“Colossal” & feminism

I know it’s been an almost 2-year-old movie, but I just finished watching and loving it for the first time!

The story: A woman that basically does nothing but partying and drinking is kicked out of the home where she lives with her boyfriend (he kicks her out). Woman goes back to her home town, meets old friend and starts working as a waitress at the bar he owns. Meanwhile, a gigantic monster attacks Seoul. Eventually, the woman discovers that she is mentally connected to the monster.

(Spoilers ahead, keep reading at your own risk in case you haven’t seen the movie. And if you haven’t just watch it! It’s worth it!)

Well, I was sceptical at the beginning and curious about where the things were heading with the plot (having studied cinema I’m not the easiest person to be amazed by a movie/script /etc). But in the end of this one I really was amazed!

A mix and match of reality (past and present) and a metaphorical story/urban legend. The woman is ruled by her addiction, her (ex)boyfriend is criticizing her all the time and treating her like she’s less than he is, the old friend is acting kind of weird and seems like he has some well kept issues with her.

Both men seem to want the best for her. But do they?

This movie is the perfect allegory of all the unhealthy (basically what we call “toxic” in pop culture) relationships that an individual can have. And it’s no coincidence that the “individual” in the movie is a woman.

Apart from all the references in addiction, substance abuse and toxic friendships in the movie, there are so many references about women and the things that they have to face each single day!

Being in an emotionally abusive relationship, being in a psychically abusive relationship, in case (for example) of a one night stand having to face all the negative criticism instead of the male partner, living in a society that a larger-than-it-should-be part of it believes that a women are somehow less than men, that they shouldn’t do things with their life, thinking that they’re weak, that they can (or should) control them!

We, women, have all been through this kind of experiences. And probably will be again. But the important thing is to love ourselves, and be friends with ourselves first of all, and follow our instinct, and our dreams and goals, and stand up for ourselves if needed. Or stand up for other women and people in case they need it.

It all starts with self-love.

And then there’s knowing your worth and your rights.

And then it’s thinking clearly, and not necessarily according to the “do’s” and “don’t s” that we were raised with!

It’s like in the movie, at the end, the heroine breaks her bonds, ends her “toxic” relationships and friendships, and starts over, with her own rules, taking care of herself first!

Practically the best thing to do.

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The importance of beauty

Let’s start from what I refer to as “beauty”.

For me, beauty are all those things/people/anything else that make you smile when you look at them. Beauty are all the details that you can notice around you. Is the face that looks straight back at you from the mirror, is all the color that exists. Beauty is art.

Beauty is really all around us. And that’s a fact. There is no way anyone can look around without spotting even the slightest pinch of beauty (and trust me, I have suffered from depression and even then, I could notice beauty, although I couldn’t feel things about it)!

Many times, I’m wondering how important it is to have beauty in our lives?

Or maybe, a better question is how important it is to notice the beauty all around.

Life can get tough, and the world is anything but ideal, but sometimes a beautiful thing/gesture/scene can help you pause, maybe have a few-seconds-break, believe or just smile.

Beauty varies, for each one of us is different, but its affect on us isn’t so different after all. This is my conclusion.

Beauty is crucial. For our mental health, for our wellness, for keep going.

And even the daily search for it, is an interesting journey, that never gets old!

Quotes & reality 

Recently, I worked with words as ideas about my personal journey in life, as part of a performance I’m working on. I sent a basic list of notes to a friend. He liked them, but commented that were clichés. 

And I found it weird. Because, yeah, this was a basic list of the ideas I was working on, but they were conclusions I have reached to after a lot of mistakes, experiences and years. 

I started thinking about all the clichés, the quotes, all the phrases that have survived since the times of our great grandparents, until today. What’s the truth inside them?

I believe that, in general, in life everything starts from within, from each one of us, individually. Everyone is going on a journey, that’s basically life, with the ups and downs, and the problems, and the interaction with the whole world; and each one of us tries to figure things out. It’s happening today, it was happening in the past, and probably will keep happening, because it’s part of the mankind. Humans are curious creatures and they want answers, that’s how they evolved (well, among other things). And answers need words to be documented.

So, I’m thinking that all these quotes and clichés and catch phrases (traditional or not) are basically life conclusions turned into words. And they survived in time, because some truths about life are quite universal. After all, we all know that feeling of listening to a phrase and the instant “click” that we feel in our brain, because that phrase is basically what we’re feeling (or experienced, or thinking). Or some other times, we hear a quote and after some time we finally realize how true it really is. And everything is coming from a personal journey, each human’s personal experiences. Even the one that first quoted a phrase, did it after his/her personal observations!

“Life is too short”. YES IT IS! Life is even shorter than we think. If you had some death encounters, you know it too well. It’s an idea that basically lives with you each single day. I know I had my share of encounters, I had suicidal thoughts in the past, during 2017 my mom went through treatment for her stage 3 cancer, my father almost died from kidney failure. After being through all these, I think about how short life is each single day, and feeling grateful that I am alive!

“You gotta break some eggs to make an omelet”. Yes, you have! When you’re in the process of following your dreams, working towards your goals, or even just living life, there is no way you can make no mistakes! To accomplish things you must make mistakes, “fall, again and again”. I’m someone who is ambitious in a very healthy way, and I want things, so I work in order to accomplish them. I have fallen many times, I have made mistakes, and I will keep doing so in the future, but things do turn out pretty well in the end!

And I can keep writing more and more examples of quotes and ideas, but everyone reading this has his/her personal journey to go on, so that’s it for now!

I would love to listen to your favorite phrases and quotes that feel like part of your experiences! 

The wings in my blood

A weird title, indeed!

Let me explain.

This morning, I happened to pass through the airport on my way back home. I was in a car, I wasn’t flying. And as I was passing next to the various buildings, the parking space of the planes caught my eye.

Even though I have never traveled by plane (yet), I’ve always had, have and will have a special connection with them. When I saw them this morning, and almost every time I see one I feel some kind of warmth, some kind of nostalgia.

Because, planes actually run in my blood. My maternal great grandfather and his brother were both pilots. My great grandfather was a man I never met, but I have heard so many stories about him that it’s like I’ve met him. His piloting license was no.5 in the country (Greece). And his brother was a war hero, who died fighting, during the WWI.

Flying was always part of the family history and many family stories. And I think of it as part of myself as well.

Actually learning how to fly a plane is on my bucket list.

So, later this morning, doing housework, I found some photos, and between them was this one….

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My great grandfather is the one in the middle.

I stayed looking at the photo for some minutes, combining the scene with my morning scene at the airport.

Thinking about all the things that after all are a part of who we are. They may be in the past, but there’s a way that they keep living next to us, and be part of our history and our family’s.

For me, it’s the stories, the photos, the things that still exist in my home, my grandmother’s home, my mother’s home, that I know that came from him, used by him. It’s the flat I’m living in, which was once his family’s house. It’s the trees that I can see from my balcony, that were planted by him and they’re still here, two floors tall now (and still growing I think).

All these are, in a way, part of my DNA, part of myself, running through my vains.

Being grateful 

What are you doing today?

Maybe relaxing with friends, or going to the movies, or spending a slow Saturday with your family, or…. anything!

I’m spending this day, with my family (still in my hometown), since it is a holiday in Greece. Lots of food and many movies are going to happen today!

As I was cooking with my mother in the morning, I started thinking about how grateful I am for all that I have. Actually many times I’m pausing in my everyday life, for a few seconds, to just think about all the things and privileges I have. Being grateful. 

Having a roof over our head, food to eat, warm clothes in winter. Plus, all the extra “luxuries”, all the trinkets, the things that we can live without, but life is much nicer with them! All these might seem very cliché, but they’re so true! Not everyone is that privileged. Not everyone has food and a home.

And there are always more things to be grateful for: doing the things that you like, being surrounded by loved ones, have love in your life (in any form), and so many more! For example, I’m feeling so grateful for having my mother still with me, after her adventures with cancer. And everyone else, definitely has a special reason to be grateful for.

So, today, once more I thought about all these, felt grateful, lucky and happy about them. 

Did you do the same?

Or will you? 

About psychotherapy 

This one is dedicated to my therapist… A person that I had the luck and privilege to meet when I was in great need. A person that helped me through crucial times. A person that still helps and guides me, so I can become a better person. 

This post is about my experience with psychotherapy. Being treated for a mental health issue is a big and complicated deal, so I prefer talking about what I really know and have been through. 

I had reached a critical point for my mental health when I finally decided it was time to ask for help. This was almost two years ago.

In the past, I went through a couple of opinions about therapists, some positive, some more on the negative side. But, if you ask me now I will tell you “do it!!”, “you will do yourself a great favor”, “everyone should go to therapy, it changes the way you see things”, etc, etc.

What happened in the space in between then and now? Years of untreated OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, an anxiety disorder), which eventually led to depression and climaxed in suicidal thoughts.

The untreated OCD was like being in a cage. The depression was like being on a desert. The suicidal thoughts can sum up in the moment that I went through, when my mind told me how I could kill myself.

So, I did the wise thing to ask for help. And I’m getting this help, until this day, when I have managed to become some kind of friends with my disorder and being not simply myself, but a continually better version of myself!

In the beginning I had to survive the hard times. I was feeling helpless most of the time, and therapy was the most important thing in doing better! Baby steps first. It was like I was inside a cave, I knew there was light in the end of it, but I couldn’t see it. It took some time and lots of hard work, always under the guidance from my therapist. In my case, some help from medication was needed. 

I actually always make a joke about how in the first session, she told me that she was happy that I started my treatment with therapy and not medication. In the fifth session, she told me that “I might also see a psychiatrist (they’re the ones that can prescribe medication) , so I don’t suffer”. Well… 

Where was I…?! Oh, yeah! So, medication helps a lot, but I believe that therapy, personal work and the determination to get better are more important. Psychotherapy changes your way of thinking, a lot! It did it for me. The first few months were about overcoming the really difficult situations.

Then, the way I was thinking about things, and the way I was reacting started to change. It didn’t become totally different, but it did impove, always under the basic idea of feeling good and having a good everyday life. 

During my therapy, getting rid of my OCD was never a plan, we were aiming on keeping some aspects of it that had to do with my functioning. At some point (while life was happening, and I had to deal with my mother’s cancer and her care), I started working towards making my OCD my friend and cooperating with it. I thought “since I’m living with it, why not cooperating with it as well?!”.

As more time was passing, I realized that I was dealing with life in a much better way, calmer and more mature. I was becoming a real friend to myself, more than ever! I was correcting things I didn’t like, maybe leaving some behind. 

In the same time I was working with all these in therapy (and on my own, I keep saying  it, but it’s so crucial to work with yourself), I decided to become friends with my body. When you start to feel peaceful inside your mind, you want to go all the way I guess.

And these procedures continue until the moments I’m writing this post actually. 
Taking care of your mental health and improving as a person is an ongoing process, it’s a type of growth that never really ends. But I believe psychotherapy is the key, the main door to that world! 

Living with OCD (no.8)

This one is about the nightmares. 

Or as they’re also called, anxiety dreams. 

Having anxiety, or an anxiety disorder, or both, goes hand to hand with lots of anxiety dreaming. 

You go to sleep, you manage to fall asleep, but Guillermo del Toro and Tim Burton cooperate, making a movie out of your daily life. That’s the best way to describe my nightmares at least!

My brain’s hyperactivity is at its best sometimes, while I’m sleeping. Thoughts I had during the day, issues that concern me, people, friends, subconscious, some of my obsessive compulsive ideas, things I have to do, family, things that have happened in the past, people I used to have in my life, stories!

I’m really working with myself and my issues. I’m meditating. I’m always looking for new ideas to better sleep. I’m trying things like listening to calming sounds while sleeping, preparing myself a couple of hours before going to bed, etc, etc. Sometimes, some of them, work; other times they don’t. 

And I end up waking up in the morning full of anxiety, after spending a night flipping around on my bed like I was Cthulu! I’m one of the lucky ones, that I manage to fall asleep, but still, I’m not sleeping well for months (more than a year and a half now). Part of me ia used to it, see it like a part of my ocd (which I live with in peace), but another part of me feels tired and agitated, and hopes for some good sleep…!

And the thing is that I don’t know if they ever going to stop. Maybe yes, maybe no, maybe they will come and go, according to what’s going on in my life. 

But for now, I’ll just have to keep living with them…. 

Cheers to anxiety and nightmares!