Personal

Adventuring into the world of Creativity

Hello. My name is Andreea and I am a creative person.

It’s a bit like a confession for me to say that. This is not an AA meeting, but the feeling is the same.

I’ve started a new journey into the world of Creativity (with a capital C because this is the real world, with amazing people with great skills, international recognition and incredible knowledge).

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My decision to go for a Creative Producing MA came from my coaching sessions with Catriona, a lovely passionate coach who took me on a journey of self-discovery that I fully embraced.

Coaching is not for everyone. At the beginning, it sounds as an ambiguous process where a stranger asks you very personal questions and doesn’t give you any solutions. Few of my friends who did it found it too much for that point in time and felt like they were going in circles during their sessions. I think a lot of it has to do with the connection you establish with your coach. If you find empathy with them, and trust, then you’re off to a good start.

The main things I’ve discovered about myself were:

  • Being vs doing: I’m a doer. I find tasks and complete them (or make them up and complete them) and that gives me a sense of accomplishment. However, the part I don’t always consider as much is ‘being’ and what influences my approach in my day to day tasks.
  • Fun, travelling & exploration motivate me and make me move forward. They’re just as important to me as my other goals
  • Ambition, change & openness: I love to have honesty in my work and a common goal that everyone respects and values. Social change is my main motivator.
  • Environment: Where I am plays a huge role in how I am. A creative environment pushes me forward, challenges me but also inspires.

Although one of my main actions I set for myself as a result of the coaching was to take the time off to go to Bali and just be for a few weeks…that hasn’t happened yet.

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What has happened is that I’ve come away with a sense of adventure in my bones. And this sense of adventure made me step into the world of Creative Producing.

It’s a much more work-focused adventure, but it has the same feeling of fun and inspiring environment.

At the moment I’m fighting my inner demons that tell me that I’m not creative enough to call myself a Creative (notice the big C!). My definitions of Creativity are being challenged every single day and my misconceptions about myself and others, skills and experience, ambition and failure, are in constant change.

I’m slowly but surely finding my place.

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Uncategorized

Losing hope | #Brexit

Today I woke up in a different country.

I first moved to the UK about five years ago. I came as a 19 year old full of hope, expectations, enthusiasm. I couldn’t believe my luck that I got into a British university. I was happy, elated, excited to get away from a country that promoted racism, bigotry, that played with the lives of the poor and made a mess out of everything. 

This country has given me a lot. It’s given me an education that was pretty great, a degree in Journalism where I had the opportunity to explore, to be academically challenged. It‘s given me jobs that paid more than I could have got at home doing the same things. While my friends were working for as little as £1 an hour, I was making a living. Thank you, Great Britain, for being here for me to pursue the truly idealistic view of making a change.

However, today I realised I’ve had just such a privileged view of this country. Its working class is in shambles, disillusioned and blaming immigration for all of their troubles. Of course, I’ve known and been victim of this first hand before, but the extent of the matter hadn’t hit me until today.

Everyone hates the establishment – and I’m the first one there on the picket line when it comes to that. The EU isn’t the perfect institution that brings only joy and happiness and unity.

But for me, it’s done some great things.

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As a 19 year old from a poor European country, I had the opportunity to get a great education. I worked my ass off for it and I’m paying back every cent with interest, but the EU made it so easy for me to just pack up and go. And you like that, Britain, don’t you? You don’t mind the tens of thousands of EU university students that come to the UK every year and buy into thousands of pounds of debt instead of paying into their own countries. We are the kind of enthusiastic, skilled workers you can’t wait to snatch up. My university hired people to recruit from other EU countries and that’s at the heart of its strategy for expansion. Should I mention that, so ironically, the majority of students employed by the university were also from the EU? Was that because we had privileged status? No, it was because British students were going back home for the summer while we were hanging around, trying to make a living to pay back our student fees and pay our rent.

Secondly, the EU made it possible for me to gain a qualification in the UK as an English teacher and then (in a week after finishing my course) to get a job in Spain. No equivalency needed, no paperwork, just pack up and go. Is that going to be possible in a Brexit world? I don’t think so. Bureaucracy will take over and slow down anyone who wants to pursue a bigger dream than staying at home their whole lives or moving up the street.

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The same EU then provided funding for a project which allowed volunteers from all across Europe to come to Bristol, European Green Capital 2015, and help out small charities and organisations which promote environmentalism in the city. My bias is clear here – I benefitted directly, I was paid by the EU to come and do something I loved in a city that I admired.

And that’s exactly my point. There are many more just like me. People who look for opportunities, who want to be part of an international community without the hassle of visas, discrimination and so on. We are the new generation who doesn’t see borders, who grew up in online communities where we empathise, befriend and admire people all around the world. We care about the environment, we care about the poor not only in our own countries, but in every country.

Maybe I’m not the right person to speak here. Maybe I come from a place of lower middle class and I’ve never struggled enough to have a say. Maybe I’m thinking only about myself and how I’m pissed off to be living in a worse country today than I was yesterday.

But I’ve found the best things I’ve had in this life have been because of opportunities. Those opportunities were there because people worked together. I am now giving back my share by working, volunteering, campaigning. I do wish the generation growing up now will have at least the same chance I had…but from the looks of it, they’ll just have to stick to this lonely island.

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Personal · Uncategorized

How messy are you?

My heart is messier than my room

There might be clothes lying around. With memories of where I wore them and who took them off.

The red dress is lying on the floor. It’s a wardrobe of its own. It’s a reminder that I put up a front of confidence. It tells you I know what I’m doing, that I’m a nice person who cares about what others think, of how I know first impressions are important. But it’s lying there, disregarded as soon as you walk through the door.

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You can find bobby pins all around, bread crumbs from the past, putting together a trail to where it all went wrong. This place was spotless, but now these little signs show you how I’ve learnt and what I’ve been through; how there were people who I felt comfortable with to put my hair up. They’re hidden in the most obscure of places and exactly when you thought you couldn’t find any more, you’ll one day discover they’re everywhere and you can’t get rid of them; just accept them.

There’s a bit of dust everywhere. Not covering it all just of yet; you could get rid of it with a quick swipe. But it’s starting to settle and it announces no one’s been through here in a while. It’s just been me and my feelings, gathering the particles and clinging on to them as they represent the pause my heart has needed.

Then there are the pictures on the wall, showing where I’ve been and what inspires me. You don’t see these at first; you have to question, to ask about the past and about abstract feelings and not everyone is comfortable with that. They lead to the most interesting conversations, but are you brave enough?

If you start looking in drawers, you might get lost in the sea of unnecessary things hidden away. If you open the wrong one, they might just fill up the room and you’ll find yourself swimming in a sea of regret, mistakes and misadventure.

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Then there are the boxes. Boxes of people long forgotten that somehow always find a way of getting spilled on the floor. You might pick up one of these and then a necklace that says ‘Forever’ catches your eye. It’s now rusty and you see how ironic it is that even Forever doesn’t last the passage of time.

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A cute fluffy animal is hidden away in a dark corner of the wardrobe. It has instructions that say if you put it in the microwave for 3 minutes, it can heat the whole place up. You can see it hasn’t been loved in a long time and its warmth has long gone from its limp body.

Finally you get in front of the mirror and it’s so clean and clear you can see every one of your freckles staring back of you. The light from the window shines so bright it gives an eery feel to the place.

This might be messy and complicated, but it’s honest. It knows itself better than any other place, with all its nooks and crannies. It might be a scary room to go, but it’s not afraid of turning the light on itself and remembering. Because the darkest corners are the ones we turn our backs on.

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Uncategorized

Why you should follow Jeremy Corbyn on Snapchat

 

When Jeremy Corbyn drops by

My week faced an unexpected turn on Thursday. I was sat peacefully at my desk when a really short, concise e-mail came through. It was announcing just that Jeremy Corbyn was coming to The Station, as part of a Labour meeting we had going on.

I couldn’t really believe it. I’m definitely a Jeremy Corbyn fan girl at heart and yes, I’m a bit ashamed of it. But every time a new breath of fresh air comes to politics, I can’t help it, I’m drawn to the underdog that’s speaking the truth.

I had the privilege of walking around and taking photos of Mr Jeremy and it just so happened that he was speaking on the EU referendum and his mission on the day was to get young people registered to vote.

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If it’s not obvious from my name, I’m not British; I’m European and pretty darn proud of it as well. So the issue pulls at my heart strings. Not only because the UK leaving the EU would bring about so many problems for me, but because I love the UK. I really do love this country. It’s brought me so many opportunities.

I got a better education than I could have gotten in my country. I got job after job doing the things I’m passionate about (helping young people, campaigning on mental health, being a radio producer, advocating for women’s issues). I couldn’t do that back in Romania; there just isn’t a market for it yet and it would be impossible to get paid for what I do there.

I think I’ve given back plenty to the UK as well. I’m paying back my student loan, I’ve been paying hugely inflated rent for 4 years now and I brought with me my parents’ hard earned Romanian money and spent it here, contributing to the economy. That on top of the normal stuff like tax and the skills I bring to the table.

Can Snapchat convince young people to register?

enhanced-12464-1460824900-1So my argument is this. In an issue that is going to impact so heavily on young people, Jeremy Corbyn is actively seeking to engage this audience. He was one of the first people I followed on Snapchat because a politician (and a high profile one at that) using that platform means one thing to me. He’s trying. He’s trying to have a conversation in means that the political landscape doesn’t yet understand – social media. And a very hard to use for brand engagement social media platform.

Snapchat is new, fresh and unknown. It’s really hard to make an argument for using it for any brand or organisation. But Jeremy Corbyn and his team aren’t afraid. They went where their audience is. Young people are on Snapchat. And they want to hear from leaders on the platforms they’re already using.

Does Jeremy have a long way to go from posting photos and videos and putting emojis over there to convincing a young person to register to vote? Yes, of course.

However, he’s decided that it’s worth it. It’s worth his team’s time and effort to do it because he cares. I see that as progressive as it gets.

That’s why you should follow Jeremy Corbyn on Snapchat. We need more leaders who care about us and are taking digital and social media seriously. Give it a shot, you might end up in one of his stories if next time he happens to drop by your office.

Book reviews · Personal

Asking for it by Louise O’Neill | Book review

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Content warning: rape

I just finished Asking for it by Louise O’Neill and I’m broken. I’m shattered in a million pieces and I don’t know if this is the right time to try to write something relevant, but I’ll try.

Asking for it is the story of Emma O’Donovan, a teenager who finds herself on her porch, in a big mess, after a huge party. She can’t remember a significant part of the night before, but she finds graphic, explicit photos plastered all over Facebook, showing the world everything that’s happened at the party. This is the main premise and if you think it’s not plausible, then take a look at the Steubenville case.

This is such a compelling story and the quote on the cover describes it best. It’s written with a scalpel. It cuts deep and it physically hurts to read. It’s so honest and blunt and shattering that it made me despise it. I hate this still happens today and the scale of it.

It’s the story of our rape culture, victim blaming and the horrific way women are treated in when it comes to sexual abuse and assault.

I don’t want to talk about the story itself, I’m too emotional for that. What I do want to say is that the criticism the book’s received (in small amounts) is that the main character is not likeable. And I found that to be even more powerful. It doesn’t matter how awful a person is, how awful a woman is. No one deserves to have their choice over their own body taken away from them. Another is around the ending, but that’s a spoiler, so I’ll just say that it made sense to me. It made me even angrier, but that’s what happens when you stay true to yourself and when you’re a realistic writer. Things don’t always end in a pretty red bow.

Now this book talks about a girl and what happens to her after she’s raped by 4 boys who then proudly publish what they’ve done on social media. Everyone’s reaction to what happens is sickening and despicable. It makes me want to crawl into a ball under my covers and never come out again.

I empathised to much with what Emma was feeling. Shame, whore, slut. I’ve been there myself, it’s not what women think only in extreme situations when they’re under the scrutiny of an entire town. On a night out, dancing and drinking and forgetting about responsibilities. In the back of my mind, every single time when I find myself in that situation, I feel judged and I have a voice in the back of my mind that says: be careful, watch out, look around and see if there are any possible threats. If I get carried away and have too much fun and do something that can be judged as immoral whore, slut, shame shame, then the next day I’m a mess. The shame covers everything else. Why did you do that? Did you want attention? Did you want them staring at you, why did you drink so much, why did you wear that short skirt, why did you have a cleavage?

Shame. Again and again. I swear to myself never to drink again, never to be vulnerable again…because think of what could have happened.

How can we live in a society that teaches women to be ashamed, to always be on guard because we can’t know when any man around us might go apeshit and rape us? How can we live in a world where our friends, our boyfriends, our husbands are not to be trusted and we always have to see them as a possible animal?

I don’t want to live in a rape culture. I don’t want to be ashamed and afraid all the time. I don’t want girls like Emma to have all the responsibility of not getting raped.

When it does happen, we are placid. We are so used to the system that doesn’t work and won’t work for us if we don’t struggle. I don’t know how politically correct I’m going to be now, but I can’t help but be afraid. I wish I wasn’t, but I am. I don’t think we’re at a point where the victim is protected by the justice system enough, so they don’t go through trauma after trauma if they do report their assault. When a woman is raped in any other way than a stranger on an alley way, then she’s going to be questioned, stripped off her dignity, scrutinised and put under a microscope. I don’t know if I would advise a friend to go to the police straight away, even though my instinct is to say: fight! You need to fight, this is wrong and it shouldn’t have happened to you, it’s not your fault and they need to pay for what they’ve done. However, because the system is not right yet and doesn’t work for the victim, who am I to say: get broken in a million more pieces, remember this for every person who’s going to ask you about it, relive it a million times again and go through pain again and again until you’re no longer a human being? I can’t.

There are people who help and there are those who want to change things. But in the meantime, what do we do? We raise our girls to be scared and our boys to be feared?

We need to talk about this. To have a serious conversation about all the implications of our rape culture and what it’s doing to our girls and boys, women and men. How it’s harming our relationships, our values as humans and our mental health.

Rating: ★★★★★ – I hated it, I hate that we need so many more books like this

I picked up this book because of the #bangingbookclub – created by YouTubers Hannah Witton, Leena Norms and Lucy Moon, where they pick books on sex and review them spoiler free on video and fully on a podcast. They’re awesome, check out their review below.

Book reviews · Short stories

Seconds of pleasure by Neil LaBute | Book review

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In Bristol there’s a really gorgeous place which everyone should visit if you find yourself in the city. It’s really easy to find, you just go up from the famous harbourside, follow the main road to a hilly, always busy street, to the infamous Clifton.

This road is called Park Street and it’s a great example of the God awful hills of this city. It will leave you breathless and swearing every single time, but it’s worth it. A couple of weeks ago I found myself wandering around, as many of my favourite shops are around here. There’s nothing in particular that I find really attractive around here, but it’s more of a combo of charity shops, the closest PaperChase, arts supply shops I like to dip in and a couple of random bits.

I went in the super cheap book shop and was browsing around aimlessly. I do this to find new books (which I then go and usually buy online) or just to get a bit of inspiration.

I’ll admit it, I opened this particular book because of its name: Seconds of Pleasure. I imagined carefully crafted paragraphs on the joys of mindfulness, the little moments in life that leave us in awe at the world around us.

I was wrong. And I’m really happy I was so wrong because that wouldn’t have been a book I would have bought and read so quickly.

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Painting by Ashton Wallis

No, Mr. The first story my eyes settled on and couldn’t stop reading was about a man in an airport who seduces a young woman. And like so many of the stories in this collection, it was intense, riveting, full of step by step action and determination, told in a unique voice that drew me in, just as in a smooth seduction game.

I read and read, captivated by the style and then it got better and better, building up to a big finale. A twist in the road that I hadn’t expected, didn’t see coming at all. And it left me feeling giggly, sweaty, exhausted and a bit dirty. This book will have that effect on you, taking you to the dark side, to the parts of the world where people exploit each other, where mistakes happen, where intrigue and mystery come from deep inside us.

It quite got in my brain and every time I picked it up, I was transposed to a different reality. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it you want some sparks, give it a shot.

Rating: ★★★★– I loved it!

 

Book reviews · Uncategorized

Girl 4 by Will Carver | Book review

Let’s talk about crime, baby!

It’s been a while since I read a thriller/mystery/crime book and I forgot a little bit how much I enjoy them. When you start reading a bit more, it seems popular fiction gets forgotten or readers are either really into literature or only reading pop fiction. It’s a shame, as I think both can be awesome to enjoy and teach you valuable lessons.

I picked up Girl 4 by Will Carver on a whim, in a massive sale (50p/book whoop whoop!). It seemed to have a whif of a psychological thriller rather than a whodunit. I wasn’t deceived.

This is the first book in the series by Will Carver and our main guy is detective January David. As he gets to see Girl 4 in a series of brutal, ritualistic murders, suspended in a theatre ten feet above the ground, he realises he knows the latest victim in the investigation.

Characters 

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January Davis is quite the typical detective. He’s determined, smart, observant and all the great qualities a detective should have. He puts his job first, before his family and his fiance, but tries to keep the illusion that he can take himself out of his job when he comes home. He’s also a very flawed hero: he drinks too much, sleeps too little and is afraid of his discoveries.

Now this might be considered a bit of a SPOILER so if you want to go in 100% blind, please skip this paragraph (although it won’t ruin the story if you read it). The only thing about this book I found annoying is that is has a certain supernatural aspect, which isn’t exactly done properly. It has some relation to the bigger picture once we start going forward in the series, but for this particular chapter, it’s neither here nor there. It doesn’t fit the narrative surround it and doesn’t make much difference to the overall story, but rather complicates things unneccesarily.

Possible spoiler over.

Plot

The story is told from the perspective of different characters, including the killer. This is really refreshing and is done in an impressive way. The voices aren’t all that different and the style sometimes remains the same across chapters, even though one is from Jan’s POV and the next is the killer’s story. It does offer some complexity to some parts of the narrative, as we can experience the same scene from different POV.

This also gives voices to the victims, which is rarely done in crime novels, especially those about ritualistic serial killers. We get to know Girl 1, 2 and 3 and see bits of their lives.

Overall

This is a great crime novel that’s going to get you hooked. I couldn’t stop reading it because I really wanted to know what was going to happen. It has lots of twists and turns and there’s a big reveal just at the end that not many people would ever think of.

Our detective Jan may be a bit of a stereotype (and you’ll probably not going to like him), but the writing style gives the story a unique slant which brings it out of the ordinary crime genre.

Rating: ★★★ – I really enjoyed it!

  Read any good thrillers lately? Which ones are your favourite? Let me know, I’m looking for more now that I’ve got into it again.