Self-Pity into Self-Love

This morning, I listened to a podcast from Rachel Brathen on how to transform self-pity into self-love and I felt those words very deeply.

I’m someone who really hates when I’m in that mood of self-pity, but here I am, lying in bed feeling like shit from this cold and two very recent trips to the emergency (everyone is ok but we’ve been running on little sleep).

I don’t like when I feel like this because I thought I was stronger than this. I thought I had overcome these patterns of negativity. But no, they come back because I am just like everybody else – I am human.

The podcast focused on someone who had broken their neck and couldn’t practice yoga anymore.

I felt that.

The person decided to shift perspective and got inspired by Rachel’s still practice done on her yoga mat.

I felt that too.

We have so many possibilities to shift perspectives and combat numbness, low-energy, self-pity and sometimes we get stuck. And that’s ok.

But the lesson here for me is I can choose to stay low for the rest of the working season or I can choose to embrace these lows and make the best of it.

How amazing is it that a paralyzed person found a new way to practice yoga through stillness? How amazing is that?

We can have shitty days but we choose how we react and show up in our shit.

Today, I choose to show up a little bit more positive, a little bit more grateful, a little bit more humbled because I deserve some calm and peace. And so do you.

Five months ago, I was cutting mangoes at the back of a restaurant

In April 2019, I was working at a beach bar restaurant in Perissa, Santorini which is located on the other side of the mountain from where I live and work now. My daily duties were to dice mangoes and pineapples for cocktail garnish. I would do so outside at the back of the kitchen while listening to podcasts about traveling and yoga. I wouldn’t often make my way to the front of the restaurant during working hours but one time I did to pick up a better knife from the bartender.

There was a group of men sitting in the corner between the inside of the restaurant and outside of the restaurant. Tranquilo being the only bar I knew on the island that didn’t permit inside smoking, the boys were blowing the smoke from their cigarettes strategically to the outside of the bar.

I caught the eyes of a dark brown eyed guy there. It was a very quick and temporarily gaze but it was enough for me to like him. It was something about his eyes that possessed a sensitivity and an intensity at the same time.

It turns out he was one of the bartenders at The Beach Bar from a few doors down. He had served shots to my friend Barbara and a couple from Calgary, Canada named Ted and Sasha, and I a couple of days before. I hadn’t realized it was the same guy until much later.

Well, it’s been five months now that we are together. We live together in this gritty little basement, in a windowless room that is the size of our two little twin beds. We have a bathroom with good water pressure. We have a mini fridge but no kitchenette. We have a fan that blows air in our faces in the middle of the night. We have one blanket that we share and most often than not, I end up stealing all of it. I consider ourselves lucky because we get to share our room with each other and be physically close to each other after work. Most season workers have to share their rooms with two, sometimes three other strangers. The rooms are usually windowless. Our neighbours sleep with their door open. Sometimes you are lucky and you get a balcony and some A/C.

It’s been the toughest year of my life and the past few working months have been emotionally draining. I ache for some stability and some freedom. Working everyday for five months straight was one of the dumbest decision I’ve taken in my life for my already fragile mental health.

However, I don’t regret it. Even the worst moments in my life I choose to never regret. And, well, I stayed believing something good was to come out of living on this island, despite its materialistic tendencies and money hungry people. In short, the worst kind of mentality reigns over Santorini in its tourist season with the majority of people trying to fuck you over at work, people spreading gossip because they are bored and people trying to ruin your happiness because they aren’t able to be happy with themselves.

I wasn’t wrong. I found the kindest and bravest of hearts here. I found someone who, just like me, believes in true love and harmony, believes in peace and believes in living a simple life not filled with artificiality.

Babe, I’m so proud of you. You’re an amazing person with a heart of gold. When I’m with you, I know everything will be ok.

Santorini, you witch, you’ve been a roller coaster. But you gave me what I used to be ashamed of admitting to myself and what we all fear at some point or another in our lives. However, we all need it and that is love.

In the name of fear

I stopped writing a couple months ago out of fear of not being good enough, out of fear of using the wrong words and out of complete lack of motivation and direction.

Frankly, this is where I went wrong. I chose not to push through with my writing. I gave up on expressing myself in my most raw state. I got caught up with the mundane and the irrelevant. I got lost.

It has been almost a year since I left from my home in Canada.One year already ? Really?

The stories I have gathered on paper and in my memory are jumbled like badly written poetry. I wish more order existed in my brain but it’s teenager room-messy in there.

Although I am excited to leave the island in about a month, I am also aware of the many lessons the island has given me.

It also brought me friendship, adventures and most dear to my heart, love.

It’s truly been an “Eat Pray Love” year for me. It’s completely changed me for the best and sometimes for the worst.

I cannot wait to share more.

In his words: Jean d’Ormesson

“Do not let yourself get abused. Remember to be cautious. Even when there’s proof: it constantly changes.

Do not put too high neither people nor things. Neither should you put them too low. Yes, do not put them too low.

Rise above. Give up hate: it hurts the people who carry it more than those who are subject to it.

Do not try to be wise at all costs. Madness is also a form of wisdom. And wisdom, a madness.

Run away from precepts and excessive preachiness. Throw this book away. Do whatever you want. And what you can. Cry when you need to. Laugh.

I laughed a lot. I laughed at the world and at others and at myself. Nothing is really important. Everything is tragic. Everything that we love will die. And I will die too. Life is beautiful. ”

-Jean d’Ormesson | French novelist

translated from French as best I could 

Fahrenheit 451 parallels our current state of affairs

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

“You’re a hopeless romantic,” said Faber. “It would be funny if it were not serious. It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the ‘parlor families’ today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios, and televisors, but are not. No,no it’s not books at all you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type or receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. Of course you couldn’t know this, of course you still can’t understand what I mean when i say all this. You are intuitively right, that’s what counts.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

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I’ve been reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, here, in Greece. It is a time travel parallel to our current political climate and modern society.  It’s a wake up call and a breath of fresh air, despite its depressingly uncanny resemblance to our present times.

I urge you to read or re-discover Bradbury’s masterpiece. 

Fahrenheit 451 was written in 1953! The novel is 65 years old, and is still extremely relatable on a personal context and relevant on a global scale.

Thank you Ray for having left this symbolic piece of poetry behind. The world needs to hear it now, more than ever.