I’m sitting here in the lazy chair in my parents house, I’m cat sitting this weekend. It’s a grey morning outside, wind is blowing through the apple trees and shaking some apples to the wet grass from the rain earlier. The heating pump is on and Leesi is sleeping at my feet, curled up in a blanket. As I am sitting here, my thoughts wander to the things I’m grateful for in my life, and I thought I’d share five of them with you today.
❥ My animals. The way they show me unconditional love every day and I do the same with them. Even on my worst days, they bring out the best in me. They fill up my entire heart and I don’t even know how to put into words what they mean to me. Love, love, love.
❥ My parents living close by. I have felt some embarrassment from getting an apartment so close to my parents house, (even though it was the best apartment out for rent when I was looking), but I am happy that’s where I landed. I am independent, but their support is just a few streets away.
❥ Writing again and picking up my camera. I am slowly getting back into expressing myself on paper and capturing little moments, and that I am very much grateful for. Lowering my expectations and trying to just enjoy it.
❥ The best season of the year is just three days away. In a short time the leaves will turn orange and red and yellow. The sun will become golden and create that crisp, but sweet scent in the air. Rain will pour down and there will be full days spent under blankets with reading, tv-series, tea, hot cocoa and cuddles, in the soft light of lit candles. Layers of knitted and fluffy sweaters and cardigans and dressy trousers and Dr. Martens and checkered and dark coloured floral dresses and pantyhose!
❥ The Internet. I’ve met some good people online over the past years, and even though there’s a part of me that don’t dare to call them my friends, (how can anyone want to be my friend?), there’s another part who cherish them so much and they show me love, and I suppose that’s what friendship is. I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that I am wanted and I am someone people care about.
The temperature is harsh this morning, it’s not hard to tell that Autumn is right around the corner. I’ve put on woolen socks that my mom has knitted for me, the heater is on, and I’ve made myself a cup of apple and cinnamon tea. It’s a slow morning, and I’m visiting my mother today. I have no real plans other than that at the moment. Or probably several more cups of tea. And a walk with Khaleesi.
I’m on day nine of no self destructive behaviour, and I think I might be feeling good actually. It’s going way smoother than I had expected? I thought I was going to fight hard for this, but the urges are bordering on insignificant and are in a way easy to overcome. I have had some help from my anxiety medication, but I wasn’t using too much of them before, so this increase is okay in my eyes. I hope this next week will be equally as good as the last one in these terms. Fingers crossed.
I am once again back here behind the screen typing away. The sun is going down, I’ve lit a scented candle – Pine Spice – and Khaleesi is softly slumbering in her cuddle nest next to me. My mind has been pre-occupied with some not-so-good things lately. I feel freer now, and I want to come back, but I’m struggling. Struggling with the idea that I’m worthy to take up space, that I can be someone, be seen. Which is why this blog never really was anything, I suppose.
I seldom feel like I am good enough, (other than on my ups when I feel like I am beyond best, but that doesn’t last long), and I realize everything that I’m missing out on personally. I am scared to the bone of being perceived as thinking I am Someone, a Person. I don’t write, I don’t journal, I don’t do much photography anymore. Half of the time I won’t even allow myself to think. And the reason can be boiled down into six words: Who do I think I am? Who do I think I am sitting here breathing?
I can’t seem to shake off the need to try to be something specific, trying to please the expectations I project on others in my mind. Messy me isn’t enough, I don’t feel like a complete person. But at the same time I don’t think I’ve ever let myself truly try to be something for myself. Almost all I am is set in these expectations of what I believe others want to see and hear.
I need to start being Unapologetically Me. Start from scratch. I know I keep repeating myself, but life is a journey, ones person is a journey. I probably say it more to comfort myself most of all, but I think we all need to hear this from time to time. We don’t need to have it all figured out at all times. I need to accept life, and first and foremost myself. No more apologies, no more trying to justify my existence. I am enough just as I am, imperfectly perfect.
What has it been? Like five weeks? Longer? Time has flown by so fast I haven’t even noticed. This move has taken so much of me, physically and emotionally. It has been a big step to move out again and start on my own, and I haven’t been sleeping really, except in daytime, and then my day has been done to be honest. It has been a good move, but I haven’t had much energy afterwards, and then with not sleeping properly it has been tiresome. I recently bought a weighted blanket though, and these past few nights have been so good. If you struggle with your sleep I highly recommend it!
I have tried to keep some sort of routine these past weeks, but by going back to sleeping in daytime, (it hasn’t been 6 hours like I did when I was depressed, but enough), it has been hard. We’ve had a walk, and I’ve been reading some, and then in the afternoon we’ve been visiting Koda, Kalypso and my parents. Khaleesi has been needing that for the transition to our own life to be smooth. I haven’t been doing much productive since, though. I’ve ordered a desk from IKEA, which has arrived now (but I haven’t set it up yet because I’m cat sitting at my parents house), and I hope that will make me want to sit down and work, give some incentive to sit down and get creative again.
My first week of having the keys, I spent painting my living/dining room. It was originally painted a very sad grey tone, not even a fashionable one, (how anyone managed to live in that I don’t know).
I’ve added some photos from my apartment as it is now to this post. If you want to see the before and after photos of the paint job I have a link here! (The plant is a cover photo).
The photos following are of my living room as it is, I have photos of my kitchen as well, but they would be too much for this post as it would contain too many photos, so I’ll add them later if that’s interesting. My bedroom wouldn’t be much to show, though, as I haven’t made any effort there yet, haha.
I am very happy as to what my living room looks like. I have my 50’s brocade couch and chairs, my 70’s teak table and stool, a sewing table and a proper 2020’s bookshelf.
The hanging to the right in the photo above, or down right at the picture below is a picture of the moon phases which I got in a small local store in Brooklyn when I was there in folk high school. It is one of the parts of that time in folk high school that I recall vividly. I have some other problems, trauma, that have made me forget most of that time, but I remember this.
We were in this small boho shop in Williamsburg that sold jewellery and scarfs, I found this and had to take it with me. I got it with me safely, no wrinkles, and I think it just states the preciousness of those moments in New York. Like somehow I had to remember this.
I think my first goal for June is very much accomplished. 2nd goal: which was to spend more time outdoors is also done. Khaleesi and I have been sitting in the garden quite a bit until the heavy rain came. (I am very happy about the rain, though, I love rain). We’ve also been on walks every day.
The “no post processing my photos” has been fun. None of these photos are post processed, just presets that I’ve made in camera, and I quite like the result. It’s not a commercial preset, it’s just my preference and I think that’s nice. I like that it’s kind of “original me”.
Keeping up with my previous routine is a story by itself. I have not managed to do this in any form or way. I have gotten dressed, but that’s it. I think it has something to do with me not having a designated workspace, and probably a lot to do with me having to take a lot of time just getting used to the move and sleeping. We have had some routine though, which I mentioned earlier in this post.
This is where I plan to have my desk, next to my dresser. I’ll have to move my Begonia and the two small boxes I’ll keep stationed on the legs of my desk. I’ll have a lot of light coming in from the window and also from the window in my living room. It’ll be good.
Two pictures down you can see my dining area. I have a proper 70’s dining area, with teak chairs, (they are a lovely forest green, but you can’t see it, I still have to adjust my “preset”), and a teak table. My table needs a vaseline oil coating and then it will be perfect.
I have to show you the light that my disco ball gives. I have photos, but that too will make this post too long. I’ll wrap it up here.
I’m very content living here. I feel like this is a place where I can stay for a bit while saving up for my own apartment. It feels safe, (it’s in a cul-de-sac), and it feels nice. I’m happy.
A month has passed and a new one lies before us. May was harsh, but at the same time relieving and uplifting. I was finally able to send my application for disability aid, (after waiting 2 1/2 months for my caseworker to do two simple things, that she had said would take 2 weeks), which sparked a whole lot of different emotions.
It is a grief having to come to terms with the fact that I’m not functioning in school or work and won’t be able to stand on my own feet financially because of my mental illnesses, and knowing what I’ll miss out on not having a career. It is a grief knowing that you don’t function “normally”. In many ways I have lost. It is also a huge relief to know that I can have financial stability despite of that, if this application goes through. I’ll be able to have a life. Permanent disability aid, instead of temporary 4 year work ability assessment pay, also means that I have time to learn what works for me and find out how I can live my best life with my limits. It means security and calm.
In this post I talked about waking up from a dormant state of mind and wanting to reclaim my life. Of course this doesn’t indicate that I’m 100% healthy, and that all of a sudden I’m all well, I am simply having a better period. My struggles are still there, but I see them more clearly and I’m able to address them in a more productive manner as they come along. I am more aware of when I’m (for example) spiralling and have the extra energy and will to pull myself out of it or distract myself. It may come easier for me now, but it’s still work.
By “reclaiming my life” I mean taking ownership over my day, my emotions and my actions – in my best-est of efforts not letting my disorders rule over me completely. What do I want this life to be and how do I get there? How can I easiest facilitate ways to achieve an overall good quality of life? Where should my focus lie in my everyday life? How can I grow? These are questions I have to keep asking myself regularly.
I’ve set myself some goals for June to cover different areas, from general well being to sparking creativity. I thought I’d share some of them with you.
GOALS FOR JUNE
✎ Make my apartment cozy, a place for relaxation and inspiration. I love decorating, so I’m very excited about this task. I have some ideas already. Having nice and clean surroundings is good for everyones mental health.
✎ Spend more time outdoors! Fresh air is good for your body and soul. I get a little garden patch at my new place and I want to spend (almost) equally as much time there as inside this summer. (I take the liberty of reserving myself from this goal if it gets too hot). If anyone wants to join me reading on a picnic blanket in the grass, just let me know.
✎ Not post process my photos, rather change settings in camera, and keep the photos as they are afterwards. I want to get more creative and mindful with my camera and I hope this will help!
✎ Keep up with my newly started routine and keep getting dressed on weekdays. Keeping some sort of routine is in my eyes one of the keys to a healthy life, it is a way of taking action.
I haven’t set too many goals, I don’t want to drown myself and end up doing everything half-way, but I have set enough to not make me lazy either. Good middle-ground.
My plan for the rest of the day is to try and stay calm before I get the keys to the apartment tomorrow! And I really do need to start packing for my move, I haven’t packed anything yet… I thought I’d get a clearer idea of what I wanted to bring as I was closing in on the big day, but I haven’t. I probably know subconsciously, so what’s left is actually p a c k i n g.
The contract is filled in and signed and today it’s exactly one week until I get the keys to the apartment! Am I allowed to be a little over-the-top excited? It’s been three years since the last time I lived on my own and I’m eager (to say the least) to be independent again.
I have sort of made myself a new routine, getting ready to “start over” and get more out of my days, so I thought I’d share it with you.
. . .
Bedtime is around 10:30 and I have my alarm set for 9:15 the next morning. I might not get up before 10, but at least I’m awake. (Baby steps).
I don’t touch my sweats on weekdays, I usually put on a dress or a soft jumpsuit, and I do my brows in the morning, as to feel a bit made for the day. I used to be in my sweats all day, six days a week, and actually getting dressed has made a difference. This may sound weird, but I’m very emotionally attached to my clothes and I can’t stand the thought of slowly wearing them out by only sitting under a blanket all day. I feel like they deserve to be used for something good.
Next on my list in the morning is getting downstairs to grab a Monster and upstairs again to my desk, put on some Bon Iver or Keaton Henson, journal for a bit and write my to-do list for the day. (This would paint a much more aesthetic picture if I said I made myself a cup of tea, but I pinky swear that happens sometimes as well). This is also a good time to day dream while listening to the birds singing in the apple trees outside.
I often try to write something afterwards, to continue my journaling-thoughts in a more structured manner. If I can’t do that I’ll watch some videos on YouTube, either on personal growth or photography, to get inspired for the day. I don’t meet many people and I don’t go to work, so it’s good to get some input from other people in ways that I can. And I water my plants.
After this I’ll most likely pick up my camera or start a brain-dump with ideas and try to build on them. I do wish I was more determined to put these ideas to life, though, but I’m too insecure in myself still, so most of them just stay ideas and inspirations. My photos are rarely significant, but I try to take at least a couple of photos a day, even if they’re less than insignificant, just to keep it up.
If it’s sunny the dogs are let out for a while. Koda can’t go on walks at the moment, because he has a fracture in his toe, so the garden is a good substitute. They get to smell and run (restricted on a soft ground) for a bit and they sometimes get their dog bones to gnaw on. Khaleesi is pretty much satisfied with just sun bathing.
When the afternoon comes there’s dinner and I like to participate in the cooking. I am somewhere in between anxious and excited as to what that will look like when living on my own again and cooking for myself.
I’ll try to write some more, or edit the photos I’ve taken throughout the day, if I’ve taken several. I’ll probably put on a couple of episodes of Homeland, (I’m currently on season 2), and half-watch it while I edit my photos.
To end the day I like to put on a timer to read for 30 minutes. This way it’s easier for me to read. I always think that if I don’t read for at least an hour and half, there’s no use and I’m not a good enough reader, which feels overwhelming, but setting a timer for that amount kind of says “this is how it is, this is achievable, this is enough” and I usually end up reading for a bit longer. I also try to have reading be the last thing I do at the end of the day, so I don’t end it with screen time, and my head will have some time to cool off. I’ll also write a few words in my journal to reflect over the day.
. . .
This is more or less my routine as a stay-at-home dog parent. Or this has been my active routine the past week, and I will do everything in my power to keep it up. What I have not put in here is the time I spend on mood swings, on overthinking, on anxiety and overwhelmed, zoning out, staring at the wall – but it’s in here. Some days I’m not able to do much except these last things I mentioned. But that is okay, too.
Here the other day I was wandering in the garden with my camera for a bit. I haven’t held it in my hands for a while now, so it was good picking it up again and what perfect timing! The apple trees were starting to blossom, (they are in full bloom as we speak, the bees and bumblebees have fully invaded it), dandelions all over the uncut lawn, sunflower sprouts in the flower beds, blooming strawberry plants – life is everywhere.
I’ve been a zombie for so long, but even I seem to be awakening too. For many years I’ve been dormant. Life has been hard for many years now; depression, trauma, BPD, AvPD, I had to distance myself to get by, and I shut myself off, became full on apathetic. I realised a few weeks ago I had completely forgotten what flowers smell like and I had to run up to my room and cry for a bit.
Almost every good experience I’ve had in between the bad is gone too, like my memory never stored it anywhere, I didn’t have the space in my brain and I wasn’t open for the information. A friend of mine keeps bringing up memories we’ve shared since we met in folk high school in late 2015, and it’s very nice, I love when she does it, but it’s also really hard, because I don’t remember them myself, and I’ve had to realize what I’ve lost to my illnesses over the years. There’s been a lot of tears.
I’ve struggled with flashbacks, but they’ve become more frequent and a lot of things that have been buried in my apathy has also resurfaced. The bad has come back, but the good still stays hidden somewhere. I was talking about awakening and I feel like I’ve become more conscious lately and hope as I continue to wake up more, the good memories (because I know they exist!) will come back too, if they’re actually stored in here someplace.
But waking up… I don’t know if it’s Spring who has done it, or if something in me has suddenly just shifted, but I don’t want to be dormant anymore, I want to live and experience things – smell, touch, hear, see, taste – even if that also include the not-so-good parts. I believe this is an all or nothing situation and if I’m going to be alive anyway, I don’t wish to lose anymore of my life, I want to be present.
Only by being present and in the moment will I be able to share and create, hopefully help, and grow!
And even though I have my struggles and there’s probably no hope in every single part of them ever truly going away, life itself still is hopeful. It can be good, I can learn how to better handle and live with my struggles, and I can have an overall good quality of life, even while living this life. You can have a good life despite your struggles, too! You “just” (and I put “just” in quotation because I know it’s not always easy to “just” do things, I do) have to take the moments you have to spare, in between the pain, and fill them with The Good. Smell those flowers, cuddle your pet, allow yourself to laugh with your friends, breathe deeply, go out to dinner, write something, paint something, walk barefoot in the grass, take photos of our pretty Nature, listen to good music! I’m not saying life will be perfect if you “just” do those things, but it will be better.
(Okay this got real peppy real fast, I might have had one too many Monsters. I’ll stop now).
I’m trying to create some kind of routine for myself. It’s not easy when you don’t go to work, or have some sort of daily commitment, but I’m trying. I’m trying to get something out of my life, create more of those moments to fill with The Good, create meaning.
I know life is tough, I know how easy it is to want to give up, but please don’t. Life is worth it ♥
The one and only spoiler to this review: I have never written a review before in my lifeand 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.
Have you read The Goldfinch? What are your thoughts?
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.
☁️ 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? ♡