On loneliness

Last night, I was celebrating my 28th birthday. For the whole past week, the only thing I could think about was how I regret telling my friends about my intentions to throw a party on a Friday night. I really didn’t feel like partying at all, let alone celebrating my birthday and being at the centre of attention. But, by the time I could call the thing off, it was too late and they all said they’re coming.

It wasn’t the best birthday party from my point of view, let me tell you. Ironically, this morning I received a couple of messages from friends thanking me for inviting them and saying what a great time they had.

Not to be ungrateful or anything, I loved having them over and even more so now that I know they had fun. On that particular night, though, I felt more distant from them than ever. There were numerous situations when I caught myself not even listening to what they were talking about and truth to be told, I can’t recall one meaningful conversation from that night.

At one point during the party, I broke down in tears and was unable to stop it. Some people who were sitting close to me were asking me what had happened but I don’t even remember what I replied. What I do remember, though, was that it miraculously didn’t affect the overall mood and atmosphere, which I was grateful for.

Sitting amongst the group of friends has never felt so lonely. I could almost tangibly feel the abyss between me and them. It was as I weren’t even there. As if I were merely perceiving their presence indirectly, through a screen or a glass wall. And that was the strangest feeling.

Before going to bed, I almost cried my eyes out. My lungs and heart burned and felt heavier than ever. My flatmate got woken up by my howling and went to check up on me, but I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) give him a proper explanation. In the morning, he asked me what happened so I mustered all my strength and began to cry my heart out very awkwardly but was immediately disarmed with his first reaction: “Oh, that again? I thought you were already getting over it.” Okay, I gave up.

Is this age really that rotten by social media that emotions, problems and broken hearts fall into oblivion like yesterday’s posts in our news feed? Are we all condemned to living with masks on our faces, pretending to be that person others see on social media? Opposite to emoticons, likes, tweets and Instagram posts, real people still have real emotions. Our followers will never be able to replace real friends and real relations we have.

At least, that’s how it should be. But then… how is it even possible that the more I try to express my feelings and emotions to my friends, the more lonely I feel? They say it’s not good to hold your emotions in, that you should let them out, but does it help when you do and you end up being either misunderstood, trivialised or worse – not even listened to?

Yesterday, I couldn’t help feeling how our inability to listen and empathise can dig a great big hollow canyon between two people.

And those dreadful canyons make us lonely.

Computers and smart phones make us lonely.

We’re trying to cover our loneliness by working more, posting more, drinking more or shopping more.

But in fact, nothing will ever beat togetherness.

Yesterday, despite being among friends, my mind wandered to a different place. In my thoughts I was with the man I love, the only person I want to be with, the one I cannot be with. I thought about us dancing in the living room to our song. How he sang the song to me and gave meaning to the lyrics. How our noses touch when we’re about to kiss. I was recalling his scent, the funny wrinkles around his eyes, his peaceful voice.

So there, in the middle of the crowd, I went on to fight loneliness by withdrawing into my fantasy.

And amid my day-dreaming, I thought of a poem:

Meet me in the depth of time
amid the uncountable stars.

In a place that only exists
in our perfect fantasies.

Meet me there today
or in a million years

Come to me and stay
You know the way

I would scribble it onto a piece of paper and leave it for him on the pillow or I’d stick it in his pocket and wait impatiently until he finds it.

I certainly would. Were it not for the canyon between us.


To be or not to be yourself

“Togetherness has a price: the loss of individuality.” Edvard Munch

I’ve been in a relationship continuously since I was 17. Not with the same person, of course. In the course of 9 years, I had maybe 7 boyfriends. I was jumping from one relationship to another, was never single for more than a month or two. Relationships were so easy then. Since my average relationship lasted for about 6 months, I can say I was constantly switching habits, people around me, hobbies, languages, lifestyles…

Up until last year. After 9 years I practically forgot how it feels like to be single. To be myself, just like I am. To do as I please, not having to take anyone else into account.

Now, the tables turned. After one and a half years of being single, I can barely remember how it felt like being in a relationship. I guess a lot of things changed since my dating era. The world has changed. I changed. Relationships are not as easy now as they used to be.

People often say that a perk of a single life is that you can find yourself. You can discover your true self. I don’t know now whether I wasn’t entirely myself during my years of being in a relationship. But I get now what people mean when they say that.

Right now, I feel entirely myself. I feel like I don’t have to be a better version of myself just to please someone else. I know what I want and what I don’t. To a fault, so it seems.

You know how people are. You’re a human, too. We always want the thing we don’t have. And when we finally get the thing we wanted, we long for something different. There are days when I feel extremely lonely. Days when I long for a relationship. But you can’t hurry love, right?

Sometimes, it seems to me that people around me are more concerned about me finding a boyfriend than I am. My friends tell me: Go on a date or something. Find someone on Tinder. So I tried but there’s always a problem. We never really clicked with the guy. Either from my side or his. When the latter happens, my friends come up with the most elaborate theories why the guy didn’t like me. “Try less lipstick, lose the baggy clothes, don’t wear black all the time – wear something more cheerful, cut down the amount of wine, fags etc., put on something sexy, skip the turtlenecks, don’t let him know you’re interested, be reserved, don’t laugh that much… And like I said in my previous blog post: Don’t show emotions!” Tired? I am.

All in all: Be what guys want you to be. 

I can’t remember whether I used to change for guys back in my “relationship era”. But I guess I must have, otherwise they wouldn’t pursue me the way they did then. And since all the 7 boyfriends I had were different, I guess I must have adjusted to suit whatever personality they had and lifestyles they led. I lost my individuality. Or maybe up until then, I never had a personality of my own.

This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes:

“They made us believe that each of us is the half of an orange, and that life only makes sense when you find that other half. They did not tell us that we were born as whole, and that no one in our lives deserves to carry on his back such responsibility of completing what is missing in us: we grow through life by ourselves. If we have good company it’s just more pleasant.” John Lennon

I was the half of an orange. At times, I felt like a freshly squeezed half of an orange, turned into an orange squash.

And now that I’m the whole thing, someone’s trying to cut me in half again. I won’t let it happen. This one and a half years taught me that I’d rather walk through my whole life on my own than to let somebody restrict my hardly attained self.

Take me in my black and grey unsexy clothes, with my good and bad moods, my emotions spilling over the banks, grunting laughter, clumsy behaviour. Or not.

This is the package, love it or hate it. I might love or hate yours just the same.

Other love

My heart is broken to thousand pieces.
My lungs heavy as stones in my chest.
My pride buried three feet underground.
My dreams don’t let me sleep at night.

Each new day hurts more than the last.
Each meal is a battle rather than feast.
Each breath is a triumph to stay alive.
Each word hard to utter to make a sound.

…And I’m the one who hasn’t loved?

One true quote

In my blog I never post random pictures with inspirational quotes allegedly said or written by a famous person but today I have to make an exception. I’ll explain later, here is the quote:


It is a beautiful quote to begin with. And the second thing – I love Hermann Hesse.

I bumped into this quote on the internet whilst I was looking for some other stuff about Hesse. His quotes, which I so passionately underline in every one of his books, I utterly love. Sometimes I just randomly open the “Steppenwolf” and just go through some of these passages I underlined, read them and think about them. So when I found this quote, I was intrigued to know where it is from. Not that I have read all of his books, poems and essays. Not even half of them but still, I was curious. So I googled, I searched, I took my time…. but in the whole great cyberspace there was only this quote with his name beside it – and no reference at all.

So umm… if that quote is not to be found in anything ever written by Hesse, it must have been just something he said. So umm… I imagine Hesse hanging out with his mates in a pub (funny thought), drinking pints, engaged in a casual conversation about women and Hesse saying something like: “….so we got in a fight and she was mad at me for two days but then I fell on my knees and said “my Liebling if I know what love is, it is because of you” and she was playing it cool for a while but then she forgave me ha ha”. Then one of his mates remembered this, told it to his children, they told it to their children, until in the 21st century this mates’ great great grandchild created an inspirational pic in photoshop and put it up online.

I spent six years at uni, having to cite every single sentence, in every single stupid essay, and yet each time I was turning my paper in I was covered in a cold sweat whether the authorities wouldn’t accuse me of plagiarism. Oh… good old plagiarism. How I miss the lecturers’ threats of expulsion and public humiliation if we but “borrow” a sentence that is not our own and fail to give credit to the one who “owns” rights to it. Between you and me, I was always wondering that if I use a sentence like, say, “Based on my research, I consider my first hypothesis as wrong,” which surely must have been used by somebody in an academic writing before, would that count as plagiarism too?

This “Hermann Hesse” quote only reminded me why I don’t like these motivational quotes scribbled through a nice picture in an ornamental font. Because “déformation professionnelle”. A trauma of being expelled, (or getting an F if I’m lucky), for plagiarism still hangs above me like a dark cloud. Give me an author, a source, a year and a page, or it didn’t happen 🙂

A funny story just popped in my mind. In my first year I was writing an essay on Nietzsche and wanted to kick the essay off with a nice thought provoking quote so I went to google and found one on wikiquotes and put it there right at the beginning. (You know, first year.) When my professor was giving me feedback he briefly alluded to this quote and said something like: where is it from by the way? I said: “umm… I don’t remember exactly….” When all of a sudden, through half open doors of his office he saw another philosophy professor and cried out: “Béla! (that was his name, weird I know) You are an expert in Nietzsche, come and see this quote. You know every single Nietzsche’s writing backwards, surely you’ll know where this is from!” I don’t remember how I’ve gotten through this first academic shame of mine. I only know two things: 1. Béla didn’t know the quote. 2. I passed 🙂

Do you want to know a secret? I didn’t write a blog post about that picture because I wanted to mock the wannabe-philosophers who make up quotes or rephrase the existing ones. I put it up because I fucking love it. It speaks my mind at this very moment. It describes how I feel towards one particular person. The words are exactly something I would love to tell him. In this instance I don’t care if it’s fake. It’s not Hesse, okay, but whoever said it, it was nicely said.

So, if it’s not Hesse and the true author is unknown, it could have easily been said by anyone of us, couldn’t it?

Maybe I’ll use it then. I’ll write it in a letter. I’ll pretend I was the one who made it up and this time I won’t be scared of being called a plagiarizer.

A mother’s love

When I came back home from my short Prague trip my colleagues asked me whether I had met somebody interesting there (a guy, that is – they want me to start dating) and I answered without hesitation: “Oh yes, I did meet someone! Actually, I met two interesting guys at once: they’re twins and… by the way… they’re five years old.”

By sheer coincidence I spent my whole train journey home babysitting these two great kids: Oliver and Julian. Their mum had to sit in another part of the train as everywhere else was full and for unknown reason she placed her trust in us – me and my friend – complete strangers and let them sit with us. At first I wasn’t very happy, let me tell you. I didn’t like children. And children didn’t like me, I felt it whenever I happened to meet one.

I was in the final year of my undergrad when I got pregnant. In my year, there were two of us. As in the time we were writing our bachelor thesis, we were joking that we have a privilege of having two brains and that we’re basically cheating. Two months after we turned in our dissertations we had the final exams and only one of us remained a cheater. I was left with my own brain to think.

This was two and a half years ago. Since then I can’t help feeling like a traveller who boarded the wrong train and instead of Paris got off in Budapest looking around and thinking: yeah, this city is equally nice but I really wanted to see Louvre. Maybe next time I’ll catch the right train.

Since then I’ve grown bitter when it comes to children. Or, rather, indifferent. I was avoiding them quite successfully and I kept convincing myself that I don’t even want to have kids.

Until I met these two. At first, I didn’t know what to do, how to talk to them, what to say to them… For the first half an hour I was annoyed because they were these kinds of crazy, hyperactive kids who you simply can’t leave unguarded for a second because they might as well set the train on fire. But I had to admit, they were adorable. Identical twins, two exactly the same beautiful little faces, two perfectly inquisitive, crazy, happy and loud creatures.

And they loved me. And they kissed me and hugged me with those tiny arms and hands. All this after we spent only like an hour together on the train.  An hour that felt like 10 minutes. The journey was more than three hours long and in the course of these three hours we did everything: We played, we laughed, we ate sweets, we tickled each other and laughed again, we played hide and seek, we were doing funny faces…. virtually everything one can do in a room of approximately four square metres.

And I loved them. I entirely forgot about myself for a while. The only thing I was thinking about was how to make them laugh, what I’m gonna tell them to engage their attention or what game we’re going to play next. I think I’d give them anything. And it made me a better person somehow, those kids. That feeling.

When the time came that we had to say goodbye I gave them both a ring to remember me. I was wearing many rings that day and by sheer coincidence two of them – originally on my little fingers – fit them perfectly. They almost missed their connection train to Vienna because they didn’t want to leave us. Their mum had to drag them away from us almost by force. It was hard to say goodbye…

The original plan was to go back to Bratislava by coach but we took the train instead. I suppose I was meant to be on that train, I was meant to meet those two little guys. They kindled in me something new. An unknown feeling, hot like a flame.  A flame that was supposed to burn within me for a long time now but remained unfired.

I know they were someone else’s kids and that I only got the chance to spend a couple of hours with them. But I know how I felt. I know that this feeling that I felt inside was (almost) real.  A love that only mothers are capable of.

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.

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 🙂