Stop waiting. Take control!

After a year of many achievements and heart- wrenching moments, I was wondering what to write to you about in order to share some motivation and inspiration. I first thought about telling you of those achievements such as playing in the National Theatre and graduating my Bachelor’s in Drama or telling you about the passing of my uncle or my aunt being in the hospital because of Covid.  I thought I shouldn’t miss to tell you about my moving to London in a few weeks.  Good news is, today the subject of my post came to me on its own.

I want to talk to you about independence and excuses and how if we eliminate them, success is sure to come around.

Today I discovered the reason for my move and the reason to feel so stressed and upset right now is because I expect too much of other people and not so much of me. Ever since I’ve been a part of the acting industry, albeit as a student, all I could hear was how great I am followed by fake promises for projects. I even heard it in my own hometown while I was working as a barista. One of the clients came up to me with the following sentence: “I heard you want to be an actress. I know this guy who’s part of the Actor’s Assembly in Sofia. You just let me know and I’ll make the call.” I am bombarded with those on daily basis. My first mentor told me he wanted to do a play with me and his sister, also famous actress, and how I should start looking for plays. At first, I would believe those propositions and hope for the chance to work. Today I am absolutely uninterested and unbothered by anyone who promises anything to me.

I have decided to take full responsibility for my career and my life. I want to rely on myself first and trust in myself that I can do it. I don’t want to live a hopeful life, waiting for someone’s schedule to fit me in. That’s why I took the cardinal decision to move to another country on my own and take full control. But even during my preparation for the trip I’ve been learning this lessons- the path to success wants us to get to the top alone. People would again promise to help with this and that, place to live, work, or CV application. I purchased a package from this company that makes CVs and they ended up doing it poorly. Then I wondered why I didn’t trust myself enough to do it alone? I was reading through the new version and I would think: “This sounds weird; maybe I should ask my cousin from Canada if it’s well written.” Why would I? I have Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Languages… Does that mean nothing to me?

I realized in this moment I was making excuses and the biggest excuse was: “I have no knowledge in this.” Half of the time in those cases we actually have the knowledge but we underestimate ourselves too much. Maybe because we don’t want to appear too confident or because we beat ourselves down every day. That’s stupid. I am very bumped out about the fact almost all industries take people who can sell themselves but don’t have the knowledge or the talent, the world today welcomes pompous and weird LAZY people. So why wouldn’t you- the skilled, educated, and humble professional not make it? But even if that’s not the case, I have found that the key to success is to identify what you don’t know and learn it. Is it so hard to learn how to format British CVs? Is it so hard to learn time management? Is it so hard to learn how to prevent burn out? Of course not! Everything is out there for us to learn, we live in a time where we have the world served to us in a plate.  We just need to stop making excuses like: “no time, no knowledge, no motivation, no drive, no opportunity.” And stop waiting for someone to come help you or make you a good offer. Take the tools and make your own path because it’s our own life and it’s our own dream, nobody else’s.

I think that’s an important aspect of our careers- identify problems- solve them; trust in ourselves a bit more and take control!

Let your soul free! Enough is enough!

So, I have reached my limit. That usually happens when I get bored or when the stress goes so high that it exceeds my patience for it. I haven’t been so active in this blog because the world has been going crazy and I have been fighting with it. I’ve had a bit of everything- family issues, work issues, health issues, mind issues, lots of anxiety, and lots of trying to please everyone. Yeah, yeah, enough is enough I say!

I have been humiliated, insulted, worked to the bones, deprived of many things and I have no idea where I stand in my path right now, which made me draw the line and say “fuck off” to everyone. As of tomorrow on, I am a free being- free from sleepless nights, free of my head whining about being alone, free of bad thoughts, free of some shitty people talking down on me. Life is too short to be stressed out about every single thing; it’s time to ride the wave.

On my way home from rehearsals, climbing the stairs of the metro station I had the following thought: “Maybe I should give up and look for a more prospective future.” I stopped climbing, both literally and poetically. When we start losing faith in ourselves, that’s usually one of the signs it’s time to show the middle finger to the world and live life as we see fit. I fought so hard, waited so long, been so polite, proper and obedient only to be met with deceits, lies and injustice, and what’s more that horrible thought of giving up on the one thing that makes me Vasilena! There’s a monologue I’ve been assigned to say in the new play we are doing. I couldn’t get it right the first few times because every time I asked myself: ‘What do you want to say to the people listening, what do you want to say to the world?” the answer would always be: “Nothing. I don’t want to tell them jack…” My soul has been corrupted by idiocricy and negativity that have become my routine now. Is that what a young person graduating art school should be thinking in her final year?! No, no! Like a ghost, I acknowledged the presence of this thought and kicked its ass out of my being. It’s time to get a grip people! Enough suffering and self-pity, let’s live and enjoy ourselves! Let’s fight for THE DREAM again!

Usually, in moments like these I do things I am afraid of- like flying with a parachute or watching a horror movie, cutting my hair off when I know it’s theatre season, wearing crazy outfits or speaking up when someone is telling lies. Suddenly I felt deep desire to express myself and be happy with myself and who I am- a struggling actor, who will probably die trying to be worldwide known professional with many things to say, contribute to and do. If that gets me killed, then so be it. If that makes people dislike me or talk about me- even better!

I heard myself for the first time in a year probably. On those dirty steps where I got stuck, I heard myself think about how long life still is and how everything is still very much possible. Despite the horror in the world- our dreams, the belief in ourselves will always be stronger. After I reached my home I turned on the music, I sang, I wrote, I thought about things and all I wanted to do was share that with the man I love. I felt overwhelmed with that love for him and my family, appreciation for the opportunities I’ve gotten so far. My skin felt vibrant, I wanted to make art again, I wanted to be my true self, deprived of the world outside and filled with my heart and soul instead.

Being so extremely serious, polite and concerned isn’t always the best choice and isn’t necessarily helpful. Sometimes the world needs a bit more you and a bit less proper.

Get a grip friends, it’s time to work it!

The stars are not as high as you think

Have you noticed how disconnected we all are from ourselves and our surroundings? I’ve been experiencing it for the past few months and maybe that’s why I haven’t been so active in the blog lately. I didn’t know what to express to you. Should I tell you how I spent my holidays? Would you rather hear about my acting school? How I prepare for roles? What I think about the recent political changes?  Maybe you don’t need to hear about any of that, maybe you need to reconnect with who you are and what you want because no matter what, our journey continues on.

Maybe you don’t need to hear it but I’ll tell you I went home for the holidays and I decided to go through my box of memories. One box was filled with posters of Oni, many magazines of Star Wars, drawings of Farscape star ships, Natalie Portman images, light sabers, Yoda key chains, Darth Vader Masks, and all the things a respectable fan of sci fi must posses. The other one was filled with stories I’ve written in high school, drawings of animes ive done, newspapers with pictures of plays I did, awards, strangely enough I found a collection of grocery shop pamphlets. I found a Geisha doll, napkins with girl’s e-mails. I found my diary from the third grade, as well as some school work marked as “Terrible writing.” You may not want to hear this, but when I was young we didn’t have fast internet yet nor posters available everywhere, so whenever I saw something with the image of Star Wars I would collect it and put it on my wall. I got the Oni poster one day when my dad was buying new computers for our gamer club. When we entered the shop I saw the poster of the game and I started staring at it obsessively while my dad was bargaining. Suddenly the shop managers came out with a brand new poster rolled around and he passed it to me. I knew it would work.  I was so happy and of course I slapped it at the center of my wall.  I could not find a Farscape anything so I drew things myself.  As a young girl I also loved arts. My first class was folklore dancing, then I moved to singing, then to reciting and one day this Russian lady stopped me in the streets and asked: “Hey do you want to become a ballerina?” I gave it a brief thought: “How cool it would be to have a friend come looking for me at my house and mom saying, Vasilena is not here right now, she has ballet…” Then I started ballet lessons. It took me a while to find out my place was in the theatre where I could do all of those things at once. Every time I went on stage as a little girl I peed myself. I remember my mom buying me dippers because I wouldn’t give up even if that meant peeing myself in front of hundreds of people.  Luckily I outgrew this issue and I kept participating in the local theatre as a teen. We went to Turkey, Serbia, all over Bulgaria to perform our plays and I was theatrically raised by amazing talented people who knew no jealousy, no arrogance and taught me how to love the stage purely and give my all to it. My professionalism today comes from that love and those first lessons. When I was little I helped my mom a lot in my aunt’s grocery shop where she worked. She would give me little tasks like restock waffles or swipe the floors and we’d go home together. I remember talking to the food products when we were having troubles with money at some point. I’d say something like:” Listen guys, I really want to buy you, and I know you want to be bought, so if you could speak to God about this we can make a nice deal.” I liked colorful things too so I collected the pamphlets of candy, coca cola, salami, detergent, and cleaning products. I collected many more things like postcards and currency; I have very vintage coins in my boxes.  I wasn’t a good student at all, I mean who writes “Bulgarian language” abbreviated in an essay in Bulgarian language class? I literally wrote “Today we had BG Lang. class but then we went out for a walk.” My own mother marked my diary once. She read one page and fixed my mistakes and at the bottom she wrote: “Poor 3p., Mom.”  Naturally, it was tough to choose my career path when I was graduating, so I thought since I’m very good at languages, obviously, I’m going to study Japanese. I loved watching anime and reading manga, I wanted to travel to Japan and see the temples and the cherry blossoms and taste those weird ice -creams with ice and cherry blossom syrup.  I started to self-learn. I knew the hiragana alphabet and I could ask what things are and where the toilet was, or how to ask for directions.  It was epic. I bought fans and geishas just as obsessively as the sci fi posters and newspaper articles.

I bet you too have these little memories and life that you value and appreciate. Maybe you adored your adventurous side, or the fact you could dance under the rain without worrying tomorrow you’ll get sick. I figured life is too short for all the things we try to make important and I’m glad I made my parents keep those boxes so once in a while I can remind myself who I am. Because I forget I have struggled a lot to become an actress from the very beginning. I forget how many more other interests I have, like learning languages or writing stories, or drawing for the fun of it. I forget how much I love my family and what I wouldn’t do for them, how thankful I am for their support and their encouragement. My dad told me I’m a lion who’s looking up towards the stars. He said they are not that high.  I forget that I don’t need anything more than what I have now- myself and all the things I’ve learnt from my past mistakes and struggles. I forget that I don’t control the time, I don’t control anything, I just need to be loving and disciplined. Those two things are the driving force of all of us. I don’t think I’d be this enthusiastic and put myself through hell unless I loved performing. I wouldn’t humiliate myself, I wouldn’t live so modestly,  I wouldn’t spend hours working on my voice and thinkinging about the inner world of fictional people, I wouldn’t drain my eyes on the computer every weekend for work so I can pay my tuition and I wouldn’t be so lonely if I didn’t love theatre.  It’s always love.

These boxes also reminded me of something very important- there are no rules.  We start implementing rules within ourselves as we grow like how to behave or what to do. I’ve been worried about what I’ll do when the final school year finishes. I thought the rule was you graduate and you get a job, like the rest of the universities in Bulgaria. Suddenly, I realized I will have to create my own path and albeit I felt fear, after looking back I also felt  I knew all along what I need to do when this year is over and that’s to dance, sing, and perform every day, every chance I get and show it to everyone. And I will do it without following anyone’s rules.  You know the scene from The Lion King where Simba takes his place and there’s this epic music? That’s how I felt when I first started drama school because I finally took the place that belonged to me. I think now is the time to Rawr more than ever, when we are frightened and entering the new world. So Rwar my friends, it is indeed time!

It doesn’t matter what we go through and how much it hurts or how hard it is, just keep walking and remember who you are because your authenticity will bring you the life you want like it has done from the very beginning.

The stars are not that high!

Understanding success

I have been thinking about success lately. When I was younger I thought success meant getting awards or being recognized in some way. Today I think I was extremely wrong. Success is not in the final result at all- it’s in the journey and the struggles we overcome. It’s in this daily stressful environment that we barely come out alive from. It’s in the compromise we make with our personal life, the sacrifices we make and the pain we endure. And it’s silly to believe all this will be repaid in a material form; in a golden statue that symbolizes all the struggles you had to go through to get essentially it?

Today I realized I have never dreamt of awards or becoming as famous as the Kardashians. I have always dreamt of being the best in my field. My mind has always been occupied with what I should improve or which mentors I can study from, or how to prepare for a role. I have never or rarely have thought about the gown I’ll wear to the Oscars and who I’ll mention in my speech. But I have dreamt of building an Acting School, of producing movies, of writing scripts, of taking part in great films that will last in time, or doing a monoplay. I have dreamt of experiencing the full capacity of my abilities. And finally, I reached the conclusion- I don’t want to be good enough to win an Oscar. I want to be so great that when I do win an Oscar I can afford not to accept it, just like Marlon Brando.

I think that gave me a new perspective on success and it stretched my boundaries so much further than award recognition. There’s so much greatness in dreaming and developing our minds, bodies and souls that it can’t and shouldn’t be described with an end point or deadline. Success is in the work, everything else is just a bonus.

Stay strong and keep going!

The mood is very strange these days. I feel very drained, uninspired and sometimes I feel like I’m just existing.

I have been very chores oriented. All I do when I’m alone at home is scrub the counters and wash clothes. I eat regularly and drink vitamins. I take showers and put my make up on every morning. I just live. I don’t know how to call this but something feels wrong.  In Bulgaria older women call this mood temporary exhaustion due to the drastic temperature change. I tried to tell myself the same thing and let it go away on its own. Then I started to think about all the things that could go wrong. You know stress has big influence on the way we think and behave. Usually, when I’m busy or stressed my house is a mess because I don’t have the physical strength or time to pick up my clothes from the couch. But, now everything is spotless. That’s when I realized I am not shaken by the temperature change but by the pressure of life. The end of 2020 is coming, people are getting very sick again, everything is unstable, and I’m trying to juggle a job, my college, new premiere and a play performance every other weekend.  The big plans I had didn’t pan out because of the pandemic. I am thinking about my family and whether they are alright in this growing chaos. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I ask myself who am I and where am I, and then I think – you’re just alone. Theatres are closing again; some businesses are hiding their employee’s positive results to avoid getting closed; every week one of my classmates goes to get tested because they got close to infected people.  So, yeah, I am trying to just exist because otherwise I might go crazy, if I think about it too much. That’s the thing! It’s easy to spot the sun when you’re observe the sunrise, but can you see the rays when it’s pitch dark? It’s easy to see the good side of life when things are alright, can we do it when everything is falling apart though? I am trying to be strong and be quiet. Being quiet has been my savior these days. I just want to talk about acting. Feeling like an observer of the world feels comfortable right now. I don’t want to take sides, I don’t want to take governments down, I don’t want to move even. I want to read scripts and experience empathy. I want to watch, I want to think, I want to create and inspire, even if that’s just me who I get to inspire.  I try to be strong and see the light when there’s only darkness. I try to remind myself that whatever happens I am the only master of my destiny, and I will end up the way I want- a worldwide famous actress. I heard something very nice the other day in regards to that: “Acting is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” I have nowhere to rush to; I just need to give my best every single day and work as hard as I can day by day. I don’t need to acknowledge all the negativity that’s going on around me, and I don’t need to make any plans until I have the information I need. Furthermore, Christmas is coming, and I’d like to enjoy the company of my family, and give myself a break, allow myself to breathe, to see clearly again, to open up my heart a bit more, to feel, to experience.

Sometimes through the year I feel like I lose myself due to stress or too much work. I just start to function as efficiently as I can but it’s robotic. I don’t need closeness or understanding, I just need to work. That’s when I know I have lost myself, so I try to stay still and let myself catch up.  I hold on to what I know: keep pushing and don’t give up no matter what!

So I guess I just wanted to share that- no matter what happens we should not give up and rush to the conclusion that just because we feel aloof or the world is stopping  we should stop too. There are good things coming to us and they will come as long as we prepare ourselves, dream and look ahead. Stay strong and keep going!

Having high standarts?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the quality of life. It’s bizarre how deep in shit we’re all in. Financially, politically, emotionally, socially- you name it! I wondered why we are where we are and the only reasonable explanation I could find is we are satisfied with the things we can get in our personal life even if they are not the finest, which in turn affects the whole world.  More and more people are ok with where they stand in life even if that’s not unlocking their full potential; they are ok with the jobs they work, the relationships they have or the way they look.  I don’t mean to sound arrogant, I know having high standards requires money, time and focus, and not all of us can afford those, but I think even striving for the best can have better results on our lives and therefore the whole world.

I am really tired of watching world leaders sound so dull and illiterate for example. That makes me think about my professional field. I would want to be the best because I want to give an example of high standard, because I want to live in a high standard society. I must take responsibility and contribute to what I want to be my future. Most young people nowadays protest and scream for a better society, but nobody understands they also need to make efforts in their daily lives- to be honorable, to be polite; to try to be a better teacher, a better taxi driver, a better businessman, a better human being.  Every time I see old interviews or speeches of great leaders or actors, I think: “Wow, these people felt shame when they made a mistake, they didn’t prize stupidity and they tried to show class.” Nowadays it seems like everyone likes illiterate people because they are more “real”, when really they are just lazy and will not contribute to society or the world in any way but make someone laugh over lunch once.

Think about the words we use on daily basis even. I have caught myself waste so much energy on extremely stupid conversations. Today I had a small walk with my colleague on our way home. At first I started talking stupid things just to avoid the awkward silence, and by doing that I lied about some opinions I had on our new play… My colleague didn’t say much on the other hand and I felt I had just abused myself to entertain someone when I really didn’t have to. So for the rest of the trip I just shut my mouth and it was fine. Silence has so much high quality to it, you won’t believe it! I don’t want to talk so much anymore and I want to use my voice when I really have something to say and it represents my real thoughts. I also don’t want to waste advice for those who have no ears to hear. Better stay silent and think about that high-quality future. When you have nothing to say- don’t say anything. It’s ok.

It’s even in the events we pay attention to. Few years ago, a very horrible Bulgarian singer decided to use the words from the poem of a highly famous and respected poet for her newest song. The internet blew up with her music video and everyone was watching liking or unlinking and talking about it. I never saw it because what people don’t realize is that by even clicking on that video they were giving their support as viewers, even if they didn’t like it. Talking about it, even if it’s to say it’s bad, gave this woman and her song the publicity and money she needed to make this hit hurt. The world can manipulate us so easily that sometimes we don’t even realize it.  The Big don’t look down and don’t waste time or comments on things that are absolutely foolish and won’t matter to anyone in a few weeks, they do not encourage stupidity. I wish we’d stop encouraging it too.

It comes down to basic things as well, like buying the best products. Why would you waste money on small cheap items that rip after a week, rather than spend a sum for something that will last enough time, and it may be just one thing but it will do the job well.  Same with the time we spend doing useless things like getting depressed, talking about someone else, or giving up on our dreams. I’d rather spend my time out watching a play than staying home to think about the improbability of becoming a great movie star. I had to learn to throw away things, and I did. I spent the last few days throwing away shoes, clothes, make up, jewelry, toxic friendships, bad ideas and restlessness. I prefer having nothing if the other choice is not up to my standards. That’s a new thing for me but so far it feels great. I want to be a respected lady one day, and that day may take years but as long as I am on that path, I will be alright.

All of this is part of becoming great as well, in my opinion. It’s also about showing kindness to yourself and allowing yourself to feel happy and always seek the best- the best in ourselves, those around us and the whole world.

Wanting to be something more

Being an actor is tough. I have always perceived performing artists as perfect machines, royalties, gods that show us little people what life is all about…To me the actor must be perfect and impeccable in his work, and that’s what I myself have been striving for in my studies. I might be all smiles and goofy when my colleagues and I are outside the theatre but once I put on my black thighs and shirt, everything else disappears. Being on stage feels like your consciousness separates into four different parts: one part is the character, feeling and talking the lines, the second part is paying attention to what’s going to happen next, the third one is being aware of what’s going on in the audience and the forth one is aware of everything else around you that might go wrong.  It requires all of your energy, focus and presence- you can’t think about your personal life, your own self, what you like or dislike- it is all about the play and the character. Your voice must be impeccable: no quietly said words, no scratchy throat, no mispronunciation, no loss of breath should ever be experienced during the performance. Think about every time you’ve seen a theatre play and one of the actors said a word poorly, didn’t all your focus go into: “Ops, that actor just messed up?” You might miss an important part of the play if the actor doesn’t keep your focus at the right place at all times. There is simply no place for mistakes in live performances, if one wants to be good at what they do.

I can’t say I feel pressure by that, on the contrary I enjoy what I do immensely. However, every once in a while, I have caught myself experiencing fear of stepping on stage and I took the time to examine the reason for that. In my strive to seek perfection and be a machine, I sometimes forget what acting is really about. While the technical side of being a performer is extremely important, it is not the only moving force of this form of art.

When I was  a little girl, my father made me and my sister watch a show called Farscape. It was filled with space ships, creatures and awesome weapons. It became a tradition for the three of us to gather around the TV and watch Farscape every Tuesday night. I think that was the moment I decided I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to be a part of that magic. I wanted to fight aliens, to fly ships and to wake up to the stars every day. I also wanted to be the reason for a family, just like mine, to sit together and feel lifted up by something extraordinary.  With the years I found even deeper meaning in being an actor, the most important one of which empathy.  

I guess sometimes I forget that I am portraying a living being that is experiencing something. I am portraying a heart-break or incredible joy, and those are very pure and familiar emotions to all of us. Sometimes I forget that I also have something to say through my work and that I have a job to defend the person I am playing. I also forget that acting is fun and it requires for me to not only be focused and concentrated but playing with my imagination as well.  None of these are reasons to be afraid.

I spent half of my life until now dreaming of this moment. As a kid I would make deals with my mom that I would do my homework only if I get to watch another episode. As a teenager I would make myself costumes of ancient Japanese priestesses and I sincerely believed that I was purifying every corner of the house with the bow my dad made for me. I was sitting at the back yard saying all the lines from movies I thought were cool. I spent every second of my school time staring out the window and day dreaming of another world. I didn’t want to date or become all the boring things the other girls wanted to be like a financial consultant or a lawyer. I wanted to dance, sing and perform, I wanted to become an actor. And I think about how much time I had to wait and struggle to get to the point of making one step away from the curtains and into the world I have been seeking all my life. There was no room for fear and from now on I don’t think there ever will be.  This year will be very decisive for me and I don’t want to feel scared, I want to jump inside these deep waters and prove that I have every right to be who I want to be.  This is why I decided to write this post as well. Sometimes when we reach the peak and we have to take the final step we feel scared more than ever that we might fall.  Those who haven’t given up yet will definitely walk away at this point, and that’s extremely disappointing.

Speaking of which, I will tell you a little story. When I was on a trip around Bulgaria with my family we reached a very high mountain called Rila. There are seven lakes on top of Rila, which are extremely beautiful, but it requires quite the walk up the mountain to reach them. My two cousins and I decided to climb up and see them.  Two hours in the climb my older cousin gave up and went back and we had only seen two of the lakes, the rest of them were even higher. That’s when I said to my younger cousin: “See, your brother just visually demonstrated to you what it looks like to give up on your dreams.” We had a good laugh and we continued on, but it was true. Sure enough, few minutes later we reached the rest of the lakes, so my cousin left right before we got there. I took a little piece of stone from one of the lakes to remind myself of that climb. It’s how it is with dream climbing- you are tired, hungry, sweaty, the sun is hot, your water is almost running out and you still have no idea if the end point is near or not, but you just have to keep going and try to become someone.

P.S.

All of this got me thinking that it’s also good to remind ourselves from where we started off- lying on the kitchen floor, curled in a blanket next to our siblings, laughing and day- dreaming like crazy, scared to blink not to miss anything, not scared of being out there and chasing who we really are- gods.

How to enjoy living alone

Living alone can be the best thing in the world but it also comes with its challenges. I have been living by myself quite a lot in my life. When I first started university I moved to a city where I had no family or friends and after sharing an apartment with a total psycho I moved out and started living on my own. Right now I am also living alone and I decided to do a little recap and share with you some tips and tricks I’ve learned on how to make this experience pleasant and care-free.

  1. Learning to enjoy your own company. Back in the day I was very miserable about being isolated and I did the worst thing: I slef-pitied myself and spend all day inside studying like crazy, because being a student of applied languages is no joke, especially if one of the languages is Russian.  The only time I would go out would be to go to classes or have my Saturday breakfast by the nearby mall center where I had coffee with Irish cream, a greasy bun and a cigarette.  It sounds very French, but it was actually very Fuckedup.  Most of my nights I would spend in virtual chat rooms, drinking, smoking and listening to music. Luckily, by the end of my 4th year I understood the beauty of living alone. I got bored, sick and frustrated with the fact I was wasting my time, so I started scheduling my day and putting in as many things to do as possible. I started reading the newspaper while drinking coffee calmly in the morning, I took online lessons on various of subjects, I journaled every day, I took on painting and I took care of the space I lived in. I was living right below one of my colleagues at the time so we would go out in front of the stairs of the building to eat ice cream before sunset. I was able to fill at least a small portion of that time with beautiful experiences and today I regret I didn’t take advantage of the city and its opportunities. It’s very important to learn that life is never going to remain constant, so you might be living alone today, but someday, eventually you will meet cool people you want to spend your days with and never again have the chance to walk around the apartment naked, not that I’ve ever done that…
  2. You’re lonely? I hate that feeling. It’s like my heart glued itself to the back of my ribs and pulled my stomach along with it. I can’t think, I can’t get excited about anything; I just want to cry in a ball all day because I miss someone or feel lonely. But so what? You must understand that missing someone is a normal part of having relationships, and it’s usually a good sign. It’s also good to remember that it’s just a feeling and it will go away as soon as you’re done with it. Still, for those of you who have a hard time getting over it, I would like to remind you that the worst thing you can do when you find yourself in a hole is to start digging. Go out and meet your friends, or just go out and have a long relaxing walk and stop trying to convince yourself in the fact you have no one, because it’s not true. First and foremost you have yourself and if you have mastered my first tip you will know that’s an awesome thing. I constantly try to find new things to enjoy in my cozy little apartment, like painting my balcony and putting little lights. I decided I could spend some nights watching movies out on the balcony with glass of wine and a blanket which sounds like a really nice evening I know I will love. As I said, don’t get carried away with thoughts. Let the feelings go through you and release them. Circumstances will never stay the same forever.
  3. Feeling scared. Since we grabbed on the range of feelings you might experience living alone, I know fear is definitely one of them. I am a scared chicken. I am afraid of almost everything, but most importantly- my freakin imagination. I have seen raptors, ex-boyfriends, IT, aliens and monsters land on my backyard or knock on my bedroom door countless of times. I have also been scared of people many times as I’ve had drunks bang on my dorm room or people looking sketchy on the streets. But, as my sister said one time: “I have so much rage and annoyance in me right now that I will destroy anyone who tries to touch me.” I find that to be the best cure for fear. Sometimes when I feel scared I also think:” Fuck off and let me sleep.” And recently, I realized I often imagine how I’m being attacked but I have never thought of what would happen after that. I don’t think I will just stand there and let the raptor run towards me…for sure. I might run… or try to punch its face like how you do with sharks? That could be an option! We often entertain the thought of the worst case scenario but we never think about the possibility that we might turn out to be fighters and defend ourselves from the mysterious forces or the drunks, though I hope none of you have to encounter those. So my hack is to think about what you’d do if anything happened and to always make sure your doors are locked and your phone is near.
  4. Bugs. Now, I’m not the one to promote death, though I did write sleep with a knife next to your bed on the above point and then deleted it, but bugs are the exception. I hate bugs. I hate lizards, snakes and mice. I try to stay out of their territory, so I feel annoyed when they come into mine. If you feel like me, you will understand the frustration  of seeing a huge cockroach roam around between your plates. Don’t worry, the solution has been invented long ago- guns! Joking…. The moment I saw bugs around my apartment and couldn’t call for someone to help me I just bought a ton of sprays and bug traps. Surely, few days after I set my traps and sprayed the whole floor I found them all dead one fine morning and I enjoyed drinking my coffee while staring at their dead bodies…. Joking again…. Another thing I changed was to start putting all of my grained, dry foods into jars, that way there’s nothing that can tempt anyone, and let’s face it with grains and dry beans you wouldn’t be either…
  5. Phobias. I have a phobia of losing or forgetting something.  That means I check my bag for my phone and wallet after every time I need to unzip it, and it also means I am 20 minutes late for meetings because I spent them checking if I have turned everything in my house off before I walk out. I always end up doubting myself and going back to check again. It’s been super annoying so I found the solution. Every time I have to leave the house I simply take photos of my utilities so whenever I doubt myself I have a picture to prove I have everything off  and I can enjoy the rest of my day and focus on my work.
  6. Take care of your place. It’s always nice to come home to a clean and warm house where you can relax and feel safe. If you are experiencing any kind of discomfort about living on your own letting everything fall apart won’t be of any help to you. Decorate your space and get inspired, this should be your layer, the place you come up with amazing things and where you can dream freely. In my bedroom I have posters, synthesizer, Shakespearean plays lying around and paintings of ships and Italian cathedrals. Everywhere I look I feel and see myself and that brings me comfort.  Suddenly, after a long day you will find that you can’t wait to go home, light some candles, pour a glass of wine and enjoy the piece of your home.

Moments in life are not promised, time is not ours, sometimes everything rushes thought us, so I believe we should always try to breathe and make the best out of our circumstances, like living in a two bedroom apartment by yourself… that sounds like a very cool thing. I mean, yeah, you might have to google: “how to fix the wardrobe door on your own” once or twice but you get to enjoy a nice spacious apartment the rest of the time..

Truth is, if you have to live alone you have been given the chance to get to know yourself and work on yourself- it’s the only instance when time IS actually yours and you choose how to use it- smoking and eating buns in crappy allies or creating and working for a better future filled with beautiful things and amazing people who will eventually come into your life and compliment what you have already built? Which one sounds better to you?

The things that don’t matter

I went on a spiritual self-healing journey а few weeks ago. My family and I took on the task to spend a week traveling around Bulgaria. I call it spiritual journey because that one week helped me realize a lot of things about myself and helped me see clearly what life is really about.

The first few days we spent at the coast where I was faced with my first challenge- going on a parachute. Since I could remember I have always been afraid of heights and flying. Every time I have to get on a plane I get drunk in hopes to get hammered and sleep through the whole flight. As for high places, I usually get dizzy and uncomfortable- you should have seen me when I got on top of the Empire State Building, my friends told me I was more excited when I got the Wi-Fi password at the hotel. The whole time I just wanted to go back at the lobby as soon as possible, while everyone around me was having fun, taking photos and enjoying the vast view of New York City. And now there I was at the coast of Bulgaria of all places, being asked to fly.  I found myself so excited for my little cousin and my sister doing it that I felt the urge to do it myself, but they were already in the boat so I was safely waving at them from the beach. And then life happened. Just when they were about to get on the parachute the boat got stuck and they had to go back. That’s when they asked me to get on the parachute with them and before I knew it I was saying “ok, fine.” I was so scared for the next two days that I thought I should write a will or run all possible scenarios in my head in case I had to save my cousin or my sister. Before I knew it the day of the challenge came. On the boat itself I was the only person screaming terrified after we run into waves and jumped up and down like crazy. I tried to think about the cool music and if I become an actress how I would be on a similar boat drinking cocktails every summer. Nothing worked! I was smiling and passing my screams as expression of excitement but inside I was dying. Then I got strapped and put on the parachute with my sister and cousin. At that point I felt this absolute sense of calmness as if I was on my couch watching TV. We slowly moved away from the boat and suddenly we were flying over the deep waters of Black Sea. Nobody said anything but an occasional rather quiet: “Wohoo!” I was still very calm and muted. If this was not my body in shock I know it was my being trying to take in this magical overwhelming experience. I could see so far and the water beneath my feet was so blue colored by the sun rays with light golden dust. The sky was endless and for just a few minutes I was a part of it. Luckily, our little flight was safe and successful and we all felt exhilarated and happy we did it together.

Now that I think about it, I realize how many limits I have put on myself and what actually stands beyond them.  After this I would always think: “If I can fly with a parachute, I can do this too.” It has helped me understand what I am actually capable of and who is responsible for the challenges in my life. I understood that it has been me all along. I am the only person who thinks something can or cannot be done, what others say doesn’t really matter until I decide what’s true for me.  Of course, once that door opened I was able to ride on lifts and climb mountains with ease, though I still get light-headed but I figured practice makes perfect. The more we encounter the same situation over and over again the more it becomes the “new normal.” It should be more about experiencing life than hiding from death, which is impossible.

Through this journey I also managed to remember what my dream was about. Often when we are on our path to our goals we encounter other people and other situations that become part of our life and we can get lost in those. Whether that’s a job we took on temporary in order to save money or people who in one way or another took part in our journey, we can fall in the trap of comfort and suddenly feel like those are the most important things in our lives. That’s how I have been feeling about my college and my colleagues sometimes. I felt like those two things are the most important things in my life and if necessary I would have my plans canceled for them. That’s not true.  Those are just pleasant temporary experiences on my path and after a few years they won’t be around fortunately or unfortunately. Graduating Drama School has never been the end goal, it’s been an important step, a mere step.  Speaking of that, I think it’s important not to lose ourselves in our goals too much. There is this Bulgarian folklore story about people who were living in misery on the ground while gods were living very high up in the clouds. One man decided to climb the long ladder and ask the gods to give the people their share of the luxurious life.  After every step, however, the man was asked to give up on a part of his body being promised he would be allowed to climb faster. By the time the man reached the peak he could not recognize himself and forgot all about his initial goal.  It doesn’t matter how high we climb if by the end we are not ourselves and we don’t have anyone to share our success with. I decided to call that the bad habit of the hustler.  I noted how many times I’ve exercised that bad habit in my work ethic: every time I decided it doesn’t matter if I invite my family to a premiere or call them to tell them every detail of it was a bad habit. Thinking the most important thing in my life is to get the work done is a bad habit. Not taking breaks is a bad habit. Losing friends for work (in some cases) is a bad habit. Feeling discomfort every time you need to do something different from work is definitely a sign of the bad habit.

I found out there is a whole living world within us that needs care and nurturing, it needs to experience, to live and to be challenged. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to work hard, it just means we need to hustle just as much when it comes to us and our loved ones; it means we need to show care and appreciation for the world we live in because it’s so big, rich and mysterious. It’s bigger than us.

To sum up, I learnt that the world is vast and there are amazing views to be seen and experiences to be tried. We should get out there and live as fully as possible, keeping true to ourselves and being focused on our goals as well as those who we love.

P.S.

Since we just entered the month of September, and that always means new beginnings, I would like to wish you all to receive many challenges from which to grow and many parachutes to get on so you can  fly up in the skies every single day. Rock on!

Stop thinking. Just stop.

Some countries are opening up slowly, others are re-closing after executing the procedures wrongly. We don’t know if schools will open in September, if theatres will be functional as they were before, we don’t know if companies will continue to work remotely, we don’t know anything. And it sucks! But here you are, trying to assess your situation and go through all possible scenarios in hopes of taking some sort of magical decision that would fit all possible outcomes. In the end of the day, you go to bed with a headache and disturbed soul. The only good thing is you might lose a kilogram or two from all this anxiety. But that’s it! That’s all you are getting for fussing over a non-existing future.

I love planning. I love being in control of my life. I feel extra happy when I execute all of my goals. I feel like nothing can bring me down. I am simply better and superior! For someone like me, lack of information for the upcoming months can be devastating. Currently, nothing is going according to my plans and if I didn’t have self-control I would have been drinking Jack every single day and throwing up all over my apartment, because… that’s how I have been feeling on the inside.

So here’s what to do when you are going crazy, folks:

  1. Don’t make any decisions. This is probably the highlight of my summer. I have been looking for all sorts of jobs in Bulgaria and UK. I was torn between the idea of going there, looking for work as a foreigner after the 14 day-self isolation, which would cost me a fortune, in a country that’s just coming out of lockdown. Or, staying in Bulgaria in hope for better days. And the whole time I felt pressure to decide what to do by the end of the week or the month. Suddenly I felt the urge to smack myself hard. How can I make a decision without any information at all? No offer, no clear view on the situation abroad, no call-backs…nothing. Why would I want to make a choice based on nothing? That’s so stupid. Never urge yourself to take actions without all the information you need. It’s your life and you decide what’s best for you, but try not to sabotage yourself.
  2. Social media. Looking at different platforms that show you how happy everyone you know is by the beach you’ve been longing for isn’t helpful for your depression. I did this experiment for a few weeks in my despair. I would log on to check my messages twice a day and then I would do other things like painting my kitchen, walking around the city, reading books, I even adopted a new plant that I speak to in the morning when I move it from my desk to the window. His name is Samuel II. I felt better because I concentrated on my being for a while and it was crying for help. It’s important to remain calm and appreciate every moment. Even pandemics. Now that I look back on March, April and May I am grateful I got to spend so much time with my family and be there for my father and mother in a difficult time. I appreciate the free time I had to rehearse all June from morning till evening every single day. And I want to appreciate the summer I almost got crazy because I couldn’t find a job, but made my kitchen look awesome. I might never have that again.
  3. Solve your problems. So, I watched the Martian from 2015 (you can see my review at Squib Night) and I was very impressed. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say there was an idea about finding and solving problems in order to survive, which was very inspiring. It was impressive to watch the lead character evaluating his situation, localizing his problems and fixing them. He was having fun while doing it too. So, I thought I should try and do the same. I don’t like to think about my problems because I get really tensed and scared, but when I do think about them in a constructive way and solve them my life feels better. It’s all about doing the math. I sat down with my school/job problem and I calculated the possibilities regarding schedules and salary. After that I managed to find offers that suited my needs and I wasn’t scared to ask for flexibility. I wasn’t scared to refuse the offers that paid a lot but wouldn’t allow me to finish my last year with flying colors. I assure you that hurt me a lot, but I learnt to prioritize. Accepting those offers wouldn’t solve my problems it would double them. So, don’t get left behind on Mars because the odds are too low- solve your problems and find out what you really want.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for things. Drama Schools have an advance course on rejection. We get rejected constantly, so much that we find it a normal part of our day- you just know you’ll get rejected today. After acknowledging that fact, it’s much easier to do your work uninterrupted and well, because you really have nothing to lose. I have always been a proper person and 5 years ago I would have never asked for things when someone told me “no.” I would have taken that very hard, and I would have simply walked away silently. While I was looking for a job, I got rejected by this company that was perfect for my needs. Instead of walking away I started calling everyone asking for another chance and feedback. I have gone so far that I called the headquarters in the Netherlands. I figured if that’s my solution I should chase it until I get my satisfaction. I might still not get that job but I’ll know I have done everything in my powers to obtain it.

Finally, stop thinking too much. Nothing in our lives will be alright if we obtain bad habits and indulge in negativity. To be fair, I did indulge in a little bit of a panic and crying for a day, but then I got up, wiped my nose and went to get my life fixed without overthinking what’s to come. Let us improvise and take each day as it comes. Maybe we will face uncomfortable situations, maybe not… how will we know if we don’t try?

#positivefromthealoof