"I will not have a pension". Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

Nadia Matveeva

STB TV presenter Nadia Matveeva (Everything will be fine, The Incredible Truth About Stars, Happy in Seven Days, Call Sign Nadia) has become a student and is studying to become a psychologist. In an interview with OBOZ.UA, Matveeva does not hide her hopes that this specialty will eventually become her main one.

The TV presenter also spoke about her relationship with her family during the war. She explained why she now avoids asking questions about her loved ones - her beloved husband, who is 20 years younger, and her adult son.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- Nadia, where did the invasion find you? How did you survive the first days?

- I have a huge defense mechanism called "Everything will be fine". This is both my life motto and the name of the program I hosted for many years on STB. I remember the first days... Forgive me if I cry... When I walked with my dog near my house and repeated to all my friends: "Everything will be fine, everything will be fine" (she is silent for a long time). And to people I met, I said: "Everything will be fine." Now that two years have passed, I realize that it was probably some kind of foolishness on my part, but I do not regret it, I believe that someone felt better for a minute.

Then I focused on what I needed to do: I stocked up on medicines (my mother is hypertensive), took care of food. I stood, like everyone else, in long lines, saw faces - worried, scared. And at the same time, they were so stubborn, like, we can do it, we will live. These are my feelings of the first days. Now I tell my mother: you see, now both you and I understand what is behind the words "the main thing is that there is no war". But, on the other hand, the way Ukrainians live through the war is amazing.

This is the second winter, which could have been even worse than the first. However, we made it through it, thanks to the emergency services and power engineers who worked under fire and constant alarms. I often watch our janitors from the window. These are men and women who sweep, row, and clean every day. And when I throw away the garbage, I think: God, there is a war in the country, and everything is organized. People seem to be just doing their job, but in fact, together they are doing a powerful thing.

Or, for example, Irpin, a heroic small town that suffered greatly during the defense of the Kyiv region. When I visit there now, I see people whose homes have been destroyed, and they are sweeping, cleaning, and rebuilding on their own, realizing that it could come again. This is Ukraine and these are Ukrainians.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- Your mother is a resident of Irpin. Does she live with you now?

- She returned to her place right after the de-occupation. I asked to wait, but I wanted to go home. When I moved in, there was no gas or normal water supply in the house. This is also an example of how neighbors rallied together and helped each other. When the blackouts happened, they bought a generator together. The men installed a power supply to each apartment to connect gas boilers one by one with one generator so that the pipes would not freeze.

- Did you manage to take her out in the first days of the invasion?

- No, she categorically refused. And here we need to pay attention to an important nuance. There is a concept in psychology called the regression of the elderly. Under stress, their thinking can turn childish. Remember the stories of elderly people who said: I'm not going anywhere. And their children could not influence this in any way. And there is somewhere to go, like I did. And my mother said I would not go. I managed to persuade her the day before the bridge was destroyed... Later, when the stress had subsided a bit, she said: what a fool I was! She explained that because she was nervous, she did not realize the danger. This is how the brain perceived the terrible stress.

- It so happens that you have had to leave your established life and start over more than once. What advice would you give to people who are going through a similar journey?

- It's hard for me to give any advice, because when I left Crimea, it was for my studies. I left Kremenchuk because I had professional opportunities in Kyiv. It was a conscious choice in peacetime, and now it's war. What words can you find to support a person who has lost their home and family? I can only say that everyone has the right to live through grief as they can, at their own speed. You don't have to demand from me: I have to pull myself together urgently.

I have a friend who does a lot for the country. She has nothing left in Ukraine and has found temporary shelter in the UK. And she is experiencing a terrible sense of guilt because she thinks she is not helping enough. Now she has come to the realization that she lacks a good attitude towards herself. Take care of yourself so that you don't collapse. Because there is a period when we grieve, and there is a period when we come back to life. Many people complain that they seem to have frozen. And against this background, they have already forgotten how to be truly happy. Painful emotions are quicker and easier to manifest - we are created that way. But we may not notice the emotions of joy, so we need to give ourselves the task of focusing on them. Nurture small sprouts of joy. A morning cup of coffee is wonderful. Birds singing outside the window is great.

- Nadia, you had a period in your life when you lived in Moscow.

- I graduated from high school in 1986. I planned to study in Kyiv, even came here, visited Shevchenko University, and fell in love with its red walls. But the Chernobyl disaster happened. And I decided that I would go to Moscow. I passed the first exam with flying colors, and since I graduated with a gold medal, I was immediately enrolled. I got married at the institute-my husband is from Horishni Plavni. And we returned to Ukraine.

It's interesting that during my studies I was identified as a student from Ukraine. Crimea was "from Ukraine". There was only one unpleasant incident that I remember. I invited a friend, a fellow student, who is from the Russian city of Orel, to a wedding. And she said, literally, "To Ukraine? I'm not going!" It was an insult to me. Apparently, they always had this attitude. But I didn't find out anything, I just stopped communicating. And since I moved to Ukraine with my husband, all ties were cut off.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

You know, I'm incredibly grateful to fate that my life has turned out the way it has. That I am surrounded by people with whom I have strong communication. There are a few people to whom, at least on my birthday or during a meeting, I always say: I am grateful to you for life. This is my friend who once invited me to Kyiv, and Volodymyr Borodyansky, the former head of STB. In total, I have been working in the media for 27 years, half my life. I have a lot of experience, but when I came here, STB channel was something extraordinary. I am grateful that I was entrusted with "Everything will be fine". This is probably the best project in my professional life. On the one hand, it is large-scale (about 200 people worked on it), and on the other hand, it is useful in its kindness. I'm grateful that one day I decided to gather my strength and ask the management for financial assistance. And I was given an interest-free housing loan. I bought a two-room apartment of 52 meters, which I love very much. When I remember myself as a girl from an ordinary working family, I think: how could she have dreamed that it would turn out like this?

During the war, I repeatedly told myself, especially when it was hard, that I was alive. I recently told my mother: two years of war, so many horrors, and we are alive, we can talk. It is very important to support each other now, as we see how many misunderstandings between loved ones, divorces, and loss of connections with relatives are happening.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- In one of your interviews, you said that there was a rift in your relationship with your mother because she did not accept your boyfriend, who is 20 years younger.

- Yes, this is an important moment in my life, because I realized, as an adult, that I had not separated my child from his parents in a timely manner. If you look at my interviews from the beginning of my public life, I have always said that my best friend is my mother. The person I consult is my mother. And it was a natural process for me. And it's really cool. But to some extent, it's a trap, because my mom, who lives alone and had no more relationships after the divorce from my dad, at some point in her life began to perceive my life as her own. And she needed to be involved in everything.

And so, through conflict and misunderstandings, I realized that at some points I had to protect my mother from the news. I had to give her selective information. It was hard, and for a while she even refused to talk to me. I would periodically just call to check if my mother wanted to return our good relations. And at some point it happened. She had survived cancer at one point, and now she needed to have her health checked constantly. We went to Chernivtsi, where there is a medical facility at a monastery. And a miracle happened there - my mother's heart thawed. And since then, we have had a new, I would say more adult communication. I am grateful to my mother because she found the strength to accept my position.

- Do you keep in touch with your family and friends from Crimea now?

- It so happened that we hadn't been in close contact with our relatives who stayed there for a long time. And when a relative with whom we kept in touch died (and this happened long before the great war), everything came to a complete end. I moved my mother closer to me. And I am happy that I did it in time. In Crimea, I have only the graves of my grandparents and father.

And my classmates... I'll tell it like it is. When I graduated from school, I left Kerch and never talked to them again. I went to a school reunion once, and that was it. Somehow I wasn't very interested anymore. You see, friendship and even relationships with relatives should be based on similar views on life and shared values. I know that there are families who have very close relationships. I respect that, but it's not like that in my life. I'm like a person without roots, it turns out... But let's see how I think about it when I get older. For now, yes.

- Are there any places in Crimea that you miss? What would you like to see when you return there?

- I hope that we will all go there, to our favorite places. I remember the streets of Kerch, where I spent my childhood. Our house was located in such a way that you could see the sea from the balcony. As a child, I loved to be there alone. I even remember moments when I was swimming and singing something. And I sing badly - not for people, for myself (laughs). But I kept singing out loud, and it made me feel good. It's clear that I want to bring that back. It's an emotional state that I miss. You know, I can't even imagine how happy I will be when I return to Ukrainian Crimea.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- You don't hide the fact that your name in your passport is Lyudmyla. Who calls you that nowadays?

- It's been a long time since I've heard such an address. I changed my name when I came to Kyiv. My public name at the radio station where I worked was Nadia. And I introduced myself to all the people I met in such a way so as not to explain myself. And now it's so natural for me that I call myself that way internally.

The only thing is that I had a period during the war when I went to a psychologist who noticed that I had no connection with my little self. And when we live under stress because of problems and struggles, our "inner child" helps us feel joy. And I call her "Lyudochka". After that session with the psychologist, I went home and cried, remembering her, how cheerful she was. Despite the fact that I saw not very happy things in the family.

Sometimes I think that if I hadn't had such a hard time in my childhood (and I couldn't influence my father's bad habits), I might not be so hardened now. But I forgave my father. Over time, I realized that he lived the life he could. Alcoholism is a disease, and at some point my father could no longer cope with it. But I know for sure that he loved me as much as he could. Yes, I have forgiven him.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- And please tell me why you refuse to talk about your son and your beloved husband in an interview now?

- My loved ones are adults. And they have the right to want me to talk about them, or vice versa. Otherwise, I don't. It's like we are talking to you now, and then I will go and start telling someone about you without your permission. My relatives say to me: can't you live in peace and not discuss me? This is what I assume: other people's lives are not my property.

- Let me compliment you: you look very good. What is the secret?

- As for genetics, I can't say that my relatives have given me a heritage that I can relax with. And I always pay tribute in this sense to the project "Everything will be fine", which I hosted. They gave me some interesting advice every day. I tried something, saw the result, and gradually it became a habit. I'll share two secrets. First, I don't forget to drink water in the morning, preferably a lot of it. And I don't forget about water during the day. The second is long walks. For this, I am grateful to my dogs, with whom I have to walk, like it or not. But I really like to walk myself. Nowadays, professional doctors say that walking is a medicine according to international protocols. Physical activity affects health, well-being, and mental state.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- You are fond of psychology and pursue a profession in this field. Was it difficult to sit down at the desk after 50?

- I am a professional coach, I have a certificate according to ICF standards. I was trained at the Ukrainian International Coaching University CoachingUp. And in order to strengthen my base, I entered the Hryhorii Skovoroda University in Pereiaslav, which has a very powerful psychology department. Now I am in the process of writing my master's thesis on emotional intelligence. I will become a certified practical psychologist. I dream that someday this profession will become the main one.

At some point, I realized, and maybe you feel it too, that for modern women, the moment when we stop working, the so-called retirement, is likely to be gone. Look, a woman wants to be healthy, energetic, and look good, right? To this end, it is logical that the older we get, the more we should invest in our health and emotions - interesting things, travel. Now I'm talking more about peacetime, but in times of war, it's also crucial to take care of your emotional state. And this requires strength, energy and money. So, I have to continue to provide for myself, work, develop - and so on and so forth.

I'm not going to lie, sometimes the question arises in my mind: when will I rest? And then it makes sense to make life so interesting that work is not perceived as a burden. I am in the process of doing this. Both coaching and psychology are about what makes you feel happy.

The second question is: where do I find time for all this? Plus, I don't have small children anymore, because I've passed that stage, but I have television, social activities, volunteering, coaching. And I also need to find resources for studying. And time, and discipline, which is lame, because in the constant stress we are under, the brain tries to reject any load. The main energy is spent on surviving the war. And the body does not have many resources left for other things.

''I will not have a pension''. Nadia Matveeva talks about her new profession, family drama and the most precious thing she has left in Crimea

- Before the great war, you had a dog, and now, as you can see from your Instagram photo, you have two.

- I have loved dogs since childhood. I got Sami during the quarantine - I knew I would work less, which meant I would have more time for the animal. And after the invasion, I met Lucy at a veterinary clinic. A military man found the dog covered in wounds and rescued her. I decided to take the animal for rehoming and find her a family.

Now we are in the final stages of our life together - vaccinations, sterilization, all the documents have been collected, a family has been found, and at the end of March (God willing, everything will work out!) I will take Lucy to Germany. To the Ukrainians who decided to take her. In Lucy's life, it turns out that first a military man took care of her, then the veterinarians at the clinic, then a TV presenter, and then a Ukrainian family abroad. It was hard to part with her, to say the least. Sometimes I even imagine the moment when I return without her. I will cry, of course, but then I will be happy for her. Since there is a high level of respect for animals in Europe, there are certain rules and obligations for owners to create proper conditions, it is good that Lucy will go abroad. I hope she will have a happy life.

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