1/365

It feels like this day has lasted for an eternity, but strangely enough I haven’t felt like I was suffocating at any point, I’ve felt content. Almost happy even.

After a few nights of bad, if any, sleep, I decided I needed some help and took a sleeping pill last night. Woke up at 9:30 this morning actually feeling rested, it was like I was a different person. Together with the pep-talk and reflection I did with myself yesterday I was looking forward to the day that lay stretched out before me. Read that again. Looking forward to. How many times have that happened the past year? I think I can count that on zero hands.

I had no specific plans other than listening to my own advice and take things slow and be mindful in whatever it was I was going to end up doing. And I did, and I was. I made oatmeal with almonds and finely chopped apples, (I love the ritual of making oatmeal), brewed myself a cup of blackcurrant tea and ate slowly while listening to my favorite song at the moment on repeat. (When Wedding Bells Ring – Midnight Choir).

I wrote a post on my Instagram, opening up a bit about my depression and my 365 project plan. Then I posted the actual 1/365 photo. It felt good to have started and it pepped me up even more about the day, the week!

It had been snowing all day, so I had planned on staying in, but decided I’d ask Leesi if she wanted to go for a walk. She ran under the dining table and gave me a death stare: how could I suggest such a horrendous thing, it was snowing? But she got around and we went out onto the snowy streets of our neighborhood. Brought my Fuji along as well and snapped some photos. Ate some snowflakes mid-air. (Yes, I am a child).

Well at home, I managed to make my first proper dinner in months. That was such a huge win for me. People who have been or are depressed, or struggle with eating, will know.

I’m praying that I’ll have the same state of mind tomorrow, (I didn’t even have one BPD meltdown). But you can never know with mental illness, only hope. So I cross my fingers and hope.

Hope you have a good one ❤

x Almond

LIVING A LIFE

With not working, I feel like spending whole days by myself can be challenging and rather rough sometimes. I’ve done a whole lot to get the hours to pass by without noticing, make them disappear, and it has dawned on me lately that I should be doing the exact opposite to be content and get them to flow. So I’m making an effort to slow myself down, take deep breaths and connect with what I am doing. Be present.

My life is a little life. There’s not an overload of things or events happening. I have myself, I have my fur babies, my family and the World Wide Web and a few friends there. Some interests and hobbies to also keep me going. My life doesn’t necessarily need anything more to be bigger than it is, I just have to keep watering the little sprouts that are already there.

I could spend more time nurturing my hobbies: start a 365 photo project or bring out my collage-stuff again and sit down with my journal, and I already have a reading goal this year. I could grow my relationships, push myself to interact more and better with my Internet friends, (a challenge in itself (still) trying to convince myself I am someone they want to be around). I could buy an agility set for Leesi for Spring and play around with her in the garden. I could take more walks with the dogs and my mom (and my camera) in the forest. I could take an hour and just sit and listen to music.

In other words, I have an idea of what I need to do to get my days and the (seemingly) endless hours to flow, what I need to do to not wish to magically (and tragically) make them disappear. Next is to actually do it.

x Almond

JANUARY FIRST

Crappy New Years, peeps! The time around New Years is usually a pretty difficult time for me. Thinking about how I have lived another year and have to start a new one. I don’t understand how I’m still here, why I’m still here. It’s just every year I get this panic-y feeling. Another wasted year, another year over due.

I wanted to spend New Years Eve alone, just practising some self care for myself. I was going to cat- and dog sit for them while my parents visited my aunt and uncle with a couple of family friends. They cancelled last minute due to Covid, so I stayed. I know New Years is yet another holiday my parents appreciate, and where they value family time, so Leesi and I didn’t go home to our apartment.

It actually turned out alright, my mother and I found out Bones was available for only thirty more days(!!) on our streaming service, so we watched that while my dad was in the upstairs living room watching horse races and the usual movies that aires around this time here in Norway. My mom and I have only 29 days to watch the remaining 3 and 1/2 seasons of Bones now. (I think we can do it).

I went to sleep at 23:00 yesterday. It’s not a big deal for me to see the fireworks. The fur babies were doing so great yesterday. The fireworks started slowly at around 16:00 and they barked a little at the first few bangs, but it seemed they understood that it was going to bang a little more that evening, so they either went to sleep or came onto my lap for sleepy cuddles. I am so grateful they are so calm about it, I can’t even imagine the stress and sadness people with nervous and stressed out animals on New Years Eve feel, and especially the animals themselves. I truly feel for them.

My parents, bringing Koda with them, left for the cabin this morning, and I’m staying at their house to watch the Kalypso. She’s currently fully stretched out on the living room rug, I think she appreciates having the space to herself. Well, Khaleesi is also here with us of course, but she’s pretty tired out from last night. I think this is going to be a pretty chilled out day.

I have layed out my unused A&O book now, and my new A&O Acrylograph pens, and I’m thinking of starting off the year in my new book. I brought all my bujo stuff with me when coming here just to be sure I didn’t miss anything, haha. I hope you had a great New Years Eve and I wish you all the best for the coming year ❤

x Almond

IN THE COMFORT OF MY LIVING ROOM

Sipping tea from the Marimekko mug I got from my fur babies for Christmas, watching big, wet snowflakes fall from the sky in the comfort of my warm living room. Vanilla scented candles are lit and Khaleesi is slumbering by my side. I know the snow won’t stay long, so I’m savouring this moment.

We’ve had constant rain for two weeks now, so looking out at the millions of snowflakes falling, almost dancing in the wind, gives a very welcomed feeling. Rain in Autumn is perfect, but rain in Winter makes gets me down. The sun sets at 15:00, if we even see it at all, so snow should in my humble opinion be mandatory, (do you hear me Mother Nature?). I guess this is what we’ll be seeing in the coming years due to climate change. It’s a real bummer, the snow brightens up the surroundings in a usually dark time.

I have no specific plans for today other than to try out the A&O Acrylograph pens I got from my mom and dad for Christmas. I’ve been eyeing them for so long, and an online store here in Norway finally got them not to long ago.

I’m thinking of starting with bullet/creative journaling again the coming year, I’ve fallen out of it the past few months. I miss sitting at my desk; writing, planning, creating. Cutting and pasting, stickers here, stickers there. And luckily I found an unused A&O book lying around the other day, like it was just waiting for January 1st to come around.

x Almond

CHRISTMAS UPDATE

Christmas has passed for now and a new year is creeping up on us. I had a rather good Christmas holiday this year actually. I went to my parents for a little holiday get-away, and my mom and I watched a lot of Bones. It was a calm few days, without less of the usual agitated arguments about all that needed to be done. Christmas Eve was spent at their house with my sister, her boyfriend, and my grandmother on my fathers side.

I was a bit on edge, and there were a couple times I felt like bursting into tears and run out of the room, but I quietly managed to collect myself. Kind of emotionally muted the rest of the evening. It wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t exactly overjoyed either. Just unaffected, another day crossed off this year. That’s depression I guess. But like I said: rather good. No penetrating doom, no anxiety to mention.

Khaleesi and I are back at our apartment now, listening to my Missed Hits of 2020. It’s been stormy all last night and today, and it’s supposed to rain for a few days now, which fits very well with our plan to just have a couple of days to ourselves and take it slow until New Years. Charging the batteries for a day that usually brings a lot of anxiety and not-so-good thoughts.

Hope you had a nice holiday, if you celebrate! And if you don’t, I hope you’ve had some good days leading up to the new year. Take care ❤

x Almond

DAY NINE

Good late morning, dear earthlings

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.

Happy new week, hope you have a good one

x Almond

ALL MOVED IN, APARTMENT PHOTOS, SOME THOUGHTS

Hello earthlings!

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.

I wish you a very good week

x Almond

CONTRACT SIGNED AND MY DAY ROUTINE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

x Almond

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