I stepped on a thorn today. From a rose bush. It was not pleasant, but it didn’t really hurt that much. After some time it started to hurt a bit. Now it hurts a lot. That’s how it goes, doesn’t it? You see a rose. Such a beautiful flower. And the smell… You want to bathe in it. When it cuts you the first time, you’re surprised. But you don’t mind. Until… Until you start limping. It hurts more and more and suddenly you can’t make another step. It hurts so bad, it’s infected. You forget the smell and the blossoms and soft petals. Because now all you know is the pain you feel. And you don’t blame the rose. Nor the thorn. It is what it is. You blame yourself for being foolish enough to step on that thorn. But it’s too late.

I got it out. Funny how thorns hurt more to get out than they do when they get in. Just like love.

Alenka H., 2023

My son saw me crying and I dried my tears and smiled. I could not say to him: "My boy, your mother's a fool, she fell in love."
My mother saw me crying and I said it's the pain. I could not say to her: "Mother, your daughter's a fool, she dreamt again."
You'll never see me crying. And I'd never say: "My love, I am a fool, but I breathe for you."

Woman’s guilt

You know how sometimes, when you push something in one direction, it swings a bit there, but then even more in the opposite direction? That’s how my thoughts went. A bit there, but then more and more the other way.

I had a conversation about my relationships. A good talk. Brought attention to things I already knew, but didn’t focus so on right now. Made some things a bit clearer, made me think about others. But there was one part of conversation that, even thought it seemed to push me one way, made me swing and the force that grew in me demands to break free.

It was the idea that He still loves me and wants things to be better. The way they were.

Sounds wonderful, right? No, it doesn’t.

The words stayed with me for a long time. First, I felt guilt. Maybe I didn’t try enough. Maybe I didn’t do enough. Maybe I gave up too soon. Maybe I’m too demanding. Maybe I’m judging too harsh. Maybe it’s really all my fault. Maybe I should say I’ll endure another day, another month, another decade.

The more I questioned myself, the more it felt wrong. Guilt felt wrong. Blaming myself felt wrong. Anger arose.

I did try enough. I did do the best I could. I didn’t give up, not for a long time. I asked and talked and begged and offered and endured and hoped.

Initially, when I thought about writing this article (may I call it that?), I planned about writing about His behaviour as I see and feel it. But it feels wrong to do that. It feels wrong to paint a picture of someone, even if it is my truth, because it can never be a complete picture. It feels wrong to write about someone else to begin with. And it feels wrong to need to, to try to justify my feelings, my decisions, my point fo view, my experience.

What my anger was mostly about was how unfair it felt to question my own decisions and feeling. Deep inside I knew I have a right to have enough, to not want to live like this. I think what caused this swing was another thing the one I had conversation said – she said the purpose of life is to be happy. I’ve never thought about it like this. But it makes sense, doesn’t it?

So I deserve it. Why do I then feel guilt, whenever I want it? Why do I feel like I’m asking too much?

I think, or, rather, feel, know, believe, one part of it is what I feel as a woman, down all the ancestral lines, from the women across the world, women throughout history. The conviction we are responsible for happiness of others, and not our own happiness. The idea we have to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of others. Do we have to? Of course, to an extend. But I would not call that sacrifice. It’s the balance between self and community, in whatever form it is around us. Children, parents, family, spouses, others. But that is not just about being a woman. Yes, often women are the glue. Yet, the balance is essential. Women should not be the only glue. Not be the only ones that have to adapt, change, rewrite lives. I do know and respect the fact that men do it too (I just personally don’t know many of those – I’m not saying they don’t exist!), but that doesn’t change the fact that for women it too often goes further, harder, too far and too long.

I no longer feel guilty for slowly, quietly standing up for myself. I no longer feel the need to deny I have enough of feeling emotionally, psychically, financially, socially and sexually abused. (And I did notice that I’m still saying I feel abused, not that I am abused – do I, myself, still doubt my own experience?!?) I no longer want to hide because of gaslighting and manipulation. I no longer want to be what I became: someone who is quiet just not to cause fights, someone who lowers her head just because it’s easier, someone who says “ok” when it’s not ok, someone who gave up.

I might feel the pain of women from times before mine, who gave up themselves, but I do not need to continue their way. I can care and still say “no”. I am responsible for my children, until they grow up, and for myself. No-one else. And what do I teach my children, if I show them their mother doesn’t deserve to be respected, cherished and be happy? What do I teach them if I don’t show them love is an empty word without respect? That family is not a family without cooperation, bonding, support, balance, the good and the bad and the fun and the work?

I want my daughter to know that she can be kind and love herself, at the same time that she loves others. I want my son to know how to be a partner, not just husband. And I want both of them to know they deserve to be happy.

Alenka H., 2023

I hope one day you can speak to me as I speak to you. Tell me as much as I tell you. Share yourself with me as I share myself with you.
I'll be here, when you open up. And if you don't, that's ok too. I'll still be here.
I'll keep dancing alone.


I try so hard
not to know you.
I close my mind,
I shut my heart,
I silence the blood
that screams your name.
I run and I hide,
just to come back
as I always have
and I always will.
I wait at your door,
ashamed and defeated,
a slave to my love.

Alenka H., 2021


It would be simple, saying it was my parents who didn’t tell me I’m beautiful. But they did. Or it was my lovers that didn’t say it enough. But they did. Yet… I never believed it.

It would also be easy, saying it’s because I don’t fit into some standards. Too short. Too round. Face not the right shape. Hair indistinct colour. Body changed by bearing two (not small, may I say) babies, illness and surgeries. Genetic predispositions that may not be in my favour. But I have to be honest, not just for me, but for all other women I know – it is not just that.

Furthermore, the shame of it is that it’s not also the lack of education or consciousness. Or keeping in mind all the teachings of what really matters. Oh no. There is hardly anything more it could be done on the conscious level. Yet, it can never shut down the insecurity. The self-consciousness. The shame of not being beautiful.

Yes, of not being beautiful. Because no matter how hard I try, wherever I look, I’m reminded that social standards are not met by me. Never were. Never will be.

And maybe for myself I could just forget it. But I have a daughter. I have a mother. And I see how it carries on, from generation to generation, the damage of always thinking you lack something essential, because you don’t look good enough. And you never do. I know that. Even women I think are gorgeous always find something wrong about themselves. I’ve had friends that I thought are just perfect. None of them though it themselves.

Can it be something we just push aside, saying it’s vain, when it poisons such a big part of humanity? I don’t like mirrors, because they remind me of how I look. I don’t like my pictures because of the same reason. I look at the clothes that I like and I don’t like myself in them. And, to be honest, I’m doing ok. I don’t really care. I have no reason to. I have noone to charm with my looks. I go nowhere where I would be expected to look beautiful. I only have myself to please with my looks. And it’s enough. Enough to be aware.

If I, with all my knowledge, all my training, all my tries and good experience, don’t feel ok and am alarmed every time looks are mentioned, how can I not think of women less fortunate than me? Those who maybe are told openly they don’t look good enough. That they must loose weight or gain it. That their hair colour or style is not modern. That they are too old or that they show their age. They have boobs too big or too small. They don’t dress the right way. Walk the right way.

I cannot forget them. They are in me, every moment when I’m aware of my own insecurities.

And every time the looks, the beauty, are what essentially means – am I lovable?

Alenka H., 2021

Come, my love

Come, come, my love,
Do not fear my warmth.
Come with the night breeze,
With wine and some bread,
Come on a wishing star,
Bring us some light.
I want to see your eyes
Sparkling beside me,
I want to taste that wine
Still on your lips.
We’ll feed the bread to the birds,
For we will be sated.

Alenka H., 2021


Don’t speak.

Do not complain.

Don’t speak.

It’s simple and plain

Don’t speak.

Just hide your pain.

Don’t speak.

You don’t have a say.

Don’t speak.

Stay out of way.

Don’t speak.

Who cares what you feel?

Don’t speak.

You’re not the only one here.

Don’t speak.

Your voice is annoying.

Don’t speak.

You don’t listen enough.

Don’t speak.

Just go away.

Don’t speak.

Where are you now?

Alenka H., 2023

Smooth voice

His smooth voice was singing
about thousand kisses.
I said to myself
“no, girl, do not cry”
so I just closed my eyes
wrapped my arms around myself
and started dancing
in my kitchen.
It was dark behind my eyelids
and it was just the song and me
and the dance was me
making love
to the thought of you.

Alenka H., 2023


I was really angry. Mad. Furious. The nuclear destruction level angry.

Sure, I get annoyed and irritated, but to get me that angry, you have to work hard. And the reward is not insignificant. I am a creator and destroyer, and me being angry is something all that know me should be (and mostly are) afraid of.

I’m not proud of that part of me. But I’ve learned to accept it. Work with it. I play fair. I give warnings in advance. I tell when I’m getting angry. I go away and ask for time and space when I get there, to calm down. So, honestly, if anyone is stupid enough to ignore my warnings and my plead to leave me alone, I don’t feel guilty if my anger hits them.

It seemed that day that every turn I took I was confronted. Irritated. Looking back I still don’t see it as something exaggerated.

Of course, my anger was, as anger usually is, just a cover up for other emotions. Feeling betrayed. Disappointed. Treated badly. All that and much more. Anger came out of that.

I did not yell. I did not get aggressive. Oh, but I was snarky. I wasn’t quiet. It was written on my face and heard in my words and my voice. And I was fuming inside. My inner monologue was filled with words that would make drunk sailor blush.

Did it change anything? No. Did it make me feel better? Nope.

At night I thought about it all… and anger left me. I understood where it came from. I also understood my part of responsibility, and what I could do now and what I don’t do.

Anger left. The feelings that triggered it didn’t. I saw them. I’m no saint and I can not forget it all… Especially when it is piling up for a long time. Especially when instead of resolving it only gets worse and worse. I’m only human. I get hurt and when wounds are too deep, I’m left with scars. Therefore, anger might have left, but hurt remained.

And instead of feeling better it left me empty. Dead. Burned out. Anger was hot, and I was alive. Now I just gave up. Shut out. Closed up. Not angry anymore. But not alive either.

Alenka H., 2021

Not telling you

There are so many things I want to say to you.
I wish to tell you how I hurt.
I want to share my silent days and lonely nights.
I want to say I’m cold and sad.
There are words and tears I want to share.
I long to tell you all my silly dreams
and how I still remember all our songs.
I want to tell you how I need someone,
I want to tell you how I miss you.
Not anyone. You.

The words are caught in my throat,
bitter and sharp and sour.
They block my air and stop my heart,
they ask, demand to be said.

Yet I’m silent and not telling a word.
Saying and not being listened to would hurt even more.

Alenka H., 2021

Drinking you

Take all away from me,
and it will preserve inside of me.
Give me the world,
and I will get nothing.

When I’ll drink up all of you,

Maybe in inebriation I will forget
that I’m drinking poison.

Alenka H., 2000-2010, translation

I've learned a valuable lesson from you: telling someone you miss them is like pouring salt on your wound.
Well, perhaps saying I've learned it is not the truth. I should say that I'm still learning it. I'm trying. I've said it again, you see. Sometimes I forget. Will I ever learn?

What is it?

What is this between us?
Hate, friendship,
Affection, love,
Or just the passion of two bodies
Whose souls want to
Run away?

We are so close
When there are distances between us…
And so far apart, when we are
Side by side,
So we could touch…
Yet we don’t dare to.
I know why we drink together.
Because we both deny,
And only when we are drunk,
When we at least think that
The other one is drunk too,
We dare –
Touch, hug, kiss…
And more!
And then it is gone… all?
I don’t dare to break
This silence between us –
I’m too afraid
You are not denying
What I am.

Alenka H., 2005-2010, translation