A world full of judges

“Empathy begins with understanding life from another person’s perspective. Nobody has an objective experience of reality. It’s all through our own individual prisms.”
~ Sterling K. Brown

I took this photo last year in Croatia. I was walking through Diocletian’s Palace when I saw this woman sitting on the doorsteps, quietly smoking her cigarette. Watching her sitting there, alone, with strangers passing by without paying her any attention, I find it quite poignant.

Of course, I dramatised it in my head. She’s probably just having a break from work and is happy not to have to talk to any annoying tourists for a moment. But I can’t help to think of a story to support the image that I see. I guess, that’s the storyteller in me.

What we see and what we think that we see, are two totally different things. But very often we are oblivious of the thin line between these two statements. And sometimes it leads to big consequences. Especially nowadays with social media controlling our judgment.

I think that we tend to see what we want to see and we convince ourselves that our story to the image is true. When a story is attached to an image, we are not objective anymore. Even though we have nothing to do with the whole situation. There are not many of us who can jump out of the story and be objective without making a judgment. Seeing things from a different perspective.

Here’s a recent example in the Dutch newspapers. Two guests were invited to a talkshow. One is a tv host who has been wrongfully accused of taking bribes and during the investigation she was treated like a criminal and nobody wants to have anything to do with her. The other guest was a father of a rape and murder victim. The tv host told her story, telling everyone how bad it was to be treated like a criminal and being wrongfully accused and how it affected her mentally. In her perspective, she suffered badly from it. Later, the host of the talkshow mentioned in an article how he was hoping that this tv host would’ve reflected her feelings on the feelings of the father of the murder victim. Implicating that what she has suffered is nothing compared to what the father of the raped and murdered girl has gone through.

A lot of people agreed with the talkshow host. They already formed a judgment after reading this article. They ventilated on social media how insensitive the tv host was, whining about her problems while the other person has suffered ten times worst. But, is this fair? Should she be the only guest that night or paired with a different guest who didn’t suffer such tremendous trauma, wouldn’t we have sympathy for her? Wouldn’t people have different thoughts about her situation? But yet, she was paired to somebody who’s lost a daughter on a very gruesome way and she has become the whiny, insensitive woman.

Is this a fair comparison? Both have suffered a trauma, but because in the eyes of the audience one is more severe than the other, does that mean that for the tv host it is not horrible what’s she gone through? And thus, she has no right to complain about it? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s horrible what happened to the father. And as a mother, I, too, think that what happened to the tv host pales in comparison to losing a child. But I am aware that something tragic happened to both of them. And that they both suffer from pain. But just because we, outsiders, grade the sorrow differently, does not mean that the person who suffered the, in our eyes, less severe trauma is hurt less and therefore suffers less pain. By thinking this way only shows how insensitive people themselves are. Something that these people should reflect on, but they don’t see it, because in their eyes, they are right. Perspective.

However difficult it may seem, we all should learn to see things from different perspectives. How often do we hear that one opinion leads to disagreement and sometimes even causes unnecessary fights between two groups. Only because they see things differently. Let’s try to understand each other and understand the situation before we judge. Or even better yet; try not to judge. If we all start with ourselves, this world may eventually become an even more beautiful place.

The Walk

Old age

“Old age: the crown of life, our play’s last act.”
~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

I had a lovely vacation this summer. I went to Slovenia and Croatia. I’ve visited some beautiful places and saw some impressive sceneries. When on the last day I sat on a bench in a nice park in Zagreb, thinking how grateful I am to have the chance to make this journey, I saw two women walking by. One pushing a wheelchair and one leaning on a cane. I guess the wheelchair is meant for the lady with the cane. My educated guess is that they’re in their late 70s maybe even early 80s. I couldn’t help but to follow them with my eyes.

The women walked slowly. My impression was that the lady with the cane couldn’t walk too fast and gets tired easily. They set a few steps and then they will stop to rest for a minute or two. The lady pushing the wheelchair awaits patiently for the lady with the cane to take lead and carry on. I couldn’t make out their relationship. They might be sisters or just good friends. Best friends even, I guess. They’ve definitely known each other for a long time. It’s like they are willing to stand by each other no matter what.

When I look at them, I couldn’t help but to think how their life must have been. Are they married, do they have kids, what have they endured? Are they happy? Do they have regrets? What are their biggest achievements. Are they grateful? Do they visit church every now and then or did they gave up hope and belief a long time ago?

All sort of questions crossed my mind. I would’ve loved to have a chat with them. To hear their stories. To get to know the things that they have experienced. To listen to their achievements and share their regrets, if they have any. I always think of people of old age as one big treasure chest, full of inspiration.

When I was sitting there, watching the treasure chests, my mind started to wander off. Slowly, just like the lady with the cane and it stops for a pause, too, at my past. I’ve learned to let that go a long time ago. But sometimes it still hits me. Don’t want to waste too much time in the past, I urged my mind to carry on and it wandered to my future. What will my future look like? That’s the most mysterious question no one can ever answer. My mind started to come back to me and it accompanied me again at watching the old ladies. And then it told me: make sure you don’t have regrets when you’re at that age. Live today and enjoy life! Whether it’s good or bad. Accept the things that cross your road. Be grateful for the things that you have. And keep on learning. Keep inspiring people and be inspired by life. The past gave you a present to build the future. So, live the present!

Life’s a funny thing. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. So, we must get the most out of it today. And if we are lucky to live till the age of the ladies in my photo we have to make sure that every day counts and that we don’t have regrets on the last day of our lives.

The women went on their way. So did I. As our ways separated I turned back a few times to watch them. They became smaller each time I turned around until eventually they’ve disappeared into the distance. This was the best scenery I’ve seen this vacation. I wish them both the best last act of their play.

Enjoying the journey

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
~ Lao Tzu

It’s been more than a month since I’ve attended the London Screenwriter’s Festival. Time really does go by too fast.

I have enjoyed every bit of this wonderful event! Starting from the opening speech till the last drinks with fellow writers at the Globe, a lovely pub. I’ve met a lot of new friends, fellow voyagers on the writer’s journey. I learned a lot from well-known speakers; heroes of every screenwriter. Above all, it provided me exactly what I was looking for: acknowledgment. Fellow writers who treat me as writer too.

A few years back when I finally had the courage to take a step onto the writer’s journey, I was pumped with energy. It felt good! It still feels good. Like I’ve finally found the right path. I started with a blank screen and now I can call myself the writer of a feature screenplay and several short scripts.

But as the journey advances I started to feel lonely too due to the lack of fellow travellers who understand what I’m doing and what I stand for. I have no one in my surroundings with whom I can share my struggles and discuss about writing. It’s like being lost in the ocean holding just a raft. While I was trying to keep my head above water, I started to lose my motivation. Slowly procrastination became a habit.

Fortunately, somewhere in the ocean there is an island called LSF. And I started to swim to it. When I’ve reached it, I found out that it is a very big island. I felt a bit tense stepping onto this island for the first time. But tense faded away immediately when a fellow writer reached out to me. And from that moment on I’m reassured that this is a safe haven for writers!

Everyone is welcome at LSF! Whether you’re a novice writer or a seasoned master of the craft, LSF greets everybody with a warm embrace. Complete strangers would make contact with each other and it doesn’t feel strange, because we all have one thing in common: the passion for writing. It’s like one big family and I am grateful to have found this family.

Although I started this journey many years ago, it is not until now that I finally feel to have leapt one big step forward. With so many fellow travellers around to share my adventures with this trip can only get better and better! And I can safely explore the ocean without feeling lonely again!

You too can be part of this big family! LSF is offering an early bird ticket now. Go to the website HERE and grab this deal!

Voyage to Aurora Borealis

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

~ Marcel Proust

I’ve always like this quote of Proust. It is true. Don’t stuck on the things you’ve already seen and know of. Try to see something new everywhere you go. Even places you’ve been for a thousand times can give you surprises sometime.

Last year I  went to Rovaniemi, Finland to see the Northern Light a.k.a. Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, the weather was too bad and I didn’t see any light! But this year I managed to see the Light in Lofoten, Norway. It’s an unforgettable experience. And I have once again developed some new eyes for the beautiful things in life.