My 2021st

The language I use illustrates the main outcome of the 2021st: spoken English. And our (with Sofia) new book will be in English. Having English as a second language I realize how risky it is, but let me start from the very beginning.

The second job

A year ago, in February, I got a second (part-time) job — writing for social media of one famous fashion TV project. It never affected my first job — actually, I became even more productive on it.

I started looking for a new job for two reasons. First, my main employer fired a lot of qualified people that time, in one crazy month, and I was intimidated by the prospect of being fired as well. The second reason was childish and funny: I needed a new sports watch, new racing shoes and a running vest. In a few weeks at a new job I’ve got all these things, but the outcome of solving my problem reminds me O.Henry’s story, «The Gifts of the Magi»(the woman sold her hair to buy her husband a platinum watch chain, and her husband sold his watch to buy her a set of combs — the perfect match). So, I sacrificed my free time to buy normal running equipment — and as a result, I almost stopped running because now I have neither time nor energy for it. I was thinking about quitting the second job, but it’s not that easy — to lose almost half of the income. When you don’t earn money by sport, it becomes a luxury.

On the other hand, the second job gave me several unexpected advantages (look ‘English’ and ‘Therapy’). For instance, a completely new feeling of employee’s confidence. I found out that previously I considered being fired as a total disaster, as a loss of everything; now it’s a bummer, but it’s a repairable one. I will write about the other unexpected advantages, but now let me finish with whining —

The fear of becoming a former athlete

Actually, it’s almost there. I don’t want to admit it, but when I open the app of my (got for a heavy price) sports watch, I see five — four — seven — three runs a month. It’s sort of nothing, compared to real training for competitions, compared to my training two or three years ago. My participation in Elton Ultra in august was a failure. But this is my maximum right now. I don’t blame myself for this because I know the reasons and make my choice consciously. And I still hope to resume running one day.

The release of the first book

This summer our book with Sofia was released. Previously I had two fears about our book: 1) to be too obvious (it’s like being too late); 2) to appear earlier than necessary, which means being unrelatable. These fears seem to be mutually exclusive, but both of them have come true.

Despite this, I know this project is worthy of attention and it will gain it one day.

English

Buying the Yandex Practicum English course in July became my best impulsive purchase of all time. Trust me, it’s worth a try, especially if you have made several attempts to learn a language and it has never worked out. They have a funny positioning, like ‘English speakers from all over the world, while in fact, in my experience, ‘all over the world’ is presented by Russia (mainly), South Africa and Ghana. It’s absolutely fine; just saying. I wish them to extend their network to all countries, to give their students a sample of all possible English accents. I’ve never used other language platforms, so I can’t compare, but all I can assess here is good: the teaching staff, the platform, positive vibe and practical outcome.

I still make mistakes, but it doesn’t matter: I can speak.

Sylvanian Families

I don’t remember the month I started collecting these adorable toy animals and their stuff. The very first one was a kitten named Zhenya (Sylvanians have their own detailed mythology, with name, surname, personal features and profession for every little animal, but I decided to give the kitten a new name) with a carousel. Leaving Zhenya alone, with a carousel and without a friend, would be cruel, that’s why I bought little rabbit Dunya. But, you know, someone has to look after the kids, and that’s how I bought a couple of otters (Victor Sergeyevitch and Lena, no questions asked) with tiny baby otters. Then there was Zhenya’s sister — red cat girl, Miranda (she had sort of passport, a little book with her story, that’s why I kept her original name), a couple of young rabbits (their paws were specially formed to ‘hold hands’), lonely lion-pianist, one more rabbit toddler, white cat girl, two rabbit girls and one baby hedgehog with his own real estate, the forest hut.

Buying a house for this community seemed to be a point of no return. But actually, it became the point of all this Sylvanian thing: these little creatures are all about loving family and happy sweet home. The three-storey toy house with its residents was standing on my windowsill for several months, giving me something important, which I can barely define.

A week ago I understood that it was time and gave all my Sylvanians to Raisa, my friend’s six-year-old granddaughter. All of them are happy now, as I can see in the photos (while I am trying to comprehend the meaning of the words ‘my friend’s granddaughter’, without any success).

The style

I’m almost 40, I have worked in fashion for the last eight years, but only from the end of 2021st I can say ‘I have personal style’. I had three sources of inspiration (and regulation at the same time): my extremely short haircut, Yanina’s style school and clothes made by precious coauthor, fashion designer Sofia Zharova.

Yanina’s school is a course of six lectures with homework — this is an important part. The whole course is about three months long; breaks between the lectures are necessary for careful study and thinking. Having the vast knowledge of fashion, culture and subcultures, Yanina crystallized the structure of a person’s style: the series of questions and inspiring examples which start your own process of self-cognition. Your answers will become the base for inventing your personal aesthetics. Thanks to Yanina, I made an important discovery: there is nothing spontaneous in this field.

Thanks to Sofia, I have a lot of beautiful and comfortable garments. It was a good fortune — to find something so perfectly fitting my newborn style in the product of my dear friend and coauthor.

In contrast to Yana’s freedom-loving concept and Sofia’s user-friendly fashion clothes, my haircut is strict and uncompromising. It’s fierce in both senses. For instance, it’s impossible for me to wear safari style because I look into the mirror and see Gorky park security guard. Feminine ruffles are also in question: I don’t want to illustrate ‘The Night Porter’ movie. If my makeup is a little too bright, I look like celebrity impersonator Alexander Peskov. And so on. As the character of one good movie said: ‘In fact, you’re gonna work very hard to stay alive, Nick’.

That’s why the only style I can afford now is my new cultivated aesthetics. The haircut keeps me focused, and this is one more reason for me to love it.

Therapy

This summer, right after the book release, I was attacked by a misogynist. He tagged along when I was walking home, in a deserted place. He was insulting and mocking me (at least he was trying) with a lustful smile on his face (earlier he was practising this expression in the mirror, I suppose). I couldn’t get rid of him until I got to the metro station. Fortunately, the only goal of his harassment was bad-mouthing without the risk of being caught. And I’m glad that I could verbally kick back. But, you know, I was not completely OK for a few days after this case. This situation became a reason to resume regular sessions with my therapist. I’m glad that I turned this unpleasant experience into something helpful. I’ve had a lot to think about in the last six months — about my childhood, about safety (in general), about being a woman. About men.

And about the future of the new book.

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