Personal growth

Here I am again! This time I’m blogging from Southern Spain where I’m living at the moment. I have this gnawing feeling that my English is deteriorating each new sunny day spent here. And my Spanish doesn’t seem to get any better either so I’m probably just losing the ability to speak any language properly.
That isn’t really the only reason why I’m back: I’ve been craving to write. Write, write and write! I suppose new life situations always wake up my inner author. So, yes, I might tell you some stories from Andalusia during the next four months but not quite yet.

I realised something very strange today.
My friend had linked an article on Facebook about this politician in my home country who had very provocative (krhm – just crazy) ideas about everything from feminism to immigrants. I was reading it with an increasing fury and confusion – how can someone think like that! How is it possible to be so absurdly narrow-minded?
That’s when it hit me: my own mindset only three or four years ago.

I feel a bit ashamed to even tell this story but it also taught me something positive about myself and humans in general, I suppose, so here we go. I had a very religious upbringing – and I still am religious, if in a bit different way than back then. I also grew up to believe that even if I didn’t morally accept something I had no right to judge people for who they are. So I had many close gay friends and it never bothered me anyhow (nor it should have bothered).
However, there were these presidential elections in my home country soon after I had received the right to vote. There were two main candidates, both very popular. I wasn’t politically aware at all nor was I interested in finding out properly about the parties the candidates represented. So what was my decisive factor? The other candidate was gay. That was the main reason that put me off of voting for him. I didn’t want someone so openly gay to represent my country.

Today I almost don’t recognise the person I used to be. I used to be absurdly narrow-minded. And I’m not even happy with the current president I voted for. I believe this another candidate could have done better job and today his values are much closer to mine.
However, my past serves a good point: people can change. For the better. And perhaps even I can try to understand where all the narrow-minded people come from with their harsh judgements. I still have much to learn myself as well and hopefully I can keep growing more and more as a person.

Well well, this post is getting way too serious now. Let’s change the tone and I can tell you a few other things I was a bit delusional about in my teenage years:
1) Body hair. I used to shave my arm hair besides all the other hair because, well, female bodies are not supposed to be hairy anywhere. Luckily I quit this nonsense before I turned twenty because it’s such a waste of time – who even cares about my arm hair?? Today I have wonderfully soft and hairy arms. Maybe one day I can feel as carefree about my legs and armpits, too…
2) Boys boys boys. I dreamed of finding the perfect boyfriend pretty much all the time. I thought of boyfriends as somewhat a necessity and used to sigh how I’m already sixteen-seventeen-eighteen and never had anyone! I wanted a boyfriend without realising how much commitment it needed and I wasn’t even ready for any of that. So when I finally got my first very short-term “boyfriend” at eighteen, I treated him as a friend because I had no idea what it meant to be with someone… Funnily enough, when I learned to be happy with myself and when I was finally ready for one, I found the great boyfriend. At twenty-one and very content it didn’t happen earlier.
3) Opinions. It’s great to have strong opinions about things you know nothing about! Well, this is not even funny because I see so many people doing this… And I still do, a lot. I guess this is my bad habit but I can tell I’ve got a lot better. I used to have lots of arguments with my friends and get angry very fast when they couldn’t agree with my obviously right opinion.

There are definitely many many more things but some of them are definitely TMI so let’s leave it at this.

My message to you is: Grow! Challenge yourself! Dig deep! Deeper. (Try to reach China!)
Bye for now, my little pumpkin dandelions~

Sentimentality

I wrote some time ago how easy it is to forget what blue sky looks like when you are staring at the same grey sky day in day out. This applies to anything in life, really. Lately I haven’t had any motivation with my studies and in the morning I would always end up choosing the warm blanket over the cold reality.
I was lucky enough to wake up from that demotivating coma. Firstly, on Saturday I was working among the prospective language students and they were all so excited about their prospective futures. I spent seven hours chatting about my university, why I study languages, why anyone would, travels, cultural differences and similarities, world, basically about anything and everything that generates a spark in this wandering mind of mine! 
That’s when I got a flashback of myself two years ago: I was bouncing off the walls every time I imagined the university-me. It was all exciting and new, I was ready to immerse myself into the world of languages and new experiences, I simply couldn’t think of anything better than strolling around the campus with my notebooks and intelligent university girl looks. Suddenly I remembered what this is all about. This is all about me doing what I really want to do – not about the grim 9am mornings or a grammar teacher who doesn’t like me. I’m on my way.

Another thing that brought me back to life: this song. It reminded me of why I’m studying Japanese language and where it all began. I discovered the song when I was in a high school exchange in Japan, five years ago. That is when it first hit me: how amazingly beautiful that language is and the even more beautiful culture it holds within. It’s the culture where you can gather a large group of people together to sing how you shouldn’t lose yourself even during the hardest times. And it’s all sung in a language that makes the beauty of the message shine through. Somewhere in the midst of hundreds of grammar points and kanji characters I lost this feeling. 

Well, I will slap that motivation on its bum, because here I am again!

I will bring all my dreams and fears

…five, six, seven eight.
Adventures ahead,
Something to look forward to, my safe haven of April
…lower the hand, right turn.
Things happen when you don’t expect them to happen,
they say.
But what do they know, you used to think
And yet even a Monday in the cold February became something to look forward to
…dame!

 

I am fine with where I am now because all we have is now

Dear 2013,

A year ago I had a feeling you would be all about love.
I doubt I will remember you as a very exciting year, I feel like nothing big happened, just mundane things and not even that much travelling. But I hope I will remember you as a year when I learned a lot: I learned about myself and I learned about what is going on around me. I felt more than ever before and I got scared, I kept asking myself who I am, these feelings don’t belong to the girl I thought I was. I found new sides about myself. I thought the sad times would take the happy times away but in the end I realised nothing can erase the happiness I once felt – and I was definitely more often happy than sad, and that is what I want to remember. I learned not to be scared for hurting myself because then I would miss the great times as well.
You brought me new friends and made me realise how amazing people I already know, you taught me I can never be too grateful for these angels around me. You tried hard to make me focus on the moment but I’m afraid I’m still the same old dreamer, the same old redhead – simply with a bunch of new thoughts in this big head of mine. I hope I can continue learning, loving, and dreaming. I am facing the new year with a lot more self-confidence, understanding, and new kind of inspiration. I’m thankful for everything you gave me and even for everything you took away from me. I’m confident that somewhere between the ordinary life you showed me the right path. I haven’t completely figured out what the path is all about but I think I’m definitely taking my first steps on it.
I suppose you really were about love – not the way I had imagined, but nevertheless. By getting to know myself better I have also realised how I can be kinder toward other people, and more importantly, how I truly want to help and be kind. You have showed me how to feel free and happy.
Thank you!
Yours sincerely,
Outi

How NOT to hit on guys

Lately I’ve been hearing these wonderful compliments about how I look like a fairytale character. Oh, who wouldn’t love to be the doppelganger of Snow White with mahogany hair, flawless skin and lips like a rose? Or some kind of fairy princess with graceful moves and long, flowy, dreamlike hair? I thought about those sweet words and realised I am indeed a fairytale character – but my fairytale is called “Tales of a Spinster: How Not to Hit On Guys”.

Here are a few extracts from the story, in case you’ve never read it:
“Flirting? Is it some kind of food? Of course you can’t tell it apart from an apple. So, how on Earth you can tell when a guy is just bullying you or flirting? You seriously can’t. Better take everything seriously just in case. So, when you are buying a non-alcoholic drink at bar and the (quite cute) bartender starts grinning at your drink choice and wondering who buys these non-alcoholic drinks and why don’t you have some fun… GET UPSET! Get so upset that your answers are nearly rude until a friend comes to poke you and whisper that ‘He’s flirting!’ By then you’ve lost the case.”

“Sometimes you might try to flirt back. It is quite hard when you barely understand what’s going on, but hey, trying can’t hurt, right? So this guy doesn’t really know you and you’re trying to describe yourself. It’s good to start with ‘I’m like…’ and then just add the first word that comes into your mind ‘…a doormat!’ ‘Excuse me?’ So you probably said something stupid. Time to save the situation: ‘Yeah! As flat and hairy!'”

“In a party you see an interesting guy and you want to seem a bit more social and talkative than what you usually are. Although too much talking might be risky, what if you say something incomprehensible again? One sure tip, so that the guy will remember you even afterwards: sneak near him, take his phone and start taking selfies! Don’t even bother taking pretty ones, that would be too obvious! Take selfies with weird faces and leave them for him to find out, he will surely fall in love at the first sight of your nostrils!”

“You managed to reach a phase where you know his whole name? Or, well, the first name will do, you have mutual friends after all. Hunt him down on Facebook and add him! Then wonder for a few days why he’s not accepting your friend request. Go check the situation and realise that you added the wrong person.”

“If a miracle happens and you find a guy who seems to be interested in you – RUN AWAY! Either he’s a psychopath who thinks you’re a dog, a mad scientist who wants to send you to the Moon with a monkey or someone as hopeless as you. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!”

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Being an adult

Every morning, running late like the White Rabbit in your own wonderland that is lacking all the wonders, singing inside your head “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!”.
Every evening, coming home, knowing there are one thousand and one things to do but only one night for them.

Sit down, take a deep breath. Go back in time ten or twenty or as many years as it takes for you to be a kid again. You lived in a Wonderland every day. Nights might have been scary, who really knew if monsters were hiding in a closet or under the bed. Every little thing was full of amazement and endless curiosity. Do we use that up in our first ten years or where does it go? All that energy, do we get tired of it? Are we bored of seeing the same wonders around us year after year?

However, there are things we can still do, things we could only dream of as a kid: staying up as late as possible, going to sleep over friend’s during the week, having pizza for breakfast, eating chocolate before falling asleep, watching TV series all through the day, leaving the house without that beanie or scarf, staying in your pyjamas for the rest of your life, and most importantly… Well… You can procrastinate! There’s no longer anyone to tell you to do your work… Unfortunately.
I should probably go finish the most boring presentation in the whole history of boring presentations. And start my two essays. Oh childhood and those Decembers that I used to be able to enjoy!

California girl in Wales

A tiny update of my even tinier life: I turned 21. I was surrounded by people I love, people who care about me and people who want me to be happy. Some were physically here, others weren’t. But I felt the presence of everyone, even if I couldn’t see them in the tapas restaurant with me. I felt blessed, I felt so loved.
After a few weeks of feeling hopelessly engaged with Mr Sadness, I felt real happiness. I realised I have managed to found a big bunch of people who will be there for me – and I want to be there for them. I can’t even put in words the gratitude I’ve been feeling. Simply put: my heart was about to explode from all the love. And lately I had forgot that all that love exists for me. I’ve been crying for the wrong kind of love until I understood to cry for this better love. This time they have been the tears of joy.

A few concrete reasons of my happiness: I found out that my best friend has been thinking of me during his travels here and there. My best friend makes me a better person. I can’t be sad around him. He inspires me to be the person I want to be.
My another best friend sent me the most amazing self-made present. That present beamed with her love and it keeps making me happy every single day. That girl literally melts my heart. 
One of the goals in my life is to be inspirational but I wonder if I could do it without these people who keep inspiring me.
Then there were two envelopes from my brothers. The other one has never been too confident in expressing himself verbally, yet he wrote me a proper letter. He even changed the font bigger to make it one page long. Remembering all these small things warms up my heart until it feels like I have my own radiator within me.

So in these grateful feelings I turned twenty-one. Although I forgot the time difference (I was born 00:10 the Finnish time, so basically here my birthday would be the day before) my birthday song was Katy Perry’s California Girls. In the Welsh edition, however, I’ll have the bikinis on top of my winter coat and your popsicle will stay frozen.Image

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