I journeyed through the darkness and I’m here to help others heal.

Photo by Damien Molina

Hey there, my name is Zsófia Vera.

It translates as wisdom (from the greek, sophia) and truth or faith (vera, from latin). Both my Sun and Rising signs are in Leo, which might explain the extensive array of images of me in this article, as well as the giddiness I harbour in holding such a potent mix of names. My moon sign is in Virgo however, and that meticulous earthy quality comes to ground and temper the fire a bit, thank goodness. …

On losing a friend to suicide.

Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

I received some sad news last weekend as I ventured to the skatepark for a late afternoon ride.

I learned of the death by suicide of G, a young man with whom I had ridden, back in 2019.

I remember his softness, his sweetness and his resolved disbelief in belonging anywhere, especially not to the riding community here in Strasbourg.

I remember him not having much esteem of himself and I remember clumsily trying to persuade him otherwise.

I remember him aching and pining for a young girl who rode bikes too, and he…

“Just remember to breathe”

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

So you’ve decided to get a tattoo.

Regardless of the reason for committing to welcoming a permanent piece of art on your skin, the question that itches in your brain as a soon-to-be tattooed person is : how painful is the process, really?

The sensation of pain is indeed a tremendously subjective experience which will vary depending on your own sensitivity and any pre-existing conditions you may have.

Unable to establish an all-encompassing definition, let me offer to you my own personal experience regarding the pain of getting tattooed.

At the end of this article, you’ll…

It sheds light on a system of abuse that needs to end

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Man up.

Sit down.

Chin up.

Pipe down.

The heady beginning of the song called Samaritans plants me into a space of cleansed purpose as it nurtures rage in a measured undertone, a slow simmer of fury that is just enough to feel present, awake again, yet not fully tumbling into despair. On the surface it begins like any punk song: there’s a wail, there’s a sense of unrest, there are heavy guitars. But then a poignancy is heard in the singer’s voice as he confesses :

The mask of masculinity / is a mask, is a mask that is…

The game only ends if you stop getting back up.

In the fall of 2019, I wrote a detailed account of how I came to pick up a BMX bike in my early thirties. The process inspired the unravelling of a template of sorts that might be used to bring even more dream projects into reality.

As I prepare to celebrate my third “BMX birthday” this summer, there are a few lessons that I keep learning (and relearning) through my practice which I’d like to share with you.

It’s been an especially ripe year for cementing these lessons, as the…

Photograph by Frank Stefanko found here

“Friends who know me understand this one’s personal”

An acquaintance posted this sober remark on 10 January 2016, the day David Bowie died.

A few months later, I would find myself in the middle of rush hour at Holborn station in London, squinting past hurried folk, in search of a friend I was meeting for dinner. When said friend arrived he spoke with quivering disbelief, having just heard of Prince’s death.

In the year that eventually took Leonard Cohen and George Michael among many more, I witnessed in others the mourning for figures they’d never met but whose work had…

A reminder of the transformative experience of live music

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’ve never attended Glastonbury festival.

Before the world duly shut down, the prospect of relinquishing safety and structured days in order to amble around on unfamiliar ground, seemingly without much of a purpose, felt a tad daunting to my easily anxious self.

Naturally, now, it is what I most desperately yearn for, but back then, in the before-world, there was too much freedom in the act of attending any festival, and I avoided them perhaps because the looseness of such an experience threatened to reveal some truth about myself that I may not have willingly faced…

It just keeps getting better

Photo by shahin khalaji on Unsplash

The first day letting go of the cigarette is always the worst.

The resolutions from the previous night already seem a blur. By midday, I was craving the filthy release of the death stick. The rising of the craving was to be expected, but I was armed with deep seated knowledge this time.

I’d experienced the relapse and cleansing cycle enough to know that, within a few days, I’d be enjoying a whole new lease on life. I’d be celebrating heightened levels of energy! Better sleep! Clearer skin, and no smell on my clothes! …

Reflecting on a year of solitude

Photo by Zhu Liang on Unsplash

What I remember from before the pandemic is an increasing sense of listlessness.

In early March 2020, I had returned from a short trip to London, where I had lived for a decade, before moving back to Strasbourg, north-eastern France, in 2016.

Releasing the loop of the past

Strasbourg is a sleepy town, adored by tourists for its quaint architecture.

The shift from global metropolis to a village so tremendously inland, and isolated, was absorbed rather than actually experienced.

I had grown up in Strasbourg. Returning here came with its fair share of familiarity and unease. I convinced myself that the move was a parenthesis…

The journey from isolation towards self actualisation

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash


There were times I’d disappear because I wanted people to miss me.

I longed for them to notice my absence and to reach out. Are you okay? Let me know if you need anything. These words, pacifiers we often dismiss as a result of habitual, learned independence, still felt good. I received them as distant signs confirming the reassuringly ordinary missing of me from those who spoke them.

I wondered if people were asking about me, thus proving to my questioning mind that there was indeed something I was bringing to the table—and…

Zsófia Vera

Artist, Writer, Designer. I write about mental health, music, identity, healing and creativity // hello@zsofiavera.com

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