Monday, June 30, 2014

Can we talk about Big Brother for a second?

So "1984" is one of my favorite books because I love dystopian fatasies. There is something so creative about coming up with a scenario that is so bad it's haunting. Needless to say, the show "Big Brother" is a freakishly bad idea made into entertainment. The thought of people having their every move followed isn't that dystopian anymore because many people long to portray such moves in an age of social media anyway. On top of that, every applicant is somehow shooting for fame. Big Brother isn't watching them to punish them, unlike in George Orwell's imagination. Yet, the show Big Brother is a show with a lesson, and I will tell you why!

Now I haven't watched the German version of the show in over a decade but I'm an avid fan of the American version. This year the British version attracted me in vowing to become more like its American equivalent. And although it hasn't kept that promise it is intresting for me to watch whatever goes on in my everyday circles unfold in this microcosm that is the compound in Britain. The cool kids are the pretty people that turn out not to be very nice people and they bully the fat, the ugly and the kids that probably face quite some rejection on the outside world as well. It makes me wonder why people watching the show sympathize with the outcasts while in real life most of them would probably try to get in with the popular kids. I pride myself in not being such a person.

That character Helen Wood is obviously especially striking. She received a pass to the final as a reward on the first day otherwise there would be no way Helen would still live in that compound. Funnily enough Helen is a former escort that made bad headlines when she slept with married Wayne Rooney while Coleen was having a baby. In a desperate attempt to mend her public image she entered the Big Brother house. Unfortunately for Helen she is a nasty bitch if ever there was one. What a horribe, horrible person. She went ahead and not only bullied but threatened every single housemate with the exeption of the pretty boys while Britain is watching. I don't have to judge to say that's a proper stupid move. Helen is the kind of girl that claims chicks hate her because they're jealous. For such a person to live around cameras is not a prudent choice, and sadly not very nice to watch either. However, it is interesting to see that a person who can't make 15 fellow housemates stand to be around her isn't enchanting the public either. Go figure!

Last year something similar happened in the US, making last year's Big Brother the worst season ever. There was a divide between the models and sports buffs and the offbeat people. And, what a surprise, the "popular" crowd started making headlines for bullying, racism and all kinds of misbehavior. I'm personally not surprised as that is exactly what I have witnessed in life on a bigger scale than 16 people living in a house. It happens in every classroom, doesn't it? I blogged about this before but the fat kid is usually not the one bullying the cheerleader if you get what I'm saying... So Big Brother is really just watching social behavior taking place while you can watch and eat popcorn without the uncomfortable addition of being involved in it. But what happens on the screen happens to all of us, and the lessons to be learnt from that should be some we ought to make ourselves.

In the US and Canada Big Brother is also a highly political show. Everything I ever learned about systems can be applied to that format as across the pond Big Brother is less of a social experiment than a game show. Each week someone wins a challenge to become the head of household who nominates two people for eviction. At the end of the week all housemates decide who goes. In order to ensure your survival you have to make alliances, accumulate power and in a way win battles. How is that different from the international system only that hopefully nobody dies? It is awesome. A buff guy with a PhD will become the threat sooner than the barista which tells us about everything there is to know about perceptions. In the international system I'd rather be friends with the States than Ghana as well. Enough said...

Although Big Brother is obviously produced for entertainment I enjoy watching it for it's educational elements as well. I have derived a life lesson here or there from watching strangers play out situations I have encountered in my own life. Watching other people solve problems can be insightful. Also, judging people on arrival in the house and documenting how perceptions change the more we get to know them taught me a thing or two about my judge of character. And I need not state how much I enjoy watching political behavior, even if the scale is as little as a above-average-sized house in LA filled with a diverse mix of people. Even so called "dumb TV" can teach us things...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Riddles about Germans #3876

This stuff is never getting old and I won't get a single read on this blog because everyone's heard it a thousand times. Heck, everyone who's been to Germany probably found out empirically. However, I find the World Cup aka the time where I'm more proud to be German than ever the right time to put into perspective that I probably made the wrong choice returning to my home country. I don't mean to rant all the time because I'm not a person who enjoys complaining, unlike everybody else in Germany but living in Germany has everything you need, but nothing you want. I came home because my job chances are best here and that's my number one priority right now. Meanwhile, I have been thinking my whole life that finding happiness here will be tough. And I think I might have been right...

While living in the UK and US I always described myself as an average person: I liked what most people did, I acted the same way most people did and I would say I related to people. In Germany, I'm descriebed as "crazy" all the freaking time. If I am indeed crazy that does not make Germany look very well because I'm really boring. Needless to say, the rest of the people here are walking sleeping pills. I don't like what they do, I don't act the same way they do and I cannot relate to them at all. What's to like about sleeping, complaining, talking about shopping or getting stupidly drunk, then going to sleep? I hate sleep, I hate complaining, I hate talking about shopping (and shopping) and when I'm tipsy I want to enjoy myself not regarding what other people think about that. Consequently, I can't relate to most people around here...

The perfect woman in Germany is a chick called Lena Gercke who once won a TV show. That chick is so boring I cannot believe people would fancy her. But no, every girl wants to be like her: boring, normal and pretty. Oh my lord, I wouldn't wanna be that chick if they paid me for it! For the guys it's even worse as there are beauty requirements for the lads that involve looking like a girl. A certain arrogance comes with every guy that is remotely good-looking. The word "interesting" is not part of anyone's dictionary, never mind a quality people are looking for in each other. Friends are picked based on how good they look in a selfie next to you. Now this probably applies to many coutries, not just Germany, however, in Germany I have failed to see exceptions so far.

This leads me to identify what my one and only problem with Germany is that makes living here so undesirable to me: it's boring! Based on the fact that I always refer to myself as a rather boring person that says a lot. My requirements for excitement are really freaking low, anyone would confirm! I'm not boring in Germany! I enjoy people whether I know them or not, I like to dance or laugh even if I'm not on a dance floor or at a movie theater and the phrase "sorry I can't come meet you for a cup of coffee, I'm so tired!" has never left my mouth! Since when is lunch even an act? All you gotta do for it is sit. I don't expect anyone to go to a rave with me yet I sit in this house day in and day out because 80% of my dates cancel on me. What is it that makes people tired? Can't be having too much fun. Spontaneity does not exist... at least I never experieced it here myself!

It's also funny to me seeing people thinking they "have a good time". What people consider having a blast in this country is pathetic. I thank God I experienced what that really meant when I was a student. Fair enough, those times are over and nobody really wants to get plastered anymore but an occasional cup of coffee shouldn't be the sensation it is now if it actually happens. I cannot remember having a good conversation in Germany in the past 12 months. Before I left I probably wasn't as aware of it but now that I was away for so long and realized there are actually many awesome people out there I would never have met if I had applied my German standards on them it's sad to see everyone in Germany failing to see that. My best friend was a homeless-looking maniac who got dirty looks from people at every corner when he came to Germany, for crying out loud. In Scotland he's a freaking legend! Germans missed out...

I can't accuse anyone in Germany of being rude, or mean, or anything negative. In fact, I don't believe that their attitudes are bad at all. The only thing that sucks is that they don't coincide with mine. I don't consider myself the better person. I'm probably worse actually. However, I would really love to be surrounded by people again who share my belief in life. I think I've been away for too long and especially during the most sculpting period of one's life to ever acclimatize to the German way of life again. I strive to be interesting and like to make the acquaintance of strange people. And when I say strange I mean both crazy and unknown. Since this is a very un-German attitude I guess I'll have to conclude that I still don't belong here. Maybe one day...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Goodbye to yesterday aka your graduation is my forced maturity

Today the last bunch of people I knew in Dundee graduated. One time in my life I met these guys and thought "Geez, they're so young!" and as of today they're at the exact same stage as me. Granted, I have a bomb Masters' degree and am probably ahead a little bit on realizing that life post-graduation is even harder than people think. However, they're all just as unemployed as I am. Heck, some of them even have a job already... So one day I was two years ahead of these kids academically, three to four years older than them and just as carefree on top. Today, with their departure, my goodbye to the stage of "young adult" ends because I now officially know no students anymore. With that comes the sad fact that I will never return to the city that was my favorite home in my entire life, Dundee, because I know nobody there. Because I woke up today homesick, nostalgic and as usual way too emotional I want to dwell in memories...

mmmmhhh strawberry tarts
So this week my own graduation from UoD celebrated its 2nd anniversary. What sucks most about getting older is that days are no longer relevant, weeks aren't either and months and even years pass by like nothing happened in the meantime. June 17, 2012 was the best day of my life so far and I remember every detail like it was yesterday. I remember feeling utterly overjoyed being able to share this day with almost everyone that I love. June 2012 wasn't an all together beautiful time in my life because I had just broken up with my boyfriend a few months prior who was going a bit insane which used to be a huge bummer. And only days after Germany was kicked out of the Euro by Italy which made said boyfriend's issues look ridiculous in comparison to my sadness. However, Graduation Day could not have been any better with the exception of the attendence of my late father or some other friends who didn't happen to be in my class.

Never once did I regret my decision to go to Dundee unlike the countless times I did and still do regret Glasgow. Needless to say, the culmination of the best decision of one's life in the graduation from that program, coupled with amazing sunshine and a free strawberry tart here and there makes one very happy. Glasgow failed to do all of that, including, of course, the sunshine. But obviously none of the people in Glasgow come close to comparing the insane friendships I had in Dundee, and that's not even insulting. Because although it's been two years I still count a bunch of them as the best friends I'll ever have, and I never thought I would ever get that lucky. Dundee was a gift of heaven to me, and a curse as well because I have failed to recreate the happiness of June 17, 2012 until now.

 I think it might be very well impossible to get as happy again. When will I ever get to spend all of my time only with things I love? I loved Politics, I loved History, I loved the people surrounding me and I loved good company. In Dundee I got all of that. Everything I hated, like super annoying Volleyball chicks talking bull or guys trying to cheat on their girlfriends (No thanks!), were ridiculously easy to cut out. For the rest of our lives we are going to have to get used to the fact that we now have to do a whole bunch of things we might not want to. In the past few weeks I have done almost nothing I genuinely loved (which is increasingly the case being unemployed and all, but whatever!). The fun times with drinking, little thinking about tomorrow or the end of the week and relationships that are going nowhere (because they are going nowhere while you're at uni, it's a fact!) are over. But such is life, and while that's not good it's just the way it is. The earlier we accept, the easier it gets.

The psychology of football!

As a girl I get an incredible amount of bullshit for liking football. Guys seem to think that I'm full of crap right away, that I only watch to check out Cristiano's thighs or seek attention. To imagine that I'm actually more obsessed with football than they are seems to be impossible for most of them. The truth is that there are few things in life I love more, and that I'm not as stupid as 99% of all people think when it comes to football. I actually know it quite well, however, I don't need to showcase that. When I have an actual theory though I get looked at like I'm just another stupid football wrench just because I have a vagina and that's what's expected. Most recently, that theory included estimating how much a desire to win influences players' games. Almost every guy looked at me like they wanted to say "get out of my manly sport with your emotional bullshit!" To these people I'd love to say "in your face!" now!

Does anybody actually doubt that winning three consecutive tournaments does not affect Spain's longing for another title? They're already gods back home, they simply didn't need to win last night. Of course, they're sportsmen, they always want to win but if we just put desire on the scales I guarantee that Chile, Holland and even Australia want to win a hundred times more. Desire only gets you this far but as I said well before this tournament (before the last one, in fact, which they won... ouch) Spain's golden age is over, and everybody knows it. And it isn't even a shame because we had a Sepp Meier and Gerd Müller once but even they turn 40 one day. Just because Iniesta and Xavi are off the pitch soon they might not suck but they have to recruit heirs to their throne and there are none around just yet.

At the same time, this philosophy has been giving me the fuel to believe that my team was about to win every tournament they have been in. And we're just incredibly unlucky because I impartially believe we'd have deserved a win in the last few years. Every tournament in the past eight years these boys entered to win and played accordingly. Unfortunately, we weren't Spain. Those years exactly Spain reigned the freaking world and although we went out to Italy mostly which is just an unacceptable pain in everybody's ass the title wasn't ours to have, and I accept that. This year the title is Brazil's but so far it wouldn't be deserved. Winning in your own country is undoubtedly a huge motivator but Brazil needs that because they already won more cups than all other countries. How bad is a desire to become immortal if you're already immortal? Identifying the hunger and transitioning it to your game must be essential in this...

The other area where I think psychology plays a big part is transitioning from the group stage into the finals. I want all of the favorites to play an incredible group stage so they get arrogant. Then, boom, Germany! Group stage is where you want that slap in the face to happen. I don't see it happening for the German team and that deeply worries me. I do not need another slap in the face by Italy that sends us packing right away in the finals. I can do with a humiliation against Ghana when I still have time to make up for it. Why am I even saying "me"? I know why: because I feel like I'm on the team. I probably want this title more than Miroslav Klose and that boy wants it really freaking bad. The key is to find a balance between the desire, self confidence and arrogance. Too little or too much of any of them might be the downfall.

So I don't care how many ridiculous looks I get for openly proclaiming that the psychology behind football cannot be underestimated. Obviously I'm not saying desire will win a game but at the same time I doubt that a tournament can be won without wanting the cup more than life itself. I, for one, want nothing but that freaking trophy. If I was in that game I'd probably kill people on my way towards the goal because no sacrifice would be bad enough. Beating Spain 5-1 will also give a team like the Netherlands so much confidence it might very well be too much in the end. For Robben it's too late already. After that miracle came a pretty embarrassing performance against Australia. Coincidence? I don't think so. It's all psychology. Never underestimate!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 2006 - A tribute!

A couple of weeks ago I got the Timehop app which shows me my social media activity of that day in my past seven years on facebook every day. I rarely need it because I have awesome date memory. I usually remember what I did on a particular day in my history, or at least the week. There are certain dates you just remember what you did, like September 11, 2001, or December 4, 2013, the day of my graduation. However, one date I remember what I did every year for the past eight years. June 14 has not been a pleasant day in the past eight years. I've done different things but I dread the day, and I always remember what I did these days. June 14 is the most significant date in my entire year, because June 14, 2006 was the worst day of my life.

In the morning I saw my dad drive off to work. I still had a jetlag because I had just arrived back from the US the day before. It is genuinely ridiculous to me how I still remember him walking to the car, what the clouds looked like, how warm it was and what he was wearing eight years later, as if it happened last week. That was the last time I saw him. I barely ever think about this. I'd say I think about the fact I no longer have a father less than once a month because it is reality and nothing to ponder about. On June 14 of every year it comes back up though because suddenly it's been another year without him and another year I'm getting closer to having spent the largest amount of my life being a semi-orphan.

Following June 14, 2006 I cried for a long time and then I stopped doing it for an even longer time. I've not cried for my Dad outside of the date that is June 14 in five years because it's no longer a sad story, it's just what happened. It's my story, and a big chapter of it! For months, maybe years, it was impossible to really fathom but enough time's passed to realize that it's just another event that sucked and that no action can make a difference at all, even crying. Other factors make it weirder this year, namely me working for the same organization my dad worked for the morning of his death which would make him freakishly happy if he knew it and the World Cup being on. 2006 Germany playing the tournament they did in our own country was the only good thing that summer. Maybe that's why football is pretty much the best thing in my life even today...

I'm not at odds with the past. June 14, 2006 changed my life like no other day of my life, past and hopefully future. Nothing that ever happened was worse for me. The consequences, on the other hand, didn't ruin my life even a little bit. If June 14, 2006 hadn't happened I wouldn't even be close to the same person that I am now and I love where life went. Right now my dad being alive would be especially awesome because he would help me with my current situation on a personal and professional level. Hovever, I don't think I would even have come to this point. Maybe I'd be a lot happier, still living in the US, having a dad, being married with kids and all... most likely, however, I would not have made the experiences I made that have lead me to become a person that gets life quite well and that just cannot be seen as a bad thing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Recent changes in my pursuit of happiness

Today I met up with a friend of mine who's been essential in keeping me motivated on my job search. That friend studied almost the exact same as me, experienced the same things as me and basically wants the same as me. For her the big career didn't happen yet although she's five years my senior. Today we talked about how hard it is to stay motivated in your job search while all you hear is people losing employment, settling for nightmare jobs or failing to find one for many years. Not losing faith is genuinely the hardest part. My biggest challenge has been to realize that my dreams are under very real threat of not coming true. In fact, most of them have already not come true. What I've been chasing as the pursuit of happiness is failing and all I can do is watch. Does that mean I won't be happy?

I have increasingly come to the realization that the pursuit of happiness is a pursuit for acceptance; acceptance of the fact that happiness might not happen, that I will have to do things that don't make me happy and that my dreams are not set to come true even if I do all I can to make them come true. We go to university because we're afraid of having to do a job we don't want. We want to have job security and a decent pay and most of our time there professors tell us that's in the cards. Reality looks different. A lot of it is luck. I'm not very lucky and I might very well have to start settling for a job I have no aspiration to do just to earn some cash if I don't find something soon. I'm no longer pursuing happiness, I'm pursuing a condition in which it is bareable to live in. I'm doing great just now but life can't stay like that. I might be happy now but it's simply impossible to keep living at my mom's house. Happiness comes second or third to employment, if I want that or not.

I've been very happy in life and I keep saying all that's left now for happiness is a job. My life is stagnant and I never expected it would be just because I don't have what I always thought I'd have being the awesome student I was, determined and qualified. All my life I've been told that the world is my oyster and it so ridiculously isn't. I have done everything for my pursuit of happiness to turn into arrival and it still hasn't worked out. Not because I didn't want it bad enough. Just because that's how life is. Sometimes it's unfair. Happiness is just way too fragile. You can be World's happiest Mom, then one day your kid doesn't come home from school and I don't see happiness ever being on the plate again. I've been at the short end of the stick a couple of times and was screwed by destiny if ever there was one. And occasionally that has lead to a huge disruption in my pursuit for happiness. Right now I'm pursuing happiness, empirically known as a job, but unsure if what we're all looking for even exists.

My friend and I spoke about the fact that if Judgement Day was tomorrow that would suck but it would also not make a difference. Life has become more of a chore than a desire to fulfil whatever it is we're here for. I would love to worry about the meaning of life and how I can make a change for the better. Real life requires me to not pursue what I want to pursue though and play my part in life. There is no time right now for me to focus on me, my place in life and how I can find fulfilment because as long as I don't have a job I can't even pay my mother for the internet. Basic problems everyone has cloud the way to fulfilment. Fulfilment is not a necessity for life, being able to feed yourself is. So the wise men were wrong and forgot that while we're out there trying to make our dreams come true life still happens and is sometimes not on our side.

My life still doesn't have to be written off. Obviously I am very content with the life I'm living and hopefully even the job will come in time. Even maybe a job I want. I might have a child one day which I'd consider the closest I can imagine to reaching fulfilment. At the same time none of my dreams have come true yet, and as of now, unemployed, not able to support myself, me reproducing isn't even on the radar. All my life I thought I'd be a Mom one day but I might end up not being one. My life will still have to be lived. Happiness is not important. It's hard to let go of hopes and dreams but it might still have to happen. I have expectations of life, not death. Hence, it's failing life we're afraid of, not death itself! The pursuit of happiness will be there until the very end but there's no guarantee we get anything we want. I believe I'll be freakishly happy one day but it's too fragile to be a pursuit. The focus has to be life, not happiness...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Beyonce thinks my soul needs surgery....

Last week I heard the song "Pretty hurts" by Beyonce for the first time and it made me mad as hell. Just hearing the title I already saw it coming that Beyonce, formally known as the hottest and most beautiful woman on this planet, was going to tell me that the personality counts, and that being pretty isn't everything. In fact, I've spent a lot of time thinking about physical beauty and how it affects life. In the course of the last 25 years I have come to the conclusion that pretty definitely doesn't hurt. Why would people being much nicer to you just because you are good looking hurt? Let me tell ya, it doesn't! Of course Mrs Fierce is 100% right about this being a bad development but come on, Beyonce, really?

Realistic thigh gaps!
So Beyonce thinks the light is shown on whatever's worst? No, Beyonce, you do not get to say all this. Please don't tell me that "perfection is a disease of a nation" while genuinely every picture of you is airbrushed to infinity! It's her perfection that makes everyone want to be perfect while I'm sure at least some of it is a huge lie. I once saw a picture of Bey's thigh gap and it makes me mad that such a person is telling ugly folk around the world that pretty hurts. A girl commented under the video "only beautiful people could say pretty hurts but try being ugly!" I love Beyonce, I think she's the bomb, but it doesn't get any more ridiculous than her talking about the urge to be pretty. How's it always the pretty people that say it's the heart that counts? It obviously isn't...

What Mama said to Beyonce in the song I have largely experienced to be correct. Mama told her that she's pretty and doesn't need substance. Tina Knowles is a smart woman because it's true that with a good outfit, decent-sized boobs and pretty hair you can make up for a total lack of personality or brain power. I'm sure the Beyonces and Rhiannas and of this world have made it to the top by being particularly smart or creative... yeah right. I don't even need famous examples because I see people every day who are somewhat successful in life, whether their goal is to pull or have a career, who are not the smartest cookies in the jar but have a really, really flat stomach. Well done, you! I even have friends that use their looks to get what they want. In most instances that's a drink. If you're pretty you never have to be thirsty, never! In the past few years I suppose I've become a bit prettier and I have realized that the more weight I lost the easier life became for me. Attractive people definitely have an easier ride...

In my experience, good-looking people have developed differently from less attractive ones. Their focus simply doesn't have to be character development. While ugly people have to attract others with their personality pretty people manage to do that with a cute pout, no personality necessary. Pretty people also tend to get what they want, and how awesome of a person can someone be if they never had to earn something, never experienced nos or achieve what they wanted by substance not persuasion. At last week's Big Brother launch a model called Ash entered the house, infamously claiming he had never done a hard day's work in his life and that he doesn't have to do anything to get laid. I saw Ash, and I believe it. That man is so beautiful there will be loads of volunteers at any given club at any given night. Everyone will want to be his friend so nobody will piss him off. He did one thing in his life properly right, and that was being born. I'd be super surprised if Ash would also turn out to be an interesting chap.

I have started to properly resent pretty people because their lack of personality in comparison to less attractive people is remarkable. Of course this can't be generalized and even I know awesome people who are beautiful but I like to surround myself with average people because their substance outshines their beauty more regularly. It might just be easier to get to the core with people who have to be bothered about their core because they can't disguise it with their shell. Pretty people are also more likely to be concerned about their looks which is a horrendous trait. I like people who can tell you a good story, and for a good story looks aren't even remotely necessary. I have had many opportunities in life where I could have used my looks to get what I wanted, and occasionally I have obviously made use of that, but I like to believe that it's the stories I tell that make me interesting. I do not look interesting, nobody can claim that, but I know I am. My moderate amount of pretty has not defined me, or at least I hope so.

A video of Beyonce trying to make it look hard being Beyonce!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

I feel your pain... literally!

My empathy has reached new levels and I am starting to begin hating being compassionate towards people. Yes, I guess it is a really good trait to have but it really doesn't make living any easier. If there is a God then I hope feeling for other people will be a characteristic he values in me but if not my life was unnecessarily made a lot harder. If I hear of something terrible happening to people I automatically consider what that would mean to me and immediately I'm devastated. If someone gets cheated on I can't contain myself because it would kill me. If children are involved it's even worse! How do people go through stuff when it already destroys me just thinking about bad things?

I was close to tears when I heard that Marco Reus wasn't coming to the World Cup because he got injured 24 hours before his plane left to Brazil and, hand on my heart, it wasn't because I was fearing for my title. That poor, poor boy thought he was going to be a hero this summer and instead he's out for the only five weeks he couldn't afford to be out in the past four years. That's such bad luck, I can't even take it. I feel so bad for him, how he has to watch his friends become champions while he was supposed to be one of them if it wasn't for a split second in a freaking friendly against Armenia. Marco Reus is going to hate life in the coming weeks and this injury will most likely have changed his entire life for the worse. Imagining to be Marco Reus right now is sickening to me; I get the boke thinking about him because I feel that bad for him.

Career stuff is obviously easier to take than personal stuff and I know that for a fact. There are so many things happening every day that make me sick hearing about and I start being scared of life because I'm not sure I could take them if they happened to me. Therefore, whenever I hear of someone being affected by tragedy I usually can't hold myself back as I can't believe anyone has to go through that. The other day I saw a guy on TV who didn't have any family and was super lonely. He met a woman, married her, and then she died. I was balling. Then, after a long and painful heartache, he met another woman, fell in love, and she freaking died as well. I don't even know the man but my heart was in physical pain because I couldn't believe how awful this life had been to him. If there was anything I could have done for the guy it would have been done by now!

The absolute low point of my emotions I can remember though must have been Sandy Hook. I can still barely think about it without crying because it's the most awful thing I have heard of to date. How do you ever make sense of a madman shooting your innocent, tiny child? A happy life would certainly end on a day you lose your kid like that. Nobody hearing of Sandy Hook was left untouched I'm sure but I was in tears for days, I couldn't believe it had even happened. And to think that was only a millionth of the pain that was felt by the affected makes me want to question what life is really about. A tiny second has ruined people's lives and I can't imagine how they get over it...ever.

I am happy I have empathy for people because it has helped me many times understanding people and I believe it's something I'm valued for. However, feeling people's pain also means feeling more pain. As if I didn't have to experience enough pain in my own life... Hopefully that compassion makes me a better person in some way. At the same time I'm lacking sympathy for people who had to endure the crap things that happened in my life because I already overcame them. Although really bad things happened in my life other people's misery always sounds worse to me. It might not be an easy life but it's a good life. This can always be said although it's just not always true. Maybe I have failed my calling in not employing empathy in my professional life but then again maybe I'm just not strong enough...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Monarchy? No Thanks!

Juan Carlos of Spain abdicated today. Abdication seems to be a thing these days: first the pope, then Beatrix, now Juan Carlos and hopefully the Swedish "King" ends his freak show soon as well. With the exception of the pope who is of course not even an actual king this royalty business has reached the peak of my tolerance level. As a political scientist I find it impossible to understand why monarchies still exist. I love Kate and William, I think they're awesome people as far as I could say that about anyone I've never met, but what is the freaking point? I'm so confused...

I'm definitely not a cynic but why do they have monarchies in places we've had democratic elections for decades? Sure thing, the British Queen has a symbolic value, and she gets to make people knights (for which I don't see the point either). Fact is, all this royalty stuff is really good for is to supposedly have a nation-building effect. In Sweden, of course, even the crown hates the crown, as Madeline impressively demonstrated over the past couple of years. Now I spent most of my adult life in Scotland, part of the United Kingdom, where the Queen could not be more unpopular. Although this stems from the fact that the Scots basically hate the Union I think they got it pretty right; all the Queen really does for them is cost money. Nobody in Scotland wants a nation-building queen.

I realize that unnecessary tax doller is always spent on something but why that has to be certain individuals who did nothing but being born into a certain family is ludicrous to me. This ain't the 18th centrury, or even the 19th century anymore where having a monarchy would already have been pointless. We don't make our decisions based on divine right anymore. And indeed, monarchs hardly have any actual power anymore so why do they stick around and live in a palace, live a public life and get attention from the media if they strip in a hotel room in Vegas? Prince Harry is just another kid who did nothing to not deserve to go a little crazy...

Despite living in the public eye which some of them are really bad at they do good and wave at crowds while wearing expensive clothes. They genuinely do nothing more. Right, they have babies. They don't decide squat, just sign whatever is asked of them although nobody would need the signature to begin with. If you're the Spanish or Swedish king you might have an affair here or there but other than that there's not much to do that actually makes your country better than the ones without a monarch. My country doesn't have one, and ridiculously enough you can't tell. If anything our tax doller is spent on complimentary holidays of our delegates, however, not a new pair of pants for the crown prince.

I enjoyed the Royal Wedding and I like the Dutch crown princesses but I just don't see how it's the 21st century and we keep an expensive relic of the past. It's like we realized that dictatorship wasn't that great of an idea but we keep the dictator around as a figure head. There was a point when they came up with democracy and unfortunately for the aristocracy that meant a good bye. Why in heaven's name do they still kick about and cost money? Aren't the Kardashians of this world enough to entertain Daily Mail readers with? I genuinely don't get it. I for one love history but for the love of God, let a story become history and not clog my freaking state system... 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Friends will be friends, will be friends, will be friends...

Time to get soppy again! To be completely honest, I have not really been thinking about myself lately at all. I simply had no time to. I have now been off for longer than 24 hours and I'm already feeling how I'm returning to the thinking. Constant thinking! What's been on my mind especially this weekend is friendship. How that ended up there is not surprising, given that my friends were great this week and Thomas, a guy I'd no doubt call my friend as we've been hanging out every day at work for two months, said we're not friends. Bummer! I've also been talking about friendship a lot lately and have, for the first time ever, asked myself what it really means. I make friends easily but they don't really stick around, do they? Maybe it's time for reflection...

The most annoying thing is that it's necessary to put tags on people to define friendship. For me a friend is someone I'd rather spend time with than being by myself which applies to a fair few. That's not really friendship, is it? If we define friendship by who really knows me inside out I have zero. So that doesn't sound good either. I suppose my next step would be to imagine who I'd invite to my wedding if it was tomorrow, and I actually found this to be the best one. I'd only want people at my wedding who love me the way I love them, and if I was at a friend's wedding I'd be there to celebrate my friend's happiness, not the free booze at the reception. Because I feel this for people easily but can't expect that back I've often thought friends always screw with me instead of realizing that they were never friends to begin with.

I don't like saying "a friend of mine..." or "my best friend..." but what else do you say? I have friends I regularly spend time with, who know what's going on in my life and who I call when I'm bored. And then there's people who know what I think before I do, who call me out on bullshit and who I organize surprise parties for because it's important to me that they're happy. When the latter happened last year I'm unsure who had the better time, Conor who I organized the party for, or me who saw that Conor was having the time of his life. In the end I felt awesome I was able to give one of my best friends ever a fantastic gift because I also knew that he'd appreciate it and would go out of his way for me, too. And he has many times. For years now that boy's locked in my heart and he ain't going anywhere even if he tries!

I love people all the time and it's ridiculously easy to become my friend. It's when I know that this love comes back that I feel friendship. Obviously, it rarely does. Every friend I have I earned, only few of them happened naturally. I sacrificed things to make people understand that I'm investing in them in the hopes they'd consider giving me friendship. In the end it's just another relationship, I just don't make out with them. Almost everyone I call friend today has once knocked on my door and I didn't feel like doing what was necessary but I did it anyway. Each of them has also shown me the same courtesy. Without these situations we might not be friends today. Because it wasn't easy to make them friends it will consequently be impossible to make them stop being my friend. 90% of my friends live abroad but they'll be at that wedding...

So although I was quite the campus presence while at uni, having this reputation of being the party girl who knows everyone and who people are trying to hang out with I never once liked that role. I like to know many people, having a lot of opportunities to talk and get to know them and potentially build friendships, however, with increasing age I have realized that this takes time, effort and still might not happen. Friendship is a partnership as well, it has to fit but also takes work. There's few people it worked with for me but damn, they're awesome. I must be one hell of a chick to be able to be friends with my friends because they're great people and I'm proud to know them. And it makes me feel super good that they'd say the same about me! And so they should because I'm really freaking great to them...