The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck – Or how to stop giving too many fucks.

Dear Readers,

I usually don’t read self-help books. I always think that they are too preachy, too positive, too unrealistic. But this was different. Something that gave me exactly what I needed that moment. Before I start this I want to give a big shoutout to Chaz whose blog I stumbled upon by coincidence. I thought to myself, this guy seems interesting so I’ll contact him. He told me about this book he was reading and convinced me.  So I bought this book and here I am writing a review. Thanks for telling me about it, Chaz! This is going to be another sort of review, you may like it, you may not. But I’ll still try it out. Because a special book deserves a special review. So let’s jump right in.

What the hell is this? You need to change? Seems impossible at first, but hell we all do. We live in a society that forces entitlement upon us. We feel entitled to give way too many f*cks about things that don’t matter. But then again, where does this come from?

Star blogger, Mark Manson, explains it with examples from our daily lives. What is going on in our heads? We’re asking ourselves more than not. Starting off with the Feedback Loop from Hell going to the Importance of problems and failure, ending with the Importance of our mortality, which can be a reminder (ironically) why we should live. But now, what is the Feedback Loop from Hell? Every day we see people on TV or Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media you’re using, living their happy, perfect lives. We see them every day and we realize we’re not happy all the time. That’s when the feedback Loop from Hell kicks in. You’re getting upset at the fact that you aren’t as happy as everybody is. But then you’re getting upset about being upset and (help!) you feel lost. We all know it, the feeling of freaking out. But freaking out isn’t helping us. Realizing that those shitty days are part of life, is. It’s really hard because everyone is having an awesome time and you see it, feeling miserable. Manson says: The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” Now, what does that mean? It simply means that the less we invest in something the more we’ll achieve. It means the harder we try the less it will actually work. It may not make sense to you right away but think about it. For example, we’re trying to figure out how to be happy. Thinking about it the whole time, giving a fuck. But we’d actually be happier if we’d just live. And then see what happens. Because if we keep on thinking about it, we won’t have time to actually do something. Or let’s say you want to write a book, but you keep on thinking about how you can do it, you will waste your time thinking about something and not actually doing it. We should allow ourselves to suffer and be hurt. Because this is this beautiful part of life called improving.

There’s something especially Millenials have to deal with every day. And that is Entitlement. Now, what is Entitlement? We believe we deserve special treatment because we believe ourselves to be special. We believe ourselves to be better than anybody else, so we deserve special treatment. We feel entitled to deserve things. Growing up in our society today means being entitled. We were raised thinking we could have anything in this world only because we wanted it. But then we came into the real world and realized that we couldn’t. And that’s not what we expected. Not at all. But we’ve gotta deal with that. We’ve gotta realize that we are not special, but we can still live a good life. Because this helps us figure out what to give a f*ck about and what not. It helps us figure out what is really important in our lives. There’s a quote that I was reminded of when I read this book.

” We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” (Tyler Durden, Fight Club, 1999)

Especially the part about learning that we won’t. Because that’s exactly what Manson says too. Being entitled may make us think we deserve to achieve greatness in everything we do, but it doesn’t make us happy. At least not in a real, meaningful way. In order to achieve happiness, we have to acknowledge our mistakes and problems. Because through acknowledging them we can improve ourselves. We know where to work on ourselves. The other option is staying entitled, but this won’t solve anything. It will only delay dealing with the problems. But they will eventually come back to the surface. Leaving you again with the choice of dealing or ignoring. This brings me to the next point.

Taking Responsibility for your actions

We are responsible for everything that happens to us. That’s what I understand when I hear people say you are responsible for everything that happens to you. And in a way, it makes me angry. Makes me scream, how am I responsible for having problems with my motor skills, how was I responsible for being bullied when I was a kid, how am I responsible for people leaving. But when I read on, I understood that it’s not the action itself but how we deal with it. We are responsible for our own misery after a breakup. Now, that might seem as if I’m a nonfeeling monster. But I’m not, I’m a human being just like you. Being responsible simply means we always have a choice. We might not have the power to control what happens to us, but we are in control of how we deal with it. It’s about choosing your values and metrics by which you judge actions and situations. We are responsible for our emotions. We have got the choice, make others responsible for our problems and never receive validation from them or be responsible ourselves and improving our lives. Which is simple but not easy. There’s a difference in what is simple and what is easy. It’s simple to say that we have to take the choice, actually taking it, however, is not easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s the worst thing to do. Same with when something is easy, it might not be the best thing to do either. This is individual for every situation. And I’m not polarising when I’m saying this. It’s important to me to make this clear.

Failure, Travel and (gasp) your Mortality

Travelling is something that I have been wanting to do for quite some time. My Wanderlust getting bigger every day. And I believe I’ve mentioned it a few times on here. What does this have to do with failure and mortality? The fear of failure is something that paralyzes us. It keeps us from improving ourselves. We’d rather stay in the same safe environment than dare doing something that is new to us and may take away our success, may take away our perspectives and change them. Change is always scary so we tend to settle for the safe version. But is the safety of certainty really better than the unknown that might improve ourselves and give us something even better? I’m not quite sure. Manson says that we should dare to do it. And that we should accept failure, not avoid it. It’s part of life. What does travel have to do with all of this? Well, it’s a lot about self-development. The freedom that is achieved through travelling is not everlasting. We tend to think freedom is only found out there and that it’s about not having to commit to one thing only. But Manson says that there is freedom in commitment itself. If you go from place to place and never commit to anything you might make a lot of experiences but you might miss others. You might see a lot of things if you’re travelling the world all the time, running from commitment. But you’ll never know what it’s like to have something constant. A constant partner, a constant place to call home. Commitment doesn’t have to mean missing out on all those opportunities. It means choosing what opinions to take and which ones to miss out on. Our consumeristic society makes it hard to do so, but we still have the choice. Now, what does your mortality have to do with all of this?

You are going to die

Scary thought, isn’t it? You are going to die, but so am I and so is everyone. That’s nothing new. We already knew that. Now, why is your death important for your life? Two opposites yet close to each other. In a weird way, death gives meaning to our lives. Because without it there is no reason to live for. Nothing would matter. With death, however, we know that our time is limited and there’s meaning. We are scared of being forgotten, which is why we do things that make people remember. Manson refers to a man called Ernest Becker who said that “{…} all the meaning in our life is shaped by this innate desire to never truly die.” He calls this “Immortality project” it means that we don’t want our second selves to die. We want to make them happen, but we don’t always succeed. Those projects are nothing but distractions from our fear of death. Becker realized that those projects don’t help us, they are only a form of distraction, denial. Instead, we should accept our fate. The inevitable fact that we are going to die. Manson explains:” {…} we can then choose our values more freely, unrestrained by the illogical quest for immortality, and freed from dogmatic views.” It can be scary to think about death, especially if you think about what happens after you’re gone. Will you have made an impact, will the world even notice? And that is a question we’ll never know the answer to. That’s scaring the hell out of us. The only thing we know for certain is that we’re gonna die. And that’s what we should build our lives around. Wanting to make an impact, we ask ourselves, how? Manson suggests that we start caring about other things than ourselves. That helps to get away from the entitlement. Because entitlement is isolating us from the world. Society doesn’t really help there. It makes us think we’re only great if we achieve being famous. But that is not true. He says: “You already are great because, in the face of endless confusion and certain death, you continue to choose what to give a fuck about and what not.” That is what makes you successful. You succeed to continue to live. And that’s already pretty damn great. So always remind yourself of that fact. Of that inevitability of your own death. Because if you can accept your mortality, you can deal with entitlement and failure. Maybe even easily. Because at that point, you realize everything comes together. And then you can live without being afraid to die. Even though you know that you are going to die. Awesome, isn’t it?

This book blew my mind. It made me realize a lot of things that I hadn’t before. And it made me rethink my own values. It helped me understand a few things about myself that I had been having trouble with. It helped me to see that I was understood. And I do not regret buying this book. I’m not saying that all of my problems are solved after reading this book, that’s impossible and unrealistic. And there’s a long way I will have to go to figure certain things out. But now I at least know how to deal with my problems in a better way. And it was a really interesting journey of self-discovery. Now I am reminded to doubt myself and my thoughts. It made me question myself. And I am glad I did. This book is really interesting even if you are not looking for a self-help book but want to educate yourself psychologically.

Now thanks again to you, Chaz, for telling me about it. I really enjoyed writing this blog post. I hope you are all doing great.

Goodnight, morning or whatever time it is, wherever you’re reading this from. Live.

Yours Gioia 🙂

 

 

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Fight Club – Or why we should all try to be our own Tyler Durden

Dear Readers,
It’s been quite some time since I last wrote a book review. And I have read this book quite some time ago but today I was reminded of it due to an assignment. So I wrote one and thought why no publish it. It’s not one of the best reviews I have written, I know, but I don’t think it’s bad either. So let’s just do it.

The last book that really left an impression after reading it, was “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk. I have always been fascinated by books that carry a message and give the reader perspective about our society, without directly trying to. And this book certainly does. This story talks about consumerism, millennials, the problem of entitlement and a society that controls us, instead of us controlling it. It’s a story about hope, following your dreams but also losing control and what it does to us. It all starts in a scenery of a skyscraper, a chair to which ‘The Narrator’ is tied, and a gun in his mouth. A countdown begins. Time passing till they’re ready. Then the actual story behind it starts. ‘The Narrator’, around his mid-thirties, is living in a condo, has a perfectly structured life and a Job as a recall specialist for the automobile industry
that he hates. Due to his insomnia he attends support groups for various illnesses, because it relieves him of his pain and because he can cry it out he can finally sleep. All of this works for a while until he meets Marla Singer. And because he doesn’t have any of those illnesses he knows that Marla is a fake. Just like him. That stops him from going to sessions, resulting in insomnia again. But then, from an instant, his life changes. On a flight back from a work trip he meets, young, good-looking Tyler Durden. Tyler is going to change his life forever. Which he doesn’t know when he meets him. He goes home to see his blasted-out condo. Everything valuable to him destroyed. Having no friends, he calls Tyler. They grab a beer and Tyler tells him to hit him as hard as he can. That is the beginning of Fight Club. After leaving the bar, ‘The Narrator’ goes to live at Tyler’s. And they establish the rules for fight club. The first club of Fight Club is: “You do not talk about Fight Club”. And after some time, others join them. It’s freeing them from being consumed by daily objects and things we use. Tyler teaches them a lesson, he reminds them that they are not their cars, their phones, their Computers or their money. He tells them that they are not special, like they were told. They simply are. The danger of entitlement is made clear. They should follow their dreams and values. Which is something I believe to be very valuable itself. But the whole situation gets overboard. Project Mayhem is made by Tyler and ‘The Narrator’ can’t control it anymore. Violence and death are a big part of that. Intentions that are well but actions that are contradictory. They try to gain Freedom from consumerism but instead they turn into revolutionary bombers. Tyler is nowhere to be found. And when we actually find out who Tyler Durden is, it blows our minds. He is the Alter Ego of the Narrator. Which makes sense, since he started appearing when the insomnia got worse. Tyler is everything ‘The Narrator’ wants to be but isn’t. Tyler is fearless, does what he wants and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to make people believe. Firstly, I believe that we all have a Tyler Durden. I am not saying we all have a psychotic Alter Ego that wants us to punch the air in front of us, and to free the world from consumerism in blowing up buildings. However, I believe that there is a part in all of us that is exactly what and who we want to be. And it belongs to us but does not have to be necessarily found and lived. Secondly, I think this book taught me to look at our society differently. This does not mean I support what happened when they established Project Mayhem. It simply means that I saw how the materialistic world consumes us, we are not free from it. We use our phones every day and we are don’t realize how much time they take away from us. Furthermore, I want to underline the importance of entitlement awareness. And also, the problems of our generation, the millennials. This book made me think about it for the first time. We actually are raised to believe we are special and we can make a difference and that we can achieve whatever we want. But we aren’t special snowflakes, and we won’t and can’t do everything we would like to. We’re being let down. And that book made me think about it in the first place.
In conclusion I really want to say how much I enjoyed this book. I read it in three days and could not put it down. This book has taught me to look at things differently. To see life from another perspective. To free myself from what does not truly matter. I don’t mean taking every device I have and destroying it, I simply learned to control is and not be controlled by it. Another lesson this brilliant book taught me was that it’s important to keep things balanced. However, this lesson was not directly mentioned in the book itself, it rather made itself clear to me when I understood how the plot had unfolded. I sincerely recommend this book to anyone who is ready for a thrill but also a lesson of how life could turn out.

I believe that it’s important to find our Tyler Durden and try to live it. And to remember to try not to be consumed by the things we use. I want to end this blog post with a quote by Tyler that really inspired me:

“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Gtoreat War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

And that is the best damn speech (next to Simon Sineks talk about Millennials) I ever heard. I hope you understand how important it is. In a few weeks I’ll do a post on the book ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ by Mark Manson. It’s a self-help book for Millennials. But more on that in a few weeks.

I hope you’re all doing great. Goodnight, Good morning or good afternoon or whatever time it is at whatever place you’re reading this from.
Sincerely Yours,
Gioia

PS: Thank you (you’ll know if you read it 🙂 )for showing me the movie and giving me the Fight Club mania. I hope you’re doing great wherever you are! 😉

‘The Lord of the Flies’ or what and where the beast is and how to conquer it

Dear Readers,
I haven’t done these in a long time, book reviews. Forgive me for the quality. I’m trying. But this one is gonna be a little different. I am mostly going to focus on the interpretation instead of reviewing it. Before we start off, I’ll give you a quick reminder about the plot and then you’ll be all set.

A bunch of boys, 2nd Word War. Crash landed on an island. They have no idea where they are, nor is there any adult to tell them what to do. So they follow their knowledge they have about building a society and try to start a democracy. They establish ground rules and vote for a leader. Ralph (the leader) Piggy (the intelligent), Jack (the hunter) and Simon (the rationalist) are the most important figures in this book. In the beginning this sounds like a fun adventure, being alone on an Island as a little kid. No one telling you what to do. You can play by your own rules. And since they’re just kids, they see the whole situation as a game. Yet, nothing’s ever as it seems. It is far too peaceful for an allegory in the 2nd world war. A problem that they don’t know how to solve occurs. The fantasy of a beast on the Island. And the younger kids are scared. They make an assembly to discuss the matter. Ralph as their leader tries to follow rational thought and explains it with the concept of fear. Jack comes up with the idea to find and murder the beast. The little ones can’t comprehend the concept of fear and rely on their instincts. Finding and killing the beast would be their only logical solution. The boys split up their group. The hunters, which led by Jack loses rational thought and intelligence, become savages. What started out as a game, becomes of fatal severity when one night a parachuter from the army falls in a storm and dies. The boys, not knowing what it was, assume it was the beast. Simon gets lost in the jungle. As he is wandering aimlessly through the trees, he finds the dead parachuter. Simon is exhausted and dehydrated. He sees a pigs’ head on a stick and hears a voice. That voice is telling him that it’s inside him. And that he doesn’t stand a chance. It’s introducing itself as the ‘Lord Of The Flies’. Later that night, Simon wants to tell the others. But as it is dark they think he’s the beast and kill him. That is not the end of the story. Yet it’s the end of hope.

In this book there are many parallels to the real world. Especially the world around the time of WW2. About the human race in general. The Lord of the flies is not a person. It’s not someone or something you can kill, it’s a darkness inside of us. Something everyone one of us has a part of. It’s a corner in our souls, filled with darkness and evil. The human race is capable of killing another human being. It’s a part of us that can only be conquered by realising it’s there. There’s another psychological aspect to it, which is the phenomena of obedience. It can be compared to the Milgram Experiment. This phenomena tries to understand how people are capable of killing other people. If a person is given an order by an authority, they will obediently follow it and will not hesitate if that authority has told them they’d take responsibility. That’s a very important part to it. If we can give up responsibility, we are more likely to do things we normally wouldn’t do. Such as killing. And exactly that happened in World War 2. This was why they were capable of killing. They just gave the responsibility to their leader. And that’s exactly what I interpret out of this book. The night Simon died, all the kids that helped in the process of killing him, gave the responsibility to Jack. Jack is their leader, he will deal with the consequences. I think it’s fascinating yet it’s making me shiver when I think about it.

You definitely shouldn’t miss reading ‘The Lord Of the Flies’. Not only because it’s a classic, but also because of its wide range of human knowledge. It helps you understand, not forgive, but surely understand. What’s fascinating about it is, that it can be used in so many ways. It can be used as a literary piece of art, but also as a psychology study on how humans work. You can use it in whatever way you want it to.

Good night, good morning, good afternoon or whatever time it is wherever you’re reading this from. Thank you for making it through.
Sincerely yours,
Gioia

Just another sketch of a weird mind

I miss you
I don’t know why
but I do

My feelings can’t comprehend
My brain has stopped working long ago.
Don’t leave, I’m screaming
And yet I want you far away
Because you’re the one
The one that left to be remembered

And maybe I’m crazy
Maybe I’m weird
Maybe I feel too much
But maybe I’m just right

Right for someone out there
And definitely not for you
Right for someone out there
I know this must be true

I’m not your baby anymore,
I never was,
but still
I knew that I felt something
And I feel that I always will

I wish you nothing
but the best
A girl who can make you see
with your eyes closed.
A girl who can make you see

A girl that touches your soul
And mends your wounds
A girl that makes you smile.

And after all, I wish you happiness
Because that’s what you deserve.
And to myself, I wish that I’ll find
some happiness too

I know this isn’t one of the best poems I’ve ever written but I felt like writing this so I just got my thoughts and my messy head out into the world and now I’m sharing it with you. I wish you all the happiness in the world. I wrote this to no one in particular yet some who mean the world to me. Some who will never want to be with me but that’s okay. Because they deserve someone who is right for them. And I wish them nothing but happiness and love. And I hope they’re well and healthy. I hope they live their lives just as I should live mine. Please just give me some time. Just a little bit. Maybe a month or two and I’ll be a different person. I already am. Every day we’re all changing. And that’s what life is about, I guess. But I’m happy with it because it just is.
And I hope next week I can give you something more detailed.
Have a good day, night, afternoon or whatever it is, wherever you’re reading this from.
Sincerely Yours,
Gioia

Bad News, for now

Dear Readers,
I sadly am not allowed to continue publishing my book until it has been proofread by my teachers. Apparently if they found this book on the Internet, they could claim that it is plagiarism, even if it’s my blog. And if they say that it’s plagiarism it can’t be graded as my final project. And if that happens I’ll be basically screwed. But I’ve already figured out an idea for those of you who like the story. I could send you a link and you could read it. This couldn’t happen on an official platform like WordPress but per email. So if you are willing to get into contact with me, feel free to do so. Maybe I could lock it. So only you can see it. Like a private blog, where only people with the link are able to see it. I don’t know yet. If you have any ideas concerning this issue tell me in the comment, please. If nothing helps, you’ll have to wait till October, when you can read the whole story. But for now I hope I’ll figure something out. I hope you understand.
This doesn’t change anything about the weekly series. Even if it might have to be another subject. Every Thursday I will continue to post something. About Philosophy, Psychology, Life, Books. Whatever I’m in the mood for. You’ll see.
I wish you all a good night, day, afternoon or whatever time it is right now wherever you’re reading this.
Yours truly,
Gioia

3 new pages of the 1st Chapter

Dear Readers,
I know it’s late for my Thursday post but I have been working on the story. I have been kissed by the muse. Please comment and feel free to give me any constructive feedback on anything you might see a problem in. So here we go:

Because being 20 didn’t mean feeling it. My best friend had been standing next to me the whole time. Watching me walk back and forth and freaking out. “You’re okay. Considering the situation, you’re more than okay. If I had to walk in your shoes, I wouldn’t last an hour without completely freaking out. And you’re right, it’s not enough time. Not nearly. But we’ll figure something out. I’m sure we will.” But I knew that, even if I wanted to believe it so badly, I’d have to leave. There was no way I could stay. I’d have to accept the decision eventually. No one knew that deep inside I already had. And no one would, for quite some time. The wind was howling viciously. It was already getting dark. “We will. Thanks for listening to me. And even though I’d love to talk longer I’ve got to go. They’re waiting for me. And if I don’t get work done, I’ll lose my Job. If that happens I’ll be screwed. Then they’ll just send me off earlier.” I didn’t remember when the last time was, I had used work to get out of a talk with my best friend. “Fine. I get it. I really do. Just think about it. And if you need me I’ll be here for you. Wherever you go, and whatever amazing things you’ll do, I’ll be your friend and I’ll be so proud of you. See you soon. Bye” And now I was alone again. The darkness was now complete. But a few stars were shining brightly, and the moon came up. As I was walking, all the roads that I’d known and walked since my childhood, suddenly seemed new and unknown. It felt like walking into the future, not knowing what to expect. Not knowing if I’d ever come back home. Not knowing who to trust, I felt lost. Lost and scared. But I had to keep it together, I had to control my fears and not be controlled by them. As I picked up speed, it became clear what I was running from. And it was absolutely ridiculous. Because it was a completely hopeless situation. I was running from my fears, and especially from the future. But some things just couldn’t be outrun. Some things, I knew, you had to face, to be free from them. The haunting thoughts, the feeling of being lost, lonely and unloved. Sometimes you had to realize that the fears were no actual dangers, but your brain couldn’t comprehend it. And you felt overwhelmed. Soon I could see my home from the distance. So I kept running till I was there. The house was a warming light in my soul, something I knew. And yet, I’d leave it behind. As I opened the door, the creaking sound I heard brought a smile to my face. My parents were in the kitchen, making dinner. I didn’t feel like talking to them, as I was still quite angry. Even though I had cooled down enough not to be snappy, I still was in a bad mood. A pensive state. But then I decided to ignore it. I knew it was childish and would get me nowhere, but I’d feel better for some time and I could enjoy some time outside my head. “Hey mom, dad. I’m back, can we just not talk about it? For just some time, maybe a month or so. Just give me time to adjust. Please. Because apparently, I’m not ready yet. And I’d appreciate it, if you understood.” Wow that felt weird. Inside my anger was brewing, there was a storm coming everybody’s way. And if it went out, it’d destroy everything. But the time wasn’t right, so I’d keep back with it, for now. My dad just nodded his head, sighed and it wasn’t talked about. It was gone, for now. The fear and the pain vanished, for now. All those ‘for now’s’ made me fear, what would come after. “Today it was terribly windy, wasn’t it?” my mother said. We started with the weather, then we went to the work topic. After that, we pretty much had it. Deep enough for small talk but not for anything else. That was fine by me. As long as it didn’t turn to a discussion about future concerns, everything was good. I didn’t even know what it was, what made me freak about that sort of stuff. I helped do the dishes and we talked about memories. My mother and I. She remembered me liking the English language and having an affinity for it.

And she had bought me a book, the 5th edition of “Englisches Lesebuch” by Professor Dr. Luebeding. It was amazing, full of stories written by famous English writers like Dickens or Shakespeare. And I felt sorry for her. She was trying everything to make me feel better and prepare me for life and I didn’t thank her for it, not once. Well she hadn’t had much time when I was a kid because we were so many. And she had to take care of all of us. Dad had tons of work. And he was always somewhere else. “Mom, why is it so hard to grow up? Why am I so scared of leaving? I’ve got so many questions and I feel so lonely and helpless. Can you answer these questions, or at least help me to understand?” I just had to know, I had to understand. And she looked at me, for a very long time. Then she said: “I can’t answer these questions for you, for they are part of growing up itself. But I can tell you something, whatever is out there, whoever you might meet, no matter what happens, be yourself. Don’t change for anyone. Be your amazing, smart, beautiful, open self. You can’t do anything wrong with that. And don’t go too easy on guys. They might just want to use you. But you’re worth more than that. And your father and I really do want the best for you. It’s not like we won’t miss you. But sometimes in life, you’re going to have to make a decision. It might not feel good right now, but you’ll see that there will be times when you’ll be thankful for that decision.” And as she stood there, talking, all about what life was like. I started crying like a baby. At least I wanted to. But I held back my tears and I picked myself up from the ground. What she said hit me like a slap in the face. I was confused, for on one hand I understood what she was saying, but on the other hand I was hurt, hurt by the fact that they were sending me away. “Thanks for the talk, mom. I’ve got to work early tomorrow, so I’m going to get some sleep. It’s late already and I can’t risk any mistakes with this client, she wants everything awfully neat. And God help me if there is one wrinkle in her favourite bedsheet. It’s not like she’d use it the same night to sleep on anyways. She’s just enjoying it, making other people feel small. Anyways, she’s a good-paying client. And I’ve got her in first thing tomorrow. So, goodnight” My mother smiled and nodded: “I know her, she can be quite nerve- wracking. Go get your sleep. Goodnight, honey”. So, I went upstairs, brushed my teeth and lied down on the bed. I read a little in the new book till I was tired enough to put it down. The candle had almost burned down completely. As it was burning down I watched its flames, playful yet dangerous if you came too near. My thoughts were traveling. Finally, the flame extinguished by itself. Now it was really dark, the best conditions for sleeping. But I couldn’t sleep. Too many thoughts circling around in my head, always moving, never stopping. Today, a lot had happened. And it was hard to process all those thoughts at the same time. I already saw my head exploding into thousands of little pieces. All spreading into every direction and getting smaller all the time. Thinking was exhausting. After 2 hours of thinking I fell into a thick, dreamless sleep. My alarm clock rang the next morning. It was 5:30 AM. The way to work was long, so I had to get up early. The moment I woke up I felt quite good. It was one of those moments you only have between sleeping and awake. Those moments when your mind was blank. No worries, no sadness, it just felt like everything was fine. But it wasn’t. And it would come back eventually, till then I just enjoyed that feeling. I dressed myself, washed my face and went downstairs to get breakfast. Dad was already up. And he drank his coffee, as usual. I said: “Morning, dad. How’d you sleep?” He said he had slept fine. I wasn’t quite the morning person, but if you had to work, you couldn’t show your bad mood. You just had to get over it. So I did. And I had improved a lot since I’d started. I drank my coffee, took my green coat and went out the door. It was windy again. As I crossed the fence, my feelings and thoughts seemed far away. Not that they were gone completely.

But I managed to put them to another place in my head. Somewhere deep down, locked in a metal box with Iron chains around it. Somewhere I was free from them. As I was walking, I mentally prepared myself for the encounter with that woman. If there was a person I hated because of their personality, it was her. She was always dressed in at least 3 layers of cloth, rich colours. Variations of blue, red and yellow. A walking-stick. A white hat on top of her head. That was her, she stood above all of it. It started raining, probably wouldn’t stop till around 3 PM. Again, this was typical for the season. After 45 minutes walking to work, I was glad to get into the warm store. Even if it meant talking to that terrible woman. Only 2 months left of it, anyways. My boss said I was late, but I was lucky because my client hadn’t arrived yet. The doorbell rang. And there she was, in all her magnificence. Standing in the door. “WHY ARE MY BEDSHEETS WRINKLED?!” she was screaming. I had a pretty good guess, but I didn’t want to provoke her. Provoking that woman meant having a death wish. Which I certainly didn’t have. “We’ll fix it straight away, Madam. Do not be concerned about any of it.” She scoffed. And then a mean smile lit her face. “Oh well, if it isn’t that Meyer girl. The one that’s leaving for America, off to another world. Away to leave her family behind? You should be ashamed of yourself, being so selfish.” She really topped it. I tried to figure out, how she had gotten the information. But if she knew, the whole town knew about it. She was the one with the biggest blabber mouth in town, if you wanted any gossip she’d know. “Dear Madam…, why don’t you mind your own business and do some shopping till your bedsheets are ready. I will not let myself be provoked by your opinions. You have yours and I have mine, so I’d appreciate it if we both accepted that fact and made peace with it.” It was hard controlling my anger towards her. Her reaction was not quite what I had anticipated, she smiled and then said in her nicest voice possible: “Little girls don’t tell me what to do or say, nor will you be able to dictate me away from doing and saying whatever I want.” She left the store, without the bedsheets. Which meant she was going to come back. I got started with washing them, then fixing the little holes in it, I was pretty sure she had moths, and after that I ironed it. After 3 hours she came back. A demanding glance on her face. I gave her what she wanted. She gave me a polite “thank you” and left. After what felt like thousands of customers later, I was finally done for the day. It was 7:30 PM. The stars lit my way. And I couldn’t wait to get home. It had been an awful day. On days like that I just wanted to disappear into thin air and come back when it was over. My siblings were already home. The babies were asleep. What a carefree time that had been. My 2-years- younger sister was waiting for me in the living room. “Hey there. I missed you. What’s been going on lately? I know something’s up” and she was right. She must’ve overheard a talk mom and dad had about me leaving. “Yeah, you’re right. Something is. I’m leaving for the United States. In 2 months’ time. And mom and dad have been talking about it. Now you know” And her eyes were filled with tears. “I don’t want you to go. I’ll just chain myself to you, then they can’t take you away from me” But we both knew that this was a stupid idea. “We’ve got to figure something out. But I won’t leave that soon, kiddo. You can’t shake me off so easily.” I hugged her and we talked. About everything and nothing. We spent the rest of the evening talking. And I got my safe world back. Even if it was just a few hours, these few hours were worth the world. And I knew I had to spend as much time with her as I could. Because we didn’t know what would happen after. No one knew if we’d see each other again. No one knew about the future, but that was okay. Because it was just the way things were. If I had known then how short a time it was, I would’ve valued it more than I did.

So that’s it for today. Nothing more, nothing less. But yet enough, I hope.
Goodnight, morning, afternoon or whatever it is at yours right now.
Yours truly,
Gioia

1st chapter of my first book

Dear Readers,
As promised here are the next 2 pages of my book. This week, I sadly can’t give you 3 pages like last week. I have been working on the 1st chapter and I’ve only written 2 more pages so far. Hopefully there will be more next week. And please be open, to criticise and give me any constructive feedback you might have. I’d be really thankful for this. So let’s get started:

Chapter 1
February 20, 1891.

It was a cold day in February and the wind was blowing outside. You could hear the windows and the door creak. But it was nothing unusual for those cold late winter months. I got up and went to wash my face. Breakfast was already on the table. My parents were really quiet. We had been fighting, about money and about how it wasn’t enough to feed the whole family. And that my brother couldn’t afford to send all the money here, because of course he needed some money of his own to live through the years. I missed him. Thinking about my brother, away in America, it made me wonder if he missed us too. “Good morning Henriette. Do you want some tea? We have to talk about something, honey.”, my dad said. And I already knew what it was about, they’d tell me to work harder and they’d tell me to find ways to earn more money to help pay the rent and to feed the kids. We had been 11 children, but now there were 7 of us left. My brother went to work in America and he’d send clothes and money over so we could survive. “Yeah I’d like some, thanks. And what is it, you want to talk about with me? Is it the same old subject again? Because I am trying my best and I can’t work any harder.” And it was true. I was trying, but a white sewer just didn’t get that much payment. It wasn’t the best job one could have but I had arranged myself with it and now I was starting to like it. “We know you are, honey, but it’s just not enough. And we can barely pay our rent. Your brother knows a rich Jewish couple in New York city. They need a new cook by June, because their old cook has found another Job and left them. And we were thinking that you could go and be theirs. Your mother taught you how to cook when you were very young and your meals are delicious.” He said it in a voice so carefree, it made me shudder. Sending off his daughter, like it was nothing. And my mother said nothing. Like she didn’t care. But I could see that her eyes were a little misty. “So, you’re sending me away. And you don’t care at all. You’ve got enough kids around here and you can’t afford me anymore? Look, could you just tell me another reason than money to leave this country? I know there are much more chances than here and my brother lives there, but here’s my home, my family that I’d miss so much. And friends I’d have to leave here. I can’t leave in 4 months. I just can’t!” The message started to sink in. I couldn’t leave in 4 months it just wasn’t enough time. My life was here, and not it a country over the ocean where I didn’t know anyone except my brother and his wife. I would have to leave everything I loved and knew behind, and I wasn’t ready. I was 20 years old and I didn’t know if I would be ready to get out into the real world. “We care, we care a lot about you. And we’re doing this in your best interest. You deserve to get the chance to have a life with more opportunities than we had in your age. And we’re sending you there because we trust you enough to go alone and do great things. We, as your parents, made a promise to ourselves on the day you were born. We promised to keep you safe and to make you ready for this world out there. And now you are. We already bought you a ticket. The train will take you to Hamburg and from there, a ship will take you to Liverpool from where you’ll get on a ship to the haven of New York city. You’re leaving in May. In 3 months, you’ll take the train and go out into the real world. You have to be strong. Harder times are coming and we want you to be safe.” Just to be sure, were they serious? But they always were. And I didn’t really have a choice, did I? They left me none, but that didn’t mean they could just send me off.

And they’d soon realise that they couldn’t live without me and they’d get back their senses anyways. I’d just give it time. And they’d forget it. But deep in my heart I knew that this wouldn’t happen. And deep in my heart I knew that chances were better if we were separated. But it hurt. And I didn’t want to hurt. I didn’t want to think about it. “I have work to get done” I said bitterly. I left the breakfast table and my parents in the kitchen. I ignored them as they started mumbling something about me being childish and not acting like an adult. Then I dressed myself and went for a walk. I just had to get out of there and cool down. But it was hard. Because yet again they had made my decision. Of course, America was the country where everyone could do what they wanted, but it was also more than a thousand miles away. And I’d have to leave everything that I knew behind. I did have an affinity for English and it had been my favourite subject at school. But was it enough to survive over there? One was expected to be able to take responsibility at the age of 19 years. And I would be asked to manage my life. I was 19 but I wasn’t ready. It was just too early. The wind made it harder to walk, it kept getting stronger. And it was just like the wind was telling me something. I just kept walking, away from the house, across the lawn. Out the garden gate and away from the unknown. My home suddenly seemed so small. And I kept walking till I had reached the beach. There it was, a sea of nothingness. I kept staring into the distance and out to the vastness of the ocean. And it scared me. Not the vastness of the ocean but more what was before me. I didn’t know what would happen when I’d leave them. I looked around, all the dunes in which I had used to play hide and seek with my siblings when I was a kid. They had always seemed so huge. Now they were about half my size and I couldn’t hide, not anymore. And I understood, suddenly I knew that I had to leave. My childhood was over and it was time for me to grow up. But growing up was scary, it meant leaving behind things and people that meant safety. It meant leaving the nest. Turning around, I took a new way. I went for a walk down the coast. It was more of a jog than a walk and before I knew it, I was running. I didn’t know why or what from, but I kept getting faster. And as I was running it felt like those were the so-called winds of change. Everything became clear for a moment. And I knew I’d have to jump into the unknown of the future. When I stopped I realised that it was already noon, I had been gone the whole morning. And I found myself 2 hours away from home. On my way heading back home I bumped into my best friend. We chitchatted a bit. But then she suddenly said: “What’s going on with you? I know that look, something’s wrong. So, tell me. I’m here for you.” And she really was my best friend, she always knew. “It’s okay. I’m okay. It’s just that…I’m leaving in a few months. I’m leaving for America. And I don’t know when or if I’ll ever come back. It just feels like I’m not ready. I just feel like I need more time. I mean, this is not fair. My parents kicking me out of the house like that and they’re still taking every chance to decide over what or what isn’t going to happen with my life.” I just had to get it out, because inside I was fighting with myself and I couldn’t take it anymore. “So, when exactly are you leaving? And did they already make a choice? I don’t understand, why now?” she seemed very confused and astonished. Of course, she was because that was mostly what I was feeling. “They have decided for me to be there by June, which means I’m leaving approximately on the 15th of May. I can’t believe it’s only 4 months. It’s just not enough time. And I don’t know how to deal with it. Because I’m torn, my life is not my own and I just realised that I missed work for the whole day. I’m a mess, right?” I was freaking out and I had to get it together, for there was no time to break down right now. I had already let myself go, rushing off like a 4-year-old that had been told the word “No”. But I couldn’t keep doing this, especially not if I wanted to show my parents that I was a grown woman who could manage her life on her own and could make smart decisions. Right now, I was far from being grown and smart. I was scared.

Now, I know this isn’t as much as last week but I still hope you enjoyed. Tomorrow I’ll go to the mountains with school, building igloos and going snowshoeing. I’m a bit off today so please excuse me for writing confusing.
I hope you’re all doing great and I am looking forward to writing this book.
Good night, day, morning or whatever it is at yours right now.
Yours truly,
Gioia

A new beginning

Dear Readers,
I haven’t written any blogpost since about half a year. I took a break and some time off, because I didn’t feel the passion of writing and reading like I used to. Now we’re in 2018 and I’m not a different person at all. But here I am lying to myself and to you. Because I am. We all are, everyday. We are a new version of ourselves. Maybe in a way, even a better person. But how do we define better?How do we even define what’s good or bad or normal? We simply don’t know. And no one has the right to say they do. Because it is simply beyond our knowledge. And we’ll never know. But that doesn’t or shouldn’t bother us. We might think, what’s the purpose? Why should we live our daily lives and do our daily tasks if it doesn’t matter in the end anyways? Why should we love, think or feel? Because we have the privilege to do so. We have this big opportunity to create things. To have ideas. To make this world a newer and maybe even better place, if there is such a thing. Now we were given this great, amazing gift of life. And what makes this world so interesting is that we’re all different people. With different talents and with different beliefs. We are this world full of different people that can learn so much from each other. And we are, everyday. Now I’ve gone away completely from what I actually wanted to tell you. I took a break, from wordpress and this blog, because I wanted to figure myself out. And a lot can change when you’re away for sometime. I figured that breakups can happen out of love and that it’s a lot easier to heal when it is that way. And I figured that friends are an extremely important factor in life because they build your support system and they accept you for exactly who you are. I figured that life is much more adventurous than I thought it was and many other things. Having time to think can be great, but it can also suck. Because sometimes you are overthinking and then you can’t get out of your head. And I’m still trying to learn that it’s okay to, sometimes, put yourself first. But as I was saying, I’m still trying to learn it, my friends and family, and the people I care about are more important that I am, it used to be their well-being first and then mine. I’d say now it’s near equal. But I guess we’ve all got things to work on. What I really wanted to announce is that I’m working on a story right now for my last year in High School and I want to share this story in progress with you. I’d put in here one page each week. Two pages if things work out well. The story is based on the life of my great-great-grandmother who emigrated to the United States of America in 1892. And she stayed there for 10 years. Sadly there is not much known about the time there, so I am inventing it. And I wanted to ask you, if yo could give me a respectful feedback on the parts that I show you. So far I’ve only written the prologue. But if you guys want to see it this week, tell me in the comments. I will post it on here as soon as you tell me. You would get weekly updates and I’d make it a series. I could also write about my progress and how the research is going. What do you think? There would be philosophy stuff on here too, because I love it and I want to study it at university next year. It feels so good to write again. And as I’ll be in need of my computer anyways, I’ll use this as an opportunity to blog again. I hope you are all doing good and if you’re not I hope you feel better soon. You are all amazing human beings and you deserve happiness.
Good night, morning or whatever it is where you are right now.
Yours deeply,
Gioia

Trains

They take you to places
You never thought you’d be.
They take you where
You need to see

Always moving
Never stopping
Always spinning
Endlessly

But they do end
Don’t they
They break down
They start burning

But broken things
They can be fixed
There’s always
Hope.

We wait
We think
We get up
And we keep on going

They don’t stop.
And if there is
a mistake in the engine
They wait to be fixed with
A new one

Always turning
Never stopping
Always spinning
End once and for all.

I hope you remember to pick yourself up after you’ve fallen. It’s not about winning the fight. It’s about picking yourself up from the ground and then to keep going. This is what is much stronger, much more important. Not giving up and to keep on going. Have a nice evening, night, morning or whatever it is at yours.
Yours truly,
Gioia

We are what and who we are.

Dear You,
Whoever you may be. This is for you to remember that you are not what people want you to be, you are what and who you are. Too many times people have told us how we’re supposed to act and what we’re supposed to do. Well they might have given you good advice in some ways. But never forget, you are in control of your own life. If someone tells you that you’re doing it all wrong and that you’ll end up getting hurt terribly, screw them. If someone tells you that love will get you a broken heart and that you’ll be shattered in the end, love anyways. These are the choices you have to make on your own. But you’ll never be alone. Don’t you worry. There will always be people to help you and stand by you. But understand, there will be things to face and fight on your own. But I know you’ll get out alive. And you’ll get out stronger than before. Some things will hurt and some things will make you want to end it all but you won’t. Because you’ll always have people to be there for you. And you’ll be who you’ll be. And the others will be who they’ll be. No matter how it turns out it’ll turn out okay. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re not okay the way you are. Please don’t. You’re perfect just the way you are. Remember this. Love hard. And always be yourself.