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At the beginning of December, I had a discussion with a friend about "fate" and "destiny". Many times these words are used interchangeably. However, they are not the same, and in fact you can believe in one and not the other. Fate - it is like a set order of events, something unavoidable or inevitable, and often with pessimistic overtones. All humans share the same fate - death, and possibly rebirth, depending on your beliefs.

Yet our destinies are different. Destiny - not preset, and arguably within your control on some level. We can change it, or others can come along and be the catalyst for our destiny to be altered.

The topic arose when I began to think about people in my life, those with whom I've allowed myself to get close outside of my family. Ex-boyfriends, friends, even some minor acquaintances, or brief exchanges with people on the street or during travels. Each teaching some lesson, a few of them quite painful, yet opening the pathway forward to another person or cornerstone in life...So, I would say you can choose your own destiny, but not your own fate. This is the main difference, at least to me.

Yesterday, I saw the film "Passengers", and there was an interesting line spoken by Jennifer Lawrence's charcter Aurora - "we are all passengers...we go where fate carries us." Something to think about as we head into 2017...Happy New Year! :)

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Disappearing acts - they happen often in life, and right here on LJ. People, love, pain, grief, sadness, elation - they can exist at various points and then disappear instantly, or gradually fade from existence over time. I believe it is the cycle of life for most humans. And it has happened to my post from yesterday - now gone, I suspect as a result of some updates to LJ last evening where the system was entirely disabled, and I awoke to see the text vanished. I'm too lazy to recreate it, but if you want to discuss anything, or suggest topics for other posts, you can write to me in the comments. I will take into consideration, as the travel posts take a really long time to write, and we need something to feel the void in between. Or, I can just stay will go on either way. :)
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I often seek refuge under trees in times of deep confusion or when in a reflective mood. I can't articulate why I find them so powerful and spiritual, but it is so. Deep roots here, with fortress walls behind it. Mighty, mighty place in the mountainous country of Georgia.

Where there is a tree, there is hope. Something stirring in the soul, as leaves dance with the breeze, sometimes drifting onward to a new place at the mercy of the winds. Sometimes being stubborn, clinging to the branch on which they have always existed. Nature's rattle, immediately calming. Under trees some of my dreams have been born, romances ignited and poems imagined. Yes, where there is a tree, there is least for me.
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It's very strange for a foreigner to see this statement repeated over and over again in the Russian blogosphere. It's like some type of brainwashing or programming in the minds of men and women there - that "ours" are simply the best, most beautiful! Almost all of my friends are men, many from different countries, and I have not heard any other male make such a proclamation that "Italian women are the best!", "American women are the best!", "German women are the best!"...nope, only Russians say this.

I see another post today on this topic, but there is never a discussion of WHY. In all my travels there, I didn't notice any high ratio of beauties in comparison to other countries in which I've traveled. Of course, "beauty" - it's such a subjective term that it seems almost pointless to discuss the theme with the masses. But I really wonder - why are Russian women "the best"? For what reasons...enlighten me. :)

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We live in a hyper-sexual world. There's no way to escape provocative images in media, news, television, film. We've become so saturated with provocation that many have become desensitized to it, and I believe this trend has caused a serious problem with human relations and the ability to experience pure intimacy with another. Such primal connections between a man and woman are necessary for survival on multiple levels, and the entire human race depends on them to a large extent. I'm not speaking only in the context of procreation, but also in the context of pure and positive emotions, energies and life forces free from superficial ties, as these things can rarely sustain relationships long term, or ensure that societies remain cohesive and progressive.

I've watched curiously over the years as my friends play online dating games, spinning like hamsters in a wheel at a frantic pace, moving from one partner to the next. Yet they go absolutely nowhere, stuck in the same cage of loneliness year after year. What does all of this dating and fucking get you in the end? For me, absolutely nothing but exhaustion, frustration and frayed nerves. So, I gave up on these games long ago, and have been in a celibate state for prolonged periods during various phases of life. Today I'll share some insight into the positive and negative aspects of this choice, which very few understand.Read more... )
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There are many things my mother doesn't understand about me, but at the top of the list is the fact I often eat alone at restaurants, go to the movies by myself, and even hop in the car and go on long road journeys in various parts of the USA - all alone. To her, this is scary, odd, and beyond comprehension. It makes sense that someone who married her high school sweetheart at age 19, and has never really been away from him, would feel this way. I have another acquaintance who wanted to see an opera recently and was in desperate search for a date, but no prince came calling. So, she sat at home and whined rather than go it alone.

The reasons I dine alone are mostly practical. First, I'm on an entirely different schedule from the rest of my family and friends. No one is available to join, even if I desired the company. I'm eating my main meal of the day around 5pm, and everyone else is still at work during this time. When I'm too lazy to cook, I never hesitate to go to a local restaurant, request a table for one, and enjoy my meal. It's the same with travel or any other type of entertainment or adventure. At age 43, most of my friends are now married and busy with husbands and family, which means lesser time for friends like me. So, what's a woman to do? :)

I can't relate to those who miss out on so many experiences in life because they are scared of solitude. I once read an article that said if single women stop eating alone at restaurants, we will have no one to feel sorry for. :)

How about you? Do you eat alone, or feel sorry for a woman when you see her sitting all by her lonesome at a table? I think it's always good to have pleasurable company, or share life experiences with a delightful man or woman. However, as usual I'd rather be alone than settle for just "anyone" in my presence to fill space. By the way, I don't recall ever seeing a Russian woman sitting by herself in a restaurant during any of my visits. I'm not talking about cafes, but a proper restaurant where a hostess leads you to a table. I think the only place where I will not sit alone is on a bar stool, although this is certainly a fun social experiment based on past experience. 
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There are many reasons why online dating doesn't work for me. For several years, I tried to play this game, with the only result being frayed nerves, aggravation and wasted time, with few positive results in return. Others apparently have more luck, or enjoy visiting this virtual zoo in search of one well-behaved, cute animal. My desire for male companionship or a relationship hasn't been strong enough the past few years to endure the negatives that come with this style of meeting men. Yet I remain on a few dating websites, and still receive all kinds of messages from men, most of which I ignore.

I don't ignore them because I'm some heartless bitch, but because the messages are so generic and impersonal that it's clear the man has taken absolutely no time to read my profile, or learn anything about my personality and the traits I desire in a romantic partner. Why do I want to waste time communicating with, or going on a date with a man like this - someone who merely flips through thousands of pictures of women online and sends the exact same email?

Perhaps I'm too demanding, but I want a man to first admire me for my personality and intellect, and it's for this precise reason that I have very plain photos of myself on online dating sites. Almost no make-up, hair up in a pony tail, or covered under a hat. I present myself as a "plain Jane" in the purest sense. Meanwhile, other women have professional glamour shots, exposed cleavage, all the classic bait to lure and hook men. I can't even imagine the amount of emails they receive as a result. But yesterday, a sort of miracle happened, and I received a unique and thoughtful message. I will reproduce it here, to provide general advice and guidance for men who are communicating with women online with the hope of getting a date, and eventually getting laid.Read more... )
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What do dreams mean? I've never studied this issue in detail, but there are all kinds of interpretations, especially for ones that are recurring. In recent weeks, I've had the most vibrant dreams of my lifetime. I don't know what has stimulated this, but I suspect it comes from an overflow of very complex and diametrical emotions that have arisen over the last two months. They range from elation, restlessness, increased sexual thoughts and arousal to struggling with guilt for not feeling empathetic toward a terminally ill relative. She is now in her final days, and lies dying in a hospice bed in our home.

In youth, I had very erotic dreams, even though I wasn't sexually active until later in life. Then, my dreams shifted toward fantasy lands, full of images from the cosmos, fairies, and mystical adventures. Of course, there were also mundane dreams involving friends, family or encounters with random strangers. But there is one dream I've had over and over again, probably at least 50 times in my life. Each time, I realize my teeth are falling out! Sometimes only a few of them, other times, absolutely all of them. What does this mean? :)) Apparently this is a common recurring dream for many people, and nothing unique to me. However, all of the interpretations I've read seem irrelevant to my life situation.

Do you have recurring dreams, or believe there is any significance to them?
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Draped in clouds, I can easily weave my own stories and fairy tales, and for a brief moment they existed on Saturday, when I spent the afternoon lying in this field of buttercups. Their damp petals were fully stretched to a softness that even butterflies would slip if they dare trod upon them. Now, again, we have grey skies and rain in my area for the 19th straight day. I can't remember so many consecutive days of this dreariness in my lifetime...uninspiring.

Many people have told me I always have my head in the clouds, and while I think this is mostly meant as an insult, they are absolutely right! :) I think it's better to be a dreamer engaged in afternoon or moonlit dances with clouds, petals or distant stars than to constantly live in a grey, expressionless or foggy void.

I suppose rain also has seductive charms, creating glistening eyelashes that easily entice, steady and rhythmic pulses like tap dancers on the streets or tin roofs, but the allure of these downpours is lost during the workday, sitting in the office and traffic. The bewitching spell is most often cast in the arms of a wet lover, silver liquid kisses...yep, they are enchanting. But I began to wonder why? Probably we are conditioned to believe such as a result of thousands of scenes from romantic movies, where lovers always become passionately entwined in downpours. Or, maybe it's just one of those things that simply exists and is felt, without explanation, as is almost always the case with love and whimsical emotions.

Anyway, I'm alive but don't have time or inspiration to write texts the past few weeks. I hope everyone had a wonderful May holiday, and is now in the summer mood, as I know this is the season where most people thrive and feel happiest. Weather seriously impacts my mood on multiple levels, and while I'm not normally bothered by rain and even find delight on it on occasion, after three weeks straight it grows, please send some gentle sunbeams my way. :)

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"Life observations suggest that a man in his lack of regular sex is nothing negative happens. The woman without sex fades, becomes dull, quarrelsome, uninteresting, as a withered flower. This is biology."

Just amazed at the endless words of patriarchal wisdom directed toward me in my blog. Almost always out of the blue, when I never asked for these gems of knowledge. However, this is the first time I've encountered a sofa biologist! I'm not sure what he means by "sex?" This term is ambiguous, and means different things to different people. Does it include making out, groping, oral...or only penetration?

A woman without orgasm can quickly become all of these things, on this point I agree. But let's remember, a man is not necessary to achieve this. There are other ways, trust me...Btw, almost never in my life have I achieved orgasm through classic penetration. It's nothing unusual for females, but of course many men think the sex they can offer a woman is exactly what she needs. Male ego - very strong, and it's necessary to humble it on occasion, especially here on RuNet.

There are many, many pathways to pleasure. On your own, or with a man. Selfish lovers - they are the absolute worst, and there's no room for them in my life. Someone becomes dull, withered and faded only if they're not a sexual being, and disconnected from their own body and sensuality. This is my view, and I can tell you it's quite possible to live without sex for many years, and still feel like a healthy, desirable and erotic being. On this topic, I'll write a post sometime.

Enjoy your May holidays and time off from work! :)

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A Utah Senator recently declared a crisis in the State by introducing a new bill that describes porn as a public health risk that must be curbed to "protect our families and young people." The core essence of the bill is that porn is bad - very bad. You can read the full text of the bill here. In the Senator's view, porn "perpetuates a sexually toxic environment" and "is contributing to the hyper-sexualization of teens in our society." Basically, porn treats women as objects and commodities for the viewer's use, teaches young girls they are to be used, and condones men as the "users." In the Senator's mind, all of this porn culminates into an epic disaster because it lessens the desire of young Mormon men to marry, leads to dissatisfaction in marriage, and promotes infedility.

So what should Utah do about it? The Senator isn't trying to ban porn, but advocates for Utah to take steps to conduct more research to measure the detrimental impact all these sex videos and images cause to the mostly religious State, where over 60% of residents identify as Mormon. He pushes for education to curb and prevent addiction, and better policy making, but of course doesn't offer any concrete means to achieve these policy changes. What do I think?Read more... )
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When we're constantly surrounded by negative energy, it becomes almost impossible to have calming moments. It's my nature to immediately detach from such situations or people in life, but now it's impossible. I'm staying with my sister, her husband's mother was diagnosed with lung cancer only a few months ago, and now she lies dying in the room beside me. She's been a very negative person her entire life, plagued with pessimism, four husbands have come and gone...I think you can easily see the picture of such a character.

I don't know how to handle this situation, and part of me feels guilty because I have no emotional attachment or connection to this woman, or sadness that she will soon fade away. As an extremely compassionate and loving human being, this feeling of apathy toward a dying person is unsettling. We can't force feelings in life, although many humans attempt to do it for various reasons. Connection - I have none to this woman's mentality or negative disposition. She could have chosen treatment, and in the beginning she did. It helped, but recently there was a downward shift in her attitude, and the cancer quickly returned. I truly believe the energy we project in life, is the energy that is returned to us. All of this hate, negativity, gloom - nothing good can come of it in the end. I compare her to my mom's oldest sister, who died a few years ago from lung issues. Doctors diagnosed her as terminal, yet she lived years after they predicted her death. A positive mind, attitude and light - these can be healing factors, which science and medicine cannot explain. I've seen it many times in life...while negativity, a rotting force from within.
Read more... )
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Today I was reminded of a unique phenomenon we call "resting bitch face" in English. I'm not sure if this expression is used in Russian, but it refers to people (mostly women) who always have an angry, annoyed or irritated expression on their face. The expression does not always correlate with the emotions of the particular moment, and there have been some psychological and physiological studies to determine whether resting bitch face is genetically inherent, or whether it's a true reflection of a person's mood or personality. There has been no conclusive answer. :) Normally, I'm a very cheerful, smiley person but lately it seems I probably have this resting bitch face expression too often. Do you know women, or men, who always have this look of displeasure or irritation on their face? There are several female celebrities who have notably been diagnosed as having resting bitch face - Kristen Stewart, Anna Kendrick, Victoria Beckham. Just look at photos of them online, and you will see it's true! Personally, I could never date or constantly be around someone who always looks like a sour puss! :)) A nice smile is immediately inviting, while a look like this screams "stay away!"

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Accusations of the crime can destroy a man's life, career or future, but in cases where rape is proven there still exists some horrible dichotomy in U.S. laws when it comes to parental rights. I'm not a criminal defense lawyer, and have never handled a rape case in my legal career, though I've worked in the family courts on child custody, support and visitation cases. All I can say about the family court system in the U.S. is that it's a complete clusterfuck. There are no other words. Here you see the most vile aspects of human behavior - jealousy, greed and hate, with an innocent child being batted around as a ball and strategic object in the process. It's depressing to say the least, and I could never do this work full time because it's too emotionally draining. Last night, I read an interesting article that discussed the parental rights of rapists. Should they have custody and visitation rights? It was then that I learned about the status of U.S. laws on this issue, which vary by State.let's discuss )
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American citizens have a long history of civil protest and disobedience, and one of the most prolific times was at the height of racial segregation. Yes, Americans once lynched blacks and it is a shameful part of our history which few forget, including me. It was shortly over 56 years ago, on 1 February 1960, that four black university students staged a sit-in at a local diner in Greensboro, North Carolina, by taking their seats at a whites-only lunch counter. This sit-in is often regarded as the spark that fueled the civil rights movement in the early 1960's, when ordinary black citizens began to protest unequal treatment and demand change.

The four men were all students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. They planned the protest from their dorm room, simply because "we'd had was time to wake up and change the situation." Tired of being treated like second class citizens, they walked down the street, sat down and demanded to be served. They promised each other they would repeat the behavior daily until a plate of food was placed in front of them, no matter how long it took. There were reports that a black waitress admonished them, and two old white ladies stood and clapped, encouraging them along. The sit-in grew quickly, and other black students from local universities joined, as well as sympathetic white students who supported their cause. The men encountered resistance from KKK members who showed up and threw burning piles of newspapers under a counter seat. Yet the men were not deterred and the protest remained peaceful for the most part. Because of the swelling crowds and coverage by local media, Woolworth's was forced to close the lunch counter only a week after the four young men first arrived.Read more... )
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I often hear the phrase that "people are the same everywhere." This is true to a certain extent, but there are cultural deviations which make the world an interesting place to explore. If we are all the same no matter the country of origin, with identical societal behaviors and customs, there would never be a reason to leave home in search of enlightenment or exposure to something different. Based on personal experience, and being a female American writer in a predominantly male dominated Russian blogging platform, I can attest that mentalities and societal expectations are different, and this is particularly true when it comes to gender relations and demands.

Nothing confuses me more than to receive misogynistic or judgmental emails directed toward my physical appearance, clothing choices, or childless lifestyle. If the primary topic of my blog was fitness, fashion or something related to superficial concepts, then I would expect to be judged in such a manner, but this is not the case. I try to be a different type of female writer here - to focus on thought provoking topics and force people to think outside the box. I spend a lot of time writing texts and choosing words carefully, rather than simply posting half-nude selfies from the gym mirror all day as many of the popular female bloggers do. I think this narcissism is a real poison in today's society.

Why am I writing about this? Because it was necessary to remove yesterday's post, which was probably too personal in nature. I began to receive aggressive and angry emails from some male readers when I truthfully said that I live quite happily without a man. Why do I need to read such abusive and scary personal attacks from people who seem to be psychologically imbalanced? Yes, 90% of them are probably Internet trolls, but it's unsettling nonetheless. I love my readers, and almost every person who leaves a comment in this blog is a man, with rare exceptions. You're most often amusing and enlightening, but at times I simply shake my head in disbelief and frustration when we talk about the roles of women. For instance, look at this photo of one of the most popular American travel bloggers "Adventurous Kate", who journeys to all corners of the globe and writes about it in her blog. Can you imagine if such a photo appeared in LJ? There would be hundreds of comments telling her how ugly, fat and horrible she looks. Countless sofa experts would tell her how to eat, diagnose her health ailments, instruct her how to lose weight, dress better, fix her hair....Read more... )
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This is perhaps the most existential question of all time. In yesterday's post about Christmas, one of my readers commented that my audience is filled with nonbelievers. What does that say about me, or the content of my blog? I'm not sure. :) So, it's time to take a poll. Do you believe in God or some other deity? What is the foundation for your belief or disbelief? Maybe some of you are undecided? I know many Russians don't like to talk about personal details, but it's interesting to know more about the strangers around the globe who read me. Please answer to help me understand more about the demographics of my audience. If you want to know my views on this topic, simply click on the "religion" tag in my blog to see relevant stories, and my opinion will be easy to decipher. Thanks and a pleasant weekend to all!
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Visions of fairy tales, snowmen and twinkling lights dance in my head around the holidays. For me, this is a very joyous time of year, but for others a harsh reminder of isolation and loneliness. People who have no family, those who are estranged from loved ones, or live as loners on all other days of the year are suddenly faced with grim isolation while their co-workers and acquaintances run from one party and feast to another. I take my responsibility as a blogger very seriously. This is not a job for me, but an intellectual and artistic endeavor. A way to express myself, to continually learn from others and share my cultural experiences and social thoughts with thousands of strangers. However, sometimes the lines are blurred and I receive very strange messages. They are usually from men asking provocative or inappropriate questions, or someone who wishes to degrade me, my appearance or nationality. Yesterday something changed. I received a suicide note in my inbox, and I became very shaken and disturbed...Read more... )
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I closely study people at all times. Watching their faces, eyes and expressions. It's always a mental game, a type of creative intellectual stimulation to try to imagine their life story. How did they get to this place, has their life been privileged or difficult? Were they loved passionately or silently? The list of questions spinning in my mind is endless. I once wrote an entire post about this, showing random portraits of Americans from Tennessee and asking readers to weave their life tales in comments.

When I met this old woman walking in a Russian town, I didn't know whether to feel pity or admiration. It's difficult to imagine life in old age, no matter which country you call home. We never know what tragic or fortunate events await. Not in old age, nor day by day. I know only that in old age I'll be loved and taken care of. If not by a husband or lover, then by my immense family, which spans generations of all ages. Financially, I envision everything to be okay as well. I've saved in my own investments since I was 20 years old, so as to not rely only on a government pension in retirement.

How do you feel when you look at this woman? Do you envision a good life for yourself as a pensioner in Russia?

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Today, a rare exception in the blog and a search for understanding - politics! I've been closely watching reports about the Russian airstrikes, mostly from RT, which is one of the most anti-Western, Kremlin controlled media outlets. Please explain to me why it's okay for Russia to drop bombs on Syria, but not the U.S.? Do you support this military action? Reading the headlines on RT is enough to make my head spin. Complete glory and hysteria erupting over the great and powerful Russia, everyday tons of posts praising the military action, yet never missing a chance to say something wild and derogatory about the U.S. or Europe in the process. Just a few examples:

-  "Less talk, more action! Russian jets destroy ISIS HQ's, tanks and munitions - all in 1 week!!"
-  "Russia destroys ISIS command, U.S. destroys hospital"
-  "The F-35 death trap!: Pentagon jet's ejection seat could snap pilot's neck"

Russian bombs will not kill innocent civilians? Impossible. I find it scary that Russian and U.S. fighter jets are flying in the same airspace - a disaster waiting to happen?

Last night, I asked one reader how Russians feel about this situation, and his response was interesting: "I'm personally glad because I always want to restore the glory of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. I was born in a first-class country, a world power, a center of the world, and I cannot live and feel otherwise." How do you feel? From my perspective, all of this joy and enthusiasm over the Russian bombings is hypocritical, especially when so many people constantly climb into my comments shouting "Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan" over and over again, criticizing the U.S. for "dropping bombs" all over the world.

Please help me understand why so many Russians support this military action in Syria. I don't closely follow geopolitical relations, they're not of special interest to me, but it's a very interesting cultural dynamic to explore - the cult of war and militarism. Not in government, but among ordinary citizens of a nation.

I will read all your comments, but please be respectful to each other in the discussion.


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