Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You know what? You never know.

I'm writing this while drunk on shame wine and soapy radio. I don't even know if soapy is a word, but I don't remember the right one. Anyhow. I've been told a week and so ago that being alone for so long is just not natural. Fine, that liking being alone so much isn't natural. And it's been obsessing me ever since. So now I'm clearing it up.
I'm fine. Really. I love watching movies on my own. I love going to the theater all alone. I love my time with the cat at home, reading, cooking and baking mischief. I love my job, my education and my family. Chill. I won't die without a man by my side. I love them men. They make amazing friends, lovers and puzzles. But they're not obligatory. There's not that much room in my bed. All I need is great conversation and pretty sporadic sex.
The thing is. I've been promising myself the next penis I offer more than action time to will be owned by a man I can see as an equal and a partner. But at the same time, I'm not willing to give up on the exciting times that come with meeting extraordinarily talented boys. I believe in them saving the world one word, song or play at the time. And maybe they need a push (or more, if you know what I mean) and I'm the girl for the job. Or not. I'm  making a retarded groupie joke. What I mean is I won't give up on the prospective fascinating passion stories, be them romantic or gothic.
But I won't be looking for them. I don't even know why I need to explain this, but have you ever imagined what the men in my books and movies can do? What the men in my songs tell me? Are they any different from the ephemeral love real men can offer me? I can buy my own wine and create my own handmade orgasms, thankyouverymuch. What I want to see is extra quality. I need dream makers and dream catchers. I need shameless impossible to keep pace with men. I want breathlessness and piercing brains. I must have mindblowind indescribable pleasure. Why would I settle? It's not like it's gonna get any better otherwise. I require happiness!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When nobody's watching

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the fact that I haven't been concerned with my spiritual self for a couple of years now. Yes, I've been praying for these past few months, but my prayers are actually therapy. I count my blessings and wish really hard for the people in my life to stay healthy and happy and maybe sometimes I want a thing or two for myself as well. But it's more like a list to Santa, a hint to the universe as to what I want from life. However, I have not been concerned with findind that quiet place inside anymore. That one moment that lasts forever when I'm nothing and everything at the same time. That pursuit has been a great part of my life and my dreams for as far as I can remember. And I've lost it, I let it go, somehow I wondered in a darker place. I remember saying I'm angry all the time for no reason, I remember people telling me I've become so self-centered... when I was actually anything but centered.
The truth is I've been playing so many parts I've lost count and sometimes I get them wrong, and sometimes the masks overlap and it's a mess. I've worked so hard to be a good student and a good daughter and a good girlfriend, I never had time to actually be good AT something... and to actually be a good person. I feel like I wasn't good at my job or studies, I rarely genuinely wanted to do something for the sake of it. I was just so great at playing those parts because I needed the validation. Psichology says we have two main types of motivation: extrinsic and intrinsic. And the latter comes from the inside and in the long run gives us a higher level of satisfaction. Well, most of my motivation was extrinsic. It doesn't mean I didn't enjoy stuff. It means I did it for the sake of others and the rewards that come with it. I played the parts that were expected of me. And when I got tired of it I got wasted until I didn't know who I was anymore. I sometimes envy actors. Off stage, when they take off the make up, they must be so tired of being somebody else, of having their whole bodies live another life for an hour or two, that they can actually be their true selves. But then again, plumbers fix their own pipes as well and chefs cook their own dinners sometimes.
The thing is... I don't need to find who I am, it's not about that anymore. I need to start living more AS myself. I sometimes wonder how people can still stay innocent or passionate or dreamy at 30 and I think it's because they can separate themselves from all the crazy exterior numbing crap. I do that too, but out of habit, I sing in the street and I dance around the house and I dream on the bus. But once I can consciously truly go back there, to my place inside of genuine peace and joy, to restore my faith and see the world as a river, well, only then I'll be able to be every single day the person I am when nobody's watching.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Rebirth and Escaping the Spiral

Greetings and Happy Easter! It’s been a bit over a year since we last spiced up the web with an update and we decided it was high time to fix that. Enjoy our first article for the year 2012!

I might not be the biggest fan of dogmatic religion, but if there’s one celebration that I can agree with, that would be celebrating Resurrection or Rebirth. And since it’s Easter, we have people worldwide celebrating Jesus coming back to life after dying on the cross. This will not be a post about religion or what my beliefs are on the subject… that would take long hours of talks at a table with plentiful drinks, a pack of the lightest smokes on the market and one dangerously large pizza and the topic would still not be estinguished! Hence, this post is about coming back to life, rebirth, regardless if we use Easter as a metaphor, the Phoenix, the coming of spring or the simple fact of daylight saving time. To be closer to something more specific, I’d say it’s about hope.

We’ve all had our ups and downs and every once in a while (or in a longer while), we periodically set new records with the downs we hit, either because of the level of said “down” or rather because we hit a down point in a life domain we haven’t hit down points before. Since we here at Mischievous Sweethearts deal with relationship topics, I’d like to stick with that in this regard as well. I have seen a fair number of people going through relationship (or post-relationship) issues that affected them to such an extent that the confusion and pain they perceived subjectively seemed to greatly surpass the manifest, apparent cause. Such “downs” are situations that are both unpleasant as well as perhaps also new, thus one is unable to relate to a past experience one has gotten out of before. It needn’t be a real tragedy in reality, but the subjective perception one has to such an experience can reach great negative proportions in which everything seems hazy, rational thought is paralyzed to the emotionally involved and you can’t really put your finger on the right direction and go with it in full certainty. Time heals, but taking too much time to get out of a conflict can cause collateral damage. If you’re a magician, all tied up in chains, thrown in a tank of water, you will not have the luxury to take your time to sob about how cold the water is or how heavy the chains feel. You will need to hurry the fuck out of your bindings and get the hell out of the water tank or else you DROWN, game over!

I used to have quick fixes for everything. If a friend came up to me and poured her heart out, it would be easy for me to analyze the situation and throw in a solution (glory to the luxury of being emotionally detached!) which would do the trick. Things like the generic “if you’re not happy in situation A and cannot fix it, then leave situation A behind because you will change a 0% probability of happiness with an percentage that can range from 1 to 100%, which is better than the 0% we are already sure of”, the well known “if you have fallen for another guy, it’s a clear sign your initial relationship is broken. Can it be fixes? Yes-How?-Do it! No-Move on!”, the overused animal comparison “If you look at it clearly, the answer is right in front of you: it’s either a cat or a dog” and, one of my old favorites “Life is too short and fucked up for you not to take your chances” (which is actually something a dear friend of mine told me about 10 years or so ago, at a time I really needed to hear those words). It’s impressive how well these phrases work on people who need them. It’s even more impressive how they have no effect once you’re the one who is emotionally involved and you already know the majority of things that can be said in your own situation. It’s like jumping from being expertly in full control to being a second hand retard in managing emotional problems: frustrating like fuck.

I hadn’t really given this much thought until, at some point in the past, I ended up facing a similar situation. I quickly realized the bound-magician-in-the-water-tank metaphor fit perfectly, so my only real chance of getting out relatively unharmed was acting full-speed-ahead out of the chaos that was snowballing behind me… that was less than a second before my emotional sphere used a taser on rational thought. You see, being confused about things you earlier were so sure about, you could practically swear on them, sucks. It sucks because it makes you unsure of your own prior thoughts, it gets you frustrated and, in time, gets you to doubt your every next thought as well. This psychological monster feeds on time and frustration and shits doubt and anxiety. And, for the vicious circle to be complete, when frustrated and in doubt, one tends to take even more time to sort things out, feeding the beast even more. In such circumstances, one either goes spiraling down into mediocrity and/or depression OR one breaks free.

So how do we do it? How do we break free? How does the Phoenix rise again from its own ashes? Well first it needs to completely burn down. All leaves fall before the tree grows new ones in spring. You have to let go of the dysfunctional that can’t be fixed, to be able to build anew. It’s not always as easy as it sounds, especially if one is emotionally attached to the dysfunctionalities themselves or, moreso, addicted to them in a destructive way (e.g. toxic relationships). In such situations, one feels a deep fear or even panic when confronted with parting from the very things that cause the turmoil. This is a paradox I have seen in many, it’s as if their basic survival instinct is temporarily shut down. So, to let go properly, you have to estinguish the fear, break all toxic emotional bonds with the cause of conflict and then procede to removing the cause itself. In all this time, it is essential to stay focused. Doubt lies at every step and what this psychological beast destroys through doubt is self-esteem, having faith in your own choices. You need to patch that up if you’re going to get out of this properly. Constantly being unsure about your decisions, returning upon them, thinking them over for a hundred times then changing your mind every other second and beating yourself up about it, simply REINFORCES SELF-DOUBT and breaks you down even more. Not to mention that it robs you of your time, energy, focus and ability to enjoy the small pleasures of life. Trying to be extremely rational about things in times when your self esteem is low is a slippery slope. You can have the most impeccable logic and still, when done with the theory, your emotional side will kick in and say “what if it’s wrong?”, then make you go through the whole procedure again, resulting in ever more time and resources spent feeding the monster which in return shits another free pile of anxiety and doubt.

At some point in the spiral, you start desperately acting in one direction or another, trying to angle things in such a way that you can escape. Sometimes something really big happens that makes you go “FUCK! I fucked this up”, just to later realize that maybe you haven’t. Sometimes you are uncertain whether it’s really one step backwards into chaos or one step forward towards enlightenment. Tough to say… but the simple fact that you are taking a step is proof that you are able to move, able to make a choice, you are NOT stuck. Try to learn so that the next step you take will be made with more confidence.

To sum things up, if you’re spiraling downward because you hit a fork in the road and there’s a mental monster holding you back from taking either of the paths ahead, for ANY subjective reasons you might be going through (it’s improper to judge people for the reasons that cause them such situations. It’s important to remember that each of us has a personalized emotional response to the things in our lives and that while there are things which for some do not seem like a big deal, those same things can be perceived as being of maximum impact by others – and the other way around) this is one sequence that I have found to be useful to those in need:

ü  Identify causing factor.
ü  Work your self-esteem back up, be able to trust yourself and be sure about your decisions!
ü  Renounce fear and panic!
ü  Detach emotionally to revive a rational perspective.
ü  Remove causing factor!
ü  Enjoy freedom, reinforce self-esteem.

A few tips that might aid you on your way out of the spiral:

·         Try not to repeat prior experiences that you already know the result of, they will just consume your time and resources. Chances are that if you tried to stick a large cube into a smaller round hole and it didn’t work for the first 100 times, it will probably not work for the next 1000 times either (we do not encourage you to try something like that for 100 times, but we know you might be tempted to, if far enough down the spiral).
·         If somebody reaches out a truthfully helping hand, GRAB ON to it! Fuck pride and accept help if needed. Do so while keeping your dignity intact so as not to damage the self-esteem you’re trying to nurture back to full capacity.
·         Be gentle with yourself.
·         Get a hobby: something creative that gives you real end results, like drawing, painting, pottery, knitting, volunteering, singing with friends, hitting the gym or even martial arts.
·         I’m not the one to sink sorrows in booze, but for the ones who are: DON’T. This should be a time of gaining confidence and self esteem, not ruining them the moment lucidity strikes through the hangover of the next morning.
·         Get to know yourself and everything about yourself that makes you who you really are. Learn to believe in yourself again by doing so.
·         Do not take things in life for granted. Be truthfully grateful for being yourself, friends, family and everything else you can be grateful for. They really MATTER.

And in case you’re not the one sliding down the spiral but have a friend doing so… be a good listener. Do not judge, even if certain issues might seem small to you, to them they may weigh incomprehensively more. Once you get them talking, don’t let them get stuck to one idea that keeps repeating in their heads… guide the conversation in such a maner that they end up giving themselves the right answers. It’s not easy and attempting to empathize with somebody’s turmoil is far from pleasant. It’s a helping hand that might seem like nothing big to us but may turn things around for the best in those who need it most.

You might have noticed that I didn’t go through the topic of what type of relationship issues causes one to enter a downwards spiral, even though I mentioned toxic relationships and difficult decision-making. This is because reasons may differ drastically from one person to another, just as subjective perception of the world differs from individual to individual. EVERY person has their soft spots, those who “don’t”, simply buried them on a subconscious level. Even so, they can still be reached and stimulated into producing the spiral syndrome. So, spiral-surfers, know that you are not the only ones prone to such experiences. And for the rest of you, show support to those spiraling because every person has his or her own sensitive trigger points.

Here’s to celebrating hope, rebirth, spring, the Phoenix and the great Resurrection. I dedicate this post to all those in need of finding hope within them, of feeling support around them and who will eventually rise from the ashes of their own spiral, with lessons learned and one less vulnerable spot.

So, spiralers, ex-spiralers and all of you who have never spiraled, what alternate way to break out of it would you suggest? What advice do you think could be useful to those going through such an experience? Also, tell us what brings hope and sunshine for you when you’re having a rainy day! We, here at Mischievous Sweethearts, wish you an amazing spring! Make the best of it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall… Who am I?

Look into the mirror. Take a good hard look at yourself. Who are you? How many of us can actually find one specific answer to this question? “Well”, you’d say, “I am <insert personal name here>, of course!”. But what does that mean? That is merely an identification word your parents have decided to give you. What makes you be you? “I am a teacher/doctor/lawyer/apple salesman/freelancer”, you might say. Or perhaps “I am a mother/daughter”, “I am thoughtful/impulsive/aggressive/peace loving”, “I am the best of the best!” It is amazing how many answers people can give to this question but without truly touching the point, if indeed there is a point to touch.

The nature of being is extremely malleable, and all those above are mere lively roles that cover an essence that should be common to them all. To shed more light on this, the lawyer goes to work and puts on her lawyer role and simply does the job brilliantly! Then she goes home to her husband and kids, lets aside the vicious predator lawyer role and switches to the wife and mother. We call this adequately adapting to the multitude of situations and circumstances life puts us through. But what is common to all these? What defines us, what binds all these roles together so that we remain one person, instead of a multitude of unrelated dissociations?

When we place a label on somebody (and I know we’ve been through this topic before, from an extremely basic point of view), do we label the person or the way the person reacts to the circumstance he or she is in? We talk so much about people, about the actions of individuals, but it is not so often that we put all these stories into context. We may find that labeling a person in circumstance A will prove itself completely useless once we find ourselves in circumstance B. There are two ways this error may unfold:

               1. Initial negative label contrasting following positive one/s.

For example, you have an acquaintance who, through his or her actions, has proven him/herself to be irresponsible, unpredictable and even chaotic with how they carry on with their lives. Yet in spite of this negative(ish) label, it comes to you as an unexpected surprise when this person helps you out in a moment of extreme need, without asking for anything in return, thus showing you a certain side that you have not seen in them before. Do you re-label?

2.           2. Initial positive label contrasting with newly found negative one/s.

A short example in this case: first discovering a person through their talent (and we all know how the first impression always leaves a mark), being impressed by it, appreciating it to such an extent that we convincingly label the person as pure genius! Later on, in social circumstances, you realize that the same person shows no sign of moral value towards you or others, something that heavily contradicts anything that would be labeled as “Pure Genius”. So now, you either do some re-labeling, or follow a sad path towards suffering because the person did not meet the expectation of the initial label you stuck to his/her forehead.
We must keep in mind that each label we create generates a list of expectations. If these expectations are being met, they reinforce the initial label. If not, they create confusion and can even lead to personal frustration. One must either reconsider the label or add a new one. But how does that work? How can conflicting labels coexist stuck on the same person? They can, if properly put into context. To work on the examples above:

1.       Number one can be a complete mess in his or her ‘love life’ or superficial social decisions, but a real friend when specifically needed.

2.       Number two might be pure genius in his/her field of artistic creation, but immoral and/or unreliable in other social situations.

I took the liberty of underlining the exact circumstances to which the labels of the two examples apply. Thus, even though conflicting, they can coexist in a person, because each labels one role and each role is active in a specific circumstance. But wouldn’t this be like labeling different people within one person?” you might ask. Very much so, this is the precise reason why we must focus our attention on discovering what makes all these roles activate within a certain one individual. If we manage to answer that about ourselves, we will manage, or at least be a lot closer, to knowing who we really are.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


There is a custom in the Balkan area according to which every beginning of spring we wear a lace made out of entwining white and red thread. Some wear it on their wrists, like I noticed with my Bulgarian friends and some wear it together with a small decorative object (used to be a small coin or even a button, now the sky is the limit in terms of variety) on their coat’s lapel, as we do in Romania. Some wear it just for a few days and others until the weather gets better. In some areas people wear them until they see the first stork. In others, until they see a blossomed tree and when they take it off, they tie it around a branch.
Even if it became a commercial holiday, in which people just buy and gift these tiny decorative objects, Martisor is already a cultural reflex for Romanians. People make these gifts in order to show appreciation, but it’s such a wide spread practice that women who don’t receive any will wonder why. But as a ritual that marks the beginning of spring, Martisor is also associated with practices of cleansing, of welcoming the new season with a clean house and holiday clothing. In most areas men give Martisor to women and children to the elderly. But there are regions, such as the Eastern part of the country where girls make gifts to boys and they receive gifts on Women’s Day, on the 8th of March.
Initially, the lace was white and black because black was not associated to death and suffering. In later customs, black had been replaced by red, as a symbol of youth, of beauty and vitality. Red is also associated to spring as a new beginning, so the Martisor is a symbol of the succession of the two seasons – one coming and the other one going. Back in the days, mothers used to make Martisor for their children. Later, women and young girls started wearing them as well, as ethnographers explain. Some women wore it as a necklace and men would decorate their hats with them. People even tied them to their doors and roofs so that the house is protected from evil spirits.
There are various superstitions about Martisor. Some say that wearing it protects children from disease and young girls are protected from the blinding rays of the spring sun. The two threads had to be entwined because this action kept the bad luck away. Another superstition is about the “old ladies”. Between the 1st and 9th of March people can pick a day and depending on the weather that day, you can predict how your whole year will be.
This superstition comes from a story that has some historical roots. It says that Dochia, the sister of Decebal (the king of the united tribes that lived on the Romanian territory before the Roman invasion) was courted by a Roman soldier and she didn’t want to marry him. When her brother committed suicide (rather than see his country in the hands of the enemy) she ran away to the mountains. It was the beginning of spring and the weather was very unstable. She tried to disguise herself as a shepherdess and she had lots of sheep skin coats on to keep her warm. But as she was moving upwards on the mountain with her sheep, the weather kept changing and she would take the coats off one by one. At some point, when she was left with barely any clothes on, it suddenly got very cold and she froze. She remained knows as “the old lady Dochia”, although the legend says she was young and beautiful. The first days of spring are named after this legend, to emphasize the instability of the weather during that week.
I was planning for a while now to write a little post about these Eastern European customs, especially because I know we have a few foreign readers and maybe they would enjoy an insight into our cultural practices. As for my fellow citizens, please feel free to complete or correct my accounts. And may all of you have a happy fulfilling spring!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why this year I love Valentine’s Day

A couple of nights ago one of my friends told me she hated Valentine’s Day because it’s a foreign holiday and it has nothing to do with our national traditions. Also, she said she will only celebrate our own holiday, called Dragobete. This is celebrated usually on the 24th of February and is an equivalent to tomorrow’s American holiday. Boys and girls used to pick the first flowers of spring and then sit around fires on top of the nearby hills. At lunch time, the girls would run away and the boys who liked them would try to catch them. If the girl also likes the boy, she can kiss him in front of everybody, this sometimes meaning they are engaged for an year or even longer. Unmarried girls would gather the last snow and use the water for beauty rituals and other spells throughout the year and the older people would avoid killing any animals this day so as not to spoil their mating season. The girls who would not meet any boy this day was “cursed” not to be loved by anyone that whole year. It’s a lovely holiday and I adore all the symbolism it implies. I will celebrate it as well, even if maybe only for the rituals. But I don’t feel that this tradition is any closer to my heart than the other one, since in my family’s village nobody knows much about it and they have never celebrated it. I remember many magical holidays and rituals my grandmother would perform, she even had her own spells and ways of understanding nature and reading a calendar. But none of those she taught me about was a celebration of love.
I’ve usually been single on Valentine’s Day, I had this really interesting habit of breaking up with people just before. At least I saved them some expenses. But I always spent it by myself, daydreaming and eating chocolate. I felt free and full of hope, like the whole world is laid down at my feet and I considered it to be a day I cherished all the love I had received and all the love I was going to enjoy. So I never felt lonely or sad on Valentine’s Day. Just pissed, because I used to condemn the commercial feel the whole holiday was infected by. But now I know they would always find something to sell and a reason for people to buy it. So why not enjoy the new decorations kicking out the snow flakes, why not welcome all the warm colors that invite spring in? I’m really happy when I see a lot of people carrying flowers and being more attentive and tender than usual, even in public places. When people say they can love each other all year, I couldn’t agree more. But they should be encouraged to publicly love each other just a few days a year. So I pardon public displays of affection on love related holidays. It beats the hell out of winter’s ass and it brings a feel of hope all over.
So this year I’ll be having a pretty uneventful Valentine’s as well. But I’ll be happy for every couple I see on the street, I’ll buy myself flowers and treat myself to a nice evening of music and maybe wine. Because this year I have something special to celebrate. For the first time in a really long time I feel there are some great people out there and that maybe I’m ready to give it a shot. I caught myself thinking one night that good things don’t happen to me. And just switching that mindset has made me realize I want those nice things and I think I’m finally able to enjoy them. So this year I believe and that’s a wonderful reason to celebrate. Chances are the road is long, but I enjoy walking and I have to thank my dirty Cupid for pushing me forward. Just the thrill of giving it a try was enough to get me to ask myself the right questions.
Valentine’s Day is not just a holiday the corporations use to creep into our lives. It’s a good reminder to invest a little more in our romantic lives, a boost to define where we are in this respect and whether we want to sit on the side or dive heads in. After all that time when the more Valentine’s approached, the better I knew I wanted out, I’m in a great place now and I finally believe it can only get better from here. So you people enjoy being in love every day and know that tomorrow I will not be engrossed by any of you groping and slurping on each other’s faces on the street or the bus. Happy spring holidays!

Valentine's Public Stoning