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On Moving (On)

On Moving (On)

If you're too comfortable for too long, the universe will figure out a way to...shake it up. You know, just casually - shake it up. Change it up a bit. Flirt with the unexpected. Flash a nip at the mundane. Throw you off a cliff, and such.

One day, you will be happily sitting and considering your looming thesis work, eating carrots for dinner, drafting menus at a part-time college job, priding yourself on being so together, and the next day you will be  

1. An early summa cum laude college graduate with two majors and a minor.

2. A woman in America at a very difficult time. 

3. A New Yorker living part-time in Prague. 

4. An owner of your own...company. 

 Window view from my three-year home in college. 

Window view from my three-year home in college. 

College for me was far from red-cup-frat-house-body-shot montages. When I realized I was alone, without my parents, completely free - and I decided to push myself and learn as much as I could. If my parents were going to pay whatever they needed to pay per semester (thank *insert whatever god you like here* for financial aid), I was going to be as eager as a Missouri tourist on a trip to Paris. I was going to take a bite of each croissant if you will. I took the maximum number of classes, did all the majors and minors I could do, and I did it all with the best grades and graduated early. Also, I held down two great jobs, got a lot of work experience, way above anyone at my age, and narrowed down my career goals. Sounds like I'm bragging, right? I absolutely am.

After the first semester of college, I had my schedule perfectly figured out for the rest of it. I was so on point. I ate super healthy, slept well, meditated every day, never missed a deadline, worked out every day, never went out and got shitfaced, had an amazing relationship with my boyfriend, had the most wonderful best friends, and the healthiest relationship with my parents. I was perfect. 

Then, in December 2016, I finished my thesis (on sexuality vs sexualization of adolescent girls in 18th, 19th, and 20th century literature), packed all of my stuff into boxes and black garbage bags and amidst the worst lake-effect storm of the winter, my dad and I drove home. Well, a new home.

Just that June, my mom quit the job she was at for almost 10 years and was trying to figure out how to stay at home and be a person. 

In August, my dad closed the business he had for more than 10 years and started working one job for the first time since he came to America. 

That September, my parents moved from the Brooklyn apartment I grew up in, to a new darling house in the Bronx.

Exactly two days after they moved, my cousin, who I grew up with and is essentially a sister to me,  got married.

In November, my roommates and I finished off a whole bottle of tequila as we watched the election results.

In December I finished college. 

And less than a month after graduation, I moved to Prague.

Change isn't a gentle flurry of snow. Change is standing alongside the path of a snowplow on an apocalyptic snow day. 

 Window view in my new room at home. 

Window view in my new room at home. 

Finishing college meant the end to a perfectly structured minute-by-minute schedule. It's been half a year and I still can't figure out how to replicate the same discipline I had then. I keep promising myself I will wake up at 8, and instead, I wake up at 10, and get out of bed at 11. I keep motivating myself to read more, or paint more, or whatever, but I get bogged down in running The Opal Club, answering hundreds of emails, reading your submissions, trying to figure out a game plan...which I enjoy immensely, but finishing all the work at 3AM is getting depressing.

Right after I moved to Prague, the weather here was approximately -4 F for the first month, I was cold (I can't be in the cold, I become this fat sluggish thing and cry lots), I was trying to get used to living with my boyfriend, to the new country, the new language, new family. I slept 13 hours a day and had a hard time doing anything, even finding the strength to go to my studio upstairs and draw something. Only later, I realized that I was seriously depressed to the point where at the end of my stay, I got so sick I couldn't walk to pee in the bathroom by myself and battled a 104 F consistent fever for 4 days. I couldn't understand why I felt so lost - my boyfriend was running his successful business on his own time, and I was essentially exploring all Netflix had to offer in the Czech Republic. 

 My desk view in our apartment in Prague.

My desk view in our apartment in Prague.

But I needed it. Don't we all, ultimately realize that we need change? That change propels you forward, whether you like it or not, because maybe you've been standing too still and you're not where you need to be, and you need to be there soon? If you resist change, or simply don't have the chance to change yourself or your life, life will get tired of your shit and drop you in the water until you learn to swim, and maybe get some great arms out of it. It was a colossal end of a chapter for me, 2016, and I think it was for so many of us. We're fumbling, blindly, in 2017, but we are maybe finding out how to stand.

If Trump hadn't become president (whatever your opinion on him might be), so many people wouldn't have started to learn so much about politics, get involved, try to do good and help people.

If Hillary became president, perhaps the motivation for green energy and climate change both from huge companies and regular people wouldn't be so strong (because perhaps we would trust the government is "taking steps". 

If I seamlessly transitioned into a comfortable job in New York, I wouldn't have had the utter shock of having to spend so much time alone in my own company and not being distracted by a constant flurry of tasks.

If I hadn't decided to start my own company, I wouldn't have had the chance to meet so many astounding women, challenge myself in what I can do and how far I can push myself, and see that with an open heart and good intentions, you can start to make a difference and open a conversation.

If I hadn't moved to Prague, I wouldn't have learned that being a relationship means loving yourself first and spending a considerable time apart.

 This week, in Prague. 

This week, in Prague. 

If my mom hadn't quit her job and my parents hadn't moved, they wouldn't be happily working 30 seconds from their homes and my mom would still waste hours on her commute. And I wouldn't have the best view ever. 

If my cousin hadn't taken such a grand step into adulthood, she wouldn't be closing on her new very own house in a week. 

If Robert (my boyfriend) and I hadn't had to live in two different cities on two different continents, we wouldn't have gotten closer with each other's families and learned so much about our relationship and where we are headed. 

So - change. Incredibly scary, intimidating, brutal push into the unknown. But without change, we wouldn't have the opportunity to explore new territories of the world and the crevices of our own bewildering selves. I would like to say I am unafraid, but I am still petrified. But if I never get too scared, there's always Nutella and crying over the Sex and the City movie. 

Signing off, 

Daphna 

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On Who To Blame? Overcoming Sexual Assault

On Who To Blame? Overcoming Sexual Assault

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