Merel: These times are hard for everyone, and it’s easy to get lost in negative thoughts or feel like crap.

Name: Merel

Social Media Handle/Username: @nottotallyalone

Introduce Yourself/Tell About Yourself: Hello! I’m Merel, and I have no clue what to write here… Let’s see, I can tell you that I like animals? That means I adore them, I love how nature works and to watch interesting wildlife documentaries and stuff. Probably why I’m studying to become a vet. I have a bunny and two crazy chickens myself.
Besides animals, I also love to sing and dance, although I don’t have a talent for both of them. To be honest, I’m a complete disaster when it comes to art in general. That doesn’t stop me from loving it, though.

What Inspires You Every day? : What inspires me…? That’s a big question you have there. I mean, I get inspiration out of a lot of things (that I can’t come up with right now), but if we’re talking persons, I’d say my mum. She’s such a strong woman, and amazes me every day with her skills and intelligence. And no, she isn’t perfect -far from to be exact- but that doesn’t take away she has achieved a lot. After my parents’ divorce she has build her life up from scratch, taking care of me and my sister and working on the house (that wasn’t completely finished yet) all by herself. She worked really hard to get the higher salary she has now, and even though she’s so strong, my mum’s still able to admit when she’s insecure or afraid that she can’t handle it by herself. Which is sort of the definition of brave. My mother is a brave woman.

What is some words of wisdom you live by?: “Everything has it’s beauty, but not everyone sees it”, some eastern philosopher said that, I think. Confusius? I feel a little dumb haha
His words make a lot of sense to me, because I always try to search for the beauty in things, even when I can’t find them at first. Preconceptions easily arise when you get an initial look of someone/something, so it’s necessary to keep that in mind when judging someone. Not everything is what it seems.

What is your ultimate goal in life? : To spread some joy in the world. These times are hard for everyone, and it’s easy to get lost in negative thoughts or feel like crap. So if you unexpectedly receive some friendly words, or a hug, or you simply notice someone is doing the effort of cheering you up, it can help a lot. Saying something nice is not difficult, we can all do that.
And my own happiness is important too of course, although I sometimes have to remind myself that it’s okay to feel like crap once in a while.

How have you been during the pandemic and how has it affected you? : At first I thought the pandemic wouldn’t affect me that much, because I’m okay with being alone and studying from home. I missed some pretty important events in high school (was about to finish my last year in the first lockdown), but with that I could still live y’know. However, I began my studies and noticed I had no (new) friends. None. Thanks to COVID-19, we weren’t able to go to campus, or socialize in real life. And we all know I’m socially awkward to begin with. Okay, now we all know.
Yes, I’m another whining teenager, talking about my lack of social life, but it’s only when the people around you disappear (other than your closest family) that you realize how much you needed that contact. Humans are group animals, and I need my group.
I guess the pandemic also affected me in a positive way, though. I became more aware of myself because of the fact I only had my own thoughts (like I mentioned in the former question). Plus, I learned more about viruses and politics, which isn’t a bad thing either.

What is a message you would like to give others? : It may seem like the end of the world at the moment, but don’t give up, it’s gonna be alright. Nature’s one purpose is to survive, so we will survive. Just take good care of yourself, not only physically, but mentally too.
Always remember that you’re perfectly imperfect (because no one is ‘perfect’) and that you’re enough. If people can’t love you for who you are, then that’s their problem. Not everyone has to like you, more importantly is that you accept yourself the way you are.

What else would you like to tell others about you or your life?: Well… I tried not to bring it up, but since you’re asking: ever since the lockdown, I got infatuated with a certain boy band named ‘One Direction’. Yeah, proud (but blushing) fangirl here!
I never thought I’d become ‘that girl’, but now there seems to be no way back, and I don’t even care. Their music (and interviews/video diaries, you HAVE to see those, they’re hilarious) makes me feel happy. But their individual songs are even better, because that’s the music they truly want to write, and it comes from their hearts. I can definitely recommend those songs, you can look them up if you want. Okay, and now I’ll stop bothering you with this. Love, M.

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