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

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


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


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

I wish…

I wish we would normalize needing others.

We are taught we must be strong. We are taught we must be tough. We are taught we must stand on our own, find strength in ourselves.

Yes, I agree with all of that. But that is only one part of life. Please, let’s teach, normalize and learn the other half too. It’s time to say it is all right to need others too. To want others. To need help, support, encouragement, love.

We are humans, we are social beings. We are not here to learn to be alone, to practice solitude, detachment, to learn being lone wolfs, distant stars, or passing strangers. It is all right to want this, there is nothing wrong about that. Even more, we all need time with ourselves, silence and solitude, peace and self-discovery. We should know how to be alone from time to time. We should know that in us is the power and the magic of the whole universe.

But, and this is so so important, we are not here just to learn all this, we are not part of this world to be separated from it. There are worlds where we can learn that. This is not one of them. This is the world where we learn how to be together. To cooperate. To support each other. To help and be helped. To give and receive. To love and be loved.

I see so many of us being almost (or not just almost…) ashamed of feeling this – of wanting someone beside us. We are told we don’t need anyone and that it is not healthy to depend. We are told not to be weak, or needy, or so stupidly emotional.

It is not weak to be human. It’s brave to want to love after heart was broken before, to want to give when it was disappointed before, to want to connect when it was left before. Solitude can be a choice, but it is not what the purpose of being human is. Our mission is to grow together. We are like trees – some stand alone and defy and resist the forces that want to break them, teaching us about the silent power within. Most grow in groups. They communicate. Touch. Sometimes intertwine.

So let’s normalize not wanting to be alone. We are not meant to be alone. We are meant to love and be loved, in love’s many magnificent, wonderful, magical forms.

Alenka H., 2023


So many fears we have are just a fear of unknown.

Once you understand you are far more resilient than you ever thought you were, you stop fearing unknown.

But unfortunately that doesn’t mean you are never afraid anymore.

Sometimes, suddenly, a new fear arises. No longer fear of unknown, but fear that what you know now will forever be all you will know. No longer afraid of the change, but that this is it. That this is all.

And the fear of the known becomes more crippling than the fear of unknown ever was.

Alenka H., 2023

The beauty of Her

A while ago I wrote about The beauty of Two, the feature of my language that allows me to express the intimacy of being a part of pair. It seems only appropriate that today I honour another beauty, the beauty of Her.

Sail with me is one of the poems that were written years ago. Decades ago, actually. You could never guess that both me and the beloved are – Woman. With no pronouns, no names, if you read it in my language, you see it in the nouns. Beloved in English could be him or her, ljuba is her. The one that poured into her could be him or her, prelila could only be done by female. How beautiful, inspiring it is to be able to express it!

How powerful it is that I can express myself as female! Reading my poems in English most of the time the author could be him or her. In my language my gender shows in verbs or pronouns I use (to be completely truthful, not in all cases, and explaining when and how is something I could never do satisfactory, since I am no linguist). I miss that in English. I cherish it in my language. Not to compare the two languages in a competition, not to think English is any less. But being used to know Her in words, and knowing I can be Her… How could I not think my words lack something when translated and the gender is suddenly lost?

It is beautiful that I can say midva and it is clear that I’m talking about you and me, the Two of us. And it is beautiful that if I say midve, the Two of us is not two men or a man and a woman. It is two Women. Another jewel of my language. The beauty of Her.

Alenka H., 2022

There is something special I want to share today. A special thanks to two persons. One is Her, my mother. The other is my Whale. I thank them both for making me feel cherished and loved.

It’s just sadness…

Much younger me could not understand depression. Older me understands it all too well. And only now I understand that sometimes depression becomes so familiar it’s hard to distinguish it from what is “just” a deep sadness.

As it got harder and harder, I thought maybe the cloud of depression got bigger again and that that’s the reason I can’t see the sun. So I tried helping myself in ways I’ve learned since I’ve first met it. More than a decade of experience gave me many tools. As there is not one way to help every person who faces depression, there is also not one way that helps one person every time. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Sometimes it does miracles, sometimes it barely helps you survive. Sometimes it makes you feel even worse. Sometimes it’s the combination you never tried before that does the trick. And you find new ways, discard the old ones…

Yes, I tried.

Until I suddenly I realized that what makes it so hard this time is that it’s not depression that is holding me down. It’s just a deep deep sadness, feeling of loneliness and being tired, so tired every breath is a struggle.

Does that make a difference? Yes, it does.

Depression is a serious thing. I never like it when people use the term easily, in most cases to “self-diagnose”. I’m not saying others know better than you do how you feel. But if every sadness or even being in a bad mood for a few hours is labeled as depression, then it’s easier to dismiss the seriousness of depression when people really suffer it. So please, do not speak about depression so easily, so quickly, so mindlessly.

I’m also not trying to diminish the significance or heaviness of sadness. Or the pain it brings. It’s never about what is more and what is less – it is just about recognizing the difference.

I’m not suddenly feeling better or happier or lighter – I just know what I’m facing, and that knowing helps me. Like writing a proper address on a letter if you want it to reach the right person, knowing what you are facing helps you deal with it. Now I can look in the face of my pain and help myself (hopefully). If I know I’m tired, I can rest a bit more. If I know I’m feeling lonely and why this loneliness hurt so much, I can learn how to accept it. And if I know where the sadness comes from, I can try to find ways to change it.

I don’t really like the saying about “fighting your demons”, partially because it’s not always about fighting, partially because it implies that something inside us is evil. So, no, it’s not evil, and no, it’s not necessarily fighting, but perhaps it is that you cannot face the demons if you don’t look at their faces, know what they are and acknowledge their meaning.

And try. That’s the most anyone can ask of us. Even ourselves.

Alenka H., 2023

Accepting loneliness

It took me a long time to admit and accept that I crave love. I was used to thinking I should not, because I have enough. And that it’s somehow very wrong to be so “needy”.

I took me even longer to accept it’s ok. It’s part of me. It’s who I am. Some people are loners. Some people thrive in crowds. Some are more introverts, some more extroverts. Some want lots of hugs, others not. All of that is all right – and so is me craving love.

It took me even longer to accept that I cannot change that part of me. I’ve tried. I’ve tried to stop hoping. Or dreaming. I’ve failed again and again. Because it’s who I am. Not all I am. But part of who I am.

It is ironic how it was almost easier to accept dark parts of me. The anger that sometimes lifts it’s head. The self-destructive tendencies I have. The insecurities I carry. The fears. The destruction I can cause. The strength that can become too much. The weakness too. It was hard to admit that all that is part of me too – especially anger and destruction. To admit and accept it is actually harder that to tame it, I’ve learned. But in the end I’ve accepted that parts too. I do not allow them to take over. But I know they are part of me, and we work.

Now I’m learning to accept the loneliness I feel. To accept and no longer fight it. To accept and live with it. Parts of me will probably forever hope, but I’m learning to embrace it nevertheless. For me that’s the next step of accepting myself.

I must allow myself to feel. Yes, I must allow. Because it’s just me who has the right to allow myself to feel anything and everything I feel. And even express it.

I speak and write a lot about what I feel, the emotions we label “negative”. Sadness, pain, sorrow, fear, loneliness. I do. I do not accept the society’s norms that allow expressing just “positive” emotions, and even those just as long as they are tamed, and god forbid to express anything “too much”. Well, that’s ok, if you feel like that. It’s also ok if you don’t. It should be equally ok to laugh and cry. To say you are not ok, if that’s how you feel.

That never means I think all is black, that I feel just “negative”, that I’m whining, or complaining, that I blame the world for all the misery, it doesn’t even mean I am miserable. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes sad. Sometimes I’m both at the same time. I just want to allow myself to feel it all, and (with consideration to others!) to express it.

At the same time I love people around me, appreciate them, and also admit and accept I’m lonely, because for me it’s not mutually exclusive. I can appreciate family bonds, and some kinds of friendship, and still crave different kind of connection.

Perhaps in time I’ll stop craving it. I choose not to dwell into that. Not yet, perhaps. For now I’m learning to accept my feeling and live with it. It’s enough.

Because I honestly believe the emotions we don’t face, accept, admit, express, have way more power over us that those we do. In most cases it does us no good.

Alenka H., 2023


I think people are like puzzle.

We have many pieces.

Some pieces are not perfect. Some are even not kind. Some are not pretty. Some are plain. Some are not interesting. Some contradict others.

We share some of our pieces to some people, some to others. Some we show to many, some to nobody, some we even try to hide from ourselves.

What everyone deserves is a person who sees, acknowledges and accepts all our pieces. Not like – because not our pieces are really likeable, we are not perfect. And not all our pieces appeal to anyone. They don’t have to. The point is not that someone should love or like all of them – just acknowledge and accept them.

I remember the time when I excitedly tried to share some news about how I spent my weekend. He said “You know, I’m not interested in this, really.” I looked at him and said “Well, I don’t like football either. Not even a little. I’m not interested in it. I don’t care about it. Still, I sat with you while you watched it. I asked you how it was when I knew there was a match that interested you. I listened to you, when you told me about it. Not because it would matter to me. But because it matters to you.”

Everyone should have someone who would be prepared to at least see all the pieces that makes them Them. That’s what loving someone means.

Alenka H., 2022

Finding your voice

When I was younger, I was often told I’m too loud – vocal, expressive, not afraid to say what I think, stand behind my words. Speak up. Sometimes that was a compliment, not being afraid to speak up. Many times it was not. I’ve learned one of my toxic traits (oh, how fancy that sounds!) is feeling guilty. So yes, I felt guilty for “being loud”. For expressing myself. For talking to people. For laughing loud. For yelling. For speaking…

I tried to learn to keep my mouth shut. Ah. Never learned that too well…

When I lost my voice, I wondered… I wondered if it was because I spoke too much. That didn’t last long. More and more I wondered if I lost it because my voice, my words, my thoughts didn’t matter at all. Because now I was (often, in my opinion, of course) silenced. Interrupted. In the beginning, it didn’t bother me much. It was very hard to speak. So when I didn’t have to, I was relieved. But that relief was short, because even when I did want to speak, I didn’t have the opportunity. I was cut short, shut up. People around me tried to speak instead of me – yes, I understood they wanted to help, but even when I told them I want them to wait for me to say what I want to say (and not what they assumed I wanted to say), they just got used to interrupting me.

The more that bothered me, the more I wondered… Was me losing my voice a sign that I don’t need it? That it doesn’t matter what, or even if, I speak at all? That I should just shut up?

It’s never simple, is it. When we start wondering about ourselves, our lives, the lessons we learn and those we don’t, things that happen, the meaning, or the lack of it… For me that usually ends in being torn between blaming myself and being angry. Is it the punishment I should accept? Or is it something I should fight? Do I have to stay quiet, or demand to be heard?

I might be one of those that lost (part) of their voice. But I’m surely not the only that wants to be heard and at some point (or points…) was not.

It was just lately that I started realizing, really understanding, not just knowing, that being listened to is not just about being allowed to voice your opinion. It’s about being allowed to be. To express. To be a being that is living, thinking, feeling, and expressing that experience. That being listened to when you have something to say means that not only your words matter, but YOU as a person matter.

I was told “stop”. And I reacted with my whole being. Because not long before that I was asked a question and then quieted after a word. Suddenly I felt as if my existence is in a way “disqualified” just because I was silenced. Even if I’ve known it, I never really understood how significant it is if I am silenced. Or if I am not silenced, but my words have no effect. All those moments when what I said, made clear, didn’t make any difference, didn’t have any effect, was not respected.

It all came to one clear thought: If my words don’t matter, I don’t matter.

And I have to matter, firstly to myself. Can I make others listen to me? No. Can I make them hear me? No. Can I force anyone to consider, appreciate, take into account what I said? No, of course not.

What I can do is know that if I matter, I will be listened to. I will be heard. Even if my voice is not loud. Even If I speak slowly. Even if I forget words and sometimes take a lot of time to remember them. Even if I have to take breaths between sentences (or in the middle of one). Even if I repeat things or get lost in the story.

And I can respect myself enough to know that if someone shows me my words don’t matter, then I don’t matter either. I deserve to matter. I deserve to speak, write, express myself. Nobody has to listen to me – but if someone appreciates me, they will appreciate what I want to tell them. I have to appreciate myself enough to acknowledge and appreciate people who listen. And not waste breath for those who don’t.

Alenka H., 2022

Everyone deserves

Sometimes I feel so hypocritical… I honestly believe everyone deserves second, third, tenth chance to be happy and loved. No matter how old they are, what happened, what they did and want to change, how damaged they are. I want to believe it’s possible. It’s happening. It can be. For everyone. Except me. I want to believe the same for myself, but I can’t.
We do that, don’t we?

Alenka H., 2021


“But.” So short, so ordinary, yet so powerful – and in most cases hurtful.

Compliment, followed by but – is it still compliment? Praise, followed by but? Expression of love, followed by but? Interest shown, followed by but?

One tiny word – one big change. Making it untrue, conditional, tainted, or all of above.

Alenka H., 2022

“Tell me 10 great things about yourself”

Usually, when I decide to do something, I do it. I don’t give up easily. I do my best. But sometimes my best is not enough. This is a story about one of those times, when my best … ah, maybe that’s not how it goes.

I tried a method of self-healing, or healing, or self-help, or alternative medicine, call it whatever you wish. I don’t use labels anymore. It is what it is, and if it helps, who cares about the label?

Anyway, I really enjoyed it and decided to study it more. I enrolled in a course for certified practitioners, not for the sake of certificate, but because I knew the knowledge gained would help me and people around me. I dedicated quite some time, I practiced regularly (me, someone who seriously lacks discipline!), I attended the courses, did my assignments… And I liked it so much!

Until more than halfway through we got this assignment: name and describe 10 thing great about yourself. Things you are good at. Things you are proud of about yourself. Not what you did, what you have. But who you are.

I started making a list. I think I came to number 3. And suddenly I couldn’t write any more. For half a year I postponed my classes and joined another group of students then. Fell into rhythm, started from beginning (that was the request for re-enrollment), and… ah, there it was again. The same assignment. This time I, if I recall correctly, listed 4 or 5 things.

No, I never finished my assignment. Or the course.

It was not the only thing I failed, or didn’t finish, or didn’t do. But it was the one I didn’t do because I could not find enough great or good things about myself. In a way it will always be the saddest failure.

Don’t be like me. Find them. Look hard. Look persistently. Each day. Again and again. And if you find ten, look for ten more.

Alenka H., 2022

Please. No more.

I’ve never felt really at home here, on Earth. I’ve never really felt I fit. But life was sometimes a bit hard, sometimes wonderful. Just as life is. It was ok.

Then I got to know hell, the depression, something I could never imagine before. I got better, eventually. But just as I was getting better, life happened again. Divorce. Daughter getting diagnosed. Pregnancy. Tumour. Again, I got up. Stronger. Because I knew how to face it. I knew what I need. I knew where to look, how to ask. I’ve learned a lot before. And that helped me survive.

But that’s not how life works… Things got hard again. Slowly, day by day. The pain. The tiredness. The loneliness. Until I started to break. A year and a half, maybe two years ago I stopped fighting. I gave up.

Not completely. I kept asking for help. I kept saying how much in pain I am. How tired I am. How hard it is to get up, day by day.

I just can’t. I don’t even want to. When a year ago first results that a third time tumour might be growing again, I told my mother (because my husband didn’t even react, didn’t even show any interest, not a single word, even though he was just there when I opened the letter) that I won’t have any more treatments. Any kind.

Because, you see, I admit. I’m not strong enough. I need help. And there is none. My mother is supportive, but she has too much on her shoulders as it is. Others… stopped caring. Or left.

I’m told I have to get up. But I can’t. I just can’t and nobody believes me anymore, because every time in the past I got up. Now I’m too tired. My body is. I’m weaker every month, I feel it. I worked hard to get my body to function after the surgery. And I did good. So much that nobody believed what I did, so much I surprised everyone. Now… Now I’m getting weaker. And I’m emotionally weaker. I cry a lot. When I don’t, I just drift away. I gave up. All of me is down. And I know enough to admit this time I can’t get up.

I also know it’s nobody’s concern. Nobody’s job to help me. I need too much, so much I can’t ask for. Even if I do… Well, I do. I do, even if I promise myself every time I won’t.

I just want to stop asking for help. I want to stop hoping. I want to stop feeling.

Alenka H., 2022

Working to make it work

This is a sad world, ladies and gentlemen.

I’ve read a book. Romance, yes. I almost didn’t read it. It was not that badly written and it even had some aspects I enjoyed, I just didn’t like the main character. She was, well, just not what I’d expect a grown up woman to be. But I also admit that she had a sense of humour I liked, and I was intrigued by the story enough to read it whole.

I do not wish to name the book. In short, a woman and a man met, fell madly in love, and then started to discover that they didn’t know much (or anything at all) about one another and that what they learned was not what they expected or wanted or liked… However, they decided that they were still in love and wanted to make it work. A bit of denial here and a bit of compromising there. All good? Of course not. Not at all. But they did make it work, yes, eventually. (Surprise, I know, totally.)

For me, not the best book, not the worst, I’ll probably forget it soon, it didn’t change my life and I also don’t regret reading it. Readable. Fun (mostly).

What made me write about it is what I read when I added it to my list of read books. I discovered that many people were kind of disappointed (perfectly acceptable), that many people disliked the main character(s) (I can relate to that), and – well, that many people disliked the book because she and he wanted their relationship to work, because they didn’t give up.

Hm. Of all the flaws I think the woman and the man had, this was one thing I admired. Not the denial part – I could understand it, I just didn’t like it. The part where they decided that their love is strong enough to overcome their differences, the part where they decided they want to be together even when more things worked against them than with them, the part where they build bridges instead of walls – that was what I liked.

It may not be very common. Maybe that’s the reason. We give up. I’m no different. I gave up. I might have my reasons or excuses (depending on your point of view), but the whys only change understanding, not the result. I gave up. As many of us do. Do I believe we must suffer in relationships? That we must take whatever is thrown at us? That no matter what, we must stay together? No, not at all. Never. Once again it’s about balance, the grey area, the line between giving too much and too little.

I simply think it’s a sad world in which characters (or people) are disliked because they want their relationship to work. Because they refuse to give up. Because they stay together even when “they are so not meant for each other”. It’s a sad sad world…

Alenka H., 2022

What could I say?

I write about or to many things and people, but rarely about and never to Him.

Because, what could I say?

That our relationship taught me not to trust, not Him or others, but myself?

That I’ve spoken all the words long ago and even shed all the tears and there is only an emptiness left?

That I have no hope anymore? No hope for Him, no hope for us, and no hope for myself?

That, even more, I know it’s just my weakness that I stay with him?

That I’ve never been lonelier than when He is in the same room, but universes away?

That I touch Him because I’m so hungry for human touch, ashamed, because it’s not His touch that I crave – He is just the one physically near?

That I am sorry, so sorry, for Him and for me?

Alenka H., 2022

To love is to respect (I think)

Perhaps I’m the last person to speak about love and relationships. I’ve failed them all. I’ve made mistakes. I know I’m not whole, or healed, or reasonable, or wise about feelings.

Maybe I’m not the smart one. Maybe I’m not the one that sees the bigger picture, maybe I’m not the one that understands anything.

I am, however, the one that at least tries to learn. Grow. Understand. Heal. Go on. Go further. And stop and look at herself, when needed (oh so often!).

Even through my failed relationships I tried to learn from my mistakes. Tried. What I believed in, what I thought, changed so many times. Each relationship, not just the romantic ones, showed me something new. A new part of me, and a new part of life. Of, well, relationships.

With every new experience I’ve changed. Relationships changed. What I think I know changed. How I see life changed.

Can I really say anything about love and relationship? Yes. I can. My truth will never be the truth of everyone else. Not even of most of others. It’s entirely possible that it won’t be anyone else’s truth. It’s also entirely possible that I share it with someone. Whichever the case is, it is my truth. Today. Tomorrow it may change. Today I can speak of love like this…

I don’t think love is about attraction (but it doesn’t hurt either). It doesn’t need strength (but sometimes it takes strength to love). It doesn’t need sacrifice (but sometimes sacrifice can be made out of love). It doesn’t need gifts, it doesn’t need declarations, it doesn’t need profound poetry or ecstatic music (again, none of those things hurt… I guess). It’s not about saving someone. Having solutions. Taking care of others. All those things can be faces of love, manifestations perhaps, or acts out of love. But… Even when you cannot offer solutions, it doesn’t mean you don’t love. If you cannot take care of someone else, because circumstances are as they are, it doesn’t mean your love isn’t real.

Love is (not just, but also) about respect. I thought I knew that. I did, in theory. I’m just not sure I ever felt it. Really felt it as the truth, as something that is not just an welcome yet unessential part of love. Because of all parts, pieces, elements of love, I now not only know, but feel too: with no respect there is no love.

Respect is not something you can give by saying “I respect you”, it’s one of those things that are true only when really meant. Acted upon. Felt. Lived. Cherished. As is love…

Am I any wiser? I guess not. It’s just another thought… A faint memory of a moment I felt respected. I’m thankful for that moment.

Alenka H., 2022