quiestnina

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JOURNAL NO 2

Hello Hello,

Holy mother of god, I actually started a format, the lovely journal, around two months ago, and today, mark this day in history, is the first time ever that I am actually continuing a format that I started once! For all those who have big question marks on top of their heads now, I used to be the queen of inventing formats and series, especially when I started blogging, but never continued them!

As always, you are very welcome to have a cup of tea or coffee whilst reading this (I am having tea if anyone out there on the planes actually cares about that).

I know stripping my thoughts on the internet might not be the most casual thing to do, especially now, when I am applying to career relevant internships and literally my future employer could read this, hello, so welcome to my creative mind, very pleased to have you here.

Ever since my last journal, of course, how else should it be- a lot of stuff happened. Alright, let’s start spilling the tea. So, when I was writing my last journal, I was not feeling very well, in fact I was lost in this new universe I was wandering around, called North America.

I have spent my entire life dreaming about North America. A place that is far, a place that is better, a place where my heart won’t be broken.

North America was my personal North Star. The thing I kept achieving for. Whilst dreaming myself out of reality, my mind goes crazy creative ways, and imagines things way more ideal than they are in the real world.

I have lived in many places all over, so I thought very confidently that North America won’t be a problem, it will be pure pleasure.

What I felt when I came here is very hard to put into any form of expression, I was mainly shocked what my mind was able to create and to my suborn surprise, it had nothing to do with the reality.

Some people call it cultural shock, but I would not necessarily call it like that in my case. It was more the act of realisation that I have spent years creating a world in my head, a world that is better than the world we have. It might exist somewhere, but for now, it rests in my imagination.

Living overseas can be difficult, but I personally find this phenomenon more strange than difficult. Of course, I have missed my friends, family and my home- there was no such day when I did not think about them.

I personally just don’t feel a physical sign, like pain, of myself that there is literally an entire ocean between myself and them. I have learned, when these people are close to your heart, the distance does not matter.

However, life is strange, surprising and weird at so many stages. Nevertheless, I feel beyond grateful to have the opportunity to explore various weird and wonderful parts of this world.

Moreover, I travelled a bit around as I luckily had some time off. I finally got the chance to see Montreal and New York City, which still seems absolute unreal to me. All this, my life since two years seems like this great big adventure, and not like this unmanageable depressive chore, which I used to feel like it was.

Both the places I have seen, utterly beautiful in their individual way. Montreal, a city that combined French and British culture at once.

It has those beautiful French styled cafes with the chairs that never sit quite lethal on the pavement, scented with the smell of strong coffee and cigarettes, in an environment of art deco architecture and modern brick walls.

My Airbnb host described it as Paris and Brooklyn’s baby.

About New York, I don’t even have words to describe this mekka of cultural madness and curiosity. It is a magical place, definitely one of the best places to visit in North America. It is just beautiful, full of things you love, things you never know existed, and things you will fall in love with.

DRESS: VINTAGE, JACKET: VINTAGE, SHOES: DR. MARTENS, BAG: ZARA

I finally fulfilled my lifelong dreams of seeing all the places I wanted to see, for example Beacon’s Closet (it is the best vintage shop on the planet) where I got this dream of a dress from. Isn’t it lovely.

I read amazing works of literature. I read “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, very beautifully written. After I read it, I went to Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography exhibition in the Gugenheim Museum. It really touched me. As humans, art reflects our magic, and when artwork touches us, we are touched by magic itself.

Also, I read “normal people” by Sally Ronney- very well written novel, she lets you fall in love again, and you will feel again how it felt when you experienced it the first time.

Alright, now, drinking tea, finishing off some work and applications, I hope you have enjoyed these words, if yes, I appreciate it that you take interest in my life.

I suppose I have said enough now, so until the next one. Have a good one.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH

Two years and fifty days.

This day two years and fifty days ago, I was nineteen, in my final year of a high school that was full of people who were as dramatic as the daily mail, and I was a walking ball of anxiety.

On this day, it was probably covered in gold leaves twirling around me like a fresh autumnal breeze, I published my first post on this blog.

It still feels crazy that my humble self, who mastered being inconsistent at everything managed to keep this platform alive for over two years.

Alright, back in the day, I never dreamed, not even in my wildest dreams that I would have a consistent online presentence for such a long time. To be honest with myself, I thought I could keep this up for a maximum of six months, then I will probably break down, constantly being afraid that people in school would talk about what I do and give up in the end.

Today, I can’t imagine a life without this platform. My constant form of expression, progress and the visual proof that no matter how hard you fall, you will always be able to stand up again.

I remember very vividly; how afraid I was about showing my face online before I started posting. I was so damn anxious about it. I thought all this is about my style and my outfits, so nobody will be interested in seeing a face behind all this. I worked out a million methods on how I could possibly hide my face, aka not showing it at all. As you can see, I ended up showing my face, probably because it looked simply hideous when I tried to crop off my face.

I have spent ages in trying on keeping this blog as impersonal aka as neutral as possible, so nobody could ever attack me on anything.

This took a lot of energy and did not make me less anxious, I constantly felt like I am hiding something, I felt like I was creating an online version of myself.

Feeling like I was pretending to be someone that I am not, on my blog, a place where I am supposed to be myself. It made me lose the joy of writing and sharing, and I was drowning in the famous writer’s block on top of it all.

This lasted very long, I mean I kept posting on the most irregular basis for ages, as I did not know what the hell I could write about. I felt that everything was too personal, and I did not see a sense in just talking about what I am wearing.

Looking back, my anxiety held me back from so much. I am sharing my experiences in order to normalise it- I genuinely feel like we should talk about it more to show each other that we are not alone in this chaos. Let’s hold on to each other.

However, in those two years and fifty days so much happened- I finally left hell’s kitchen aka high school (to my English teacher who told me I couldn’t write for shit- we are always wrong at some point in our lives), I moved countries twice, I finally started doing what I really love and I am slowly learning how to take care of myself.

Today, back in the day, two years and fifty days ago, I published my first outfit post, wearing the exact same dress as in this post, the only difference is probably the way I style it nowadays and the fact that I don’t have that hideous haircut anymore (I just look weird with shorter hair lol).

It is not a crime to wear a dress for two posts. It is not a crime to have a repetitive outfit on Instagram. Let’s be honest with ourselves and simply stop caring about what these mysterious “others” could say- they will talk anyway. And on top of that you are no one until you are talked about, so see it as a compliment.

Before two years, I never thought I’d have the courage to publish images of myself eating cake. I thought I will live with an eating disorder for the rest of my life. Things change. Time passes. You’ll get better.

DRESS: SISTER JANE (OLD), JACKET; VINTAGE, SHOES: DR MARTENS

I also never thought I’d do a cheesy birthday post for a website. I hope I am on the right track to create something real.

Thanks for taking your time to read this, always.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ANAELLE. THE REST BY MYSELF.

Solitude.

An old, crappy TV, showing off the dreamiest scenes between men and women, always capturing an unrealistic image of femininity, self-worth and relationships.

As a female human being, I can say that I have experienced this phenomenon in my very young years of life already, probably multiple times.

As a girl, I was always in touch with “girly” things, such as fairy tales, which are always constructed on the ideal that the ultimate goal in a woman’s life is tied to male validation and marriage. Always the same old plot. Lost princess, gets rescued by strong man, they marry, she is finally validated and sees her worth and out of the blue she has reached her one and only ever life goal and everything’s alright.

No matter how much society changed in the 21 years I have been alive, I still experience judgemental looks when I make critical comments on the concept of marriage.

The older I got, the more I got in touch with the phenomenon of the other sex’ validation and relationships.

When I was a teenager, it seemed like your greatest achievement in life to have a significant other, just for the sake of saying it. It made you seem loveable. You had a piece of evidence that you are not the worst person on the planet.

Long story short: when you did not have a boyfriend, you felt like a looser.

All the childhood bedside stories, covered in glitter, being watched trough a pink girly bubble have truly left their impact on my further life.

Growing older and getting more in touch with the mysterious world of dating, I felt lost. I had many wrong associations about it but was mainly lost about how it worked.

It did not take very long until I stopped caring about who I actually dated, I was fine with it as long as they gave me the addictive feeling of validation.

Male validation became my crack, my drug. Once I felt validated, this rush of dancing dopamine hormones were having a dance party in my veins. I felt good, and I wanted to have this feeling last forever. It is as addictive as any other kind of drug.

After quiete a while of practising this toxic behaviour on a very regular basis, I found myself again in my therapists’ office being emotionally weak as hell.

I told her about my lack of self-worth, self-confidence and how much I crave male validation and attention to fill up this giant hole in my soul.

A couple sessions, breakdowns and panic attacks later, I finally let myself be convinced by my therapist and a couple friends to stop my craving for validation.

Nobody ever in this world will be able to kiss your shit away. Nobody ever will be ever to give you the self-respect that you don’t even dare to give to yourself.

So, after all this time of messing around with my own mind, I had to deal with being alone. Solitude. I was terrified of doing anything alone, and then I forced myself to force a lot of time by myself. Out of pure desperation, I probably read every article on the internet with detailed instructions on how to fall back in love with your own company.

After a while of spending time by myself, and mostly taking care of myself, I actually started linking to have time only for myself. I finally started to give myself the respect that I deserve (well done, it only took me 21 years of life to do that lol). All what I am saying here is just the retelling of my personal experience and feelings, please do not let it come across as a hate against the other gender.

JUMPER, BAG AND SKIRT: ZARA, SHOES: DR. MARTENS

Now, being very comfortable on my own, I finally feel like I have broken my chains from constructed society conventions about relationships, validation and marriage. For some people it might still be the call in life, for my personal case, I don’t know. I am way too young and juvenile to have it all figured out already. Let’s just see what the future holds.

What I want to say is, that no matter what your current position in life is, no matter on how much you are struggling, your worth is not based on the validation that someone else out there could possibly give you. You have to give yourself the validation, self-respect and worth first, before anyone else can properly do it. It is not fashionable to disrespect your personality or to constantly talk you down.

Your worth is never based on some hero who will save you out of your chaotic situation. You are worth so much more that you will ever think.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ANAELLE

Moving Countries

Growing up between vineyards and croissants, on top of an invisible border, switching constantly between two languages, the concept of national borders, being proud of a piece of paper or isolation was and will never be something I will be comfortable with.

Ever since I stepped on a plane on the 8th September 2018, I have officially left the county where I grew up. Ever since then, the questions “why have you left the country”, “do you want to move back” haunt me. Also comments like “I couldn’t do that” are high in the game.

I completely get these questions and comments, at this young age it is not the most common thing to quit a country and it does raise curiosity once I mention it to someone else.

A lot of people especially last year told me to use my blog to talk about my experiences abroad. That does sound like a lovely idea, which would most probably be tied to a lot of clicks and a raising reader audience- but I decided not to do so.

Now, a year later, I feel a lot more ready to talk about it. Moving from place to place does change you a lot, inside and outside. The main and probably only reason, why I refused to talk about it online, is still that I don’t want to be put in the specific nationality box where I am originally from. I also did not want to be “the one who moved and talks about it online”. I just did not see it as a key part of my identity.

In the big picture, the action of making the decision to move abroad is only the smallest part of the puzzle. The key parts are adaption and finding your own identity.

Ever since I was fourteen years old, I kept talking about the fact that I wanted to leave the country. I grew up in a very small village, and I kept dreaming myself away in the wide world, where everything seemed more glamorous and better. I felt very judged in my environment, which was mainly not creative, and I could not be myself in the way I liked to. The relation between me and my hometown is as simple as a tragic love story of forced love: we just did not love each other back, we never will, but that is more than fine. I will always appreciate and love the home my parents gave me, but the city and the general environment was just not for me. Being born into an environment is based on pure coincidence, and there is never a guarantee that it will be the place for you.

Looking back, the decision to leave was never made at only one “specific” point. In my case, it was just a very necessary step to take in order to achieve what I wanted. Intentionally, I moved away for university, but after a while living abroad, I felt a heavy disconnection with the place where I am actually from, the place where I grew up. I see that as p part of the main thing that happens to you once you move away- you change.

When I look back, a year ago, I was such a different person. Jesus Christ, I was such a fragile baby. I am very glad of how I have changed over the past 12 months; I feel more like myself than ever before. Change is a good, and most importantly powerful thing. It pushes you, it challenges you, but it never throws you a step back.

I initially never intended on talking about this topic online, as I don’t see my nationality, my habit of moving countries every once in a while, or the place I grew up as an essential part of my personality. To myself I want to be judged by the things I have achieved or the things I went through but please don’t have the courtesy base your judgement on a piece of paper I have done nothing for, apart from being born into.

Looking back, leaving the country where my passport was issued, was the best decision I could have ever made. Moving countries is a fun thing to do, you learn a lot about yourself and about life itself I’d say. You will taste so much food you’ve never tasted before. You will see things you’ve never seen before. You will meet people you would have probably never met under other circumstances.

BLAZER- URBAN OUTFITTERS, TEE: HEARTMAN CLOTHES, TROUSERS: ZARA, BAG: VINTAGE, SHOES: DR. MARTENS

Yes. It might be true. Maybe you have to travel far in order to know who you are. Or maybe I am just a juvenile dreaming of a borderless world and the vision that traveling could save our curious souls from the evil.

We will never know.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece.

Nina xx

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH.

THE REST BY MYSELF.

My love, the road

Beside all the busy roads packed with mainstream advertisements in the big city, I found this lovely avenue at the other end, hidden like the town’s best hidden secrets.

Those hidden secrets, at some places you’d expect them to be the least, so perfectly hidden and full of character.

It is one of those streets that smell like the artistic combination of self-rolled cigarettes and artisanal coffee.

It is full of artists, residing in old, beautiful and colourful houses, painted in every possible colour from pastel to bold.

It seems like one of these old, dusty unopened books, full of magic and good stories.

Have you ever walked down such a road and wandered what could have happened on there? Who would call it its home? Who would have spent their whole life there? And who wanted nothing but desperately leave it?

All these questions, so many possible answers about a magical street which has probably formed the essence of someone’s life. They might have had the happiest days of their lives there, when they were a pure bundle of joy sparking out the magic of simply being drunk on endorphins and pure love. They also might have had the saddest days of their lives there, when they were breaking down in tears like a dramatic waterfall, with a lack of any means of energy.

Some of them might have shared their lives with another person here.

Others might have been loners forever, loosing themselves in poetry, music and art.

Whenever I walk down this road, I see all the bars which treasure memories covered in empty glasses of out drunken pints, I see vintage shops with pieces I fell in love with but most of all I see a soul.

The soul of something real. Beside all the billboards, the trouble, the hectic life. The place, where the soul chose to live.

When I walked down the road the other day, whilst the sunshine tickled my skin, I saw a beautiful house covered in blue pained, framed by greenery all around.

It looked like every child’s dream house, as if it came straight out the Pippi Long stocking novel.

A glimpse of an eye later, a man was stepping out of that dream of a place to live in. My humble daydreaming self could not resist the coincidence and told him how beautiful his house looked like.

The old man in the denim dungarees, looking like a loving father and grandfather, started talking to me. He told me how he bought the house, how he started a family in there and how his kids spend their childhoods in it. I imagined how beautiful it must have been growing up there, in a street full of art. Next to his house is his beautiful store, full of vintage clothes and other antiques. He has travelled around the world to fill it full of treasures.

Treasures full of soul and value like life itself.

Whenever I will feel the sun ticking on my skin again, I will always remember myself, walking down feeling the magic, the atmosphere and the art of one of the most beautiful and long winding roads in this world, wearing my best dress.

DRESS: ASOS, SHOES: DR MARTENS,
BAG: VINTAGE

love,

Nina x

PHOTOS BY ASHLEY LOUISE SMITH
THE REST INCLUDING ART DIRECTION BY MYSELF