My alter ego

I don’t like labeling. I am sure many of you have the same problem as I do: you’re inbetweeners. Whenever there’s a personality category to fit into, say, introvert/extrovert, melancholic/phlegmatic/sanguine/choleric, you don’t really fit into any.

As I keep saying, world is just not black and white. Life is just not that simple. People are just not that simple. I believe there are different temperaments within each of us, and even though I do not feel comfortable with criticising Hippocrates and his categorization, it just cannot be applied to everybody.

As for me, I like to say I am an extrovert with an introverted heart. I think my love for people and their company doesn’t allow me to become a full time introvert as I would probably die of loneliness. On the other hand, I feel nervous when I’m surrounded with people for much too long and I need to escape into my world.

However, my two personalities were kind of causing me trouble. Here’s an example: I am 100% sure that if people who know only my extroverted side knew I was writing romantic poetry, they probably wouldn’t take it seriously. In fact, if they knew I was doing anything serious, I think they just wouldn’t believe it comes from the heart, maybe they would think I’m playing at something I am not. This is what I really hate about labeling people. I said this hundred times, we’re just not ONE OR THE OTHER. We might be both. Or neither.

For this reason, I decided to create an alter ego. A person who exists only within me, but is unknown to the people who know my physical self. I have been really happy for the last few months for I have been writing a lot and realised this is the only thing in the world I want to be doing. So I decided that Katka will be writing commercial texts – the ones I do at work – for money and Primula will be writing just for pleasure. Katka is the extrovert nobody takes seriously and Primula is a thoughtful, sensitive, emotional and introspective being without a physical body, for she lives inside someone else.

All in all, I created Primula to put a name to my introverted self. And switching between personalities feels so good. When I want to be her, I switch my computer account, instagram account, close the doors of my study and focus only on her thoughts and feelings.

If you want to, you can check her poems.

Keep writing and dreaming up wonderful stories. ❤

Love,
Katka

Grateful to the moon and back

Part one.
JUST ANOTHER LOVELY DAY

Today was just another ordinary Friday and yet, it was special in a way. Why? Maybe because it was the ninth of September – 09/09 – or maybe because it was just another lovely day. And you gotta appreciate it (no matter how trivial it might sound).

I had lunch with my colleague and a very good friend Juraj, had a lovely satisfying burger and a really great chat. We were sort of nostalgically reminiscing about the past year, that is, the time since we met in this startup we both work at. In short, it was a year that changed my life. Not only I met all these amazing people who have deeply influenced my personal development and shaped my opinions, but I guess I’m actually starting to like myself. And that is definitely something of great value.

After lunch, me and Juraj parted and I went to my other work. Currently, I work for three startups, but switching “only” between two offices. The other job I have is equally great. It’s me and six other guys who I get on really well with. We had a real fun today, we were laughing a lot together. When we went for a coffee, we talked about a really good energy that flows around the world today. We couldn’t really explain it, but today everybody just felt GOOD (if I was to put a soundtrack to this day, it would be a choir singing “Oh, happy day” – however cheesy that is).

When I came back home from work, I met with my housemate for just a couple of minutes before he went out. This is yet another amazing person in my life. I could never say one negative thing about him, except for how messy he is and how clumsy he is and how he cannot hang clothes properly, etc. But, hell, those things don’t matter one bit. I love him and he’s a great guy. I was gonna go out as well, but in the end, decided to stay home and it’s only great that I have. I had a sudden kick of creativity and was writing poems for a couple of hours and it felt so good.

Part two.
WHEN YOUR JOB IS NOT JUST WORK

Then, I don’t even know why because I don’t normally do that, I started to read my old blog posts from before I got my first creative job – in July 2015. Reading them was fascinating because I could clearly see the development not only in my writing but in my personality as well. In a nutshell: there was a time when I was unemployed and writing was my hobby, followed by a dark period when I was working for one of the biggest corporations in the world. After they fired me (thank god!) I was unemployed again but desperately looking for a job, lacking money and went through this phase of depression and insomnia. And then… there’s the last 13 months.

I found out one funny thing. The only time I was creating blog posts that sound like me (as I define myself) was the first period – of me being unemployed but not really caring that much about finding a job. And the only time I hated what I wrote was the two dreadful months in this corporate world… (yeah, I only lasted for two months haha).

And it’s funny how reading these blog posts from this dark period now makes me oh so grateful for what I have. Only now I realise that I’m actually living my dream. I’m living the life I wanted back in February/March 2015 but I didn’t think I’ll actually get there any time soon.

Let me quote myself from my blog post 180 degrees from February 4, 2015:

“Speaking about time, it seems like I don’t have time to spare for good many other things: the worst being writing and blogging. Now my day ends at time when it usually only started. At 11 pm/midnight I used to sit behind my desk and write. Now I am preparing for bed. At 3 am/4 am I was reading through what I had written that night and considering calling it a day. By that time now I am in the realm of dreams. I am no longer a night owl, who loved when the house got silent and the thoughts got loud.”

-> I felt utterly sad and depressed like a bird in a little cage. A bird that isn’t allowed to fly might as well not be a bird at all. I felt like this poor bird and this job was ripping my wings off. I couldn’t be a night owl anymore. A 9-5 kind of job was killing me slowly.

Here’s another one from the same blog post:

“Now I’ve got a full time job and it’s paid so I had to make blogging only my hobby. That makes me sad. I only now realised why so many people want to blog for a living. Because to have a full time job and to blog for free means to choose between the two. It is a Sophie’s choice isn’t it? Money or freedom. Wouldn’t it be great not having to make that choice?”

-> This rhetorical question makes me smile today. I remember this poor Katka, writing it and genuinely believing that THIS will be her life. Working for a company she hates, going to work that restricts her freedom. I honestly never ever, not even in my wildest dreams, thought that I will ever be making money with writing. And what was making me so sad then, makes me so happy today.

And the last one:

“Writing is something transcendental. You enter a whole different world. When you write it’s just you and your thoughts. TIME and SPACE is essential for entering this magical transcendental world. It’s really hard dealing with contracts, communicating with business partners and answering their emails while keeping your thoughts clean to write at the same time. Those worlds are poles apart.
Writing is freedom. To be free in lifeto do what you loveto keep your thoughts clean is the greatest priviledge. I am hoping one day I will become this free.”

-> My job then, and my personality were worlds apart. That wasn’t me. By the end of the blog post, I expressed my humble hope – to be free and to keep my thoughts clean. I remember exactly how I meant it. I thought then, that my thoughts were somehow spoilt by that money-and-success oriented corporate world. It was just pure brainwash. A soul-devouring job. I remember every time I came back home from work, I was just staring into a white wall and couldn’t even produce one good thought that would be worth of writing down. It was simply impossible for me. I couldn’t escape to that transcendental world because my thoughts were just not clean.

There are some other blog posts, such as A Sunday 11:59 pm quote and Life in a rabbit warren that reflect my dislike of this place.

To me, money was never a motivation. My motivation is to be satisfied with the way I live my life. And my current job makes me love the way I live which makes me so happy I could die.

Part three.
PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER

Today I thought about people a lot. I am an extrovert with an introverted heart. I love people. They recharge my energy whenever I need recharging. When I am among people, I enjoy their company, I love to have a good laugh. When I’m alone, I like to think about them, about me and relationships in general. I love being a lone wolf as much as I love company.

People are the best mirror to you. If they like your company even if you bring no material benefit to them, you know you’re doing something right. I sometimes think about famous or successful or rich people and I feel genuinely sorry for them. If I was famous, I wouldn’t know whether someone is my friend only because I’m famous or because he genuinely wants to be my friend. I think that’s why many rich and famous feel so lonely, depressed and sad. They hide. They go crazy because even though they love their jobs, they just wish to be that no-name person again. To go back to this sort of age of innocence. (I honestly don’t know, that’s just my assumption.)

My best friends are those who I can bring no other benefit to, except being a good friend. My best friends are those to whom I cannot give anything else except my love and joy. And that is actually a greater wealth than money.

Having a value as a person. Priceless. (As the famous commercial goes.)

People will give back to you what you give to them. You mirror each other, without you even realizing it. You shape each other. That’s what’s the most fascinating thing about friendships -> the reciprocity. You don’t realize how much the other person affects you.

I am 100% sure that I wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t known some of the people I met in the last year. Isn’t it amazing? Just by meeting someone, your life may change, you may change. The energy that you exchange with other person is enormous and has a great impact on you both.

My father says: If you live in a way it improves someone else’s life, you know you didn’t live in vain and you may die in peace.

Imagine great people like Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, or Dalai Lama. Or writers, like Tolkien for example, or Rowling or Hesse or Kafka, whose books influenced millions and millions of people. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to leave such a trace.


Today, me and Juraj were talking about religion. We’re both atheists. However, I’d say we’re atheists in the systematized notion of faith. I definitely believe in something. I just don’t want to believe in some abstract externality who I subordinate to. Why would I do that? Isn’t this my own life? My own couple of decades? I want to believe in physical people around me and in physical, tangible things around me. As for the abstract, I believe in the metaphysical energies and powers that flow in between these physical beings. If religion means to believe in something abstract, transcendental, then I want kindness to be my religion. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal of any religion to make you a better person? (And often, it does the exact opposite, pardon me.)

And speaking of becoming a better person: Today I was reminiscing about the past. I read my old email application I sent to my boss – now my friend – who hired me for this job.

I felt a sudden need to go to him and hug him for that. (Although I know he’d feel a bit awkward if I did.) He saved me. My first writing job. Ever since, my life has taken a good course – I have become a freelance content writer for two other companies.  And thanks to him, thanks to this little coincidence (because I found the job offer by coincidence) I met people who are now my dear friends. They inspire me every day and make me a better person every day and I will be forever grateful to them for that.

I can be myself. I can write. I can be creative. I can be a night owl. I can wear whatever I want. Wake up whenever I want. Laugh and cry whenever I want.

And only today I realised I haven’t been grateful enough. Only today when I read my old blog posts, I was like: Shit, Katka, how even dare you not appreciating what you’ve got? This is what you wanted and you’re procrastinating at work? You’re slacking off? You’re making all these excuses of having a creativity block or a burn out syndrome?

I should be more grateful for what I have.

We should be more grateful for what we have.

And we should thank and love the people who helped us on our way.

(I really do think that literally NOBODY is going to read this. 2032 words. Anyway, this blog post is more for me. I just want to leave this here for me.)

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.

Destiny street

Bratislava, the city I come from and where I currently live, is a capital of Slovakia (in case you didn’t know, which I wouldn’t blame you for one bit). Despite that, living here sometimes feels like living in a village.

Why? Well… The city center is really small, you can get everywhere on foot in less than half hour, I can’t go out without meeting someone I know by chance, everybody knows everybody – at least so it seems… And my life in Bratislava sort of revolves around this one street – Grosslingova. If it was the street I live on, it wouldn’t be weird at all. But I don’t. I live quite far away from there (but then again, define “far” in Bratislava).

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When I was little, I needed a math tutoring for I’ve always been a mathematical anti-talent and this math tutor of mine lived on Grosslingova street. I went to high school and my undergrad college here. I met my first great love as well as many good friends on this street. My third boyfriend lived on this street, too. So did my ninth boyfriend. And guess where my new workplace is located?

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A peek through the fence of my high school. The building was built in 1908, together with the “Blue Church” in the background.

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Then…

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And now.

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My “alma mater”, Bratislava liberal arts college, where I did my bachelor’s.

And it’s not even some very significant, or busy street. It is in the city center, yes, but it’s a quiet, mostly residential street. Despite that, there are many cool places. There’s a flower shop, tea shop and a beautiful tailoring shop owned by father and two sons. There are maybe four hipsterish cafés and restaurants, one of which is called “La Cocotte”, which is a super cool pun – if spelled differently, “cocotte” is a Slovakian swear word. There are three bio/vegan shops – one of them right next to the butcher shop. And yeah, three schools – two of which I attended.

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A long time ago, there was an orphanage in this building. It’s completely overgrown with ivy and it’s one of my most favourite houses on Grosslingova.

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I know every corner of it. And so many of those corners bring back fond memories.

I hardly think it’s a coincidence that I keep coming back to this street. Maybe it’s some kind of a sign. Maybe I’ll live on Grosslingova one day. Maybe I’ll meet my future husband here. Or what if I already have? Who knows 🙂

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System error

When I’m in need of a cold shower – when I need someone to tell me the rational point of view of how things really are, I go and talk to one of my colleagues. He doesn’t embellish, nor does he spare me of cruel reality. Every time I need a withdrawal from my ideal world, I go and ask him to wake me up from dreaming.

Me: What’s wrong with me? Why do I have this feeling like everybody is leaving me?
Him: Because you care too much. You show your emotions too much.
Me: And is that a problem?
Him: It scares people away. You can’t show that much emotion. Try to hide them, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Put on a mask.
You open your heart too much and it allows people to take advantage of you.
That’s how this world goes.
Me: Then I don’t like this world. Why do I have to hide my emotions? I don’t like this kind of world at all.

It’s a cold, cold world without emotions. I feel like the Dementors got way too far away from Azkaban and are now somewhere here amongst us, turning everything cold. And Muggles don’t see the dementors, do they?

And I feel like screaming out: EXPECTO PATRONUM!

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Emotions are great. Showing them feels great. When I hear something funny, I laugh hard. When I like something, I praise. When I’m sad, I cry my eyes out. And I really do cry a lot – tears of happiness and sorrow. And when I love, I show it.

At times, I feel like emotions are suffocating. I choke on laughter. I choke on tears. I choke on melancholy. It’s sometimes so hard to breathe, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my way of feeling things.

But my colleague is probably right. That’s just how this world goes.

People don’t really care that much. People stopped repairing things. We stopped repairing broken relationships, even if they can be fixed. We rather go and replace them with new ones. It’s like on facebook: Add friend. Add friend. All of a sudden, you have 400 friends. Remove friend. One less, who cares? But what about memories? Feelings for the person? What about this friends’s unique personality? Can everybody be replaced? It seems like they can. Like with furniture or electronics. You simply throw it away and buy a new one.

And wait a sec, so I was ditched because I cared too much? Until now, I always thought it’s a good thing to love someone. If people had to speak in all honesty, what would they say? I break up with you because you care too much about me? I am ending our friendship because you were too good of a friend to me?

It’s a weird, weird world.

Should I stay, should I go?

I’m so sick of the direction my home country is going.  So, so, so sick! In case you don’t care for Eastern European politics, in Slovakia we had parliamentary elections on 5 March.

I don’t want to talk about politics, so I’ll just quickly summarize it for you: Basically, the biggest thieves, scammers, and corrupters won again thanks to their populist politics and people being that stupid. 14 neo-nazis got to the parliament thanks to – yeah stupid people again, together with a couple of blond plastic ladies with LV handbags and a funny rich guy who’ll soon become a new Genghis Khan – having more kids he can count. And yeah, two parties that appeared quite worth voting for, ended up betraying their voters and after the elections teamed up with these corrupters.

And the best part? We’ll have the most absurd and nonsensical coalition of all times consisting of four absolutely incompatible parties: social democrats, rightists, nationalists, and Hungarians. Amusing, huh?

There’s been much talk lately among the people who THINK that the situation has not been this alarming since over a decade ago. Many young people say stuff like: “Okay, I’m buying a one-way ticket to <insert country here> and I’m off of this doomed land.”

Yeah, their thoughts are completely justified. The current situation is a tragedy for the Slovakian nation (only the herd of sheep is not aware of that just yet).

But is this the solution to everything? To just leave? I mean, of course, we do not owe this country anything. But it makes me so sad even thinking about how many quality people will go helping to build other countries. Nothing wrong with that, but what will become of Slovakia? I love this country, I don’t want to see it crumble and collapse.

Good people are, after all, what this country desperately needs.

Though I was considering leaving myself, now I’m thinking I’d rather stay and maybe try and help a little. I don’t exactly know how, I’m still working on that part.

But I believe that in a country where virtually everything sucks it’s quite an easy task to do something good to make it a better place to live. I am quite a hopeful person and I truly hope that there will come better days for Slovakia. I want to see this country thrive and its people happy.

Until then, I’m disillusioned. But I am also sure that while there’s life, there is still HOPE.

On criticism

In 1939 Dale Carnegie published the infamously famous self-help book “How to win friends and influence people” and I guess it’s been a best-seller ever since.

I read this book when I was maybe 15 and I worshiped it like a Bible. I learned I should always address people with their names during the conversation, I should always listen rather than speak and that I should use open gestures in body language. But yeah, back then I was in my worst puberty years and the book title could as well read: “How not to be a loser and make people (guys) like you (at least a little bit)”.

Of course, ever since I managed to muster some self-confidence, the book’s been lying deep in my shelf, covered in dust.

BUT! The other day I happened to remember one passage where Carnegie talks about criticism:

“It is useless to criticize, for criticism provokes the defense mechanism and usually restricts a person from looking at things objectively. Criticism is even dangerous, for it hurts person’s pride, destroys the feeling of one’s importance and activates resistance. Resistance, which is activated by criticism, can disrupt the relations between colleagues, members of family, or friends and usually does not even help to solve the problem, which the one was blamed for.”

(Okay I didn’t remember it word for word 😛 )

But however cheesy the book might be, the passage about criticism is definitely something to think about. Don’t we only complicate our lives by being too critical? Criticism means negativity and negativity leads to decline. Decline in everything imaginable: person’ s self-esteem, pride, motivation, satisfaction, happiness…

In general, people love themselves and tend to have high opinions about themselves. (It’s up to everyone’s judgement whether it’s justified or not.)

Unconstructive criticism hurts. If someone thinks it’s a positive motivator and leads the criticized person to improvement, they’re wrong.

Praise is like a drug – addictive.
Criticism (unconstructive) is like a knife in the back – fatal.