I write to figure stuff out | ioana.a.writes@gmail.com

When you’re taught your body is “bad”, self-love can feel really uncomfortable.

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Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash

The way the world sees us depends on how we see ourselves.

Surely it can go both ways though?

I remember, up until I was about 11, I had virtually no opinion on how I fared on the beauty scale. I noticed some girls were especially interesting-looking. But I mostly attributed that to pretty dresses and hairstyles, while sulking in the short hair and tomboy wardrobe chosen by my parents.

Once I entered middle school, reviews came soaring in, like I’d just had press night on my newest play. Comments on my face, body, existence were expressed, day after day, by schoolmates, parents, and friends.

I learned that my body was categorized…

And other life lessons learned from Buddhism

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

In my defence, I love my sleep. I love it so much that, over the past 4 weeks, its disrupted patterns made me appreciate every second of slumber.

So, naturally, when I came across a virtual retreat with calls beginning at 4 a.m. UK time —

I said yes.

I’ve long held the belief that, when something seems difficult but worth it, you welcome it with open arms.

I’ve rarely been disappointed.

On this occasion, the commitment to a challenging schedule and reading list surfaced some surprising learnings.

You don’t have to like someone to love them.

As with most paradigms, the truth of this phrase must seep under…

It may not change much, but what if it changes everything?

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Photo by Umesh Soni on Unsplash

A man stopped me yesterday in Leicester Square with this question:

Do you want to go to Heaven?

A preacher could be heard over the megaphone in the near distance.

‘Jehova’s Witnesses,’ I thought. ‘Maybe Evangelical.’

The man caught my eye and followed up with:

Do you love Jesus? Jesus loves you.

To which, I retorted:

How do you know? Have you spoken to him?

He said:

No. But I know he loves everyone.

I smiled at the young man and made my way through the freezing ghost-town.

I thought, ‘Bah! …

Using situations instead of hierarchy

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Photo by Andrea Rio on Unsplash

When I think about people close to me, I encounter a thick fog, oblivious to anything on the other side.

I don’t know what it means to be “close” anymore.

If you ask me who I speak to the most, I can think of the top two people.

If you ask me about the ex who is not exactly a friend, but is there for crisis resolution, he’s there too.

I think of the creative tribe that fills me up with support, encouragement, and inspiration in my work.

I think of the mental health buddies to whom I can show…

Shared pain can enable action, but not all pain is born equal.

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Photo by murat esibatir from Pexels

I’m white. The only thing that comes close to me understanding white supremacy is if I look at my experience as a feminist.

Before you come on this journey with me, one little note. It is my journey. I don’t think it is the only, or best, way.

This personal reflection serves to create a bridge between MeToo and Black Lives Matter, and provide fuel for future movements against oppression.

Stopping for gas


I posted #MeToo without any knowledge of what it was to become. I saw a post, resonated, and shared.

In just under a year, 19 million tweets echoed globally with…

3. Walk Away

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Photo by Eric Gonzalez on Unsplash

You can stop someone from gaslighting you by saying “No.”

to gaslight (verb)
gaslit, gaslit
the post-woke term for manipulating someone’s perception of their own oppression.

“No” can be spoken, or it can be a state of mind.

It can feel daunting to stop someone from “telling you what’s what”. Especially if this person is an authority figure, or if there’s a web of psychological games thread around you 24/7.

But, in most cases, standing up for yourself is healing and empowering, assuming it doesn’t put you in danger.

You don’t say “No” so the other person feels rejected or ashamed.

You do it so you can move on.

You have 4 responses when you’re being gaslit

1. Stand your ground


With each attack, girls inherit trauma and women relive their own. Times change, hatred does not.

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Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

Crying on the bus

It shouldn’t be a solution, although it is.

A solution to a collective trauma that never fails to show itself. On the street, in the bed, on the TV, in the books. Shedding tears of anger, heartache, and helplessness.

When you cry tears for others, it becomes unimportant whether there are people watching, or, indeed, whether you are in locomotion whilst sitting.

I will share what happened, but allow me to settle into this mind-numbing feeling for another minute.

Or two.

While I give a bit of context.

I’ve been raised to respect authority, and to follow suit when taught…

If I had no hope, I’d lose my mind.

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Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash

I’m in the supermarket, listening to my “Made for you” playlist.

Of course, “Who Run the World” comes up. Cheering me on as I decide between tomato soups — plain or with basil.

I’m in no rush. But, in the name of efficiency, I eye out the shortest checkout queue.

Others are designing their own, albeit with less conventional methods.

It’s not the first time I see someone jumping the queue.

Hell, in the early hoarding-days of the pandemic, I winced while middle-aged white women became outraged with queue-cutters.

I have no fetish for outrage — not today, not any day.

But one can uphold both fairness and a balanced mind…

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