Now it’s the women that are strong
Mel, 36. Married. A cheese seller from Estonia
How are you?
I used to walk with my head down and never smile then ten years ago I became interested in meditation. Now - I am very happy. When you’re about 15 you really want to be 18, you think you’ll be happy. I got to 18. so, I can buy alcohol now but I wasn’t happy. Then it was ‘hey 21’- I’ll be happy when I get there. But then you realise you have to grow up, there’s a lot of pressure; you have to find a companion, get a good eduction but still. I wasn't really happy. I try not to have too many expectations. Now I’m in my 30s and I’ve become much happier.
What do you like about yourself?
I like me, I never used to. I know about myself now - there was a moment of realisation. There are so many ‘me’s’ inside of me - there was a ‘me’ who analysed everything. I don't do that anymore. I have come to terms with me.
There are still roots inside my mind that I haven’t taken out yet, attachments. For me it’s pride - pride is a big thing. Men have incredible insecurities and so much pride. My God men have so much pride. We have so much insecurity too. I think men used to be strong but now it’s the women that are strong.
How do you feel about marriage?
Marriage is a journey together but if your marriage ends - for what ever reason, you shouldn't judge. Love changes.
I think marriage is important. We had been together for two years when my wife said ‘Why don’t we get married?’ - so we did. Our wedding was amazing. Once you get married something changes; you feel more comfortable. I don’t know how to explain it. I was more committed. When we were first married I thought my life was complete. I stopped meditating. All my problems came back. I started drinking more and we fought over money. My advice would be to give all your money to the women, they look after money so much better than men. I handed all my money over to my wife, she deals with it - it’s a good life lesson.
A few year on and I would say we aren’t as tightly bound but there is incredible trust. When we are together, we are together. When we are apart we are apart. In the beginning there was lots of jealousy. We talk - not a lot, but we do talk. There are some things I need to improve on, for instance when you're in a relationship for too long you forget the gestures like buying flowers. We try to give a lot of space to one another.
What do you think about kids?
I remember when I was young I really wanted this particular games console but my Mum and Dad bought me a completely different one. In that moment I saw how my mind worked. I was such a brat. I had so much guilt. When it was my 21st birthday my Mum and Dad showed up, I was so embarrassed - my mind was incredibly disrespectful, they’d only come to help.
I love kids. Maybe one day we will have them, I’m not sure we will though. I don't have to have them - if we do we do, if we dont we dont. There are plenty of kids in the world.
Where does all your energy go?
I like this question. Whatever you give you get back. I don't think you just get energy form eating food. Energy comes and goes. People think if you don't move your body you’re not gaining energy. I always feel tired and lazy. My energy is sometimes rotten so I don't use it. If I do something for other people it gives me energy. If I use my energy for selfish reasons I am more tired.
What are your dreams, what makes you tick?
I would love to live to be 100 - it’s a great number. I’d love to go to space, to see how insignificant we are. I’d like to get into nature photography too. My dreams change all the time.
I’d like for people to be more understanding of each other. Like in London - people just learn to live with each other - people from all over the world. London is the most diverse city I think. No one cares.
What’s your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience was learning to swim. Back home there’s a tradition; you go to the sauna then swim in the lakes two or three times a week and if you don’t go people are like - ‘what’s wrong with you?’. For me there was always fear, I was a later bloomer. My friend was an incredible swimmer, he helped me get over my fear. Once you learn to swim it’s like learning to fly - you’re free, you’re like a dolphin. I love water, it’s calmimg. Swimming is an incredible experience. I once went out in the ocean for six hours, just playing about underwater. It’s an incredibly intimate place.
Who or what inspires you?
Nature - it must be nature. It’s incredible. It’s idyllic - calming. There’s always different emotions. You realise you’re very small and we play a very tiny part. Nature always wins. From natures point of view, nature just is, humans only judge. There’s an incredible freedom in nature.
What do you think about the weather?
I love weather. England is always gloomy but I like gloomy now. I am a big big fan of the rain.
What do you think about Death?
When I was younger I couldn't sleep. I used to think a lot about death. I had a lot of fear. My only real fear now is what will happen when my Mum and Dad go?
My Uncle passed away two years ago - he drowned. He went fishing and never came back. When I went to the funeral I was fearful and scared about seeing his body. I’ve always had a fear of seeing dead bodies. When I saw it my fear disappeared. The body is only a piece of meat, my uncle was already gone. There was lots of sadness but lots of love too.
What would you like to leave for the next generation?
No one will care in 100 years so what the point in getting your knickers in a twist. Love your neighbours as yourself? I am grateful for the people who have gone before us - gratitude is important. You always have to say thank you. When I get older I’m not going to tell the younger people how to do things. You do have to give wisdom but not by comparing - that’s wrong. The younger generations will live a different life - they will be influenced by so many other things.
How do you best express yourself?
I asked him - ‘If you were a cheese what cheese would you be?’. A goats cheese - there is always a bit of a change. Sometimes it changes 3 - 4 times. Or maybe a Vaccherine - soft & smelly. (laughing)
What have you taken from doing this today?
I think it’s been an amazing experience. If you take all the excess out of the things that you’re saying you can really hear yourself - there’s a truth here. I’ve learnt so much. I feel very empty - a good empty. It’s like a clear out, sorting out the rubbish.