Posts tagged author
What Wakes You up in the Morning?
Estimated reading time: 1'

Estimated reading time: 1'

I had it all.

An amazing loving boyfriend.

An exciting and challenging job.

Great salary and perks.

A penthouse apartment in a fabulous city.

Supporting friends. 

Evenings and weekends filled with exciting activities.

I had achieved everything I had been looking for.

But despite all that, something was missing and I didn't know what. I felt empty inside.

It was the 5th time I was moving to a new place, taking a new job, recreating a social life, hoping to find that missing piece.

I used to blame it on the weather. On other people. On anything that would take over my responsibility.

 

Mark Twain once said:

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” 

 

And then I understood.

I had not answered the most crucial question:" why am I here"?

So I started to reflect.

And two words kept popping in my head: People & Places.

Those are always the first things I do when I get some free time: meeting people and exploring places.

So I started my side hustles:

Learning everything I can on digital businesses. 

Writing about people's stories and posting about cool spots around the world.

Inspiring others to be stronger, more adventurous, more open-minded.

I don't know where is it leading and I do not have a 5-years business plan quite yet.

But I'm working on it.

And I wake up every morning feeling a flush of happiness and excitement for the day to come, because I have a purpose.

And for me, that's the definition of happiness.

If it Doesn't Feel Right, it Probably Isn't
Estimated reading time: 3'

Estimated reading time: 3'

 

We've all seen a lot of publications around sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and general disrespect of women lately, with the #Metoo campaign.

I come a little bit late in the game, but I am tired of witnessing red flags and seeing men behaving like predators. I am tired of having to stand up for myself as a woman, having to set limits because they've been crossed, and having to comfort my girlfriends for the same reasons.

So I've decided to share a few examples of red flags (true stories), from my experience, from soft to risky:

Situation 1: you are on a date. Your date spends more time looking at your breast and your bottom when you turn around, rather than listening to your conversation. And when a bunch of girls passes you, he literally turns his head back. No surprise there. Oh and in case you wondered, it was not a Tinder date. And I did not wear revealing clothes.

Situation 2: you walk up the street with heavy bags from the supermarket. A car stops. The dude asks you to come closer so he can talk to you... You naively think he wants to offer his help. Instead, he tells you (warning - raw language): "Don't move, I will come back to break your legs and lick your pussy until you scream". You're so confused you forget to note down his license plate.

Situation 3: you are interviewing for a job. The HR advises you to not look under the table. 

Situation 4: you apply for a model gig and meet the 70 y.old manager in a cafe. He asks for your cup size for the bikini you are going to wear, and before you have time to answer, he swiftly grabs your breasts to "measure himself". 

Situation 5: you book a massage online. Turns out the massage takes place in a private home, and the therapist spends an awkwardly long amount of time massaging your upper thighs. 

Situation 6: you are in a cab in Mexico, middle of the jungle, no network and no soul in the streets. The car driver puts his hand on your leg. You push him away and pray.

I have experienced a million small situations like that. But despite the red flags, I kept going for it. I saw this guy again, I kept seeking those jobs, I stayed in the car.

And worse, most times, I did not speak up.

Why? Low self-esteem? Probably. Fear of making the other person uncomfortable? Definitely. 

At the moment, I knew exactly what to do, I knew exactly what to say. I was screaming inside of my head.

But I got paralyzed. Shame was taking over. I thought I had misunderstood. It thought it was not real.

Earlier in January, three of my friends confessed having been raped.

But that's not what shocked me the most.

What shocked me the most was that they KEPT HANGING OUT with the predators. They did not see themselves as victims.

They blamed themselves for not having known better.

For having accepted their drinks.

For having trusted them to take care of them and respect them as they were saying no. As they were crying. After they blacked out.

And the only thing they wanted to do in the morning was to hide away and pretend it did not happen.

A pure walk of shame. 

So I am begging you ladies to go ahead and speak up. And if you can't do it on the spot, it is never too late. Trust your instincts. Remove toxic people from your life. Respect yourself and do not let anyone enter your intimacy without your consent.

There are too many stories of disrespect towards women, abuse, and sexual harassment.

My trick is to count the red flags:

- One red flag: be on your toes. Speak up.

- Two red flags: just walk away.

If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
Which red flags do you look for?
Stand Up for Your Sexual Orientation
Estimated reading time: 1'40

Estimated reading time: 1'40

I was stepping out of the supermarket when a homeless man, wearing a Buddhist robe, approached me, asking for food.

As I was carrying a bag full of groceries, I searched for a couple items to give him.

"I just want to warn you, he said, I only eat fruits and vegetables, I am vegan".

Being on a plant-based myself, I was quite impressed to see that he was making a point of honor to stick to his ethics and maintain his diet while being homeless, pretty much a matter of life and death.

Curious, I initiated a conversation.

After a few minutes, to "thank me" for the couple fruits I had given him, he decided to "warn me" about a religious prophecy he seemed to believe in.

He started explaining in great details that in a near future, a divine retribution would happen to all the homosexuals and that he needed to spread the word to turn them "back to heterosexuality" (NB: we were standing right by Castro in San Francisco, one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States).

Now, I am not someone who gets worked up when I hear an opinion I disagree with.

Rather, I always try to understand where people stand, and find out where their beliefs come from. So I digged deeper.

As he justified his view on homosexuality, he ended up admitting that he "used to" be homosexual himself.

And there I understood. Some people base their fear (in this case, homophobia) on repressed urges they've been shamed for. They take out their internal frustration onto others, because they can't be who they really are, so why would anybody else?

As I always do, I, in turn, explained why I believed that each person should fully embrace who they are, do what they love, and see religion as a channel for love and acceptance, rather than hatred. 

I never saw him again after that day. I like to believe that our conversation led him to want to stand up for his sexual orientation, just like he did with his diet. 

That was the day I met a homeless vegan homosexual homophobic Buddhist.

Can You See the Signs?
Estimated reading time: 1'

Estimated reading time: 1'

I lost my job due to a change in strategy.

30 days to pack my bags & leave the USA.

I had left my country, my boyfriend & my job for this opportunity, all to end in a snap.

With no plan in mind, I took a soul-searching trip to Mexico.

Never in my life have I come across so many signs from the Universe.

I discovered that, when most vulnerable, you become fully aware of your surroundings.

You hang on to anything and everything that will give you strength.

The encouragement of a stranger.

Lyrics of a song on the radio.

The quote in a fortune cookie.

Someone’s tattoo.

The name of a bar.

Timing.

Dreams.

And you start to trust them.

As my roomie said: “You’re lucky, few people get to start on a blank page” Reboot.

I had to decide of the next step.

What is my value? 

What do I want? 

Where to next?

I burned through my savings.

Reached out to all my friends.

Traveled hours for interviews.

Showed up to companies unannounced. Moved from one couch to another.

Started a blog.

Created a portfolio.

I go after my dreams. I am surrounded by opportunities.

Visa deadline, what-ifs? Forgotten.

Every step I take leads me closer to my goal.

I am confident that it is a matter of days before I sign my dream job.

When you are facing tough times, are you the victim or the risk-taker?