Last Friday Night

When you are the most interesting person in a room, go to the next one – that’s what they say, and I figured out that I should obey to this rule in every area of my life.

Last Friday night I went out of my comfort zone. I smashed it. And just to point out – I have a very broad comfort zone!

I’ve realized that since a couple of years I move around more-less the same group of people, plus three additional groups of friends I made while living abroad. It’s mainly other engineering students, some med students, a couple of people of the same background and a few other international-atmosphere-geeks.

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(c) Bence Fejes

Each of us has a group of friends and family from the early childhood, than the friends you met in primary school (podstawówka), secondary school (gimnazjum) and then the most important ones – high school (liceum) and the university ones. Those are the people you hang out with, party, talk deep sh*t, cry and laugh, eat out, travel, complain, do sports, study. And maybe some friends-of-the-friends. And not much more of other people affect you anyhow in your every-day life!

There is no proper word in English for ‘znajomi’. There is such a huge difference between ‘a friend’ and ‘przyjaciel’! I have a lot of acquaitances and collegues and a couple of close friends. But they are all the same group! I mean – they are awesome and I wouldn’t exchange them for anyone, but it was so nice to refresh (just to come back to your forever-base)!

Last Friday night I’ve met new people and they are not imaginary friends! Really inspiring. It gave me new power.

My only concern is that when I am too much of myself, I do not meet thaaat much approval anymore. I’m too honest, straight-forward and harsh. Maybe I’m not that standard anymore? Maybe I really am too much? Or maybe I’m just not Polish anymore?

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(c) Bence Fejes

One of my recently made friends updated her status on Facebook for: I have a medical condition. I see when people are ambitious and run to achieve their goals. Run, not go! I see, when they want more from life, when they want to travel non stop, to see the world and they want to pass this life with people, for whom the word ‘boredom’ does not exist. And I will fight for such people!

I guess I am the same.

Being a woman in 21st century

I am sure you have noticed the wave of Me too (or Ja też, Moi aussi, Yo tambien…) on your Facebook walls some time ago… What was it all about?

#MeToo
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
#JaTeż
Jeśli wszystkie kobiety, które były kiedyś molestowane seksualnie napisały “Ja też” w statusie, być może pokazalibyśmy ludziom jaką skalę ma to zjawisko (więc kopiuj i wklej).

Writing a couple of words about the feminist book I’ve read and recommended recently, as well as after Paullajna’s comment on one of my posts (Infinite problem when a strong woman is being called a b**ch. Don’t stop Zuza, be a tough b**ch), I felt an urgent need to express some of my opinions concerning 50% of us. How is it to be a woman (after India I should say – white woman) in 21st century?

Firstly, the quote from ‘I LOVE DICK’ by Chris Kraus again:

Female monsters take things as personally as they really are. They study facts. Even if rejection makes them feel like the girl who’s not invited to the party, they have to understand the reason why.

Yes, if a woman is strong and independent, she is very often treated as a monster. Or a tough b**ch. Or a terminator with no feelings. She must be a terrible partner, mother, daughter, just a good friend because for sure she is interested in football and cars, but than maybe she is planning to take over your boyfriend? Bullsh*t.

That is why I enjoyed so much my stay in Sweden – one of the countries where gender equality is very strongly developed. You can see as many mothers as fathers with children in the restaurants or on the playgrounds. Typically ‘manly’ jobs like bus driver or technician are widely practiced by women. LGBTQIA+ people live their lives in peace and are rarely stared at. It has its price, tough, and I felt sometimes kind of lost.

I come from the conservative and often very sexist country, but no matter how much it sucks – I like when the man lets me pass first in the door, helps me carry the bag (but a shopping bag, not the girly one!)… But it is not because I am weaker, but to show me kindness and respect. I can also let the guy pass in the door first if he carries something heavy. It makes my confused – where is the border of sexism and good traditional manners?

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(c) Bence Fejes

Another confusing and sad fact about me is that I haven’t felt attractive until the time when I started to have sex with men. Before that I was so engulfed under the complexes about my body! And my parents did not make it easier for me, saying in the same time that every body is beautiful, I am gorgeous and smart, but also that I should lose some kilograms. Not until I was 17 or 18 I’ve figured out that at some point of contact, it really DOES not matter how you look like. Everyone just looks great and natural.

The facts are clear – women still earn less than men, their work is diminished (staying at home, cooking and taking care of children is hard work too! And I think it should be paid), their opinion does not matter. During one lecture on my exchange, in course of Swedish Language, Culture and Society, my professor (Ylva Lindberg) told us a ridiculous story about the conference she participated in: its topic was connected with women’s rights, and she – Ylva – was the only female speaker among 10 men… It seems to be relevant to artists, directors, critics, politicians too… Well, not musicians… Female singer is made to show boobs on stage! When it comes to art, another good quote from ‘I LOVE DICK’.

If women have failed to make ‘universal’ art because we’re trapped within the ‘personal’, why not universalize the ‘personal’ and make it the subject of our art?

I am far from being able to call myself an artist, but I think that my writing is very universal AND personal in the same time. Well, I am a valuable person so why my PERSONAL opinions wouldn’t be UNIVERSAL for the readers? Especially that most of them can identify themselves with me – I am quite a typical representative and voice of my generation – studying, traveling, fearing to miss out, with boisterous social life, postponing family life for sake of career.

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(c) Bence Fejes

On the same lecture, Ylva showed us the results of the survey she conducted among engineering students a couple of years back. It was adjectives describing boys by boys and girls and girls by boys and girls. Stereotypical woman was obviously weaker, more stupid, acting under emotions, while the man was decisive, critical and his opinion mattered the most. And it was just a couple of years ago, in Sweden!

One Swedish guy I dated back in Jonkoping was a total feminist and I loved it about him. I felt absolutely equal, respected and supported independently of gender. I was in a relation where we were two humans willing to cooperate and spend time together. Unlike my first relationship (still the biggest one!) with a guy from conservative (both in terms of religion and culture) background, which costed me a lot of nerves and undermined me as a human being.

Nevertheless, maybe it is the last thing which should be written in my feminist statement, but there are just a few moments in life when I feel like a real woman, and none of them is feministic. When I wear high-heels and gorgeous dress, walk in to the bar with a drink in my hand, all eyes on me… In the trustful mood after sex, cuddling a man and being hugged to his chest…

The other moments of power I experience are more related to being a great human being then a woman: when I speak up for a group cause everyone else was scared or too shy, when I ran a successful presentation and my audience is really interested, when I show off with being a good driver or a good cook… I really don’t understand myself and hope that I will figure it out soon enough.

I’ve once heard that 30yo is the best age for the woman – still young and gorgeous, but not making mistakes of a 20-ish yo. Maybe then? Or when I am in a good relationship basing on mutual respect and partnership? Or when I have a baby? No, I don’t want having a baby to be a moment defining me as a woman, as from what my Mom taught me – being a woman does not mean that I need to be a mother.

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(c) Bence Fejes

Anyway, most of the things I want from life are pretty uni-sex: to travel the world, have a great job, never stop learning, make my constantly popping-up dreams come true, spend my life with an appropriate person, do us much for other people as for myself… And be happy.

Yoga and why I love it so much

When people ask me ‘how was India?’, I have a ready answer – I tell this story at least once a day… Yes, I have many bad things to say, but as the time passes I start to remember only good aspects about my stay there.

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Yoga on the Delta Beach near Udupi was one of the best ones.

If you ask what was the best about India, I would say: people I’ve met (oh, I wrote so much about all of them already!) and yoga. Yes, yoga was my biggest escape and medicine for all the hardships. And still is.

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When I control breathing or chant ‘ohm’, I just flow away!

I was very lucky to come across my Pradeepa. Every session with her was a miracle – developing my body and soul she was showing me that every day I can make a change and push my physical and mental limits. If it wasn’t for yoga, I would get crazy in India.

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Pradeepa is a badass. Apart from yoga she does martial arts too!

Yoga a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation.

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We almost fell from this cubes while doing some asanas for the pictures 😀

It was invented by Lord Siva for his wife Parvati, to let her remain always young and beautiful.

According to Pradeepa there are 84 official asanas (postures) in yoga, but more than 500 of its unwritten variations.

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This posture is for some reason called ‘cow face’.

Yoga is widely practiced around the world. It is good to maintain your body fit, soul peaceful and energy channels clean (although I am not a specialist in the latter one). There are pregnant women doing yoga, on my classes in Lodz there is Mr Jurek who is at least 70 years old, and another gentleman with a Parkinson disease. And we all practice together – young, old, fit and clumsy. And there are postures for everyone. There are for example asanas which shouldn’t be done during menstruation. I always fight with it, maybe because I usually feel good and do not notice any difference (only positive – I am more relaxed), but it has some scientific reasons…

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Pradeepa’s training studio looks like kindergarten… But I was never so peaceful in such a colorful room!

What is yoga for me? Right now – lifestyle. In another school, where I was going for a couple of months it was more like sport, fitness. It made me feel good physically, but did not really contribute to my mental state, that is partially why I gave it up with another outburst of depression.

Now, after India it is all different. It contributes so much to my self-consciousness and wellbeing. I have never thought I would be able to meditate so deeply, to push my body’s bareers that far, to be able to direct all the attention to the points where I touch the ground and do not wonder with my thoughts anywhere else. Yoga is just a miracle for me.

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Ola, me and Kim were a good team to go for afternoon classes, but when it comes to mornings – I was alone and the most persistant.

Some people do not see or need this mind-side of the practice, I understand it. As a sport it is obviously great, too. I am not a huge fan of sweating, being red, wet and smelly, not being able to catch breath and generally – feeling wasted. Yes, I do like light jogging, but not tough exercises at the gym. That is why yoga is perfect for me – I feel that I am working on my body: I am more flexible and stronger, but I do not go home exhausted, just happier and in peace.

 

PS. Doing research for this post I’ve came across a pretty good website with all the basics of yoga, which I would like to share with you: Yoga Journal, which in simple way explains all you need to know. Neverthless I do not recommend practicing yoga without a guru or an experienced teacher, at least in the beginning (I still do not do more complicated asanas alone… Well, some people say that beginings are first 15 years!). Even if you think you follow the YouTube tutorial correctly, there is always something that should be verified by someone more experienced and seeig you from the outside.

The prom for adults

I have recently felt that I’m growing old. I am still mentally on the level of attending all the 18th birthday parties around, at least 3 per week, while during the last year at least 5 couples around me got engaged. I was going for crazy high school parties, now I will go for weddings… Or baptisms, if the government keeps the 500+ program (in Poland each couple gets now more than 100 EUR a month per each second, third… child in the family. Easy to convinve people to reciprocate!).

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Nevertless, I was super excited when I got invited to the prom organised for the 10th anniversary of the creation of my high school! It was such a surprise. I mean – everyone knew that there will be a prom in the middle of our last year in school – around 100 days before the final exams, that is the tradition in Poland. But I didn’t even know that it’s already 10 years since they launched my prestigious high school.

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‘The best school in the galaxy’ – that’s how our Headmaster used to call it!

I had a lot of fun, it was great to see all the people together. More than half of my class came! I see most of them almost every day – at university, in trams, on parties… But it was amazing to see them all partying together again and to do shots with your ex-teachers!

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I didn’t feel younger as I needed, though. There were quite many people I didn’t know and I was constantly wondering – are they some older graduates who finished school couple of years before me, or the newly employed teachers? That was confusing…

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I didn’t invest much in this prom 😀 I didn’t want to buy another one-evening dress, so I just borrowed one from a friend. The same with the purse. And I wore my ever-lasting shoes, the only ones I am able to dance in. My make-up was done by my friend (no, not a beauty artist… Physics and Science student xD), I just invested in painful and uncomfortable acrylic nails, with which I still need to live. Today I needed to ask my Dad to press the button of the blender, cause I couldn’t… I hate being helpless!

Neverthless, it was a great night and I had more fun than on my real prom 4 years ago! Far less stress and pressure, a lot more stories to tell 🙂 I can’t wait for how is it gonna be in the next 10 years!

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Another anxiety on the list

After having another productive and meaningful conversation with the person, to whom I can trust and who is far more life-experienced than me, I drew a sad conclusion – the older I get, the longer list of my fears and anxieties is.

Yes, obviously I deal with them better too – and I am one of the best people to say that, but problems do not disappear.

I am living in a constant set of anxieties, probably like all of us. Luckily they do not override my normal happy life anymore, but I still need to fight with them sometimes. Worrying about my parents, fear of the unpredicted, anxiety of something bad and unprecise to happen, fear of need of changing my plans, being afraid of sickness, cancer or unwanted pregnancy… It is all somewhere there in my head. And now I got something new, although not that serious.

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(c) Bence Fejes

As I often stress – I love my life and lifestyle and I wouldn’t change it for anything, at least for now. And I wanna keep traveling, meeting people, not settling down yet. But I guess I can love it too much too and the moment when I say STOP will come rather later than sooner.

Who will I talk to, who I will be friends with, who I will hang out with? People my age will be already married with kids. My old friends will have new lives. Young people will be too young and inexperienced – I will already be done with many things, many lessons will be already learnt and closed in my pocket, while they will still be exploring it. And although it will be fun – sometimes – how will I find myself in the reality? Am I ready to sacrifice so much? Is this world ready for me? And on the other hand – is it even worth considering, as long as I am living in peace with myself?

Another thing – people who were supposed to be forever, suddenly go. And I need to live with it, but where is my safe base? Why is it moving with me? Is it like a platform chained to my leg? Is it just moving behind me wherever I go? Is my home really wherever my feet are standing?

I don’t know it yet. I’m afraid.

I LOVE DICK by Chris Kraus

I like challenges and experiments. First of them was starting to write at all, than – developing, changing topics, going broader and broader. My private adventure with creative writing is also going on in the private website (maybe to be published one day if someone judges it to be good enough), but I have never really wrote about art.

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I know I have not-bad taste – I listen to ambitious music, go to the cinema only for good, worth-time-and-money movies, but I am not sure about my taste in books. I basically read everything what people or internet recommend and often have completely different opinion than most of the critics.

Millenium by Stieg Larsson was a masterpiece from my point of view, while I’ve read many opinions saying that it is just another piece of sh*t for mainstream readers consuming less than one book per year.

I do not really like Agatha Christie, although I know that most of the people are just in love with her… Well, quoting the book I want to write about today: ‘Who gets to speak and why is the only question’. I would add: Who, why and WHAT?

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Usually the best books are the ones on which I come across accidentally. I found ‘I LOVE DICK’ by Chris Kraus (I was struggling to hide the cover while reading it in public :D) on the night table of my friend Olek, got encouraged by his opinion that it is a really good feminist book and decided to borrow it, as I had a couple of more weeks in India and he wasn’t planning to finish reading it any time soon. Well, as always – there were too many things going on and I finally stole this book from him to successfully finish it on Maldives.

First few pages of the print-out edition I had are filled with great opinions of the most influential critics from all over the world. It slightly put me off – why to read someone’s praises before even starting a book? It really turned out to be great, but I have figured that out much later by myself.

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‘I LOVE DICK’ is basically the set of love letters written by a married woman, wife to an artist, to the respected art critic, who remains neutral to her feelings, sometimes feels stalked.

From my – 22 years old, strong, independent, well-educated and raised in the feminist way woman – this book is all what feminism is not. Yes, it has some traces of process of shaping the feminism in this lost woman, but most of the book is just about lost and immature woman in unhappy relationship based on man’s power. What we can learn from it is who not to marry, how the relationship should or should not look like, and that the real power is just in ourselves.

I found quite a few good quotes in the book, which I would like to share here.

Friendship, as far as I am concerned, is a delicate and rare thing that’s built up over time and is predicated on mutual trust , mutual respect, reciprocal interests and shared commitments. It’s a relation that ultimately is lived out, at least, as if it were chosen not taken for granted or assumed in advance. 

Visions of you visions of me

Things to do things to see

This’s my way to cut it up

You better wait a minute honey

But add it up 

What does this represent/what do you represent. Exchange values.

 – He was part of the generation that ruined women’s lives.

 – It’s not just that generation, men still ruin women’s lives.

FILMTERACTIVE Festival 2017

As I spend 90% of my time at my technical university or doing things connected to engineering, most of my friends are also engineers, I even talk about engineering with my Dad while eating breakfast… I felt a strong need to do something from out of this bubble and promised myself to involve myself in some extra activities which can help me develop in different areas than what I do professionally.

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I have noticed the add of Filmteractive Festival somewhere on Facebook quite long time ago, I think I was still in India when I filled in the application form to become a volunteer. I almost forgot about it and was quite surprised when I got an e-mail inviting me to work for them.

FILMTERACTIVE FESTIVAL IS AN EVENT THAT WILL TRANSFORM THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT MARKETING COMMUNICATION.

It was created as an answer to the needs of evolving market and new challenges related to building a marketing message. It is a platform which brings together business and creativity. This confrontation results in interesting discussions, new possibilities and out-of-the-box ideas.

Content of the Future | Filmteractive Łódź was also the right place to meet the right people and to network in friendly atmosphere of Lodz Film School (full of interesting beautiful people).

The whole event was basically pitch/stand-up/lectures of the inspiring people connected to film business, producers, marketing managers and computer scientists working with production and virtual reality.

My top-3?

Joe Krawczyk’s (founder of IndaHash) speaking about the impact of the online influencers on customer’s choice, power of Instagram as a marketing tool and presenting your ideas in visually attractive way.

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Eve-Marine Joly from Day For Night Productions, France, about their ongoing project realized in virtual reality technique (I had a chance to talk to her during the afterparty, lovely person with a strong mind!). Their organization – apart from many other projects – is strongly supported by the French government in production of films promoting the human rights protection. What Eve-Marine presented during the pitching session of Filmteractive Market (start-ups could present their ideas and win the prize to found their development) was the VR film dedicated for museums and educational institutions in which you can observe and get involved into the life-stories of prostitutes. My first thought was ‘Wtf, only perverts who are not brave enough to do it in real life will go for it’, but Eve-Marine clearly pointed out that there is no pornography involved and no matter how controversial it looks like, it is just supposed to open our eyes to the facts behind the prostitution. Did you know that most of these girls were raped or sexually abused from very early age?

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The guys from World of VR on their project supporting people with authism in the involvment in every-day life of society. Their short video in which you can put yourself into shoes of Marek – authistic guy trying to find his place in the office – was a masterpiece and I was surprised that I haven’t seen it anywhere before. I was disappointed that this project did not win the main prize… Everyone just loved it. And I would really like content like this to go more viral – among all the bullsh*t you can find online, I would be glad if people come across something more valuable from time to time.

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It was my second time to work with Deloitte Digital and hopefully not the last. I’ve met the team during FOTOFESTIWAL in Łódź, 2 or 3 years ago, and it was great to work with them again.

What was my job? Together with the 6 other volunteers we were basically emergency team fixing all the unpredicted situations. I was registering guests, printing their badges, making tea, explaining the setup of the event thousand times, carrying chairs to the stage, bringing food to people too lazy to get it themself, giving an interview for Martin Percy’s promotion material.

What made me really happy about this job was the chance to develop in what interests me recently the most – digital marketing (so far from Biomedical Engineering again!). As the only volunteer ready and brave enough to do it, I was supporting the Social Media Manager in producing the SM live commentary from the event. Kasia would need 5 hands to deal with all the apps and websites at ones, so I was super happy to take over the event’s Instagram account and I think I’ve done well. We even talked about the possibilities of working for them in the nearest future… That’s called networking!

For one day I succeeded to forget about the engineering world and have a lot of fun and inspiration from creative people. At the end of the day I was super tired but also happy to party with the other volunteers. Unfortunately my organism does not like the intensity of my lifestyle and today I woke up very sick. Yes, THAT sick that I even decided to stay at home, work a bit on what I can do online (BSc thesis for example, finally!) and just have a day for myself to take a rest.

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