SENT BY ALYONKA LARIONOV | APRIL 13, 2017
Since ending my job with VICE I've been somewhat floating through my last days as a 29 year old (I am now 30 as I write this) trying to understand what it means to be a woman in modern society.
The day after my job ended, I felt an immense sense of loss, fear, emptiness, loneliness, sadness, and a sharp pain that formed in a shape of a question trying to define my purpose and meaning. Who am i? What am I doing here? How did I get here? And why, after all the blood, sweat and tears that I put in to the last 2 years of my life do I feel like I've been left with nothing and no one.
My close relationships with both my family and friends were hanging by a thread. My ability to enjoy the simple, everyday things in my life had completely evaporated. I was exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. And most importantly, I forgot to take care of me. If I were asked at that moment, "hey alyonka, what is it that you desire? what would make this better?" I would have looked down at the ground and whispered "I don't know". I was spent. Done. A shell of a human. And nowhere near the woman I knew I could be.
So, I bought myself a one way ticket to Paris (Norwegian air has non-stop from LAX to CDG for $280 ... nuts i know) with nothing planned except for a promise to relinquish all control over to the unknown. For a type-A, control freak, Aries born and perfectionist seeker (surprise, there's no such thing as perfect), it was one of the more terrifying itineraries I've ever created.
That was January 21st, 2017 and since then, since my job left me, I've spent all my time shedding all that which I had come to think society, my family, my friends, the men in my life, and the worst critic - ME - had been expecting of me. I even had a one night stand. Yes, at 29. I met a random french boy in a random jungle in Tulum (okay, it wasn't a jungle. it was a beautiful villa on the beach) and he was younger and HOT, and we kissed and danced, and I almost shook my feminist finger in his face and said "no. you can't have me! i am goddess. you must earn my love" only to realize, this wasn't a love situation, cut myself some slack and learned that French men make really great lovers. I did see him again in Paris so technically it's not a real one night stand but that's not the point of this story. The point is, finally, I saw that I had a blank canvas in front of me and that I could decide who I wanted to be.
As I've done from the day I was born, I started asking questions, looking for answers, having conversations and discussions, reading and watching and listening to everything and anything that came my way. My closest friends will tell you that my curiosity has never been a trait that's lacking, but it spiked to incredible heights once I realized, the questions that I was asking, were universal. Even the women that I thought had it all, the job, the career, the guy, the house, the car, the body, the kids, the vacations, etc. etc. etc. even those women were asking the same questions! And often times, if these conversations were had, they were reserved only for close friends and never for women that can't be trusted (we'll get to that). Peculiar...when at the core of who we are, outside of race, ethnicity, financial status, societal status, education, etc - we are of the same tribe. If we women can't come together and help each other, then how can we help society at large?
I've been putting this off for almost 8 years and i'm fucking tired of my own excuses. I'm not too busy and this can't wait 'til tomorrow morning. I feel there's a void and I certainly haven't found a place where I can check-in and answers all of my questions.
While I might not have the certification to disperse advice, I can at the very least use my experiences and those of others, to start a conversation that might be helpful and insightful. I will also use my accumulated resources to gain access to experts and amateurs who can act as our guides.
Again, I'm still working on the exact format but all I know is that I have an insane desire to fucking do something, so I'm going to do it and I'm starting today.
My hope is that this eventually becomes a source of laughter, happiness, information, conversation, connection, and a beautiful space of support for not only you lucky guinea pigs, but for our community at large.
Much love to you all and thank you for entertaining my idea.