LIFE IS EVERYWHERE, GARDEN WALK, WAKING MYSELF UP

Hello, earthlings

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 ♥

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

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

THOUGHTS ON A WEDNESDAY

💭 Will I ever get better from my personality disorders or do I just have to accept that things will be like this? How can I maximise my quality of life and get the most out of it while living reduced with these symptoms?

💭 It feels like Spring. It’s a fresher air outside, it feels newer – like air revived. Maybe it’ll revive me in a sense.

💭 I’ve decided to stop using snus! No more nicotine for me. (Well, after the 10 boxes I just got in the mail yesterday, if I don’t manage to sell them to someone..) I’m way too addicted to it, and I’m tired of it. Good bye.

💭 I am beyond grateful for my four-legged babies. They always manage to brighten up my day no matter what. I’m so glad that Kalypso has settled in so nicely.

💭 “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil” – J. R. R Tolkien.

Do you see Khaleesi mid-attack next to Koda, haha?

💭 I read this critique of a documentary that just came out here in Norway about a photographer named Lene Marie Fossen, who suffered from anorexia. It said “we are critical to the fact that the illness is portrayed as artistic and beautiful. We who work with this know that art and eating disorders don’t belong together”.

The first thing I reacted to was that it wasn’t her eating disorder that was portrayed as artistic and beautiful, it was the woman herself. Her courage and strength to create meaningful and outstanding photos despite her deadly illness.

The second thing: aren’t people with eating disorders allowed to be artists? Should they hide away in a dark corner where we don’t see them, stripped down to “eating disordered” being their whole identity? Lene Marie kept repeating in the film “first and foremost I am a photographer”. She was adamant she wasn’t an anorexic photographer, but a photographer who had anorexia. And that takes strength in a life consuming illness.

x Almond

I KNOW AND I DON’T KNOW

It’s been two hours since I got home and my legs are finally starting to calm down. My mind is a different story, it’s still racing one hundred miles a minute. For what? Grocery shopping. How can such a normal thing set me off that much?

It’s the people. It’s what I perceive as judging looks and mocking smiles; distaste and critique of my being. I’m certain that my perceptions are real, but I also know it’s a symptom of my AvPD. I know – and I don’t know – that it’s an overreaction and (hopefully) not true, so why am I still feeling this way? Shouldn’t me being aware of it have burst the bubble?

Over to something more related to the photos… I wanted to show you my spread from week 2. It turned out to be one spread due to my flu and being chained to the couch, and Thursday to Sunday was more like a summary. This week I’m more in the game again, and I’m writing every day. It feels good to be back on track.

The smell of lasagna has filled the room now, which means it’s dinner time. I hope everyone is having a good weekend! Tomorrow I’m going to the movies with my mom and my aunt to finish it off. What have you been doing this weekend?

x Almond

OLD JOURNAL SPREAD AND MIND CRAMPS

My head has been a mess these past few days. A complete, utter mess. But it’s also so empty. Intense thoughts filled with the whole spectrum of emotions fly by at the speed of light. There’s so much going on one second, and it’s gone the next. From everything to nothing. Over and over. I’m not sure how to describe it other than, maybe, mind cramps?

I can’t grasp everything that passes through my head and it makes me feel at a loss and that’s where the emptiness comes in. It puts me off not even being able to make out what’s going on in my own mind most of the time. Like I’m not good enough somehow. To identify my emotions have never been my strong suit, though. It’s a chaos and it’s tiring. I’m left feeling lost.

So that was the rant-of-the-day, but anyways… I have set up my bullet journal for the new year and started on January, but I have some spreads from last year that I want to show you first. Like this weekly reflection from week 49.

It’s not my best work visually, but it did serve its purpose. I usually have some standard questions I answer in my weekly reflections, like what I can improve the next week, what worked and what did not work, what I was grateful for, what I can forgive myself for and let go of, and so on. I plan on getting back to them this year as I find they can be quite productive.

Above you can see the printer I use for photos in my journal. It’s the Kodak Photo Printer Mini 2. I tried the HP Sprocket for a little while, but found that the images turned out really blue and I spent 2-3 sheets of “film” on trying to get them edited perfectly, and I felt like that was too much of a waste. This one has better colour rendering (in my opinion).

I actually have some plans and goals for my (bullet) journaling in 2020 which I thought I’d share in another post, (because this post is already too long, haha). But to finish off, what is your goal with your (bullet) journal this year? Is there something you’d like to get better at or something you want it to help you with? And how do you plan on accomplishing this? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

x Almond