After the reality of war, I stopped making plans for the future. It is so strange — to live only from day to day, but I don’t have any choice. We live with few resources, but we find everything we need each and every day. What happened 4 years ago and what made us move here, has changed my life drastically. It also changed the life of my family. I took my kids and drove off — the further, the better. It turned out to be a march across the country, from east to west.
It’s a wonderful place. I’m deeply inspired by this nature, by this air, by these mountains and the skies. Each blade of grass supports me. It is very calm in Rakhiv – it’s a small town with good people. In the first few years, everyone treated us like refugees and they supported us. I am very grateful for that. I felt that the locals are very warm, very kind people. The Rakhiv grannies brought us pickled cucumbers, mushrooms, warm clothes. We, of course, accepted all this with gratitude. It is so nice to see when people do something from the bottom of their heart.
I started painting here again. I began to teach yoga. I gather everything I’ve learned throughout my life and I’m trying to use these assets. Of course, I could’ve worked as a dishwasher, working in 2 or 3 shifts, but I realized that I have to do the best I can with what I have, with what I’m capable of. This is my way of communicating with people – I want to be as useful to them as possible. I want to be useful as a psychologist, as a painter, as a yoga instructor, as a close friend, as a girlfriend, as a mother. We don’t plan to leave yet. Welcome to the “Rakhiv” station.
Sometimes a person goes through a big crisis in his life, in order to understand something important. Whatever people think is very reliable: your own piece of land; your house — all of this can burst like a soap bubble, very quickly. Relationships also can end at some point, not always because you wanted to end it. We rely on very shaky and unreliable things.
It doesn’t matter what happens to us, that me and my children are refugees, but how we react to it is what matters. At some point I realized there are no victims, and there are no aggressors. There is only life, and we have to look at it without illusions or judgements. There’s a good saying: “to solve problems as they come” and this makes everything much simpler. If it happened to me, it happened to me, and it already happened, so there is no point in worrying about it.
Every place, wherever you go, contains everything you need, and only when you start stockpiling goods or making bank deposits: the banks starts crashing, the houses are exploding, the land is taken by another country — it can be anything really — your support must come from within. Your support should be something that everybody has within: it may be God, if you wish. He, too, is within every person. This is something eternal and will never chase to exist.
Whatever happened: the death of my husband, the illness of my mom — these are all very traumatic experiences. This cannot but hurt, but I understand that even these things had to happen. I realize now that the Russian proverb: “There would be no happiness, but misfortune helped,” is very wise. In order to be yourself, to be in harmony with the world around you — to be happy, you just have to stop making judgements. You have to enjoy everyday and to share this happiness with everyone around you. Life is too short. We may die at any moment and all that was valuable in our life was love.
An excerpt from the October 2017 monologue.