And then everything changed

Montag, 20. Juli 2015

Things I've learned after opening my eyes to what's going on in the world - Part 1

So a little more than a month ago, I started being interested in the world again. After years of neglect I finally started to regurarly read newspapers and to stay up to date with news online again. And I've already learned a lot about the world, so far.
(Please note that all the "facts" here are based on German media.)

Things I've learned after opening my eyes to what's going on in the world:

*by far the best article I've read in a while was by famous left sociologist Slavoj Zizek, which was named "What is still left?" ironically the article's really not that left but rather out of a slightly left moderate center, but this has a reason (see #3)

  1. Zizek states that there are 3 types of juridical persons in debt: 1st: those who are too important economically to let them fail (multi concerns etc.); 2nd: those who can control their debt (the U.S. government); and 3rd: those we can treat like shit (Greece) ---- what kind of world are we living in if companies (who represent goods and money) are treated better than countries (who represent people)?
  2. Zizek predicted (this was before Greece agreed to Germany's terms) that if Greece leaves the Euro and other countries like Spain and Portugal follow, European capitalism will implode ---- this is an intersting scenario but we won't see it, yet
  3. in our days social democracy ideas like equal oppurtunities are considered left ---- which is why this article was also considered left
Slavoj Zizek

*there was an article about how noone trusts journalists anymore and the journalists who wrote it pretty much only said that they're trying their best but actually have no clue whatsoever what to do about this ---- to be honest, I too don't know what to believe anymore, everything written by another person can be a lie and you can only know the truth if you are there which is almost never the case, well, one more reason for me to become a serious journalist

*president Alexis Tsipras was back in the day a high school protest celebrity

Alexis Tsipras

*another intersting article talked about how manipulated and photoshopped photos are (even or espeacially those in journalism)
  1. they quote a photographer who says that if he would hand in a non-photoshopped picture, they would laugh at them ---- which might actually be the case. there's a guy in my photography course and he takes the most amazing pictures but when i asked him about his secret, he said they are extremely photoshopped
  2. on the other hand: photos are never reality. people took and still take black and white pictures and nothing is farther away from reality
  3. it might be interesting to know that pictures in newspapers have little credits in a corner: M is for manipulated, they note if this is only a part of the photo, if it is mirror-inverted, and if it comes from an unreliable source it says "Propagandafoto" ---- i think, you don't have to know German to understand what this means
*in the Philipines there are lots of white kids who are children of a prostitute and a foreign sex tourist, the other kids think they're weird because of their skin colour and there fathers have mostly disappeared forever ---- this is no huge piece of wisdom but it's good to be aware about this stuff

*journalist Zhang Miao was in prison in China for 9 months for buying candles to protest against the closure of a film festival, now she's free but her lawyer was arrested ---- things like this are still happening out there

Zhang Miao

*one article stated that the interview of chancelor Angela Merke with a youtuber was so bad because the public doesn't know how to pose questions, only trained journalists know how to do that ---- which of course is abolute bullshit

So far today!

Samstag, 18. Juli 2015

24 Pieces of Wisdom I've learned in 24 Years

Yesterday I turned 24 and I think it's save to say that by now I should be an adult. I do adult stuff, I work, I pay taxes, I clean my apartment. But if you think this means that I have the whole adult thing figured out, you're wrong. To be honest, in most areas of my life I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. But there are some things I do know and I came to believe are true. Those are my 24 Pieces of Wisdom I've learned in 24 Years.

1. Love is the most incredible thing you will ever experience.

2. Problems are inevitable. The trick is to keep on going despite them.

3. You don't have to live your life like everyone else. The classic CV (job, marriage, kids) is just a suggestion, it's not the only way to hapiness.

4. Family is important. Treat them well. Keep the close.

5. If you found someone you love and who loves you, do everything in your power to maintain this love. This is what everyone is looking for. Be grateful.

6. You don't need many friends. Keep those few friends you really trust close and you're set.

7. Do what makes you happy as often as possible. This doesn't only mean choose a job you enjoy but also: watch your favorite sitcom, have great sex, eat delicious food, do all the good stuff.

8. If you let yourself truly enjoy sex, your live will improve.

9. We are all lost. Honestly noone really knows what they're doing. Espeacially in your 20s.

10. You have to put yourself first.

11. Take care of your physical and mental health. If you need a break, take it.

12. The amount of things you can learn is infinite. Once you make learning new things a habit, you will start to be interested in almost everything.

13. Don't lie. Lying is humanity's worst trait.

14. Be kind to others. We're all struggeling.

15. Science is absolutely mesmerizing. Open your eyes and be grateful for the amazing world you live in.

16. Stop being ignorant towards what's happening out there. You are not the center of the universe.

17. Live life intensely.

18. Don't waste time with anger, sadness or self-pitying. Life's too short for this stupid shit.

19. It's okay to fail. We all fail.  But you have to get back up and keep going.

20. Look for inspiration everywhere and you will find it permanently.

21. Books are a way of escaping reality now and then and we should celebrate them for this.

22. Be passionate about something. Do something because you deeply believe in it, because you are absolutely convinced it will make the world a better place.

23. It's normal to feel down sometimes. But if you are chronically depressed, seek help.

24. Life can be overwhelming. But remember: feeling overwhelmed is often the start of something great.

Mittwoch, 15. Juli 2015

Here are the 7 still living Game of Thrones characters I care about *SPOILERS*

George R. R. Martin, the creater of the brutal, fantastical world of Game of Thrones, is great at killing of major characters. We've just seen this at the end of last season (I mean who would have expectet THIS?). Unfortunately he's also great at killing of characters I love, he already killed of four of my favorite characters, simply because I'm a fan of family Stark and those guys tend to die. First Ed Stark, then Cat Stark and Robb Stark and now Jon Snow. This is no show for heroes.

But this forces me to start liking characters I hated earlier, because the good guys who I usually root for are dying off quickly. There are a number of characters I either dislike or couldn't care less of (Arya, Danaerys, Bran, Rickon, Mellissandre, Davos, Sam, Little Finger, Varys, Sir Jorah ...) but there are still seven characters left who I find extremely interesting and intriguing.

Here are my 7 favorite still living characters:

1. Jaime Lannister

I have a thing for Jaime. Ever since he proved to be a decent guy after all, when he saved Brienne, when he gave everything for his lover and sister Cercei and his kids time after time, and most of all when he saved his brother Tyrion, he has been my second favorite still living character right after Jon Snow - and hey, this spot just opened up! The fact that Jaime went behind Cercei's back and betrayed her trust though he loves her more than anyone, to save his brother, who everyone but him looks down on, really got me. This is what they call loyalty, and Jaime Lannister, regardless of his flaws, has it.

2. Cercei Lannister

Cercei, just like Jaime, is a character I loathed in the beginning but know I kind of look up to her. She is definitely devious and manipulating but she would do everything to protect her children and she's and incredibly strong woman. She deeply believes in her right of power and in herself. She stands up for herself and she doesn't let anyone treat her like shit. Those are the qualities which keep you alive in Westeros. And the way she kept going regardless of the total humilation she endured during her Wallk of Shame at the end of the last season was truly fabolous.

3. Sansa Stark

I still can't get over Sansa's major development. I can't believe that the insecure, naive, stupid little Sansa Stark from the beginning is the same person as the badass Sansa we know now. She really went through hell, being engaged to Joffrey who killed off half of her family, to being forced to marry Tyrion, to nearly being killed by her crazy aunt, to marrying Ramsey who is obviously evil. But she kept going with her head held high. She's still alive and for that she deserves respect. Sansa will keep surprising us with her awesomeness, I'm sure of this.

4. Theon Greyjoy

I can't even believe that Theon Greyjoy made it on this list. One season ago I hated him for betraying the Stark family who raised him as one of their own and who treated him like family and I thought that he deserved all the awful tortures and the complete loss of his own personality. But he has truly payed his price. And though he was broken beyond repair, he somehow found the strength in himself to stand up and do the right thing, and run away with Sansa. The character of Theon is just so interestingly created, he starts to fascinate me more than most of the others.

5. Ramsey

Wow, I feel really bad for this one. But something about Ramsey's total brutality kind of fascinates me. I mean, he's this small, soft-looking guy and then he cuts off body parts. Wow. Don't get me wrong: Ramsey's an aweful person but I enjoy watching him. He's as evil as King Joffrey (if not more) but he lacks the ridicolousness which Joffrey had.

6. Tyrion

Here's finally a good guy! Well he killed his father, but hey, everyone on Game of Thrones has a moment of weakness, right? Still I believe that Tyrion is actually trying to do what's right for Westeros and if he ended up on the Iron Throne, I think he would make a great king - I mean if you ignore the heavy drinking and whoring around and constant sarcasm. I would have bet on Jon Snow to win the throne, but oh well, I guess I lost that bet. So now Tyrion's my top runner. Go Tyrion!

7. Margaery

Margaery's this girl that you just have to love regardless of the fact that she's a manipulating bitch. Yes she takes what she wants without caring about others. But on the other side she helps the poor and she stands by her family. Those are the things that matter. Still the last season left her in a really bad situation so I'm afraid there's a lot of misery waiting for her.

Dienstag, 7. Juli 2015

On Choosing a Name for my Blog and The Butterfly Effect

Ever wondered why my blog is called "And then everything changed"? Everytime I link a post on Facebook, it shows my blog title followed by the title of the current post. And I keep wondering how this is perceived by people. It gives the impression that every single post I publish changes everything. And it kind of does.

For those of you who have never heard of the Butterfly Effect, here's the main idea: The wind a butterfly creates in one place on Earth can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. A little thing can have a huge impact and can infact change everything.

Here's a little story out of my life that prooves my point. There were countless instants in my life that caused deep inpacts in my future but three of them were especially major and they were all encounters.

When I started High School I was doing alright. I was funny and quirky and I got along with the popular girls. Then in 6th grade a classmate asked me if I wanted to hang out on the weekend and of course, friendly and open as I was, I said yes. This hangout turned into a six year long friendship which broke every little part of me. I never really like that person. I dreaded meeting her and I met her every day so I dreaded every single day. She dominated me and controled me, she was mean and played psychological tricks on me. I won't blame her because I let it happen and I became so quiet that I could go days without talking. People stoped noticing me. I created a fantasy world which was the only reason I could get out of bed in the morning because I knew I could return to my imaginary friends once the day was over.

In 12th grade I finally managed to break our friendship up. But I suddenly realized all the lost years, all these wasted teenager experiences, all the memories I never had the chance to make. If I had never become friends with this person I might have enjoyed my High School time more and I might not have dreamed of leaving for years. But as it was, I wanted only one thing: Get away.

This is why I chose to move to a town at the other end of Germany to study. From then on things got a lot better. But still I didn't trust anyone. I never let anyone in. And I thought that I am not lovable.

The fact that I studied at this university instead of persuing my dream of studying journalism at a different place combined with the fact that I switched to Politics after a semester, was the reason I was informed by my politics professor of an exchange program with a university in Michigan. I always wanted to do a semester abroad but I wanted to go to the UK and when this didn't work out my choice was the University of South Alabama. I didn't get this spot either but I ended up in Michigan.

This is where I met a fellow exchange student. This was the second time an encounter changed everything. For the first time I let someone in and I fell in love so hard, I was obsessed. This guy was not brutal and manipulating but he was a selfish jerk like so many other guys I have met so far and he dumped me and broke my heart.

If it wasn't for this heartbreak, for this absolute misery I found myself in, I would have never let my boyfriend in. It was only because I was lonely and sad and I wanted someone to console me, that I started dating him. After a short time I realized that this person, my rebound, was the best human I have ever met and I found myself loving him more than I ever loved someone or anything ever before. And I still do.  Today he is the person I decided to share my life with and it was just because of many on the first sight unlucky instances that I met him and started going out with him.

I chose the blog title "And then everything changed" thinking about the moment in his residence hall when I pulled him closer to me and kissed him for the first time. Because it literally changed everything. I wouldn't live where I live now, I wouldn't have the job I do, I wouldn't know the things I do and I wouldn't be the person I am today, if I had just walked out of this room that night. Meeting my boyfriend changed everything for me because it offered me real love, something I doubted even existed before.

"And then everything changed" is a reminder that though it may seem that you're stuck in the same misery forever, it only takes one single moment to change everything.

Freitag, 3. Juli 2015

Why the world needs more people like Edward Snowden

Last week I attended a German festival named Fusion which is the world's coolest festival. It is basically an parallel society for everyone commited to a hippiesque lifestyle, anarchism, communism, a meatless life, and most of all tolerance. It's a paradise for all free spirits out there who believe that art and music are far more important than money. (As are love and friendship and passion and basically everything life offers, by the way.) The festival also had a movie theatre which is where I watched a documentation about Edward Snowden.

In this movie he was asked why he decided to give secret military documents to journalists and if he wasn't afraid of the consequences. Snowden answers that he was afraid. And that he was aware of the risks. But that he couldn't be part of an organization which did the things he made public and that he believed that the public had a right to know. He stood up for what he believed in. And he lost everything.

Ever since Snowden admitted that he was the whistleblower, he is on the run. In a high risk move he left Hong Kong where he was deployed. He only got out because the NSA got his second name wrong. He was locked in a room at the Moskau airport for more than a month. He will never be able to walk freely, to show his face on the street ever again. He's wanted. If he gets caught he will face life-long prison, maybe even death. And he knew that these things will happen if he gives away secret information but he did it nevertheless. Because he understood that without transparency a democracy has nothing.

You can think about Ed Snowden what you feel is right. But let me ask you this: When was the last time you stood up for something because you believed in it? When was the last time you did the rightous thing regardless of the consequences? When was the last time you risked something important like a job or a relationsip or a visa for your beliefs?

The week before I went to the festival I copy-edited an article for the online magazine I worked for. It was a scientific article and while reading I felt like it has to be a fraud. I believed that the exact opposite was true. I wanted to continue and save the article as ready to be published nevertheless when my boyfriend who is a scientist asked me how I could publish something I believed to be false. He argued that this was no irrelevant issue, it was a matter of health.

That was when I realized how ignorant I've become. I was about to publish a lie because my job is not to judge the truth but simply to make sure the articles are free of grammatical and spelling errors. I did my job like a naive little soldier oblivious to the big picture.

After I realized this, I read several scientific studies on the subject which in fact proved that the article was wrong. Then I wrote a mail to my manager, directing her to the studies and explaining why I'd reccomend that this article won't be published, In the end it's her decision but I argued my point and I asked her to at least assign the article to a different editor because I don't feel comfortable with editing it.

I was afraid of the consequences. After all this truely is not my job. My account was blocked for a week because that's what happens if I don't edit an article and I lost a week full of salary. But I didn't loose my job. And I felt better afterwards because for the first time in a long time I actually stood up for something and I risked something for what I believe in.

There's a great quote by Eminem which says:

"If you have enemies, good,
that means you stood up for something."

We will never know the truth. There is always the possibility that we're wrong or that we fail or that we loose more than we gain. If this happens, I say: Screw it! At least we stood up for something!