Diana Florina CosminFrom: Bucharest Born on: 11 March 1984 Occupation: Writer, Journalist, Blogger
I met Diana-Florina Cosmin in high school. Not physically but through her book The stories of a heart – of which tumult of feelings, I have to admit, I understood little then, but its natural style of putting words into a sentence and the emotion in the phrase has led me to read it without breath between pages.
As I have recently revealed also to her, our retrieval was on FineSociety. I found her equally strong. I read all the articles in a single day, with an urgent need to assimilate everything that had happened in the meantime, and I am glad that she did not stoped to express her unique way to be, keeping her greatest pleasure intact – to meet interesting people and tell about them, to send their stories further.
Until we got to the stories of others, I asked her about her story and the place where she grew up, a three-room flat, typical of Bucharest, which in her childhood seemed very big. I have discovered that she is a person with the memory of houses, that she can close her eyes and see the spaces as they were in her childhood. I still dream of my house full with books, my uncle’s apartment, I imagine how I walk through it, I remember how the chairs were placed, the paintings on the walls, every detail. I see the apartment of my grandmother in Botoșani even though I was not there for 20 years. I have this memory of places: if it gets stuck in my mind, there it stays. It was an ordinary apartment, but if I’m in it now, after all this time, I can still say what is not in its place and how it should be. In fact, I avoid going into a space where I already formed memories, for fear of deleting them. I still have the nostalgia of those times.
Also from a dear memory she speaks about her grandfather, sitting in the middle of a living room full of newspapers and papers, on which he put the pieces, sometimes even microscopic, of old, hand or big watches when he began repairing the objects. He could stay there even for three days without moving, with his magnifying glasses, fixing a clock. And that fascinated me, because nothing could distract him in those moments. So she realized how passionate he was and that few people at his age had the patience to do that. He died of old age at the age of 92. He is my model in life when it comes to dedication and beautiful aging.
She is very dedicated to her freelancer project, after giving up a stable job, moving from a beautiful life where she was writing and traveling to another beauty, because she felt she had to make a change, that the life she wanted it was not the one at the time. If anyone would have asked, “What would make you happy now?” I would say, “Let’s change everything. Press the button and – reset it all.” It was not easy. When you’re in a bad situation, it’s okay to say you want everything changed. It’s harder to find the resources to change when you’re emotionally prepared, but the ration says, “Stay here, you’re okay.” I think you generally have to listen to the emotional, because often that gut feeling exists with a reason: no matter how much the brain would compute and put pros and cons, it is always a component, perhaps 10%, that inclines the decisive balance. Most times the instinct is greater than the mind, because it feels some things the mind sees purely mathematically. It is a much more accurate compass.
FineSociety gives her freedom and allows her to manage all aspects of her own life, without the constraint of an imperious “to do” or a rigid structure which would force her to live her life. This independence is giving her the opportunity to be more loyal to her own person, areas and subjects of interest.
She confessed that her audience is a public who spends time reading, both women and men, and that her most read articles are the longest. She enjoys the idea of convincing the readers, who are “people with depth”, as she says, and who appreciates the quality. She speaks of the responsability that arises as people invest time in their rows, wanting to offer very good content, not just platitudes and generals expressed in a beautiful way.
MS: How do you define a diplomat?
There is a definition of diplomacy I have always liked, given by Winston Churchill, which states that “Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” That person can put the camera in such a way that everything looks amazing.
I have been for a period of time diplomatic in the classical sense. I could shade things or to find the most neutral option. Now I cannot. After 30 years, I even realized that I would have been very unhappy if I were diplomat. I feel the need to say what I think. Elegantly, but I have to.
In diplomacy, I once learned that there is an element of position and an element of intervention. The position element means that you know what your interest is – to get from point A to point B. Well, when you express that idea, you do the intervention and it must be done in a way that launch you to your goal, but in such a way that only you know the link to what you really need. It has to be all very “in ricochet.” I could not be so calculated. I am more direct, unwilling to remain with the unspoken things on my soul. I would have liked to be so, but I am build in this way.
MS: When did you apply the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement?
In business and in force negotiations, the winner’s strategy is simple: always defeats the one for whom the prospect of a business failure is the least frightening.
Yes, this is a principle that marked me. I heard it for the first time in college, purely theoretically, and in real life I managed to make the first analogies on the relationship area. It seemed to me that people who are more detached from a relationship have more to gain. I’m not one of those people and I will never be. I am the kind who rather tells what he feels, but I still believe that life is easier for the one who invests in the relationship, but keeps somehow a limit, which gives himself up to a point. I cannot put some boundaries, to know from the start that I go to point x1, but not further at x1 + 1. As I said, this is not possible for me.
I’m all the way, and that’s not so linked with the strategy. I would have liked to say Do you know something? I do not care! I’ve always cared, in my personal and professional relationships. After all, I think it’s a quality. It’s difficult to get close to people if you’re very detached from them, and by letting my guard down and leaving me exposed in articles and everything I do, the readers came close to me and even had some demonstrations of sincerity and openness from the people, who impressed me and made me very responsible. They would not have appeared if I were … glacial.
MS: Did you keep in touch with Patrick, your friend/advisor from the book?
Yeah, we do not talk so often, but we keep the bridge open. He is a very funny character, an Irish-born American, with a special way of being. It has a very special humour, and this is what I liked most at it: it’s the kind that does not laugh a lot, but who can say some jokes, you crawl down on laughter and he is completely unaffected by the joke. I told myself, long ago, that I needed a male character in the story, as a counterbalance. It was at a time when I was not sure if I was going to make the book, but I felt that – if that book will exist someday – he would be part of it. And somehow he helped me, it was like a trigger – I really believe in these lifetimes triggers. So he exists, he married in the same time I got married and that’s his name. Patrick.
Except for him, all the characters in the book have other names, true, but somehow mixed. I did not think a lot about the names, I admit, being more based on feeling – it fits or does not fit.
MS: What truth does it seem unbearable to you?
The fact that people forget. Forgetfulness. If you are no longer tomorrow, people will talk a bit about how wonderful you were, after which, lightly, you disappear from their thoughts. As much as we would like to say that is not so, life contradicts us with a natural cruelty. It’s hard because you think about how much effort you make and put your mark on some people’s lives. Still, no one will ever remember – everything is passing.
I think we all have a problem with this at some point in our life. I do not think I really would say it’s unbearable, but it’s unpleasant to think, it’s the kind of thing we put under carpet and we say it does not exist, we’re bypassing it.
MS: What does maturity mean to you?
Maturity means not to worry about what the world says, to be more interested in what you feel and what makes you happy. Happy in the sincerest way, deep in your soul without lying to yourself. I think with maturity you realize that it is more precious how you feel and what makes you happy than what is attractive in the eyes of others. When you are young you care much about what others think – and I cared too much.
If everyone could love me, I would have been the happiest one. I did not understand when my parents and people wiser then me told: You do not have to be interested in what the world says, you do not have to worry about the world. How not to interest me? It was the essence of my world, I wanted to be loved by everyone, from the first to the last person. I always felt the need to be loved.
Now I really do not care, honestly. Of course we all love to be loved by others, but it is no longer a stake: if you like me, okay, if not, that’s it. I was suffering before. With maturity, you realize that you do not have a life for your mother, one for your neighbor, one for your lover or anyone else. In the end, I assume you want to live my life with me.
MS: You said that in Epilog is the essence of life … when you listened to the song for the first time, do you remember?
In high school, I listened then to all the album – I will return man (Am să mă întorc bărbat). I think I have all the albums from Vama Veche and I liked them then, at that time, because in a sea of superficial music they even had a message. In the past, it seemed like a sad song. Now I understand it’s not really sad. Beyond the metaphor, this thing with take care of your heart is the essence of life. If you do not take care of yourself, whatever that means – health, emotional, what you get in a relationship, job – no one will. Many times when you think too much about others, you forget about you and the reasons that makes you happy. It took me many years to figure out why I was doing certain things. Some of them I did because it seemed to me that are the rights ones to do, not in the sense that someone was looking at me and saying, “Look what right are her actions!”, but because they fed a vanity side.
MS: Can you give me an example?
It seemed to me that I had to be “perfect” in every aspect of my life: if I had 10 hats, all should be kept in the air, nothing on the floor. If something in my life was not as I had imagined, then it was catastrophic. I did not express this, but inside I was struggling hard. I had set up some ideals that were not related to me: at one point I wanted to be a vegan because I had seen Victoria Beckham and it seemed healthy to me; I wanted to climb, because it seemed to me that it was interesting and cool and so on.
I set some goals I could not reach, and that made me very frustrated. I thought I had no ambition, I did not have the will. Until when, at some point, I realized that WANTING something is not the same as HAVING interest in that. Since I was doing other things right away and these ones never, I understood that I really do not want it. It was not about me, it was about the thing itself. I looked and I said: Okay, I will never be neither a climbing nor a dancer … but I actually like to run, I like ballet, I like many things. For these I would mobilize at any time.
There are very small examples, but from the small ones to the big ones you start to analyze and say: Does this really makes me happy or I like it just because it sounds good? Okay, it’s not for me, next! And so on. Media gives you so many scenarios in your life, especially today. You learn to be very selective and I think maturity also means selectivity. Even a minimalism I would say. Just go to what really means something for you. It’s exactly as Chris Simion told me once: I’m not wasting myself.
That’s exactly what I’d like to do – not to waste myself.
MS: How would you complete the following sentence: There is just … for me.
Nostalgia, memories. A place that someone else sees, such as first floor of a block of flats, does not tell much for that person, but for me there is the place where I was playing with children when I was little, with the carpet batter of the block and many such details. That’s just for me. You know, beauty is said to be in the eye of the viewer, here it is.
MS: What do you think is the role of imperfection in a human’s life?
Perfectionism as we see it today – in the sense that we work our lives to be perfect – comes from the feeling that you are never good enough. Perfection should not be a goal, in my opinion. The scenarios in our head are ruined by reality and often we end up sacrificing our life in to be perfect process. Imperfection, on the other hand, seems to me to be the secret of happiness: to accept as you are, but to improve as much as you can. I believe very much in this – in constantly improving. I think you have to become your best version, as they say, but do not kill your life by doing that. You can enjoy the process, know when to pull the line and stop. Accepting imperfection is the way you can live seamlessly. In fact, I think it’s the only way to really live. Otherwise you get very frustrated and bitter.
MS: When do you feel alone?
Never. I really like to stay alone. I am a solitary person – I travel a lot alone. For example, I spent 2 weeks at Baselworld, the clock and jewellery fair, and though I met people for interviews, 90% of my time was just me and I felt great. This is just a more recent example. I know how to keep company to myself and how to fill my free time in a positive way for me: to read, to walk, to think – I dream very much. I get ideas when I go on the street, write articles in my head, remember scenes, what I want to happen, make projections, it’s a whole movie that’s taking place there. That’s why I never feel really alone.
Now, of course, it does not have to be everyone like me – I’m a little more solitary, I have this more pronounced gene – but I think it’s important to know how to be alone sometimes. I learned a lot of things about myself and educated myself in solitude. If I had not been to think, analyze and have moments with me, I would not have known myself so well. It’s hard to know yourself if you’re always surrounded by someone. You do not have time to think – Who am I, what do I want, how do I want it?
If you are always in a dialogue with someone, you do not have time to be in a dialogue with yourself.
MS: How do you identify the fine boundary between public – what you say on your site, and personally. Do you think you’re judged if you’re too personal?
Yes, I think the world generally judges. Before I was disturbed, I often thought of the words that came to my ears. Now, if I feel that it’s important to write something – as was the article on bullying – if I think it’s more important to say some things, even if it’s more convenient for me not to say, I prefer to choose the less comfortable way. Because if it helps, even if 10 people, it is enough. I think people are judging, it’s inevitable, but if you spend your life with this permanent fear you will arrive to a point where you write something completely neutral, that has no charm, or you get stressed so hard, that quit writing. You have to be a little vulnerable at some point. To be vulnerable you have to love something very much. Let that thing matter to you more than anything else matters. And so you will do it, when the stake is big enough.
MS: In the interview given to Lorena Buhnici, you said that there are other things in your life that have been put forward in front of a second book. What are those things?
The web-site. I really like what I write there and I feel that it has an immediate impact on people, because in online you can see exactly by how many people an article was read, whether it was successful or not. See on the spot. I was making plans for the long term, now I like to take the days one by one. That makes me happy.
When I write an article on the site, I have a clear idea and do not let go until I transmit that idea exactly as I want it and how it looks like in my mind. It’s very clear there, head and tail. Well, until I do not see what is the central idea, the “red thread” of a future book and what I want to say through it, I do not want to write a book just for the sake of the process itself. At that moment I did not have such a pronounced and clear idea to say yes, “Until I do not do this book I do not let go.”
Meanwhile, from an interview with Lorena I came up with an idea, I got home and I think I wrote 5000 words one evening. That might turn into something next year …
Now I must explain to you what ruthless experiments she wants to do on us, her readers.
Do not panic, we still have some exclusivity.
She tells me serenely that her next book will be written under the pseudonym. The impact of a new book will be accurate, without the influences of her work from the past. He wants pure statistics. So I advise you not to leave the alert status since there is even an email with that pseudonym.
I am convinced that she is preparing something beautiful and special and I cannot wait for it to come to us!
Until then, it is worthwhile reading Diana Florina Cosmin’s articles carefully and officially signing up for FineSociety.
Photo: Diana Florina Cosmin