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In the shade of the recent unfortunate events and finding this article online, i decided to write my piece of mind about this matter. Few days ago, i opened my facebook at the sad news that the singer from Linkin Park has died. I did listen a lot to this band while in high school. I never knew though that Chester was suffering from depression. I was sad to hear that but i got sadder and even angrier at the way people talked about depression and suicide. People dismissing depression as just a phase, not a real illness and one can just get over it.

I never suffered from severe depression so i can’t even talk about it but i would never ever dismiss it. Depression is a very serious illness with severe consequences and it destroys lives. I’ve met people suffering from it and what it struck me was actually my incapacity to help them. Because depression is a serious disease and needs specialized medical attention. As a friend you can be supportive but never dismissing. That is one of the worst things you can do, be dismissive. Although to be honest, sometimes i wish i could do more for them than just tell them to be strong.

But, now to be honest, i wasn’t shocked. I was angry, i was sad but not shocked. Because i have gone through the same thing, that means people dismissing and judging me for my illness. And my illness is physical not mental. So, if i was judged because of a chronic physical illness, i can’t even imagine how much shit people with mental illnesses get.

I’m suspected of a chronic auto-immune disease that has no treatment for the moment although I’ve might have had it (according to specialists) since i was a teenager. Because it is understudied, the delay in diagnosis could take up to 20 years and in my case i have not yet a clear diagnosis because i need surgery which for the moment i’m foolishly postponing it because i’m shit scared of it. The only treatment for now is hormonal and surgical which doesn’t sound glamorous at all. Unfortunately, i had to put up with lots of condescending attitudes from people starting from the “it can’t be that bad”, “you are exaggerating”, “it’s just a fuss”, “it can’t be that serious” to people who downright attacked my medication saying that it’s not natural, i’m destroying myself, i should try voodoo medicine and not trust doctors and then explaining to me the side effects as if i am some stupid kid who can’t read the labels or understand them. Funny thing is i don’t even know most these people personally.

Here are some guidelines for these people who like to play the know it all specialists:

  • If you are not sick or never been sick, you have no idea what i’m going through. So before opening your mouth to say stupid things, think. I never open my mouth to give advice to a person with severe depression because i have no idea what they are going through.
  • Are you a doctor? No? Stop giving medical advice. Of course, suggestions are always welcome but don’t talk like a know it all.
  • STOP JUDGING MY MEDICATION! I have been to a doctor for that and i’m sure that after years of studying, they know what they are doing. Much better than you ever will. In my case, the pills i am taking are the only ones who can make me function and keep my illness under control (for the moment). When you find a cure or a better treatment for it, come and announce me. Until then shut up. I know very well what i am taking, i know it has risks and side effects, i know what those are. I’m an adult, not a two year old toddler. Do you think i enjoy taking some pills which have risks of cardiovascular disease, blood clots and other charming side effects? No! We have no choice for the moment.
  • Take off your tin foil hat and stop blaming some conspiracy stuff and big pharma. Yes, i know companies are greedy but without some of the medicines we have now, some of us would be dead. There is no secret maybe but i usually hear this rhetoric from anti-vaxers who see everything a conspiracy out there to get them.
  • Voodoo medicine aka homeopathic. Tried that honey, it didn’t work. I have nothing against it but following the logic of big pharma what makes you think there aren’t the same kind of people who would like to make a profit selling sugar water to desperate people? I do take some supplements along with my medicine but relying only on supplements would be very foolish. I do have some friends though who gave me very good hints (tested ones) from people with same symptoms as i. I appreciate that a lot and of course i’m going to try them. But under no circumstances they dismissed conventional medicine.
  • There is no magic way out, there is no magic pill to make us healthy. Instead of being judgmental, don’t say anything at all if you have nothing supportive to say. I will give you a hint though, what i usually tell my friends who are struggling with an illness. I wish them all the best, to stay strong and if there is anything they need just ask. That’s it. It’s very easy not to be an asshole. 🙂

 

walkinmyshoes

I thought of writing this article after I got fed up with the endless articles about birth rates declining and the constant blame put on women because they choose to pursue higher education. I thought that we left this behind many decades ago but as I can see this is the number one scapegoat most people around here prefer to point at. I won’t get into the importance of education nowadays because when it comes to pursue one, it’s each to its own, I would say it better to have one than none at all.

The ones who are usually barking so much on the subject are men who complain about their poor peers who remain in the countryside, choose to stay out of school or pursue a professional school and then remain single because those “damn harpies” choose careers and move to the big cities. They usually come up with apocalyptic future scenarios of old spinsters, damnation, cats and loneliness. In addition to that they are also complaining that these women are too picky, too stuck up and that nothing is good for them.

My first thought is, then why don’t you go and get an education yourself? Why are you jealous on a person who wants to build a future for themselves and their world doesn’t revolve around yours? Because believe it or not, you are not the center of the universe and no person owes you anything.  You miss the good old days when women were barefoot, knocked-up in the kitchen? Then be prepared to have a super income because nowadays you can rarely manage on one salary. The biggest problem with these people is that they live in the past, in a world of fantasy.

Being dependent and relying on a guy (of one’s free will) is perhaps the most stupid thing you can do. But again, I also guide myself on “the best person to rely on is yourself” philosophy. You never know when the other one will kick you in the curb or you know, misfortunes happen. I was also taught wisely by my parents that it’s better to have your own finances and never rely on anybody.

Nobody stops you from studying and earning a degree if you want. Not in Finland where (for the moment) there are no tuition fees. But some people don’t want higher education and others are not meant for it. Which is fine. But stop complaining and blaming other people for your incapacities or laziness. And stop blaming the system that it favors girls. If you really want to achieve something, no system will stay in your way. I saw proof with my own eyes and of both genders.

Blaming women that they are too picky is rather shallow I would say. As mentioned before, nobody is entitled to like you. These women have their own preferences, own personalities and own minds and they’d better be picky if it is about something so important as sharing life with somebody. It’s better being alone that be with somebody just for the sake of being and then realize you share nothing in common or even hate each other.

As for the profession part, these “critics” must live underground because lots of us are not hunting for a profession. For me it is a deep insult to hear that I’m a stuck up academic bitch who doesn’t even look at blue collar workers. Profession has never been an issue when I connect with another person because I look at that person as a human being not at a profession. One of my top priorities is mutual respect. If that is missing, I’m sorry to say but it won’t work. I never looked down on any person because of their profession (sadly I can’t say that was mutual, I’ve been humiliated many times while working blue collar jobs). Professions can change but the dynamics between two persons is much more complicated and I doubt that a profession or education has so much to do with it. My partner didn’t even attend high school and I have two MA’s and I must say that it would be quite a shock for these people who can do nothing more but judge. It’s true, I did hear nasty remarks from some that how can I be in a relationship with such a person, pointing out the fact that I’m superior because of my education. Needless to say I cut any ties with these people. If you can’t respect people I care about, I don’t have any obligation to respect you. An MA diploma doesn’t make me superior in any way but the fact that I respect people the way they are and not judge them like you do, yes, that makes me superior to your judgmental ass.

And before blaming women that they are like this and like that and don’t pay attention to you, take a look at yourself first. Do you think somebody would like to be with a person who does nothing but blame others and likes to dictate how others should live? Because I wouldn’t. Before demanding things from others take a look at yourself. Are you worth it?

 

Then he approached me so much, I could almost feel his breath on my face: “Yes, you have brown hair and eyes but you are way too white.” Said this dude after hearing where I am coming from.

“I can see you girls are of another race”, says my friend’s neighbor while we were walking together in the neighborhood. We are white Caucasian just like this neighbor.

“Are you Italian? You have brown hair and the shape of your nose is weird”. I hear at a seminar. No I’m not Italian, but close enough. I really don’t want to make conversation with you because you are rude. You just don’t comment on a random person’s outer appearance.

Plus the countless questions of where I am from and what I am doing here, some followed by suggestion to dye my hair blonde so I could be more like the locals. The fact that I speak the language fluently and I had no cultural shock whatsoever upon moving to Finland does not count. Now I should alter my looks. What next? Am I supposed to spend few thousands euros to get that weird nose fixed, too?

I am well aware of the fact though that my skin complexion worked in my favor here because otherwise I would have got nastier remarks and I think even faced violence as some of people I know did. But was negatively amazed to see how far people’s ignorance and stupidity can go. If you have a problem with the simple fact that a person has brown hair and most of people around are blonde then you don’t deserve the slightest drop of attention. To me this mentality of “change your outer appearance to blend it” is the most obvious form of following the herd. And I’ve never been good with that. It never crosses my mind to ask people about their background when we first meet and it’s definitely out of the question to make comments on their outer appearance. There are plenty of other subjects to open a conversation with and saying one of the above denotes lack of imagination.

Yes, I heard the excuse “but we are a small country and blah, blah”. That excuse would have worked maybe 50 years ago. It’s 2017 so snap out of it. People are moving around and I really hate to hear somebody playing the naive card “but what are you doing here?”. There are very few reasons why a person would choose a country and I’m definitely not interested in any of them. If they mentioned it fine, but I wouldn’t ask. Because it’s not my business.

As for dyeing my hair blonde to “fit in” let me tell you something: I would definitely hate having blonde hair. First, I really love my natural brown hair and I rarely dye it because there is no need to. If I choose so, then I would choose a color which is close to my natural one because blonde doesn’t fit me at all. Second, dyeing my hair blonde would take a significant toll on it because of the bleaching treatment, not to mention that I need to do that every time my hair grows because it looks hideous to have it half of two colors. I really don’t want to pour chemicals on my head and destroy my hair because of some people’s ignorance.

 

I’m writing this to document my struggles “switching” to a new field and to remind myself that some people are not worth listening to. In fact, they are worth nothing. I don’t know if I will follow this path, I do doubt myself a lot sometimes and some of the people around don’t make it easier either. But one thing is sure, I will never look at my abilities and determination, the same way again after these studies are completed.

Let’s start from the beginning. I started studying chemistry in the sixth grade. Before that, I discovered some of my dad’s old chemistry books. I fell in love with it because it seemed like a fascinating world. I couldn’t wait to start the classes to learn more, to enter the lab and do all those experiments in the book. It was a subject that unlocked the mysteries of the world around me, it would make me understand the world to its tiniest core up to complex phenomena.

This is not how things went. Our teacher didn’t really care to teach, to make us understand. There was no passion and even worse, when I did ask for clarifications I was called stupid: “I said it once, why weren’t you paying attention/are you stupid?” Obviously if I didn’t get it in a second, I was automatically stupid. I had no support in solving exercises and even if I tried but failed, I got the usual scolding…you are so stupid, how can you not understand a thing so easy? No support, no encouragement and as a child I believed it. I was too stupid, that was too difficult for me. I gave up. I didn’t pay attention anymore, I started skipping chemistry classes and I declared an eternal hate and disgust for this subject (along with maths and physics – secondary school physics teacher was horrible). Never again. I was done.

I chose a humanities class in high-school and ignored science classes completely. We had bad science teachers there also. They were not interested, no passion and the usual – those humanities dumb heads, not that they would understand anything. But there was a spark. In my first year of high-school, we had a very cool physics teacher, I enjoyed hear explanations and her way of teaching. I understood things very fast and at the end of that year I got one of the best grades in physics. She left. After that, I stopped studying physics; her replacement did not live up to the standards.

Fast forward 13 years. After years of studying in humanities, and specializing myself in museum studies I fell in love with a branch of museum profession called conservation. I said that nothing will stop me to study that. Bad luck…chemistry was needed. Only the first high-school course but still. I cut my ties with chemistry right at that very beginning; it was like I never studied it. Because I never did, actually. I skipped most of the classes and barely passed. I wasn’t interested. I went to the library and took that book, opened it and tears came into my eyes. I didn’t understand anything. It seemed so difficult. But I said: YOU WON’T GIVE UP! And I didn’t, I bought the book and started studying chemistry on my own. First months were hell. There was nobody to help me, nobody I could ask. Swearing, frustration, tears, ripped pages with exercises. But time went and I started understanding. I was so happy after few hours of struggle to understand and even solve problems on my own. And at one point I realized, with amazement that I started liking it.

After going through just one chemistry course (out of five), I signed up for university. Chemistry. One of the craziest, if not the craziest, thing I did in my life. No background studies and there I was, sitting in a class with people who had a strong background in chemistry. I realized what I have done one week before I started the classes. I panicked so bad that I almost puked right before my first chemistry class. How could I keep up with these people? They are so advanced, I know nothing. You have no idea how many times I cried after classes because I couldn’t understand almost anything. But I studied on my own and in one month I went through the whole 5 high-school courses, at basic level, at least to understand the concepts. (thank you opetus.tv!) Until now I am proud to say that I have passed all courses with a very good in Chemistry of the Environment. And I think I’m falling in love with chemistry to the point of thinking to switch completely to science and start my studies all over again.

Things aren’t so easy, however. I did mention the struggles and certain people in the beginning. Let’s put it straight: chemistry, like any other subject, is not easy. Especially when you are crazy enough to sign up for university courses with no strong background. But that’s not the point. You can learn it; I’m a living proof of that. What makes it worse, are the people around you. In my case, it started with the teachers. A bad teacher will make you hate a subject or if you are lucky, you’ll be just indifferent to it. I can’t complain now, my present chemistry teacher had always had the patience to explain the most stupid questions I asked him. And that’s what makes a good teacher.

But what is worse, is other people’s attitudes. I was told that this is useless because if I don’t understand things right on the spot then I have no talent for it. Have these people heard that work is required in every field? You don’t wake up overnight and get top grades. Everything requires hard work and passion. Chemistry is not like singing, you have the voice or you don’t. Even singing requires lots of work. Very few people are born with extraordinary talents. The rest of us have to work. Giving up is not an option.

I was told that I’m at that age when you are too old to study and as a woman I should have other normal priorities (read lifescript), not dreaming of a career in a STEM field. To be clear, lifescript has never interested me. It might suit others but I always found it extremely boring. If an activity is not intellectually challenging or has a certain degree of difficulty, I drop it. I love studying, reading, thinking and solving problems a lot. Am I 100% at this point that I want to go into STEM? Maybe not 100 but I’m strongly considering it. I do love my job a lot and my present field but studying chemistry will never take me away from cultural heritage field. On the contrary, I will become one of those multidisciplinary persons with a wide understanding of various disciplines and enhanced capacity of solving problems and be innovative.

Some Finnish newspaper published today an article how EU decided that Finland has to reduce emission by 39 percent in the next decade. At first glance it looks more like a sanctimonious thing to do, become green and save the planet but in practice it is a macabre joke which will make your life harder. And here I mean the average to poor person if we are to speak from a financial point of view because we all know these regulations won’t take into consideration rich people and the EU buffoons.

These regulations will include forcing people to switch to other types of energy which are considered green but they are so expensive and inefficient as they can’t serve efficiently all people. And some of them do lots of damage although the so called environmentalists “skip” talking about it. For example, the alternatives to light bulbs, which are very expensive and some of them poisonous for the environment. This concerns also other household appliances and cars. And not to mention regulations about food which I think it will lead at some point to banning meat or taxing it so badly only the rich could afford it.

These regulations reminded me a lot about communist Romania. Back then meat was a luxury, you couldn’t find in shops, besides the bad quality one like pig hooves and canned meat which actually contained fat and grinded stuff which I’m not sure you’d like to know what it was. Car owners had very strict regulations and you could drive your car only on certain days. Also food was rationed drastically and most of the times people had to bribe in order to get more food. The official statistics never mention it but people did die of hunger in communist Romania. Also warm water was a luxury; I remember we sometimes had to take showers in cold water during the winter which was not nice at all. We did sometime heat up water but that was also a challenge because it was an adventure to get gas for the cooker, too. Also we did wear winter clothes inside because the heating was cut and the lights went out at 8 or 9 in the evening. Of course, these regulations did not apply to the rich, usually members of the almighty party.

The circumstances are different now as the restrictions in the communist regime had to do with other factors and not emissions. I really don’t want to think that these regulations would reach this point but I do have my doubts because the alternatives are not thought on a realistic scale. Most of the requirements for saving energy are very expensive and many people cannot even afford them. Or maybe that’s the idea. As I have said, the absurd regulations will hit the poor ones not the bureaucrats.

Or as one of my friends mentioned as a joke when reading about these regulations: “Maybe we should switch to living in clay huts and shit in a hole dug behind the hut. And eat grass. You cannot get more greener than that!”

At this point, I’m in a bit of panic as I finished my second MA and I just realized that the school year will start soon but I’m not going to be a part of it anymore. It is somehow hard to believe because I have been studying for a while with some breaks in between when I was working. I enjoy studying a lot and learning new things. Going to classes and keeping a study schedule, visiting the library, checking the courses, outlining a study plan has its charm. At least, at the university level since I enjoyed that part much more than lower education.

Anyways I did find that one can very well study online nowadays through various organizations. I did find out about Coursera (courser.org) from a friend of mine a while ago and I already managed to get and complete few of their courses. Most of them were in humanities, one in IT and one in agriculture. You can find lots of courses, from different areas and from universities all over the world. I am taking courses only in English and the universities i attended were mainly from UK and US.

Nowadays I’m taking a course in cultural heritage from a university in Italy, Rome and I can say I am very pleased with it and besides things which I already knew, I did find out new ones especially about ancient history and completing my reading list with several books.

Some of the courses follow a strict schedule and deadlines, some can be taken at own pace and assignments are not compulsory unless you want to earn a certificate of completion. Certificates divide themselves between standard ones and personalized ones which you have to pay for. Some course packages can be taken for a certain fee. I never paid for the courses I have taken and I got only standard certificates. I was thinking at some point to get a package of courses but there isn’t anything that I really want to take and be willing to pay for yet.

As about the fields, one can choose from a wide variety, although I think they do have more in IT and engineering but I would advise that one should stick to their fields as some of the courses are very challenging (it’s university level) and they do not start with introductory data. For example, I do have a humanities background and I can’t take a course in robotics. But I could take courses from social sciences, business, language learning and even life sciences. Some biology, agriculture, environment and health courses are indeed for everybody who is interested. Also there are some IT courses which are more general but if you want to really learn something, you need to make an extra effort and not just be contempt with the video lectures.

Actually, I could say that about all the courses from the site. Of course, one can pass the course just by watching the video lectures and complete the quizzes but if one really wants to go deeper into the subject, I suggest getting acquainted with the reading list, extra links and materials and do their own research if they want to know more about a certain topic.

The other day I bumped into an article about BIC pens for women, in fact, there are lots of mentions online about this and lots of ridicule. I also found it funny and stupid at the same time because I think it’s a waste of money and energy to make some pink pens and sell it specifically to women. Anything made pink and sold specifically to women is ridiculous. Does a product have to be pink in order to be directed at a certain gender? I think it is useless and besides it is indeed just a marketing strategy in order to cash on naive people. Because pink products are more expensive. At least the pink, shiny BIC pen was more than double the price compared to a plain BIC pen.

If I remember my childhood now, I can’t say we did have this blatant gender segregated toys, and here I am referring to a whole PINK toy and clothing section. We did have dolls and this stuff but I don’t remember being such a big deal and I’m really sure we didn’t have a wide range of pink personal products.

So, with this in mind I have never been a fan of light colors especially pink. I also never started a war because of the pink products stating that is somehow offensive or degrading for women because I don’t think it is. What I think it is, well, uselessly expensive and just because of the color. What I do though, is avoid these products, not because of the color but because of the price.

I always buy razors from the men department and sometimes socks as I do find cheaper socks there. As about pens, I usually buy neutral ones but most of the times I get them from different places like schools, offices or courses I attend.

The same thing goes for other items like electronics. I remember a radio add from a while ago which mentioned that women can choose computers from a variety of colors. I don’t know about others but when I buy a computer, the color is the last thing of my mind. Actually I don’t take it into consideration at all, first, I look at the computer’s properties and of course, brand.

I think the most infuriating thing about the pink products is the price based on the color. I would understand if the quality is better but in most of the cases there isn’t any kind of difference. And it’s also not very nice for people who do actually like pink and have to pay extra for a product just because of its color.

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life is a journey, not a destination

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life is a journey, not a destination