment. I didn’t want to waken and then keep alive the old memories connected to May.

But now, going through a “sentimental phase” I don’t think I should have been ashamed of my emotions.
So here is my little story about one particular May nine years ago, which I prefer to tell in third person (partially because I wish to detach myself from it a bit):

On the first day of May she went out of her house in the early afternoon, it was a bit chilly still but sunny and with the first breath she took the familiar feeling hit her: the scent of warmth in the air soothing her lungs from within, the scent of lilacs and blooming trees and a soft breeze that stroke her face with a touch of spring. She disliked winter as much as she loved spring.
But there was something else, too. Something unfamiliar to her. The butterflies in her stomach that almost felt like sickness, an overwhelming feeling of happiness mixed with confusion and expectation. She was just just about to meet him. She saw him coming towards her and she knew she’s just seconds away from being kissed. There’s an old saying that on the first of May every girl should be kissed under a cherry blossom tree to stay healthy and beautiful for the whole year. She told him that so they went looking for such a tree, or any other tree available – because they thought there’s nothing wrong with adjusting sayings to present circumstances – preferably one that was in bloom. They both heartily agreed that the unidentified one with small pink blossoms will do and stood under it. Time was precious, why waste it to follow the old sayings? When he kissed her she knew instantly she’ll blossom either way – whether or not she believed the grandmothers’ tales.

She was born just a couple of months after him. They lived just meters away from each other. They used to play on the same playground. Not knowing about each other. Not knowing then that some years later they’ll fall in love.

And it was happening now. After many years of being just neighbours, complete strangers. But the stars aligned right and here they were, on the very same street, strangers no more. Since that May, they were bound together. Even on days they didn’t see each other she felt his presence. And maybe she felt it from the very beginning of her life. Because he was always close.

She walked past his windows countless times before. But passing these windows now felt different. She saw his clothes hanging on a thread, drying in the sun and thought that he might wear that red T-shirt tomorrow. When she walked by early in the morning and saw his window blinds down, she knew he’s still asleep and she pictured him sleeping peacefully, maybe even dreaming about her. There were two large lilac bushes in front of his doors. Whenever she passed by she leaned over and smelled them. That scent is now forever associated to him.

The smell of lilacs. Something so perpetual, yet so evanescent.

The very first love. Too much in love, too happy to last. The month of May will always belong to him. The month when lilacs bloom on my street. On his street.

Once upon a time in May the greatest love blossomed. Innocent, generous, limitless. Love such as will never bloom again.

May is coming to an end. And the lilacs are fading away now.

The beauty of German language

I am a student again! I decided to take a German course and improve my poor high-school-and-long-forgotten German.

In order to keep in touch with the language as much as possible I started to use my Facebook in german. As I found out, Facebook in German is a lot more fun. For instance, yesterday I logged in and when I set my eyes on this:

Screen shot 2015-05-26 at 11.59.19 PM

I was like: Six Veran-WHAT-THE…??? It made my day!
So I concentrated all my abilities and tried to read aloud this amazing composition of words… and FAILED of course… So I tried again, then again but still all that came out of my mouth was something like verantunfhkdksanlshangagegen 😀 Even if I am eventually able to read it, what is the prospect of me remembering this word? Beyond impossible.

Ah, German. A language that makes even the longest and the most complicated word in English: “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (thank you, Mary Poppins) look easy breezy.

But apart from 6 inches long words, German IS A BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE. I don’t understand why so few people think so.

There seems to be like a general dislike towards German language. I’ve met countless people who said they hate how the language sounds. That it is hard, harsh and ugly and that people speaking it sound as if they were angry or grumpy all the time. There are even many jokes online making fun of German contrasting it with other languages such as Italian, French or English.
I don’t know why but ever since I started learning this language I love it. It’s probably because I’m a Germanophile (if such thing exists) – I love german films, music, beer, people, german philosophers, writers…. and I like the country – every city I’ve been to (not many though) was beautiful.

After the WWII Germans didn’t have the best reputation worldwide. Maybe that is one of the reasons why German language wouldn’t win a popularity prize.

Two years ago I spent some time with my german friends in Bavaria and it was the best time! I’ve met many of their friends as well and I have to say you wouldn’t find more agreeable people anywhere else. I felt like I am in some fictional country where everyone is super nice. That experience definitely added to my Germanophilia and I am in fond of everything german even more.

People are, after all, what shape your opinion on nations, cities, languages.
And if people are beautiful and their thoughts are beautiful and their words are words of kindness, no language can make them ugly 🙂 ❤

Sense and sensibility

Imagine there was a war inside of you between the heart and the head. Who would win?

Me? My heart is simply invincible: so far it has won every single battle and it insists on ruling me with an iron hand.

Recently I had a discussion about this with a person very dear to me. We are the exact opposites. He always excelled in natural sciences, I was good in humanities. He would never acknowledge the existence of anything beyond the realm of logic or science, I always talked about fate, karma, horoscopes or zodiac signs (and he thought I was crazy). He always had his feet firmly on the ground, I was flying high up in the clouds. He was the rational one, while I was impetuous. And yet, we complement each other. I was always trying to open his mind a little for him to see things the way I do and in return he was helping me to get back to reality. Perfect.

So it was. We were different and we often disagreed with one another but each time we eventually found a compromise. Until now. The thing we were dealing with lately couldn’t be resolved due to our different points of view on the “heart-or-head” dilemma. He is not able to switch his head off and let himself be led by his emotions. Me, I would never allow my head to hold dominion over my heart.

It’s not that I never think about what I’m going to do. I don’t do everything impulsively, I would probably be dead by now if I did. I simply do not believe in too much thinking. I believe our hearts deserve more attention. They should be taken more seriously.

After all, what would our lives be if we let the reason alone be in charge? Isn’t the heart the very organ we thank for the best things in life – love, emotions, passion?

The head has under its command a legion of other soldiers, like common sense, pride, logic, unforgivingness, distrust, skepticism and many others, that try to destroy the heart’s division. These take from us the opportunity to listen to what our heart is whispering to us. Yes, whispering, because where the reason intrudes, it somehow fails to speak loudly. But the head’s forces, especially pride and logic, are less valuable than it might seem. It is sometimes worth it to sacrifice them for a better purpose.

I’ll put an end to my absurd war metaphors and ask a few rhetorical questions: Why there are so many movies filmed about love? So many songs sung about love? Poems and books written? (This theme seems to be inexhaustible!). Why there were so many tears shed on account of love? Hours spent on the phone? Money spent on flowers – if not because of love? (Florists would simply go out of business if it wasn’t for love).

Why nobody sings about reason? Because it is not that important. Screw reason. It only brings us trouble and kills love. And I don’t speak only of romantic love, but all kinds of love. Parents – children, brothers – sisters, friends, animals…

Why everyone sings about love then? (I bet even the birds on roofs and trees sing their little songs of how much they’re in love with a certain beautiful bird lady). Because, whether we like it or not, it is the most important thing in life. In fact, nothing else matters. Would someone have a reason to live if he was to spend all his life without love?

I have to end this post now before I get a diabetes from how sweet it is. Guess I won’t be using the word “love” for at least next 3 days 🙂

Blogging as a therapy

I wish I knew what it’s like to feel normal. I know no middle way. Either I feel perfectly happy and euphoric or absolutely low.
I sometimes wish I could reach a state of harmony. Balance.

At the moment I am not exactly in the cheerful state (which is sort of obvious from my latest posts). But I know I will get there soon. I’ll get there just to fall back into melancholy again.

Yesterday it occurred to me I would feel twice as bad if I didn’t have this blog. In my lowest mood I thought: “Where would I be without writing?” I don’t know. Writing is really like a therapy. Some prefer to talk about it. Sing about it. Paint it.
One way or another, you simply need to get it out of your chest. I am getting “it” (whatever the “IT” is) out of my chest on here – everything I am going through is reflected in this blog.

The best thing about blogging is the people. When I read what other bloggers have written I am often overwhelmed with a warm feeling that people are simply great. So creative. So ingenious. I love this aspect of humanity.

And the greatest feeling ever? Getting a positive feedback. When someone drops me a nice comment, likes my post or follows my page, the feeling of appreciation is amazing. Mostly it is people who I don’t personally know. And when someone leaves me a comment where he/she is sharing his/her thoughts with me I feel a great influx of satisfaction filling up my heart. I often think: “Someone is ACTUALLY reading my random thoughts and pseudo-philosophical contemplations. A stranger is interested in my thoughts. This is beyond belief.”

My thoughts and my opinions define me. Therefore, if someone is interested in my writing, it is as though he was saying: “I am interested in YOU.” “I like your MIND.” “Keep it up.”

For this I would like to say one big THANK YOU to all the blogging strangers.

Correcting mistakes

When you look back on some events in your life you sometimes can’t help the feeling you would have done this or that otherwise if you had the chance to put it right. Or at times you think: next time I will do better. However, as it happens sometimes, there is no next time.

I can’t think of many things to regret because I usually tend to take things as they are and take them rather as lessons learned. But of course there are a few things I’ve done I am not particularly proud of. Things, though it’s hard for me to admit, I do regret.

Once I took a picture of a man in Notting Hill at the Portobello market. On the street there stood a large picture frame – it was just a frame and it made everything behind it look as though it was a painting. This man was sitting behind it and was eating a chicken leg. I took a picture of him because for a second or two it seemed like a good idea for a photo. This man was sitting though because he was on a wheelchair. The moment I took that picture he looked at me. I didn’t realise until then what a fool I’d made of myself. He surely must have thought I am taking that photo because he’s on a wheelchair or because he’s eating a chicken with his fingers and I am mocking him. Or both. I instantly felt my whole face blush and I simply turned and ran away as quickly as possible. When I looked at the picture later, that sad/slightly disturbed look on his face nearly broke my heart. I couldn’t bear it and deleted it. I hate it myself when someone is looking at me while I eat, let alone if he was taking a picture of me, let alone if I was on a wheelchair and had enough problems as it is. Writing about it here is my poor and selfish attempt for atonement.

Couple of months ago I was waiting at a bus stop. There was a man selling a magazine supporting homeless people, something like Big Issue but Slovakian version called “Nota Bene”. With a sweet and soft, barely audible, voice he was calling out: “magazine”, “magazine”. The way he said it moved me, as well as his appearance – he looked like a tender man. For good 2 minutes I was thinking I’m gonna buy the magazine from him. Just when I decided and was taking out my wallet my bus arrived and I had to go. It took me too long to decide. If only I could decide faster I wouldn’t have regretted it now. After I got on the bus, I thought to myself: Next time I will see him here, I will buy the magazine from him. You might have guessed it already: I go around there every once in a while but I never saw him again.

One time I was going to say goodbye to my friend as I was leaving for home. Before I was supposed to meet her I went to a book shop to buy her something as a goodbye present. In there, nothing really caught my attention and being in a bit of a rush I wasn’t able to find anything she might appreciate or like. I ended up buying only a greeting card, on which I wrote some words of farewell. I wasn’t exactly satisfied with just that and was secretly hoping she is not going to give me anything. Wrong. Of course she did, deep down I knew she would, and I felt terrible. Especially because the presents were great. Afterwards I mended the situation in a way but the bad feeling remained. I was telling myself: Next time if you intend to do something, simply do it, in whatever way possible. Just don’t make up excuses for not doing so.

Life sometimes gives you second chances. But only when it doesn’t you realise how bitter a price you must pay for your wrong choices. You might think: “Whaaat is she talking about? All of the three things were nothing serious or tragic.” No they were not indeed. But all three of them were things I cannot fix but I wish I could. I wrote about them because it makes me feel better.

I thought of these three regrets because lately I was again dealing with a thing I wish to fix. This time it was a bit more serious. I was trying to turn back time and repeat something from the past in the future. But the mission failed. Some mistakes you just cannot put right. Especially when the heart is at stake.

Sorry, you’re too good

Absurd? Definitely yes. But when I think about it… in the world today it does make sense.

I always thought such thing as being “too good” doesn’t exist. Goodness is after all something desirable, there can never be enough or even abundance of it. I also thought you can never offend, discourage or alienate someone by being good. It would never have occurred to me that goodness can actually be someone’s disadvantage.

Bad news. It can.

Friendships: It might seem ridiculous but even when it comes to friendships, being too polite can turn some people off. One time I borrowed a nail polish from a friend and right after I was all done with my mani and pedi I went back to her room to give it back. She laughed at me for being too polite and saying to me “I am never returning anything on time ha ha”. So I’m weird because I am?

Relationships: You know what they say: “men love bitches” and “good girls love bad guys (and the good ones get friend-zoned)”. Meaning each of the sexes would rather have someone “bad” for a partner. Good equals boring, so it seems. I myself was dumped several times for my alleged excessive “goodness”.

Work: In work environment this absurd boycott of goodness works probably the best. Being good, kind, polite and all those other old-school virtues are an absolute disadvantage here. The more money is involved, the worse interpersonal relations are there at the workplace.
It’s like politics. The good ones always burn as heretics at the stake.
I experienced what it’s like to work in a team, which only assured me I want to (have to) work alone.

There are new values in today’s society. You have to be cunning. Competitive. Bold. Predatory. All this silently. Secretly.

If you want to succeed you have to be the predator. If you fail to be one, you’ll end up being the prey. Hunted and eventually eaten.

(Yes, you guessed it right. This post is a very impulsive and emotional reaction to a recent disillusionment.)

Then & now

From the family chronicle:

March 15, 1996: Katka said she’ll never kiss a boy in her life.
November 11, 1997: Katka says she wants to become an actress.
July 3, 1999: Katka decided to become a fashion designer – all she does is drawing models in various outfits. We’re slowly running our of paper.
April 2, 2000: Katka proclaimed she is never going to smoke. She said it stinks and she can’t breathe.
September 13, 2001: Katka said she’s going to have at least 5 children.
December 13, 2002: Katka just had her first kiss. It was at the Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie and she said it was disgusting. Not the movie, the kiss. But she admitted she might try it once more in the future.
August 20, 2004: Katka said by 2013 she’ll be married and will have at least one child.
January 17, 2007: Katka says she wants to be a psychologist.
September 28, 2013: Katka proclaimed she is never going to take an office job.

May 19, 2015: I am holding on to none of my previous declarations.

…The last proclamation is not recorded in a family chronicle of course. I’m sure you must think I made those previous ones up, but you are mistaken. My mum is very thorough when it comes to keeping records on what happened in our family and when. I like the way she has written down some of my declarations – I’m sure she was doing it just for us to laugh at them in the future. And she was right.

Growing up is a peculiar thing. When you are a kid you usually can’t wait to become an adult and you spend half your time dreaming about how wonderful a life you would have when you finally grow up. I was picturing myself as an adult all the time. I was always visualizing how would I look, what would I do, how would my husband look, how my future house would look like. Hearing my parents say: “Don’t wish to be older, enjoy being young whilst you can!” didn’t help at all. I simply lived day by day only to be closer to adulthood.

Today all I can say is: being an adult is not as glorious as I had hoped it would be. I am not now what I visualized myself to become. I have broken all of the promises, declarations and statements I made during my childhood and adolescence. I didn’t achieve half the things I planned to achieve by now. I can’t help the feeling I have made some really bad decisions. But, c’est la vie.

This is what I thought going through my old chronicle declarations: “I cannot fail the kid in me. I cannot disappoint my old childhood self. I want to create a life for myself the 10-year old Katka would find absolutely wonderful and magnificent. I will never be an actress, a fashion designer or a psychologist and I will most likely not have 5 kids, but I will make the kid inside me proud.”

This is my new declaration. I’m not going to write it down to a family chronicle though… This is because in case it never happens, I won’t feel like laughing at it.

Sigmund Freud (allegedly) said: “If youth knew… if age could.” I think this truth defines our whole lives – and it is only fair.