A Short History of Andreea: the Fat Body

*I recorded myself reading this post if you would rather listen to my marvellous voice.

We interrupt your daily pandemic life with some Andreea-related stories. No, this isn’t a pandemic revelation, rather an “I’m unemployed seeking to delve inside my soul and discover who I am before I jump into another job/city/life and distance myself from my essence even more” type of situation.

Some of you may already know that 2019 was a difficult year for me. From the loss of my grandparents to the loss of people that have hurt me and that I felt brought rivers of toxicity in an already shadowy forest that my mind is, I lost a lot. On the other hand, I gained knowledge, life experience, wisdom, the ability to make better choices, etc. As unfortunate as I was to feel anger and pain, I found comfort and soothing remedies in some other beautiful people who were bright and kind enough to take some of my pain and replace it with love and acceptance. After much stress and difficulty, and many lessons learned, I needed to leave Barcelona behind for a while, to reassess my thoughts, plan better, and be happier upon my (if) return.

What does one do when one is unemployed, in a town with no friends (other than a beloved partner) and living with parents again? One reflects. Getting deep into “who you are”, trying to “detach oneself from thoughts”, “enjoy the present”, and everything else that comes with a mid-20’s crisis can be quite tiring. Who knew doing nothing, being purposeless, and lacking social interaction could be so mentally draining?

People hurting you can be a pain in the ass but realising how you’ve been hurting yourself can be even more stressful and disappointing. In my travels to the depths of Andreea land, there comes an awful conclusion: I perceived my body as my enemy for a long time and now it’s fighting back.

I was a chubby child. The time I spent in primary and secondary school was surrounded with encouragement to accept everyone and look at others through a non-judgemental lens (at least that’s how it went with my generation). However, that didn’t keep away the kids around the block and the constant bullies calling me names; it also made me feel uneasy when some kids would play with me as I had internalised a feeling that every time they looked at me they were disgusted by my body.

My parents have always been supportive. They encouraged me to do sports. I always refused. Not because I was lazy, rather I didn’t want to be seen. Fat bodies were (and mostly still are) viewed with disgust and judgement: “you are lazy, you are not careful, you are not self-loving”. And when someone does try to lose weight for whatever reason, they’d all laugh at the effort, as if no matter how hard you try to be who they tell you in magazines, on TV, and even social media, you will always be a fatty. And so, I was ashamed and fearful of the school gym hours, for example, avoiding to do anything that would cause my classmates to look at me, laugh, judge, boasting in their superiority of having a “thin” body. What I was most ashamed of was the male gaze, as theirs was the harshest. I imagine most young girls felt aware of their male classmates’ gaze regardless of body shape, as we encourage our men to objectify women at a young age; but that’s a discussion for another time.

Men would never like me because of my muffin tops or thick thighs, which in the first few years of high-school I would cover with baggy or black clothes. I didn’t want to be seen. Back then, I also couldn’t find clothes my size in Romania, so would always buy them from abroad (quite a good reflection of how size L+ bodies were excluded from existence in society).

Much of my life revolved around this vicious circle of not caring for my body due to shame and fear, as well as wanting to be invisible because I felt that I occupy too much space with my being or needed to hide my imperfections. Most of my teenage years and even earlier than that, I went for something that I thought gave results by malnourishing myself and putting my body under long periods of starvation: the blessed diet.

Let me clarify that I am not ditching dieting in general, rather the types of diets popular in the first decade of the 21st C, where you would eat poorly for a certain amount of time and then whoooosh back to the pantry of sweets we go once it’s over because hey we gotta reward ourselves after all that hard work! There is much dispute around diets and everyone has the freedom to choose, yet a teenager who’s going through this process several times throughout a year, always obsessing over the results and being disappointed with the poor outcomes, is in a rollercoaster of joy and suffering. Since then, more research came out on nutrition and I came to better understand some facts, especially after becoming a vegetarian. On the topic of “where do I get my protein from” “but you still each cheese no” we’ll discuss another time.

In order to make up for my failure of having a few more kgs than a “normal” person would, I became a smart-ass and looked to outwit most of my peers, often ending up in arrogance or snobbery. The more rejection from others I faced, the more I had to make up for it and the bigger the “try-hard” I became. Funnily enough, I wanted to be smart effortlessly. To be smart, you must do so without failure, because failure makes you a loser, a pariah, society laughing at you while its belly rolls in circles over the snack-filled table. I couldn’t possibly fail, because I was already a failure given my fat body. I couldn’t be beautiful like those other girls and I couldn’t dress up fashionably or have any type of style because the only style was that of the thin body, which not only fatties like me couldn’t try out, but many shapes and bodies in the world. Because we are all different and trying to be the same as some pain-striken image in whatever media is suicide.

Of course, I learned all of this much later. The starting point was university, where I opened my eyes to how the media is all lies and that advertising wants to make you miserable so you could buy more things to fill up that void. How it’s all interconnected, how capitalism fucked me up. Ironic, given that I grew up in a country severely recovering from communism (after 31 years, I can confirm we are still recovering).

Something that consistently helped me gain more self-confidence and empathy was theatre.  With it, I was able to leave my coat of invisibility in the backstage in order to be free in front of the dusty curtains of various stages. I loved theatre and still do, even wanted to go and study it at university. That didn’t happen. I’d internalised the idea that actresses need to be beautiful = skinny and maybe blonde; if not at least with bright eyes. Also, actors are poor, because they are artists, and artists are poor, because society is very conflicted when it comes to art as a means to make money. AIN’T ART GONNA SAVE THE WORLD! Get outtaaaa heeeereeeeeeeeeeee… Conclusion: no place for me on stage.

Speaking of university, insecurities surrounding my body would worsen after leaving Romania and moving abroad. Despite being more confident, the leftovers of the voice telling me I should stay invisible because I’m a failure were still whispering. I was used to men rejecting me – the U.K offered me the spotlight. I suddenly wasn’t the fat one anymore! Huraaay this country has a serious weight problem and 90% of the people I know who’ve lived there had gained weight at some point. I wonder why…? Anyway, time to explore all the wonders the male sex has to offer. Make sure to use Tinder to meet a lot of them, because finding self-worth in men’s opinions is the right way to go! Quantity over quality! I’m all about that millennial lifestyle where we hide our feelings and sacrifice our time and energy to please people who don’t even give a shit about us! Wooohooo partyyyy my body IS NOT a temple!!!

And that was me. For about 6 years (with minor interruptions). Luckily, this period ended and I am on the way to self-love and acceptance without having to confirm it with the male gaze. Yet, I spent years of fighting over their attention with my female counterparts, constantly comparing myself to other girls, finding their flaws and putting them on a pedestal, bringing each other down in “cat fights” that live in masculine fantasies. I judged my sex harshly, finding ways in which I was superior to popular or beautiful or simply existing women.

Because that’s what society needs: more women hating on women.

I followed the mentality of “yeah I enjoy spending more time with guys than girls as it’s less drama and men are more easy-going” (I am talking here from a cis heteronormative view). Turns out, boys (not men?) love to swim deep in drama while your girlfriends are there with tea and blankets and wisdom to help heal your wounds. Hell, they’ll even lick your wounds. The female energy is a blessing and the feminine one (which all of us hold in our souls whether we like that or not) a never-ending mystery.

If you managed to get to this point, congratulations. I thank you and send my deepest love to you. By now, you have grasped a sense of my insecurities throughout the years, my fear of failure and expecting myself to do everything perfectly from the first try, my invisibility cloaks (the Harry Potter type), the vicious circle of ignoring physical activity because I could never succeed in the face of society, the self-assurance I looked for in the wrong places, the hate I lived with for the feminine. Some maybe think why the fuck is Andreea sharing all this long deep personal shit with us? Well, I’ve been asked what’s up with my blog and I wanted to share with you some of my transformation. I even started doing more physical activity because I want to be healthy and fix some of the things of my past, rather than focus on “losing weight”. I want to be healthy and happy – if my body changes with the process, whatever shape it may take, it’s just a consequence.

I hope that by seeing how my life has been affected by one grain of hatred that turned into a large field, I would encourage you to reflect upon yourselves as well, and see what comes up. Cause in the end, what better time for deep personal shit other than today?

New year, Old habits.

We interrupt your New Year’s resolution with a horrid statement: time is an illusion. 😮

Let’s say my NY resolution is to reach a new level in my romance zone – the switch from British to French boys should evolve to a new zip code and personality trait. But you can’t reset what you feel as easily as you mechanically reset a machine (rumour has it machines will soon start feeling as well so maybe this is not the most accurate comparison but at the same time hey the future is near A.I. will take over aaaaahhhhhh we’re getting distracted).

New Years’ and birthdays, things I’ve always been ambivalent to. Call me a hater or a sad person that doesn’t want to celebrate the privilege of being born and experiencing the passing of time.

Standing on the cold tile of my new flat’s balcony and watching the fading of a sunset sky, I contemplated the ephemeral nature of time. As I was gazing in the distance, the colours played in rosey gradients, reconstructing the glass and concrete silhouettes that gave shape to a modern skyline. The contour of the mountains in the background turned darker and darker, along with the minutes floating into the evening.

I became aware of time.

Barcelona sunsets, sunsets in Barcelona

It’s a strange feeling, that moment. Being so present makes you oblivious to how time moves with you. A 15 minute change in environment felt like an eternal second. It made me ponder on how humanity started defining temporal concepts in order to make sense of the greatest aspects of our lives: time.

We categorize and think about it ‘all the time’ – we’re running out of it, we have too much of it, we think too much of either what was or what will be, and our perception of its flow is constantly changing depending on the activity that we’re doing. Hours turn into days and days turn into seconds.

The only way is forward and we can’t undo what’s already been done – this is basic, common knowledge, yet we ‘always’ seem to forget. I like to believe that I stopped thinking about the past as much, but how can it be possible when I keep longing for certain aspects of it to be part of my present and future?

No one wants the entirety of the past assaulting us at every thought, yet the past is what represents us best and it’s why we’re so attached to it. Without it, we would not be able to communicate, have personality traits, be… us, with our individualism and uniqueness, differentiating us from the others. As you grow up, you evolve and take in experiences that ‘make you’. The past ‘makes’ us. We ‘make’ the future. The present’s just chilling in the corner.

We keep track of time to assess how much the past has changed us and how much we shall evolve in the future. We want to assess how meaningful our lives are by analyzing our mistakes and setting positive goals for the future. What a great year 2018 was, let 2019 be even better! And for some reason we keep forgetting that there’s today as well.

I think setting resolutions and being self-aware is the bread and butter of a good breakfast – sorry, I meant living a life that won’t make your mind swirl around in circles with regards to life’s meaning and the philosophical disposition of being. The problem is that we don’t keep track of time to know who we are in this exact moment, right now.

Far back in history, people used to follow the sun: it was the arbiter of the flow of time. Nowadays, society forgot about the sun – it’s too busy burying its nose deep in some phone clocks or expensive wrist watches. In the 16th Century, Galileo measured motions using his pulse. Today, we’re barely aware of our heartbeat unless it’s under stress and sending our brain terrified signals to… feel.

The time you do something doesn’t have to be in 2019 or 2024 and it doesn’t have to be about things you could’ve done or could do. The time to make a change is now. The moment you’re present is when you’re actually experiencing time. Now is the only moment you’ll ever have. Now is the moment to change, evolve, create, explore, become the best version of yourself, as you want it to be.

So, my 2019 resolution for us all is the following: don’t wait in order to effect change – especially since, from an environmental point of view, we only have a decade left to set things right. Be conscious of your thoughts, your body, your voice. Listen. Do things at your own pace and set goals based on your own perception of time and ambition, without the pressure of the outside world or societal organizations of time – well, don’t come to work at 12 p.m just cause you’re not taking standard clocks into consideration anymore.

But, most importantly, start now. Live now. Be now.


I want to talk about a city that changed my life.

Well, all the places and spaces that we flow through have a sort of influence on ourselves, our behaviours, our hobbies. Lancaster helped me develop as a student and set the stepping stones into adulthood. Manchester was the bridge between a life in a small town to a cosmopolitan one. Hah. I suppose size does matter… when it comes to the space you’re living in, of course. Bigger cities mean less time to do basically anything because of the endless possibilities to do everything.

Barcelona is the best city
Barcelona rooftops

Barcelona is all the personalities you could think of in one. Its saturation and complexity surprise you on a daily basis – you feel something new every day. The more you interact with the city, the infinity of smells, the pollution, the colours, the thieves, the heavy, humid breath, the love… the more you want. Barcelona lures you into its charms and hugs you in its strong arms. It wants you to know that whatever you need, it’s there for you – from technological advancements to creative flares and fresh tans.

Barcelona sings with the never-ending international and local chatter, the piercing motorbike exhaust pipes, the rattle of cutlery and plates, the sound of the waves, the squeaky or husky barks, the muffled techno bass in the background… At night it dozes off in a dreamless sleep, perpetually interrupted by groups of loud drunk party-goers and garbage trucks. In the morning, it breathes in combinations of sea salt, exhaust fumes, olive oil and garlic (sometimes dog shit or pee as well because not everything is dreamy).

Barcelona is social, you’re in constant communication with either people, the sun, buildings, narrow streets or marble floors. The good and the bad of the city merge together to create a conflicted relationship within yourself. So many of the people I’ve met told me they’re in awe every day: ‘I can’t believe I live in Barcelona’, ‘It’s amazing to be here all the time’. I smile and nod, thinking that as true as that is, as amazing, inspiring, and breath-taking this city is, it can often make you feel lonely. You’re surrounded by people and interactions, yet rarely do they become substantial enough to be meaningful. This is a result of an industrialised, commercial lifestyle. Never before have we felt so alone in a sea of people.

It’s impossible to feel like that for a long time – when you have an infinity of options regarding activities, work, and play, how could one? Barcelona is your parent, sibling, and friend, it can guide you through its narrow romantic streets or through its wide modern boulevards towards old or new passions and achievements. It nurtures you as you worship its godly self. Unfortunately, as with most things humans tend to love and admire, we start to destroy what matters most to us.

Barcelona is scared. Its sense of identity is shifting and it cries out in pain for all the theft, abuse, pollution, and illegality tainting its walls. During hot summer days, its concrete pavement suffocates from all the petrol and human waste while the flustered sea brings countless bits of trash to the shore. Its neighbourhoods are often disturbed by intensified screams and creepy stares. Barcelona is hurt, yet it constantly strives to BE better, to achieve MORE.

Barcelona is my mentor. Its complexity, visual aesthetics, and strength inspire me while the way it loves and celebrates life fills me with a constant desire to enjoy every moment of it. Maybe in a few years, it won’t feel like that anymore. Maybe in a few years, I will move on to new spaces. Yet, its beauty will forever remind me of how it helped me grow and frame my identity.

I am Barcelona. We all are.

Streams of thoughts and loud voices

in my head.

Barcelona metro black and white old symmetry

I get out of the metro. There’s no rush, there aren’t a lot of people around me I’m up the escalator and I’m typing a message to a friend on Instagram we’ve met during Christmas it’s a funny story I finish texting him, saying that I can’t wait to get home and read Harry Potter and go to sleep am I boring? I don’t know… a guy is climbed up on a ladder trying to fix a light in the ceiling of this somewhat dirty metro stop I walk past him and watch three girls coming down the stairs: black, pink, blue I keep walking and walking and walking and oh there’s three gentlemen and oh god that’s such an ugly cockroach and then I walk and I think to myself thank God I’m not sleeping in the streets, thank my parents actually for supporting me for so long giving me the life, well now I’m living the life, but am I really? well I have money and a shelter and I’m going to bed soon and ooops I almost bumped into someone and now I walk past the red… red windmill as in a bad replica of the Paris Moulin Rouge and then I keep walking and pass by trees and grey pavements and loud cars rushing and rushing towards who knows where? I wouldn’t want to be rushing anywhere our entire lives are just an endless stream of rushing… rushing… I keep thinking to myself… well I’m very deep in thought right now but I’m interrupted by this couple saying good-bye in front of a large, black door.

oh they’re speaking in English, but I wasn’t paying attention to what they were saying, to the meaning of the words they were saying I am just surprised that they’re speaking in English well it’s not like that is not an often occurrence in this city. He kisses her on the cheek maybe it’s a first date maybe not maybe they’re friends they’re quite old maybe not that old and then they’re gone and now I see two women kissing each other on the cheek hugging each other speaking in Catalan ‘yeah well I will see you again maybe at that …?’ and the other one starts talking about her plans for the weekend and I question myself how do I even understand without even understanding?

hey this is interesting, looking at people, looking around me, watching and taking everything in, the streets, the lights, the silence, the footsteps, the noise, my breath, people sleeping, people eating, people dreaming and screaming, maybe I’m going to remember all of this so I keep walking. I see a man walking his dog, it’s a very tiny dog, he’s throwing something in the trash I keep walking and I see so many bikes and I think to myself oh I really need to buy a bike but am I going to buy a bike? what about money? well… money… I look at my reflection in the restaurant window several people are having dinner as I get onto the street filled with restaurants and people eating and drinking and enjoying life, but are they really enjoying life? what exactly is happening in their minds? what is it that upsets them, or makes them happy. so many people talking so much noise plates forks clutter drinks glasses chatter where am I? who are they? some of them are tourists, maybe on a date but there’s a lot of groups here as well are they all tourists? do they speak the local language? do they speak more? they’re all of different faces, ages, features, I look at a waiter he’s smoking a cigarette, hunting to see whoever’s gonna pay the bill.

and I turn around the corner. oh a handsome man smoking a cigarette looking on his phone, of course he’s looking on his phone everyone is on their phones these days including me sometimes well who would’ve thought that I’m not perfect? but does perfection lie in not using your phone? there’s the guy at that restaurant who always returns my gaze back when I pass by and look through the window. I really need to buy some empanadas from there one day will I ever find out his name? I keep walking and walking and there’s only the sound of my footsteps left on the street and I think to myself am I gonna get home and manage to remember all of these thoughts and everything that I’m thinking? am I gonna be able to write all of this down?

black and white photograph thoughts blog post dating rain

ah noise so much noise after all that silence and quietness and peace so much noise from that motorbike and it’s screeching and scratching my eardrums and I think to myself of course pollution transportation motors grey dark industry capitalism death ah there’s a car and its so intrusive with those flashlights so strong i turn left and I’m so close to home but I trip on a little hole in the ground because everything is under construction in this society and a city is defined by the amount of concrete it has growing within it and i see a policeman he’s playing with some keys in his pocket and he’s also smoking why is everyone smoking? and those keys are so loud why am I even thinking why am I not shutting up can’t i just keep walking without a constant buzz in my head?

I’m so close to getting home, there’s a person across the road speaking in Italian maybe? melone, corleone, I don’t even know hahaha am I actually laughing in my mind oh two joggers I will definitely go to the gym as well yes of course this is what I keep telling myself and two cars cross and a key enters the keyhole and I get inside of the elevator and I look at my reflection in the mirror and why am I looking in all reflections that I pass by why do I need this feeling of safety that the person thinking and staying in front of this mirror is actually… me? I feel so much comfort, why does knowing who we are make us feel like this well I suppose it’s good to know that I’m back to myself after being in the minds of so many people… walking and listening to their conversations and their voices and I take a deep breath in but I put the wrong key in the door and this is the first time it’s happening since I moved here well I suppose it was bound to happen since I’ve been streaming of thoughts but here I am, in my room, so much comfort, so much silence, I open my computer, and then… I start typing.