Roxana – The Creator

Hello stranger. Welcome to this little digital corner of the big round world. Let it transform itself from my place, to ours. Perceive it and understand that, whatever fits you, will get stuck to your heart.

Painting at Poutpourri House, Cluj-Napoca, Thank you, every day, Cristina!

I grew up in a small town called Târgu Mureș, in Romania, in an environment so different from my current context, that it sometimes feels like a past life. I first left my country and traveled abroad very late, only in my first year at university. When that happened, I had the feeling that I am in one exotic heaven and that I have lived in such a limited reality up until that moment. It’s not like Transylvania is not a splendid place to be and to see, it’s just that exploring the world was something that I didn’t have the power to comprehend at that point. In a post-communist country, with pseudo-values, inherited from one generation to another, values that I didn’t truly connect to, my perception of this world was not based on the beautiful play of discovery – that I now believe life is, but rather on a survival fight of the individual in a harsh society, where people always want to get something from you.

Later on, after being able to fully support myself financially, I decided to set a goal of seeing 2 new countries per year. It was more a “go to work all year for a couple of weeks vacation” kind of mentality – but it was all that I had, all that I was able to conceive. When life went ahead of me and when I started seeing more and more places, either that being a personal endeavour or due to my professional context, I have realised that, by setting that “2 countries per year” goal I was actually limiting myself. There was no reason to keep on counting. I just had to let it flow. And so it did, and it still does.

The Blessings

With beloved fairy hands protecting Maya when she was about 6 months in the womb

Taking care of a tiny human being is something that defines me a lot in this time of my life, as a young mum. The whole pregnancy and then childbirth and early motherhood experience has turned my world upside down and has restructured me as an individual and as a woman.

Might sound like a cliche, but it is what it is, and these are the best words to define it. I feel as the transformations are continuous, and so I use writing, drawing, taking photos or any other storytelling expressions to somehow take everything out. To expose, comprehend, find empathy and eventually, transcend. I am very blessed to have a partner that supports me in all of this inner process and outer artistic endeavours.

To go a little bit more personal on this topic, I must say that I have always really, really wanted a daughter. But it wasn’t looking like it was about to happen any time soon, in my 20s. And then I have, at some point, decided to embrace the idea that I might not have this wish fulfilled. I even had a talk with myself about adoption. After letting go, things shifted. Life took me by the hand and twisted me upside down, but this only when I have decided to let go and to be true to me. To choose love over fear and courage over comfort. I believe such a choice of living has to work as a permanent check with yourself and that this is the biggest quest of this existence. I also believe that traveling is a way of getting out of who you think you are and a practice of just being then and there, as you are.

Like so many of us, I have always struggled with a shaky foundation when it comes to my perception of romantic relationships, this due to a childhood tormented by family struggle and an ugly divorce. So my love life has been just a context for me to solve inner issues, perhaps not in the nicest possible ways, until I grew out of it. I will probably also say this about me 20 years from now, related to some topics, because we permanently learn – this if we are aware and if we want to.

Along with getting at a solid point in my professional life, I started concentrating most of my energy into curing my mind and my soul from past trauma, to try to restructure my being and to get to this perception of the world that I share with you now. This meant personal growth classes, books, therapy, even dietary and sports integration and a lot of adjustments when it comes to the places where I hang out and the activities that I enjoy doing. So I switched, for instance, from spending a lot of time watching series or hanging out in pubs to practicing movement, going to sleep without any background noise, quitting soda drinks, using mantras – just to name a few.

The most important switch in my mental perception of the world was the moment when I have realised that the phrase “you are your mind; your mind is your best friend and your most important asset as a rational being” was not all that true. It was then when I have started to believe that one must use the mind in order for the mind not to use them. And that mind is just a tool and not our whole being, just as ego is. It was then when I have started to understand consciousness and awareness, somehow raising out of a sort of numbness that has lasted years and years. I hug myself even today for that, just embracing all the steps of the process, past, present and future.

While in the Philippines, with shells and corals

The Business

LW&D Cluj, special edition. Behind: artwork by Stella Caraman. Photo credit: Ainhoa Morales.

Professional wise, I am a self-taught visual designer. I’ve been mostly working digitally in the past decade, in Cluj-Napoca, a beautiful city in the heart of Transylvania, where I also live when I’m not traveling. I have a BA in Journalism and an MA in Advertising. In my first years as a designer, I have worked in a small ad agency, where I did creative work of all sorts, from copy to strategy, or from video to pitching. I got to the Creative Director position without even knowing what that really meant, in a context that was way, way more amateur than what you would see in “Mad Men”. But those were savorous times, that – beyond compromise and wickedness – had their charm and their role in who I am today, professionally.

A Ladies, Wine & Design event in Cluj. Photo credit: Ainhoa Morales.

Later on, I switched to IT. I worked mostly on mobile apps and digital maps design. I rediscovered my passion for technical process and I got to develop parts of me much closer to an exact science. This nurtured my brain just as much as it got my artistic part thirsty all over again. The compromise was no longer working for clients that I don’t resonate with – like in the ad world.

Here I was working on an in-house product, which was a bliss. The compromise was through the very small amount of artistic practice during work time. I did, on the other hand, learn what healthy management means and I got to understand the advantages of working in a well-settled business construct. The company switched from start-up to acquisition and then to being part of a corporation. Being given the opportunity to lead the local design team, I have taken that job for more than a couple of years, up until I have realized that the design creation moments were less and less.

Another important point in my professional life was when I have decided to reduce my working time to 3 days a week. I have been doing this since October 2016, and it has been a strong step towards a newly crafted existence that I very much enjoy and recommend. At the moment, I am on maternity leave, until early 2020.

drawing an illustration while traveling for my crowdfunding supporters

Out of the local communities I am or have been involved in worth mentioning are the startup tech environment, the local TEDx community, the Ladies, Wine & Design community (I also founded, together with fellow creative ladies, the Cluj-Napoca chapter), and local gatherings for UI and UX professionals. As a fun fact, I had my publishing debut in 2012, in a collective short stories volume, entitled “Real Fictions”. I have been writing essays, editorials, poems before that and ever since – writing is a form of meditation for me, just like drawing.

The Travels

with Maya on De Contas River, in Bahia, Brazil, in January 2019

I am happy to say that I am and always have been a self-made (wo)man. After ticking off all sorts of considered-to-be achievements by the society we live in, I asked myself some questions. After some inner chatter, I went all by myself to volunteer at a kindergarten in South East Asia. There I have discovered a universe that got under my skin and into my bones.

From culture and people to flora and fauna, terrestrial and aquatic – everything around me was new and so I have become a curious child all over again, absorbing everything with intensified perception – sweet honey to my soul. The result of this experience is now gathered in my first book, “An Illustrated Travel Journal”, that has recently been also crowdfunded for on IndieGoGo. The volume is a freestyle writing and drawing composition collected into 100 pages of illustrated memories.

Frido, my life companion and best friend, beyond language and above words

I would want to dedicate, last but not least, this paragraph to my dachshund dog, Frido, which has been my unconditional companion for more than 4 years now. He is a teacher of love and care and also the first child in our family, even though he sees the world while sitting on 4 feet.

Welcome, enjoy your stay, savour it all the way! Love, Roxana