“I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero”

I’m on the one month Netflix trial and I’ve binge watched everything that caught my attention. One of the best things I saw it was the documentary about Lady Gaga called “Five Foot Two”. I can’t call myself a fan of this singer, I only like some of her songs and think she’s a charismatic performer. But I really loved this Netflix documentary and I want to thank Lady Gaga for shining spotlight on chronic pain, hoping that it will raise awareness about this problem. Invisible illness is not invisible to the sufferer and the only thing worse than pain is not being believed by family, friends or even doctors, who think it’s stress, or all in your head or that you’re faking it looking for attention.

Lady Gaga reveals that she’s fighting pain that stems from a broken hip suffered on the 2013 tour. There’s a part of the documentary that shows her on the couch in tears, because her right side of the body is in a spasms and that her face hurts.

She reveals that when she feel the adrenaline from her fans, she can go, even if it doesn’t mean she’s not in pain. She shows the drugs she takes to control pain , the treatments she gets to ease it, the doctors she visits to find a permanent solution and it’s an incredible discovery for those who, like me, are used to see her full of energy, singing and dancing on a stage.

Honestly, chronic pain and invisible illness can be as limiting as any other disability and the fact that others can’t see them, doesn’t make them disappear. They’re fucking real!

So if you have Netflix, I really recommend “Gaga: five foot two” even if you’re not a fan of Lady Gaga. It also shows many her aspects of celebrities’ life as if that sometimes being reach and popular means also being alone, because bringing along a relationship may be hard for the lack of privacy.

Due to her pain, Lady Gaga had to postpone her Johanne tour and I read online a lot of encouraging and supportive messages from other celebrities and from her fans. Good for her: these are things that help, along to the right meds. I loved how she pointed out that she’s lucky because she has the money to get the right and the best cures, unfortunately many of the treatments that help with chronic pain are meant to be paid by the patient.

I wish I had the financial possibility to cure myself, I wish I had more support and not only from my friends and above all I wish I had half of Lady Gaga’s spirit and energy to face chronic pain and what it brings.

If I continue to define myself by what I can’t do any more or by what others do, I will destroy my self.

TRACK OF THE DAY: The Cure- Lady Gaga

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“Focus on what you have rather than what is lacking”

A few days ago it was my birthday. I got a lot of caring messages and lovely wishes from my family, friends and Twitterfriends, but I didn’t get the one I was most eager for.

“He’s busy” I told myself reading his posts.

“It’s not the right day yet there” I illuded myself with time zones.

“He’s still busy” I lied to myself.

Then the day, here and there, ended and my birthday wish expired. I’ve been in a bad mood the whole day: I saw the messages coming, but I was only able to focus on the missing one.

The funny fact is that I perfectly knew that it was wrong and I had a very short list of tricks to use to change my mood, three simple but effective points:

-Focus on what you have, be grateful and make the best with it.

-Try to see the whole picture and enjoy it, instead of noticing missing pieces.

-Remember that focusing on what you don’t or even can’t have, makes you angry and bitter and you don’t any further negativity in your life

The truth is that, like Alice in Wonderland, I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it. So at the end of the day, I bitterly concluded that it’s very hard to keep alive the thought of us in the others since it’s even so hard keeping ourselves alive!

TRACK OF THE DAY: Remember me – Gavin James

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When it rains, look for rainbows;when it’s dark, look for stars”

Many negative things happened. Climate disasters and war threatens, my city affected by a flood that caused nine deaths and an incalculable amount of damages and, of course, personal problems. I’m at one point that even the sudden death of both the heathen and the wash machine, become the stick that broke the back of the camel, where the camel is my depressed self.

Let’s be honest: popular, inspiring quotes, like the one I wrote as a title, are useful until one point. If something bad happens, it’s perfectly fine to acknowledge that it’s a negative thing and to feel sad about it. No shame if you can’t see the bright side every time.

It is also said that attitude is everything and that’s could be true in some ways (I’m witnessing the amazing recover of a friend of mine who defeated tongue cancer and despite a long and complex surgery, she’s back to her normal life). Sometimes a positive attitude, looking for the good in every situation, being a fighter, is not enough, because there are things that are out of our control. I’m learning not to stress over them too much, but it’s very hard.

And here it comes my personal contribution to this topic: if it’s true that it isn’t the load that’s going to break us down, but it’s how we carry that load that is most important, I want to add that it’s even more important WHO helps you to carry that load.

Surround yourself by people who believe what you say, who are able to put themselves in your shoes, who are supportive without being too indulgent, who can give you a shook without being rude. As I said many times, I’m lucky to have it all. My lovely precious friend from the other side of the pond, proposed me a different kind of the gad game: every day I must send him a picture or telling him something that made me happy or just made me smile. Some days it’s hard, but so far I’ve always completed my task even if the tentation to use JD screens is often there. Is it a fault that he plays a bigger part of my happiness?

TRACK OF THE DAY: Shake it out – Florence + The Machine

 

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them” H.D.Thoureau

This post has been inspired by a thought of a friend of mine about children who are not encouraged in pursuing a career in the arts because arts don’t play the bills. She was fond of music, but she preferred following her parent’s advice, so she studied, had a brilliant career and now she works for a corporate that, according to her, pays her bills, but  doesn’t fulfill her heart.

Yes, parents must teach their kids to stay grounded, because not always dreams and hobbies are enough to pay our bills, but they also encourage them to find what passion stir their soul and pursue it. And they also have to pay attention not to project their failed dreams onto their kids, there’s nothing worse than a pushy parent.

On the other hand they shouldn’t force their children to do every sport, take music, lessons, attend art or theatre classes. That’s too much. You don’t know what your kid wants, let them choose, change their minds endless times, but always be there to support them and to help them to react to failure.

For us it’s the same, even if we are adult we don’t have to live our lives according to other people’s expectations or social conformance (“you’re a mum, you can do/act/dress like that” for example). I broke up with a group of good friends because they only saw me tied to my role, they found weird any passion and were supportive only about home/family related stuff.

Don’t be like that, never let your brain idle and learn more about anything you may like. Be passionate about something and don’t be tired to show it off even if “society” doesn’t approve. Life is too short to be anything but happy: we are all special in this world and nobody shouldn’t die with some music still in them.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Dreams – The Cranberries

 

“Travelling tends to magnify all human emotions” Peter Hoeg

 

I know I probably write the same each time I post something about London, that is “this is one of my favourite places”, but I can’t help if every corner of this city is amazing.

Here’s Hampstead Heath part one, I don’t really have part two, since I have no pics from Parliament Hill or Kenwood House or Keats’ House, but I plan to go there as soon as I go back “home”, so stay tuned. Here’s our stroll from Hampstead Heath tube station to The Spaniards pub.

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We headed on the right and panted for a solid quarter of hour on an uphill road called Heath Street, with a little deviation on mount road where I took a pic of a lovely white house that looked like something out of Alice in the Wonderland. My friend will never admit that, but we get lost as we followed Admiral’s Road and ended in a narrow street with a lot of plants and mud. Never trust the locals again! My advice is going straight on from the tube until you get at a roundabout. on the left there’s a park with more ponds and nice walks, on the right there’s Spaniards Road.

We followed the  main road, but you can also venture in the nearby park, where you can have a pretty nice view of the city. I stopped there just for a couple of pic, then I went back to the safe, trustable pavement.

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After a bit (or a lot, it depends on how you’re tired) of walking uphill, you get to a white building, That’s the Spaniards, one of London’s oldest pubs, immortalised by Dickens in “The Pickwick Papers” and it’s said that Keats wrote there his well known “Ode to a Nightingale” I didn’t stop there for lunch because I wasn’t sure they had gluten free options, so I ate a banana to stop my stomach from grumbling while I was waiting for the bus and taking pics of an attractive blue plate. I forgot I was right in front of Harry Styles’ crib, so I apologize once again for being in his security camera recording, eating a banana.

We were too hungry and too tired to walk any more, so we took the 210 bus heading to Finsbury Park and hopped off at Archway to catch the tube again. It’s a pleasant ride since you can see one of the richest London areas and have the chance to see many luxurious houses and cars. The bus goes towards Highgate Village, one of the poshest districts (if you want to have an idea about who lives there, look for “The Highgate mums” on social media and have a laugh) and I recommend you to visit the homonym cemetery, one of England’s greatest treasures since it has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country.

The East Cemetery is where Karl Marx is buried. Visitors may roam freely on this side, but there is an entrance charge, while admission to the West part is by guided tour only. Please notice that George Michael’s grave is in a private part of the cemetery, not accessible to visitors. I didn’t take any pics because I respected the meaning of the place, however, they’re allowed for private use.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

 

“Will you be the one to save me?” Evaride

Before you roll your eyes thinking “Here’s a childish post of a fangirl promoting some untalented boy band” read this until the end.

One of my top 3 favourite bands (Evaride) debuted with a pop-rock song called “Heartless” and I could spend thousands words to explain why it is amazing, but here’s not the the fan asking to support her idols, it’s something more important that affects me in a personal way, since it’s related to my child sponsor experience.

The proceeds of Heartless are going to benefit the community of Nyagihanga (Gatsibo district, East Rwanda). The band itself takes its name from the Rwandan boy Josh (Evaride’s drummer) was sponsoring through Food for the Hungry.  And as you already know, my sponsored child is from Rwanda as well.

So, please, stream it on Spotify or watch the lyric video below; if you like it, let Heartless take you to the stars by downloading it here: https://onerpm.lnk.to/Heartless

It will be a positive thing for your ears and for many children, families and communities as well.

Now you can roll your eyes or stop reading because it starts the “get to know the artist” part. Evaride is more than a band, it’s a group of friends and each one of them, despite his young age, has an undeniable and unique talent and a lot of experience as session musician or vocalist.

Sean Michael Murray

Sean has everything an artist needs: a killer voice, stage presence and contagious smile, moreover his skills transcend amongst different media. He began his journey in LA, then he moved to New York where he made his Broadway debut in Green Day’s Grammy Award-winning show, “American Idiot.”. From there, Sean joined the cast of the revival production of “RENT.”

Despite being on stage daily he wanted more, so he became the lead singer of a New York-based band called Fancy Reagan.  They won multiple battle of the band competitions and went on to win VH1’s reality show, Make A Band Famous, that allowed to them to record a song with Universal’s Republic Records. Their debut single “Knock Me Out” was the theme song for the NCAA 2015 March Madness.

As a solo artist, he collaborated with Bobby Green. They co-wrote the single “Changing Me” that got over 3 million plays on Spotify. Before joining Evaride, he was part of the NY based pop rock duo Static Stereo.

Hayden Maringer

When you get to know Hayden, the first question is: “Is there anything he can’t do?”. His professional resume is impressive:

As a guitarist he performed on the biggest tours, TV broadcasts and stages in the world with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato, Miranda Cosgrove and many others. He’sa film/tv  composer for Universal, BBC, and Ford to name a few.

He’s also a producer and a music director, that’s why he is skilled in every aspect of show productions. Moreover he owns the Maringer Music Management.

And last but not least, he’s an actor: you can see him in “My crazy Ex Girlfriend”” and as a guitarist on the Fox hit TV show “Glee”

I can assure you he is a first class guitarist, he can even make his guitar sound like a motorbike!

Josh Devine

Last member is the drummer Josh and it’s quite awkward for me to present him in a professional way because to me he’s simply JD, my lifesaver, my light in the dark.

Anyway, according to the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, he’s the first son of the gifted singer of Seven, Mick Devine. He started drumming when he was three, but can also plays bass, guitar, piano and he can even sing.

He won the 2007 Uk drummer competition when he was only 15 and the following year, he won the Mapex Drummer of tomorrow competition. His will to work hard, incredible talent and some jaw dropping clinics, assured him to take part to studios sessions, shows and numerous tours with For all my Valentines, Charlee Drew and Fandangle.

In 2011 he begun working and touring with the UK rapper Skepta and later on that year he joined the back band who played for One Direction for whom he played the drums until they went on hiatus in 2015.

Meanwhile he wrote a song for Josh Golden and then for Kingsland Road together with the songwriter, producer and friend, Ollie Green. They thought that their voices in the demo didn’t sound bad, so they decided to release a few songs and see what would happen. They released the EP “Through the Fire” and the single “Never fade”.

At the moment he’s in Evaride, ready to start a new adventure and of course I’m still here, supporting him (-After all these years? -Always! cit,)

TRACK OF THE DAY: Heartless – Evaride

 

 

 

 

“Anorexia isn’t about being fat, it’s about having fat” Caroline Kettlewell

Yesterday I saw “To the Bone” and it triggered so many thoughts, that in this post, I have to separate the review of the film from my personal life.

The film is about Ellen, a 20 years old girl who suffers anorexia and after failing several recovery programs, is forced to join the unconventional Dr Beckham’s inpatient program. She moves into the house where there are already five other female patients, each one with her story and secrets and Luke, a dancer who’s recovering both from a knee injury and anorexia. Ellen hardly manages to stick to the program and when some events destabilize her, she runs away. I don’t want to reveal anything more (I hate when I find huge spoilers in the plot resume), but I liked the ending.

Both the director Marti Noxon and the main actress Lily Collins have experienced anorexia (Collins has even written about her own experience with disordered eating in her novel “Unfliltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me” and that’s a good  feather in the cap. The film has been criticized because according to people, it glamourises eating disorders, but I didn’t have this impression, I found it honest. The character of Megan (a pregnant woman trying to gain weight for her child) was very effective: it shows that neither the love for an unborn child can save you from anorexia. No matter how much you’re loved, successful, talented you are: nothing is strong enough against eating disorders when they have deep roots in you; I’m not talking about the girl who doesn’t eat because she wants to me skinny, she can be saved, an eating disorder is more than this, it’s trying to kill yourself in an indirect way.

The film has been accused to show in details the tricks to avoid eating; I think that’s ridiculous. If you’re determined not to eat you don’t need a fictional story to tell you how to: there’s a lot of pro-ana websites and dedicated chats where girls shows their bones and support each other on this road to Hell, exchanging suggestion and products as laxatives. Looking up to my personal experience I didn’t need any person or film or anything else, I knew what to do. I drank vinegar to defeat hunger, I cut food in very small pieces and spread it all over the plate, I faked cleaning my mouth to spit food in the napkin. And I starved myself a lot.

If I have to find a negative thing about “To the Bone”, well, I didn’t appreciate that the viewer gets hugely distracted by a romantic sub-plot, I’d rather preferred to know better the personal history of Ellen’s inmates.

I’m not proud of my past and even if I seem over anorexia because I regularly eat, I still have that kind of mindset: I fat shame myself, I’m terrified of weight gain and I still suffer of body dysmorphic disorder. That is I perceive myself fat even if people see me skinny. Of course this is another battle I have to fight alone: my family trivializes it as if it was easy to resolve this distortion by simply “getting over it”.

Anorexia fucked up my stomach, my teeth and my heart (because when your body doesn’t have no more fat to burn, it attacks muscles and, as you know, heart is a muscle) and I wish I knew that what I was doing would have affected future me.

I’m still struggling with this problem, so I have no valid suggestion, the only thing that works for me is thinking “what if a person I love has this problem” or “may my mindset influence someone I care for?”. You probably don’t want your daughters or sisters grow up thinking that they’re physically inadequate, so do for them, try to love yourself or at least try not to body shame in front of them. Maybe this could be the right way, maybe.

TRACKF THE DAY: Ana’s Song- Silverchair