PREOCCUPYING MY MIND AND APARTMENT HUNTING

(I’m going to start off this blog post with a very cliché “long time, no see”, so brace yourselves).

Long time, no see! Almost a month has passed since I last posted something here and on my Instagram. My life has been 90% Animal Crossing, and I think I just needed it to be for a while, being present in my mind has been a bit too much. I’ve really been struggling with intrusive thoughts and recurring memories of past trauma. The littlest things set me off, so keeping my head preoccupied has been my main directive.

There has been some glimpses of light on better days too, though. I’ve visited my sister a few times, which has been really nice, and had some walks with a friend of mine who’s just moved back into the country. Him and I actually started looking at apartments to rent together. Him asking really helped me get out the cowed state my parents have put me in.

My parents have told me for so long that I won’t be capable of living on my own, that I would fail like I’ve done before, but when he asked I could kind of “blame” him. I didn’t have to stand up for myself to my parents, which my AvPD brain was very happy about, and never would be able to do. He changed his mind though and doesn’t want to move out until after corona, (he says it’s because his job situation might not be so secure, but I think he’s saying that instead of saying he changed his mind about me), so now I’m looking by myself again. But he helped me, I’m so set now.

I’ve found an apartment that I really like and I’m getting an answer to whether I get it or not tomorrow. I went to look at it on Friday and waited for an answer since, which has meant a spontaneous scream in anxiety every fifteen minutes. Cross your fingers for me, please!

Things feel really weird, because I feel so hopeless at the same time as I’m very ready to start my life. There’s some kind of hope growing there in the black dirt. Hmm.

Hope you’re having a good daySee you soon.

x Almond

SOME SORT OF REVIEW: THE GOLDFINCH

The one and only spoiler to this review: I have never written a review before in my life and this probably doesn’t even go under the term “review”, but well, here we are. (May be a spoiler about Theo’s personality).

. . .

I bought The Goldfinch some time in 2014, if I remember correctly. At the time I read a fair amount of books, but I somehow never picked this one up after I brought it home with me. Maybe because it looked too daunting with its 864 pages, I don’t know, but anyway, it stayed on the shelf. Now I can finally say I’ve finished it, and what a whirlwind of a read this has been.

I was hooked from the first page. I could sense that Theo was troubled, and I wanted to know what he’d been through, how he got there, to that hotel room, both mentally and physically.

I have not read her previous books, but I quickly fell in love with Donna Tartt’s way of writing. Her carefully chosen words and elaborate depictions, phrases that encapsulated me, but were somewhat simple at the same time. There’s nothing to say on the prose in this book – it’s simply mesmerising. And despite using, what must be, her whole vocabulary and more, I found the book easy to read. Her choice of words is mindful and they flow easily.

Tartt’s use of words and eye for detail, (in places where it’s not needed too), almost becomes her bane in this book, though. There’s a lot of repetition and when I was around half-way through, I could feel the story dragging, it never really got anywhere. But I felt for Theo, his self-destructiveness, and how he longed for love and care, despite having sort of given up already, so I felt obligated to read on, and in the end I’m glad I did.

I had to put it away a few times, which is why I spent such a long time reading it. Both because it got old a few times, but also because I was angry at Theo for not really growing up. I wanted him to be better: alert and mindful, caring and attentive, responsible and to find a sense of purpose. Maybe on behalf of myself?

As I said, I’m glad I continued to read on. Though a bit predictable at times, it’s a good story which has it’s moments and, for me, eye-openers. I’ve gotten the memo that there’s a conflict to what people think about the ending, but it was an ideal ending for me. When being pre-occupied in my mind while depressed, I need others to think for me sometimes, and the ending was just what I needed.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Have you read The Goldfinch? What are your thoughts?

x Almond

THE WEEKLY LIST #4: CONVERSE AND LOW MOODS

WHAT HAPPENED?

☁️ On Monday one of my favourite Norwegian artists, Kristian Kristensen, had a live stream concert on Facebook and it was so good, a great start to the week and a good encouragement when being mostly stuck inside. It’s such a great initiative that artists have these live streams on Facebook and Instagram to keep our spirits up these days!

☁️ I discovered a (for me) new artist, Lucy Rose, and her 2012 album Like I Used To has been played on repeat. Her rhythms and melodies are right up my alley for cosy days.

☁️ The clothes and shoes I ordered came, which cheered me up a bit this week. An incentive to get out of the house more, hopefully, or maybe even get out of my standard sweats even when staying at home (as I do most of the time)? Some self care? (I was going to say “there’s something about getting new clothes for Spring”, but I think I’d rather say “there’s something about getting new clothes period”, haha. Confronting your feelings? No thanks, I’ll buy a couple of new sweaters).

HOW DID I FEEL?

☁️ If you read my previous post you’ll know that I haven’t been feeling “on top of the world” recently. My depression is back and things feel hopeless. I try to trick my brain into finding pieces of happiness, like with the clothes I got in the mail, writing happy things down – a fake it until you make it type of thing. I don’t have much luck in getting to get it to stick yet, truly feeling it, but even fleeting bursts of joy is an achievement. And even though I don’t feel general happiness on behalf of myself, I can still live a little through the happiness of my dogs.

GLIMPSES OF LIGHT

☁️ Having cuddly dogs. ☁️ Having a friend send me random music recommendations. ☁️ Opening my shop in Animal Crossing. ☁️ Getting ready to start a new book. ☁️ New clothes to create new stories and memories in. ☁️ Being able to put my thoughts into words. ☁️ Realising I’ve managed to keep my Monstera alive for over a year. ☁️

How are you feeling?

x Almond

GOOEY SADNESS DRIPPING ON THE FLOOR

I’m not sure when the glass went beyond full, when it tipped over and spilt dark, gooey stuff all over the table, sadness dripping on the floor.

I haven’t been “right” for a few months now, and I’ve felt that – more frequent and harsher mood swings, all-consuming emptiness, worsened pressure and escalation of my AvPD, tears on tears on tears – but I didn’t want to believe that I would be back here again, too. Back in the hopeless state of depression.

I’ve avoided what usually is hugely telling signs, because seeing these signs makes the depression a reality. It means facing the fact that it came back again, that it will keep coming back.

My depression has (obviously) interfered with my blogging, as with many other things. I haven’t had much to give. Ideas come and go, but I never have the drive, motivation or energy to work on and execute them. It’s hard to seldom perform sufficiently, after your own wish. And I want to apologise to both you and me for being absent.

I think I need to lower the expectations I have to myself and what I can actually manage to do in this state. (Well, I think we all need to lower the pressure we put on ourselves, no matter the state we’re in). I’m sorry if the blog will (continue to) be a little dried up.

Hope you’re okay ♡

x Almond

THE WEEKLY LIST #3: ANIMAL CROSSING AND DRY GRAVEL

WHAT HAPPENED?

☁️ This week I’ve actually been on several walks with my dogs. Usually my mom takes them when I can’t because of my anxiety, but this week I joined them several times. On my birthday we headed out to the woods and walked around there with our cameras. It was really nice using my camera outside again. (You can see some photos from our walk here.) And speaking of both cameras and my birthday, you can see the super cute mug I got that day below!

☁️ I ordered myself some clothes and a pair of yellow Converse for Spring. Hopefully they will be here this week. Something I also got for myself was Animal Crossing! I had never played it before until Friday, and I have so much to learn, but I am in love with it already. It’s so peaceful and calming, a great escape. I’m trying not to let it take over my life though, so I have a rule of “you have to do x productive things before yo can play”, but it works kind of counterproductive. Now I just sit around moping about not being able to play, and don’t get either done, haha.

☁️ I finally picked up The Goldfinch again! You are probably tired of hearing about it, so am I, but I’ve managed to pick it up again and I’m left with 160 pages. I’m too invested in Theo, I can’t just avoid following him to the end, because I don’t want to get hurt. It’s a book, they’re safe feelings.

HOW DID I FEEL?

☁️ As I mentioned on my last post and on my Instagram, I’ve had a bit anxiety about me getting older. I’m still here and I haven’t gotten better over the years, which is a bit depressing. Fortunately I had something to look forward to, the Animal Crossing release, and that helped me get out of it. I’m not joking when I say it’s a great escape. The colours, the slow paced “just vibing” vibe, really helps to lower ones shoulders.

☁️ I’ve felt good spending more time out of the house this week. Sun on my face, the sound of dry gravel under my sneakers – a sign of Spring. AvPD is very isolating, so when I have good days I make sure to spend at least a little bit of them outside. More Time Out In The Sun for president.

SOMETHING I’M GRATEFUL FOR?

☁️Green sprouts popping up here and there. ☁️ Growing friendships. ☁️ Living comfortably. ☁️ Being used to self-isolation in these days. ☁️ The people who came up with Animal Crossing all those years ago. ☁️ The Internet and the top-notch people I’ve met here. ☁️

What have you been grateful for in the past week? ♡

x Almond

BIRTHDAY EXCURSION: A PHOTO SERIES (AND SOME THOUGHTS)

I’m not a fan of doing too much out of my birthday. I feel awkward and anxious having/”demanding” all the attention. I’m giving a small shout out to corona for not allowing my mom to force a family birthday party on me. I don’t feel comfortable “forcing” friends and family to celebrate me. Who am my insignificant being to demand that?

To the point: my mom still wanted us to do something fun, so she suggested we drive to the woods and walk around with the dogs and our cameras. (I got the whole family together and we got a camera for her birthday in October, she’s taking so much joy and pleasure in using it, which is super fun for me!). She had talked to my aunt who said the liverworts had just sprung out – a true sign of Spring! – and she wasn’t loud about it, but I know she really, really wanted to photograph them. So we got into the car, dogs in their cages.

The sun was up and warming us as we walked. Koda and Khaleesi were thrilled to be a place they hadn’t been before. We didn’t have to go far to spot our first liverworts. *Brings out camera and sits down in an awkward position to get the best angle*. A lot of photos were taken on our walk, and I think I’m just going to show some of them without further a due. I would be so glad to hear what you think! And also, what is a sure sign of Spring where you live?

The general concept of a birthday is a bit hard for me. A birthday means I’ve been on Earth for another year, and I’m, in my head, yet another year on overtime. I don’t struggle with depression as bad as I used to, but I still feel like this. I guess the thoughts stem a little from my AvPD as well, my negative view on myself. I’m not suicidal, but I still feel like I should have been dead yesterday. (This got a bit dark, I’m sorry). Moving on.

I quite like the one above. The symbolism of it. Despite the darkness of the leaves and dirt, the liverworts have still managed to surface. They’ve just fought their way through with the little light that accessed them through the obstacles before them. I’m trying to be like that.

Just like I closed the last post with I’m going to watch Criminal Minds now, we really have to catch up if we’re to make it to the end before they remove the series, haha. I wish I was more productive during this quarantine, but this is nothing different from my normal life, so I still find it hard. My head isn’t working properly. Oh, well.

Stay safe ♡

x Almond

BIRTHDAY GIRL AND AN UPDATE

We meet again, you handsome souls! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? 2 whole weeks! The internet here has been really bad here, and then it completely shut down. Oh, well, it’s up and running again and I’m back now : )

I thought I’d do an update on what’s been going on in the time I’ve been away, just to get back on track.

. . .

☁️ I have not finished The Goldfinch! How, what, why? I think it’s a mix between the reader in me and the borderline fear of being abandoned that has gotten in the way. It’s written so well and I love the characters. I don’t want to be cut off from their lives when the book ends. I’m not ready for that kind of break, haha?

☁️ My little baby Khaleesi turned 3 on Monday! She got her special bow on, she posed for some pictures, and we went down to the pet store so she could pick out her birthday present. She picked out a small brown teddy bear, which she played with for a while and then gave to Koda, who ripped off one of its arms.

☁️ I have watched a lot of Masterchef! The 11th season of MC Australia came out in January here in Norway, and my mom and save up episodes so that we can see three or four at the same time, so we’re not finished yet. I love Masterchef Australia and it’s going to be so sad next season when Matt, George and Gary have left.

☁️I’ve been looking at apartments for rent. It’s about time I leave and live by myself again, take some responsibility and (try and) start my life. My GP also said that my mood swings may be worse because of my living situation. I currently live with my parents and I split on my dad a while back and I’m always on edge. I don’t want to strain the relationship. Also, I am 23 in a few days – it’s time.

☁️Tortoises! I’ve gotten super into them and I’m doing research and watch tortoise-tubers almost every minute of every day. Tortoises are so adorable and seem to have big personalities! I can’t get one right now, but I’m making sure I know everything there is to know about them by the time I can have one (or two?).

☁️ I found out my bio-mom has (finally for her) moved to our neighbouring city and she’s tried to make contact by sending texts, which is hard for me. Her dream is that we finally become a happy family, her, me, my sister, and my brothers. That everything, the neglect, the instability, her drug use, just *poof* is gone. Maybe I’ll write a post about more of my thoughts concerning that.

☁️ If you haven’t seen already, I made a logo for the blog in Procreate and I don’t think it turned out so bad. It was so good practising lettering again and Procreate makes it so easy! The font is 100% me, but the leaves is a stapled Procreate brush. What do you think?

So, that’s some of the things that have been going on the past two weeks. As for today I’ve had a little high and I actually used it productively instead of buying All The Things online; I went on a walk with the dogs, gave Khaleesi a bath, cleaned both my bathroom and living room, (which hadn’t been done in a while), and gave myself a shower as well (also needed).

The rest of the day I’m going to mix watching Criminal Minds while catching up on blogs. Our streaming service removes Criminal Minds in 23 days, and my mom and I have 3 seasons left to watch before that happens, haha! So now you know what I’ll be doing the next couple of weeks! But I’ll make sure to stop by here.

Hope you still have a good weekend and that you’re staying safe and take precautions to avoid the corona virus! ♡

x Almond

THE WEEKLY LIST #2: CONCERT AND MOOD SWINGS

This weeks read? I’m still reading The Goldfinch. I’m so afraid I will swallow it just so I can start reading The Shadow of the Wind, so I haven’t read as much as I would like.

This weeks high? Definitely the Ásgeir concert on Monday. It was so good. His live performance is amazing, I wish he would release more live recordings. His voice is so pure – fragile but strong. One of a kind.

This weeks low? Falling asleep on a wet pillow a couple times too many.

This weeks work? I’ve gotten out of the house every day this week, (if I remember correctly)! Well, it hasn’t really been that much work, because I’ve been on a high when going out, but normally that would take a lot of work.

This weeks panic? Haven’t really had any big panicky episodes? Hmm.

This weeks want? A break.

This weeks mood? All over the place. I’ve had some big mood swings the past week. I’ve felt inspired, utterly depressed, careless and joyful, hopeless, invincible. It’s been intense. It’s hard, because I’m on medication and it should dull it down, and it has for a while, but now the mood swings are back in full force.

This weeks new? Inspiration to start bullet journaling again! As for material things I bought a Moleskine soft cover notebook for the occasion. I’ve never tried Moleskine before (what? I know), but I can say I’m already in love. The quality of the pages are YUM, I can’t believe that I’ve missed it for so long?

This weeks cosy? Sitting on the train reading and/or imagining myself a character and a story, someone else going to a wonderful place, having some grand meaning and purpose.

Something to look forward to next week? Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe to see what getting back into bujoing can help me do.

I hope this new month treats you well! ♡

x Almond

GOING BACK TO BASICS: REVIVING MY BULLET JOURNALIST

After getting out of my apathetic rut I’ve wanted to come back to bullet journaling. I kind of fell out of the system some time before physically stopping to bujo. I’ve used this beautiful Archer & Olive book and been very into collaging and making it (in my opinion) pretty. And, as with many others, this became the bane of my actual bullet journaling.

I had to make a thought through collage over two pages before I could even write down a single letter and being as obsessive as I am I spent quite some time actually finishing the collages. I took my time and did enjoy myself too, but spending this time collaging made my eyes, my back (the kitchen table is not a good place to sit), and my head tired, so I didn’t bujo. I just dotted down what I had done at the end of the day and wrote a journal entry, and it was the same the next day, (if my head was up for it).

I didn’t have time or energy left to think, plan, organize, and set (and achieve!!) my goals.

Without the bullet journal to clear and straighten my head, I wasn’t very productive. I also didn’t get to unload through the day, which ended up with me being stuck with a mess of thoughts. I believe that when unloading and getting your mind down on paper, you let things go a bit. No, not completely, but enough to down the pressure a bit. You get to reflect while the pen does it’s work and maybe it makes it easier to put things away for a little while.

For my restart I’m stripping it down and go back to basics. No fuzz, no collages, no intricate layouts, no overthinking. Just black on white. The basic bujo. (I will even try to restrain myself from using washi tapes). I know this will make it more accessible to me, and that is a big point of the bullet journal – it should be easy to use, it shouldn’t take time, it shouldn’t be a bother.

I’m aching to get back some clarity of mind, and to (hopefully) up my productivity and get shit done. I mean, it’s already helping. I cleared my head and got ready for a meeting on Friday, and didn’t go into it like an unprepared zombie like I would have done just a few weeks ago. Also, I’ve been wanting to play on my Switch all day, but I had “finish post” dotted down today, and here we are!

If you bullet journal, do you do basic bujo or creative bujo? If you do creative, do you also find that you compromise a bit on the bullet journal system to be more creative?

Happy weekend!

x Almond

THE WEEKLY LIST #1: SOMETHING IN THE MAIL

This weeks read? The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I’m halfway through now and I don’t know what to say, to be honest. So. Many. Feelings.

This weeks high? The package in the mail! (More about that further down).

This weeks low? Lying in bed at 3AM sobbing. Just all these moments when the tears have been pressing on, seemingly without reason at times.

This weeks panic? I realised I’m going to a concert next week. Tomorrow to be exact. I got it as a Christmas present from my sister, and looked at it as being so far into the future, but after my epiphany that it’s actually !now! my anxiety has been rising a bit.

This weeks work? Dragging myself out if this apathetic/shut off state I’ve been in with this identity/existential crisis. All I did for a week was just staring, which isn’t unusual in itself, but this time it truly hurt. I’ve managed to pull myself out of it, and I’m awake again now, thankfully.

This weeks mood? I’ve been a bit on the edge, a lot of tears have been pressing below the surface. Some of the tears I have allowed to fall, the rest I’ve swallowed. (But I think I need to let them out as well). Other than that it’s been so good to read and journal again!

This weeks want? Vegan chocolate milkshake, a new denim jacket, a good nights sleep.

This weeks “new”? I finally, (and I say finally, because they came two days after they should have), got The Cemetery of Forgotten Books in the mail. The sweet smell of new books. I have to really restrain myself from not rushing The Goldfinch now as I long to start The Shadow of the Wind.

This weeks cosy? Getting the duvet from the bed and snuggling up in the sofa, Khaleesi lying on my legs snoring, book open in my hands.

Something to look forward to next week? The Ásgeir concert tomorrow, no doubt. The last time I saw him live was in 2015 (I think) and it was magical. Even though I’m anxious about it, my sister is going with me, and I know that if it gets too much, she’ll be there ❤

x Almond