Monday, 3 December 2018

thoughts about intimacy

I read an article about why people cheat in relationships some time ago and the author’s argument was that basically people cheat because they choose personal gratification over the intimacy of a relationship... I think this may be correct. But I don’t want to talk about this in this post, I want to share my thoughts about intimacy and why I think it’s better than shoes.

Intimacy is rare. Think about how many people in your life you feel really intimate with. Your family, maybe. A few good friends. Your partner. Not that many people, right? Now think about how long did it take you to feel intimate with these people. In the case of your family, well, a lifetime I guess... With your friends, well, I would bet that you only feel really intimate with the oldest ones, that it took you quite some time to open up and reach the point of feeling really comfortable with them, to feel you can share everything with them... The same with your partner, surely intimacy took some time to build, it’s not something you had in the beginning of the relationship, right? I mean, even if you have sexual intimacy, real intimacy takes time to establish... Also, intimacy takes a lot of effort in relationships, effort and courage to reveal yourself as you really are, to be honest and vulnerable and risk being hurt and rejected. Having real intimacy in a relationship means, I think, that you are emotionally invested in the relationship.

So, I would say that all this makes intimacy precious. Valuable. And, in my opinion, worth having. Yes, precisely because you are emotionally invested, if things go south, it really hurts. But that should not stop you! The risk of loosing should not keep you from having! Better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all! (...not my saying, obviously) Better to have known real intimacy, warmth, connection, support, even if with an expiration date, than to not have had it at all! Better to have held hands for what felt like a brief moment in life than to have lived a life where there was no holding hands at all... don’t be afraid of intimacy, seek it! Offer it! Take it when it’s offered to you! It will warm up your heart, it is the only antidote to solitude... it is better than shoes! 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

solving problems

I have always been the problem solver... admittedly, better at solving other people’s problems than my own, but still... and yes, it is tiring and yes, sometimes I get fed up with always (surely, it cannot be “always” but it seems like that inside my head...) being the one to save the day but hey, I am who I am. And yes, when I get problems I cannot solve, I do suffer! For a while... eventually I find a solution to almost everything, may that be my washing machine breaking down (for the third time, damn it...), my mom being a xenophobic b***h or my boss dumping a shitload of (more) work on me right before the Christmas holidays... yes... problems of different levels of difficulty indeed.

But this post is not about the problems I have not been able to solve, that would be in no way “better than shoes”. This post is about all the problems I have been able to solve and to praise those moments in life when we actually come up with a solution, put it to action and we move on, problem-free. And no, it does not go without saying that “duh, you have a problem, you solve it”. No, some people like to linger to their problems, feel comfortable in their problems, intentionally leave them unsolved because, basically, they prefer to just nag about their problems to everyone instead of actually solving them. You see, these people have befriended their problems, have loved and cherished them for so long that perhaps now they even cannot imagine a life without them. Maybe they think that they can only have people’s attention when in trouble... better the devil you know...

Not me. And, I advise you, not you either. So, here is the best strategy to problem-solving you will ever come across: First, identify the problem... really! Don’t cheat, identify the real problem. Then, stop thinking of the problem and focus exclusively on solutions... weigh in more than one of those if you have the luxury to come up with a plurality of solutions. Then, chose the best solution. Which one is that, you ask. Well, evidently, the one with less stress involved. But not just for you, think of others too, less stress for you and an enormous amount for others is not on. Less stress for everyone. For the present and the future. There. That’s your solution. Go on now, my children, go solve your problems and live a long and happy life. That, is better than shoes.

Friday, 2 November 2018

reunions...

...are not, as such, better than shoes. Think highschool reunions... They can be dreadful! Stressful! Horrible! They can be all about who got the best job with the most money, who married well, who got divorced, who married well and got divorced, who put on weight, who put on new boobs, who has the best kids (yep, people do compare their kids... tragic, I know...) and ultimately, they can be all about which shoes to wear in order to convey the right message... succes, money, availability...

But some  reunions are not at all like that... they are about people who were friends and got separated not by choice but because, well, life happens and things happen and we lose touch and we always remember them fondly and we wonder what they are doing and one day out of the blue we get in touch again and then we get together for drinks and three hours pass and it feels like a moment and it is as if not a day has gone by since we last saw each other! And these reunions are a blessing! They are heart warming! They are better than shoes!

I was gifted with such a reunion tonight. I got together with a friend I hadn’t seen in more than 18 years and with whom I reconnected only last month. And we are practically neighbours! Ok, 45 minutes by plane but it’s just across the channel! Now, I’m not a very emotional person but seeing her after all these years and recognising her right away, “there she is” I though when I saw her coming, really brought tears to my eyes... and we hugged and I felt so, so happy! And we had so much to say, we have grown, he have been through so much, we have changed but at the same time we also have remained unchanged! It was just us two again, laughing and talking and having a drink just like back when we were at uni! It was as if not a day had gone by since we last saw each other!

My dear V, it was awesome seeing you tonight, my heart is filled with such joy you cannot imagine! I can’t wait for next time... 😉

Thursday, 25 October 2018

feeling...

...is better than shoes.

I struggled a lot with my feelings in my youth. In fact, when I was younger, I had devised a “great” method of dealing with them, I would put everything I felt in a box, all tidy and neat, and then close the lid and lock it... until the box got so full it just popped open and, like the “Jack in a box”, all the stuffed up feelings I kept hostage for years just jumped out and I felt them all at once... and kept feeling them for about five years, while I was in therapy at the time and thank goodness I was because frankly, without help I would have ended up in the cuckoo’s nest...

So... keeping feelings in a box, not a good idea.
I mean, I know perfectly well that when we allow ourselves to feel, inevitably we will feel the bad stuff along with good. Yes, it will not be all joy and pleasure and fulfilment and love and affection and tenderness... it will also be sorrow and anger and irritation and boredom and disgust... but hey, without the bad, how would we appreciate the good, right? And I know that allowing ourselves to feel makes us vulnerable but, newsflash, we are vulnerable by definition! We are only human! So, not much at stake there... And I also know that, at least the women of my generation, we were all brought up conditioned to hide our feelings, never to tell the boy we liked that we liked him, never to show anger, always contain ourselves and “be ladylike” but... f@@k that! No, seriously! That was some twisted shit!! It just crippled us and cost us years of trying to get rid of those teachings in order to free ourselves and be just normal human beings!

So yeah, I know that when we allow ourselves to feel, really feel, we take risks... we open up to the unknown, we welcome in the good and the bad and we say “ok, let’s see now, what have you got for me?” but it’s so incredibly worth it! It’s how you know you are alive! Yes, it hurts ever so often but it’s also amazingly rewarding even more often! Yes, we will cry sometimes but, more often (believe me, I know what I’m talking about) we will laugh!! And that makes it all worth it!

So, feel!! Let it all in! Be open! Be human!  Don’t be afraid, don’t hold back! Accept the bad ones and celebrate the good ones! Do not hide your sadness and do not curb your enthusiasm! Just... feel it all! Be alive!  

Friday, 19 October 2018

overcoming...

This has been perhaps the most significant year of my life. In my 44 years on this planet, never have I been through so much... and though most of it has not been “better than shoes” and, in fact, has required quite a substancial amount of shoe purchasing in order to cope with and I will never, therefore, write about it in this blog, there is one thing that is worth a post. And that is overcoming.

I am not special in any way... I’m a woman who was broken in a million pieces and managed to pick them up, put them back together and reinvent myself as an even better person than before. And I believe anyone can do it. Anyone can! All of us can! You see, most times, when we find ourselves hitting a wall, we only need to take a few steps back to see that the “wall”, is not really a wall at all, it’s a pillar that we were looking at very closely and there’s way to move forward either by going left or right of it... and then we need to choose our way... there is always a way! There’s always an option! And it’s just a matter of perspective.

Even the worst situations, even the worst problems, have a solution. Sometimes the solution is only finding our way of accepting the problem but even that, is a solution! Even if we can’t solve it, we can deal with it! And sometimes, even when we really don’t like the way things are going, life has a magical way to show us that, in the end, maybe everything happened for the best! Time heals! That is, if we take time to heal and not just to relive again and again the bad stuff... it takes effort, it takes strong will but I believe all humans have it in us to overcome. To take a bad thing and look at it from a different angle and turn it into a good thing! Maybe not right away but if we use time to our advantage, we can turn everything around!

I have been sad this year... very sad... but I’m not sad anymore. I’m not desperate. I’m not broken anymore, I’m whole again! I have scars, deep ones, but I wear those with pride and I move forward and I laugh and I have more and more happy moments and that’s what’s important. Happiness for me is not a constant, is just a series of happy moments. I have that. I have overcome. And this is “better than shoes”! You can bet your most precious Louboutins on it 😉

Saturday, 6 October 2018

pyjama days...

Phew!... I had the most hectic week imaginable! Work was crazy demanding, I was at some point going down with a cold, had to take care of some tax and bills’ issues, in the midst of it all I also had an appointment for my hair (I know, I know, not exactly a chore but I do go an hour away for it... because when you find a hair stylist that gets you, you hang on to them, right?!...) and also a friend from back home was here for a conference and I would not miss the chance to get together with him and show him around in my city! And by the way, T, was lovely seeing you! Let’s not wait another eight years, ok?

So, yeah, my week was really something... but since last night things calmed down, I had a wonderful time with my adopted little sister M (happy birthday, sweetie!) with dinner and a drink and today, due to a last minute change of plans, I got to have a pyjama day!! The whole day at home by myself, totally stress-free, in my jammies and fluffy slippers, going from bed to sofa, sleeping whenever I felt like it, catching up on my series on Netfix and topping it all up with “Strictly”...  yes, people, I watch BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” every year religiously, my life needs a bit of glitter and glitz, what can I say?... throw in a couple of sandwiches and cups of tea and you have just the perfect day!

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love shoes and every opportunity to wear them but a girl’s feet need a day’s rest, dont’t they?... spending today so lazily, so relaxed, so cozy at home, nowhere to go and nothing to do while the wheather turned a bit nasty in the evening, curled up on the sofa in my pj’s, recovering sleep and rest and strength, well all that was a true luxury and a much needed one! My body and my mind needed this and now I’m ready for next week! I hope it will be much calmer one and with much more fun but in any case, I’m ready for it!

I had my lovely pyjama day today and those are, definitely, better than shoes!

Friday, 21 September 2018

poké bowls...

...are better than shoes! Let me tell you all about them ☺️

On a warm evening of a beautiful summer day this last July, a day which with hindsight was one of the highlights of my whole summer, I discovered the pleasure of savouring a poké bowl. Now, for those of you who don’t know what that is, Google’s your friend but I will give you an idea... imagine a bowl where you put some nice sushi rice at the bottom and you top it up with chopped raw fish and a variety of other ingredients of your choice, such as vegetables, beans, seaweed, seeds and stuff. My favourite one contains, apart from the rice, edamame beans, wakame, salmon, avocado, surimi salad, wasabi mayonnaise, orange massago and chopped roasted almonds. Are you salivating yet?!

This delicious dish comes to us all the way from Hawai and in a way to me it is a bit like deconstructed sushi and so I could not not like it, being the sushi fan I am (I ate only sushi for ten straight days the first time I went to Japan, I simply love it!) but it is also different in the sense that the rice may be slightly lukewarm and I find it more fulfilling than sushi which usually leaves me wanting more... well, maybe that’s just me... The poké is fresh, light, not greasy, very healthy I think and just so, so, sooooo tasty!!

I cannot deny that that specific day when I first tried it at that little place in the food court just in front of my house, was perhaps the best day of my summer... I was really on seventh heaven back then and it is possible that I love eating it ever since because it reminds me a bit of the joy I had in my heart that day... it is possible... Oh, well... even if life took a different turn (as it so often does...) and that day is just a sweet memory now, I still have my little poké bowls to enjoy every now and then and I urge you to try them too! 

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

hugs...

...are better than shoes. And I could just leave it to that but, I being I, will elaborate.

Think about it... think about all the moments in life when a hug is just the most appropriate gesture: when we are happy, when we are celebrating, when we are congratulating, when we are proud, when we are sad, when we are grieving, when we are sick, when we get well... the list goes on and on.... at weddings, at parties, at birthdays, at funerals (yes, sadly they are part of life too...), when we haven’t seen a friend for a while, when we need support, when we are angry and we need to calm down, when we need to be comforted, when we cry, when we laugh... when we love...

I love hugs... I wasn’t always like that, in my teens I was not at all into human touch, even in my early twenties as my dearest friend A would definitely confirm, I was not into “touchy feely stuff”... maybe because of my childhood... who knows... what I know is that I had been missing out! And when I changed, because I did change, and I got to understand the importance of it, when I realised the healing powers of a simple hug, this gentle exchange of positive energy between two human bodies, the warmth, the love that it can convey, the genuine smile that it can put on our face, oh, I became a fan! And now, whenever I can, I try to make up for all the wasted, hug-less years of my life!

And I tell you this: nothing can replace a hug! Give hugs to the ones you love, to your friends, to children, to your parents, to anyone who looks like they could use one! Accept to be hugged! Accept to be held, accept to be supported, everyone needs it now and then... don’t shy away from them and don’t be stingy with them! Give generously as they are one of the best things in life... they are the definitive “better than shoes” thing in your lives! Trust me! 😊

Friday, 31 August 2018

rain showers...

No, not the actual rain which pours down on your perfect hair day and ruins both the hair and your suede Chloé scalopped pumps, goodness no!

I mean those marvellous shower heads that let the water fall on you like rain ☺️ I love those! Surely they need to be under some strong water pressure and definitely backed with a second shower head just to make sure you don’t get those first bursts of cold water right on your head when you turn on the water, obviously... but then, after you got the right water temperature and you switch to the rain mode, aaaaa, bliss!

My favourite time of the day when I’m on beach holidays is getting clean after a full day by the sea, after I have enjoyed the sand and the salty water and I’m covered still in sunscreen and I come back to the hotel room (or house or whatever... don’t get stuck in the details...) and I finally wash up my face and take a shower! Mmmm... though I can put up with all that on my skin and hair during the day, at about 6pm or 7pm  I’m ready to get rid of it all and feel clean and fresh again and ready for the evening! And if I’m lucky enough to have a rain shower where I happen to be, oh, I’m the happiest puppy ever!

Then, after my shower, I’ll pamper myself with face, hair and body creams, put on clean clothes or just a bath robe and sit at the balcony with a cold drink, stare at the view for a while and then catch up on the news on my iPad or check the new shoes’ arrivals at my favourite online stores... yep, this is the best time of the day! So, ok, maybe what’s really “better than shoes” is that end-of-beach-day ritual but surely a rain shower just takes it up to the next level, you know what I mean, right? 😉

Monday, 27 August 2018

that first dip in the sea...

...is better than shoes! It really is!

I have made it to the island! Yes, it took a train and two planes and a taxi to get me here and quite a few hours (waking up at 03:50 in the “morning” is no fun... that’s when one goes to bed, not getting up, right?!) but here I am, in one piece, luggage arrived with me alright (yes, the control freak in me was... well, freaked out, that something would definitely go wrong during the transfer and I would arrive here with only my passport and my hat... I must kill this beast one of these days...), got settled in a marvellous room with the most magnificent views over the hotel gardens, the swimming  pool and the ocean and, off course, I immediately headed to the beach for that first dip in the sea!

Oh, I cannot discribe the feeling, words fail me... as blue as can be, under an equally blue cloudless sky and crystal clear and next to a sand which is truly golden and, most importantly, warm! Really warm! And I’m spoiled, mind you, I do not easily call the sea “warm” unless it meets my Mediterranean standards, and this is the Atlantic Ocean we are talking about! The Atlantic that has become my friend over the years, that still scares me with its waves and force but that has also given me great moments! And today was another one... I took a dive in its wellcoming waters and came out reborn!

The winter has been long and difficult and I have been working all summer but now is my turn to put my feet up, lay in the sun, sleep as much as I want, eat and drink whatever I want, rest and get tanned and read for fun! The ocean will wait for me tomorrow but nothing will compare to that first meeting we had this afternoon! What if it’s late to call it “summer”? It’s my summer and it is now and it will be great! And something tells me I will have more “better than shoes” stuff to share with you 😉

So, stay tuned 😊

Thursday, 23 August 2018

falling asleep...

...on the sofa, while listening to the pouring rain!

It does hurt me to even say it but it looks like summer is over. But, for those of you who are not familiar with the weather in this part of the world where I live, I have to say that having had an actual summer this year has been a blessing of colossal proportions! Yes, this year we had a lovely, warm (too warm at times, even for this Mediterranean girl...), long, beautiful summer! And, I tell you, “yours truly” enjoyed every moment of it! Pleasant Sunday walks in the city, dinners out, lots and lots of mojitos with friends out on Friday nights, Saturday afternoons in the sun, laying on my lounge chair in the balcony while looking at the sea in the distance, I did it all! And, last but not least, I wore every pair of sandals I own!

And, alas, it looks like it’s over now... so today I came back from work, exhausted as can be after having been working all summer, had my usual “get rid of the working day” routine, put on my lounge atire (yes, heels are never for inside the house, what did you think...), made myself a nice cup of tea and curled up on the sofa in front of the TV... and it is exactly there where I peacefully fell asleep while the sudden rain started, listening to the heavy drops hit the windows and the furniture on the balcony, singing the bittersweet song of autumn... and it was fabulous! The most beautiful lullaby! I tnink I fell asleep with a smile on my face...

Because yes, summer may be over but a new season is starting! And, who knows what it will bring?!... like every beginning, both scary and exciting, full of possibilities, full of potential! So, I say, let it come, let it be welcome!... while I keep lovely memories from this summer, which has been unexpected and wonderful,  I’m ready to create some more of those this autumn! And this coming winter! And every season which will come! I’m ready! And, after my power nap this early evening, I’m also rested and full of energy! Let the good times come! They will surely be better than shoes! 😊

Ps. Ok, having said all of the above, I do admit that I’ll be even more ready after I actually had my summer holidays, starting in 3 days! I bet lots of “better than shoes” experiences await me by the beach...

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

standing your ground...

...is better than shoes! (of course, while always wearing the appropriate pair of those ;)

This has been a trying year... instead of mopping around though, after the initial period of mourning which should not be avoided in my opinion (you cannot deny grief any more than you can deny joy...) I decided to pick myself up and move on... so I did that. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones, I consciously asked for help and got it, I laughed, I flirted, I enjoyed the summer sun, I travelled by myself to find myself  and I have more plans for more traveling... I have prevailed. I have looked chaos in the eye and I have said "bring it on, baby"!

And one of the things I have learned from it all is that knowing at every moment where you stand is very, very important! Know how you feel, know what you believe in, know what you want, be strong, stand your ground and let people know exactly what you think of them and their actions, even if they have absolutely no intention of listening... no, you cannot make people listen and usually they will not want to listen unless you have praises for them but at the end of the day, you cannot keep everything inside because people do not want to hear what you have to say... yes, it is wasted to them but it is important to not keep it to yourself... you keep things inside long enough, they fester and rot and make you sick...

So, speak up! Say what you think! Do not linger on your anger, let it out! Hold people responsible for hurting you, build your boundaries and protect yourself from invasions, don't be gaslighted and, most importantly, if you have to say "f@@k you" to someone, say it!

Because the thing is, if you actually have gotten to the point of needing to say "f@@k you", most probably you have some very, very good reasons! And even if they do not hear a thing, even if the bubble they are in has walls so thick that nothing penetrates, even so, stay on the outside and say it... for your own sanity... chances are you will feel better after having finally said it even if you know that they only saw your mouth move and no sound got to them... at least you heard it!






Thursday, 26 April 2018

Spending time with my niece...

Well, there is absolutely no pair of shoes in the world, the acquisition of which could possibly give me more joy than the 3 hours I spent today with my first born niece! Absolutely none! The maestro Manolo himself, even if he was designing a pair of his masterpieces just for me, could not possibly make me happier than I feel today after having spent the early evening hours with her! In one word, she is amazing!

As life has it, we don’t see each other very often... we live about 3000km apart and I have missed so many milestones in her life... my bad and no way to get that back. I did not really see her grow, but grown she has, into a wonderful young lady! At the age of 16 (ok, 16 minus 10 days) she is smart and funny and sensitive and kind and appreciative and a pleasure to talk to! She is both interested and interesting, she has views about our world, she wants to learn, she listens and she offers opinions, she has dreams, she has a great sense of humour and a loving heart! She is driven and a good student and she has friends she cares about and she has plans and she works hard and also knows how to have fun! And, she’s so, so pretty! Goodness, I’m so proud of her!

Of course I love her, I love her from the first time I saw her, a tiny little thing some 16 years ago! But now I can say in all certainty that I also like her! I like her a lot! I like the person she is becoming and I cannot wait to see more of her, to talk more with her, to enjoy seeing her becoming a woman! Oh, this world needs women like her, needs people like her, she gave me so much hope about the future! The kid is alright, really, and there are many like her and we will all be alright, the world will be alright!

I could never thank her enough for the joy she’s given me today but, hey, no reason not to try... so, thank you my sweet angel M! I love you and I like you lots!


Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A support network...

...is better than shoes! I mean, waaaaaay better!

Life has been overwhelming in the past few months... things I never expected would happen, have, in fact, happened and I have found myself in a dark, sad place... and, for some time, I wouldn’t talk to my friends... I wouldn’t talk to anyone...boy, that was dumb! But, hey, the superwoman in me thought that could handle things but, as expected, I was wrong... I almost lost myself...

And then, I opened up... I opened up to S, who is one of the less judgemental people I know, always ready to see both sides, to understand both sides while being on my side too, in the sense that he’s worrying about me... I opened up to M, with her somewhat unconventional views but who is always there to offer me a different, and much needed, perspective on things, a perspective I often miss... I opened up to S and E who opened up a big hug for me, ready to offer their smile and cookies and sunny disposition to take away my pain! And then I opened up to S, her vote of confidence and humor and kindness offered in abundance and so, so much appreciated! And I opened up to M, the little sister I wish I had, her sweet bright smile and understanding and loving words warmed up my heart!

And now, today, being back home, I was received by A and S, S and A, who took me in their arms, literally and metaforically and made me feel like not a day has passed since we last met (although it has been almost two years...), who listened to me and comforted me but, once again, without judging, without placing blames, without drama but with the perspective that intelligent, experienced and kind women have over life... full of love, so much love that filled up my craving heart... They offered me the oasis I so much needed after having wandered in the desert for so long...

My network of support, my friends,  have been there for me, once again, and it has been all I could have wished for! I would gladly trade all my shoes for them, they are all amazing!! And I will never be able to thank them enough but I will not stop saying it: thank you my sweet, lovely, great friends! Thank you!!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

kindness...



So, I read the other day an article over “kindness being the new mindfulness”... f”&#k that! Kindness is not the new anything, it’s just kindness and it is, and always has been, better than shoes!

I have been somewhat under the weather for some time... oh, well, who am I kidding, I have been pretty bad... you may have guessed it by the long silence that I have not been spotting “better then shoes” stuff to report for a while now... I can share with you that even shoes have lost somewhat their appeal to me lately... yep... that bad... however the eternal optimist in me still hopes that it is just a phase and all will be well and even better than before and love will prevail and I will have many, many reasons to smile again soon...

OK, enough with the whining, I’m here to talk about kindness... the kind (hey, this is a wordplay, no?...) that is given generously, unconditionally, openheartedly, abundantly, the kind that comes on a rainy day and brightens it up, exactly when you least expect it! The kind that surprises you and at the same time warms up your heart in ways that you thought forgotten... kindness over kindness already received... dearest L offered me all that and more yesterday and I will never forget it! He listened, he did not judge, he took great care of me, he gave me back a sense of self-confidence that I desperately needed and he did all that with a selflessness and honesty that brought tears to my eyes... happy tears...  yep, that kind of kindness... better than shoes...

My darling L, I thank you once again... you are a good man and don’t ever let anyone, ever, convince you otherwise... looking forward to meeting you again... ;)