A few times per year I remember Zina. A girl that I cannot compare to anyone I have met. I don’t know what exactly triggers these thoughts. Perhaps as a writer and someone with tendency to overthink, I am just experiencing a random manifestation of thoughts swirling in my subconscious mind into my aware mind and they either get attention they need, or they disappear.
As I was thinking about my next post here, I thought I’ll post something about her then as it sounded like a good idea. It will allow others to see her brilliant mind and soul and I would have it saved here as a tribute to her, as she was one of my heroes. Still is actually.
I am not a huge fan of bucket lists and I refuse to make one, but I remember how I wanted to meet her one day. Until I realised, she’s dead. I felt incredibly sad that I’ll never get to ask her something or have a coffee with her.
It started with this video of her talking about her creative compulsive disorder.
I went and checked her blog,, it is still online if you want to check it out – https://normallyoddzina.wordpress.com
I really recommend reading her brilliant essays.
One thing that seems to have disappeared though, is my most favourite piece by her, essay named Contrast and Catalyst. Luckily, I’ve downloaded it at the time and it now lives on my old blog, where you can download it from.
So who exactly was Zina and why I am still enchanted by her being?
Zina, full name Zina Nicole Dembitsky Lahr, was born on 13th February 1990. She died unexpectedly on 20th November 2013, (aged 23), in a tragic accident whilst hiking trail in Ouray, in Colorado mountains. Her sister, Brie, died in a car accident 3 years before that, in December 2010 and there’s a heartfelt post on Zina’s blog dedicated to her sister.
Here is a brief excerpt of it:
Happy Birthday, Brie Michelle. Your body a vessel… Your soul beyond it. Your message true. Like messages in a bottle, we, the vessels who were touched by the story of your life, can carry it with us. The love you gave me, emotional snapshots in my heart, I keep them locked away there… and take them out from time to time to reminisce, but, even more so, in an attempt to share them with others.
Let only praises ring with every shout from my mouth… let me proclaim this life and LIVE. Oh, yes, LIVE like you showed you could. Let me be a mere vessel of the love you have carried to me… and so many others. Happy Birthday, dear sister of mine… I miss you more than ever, but I am comforted that your presence is still ever present.
You can read more of her thoughts on the blog I mentioned. I hope you will find her as inspiring and as magical as I did.
She was one of the few people I will always remember as ones that touched my soul in the way that I knew it was a gift from God. I always found her talking about this experience on Earth as a journey where she felt trapped in her body as in a vessel of sorts incredibly similar to my own feeling about it. As if bodies were only a framework around our souls, a mere point of reference so we humans can navigate through the life in physical form. It was this strangely comforting view of hers that made me love her. In the world where physical appearance is becoming more and more glorified, here was someone who didn’t challenge the idea of bodies being something that varies from person to person and shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, shamed for, or a tool for self loathing, but someone who recognised that in a way, they are just mechanical suits for our timeless souls needed to allow us to experience life on Earth.
Of course the idea of soul being trapped in the body isn’t anything new, but the way she spoke about it, didn’t show any signs of disappointment from that fact. It seemed that she knew that one day she’ll be able to go back home. She believed in God, but she wasn’t overly religious. Yet I can say she made me believe in God more than those who speak about Him more often and with greater zealousy. She was meek in this sense and I guess God spoke through her differently. And I loved the way He spoke through her.
She definitely was a Catalyst.