Tag Archives: bulgaria

A Bulgarian “Guyland”

This is an academic research paper written for my class “Sociology of Gender” at Middlebury College. If you have any feedback, please, use the comments section under the article! Happy reading! M.


From a sociological perspective masculinity is everything but “innate” and “ahistorical”. The definition of “manhood” is socially constructed by culture. In the words of sociologist Michael Kimmel, masculinity is “a constantly changing collection of meanings that we construct through our relationships with ourselves, with each other, and with the world” (Kimmel, 2000, p. 58). “Hegemonic masculinity” characterizes normative masculinity in opposition to sexual and racial minorities and particularly- women (Kimmel, 2000, p. 58). Its construction and enactment are grounded in the patriarchal social order and its resulting mechanisms, ideology and self-perpetuating tools. The acquisition of power, seen as a natural consequence of being perceived as “properly male”, together with the fear of being judged as “insufficiently masculine” and suffering stigma and ridicule, at best, and physical violence and life threat, at worst, prompt male-identifying individuals to constantly seek homosocial approval, attempt to behave in alignment with hegemonic masculinity and continuously reject and differentiate themselves from femininity.

In “Guyland: The Perilous world where boys become men” Michael Kimmel outlines his theory for “guyland” as a stage of life in between childhood and adulthood when “the struggle to prove manhood becomes even more intense, in part because it’s no longer as easy to differentiate between men and women as it was in the past” (Kimmel, 2008, p. 42). Inspired by Kimmel’s book and detailed (even if exaggerated and border-line extreme) depiction of college-aged American males’ problematic relationships with masculinity, I decided to conduct a survey to collect and analyze data about young men’s perceptions of masculinity in my home-country, Bulgaria.


To that end, I created an online survey consisting of demographic measures (for age, location, sexual orientation and level of education), six open-ended questions aiming to cast light on one’s self-identified concepts of masculinity (What does it mean to be a “man’’, according to you? What contributes to your identification as a male? What are 3-5 adjectives that characterize a “real” man?), as well as questions exploring the relationship between masculinity and otherness (What differentiates men and women? Does sexual orientation contribute to being perceived as a “man”?), and a question requesting respondents to identify times when their masculinity has been questioned or challenged (When does your “masculinity” get questioned: in what context? How do you react? Do you need to prove yourself as a man?). Finally, there was a space for comments and feedback.

The survey was disseminated through social media (Facebook) to my social network, as well as through the help of friends and through posting on numerous groups (student groups, interest groups (such as groups for bloggers and entrepreneurs). A friend who is involved with the biggest LGBT organization in Bulgaria posted the link to the survey on their Facebook page which perhaps resulted in the high participation of non-heterosexual individuals.


The survey received a total of 48 individual responses. The target group for my study was young Bulgarian male-identifying individuals, aged 18-25. The median age of participants was 22 (see fig. 1 for age representation). Most study participants came from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria (35 respondents), the rest indicated that they lived in other major cities (a total of 8), with some living abroad (a total of 5).  My sample consisted of 54.2% heterosexuals, 29.2% homosexuals and a total of 16.6% identifying as “Other” (I had initially forgotten to include a separate category for “bisexual”, so it will be more accurate to look at bisexual and other together). In terms of education, 45.8% hold undergraduate degree, 31.3% have only Secondary education (High School), 10.4% hold Master degree and 12.5% indicated “Other”.  I coded the collected data paying attention to common themes and word usage and repetition.

Fig. 1 Age (Color codes represent ages between 18-25)


Fig. 2 Sexual Orientation (Color codes: Blue- homosexual, Red- heterosexual, Yellow- bisexual (this category was created later, so it doesn’t include all individuals identifying as bisexual), Green- other)

Sexual Orientation

Fig. 3 Education (Color Codes: Blue- undergraduate/ bachelor degree, red- master’s degree, yellow- Secondary education (High School), green- other)



A portrait of a Real Man

When requested to write down 3-5 adjectives that characterize a “real” man, the survey participants listed over 75 “male” features which nevertheless could be grouped in several categories, including characteristics of strength and ability; rationality; adherence to principles; stability; respect; care and warmth.

Foremost, perhaps unsurprisingly, a mandatory characteristic for a man is to be “strong”. Yet not just physically strong, as one participant highlighted and several others echoed. In fact, male strength is described in multiple ways: for one, “strength is being able to deal with your problems without violence”, whereby using violence is a weakness, an attempt to prove your masculinity (which in reality you’re lacking)”, for others, strength is associated with diligence and resilience at work (“men should be able to endure more work and pressure, but these days women have become more “masculine” in that sense and men- the opposite”, a survey participant wrote). A man has to be strong physically and “psychologically”: this psychological vigor includes the category of security which also appears by itself (“(To be a man is) to be the pillar of the family, to always have a solution to the emotional problems of the gentle sex…”), as well as motivation and ambition for achievement (“Men act, while women think”), whereby independence is critical to marking the real man (“to be motivated to achieve your goals, without counting on anybody”).  As evident some of the statements made explicit gender distinctions between men and women, while others did not include a specified comparison subject. Perhaps the unnamed comparison subjects are boys- the younger males who have the potential to become “real” men, but have not yet proven themselves as such.

“Real” men are honest and direct. A man is one who “keeps his word” and is therefore “reliable” (eight men specifically or solely mentioned their “word” as the most significant factor to their identification as men). Similarly, a man has to be secure and stable, to be responsible, especially in the context of family life. To that end, a number of men highlighted that “a penis does not make you a man”. Evidently, “being a man” is a form of achievement of itself, one that not even all biological men can fulfill.

Interestingly, a number of traditionally-termed as “feminine” characteristics make their way into the list, thereby creating a complex image of the Bulgarian male, as one who needs to both be evidently masculine, therefore, cultivating in himself and acting out of strength, security, responsibility, hard work and initiative, yet in the same time be gentle, empathetic, emotionally mature, caring and supportive of others (especially, beloved women, children, relatives: “(To be a man) is to follow the object of your passion- whether a man or a woman- but specifically with women: to want to create a family and to then take care of it” and “A real man has to be gentle, kind and patient with his other half, to have real feelings for her…”).

Indeed, commitment to family and love partner seems to be crucial to participants’ understanding of what it means to be a man: how one treats women and children is seen as a definite marker of whether or not he deserves the title “A Man” (“For me, the man has to be next to the people he loves until the end, no matter of what, to be ready to do anything for them” and “a man should not hurt women, not make them or their children suffer, he has to be caring and loving as he would like others to be towards him when time comes”).

Fig. 4 Most frequently repeated words in response to prompt to list 3-5 characteristics of a “real” man

Word Frequency of appearance in sample’s responses
Strong 13
Honest 12
Stable, calm, secure 11
Responsible 9
Reliable, principled 7
Caring, altruistic, 7
Diligent, hardworking 6
Understanding, empathetic 5
Fair 4
Sensitive, emotionally mature 3


Masculinity as Homophobia

My question “Does sexual orientation impact whether a man is perceived as such? Why/ Why not?” posed some difficulties in coding because at times it was difficult to tell whether respondents were ironic or not, and whether they voiced their own thoughts on the subject or outlined their perception of societal attitudes against gay men.

The majority of respondents agreed that on a societal level sexual orientation is directly linked to how a man is perceived, whereby a man who is gay is directly assumed to be less of a man. While some brought up family to account for why a gay man is not “sufficiently masculine” (“Amongst the main priorities of a man is to create family and have offspring” and “being homosexual, the individual rejects all religious and familial values; the man needs to be the basis of the family”), other claimed that for a man to be gay is “against nature” and so they are not worthy of being called “men”. While some acknowledged the social biases against gay men, noting that “(In society) homosexuality is accepted as lack of ‘masculinity” and “the characteristic to like men is immediately accredited to women”, others expressed various opinions regarding gay males’ masculinity according to their gender performance (“sexual orientation impacts whether a man is seen as such, because homosexuality often is characterized by lady-like manners and thinking”). Arguably, some claimed that they don’t perceive gay men as less “manly” because “to be a man is pure biology”, as one participant put it. Yet, another noted the existence of a prejudice that “a man who doesn’t have an active sexual life is not a man”- a requirement that affects all men regardless of sexual orientation.

Challenged Masculinity

Asked whether their masculinity has been questioned or challenged, a majority of the respondents answered with “No” or gave an abstract answer.

A couple of recounted experiences include: being caught in a sexual act with a man (“(My masculinity was questioned) when I was caught giving a blowjob at a party, I was ridiculed and considered suicide”), having homosexual friends or defending homosexuality (“My own mother questioned my sexuality when I shared that I have many homosexual friends at my college in the US and rejected the idea that their homosexuality is a psychological condition… She started wondering if I’m not defending them just because I’m homosexual, too”).

In order to be perceived as a man, one needs to assert gender-appropriate interests:

“There have been times when I’ve felt uncomfortable having to talk solely about women and cars and the related (topics) which are typical for men and that all representatives of the “strong sex” are experts in. In such situations you are just forced to repeat the words of some evident “macho” in the group, so that you don’t look too weird and unmanly”

and act as a “man” in all expected ways:

“People are slaves to their stereotypes about what a man should be like, what he should do, how he should behave, etc. Something I get across often is that being a vegetarian when I’m around strangers, I am always met with the question: “How can you not eat meet, what kind of a man are you? Even my mother has told me: “You are a man, you have to eat meat”, paradoxically, she has been vegetarian for forty years😀 I try to explain that it has nothing to do with masculinity (…) not eating meat does not make me less of a man then someone who eats 5kg of meat a day😀, but I usually find lack of understanding (…)”.

Still, coming out as gay is perhaps the biggest challenge to being seen as a man (“Since I came out to a close friend of mine, her comments (about how much of a man I am) haven’t stopped with and without reason. Interestingly, she stops when we’re with someone who doesn’t know my sexual orientation, as far as I can tell it’s a defense”).  Indeed, the homosexual participants in the survey varied in their approaches and understanding of how “masculinity” interacts with their sexual orientation.

One said that his masculinity is challenged “all the time because I don’t fit the characteristics of a ‘macho’ (I have a small and thin body), I have a different sexuality and I’m not afraid to do things typical for women like dying my hair or painting my nails, sitting with crossed legs and liking things associated with gentleness.” He continued: “I frequently receive comments like ‘What kind of a man are you?’ but I don’t feel the need to prove myself to anybody… I don’t feel it’s offensive to be associated with women and women qualities, so I don’t feel bad if it happens”. Another explained that being gay “liberated” him from having to defend his masculinity: “I haven’t had to (defend my maleness), I’m always saved by the fact I’m gay”. Yet another explicitly stated that despite being homosexual, he is not “feminine”, therefore he doesn’t have to prove himself as a man.

Discussion of findings and limitations

In “Guyland: The Perilous world where boys become men” Michael Kimmel outlines a profile of the American male in his twenties as “emotionally numb” (Kimmel, 2004, p.53) “white, middle-class, college-bound, in college, or recently graduated” (Kimmel, 2004, p. 8) young men, having a “diminished capacity for empathy” (Kimmel, 2004, p. 59). While perhaps this description overstates the impact of hegemonic masculinity over individuals and more closely represents characteristics of groups of young men in all-male environments (sport clubs, fraternities, etc.), I found that it is also strongly influenced by culture.

While the data from my study did yield a tendency to construct masculinity as a “repudiation of the feminine” (Kimmel, 2004, p. 45) and assertion of heterosexuality and reliability, it also defined masculinity in relationship to community, family and love. Aggression did not seem to partake an important role in the construction of maleness.

Before I continue with the analyses (and speculation about) my findings, I must acknowledge the limitations of my study and present a rationale for the limited generability of my data. Certainly, my sample does not represent all young Bulgarian men, since the study participants were predominantly educated males from urban settings. Perhaps youth from rural Bulgaria who have been exposed to less diversity and educational opportunities and who live in areas where patriarchal values are stronger would have more extreme positions than the ones presented here. Yet, I am confident that introducing the thoughts and experiences of my survey participants can be useful to identifying tendencies in constructing and understanding masculinity in Bulgaria.

To that end, making sense of the presented data cannot be achieved without a look at the sociocultural context of Bulgaria. An empiric sociological study on organizational culture in Bulgaria based on the methodology of Geert Hofstede (Davidkov, 2004) contended that the Bulgarian society ranks among the countries with low level of individualism (Davidkov, 2004, p. 14), whereby Bulgaria ranks 21st, France 10th/11th, UK- 3rd and USA- 1st (Davidkov, 2004, p. 13). Within this theoretical frame, a collectivist society is one where “relationships prevail over tasks”, “identity is based in the social network to which one belongs to”, and “people are born into extended families or other in-groups which continue to protect them in exchange for loyalty” (Davidkov, 2004, p. 14). Furthermore, the Hofstede model provides an empirical formula for the calculation of a country’s “masculinity” (through identification of “masculinity index”).

A country is “masculine”, if its dominant values are success and progress, whereby  conflicts are fought out and people “work to live”. Women’s and men’s roles are, thereby, clearly defined: men are tough and ambitious, while women are tender and focused on relationship-building and maintenance (Davidkov, 2004, 18). According to these and other criteria, “the definitions of masculine and feminine define us as a nation having rather feminine behavior” (Davidkov, 2004, p. 18). In a “feminine” nation the normative values are caring for others and preservation: people and quality of relationships are seen as more important than money and success and both men and women are allowed to be tender, and both mothers and fathers deal with facts and feeling (while in “masculine” nations mothers attend to feelings and fathers- to facts). In this context, one works to live and resolves conflicts by negotiation and compromise (Davidkov, 2004, p. 18).

Within this sociocultural context, the attitudes towards masculinity found in my survey fit rather well the societal norms of a collectivist, “feminine” society which prioritizes interpersonal relationships and interdependency over an individualistic, materialist and achievement-oriented agenda.  Despite moving towards more capitalist, “Western” modes of production, trade and lifestyle, Bulgarians (and highly educated Bulgarians, at that) are still deeply affected by traditional and modernized values, highlighting the importance of community and mutual care. Despite exposure to American (and more broadly- Western) television and music and changes in dating and marriage patterns, the Bulgarian young male still constructs his identity as a man in relation to his upcoming roles of a romantic partner, father and responsible member of society. His less pronounced emphasis on professional and educational growth does not exclude such orientation, yet clearly demonstrates an operating hierarchy, whereby work does not score first.



  • Kimmel, M. S. (2000). “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame, and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity”, 213-219. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice: An Anthology on Racism, Antisemitism, Sexism, Heterosexism, Ableism, and Classism. New York, NY: Routldege.
  • Kimmel, M. S. (2008). Guyland: The perilous world where boys become men. New York: Harper.
  • Davidkov, T. (2004). Where do we stand? Papeles Del Este, 8, 1-22. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from https://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/PAPE/article/download/PAPE0404120001A/25824.


No “Occupied Palestinian Territories”

Маги Назер и приятели на празненството по случай отбелязването на международния ден на Йерусалим

Маги Назер и приятели на празненството по случай отбелязването на международния ден на Йерусалим

Today I attended the Celebration of the International Day of Jerusalem in Sofia which featured talks by the Palestinian and Iranian Embassadors in Bulgaria and other high profile individuals related to the politics of the Middle East. The talks all revolved aroun the current situation in Gaza and on the West Bank, so at the end I asked to adress the public and was actually given the floor without being on the schedule or even knowing the organizers in advance.
I shortly shared my impressions as an intern who has returned from Palestine just 3 days ago and I emphasised on how engaged the Palestinian youth is and how much perseverance despite all I’ve seen in the Palestinian people.
During the event we were also told that today the Bulgarian parliament (?) has accepted a change in the official protocal and will no more use the terms “Occupied Teritorries” in any of the country’s official corespondence. This is a little act of support, but it’s well meant, so it’s appreciated.
So, dear fellow Bulgarians, please, never use the term “Occupied Palestinian Territories”. It’s Palestine. : )

Sofia today

Sofia in its Majesty Photo credit: Strahil Vasilev

Sofia in its Majesty Photo credit: Strahil Vasilev

(First day back home after 2 months in Palestine)

I don’t know if it’s because I was in the Middle East for the past two months, so my perception is distorted, but I saw disproportionally many people hugging and kissing or both in Sofia today.

Needless to say, I’m very hopefull about the future of my Country Bulgaria : )

Spread this LOVE. please : ) The world needs it. We all do.

Sofia Photo Credit: Strahil Vasilev

My 21st Birthday in Palestine

In second grade I invited my classmates and friends from school to celebrate my birthday. My mom and I cooked all day and prepared a one-of-a-kind home-made Barbie-like cake with a real doll inside. It was perfect.

When nobody came I stayed at our apartment’s balcony hoping that people are just late, crying. The only kid who showed up was a girl I used to go to kindergarden with whom I had randomly met and invited the previous day. This girl, Lina Stankova, soon became my best friend and has been a best friend in the true meaning of the word ever since.

As I grew up I stopped being excited for birthdays. I think it was just less painful than expecting much and getting dissapointed, especially on the day the world tells you should be your one “special day”.

Of course, I have had great birthdays afterwards that I have shared with amazing friends.

This year, for the second time, I celebrated my birthday out of my homeland Bulgaria. And this time for the first time in a very long while I allowed myself to really be excited!

May be it’s the culture, or simply the people here, but I have felt so much loved and supported here that I have indeed grown to love this place as my second home which, by the way, it is supposed to be (my father is Palestinian). I’m also happy to say that I have found a place which I not only want to visit again, but to stay at (for a while) and work at.

on 8th of July, my birthday, I was nourished in the love of my students, my colleagues, my cousins, my friends and other beautiful people that I may not have yet had the chance to connect deeply. They all gathered and planned my celebration, gave me beautiful gifts, but most importantly granted me with their attention, their acknowledgement and unconditional positive regard.

I was so delighted to hear my cousin Dana Nazer say she saw the boys from my English classes walking around the Hebron Mall going inside all the women shops to search for a present for me!

Thank you all who were present with me yesterday and who thought of me from across continents! I am deeply touched and so HAPPY!

Happy birthday, Maggie Nazer!

Gender in Bulgaria (summary)

Gender in Bulgaria at a glance- World Bank Report

Gender Pay GapI stumbled upon this super concise document produced by the World Bank in Bulgaria which takes a look at gender and the distribution of employment and education between the genders.

I’m not at all surprised with the findings that, indeed, there is gender balance in Bulgaria and while we have not yet had a woman President, women are somewhat well represented in Parliament (holding 25% of seats and making up for 19% of Ministers as of 2013).

Again, not surprisingly man and women’s occupation are distributed in a rather traditional manner, women holding above 50% of positions in Education and Health and men dominating the labor fields of engineering, manufacturing and construction.

This fact itself calls for further action in terms of diversifying the gender make up of these fields in order to cope with stereotypes coming from traditional thinking that create false beliefs and disallow young men and women to pursue any career interest.

It’s worth mentioning that the wage gap in Bulgaria (the difference between the salaries received by men and women) is lower than the average for the European Union member states and equals only 13%.

belgiq-integrira-romi-imigrantiThe document presents an interesting statistical comparison between Roma and non-Roma population in Bulgaria and points out at the perceivable gender imbalance  between men and women from the first group. Presumably due to culture differences in marriage, childbirth and other customs, in addition to societal expectations and/or discrimination Roma women are drastically less employed (26%) than non-Roma women (56%). Moreover, it is safe to assume that the occupations Roma women hold differ significantly in terms of specialization, quality of working conditions and wages provided.

The chart on the Roma population points at the significantly lower number of years of school attendance for Roma children and youth (7.1 for Roma men, 6.2 for Roma women, compared with 11.1/11.3 for the Non-Roma population). Interestingly, research on the attitudes of this group shows stronger patriarchal and heteronormative attitudes in the Roma community where 52% of men and 38% of women approve of instances of domestic violence towards women.

non-heteronormative martenitsi by Maria Vassileva FlicrThis document while useful with its conciseness leaves out underrepresented groups which don’t identify with their assigned gender (transgender) or have a different understanding on gender (whether genderqueer, genderfluid, etc.) and takes a look at Bulgarian society from the persistent and pervasive heteronormative perspective which creates gender outcasts and disallows the socially inclusive study of society that could really foster dialogue about gender.

It is important as we read and review documents on topics as gender which, indeed, have the potential to acquire mass public interest to introduce the modern language and concepts associated with the topic. Such un-intrusive informal education calls for respect and acknowledgement of the differences between people and creates opportunities for both individuals and society as a whole to self-actualize.


Please, share your thoughts by using the comment form below :) Thanks for reading!

My Freshman Hell

As I walked, biked and pushed myself over my limits for about 350 kilometres from Leon to Santiago de Compostella as I did Camino de Santiago, I learned what God truly meant to me.

I had always known that God was part of me and I was part of God. Pushing over the Spanish hills and mountains, sick, sweaty, challenged beyond my strength, I learned that God was at all time present in my life- I learned to see God in the eyes and faces of my fellow piligrims who offered me their water bottles, their words of motivation, their food or money. God for me, you know, is Love.

In 4 days I hitchhiked alone from Spain to Bulgaria.  I was alone and profoundly vulnerable, yet I felt no fear. I had unshakable trust in human beings. I knew my Love was my strength, my “weapon”; my tool for change, for advocacy, for exchange. And I was in a process of constant exchange of love, ideas, warmth and kindness which I knew transformed not only me.

There were some rear occasions when people tried to take advantage of my energy in ways I could not appreciate, yet I learned to accept and view them as simply instances of deprivation of what is so important for us, human beings- love and human connection. Nothing could hurt me. I was powerful in my vulnerability.


I came to college trusting that I had nothing to hide, trusting in the community I was being introduced to as I trusted the strangers I met on the highways across Europe, who often went out of their way to help me be safe, hitchiking.

I came to college in the United States of America to learn that women are, indeed, marginalized.

I learned that as a female writer tackling sexuality and polyamory I was inherently making myself a subject of discrimination and sexualization.

What’s worst I found out that people think it’s fair. If I can choose not to write about sexuality, yet I pick the alternative, than I must be searching for it…

There was this point in my second semester… I had even stopped writing my “Love and sexuality” column, which I otherwise saw as an opportunity to share my views and contribute for the diversity of alternatives, of ideas, of philosophies, and even educate, in a way.

My guy friends. My girlfriends. My gay friends. They just all wanted to explore their boundaries. With me. It was sickening.

The idea that people reduced me to just one array of my knowledge and experience was sickening.

It was sickening  to see how IT WASN’T ABOUT ME.

It was sickening to realize that in this environment I had to watch out for myself.

When instant gratification is the ultimate aim of a certain body of people, everything translates into sex. Kundalini becomes sex. Love distorts into sex. Intimacy, connection, all of that is lost for the sake of sex.

And yes, I am sex positive, but in my mind, in my life and in my writing sex is only one of many paths to human connection.


I learned that no one goes on dates in college and that if you are “lucky” to go out with someone, then the person will simply assume they have the right to your body by the end of the night as a prize for the extra effort to even take you out…

I learned that relationships are conditional. Relationships work as long as it’s fun, as long as you don’t have to work at it.

I remember being at New York, couchsurfing during Feb break, and just realizing how fearful I’ve become of truly expressing myself and expressing what I am and I’m not comfortable with out of pure fear not to lose any more people…

I learned that I’m “too much”.

And that the ideal relationship in college consist of no more than 3 things: partying, watching Netflix together and having sex.

I learned that both romantic partners and friends alike will not acknowledge my existence once the relationship transforms/ends. That it does not matter how much laughter, tears and secrets we’ve given to each other, people can treat you as an absolute stranger without a blink of the eye.

Do people forget THAT FAST?


How do you sleep next to someone night after night and then treat them as shit?

How do you see your “best friend” you have pushed away and not at least tell them you appreciate them and your past even if you need something else at the moment?

How do you forget that there is another human being in front of you and that the Other is not an inanimate object, but a living being with emotions and feelings just like you?

In my freshman year at college I learned that no matter how present I am, I may still be invisible. That I can hold a “friend”‘s hand as she cries and tells me she’s all alone and I may still not exist.

I learned what it feels like to feel used. I genuinely care about people. I try my best to be available for people. I believe in the power of sharing. I believe human connection can heal even very deep wounds. But as I was listening to people and experiencing their pain with them, I found out people stopped asking: “How are you?”.

I told myself it was me. I must be presenting myself as “strong”, as not needing support. I probably just don’t give people an entry to myself, no matter how open and approachable I see myself, it probably just isn’t enough… But when after a terrible night I went to the counselling center feeling worse than I’ve ever felt (with all my past) and shared that with some people I believed I was connected to, there was nothing… NOTHING.

And we just kept on the conversation…


I have learned a lot in and out of the classroom this year, at college, in the United States of America.

And while I receive full financial aid and don’t really pay anything monetarily, my education is already overpriced.

I have lost so much over this year. It’s been a very high price.

I have not stopped trying to stay true to myself and Be love and Give love, no matter if there’s any return.

It’s been SO hurting. So difficult to see how nothing is working.

For me this is crucial. I learn through my relationships with people. I grow and transform through my putting my love into everything that is important to me.

I can not put aside my heart to educate my brain.

And If I waste my time writing this it is because, apart from helping me stay sane, I still hope there are people out there and on this campus who might share a similar vision with me for an education and a world that does not require you to be either happy or successful and that we can stay grounded in our humanity and make the extra effort to connect and build reationships based on honesty and love and consideration for the other.