Essays

An open letter to true friends

To every true friend I’ve ever had and therefore still have, this one is for you. You know who you are. I can be pretty awful with words, so don’t judge me for that. This might be cheesy, on insipid, or boring. But I can say I can also be pretty good with luck, and this is what I am thankful for.

Sure, shit happens every day. Overall, here in the warmth of the West, we are a bunch of very lucky motherfuckers. We have water in our faucets, electricity in our sockets, warmth in our homes, when the boiler doesn’t let you down. We have meals so rich we are afraid to get fat, and we care about our shape and weight, while many don’t have that luxury; we should kiss the floor we put our feet on every morning, although waking up to go to work can feel so awful. It’s not, it’s a blessing.

Still, in our laborious little brains, in our hearts that fight to be strong, shit still happens. Of course it does. Plans fail, people leave your path, other people leave this world altogether. Tragedies happen, families are destroyed, in spite of hot water and electricity and comforts; hearts are still broken, people still grieve. It’s life, in all its beauty and its corruption. And when shit happens, who do you turn to? Who do you call in the middle of the night, who do you text to see coming to your rescue one minute later? Who do you think about when you need to fill that hole in your stomach? If you have a name or a handful of those in mind, hold onto it with all your strength.

I am hoping you thought of someone who made you feel safe. I am hoping you thought of someone who made you feel grateful, so grateful your heart could explode. Like I am now as I am typing these words, half tipsy because some shit happened to me today. As we said, it happens. At the end of a long, tough day, while surely not as tough as others’, there is just one thing I know: I have no idea what I would ever do without my true friends.

Again, you know who you are. You are the ones I call when things get rough, as well as when they get easy, because that’s one victory I want to share with you. You are the ones I grieve with, cry with, laugh the hardest with. You are the ones I hug the hardest, as well. The ones who are there when the world goes to shit, with a glass of wine in hand as we tell each other to stay strong. And I am thankful for that glass of wine, and the opportunity to look at everything from a safe spot. You are the ones who built my safe spot. You made it with your hands and your sweat and your affection, and it cannot be broken. Time doesn’t matter, relationship doesn’t matter. A true friend can be there from day one or 24 hours. It can be a friend, a boyfriend, a family member, or any kind of tie. What matters is inside, in the secrets of the darkness when you tell each other the things that are heavy in the sunlight. What matters is that hand held tight, even for one second, just to say “I am here, and I won’t let go”. What matters are the confessions, the acts with no reward, and mixtapes made for one another. What matters is who is there when they are not needed, but mostly when they are, indeed, needed.

Dear true friend, if you are still reading, just know that you are the most beautiful thing. There might be days (and there will be more) in which you feel like there is no safety net. There might be days in which you feel there are no friends in the world to help you out, because that’s how the human psyche works. One thing goes wrong and all around you looks dark. Just know that it’s just a trick of the mind, and that, if you are a true friend of mine, this means I am here for you when the night comes. Just like every time you have been there for me, be it one or three hundred, I do not forget.

Overall, all I really wanted to say is thank you. All I really wanted to do is celebrate my enormous luck. Never change and never feel bad about yourself, because, if you lead me to write this down, this means the world. To me, and, I am sure, to others who matter. Dear friend, keep loving hard, and keep being the same person who built up that safe spot we find such happiness in. If there is one thing that counts no matter what, is the smiles when there is nothing to smile about, the tears when there is nothing to cry about, that glass of wine, that naked bath in the middle of the night, praying nobody sees us. It’s those rainy afternoons spent talking about how things were 10 years ago when we still used motorbikes, it’s dancing until the sun comes up. It’s a bottle opener when I really need a beer. It’s that feeling you get when you realize you have found someone who’s worth telling the naked truth to while you don’t really know why.

Dear true friend, thank you for being here. Because if I am feeling alright today, it’s because you made me strong. Do not ever change, and call me whenever you need me. I’ll be there.

Love,

Marta 

 

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Non-expert Advice

Treating yourself is important

Before the paperwork when it’s time to pay rent, before choosing your outfit for the next day, or choosing it too late, before trying to make the same cat eye on both eyes and failing miserably, there is one rule: treat yo-self.

And I mean it. I learned it the hard way, managing to make myself a meal instead of resolving to the good ol’ piece of bread with mustard because fuck cooking. Treating yourself is important because, in spite of what they say, you kind of are a special snowflake. In a good way, not in a douchey one.

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Days ago, I was reading this on Refinery29 and I found myself amazed at the magical tales of dirty, down-to-earth gastronomic secrets. The article shares the stories of the editors and their guilty food pleasures in a triumph of shameless self-love. The image of one of Refinery29 editors coming straight from the gym and wolfing down a rotisserie chicken right on the kitchen counter made my eyes shine with excitement. Yes!, I thought triumphantly. This is treating yourself right, goddamit.

Now, I am not saying a gal gotta eat crap or eat standing in order to treat herself. I am saying that cuddling yourself doesn’t necessarily need to involve broccoli. You know what I am saying?

Down here are my lame-yet-wonderful golden rules (or hints) to leaving the treat-yourself life.

– Allow yourself some takeout from time to time. You deserved it. You walked all the way to work. You didn’t buy the shoes. You worked a couple of extra hours. You worked out. Trust me.

– Trashy TV shows are embarrassing, but you don’t need to tell your friends. Nobody needs to know that you watched ANTM yesterday night. Nobody.

– Fuck looking fab at home. Embrace sweatpants. Embrace yoga pants. Embrace no pants.

– When angry, buy yourself something new. When sad, do the same.

– Cook yourself something. I know, who cares, it’s just me, right? Wrong. You do you, you are cool. Cook yourself something nice and eat it watching Scandal or whatever.

– You also deserved that glass of wine.

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Non-expert Advice

Browspiration: Maisie Williams

You know when you’re feeling down and all you need is some bad-ass-chick inspiration in order to regain self-confidence? For me, that bad-ass-chick-thing bears the name of Maisie Williams, star of Game of Thrones and of my wildest brow dreams.

Yes, Maisie is a great actress, she cares about dolphins and, according to her Instagram profile that I regularly stalk, she seems like the bff you never had. I’ll pardon all the selfies because she posts a lot of musical videos starring her turtle (tortoise?).

But what makes Maisie Williams my safe haven whenever I need a metaphorical kick in the butt is her incredibly strong brow game. Maisie doesn’t have a conventional face, and she rocks it wildly. Her bushy caterpillars just give that game-changing accent to a face that is ready to kick ass.

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I mean, look at them.

If presidential elections were won based on eyebrows, she’d be on her second term already. And if eyebrows could kill: Arya, I guess. Gallery follows for some additional eyebrow envy.

All photos via @maisie_williams
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Non-expert Advice

How to drink alone with no shame

There is one idea that is hard to shake, and that is that drinking alone is depressing. But allow me to object. Drinking alone is the exact opposite of depressing — it is, in fact, a moment carefully cut out from your day in which you can dump your ass on the couch and release a sigh of relief: the day is over, you may now have some well-deserved time for yourself.

Obviously, there are limits and a certain degree of etiquette to keep in mind. Since I enjoy drinking regardless of the context, I had to draft a personal list of dos and don’ts of drinking alone, together with some lessons learned along the road. This way, I can enjoy a toast to myself without lingering into alcoholism, or so I like to tell myself (I am joking, mum!). It must be your lucky day, because I am about to blabber about it.

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– DO drink a glass of wine or a beer, although last time I spent indulging in the latter I gained 7 kg in about 6 months. Forewarned is forearmed. Wine is cool on that front though.

Maybe DON’T go for actual cocktails, long drinks and the like. That stuff is bar material.

A glass while cooking is a bless from the sky. 5 glasses without dinner are likely to send you to work the next day with an embarrassing hangover.

Having a hangover for drinking alone is, in fact, the depressing thing.

Listening to French music while enjoying your alone-drink may raise the sophistication of the whole ordeal.

Dancing is allowed and warmly recommended.

Red wine is the drink of choice, because that’s what they do in the movies and also white wine gives me a headache and anyways it feels more like an eating-fish-by-the-sea kind of drink. Not that I wouldn’t like being by the sea eating fish at the moment. But it’s fall, we’re all cold, and nothing warms you up better than a glass of wine and reading a magazine not giving a damn about nothing at all.

Cheers!

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Non-expert Advice

The perks of a scruffy-casual Saturday outfit

If I were popular because of something (I’m not), it would be for my mastery of the scruffy-casual outfit I sport every Saturday. If you thought casual was cool, think again — this is way more than your jeans + t-shirt kind of relaxed weekend afternoon. What I am talking about is the Nirvana of all things comfort.

This is what I am talking about, Vanessa. Image via Cosmopolitan
This is what I am talking about, Vanessa. Image via Cosmopolitan

A quick Google image search named “celebrities going to the gym” will give you a clear idea of what I am talking about. Yes, they are celebrities therefore very often at the gym. Yes, Miley Cyrus’ yoga pants are probably worth all of my wardrobe put together. But this doesn’t mean you cannot rock the same whatever-look to stun everyone at the laundromat.

To be fair, the only place I have managed to wear this perfect outfit was the supermarket down the road. This if I don’t mention that time my credit card was refused and I had to sport my scruffy-casual look all the way to the next neighbourhood looking for an ATM. Some guy even had the courage to whistle! Probably for fun.

Since nowadays everyone (rightly) speaks about empowerment, I’ll add that there are few things more empowering than going shopping in your pajamas. Also, who wants jeans on a Saturday? And now, an overview.

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Photos from right to left via audrey.buzznet.com (2), fashionmio.com, celebrity-gym-addicts.blogspot.co.at
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Non-expert Advice, Uncategorized

Seriously, I kind of had enough of the Kardashians

My colleagues know it, my flatmate knows it, my ‘hide’ button which I press repeatedly on Facebook knows it: one of the things I would do while on the edge of a mental breakdown is stand in the middle of a crowded train station and cry out loud “I don’t give a goddamn crap about Kim Kardashian!” And her family. Would people turn to look at me? Would they nod in agreement or would they call the police?

As I log into all my social media accounts in the morning, coffee in my right hand and pre-lunch resting bitch face on the front, I realize something: if you are an average 20-something who wants to keep him/herself updated and see how the world rolls, there is no escape from some degree of puppy-related news and knowing what some celebrity’s sister wore to breakfast. I’ll say yes to puppies: puppies are cute. I’ll say yes to a funny video of a guy skating over a fence and failing miserably. But there is no way on earth I am going to say yes to the secret tips of 18-year-old Kylie Jenner who reveals all about how to get her plump lips (spoiler alert: it’s surgery!).

Look, I know the feeling. Not all of the online news sources do it in a malicious way. Most

One typical bunch of Kardashians hanging out. credits on pic

One typical bunch of Kardashians hanging out. credits on pic

online newspapers, even some of the most respectable ones, need to go with the tide and dish out some clickable headline from time to time, like 10 ways to get to know if he is the one. Do they have any idea if he is the one? No!, but they need them clicks. And this is how the market goes.

But as I scroll my newsfeed clicking here and there on headlines I don’t really care about, I can’t help but feel like these so-called “news” are blatantly, silently making me dumber than I’d be in my natural state. Kim and family became famous because of what? Nobody really knows. Some say the culprit was Kim’s sex tape, but I don’t really believe that. I believe it’s all our fault, people hungry for empty news and random fashion statements. So as you click on Kendall Jenner’s latest outfit worn to church, ask yourself one question: would you care if it was your neighbour? Would you care if he was the guy who works at the grocery store? And would you care about the Kardashians family, if they weren’t having reality shows and shit?

For those who agree, here is a cool tool which blocks the Kardashians out of your Google life. It doesn’t work on Facebook yet, but it’s a good first step.
For those who don’t agree, here is the latest on Kim daughter’s hair. Enjoy it.

 

featured image via Faber & Faber, TheSpace.org
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Essays

Unlearning to cook

We 20-somethings have this peculiarity which includes being horrible at cooking. Yes, I do know some who are actually able to survive on a medium-low salary AND proudly invite guests for delicious dinners, but I am definitely not among them.

People I randomly met usually think I am supposed to be a good cook because I am Italian. First of all, this is racist; second of all, my lasagna is just ok-ish. During my year spent living completely alone in Germany and a very low budget I knew the supermarket by heart, so that I managed to buy whatever was cheap and vaguely healthy. My new passion for Pinterest helped to find the whole cooking process curious and I started to rock the cookers. I thought there was no going back.enhanced-buzz-12798-1360368158-0

However, I have been living in Vienna for two months now and the thing I ingest the most is red wine and toasted bread with stuff from the fridge – mainly mustard or feta. This Friday I am turning 24, and I am basically unlearning to cook. Yesterday I fucked up pancakes, the other day an omelette.

How long will it take before I find myself paying some lady to cook for me in order to simulate my teenage years? I definitely don’t have the money for that.

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