True regret

One of my idols died. When I was young I looked up to her, because she was gorgeous, funny and incredibly intelligent. She was a wonderful teacher. I remember, because I went to help her one day. Speaking exercises in pairs. Helping the students to speak. I observed the way she spoke, the way she explained grammar, and she was truly magnificent. Because of her I know what it means to be an excellent teacher.

She was 41 years old, and sick. And I didn’t know, because I didn’t have the courage to write to her. I saw that she was not active of facebook, she was not sharing information about her life, I saw it on one picture that probably she had a son at some point… But then again, I was not at home.

I was scared to just ask: how are you? How have you been? What is up? Let this be a lesson to other people, write to those, who you want to stay in touch with. I don’t have the energy to write more now, the memories keep pounding in my head, and all I want is to remember.

I am going home this Friday. I changed my flight ticket to stay two days longer than originally planned. And when I was booking the ticket I had a weird feeling that maybe it is not a good idea. It was like a cloud in my head while I was clicking though the payment procedure. Yet, I went ahead and decided to to do it. If it turns out that the funeral is on those two days of my lengthened stay I will understand the feelings of darkness around it.

I am unbelievably sad.

Advertisements

Dilemma – Rights Of A Student

I want to give up studying this language course I started towards the end of March. It’s been two months, and today I have had enough. Why? Well, it is still about my favourite topic: education, and how it should not be done. I said during the course that I would not be returning to this class, and at this point I still think I am going to stick to my decision.

What happened? Today was not the first time that the class was taught in a lazy way. The teacher is kind, and she can be very supportive, but I noticed several times that the tasks were not very well thought out or outright boring. The type that you give as a homework, not something you go to class in the evenings after work for three hours for.

I understand that learning correct grammar is a repetitive task. To hammer in the different rules and forms of verbs in different types of sentences you need to play with the same type of sentence in several different versions. I get it. I used to be a language teacher as well. But I am old, and I rebel. Still. When I heard that after going one by one as students were required to make the sentences on the spot, which was helpful, we needed to get down and work out 8 times 6 sentences in class, I rebelled.  She said: we still have an hour to go. We have the time. Obviously what I meant was that this task is not worth spending time on within the class. We don’t use the time to talk a lot… and now sit in silence just like at home. Originally the task was to work in pairs… The teacher loses it, and starts telling me off that I don’t need to be in class, if I don’t want to, I can go home. Read more

Mistake

I have made a mistake. I knew it would be a mistake and still, I couldn’t resist. For people like me social media is truly a toxic environment. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t use it for comparing myself to others. I shouldn’t look people up, and see what their lives turned out to be, and then feel bad that I am nowhere compared to them.

I think in everyone’s lives there are one or two people, who are pushing the worst buttons for them. And not necessarily because they are unkind or have done something terrible to them, but because in their heads they imagine that they somehow have it together. That their lives are without obstacles and all is fine.

I have made this mistake, a couple of minutes ago. Why? Because yesterday I was having a conversation with someone, who mentioned this girl. The reason why it hits home so hard, is because we used to be friends when we were little. As a young person, she had the positions I was dreaming of, doing the work, I was hoping to do.

Now her name was in my head, and I had to see what she was up to. Just a few days ago I ruined the OS system of my phone, and I had to reinstall everything. I decided to wait with instagram. Even though I follow only a minimal amount of people, that is enough to give me envy. When I see where they travel, what they are up to my heart cringes. I knew it was a good decision to take a break from the app.

But then I looked in a browser, and I had to look her up. Maybe she is on insta? And yes, she was, and I started scrolling through her photos. I found another friend of hers among them, who got married.

Why do I do this? Why do I have to make myself feel bad? I know what comparison, and looking up these people means. I will find that they have a job that they enjoy, that they clearly have the means to travel (hello, smiling picture from popping over to Bogotá for a film festival), they have a wonderful relationship with their siblings (all these smiley pictures), and their mom (lots of throwback pictures of the lovely mum, who I know and remember very well, she is a gem)…

It represents a lot that I miss, things that I yearn to do. Yes, I am married. So you could say that is ticked, but I didn’t have a celebration with friends, because it was not possible. I can make up for it, and hopefully do it in a few years’ time. I so want to travel, and have the experience of going to far places as if it was totally normal, just part of my lifestyle. I remember seeing pictures from a long time ago. My envy-girl was backpacking with a friend to South America. First of all having the money to do that. Second of all, having the guts to do that.

Also her job. My envy is that she went to university, did a Bachelor’s and Master’s she loved, she was supported by her family, as they are also in the same industry, she went to do Erasmus. She is friendly and to my eyes fearless. She has her own community at home, and doesn’t miss being with us. The community we both belonged to a long time ago.

I am envious of this belonging that I don’t have at the moment as nor do I live in a place where I would like to be – as this is a transitional place – neither I have the job I would want. Because the question is: what do I want? And I don’t really know some days. As I am writing all this a huge nod forms in my throat, and I feel it pushing on my body.

The other girl, who got married used to date a guy I really liked, who treated me without respect when we got together for a very short while. It hurt that she was chosen as a proper girlfriend and he clearly regretted that we got into this messy something together. We used to be very good friends, and he used to date another very good friend of mine. I wanted that thing they had, and I was young and lonely. I wanted to be loved. He made a huge fool out of me. So when this other girl “won” him I was heart-broken and jealous. She was cool, because he was cool, and the other envy-girl was their friend, and I was not included in this thing, as in the mean time I was totally screwed over by another guy.

Probably everybody saw that I was played with, and maybe even I was aware of it, but I didn’t want to accept it. I was fooled.  I was physically there, but didn’t belong. This happened exactly 10 years ago, and it still hurts. These two girls, now women have their lives together and look good. I am happy for them, as hard as it is, and sad for myself.

The two guys who fooled me both got married, one became a dad in the mean time, and they have their lives too. How do I know all this? Because social media pushes them into my face through common friends. I don’t want to be on social media, but I don’t want to be off it either. This is just very hard.

At the same time I don’t really know if all these things are true. And this is where a bit of mindfulness and meditation clicks in. You know, in the past I wouldn’t have gone this far. I would have just wallowed in my pain and sorrow. First of all, I cannot be true whether their lives are truly so perfect as they look in my head, or sometimes on instagram and facebook. Second of all, even if their lives are amazing, mine can be too.

I am invited to a wonderful wedding this year. Friends, who I deeply care about are getting married, and I am genuinely looking forward to see all of them, and spend not just the wedding, but several days together. I know it is going to be a wonderful experience. And I am so much looking forward to it, that just thinking about it makes me elated.

One day, when I am not scared to fly long-distance anymore I will go into the world, and have a proper look. In the mean time I am going on trips close to where I live, and enjoy the sights and nature that is close to me. Maybe even if I could, like it was offered to me I wouldn’t want to go to Bogotá. That is a possibility. But I can use it to make myself feel bad. Well, I made a mistake, and I should stop this comparison nonsense, even if it is hard.

The girl, who was with the boy, who I fancied got dumped in a very unpleasant way. Later I learnt, that he wanted to break up with her already during the trip we were all in together, but he didn’t. They were driving in the same car back after that summer holiday and it was dreadful. I remember, how crushed she was, because she didn’t hide that on facebook.

I am happy for her. As for other envy-girl, honestly… she might be lonely. I have not really seen her in a relationship, her body has always been very boyish, small boobs, tiny hips, generally skinny frame, which I know is not necessarily bad, but I know how society thinks about these things, and she must have wanted bigger boobs at some point. She also had really bad skin, but according to instagram that cleared up very well. I am happy for her success as well. I am still grieving my family, the life I didn’t have, and couldn’t have, but at the same time it shouldn’t stop me from trying to do better for myself.

Many times I have been unlucky. Things happened I genuinely had no control over, and yes, I was too young. But also many good things happened, experiences and events that I am grateful for. And maybe I should take this moment to be grateful for this piece of writing as well. Instead of getting lost in my head I pushed myself to get back to writing, to get it out, to reflect, to question, to notice and know that things are not in reality as my thoughts suggest. Everybody struggles. At the same time everyone deserves to have a good life, beautiful moments, joyful trips and good friends. I am grateful for the good stuff, and maybe start to be grateful also for the bad. Progress?

Above the water

I had an early doctor’s appointment today. I knew I would have to wake up early to have some coffee, something minimal to eat and to brush my teeth before I leave. But I had a terrible night. My husband said something to me that made me upset. He said, he didn’t understand why I was doing a 30-day-challange I set for myself.

I didn’t answer. He was asking me why I wasn’t putting my energy into something else instead, which would bring us money. We are again very tight on money. They payments that were made didn’t come back from the people, who were supposed to reimburse us.

I started sobbing. I didn’t mean to do it, or make myself particularly upset, but I couldn’t help it. The tears started flowing and all I could do was get under the shower to try to wash them away. Then in the shower I remembered that my good friend was supposed to give birth that day. I stopped crying and started thinking about her, hoping everything was okay.

I came out of the shower and started texting her, because I saw she’d been online. She told me all the drama in the hospital today, and I promised to her that I would write the whole story down, because it is ludicrous what is going on in the so-called health care. How they treat adult women, who are about to give birth..

I calmed down, my husband apologized. I tried to sleep, and couldn’t. An hour and a half later I wanted to drink, couldn’t find the water bottle, searched it all over the place just to see it is tightly next to the bed. I cried some more, and drank and my husband hugged me and I said out loud: I am scared to apply for jobs, because my university starts soon, but not soon enough.

I had a job interview last Wednesday. It went very well, at least I felt it went well, I could imagine working there, with these people. This was something I applied for back at the of November, but the management is so bad that they got back to me only 4 months later. Now that I had the interview they should get back to me a bit faster, I hoped at least that would happen… But knowing the circumstances it is not r that there is still no news. But the waiting, the uncertainty sucks. That tiny glimpse of hope that I might get employed, might finally be able to earn some money, cover my education and finally be able to support my husband and myself are so close, yet so bloody far until I get a confirmation and a signed contract.

This is the hard thing, the constant suspense, the weigh of why-don’t-you-do-something, when I am doing and hoping for a better life, with more peace, with the actual money to be able to move away from here. It is not true that I am not doing anything. Also that I am not getting better. Very slowly, but these minor changes need to be noticed and acknowledged. In the past when I was this close to a panic attack what we can almost call one I would not be able to sleep without taking an anti-depressant pill. I would stay up shaking and suicidal thoughts would be in my head as the only way to make this nightmare stop.

Last night even though I didn’t manage at the first try with meditation. I did calm down for a while, and only later, when not finding the water would I get upset. Mostly about waking my husband up, and being upset with myself for not letting him sleep more and better. I managed to fall asleep after the second outburst quite fast. And no, I didn’t sleep well, and woke up earlier due to weird dreams and my inner stress to make sure I wouldn’t oversleep, but still, I slept. I didn’t stay up all night, I didn’t make myself go totally crazy like in the past, and that is a huge achievement.

I went to the doctor this morning, alone. Another big step from my part. She was kind and helpful. Hopefully I can go back soon for other treatments and advice. I need it. I am hopeful that I will get this job I applied for and that they are just being slow like they have been. But I am struggling, it is hard, and at the moment I am merely keeping my head above the water. I guess, sometimes that is enough.

Hopeful

I have been neglecting writing, and had my head all over the place. Despite the hectic thoughts, events and days that all differ I feel that something deep is changing in me. And that is exactly what I set out to do when I started writing here (and elsewhere). I am a patient person, but I have become even more patient, yes, with myself. The correct sentence is: I have always been patient with others, and hardly ever with myself.

I have all these ideas in my head, and I am pretty sure I can do all of them one by one. I keep more inside. I am not trying to tell everyone what is going on. I am more silent and inward. I had a job interview yesterday. I felt it went well, most importantly: I felt I would like to work in that place. Apart from my husband I haven’t told anyone about it. I did tell my friend I was in her city, if she happened to be around. But then suddenly I realized I can’t just ask her without telling her what I was doing around there. Another friend was calling me in the middle of the interview. Nobody ever calls me. My phone’s notifications are off. But my watch is connected by bluetooth and that started buzzing the moment I was in the middle of a sentence…

The moment I have an interview I start daydreaming about what it would be to work there, the money I’d get, how I would make sure I save enough. I honestly felt good this time. I was very surprised how comfortable I was, even though I went into a room expecting a one-on-one conversation and three people waited for me. I liked them all. They were all kind, despite the fact that some of them seemed truly exhausted. It is very clear that my assistant help is needed. I am hoping to get a good contract and to start working actually soon.

Maybe it is the spring, I don’t know why, but I feel hopeful and grateful. These months went by very fast, I feel like I have done a lot of work on myself, and it seems to be working. Every night after we turn the lights off I recite everything I am grateful for, I list them in as much detail as possible until I fall asleep. Apparently when you do meditation the point is to get back to your breath, get back to the now, and if you get lost find your way back. I managed to do that several times, and for that I feel better.

I did spring cleaning, organizing the bathroom, the books, clothes got their last goodbyes, papers, notes got recycled, kitchen got cleaned, dust disappeared from the shelves and my thoughts lightened with all the work done. All I am waiting for is just a bit more sunshine. To my joy there is a bird outside on the tree just the other side of the street, a very stubborn black thrush, who wouldn’t stop singing. Spring is coming!

 

The One, Who (Just) Wouldn’t Leave

The weekends tend to be filled with anxiety. I always know and hope that we would spend a lot of precious time with my husband, but then I freak out about exactly what should be the thing to do. Because we sit down in front of the computer and then the day just seems to disappear as we are working on important and obviously totally unimportant things.

Last weekend was different though, and it made me think about my own youth, and the type of person I used to be. I don’t mind being older at all. I am genuinely happy, when I notice something unpleasant about myself, because it gives me the opportunity to turn this knowledge into either change or just pure self-compassion.

Many things I understand now about my adolescence, the way I behaved, and I have a much deeper understanding about other people’s reactions. I used to be the type of guest we have just had this weekend. It is my husband’s friend we are talking about. He was supposed to come to stay over the night. As I assumed, he had a date in our city, and wanted to go out partying afterwards. He arrived two hours later than what he said, then stayed longer the next day. Much longer. Read more

Resistance

“The more Resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you—and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”- from the book: The War of Art

I had a dream last night. I almost always dream, and many times I can clearly remember it. This time I woke up in the middle of the night in disbelief, then went back to sleep and had another amazing adventure.

In my dream someone said to me: come, you won’t believe this, this is amazing! My father showed up, he was old, the same face I have always remembered, shaved and smiling. All my life that I can remember my father had a long white beard like Santa Claus. Most of the time he was smiling, and I remember him with a slight tan. It turned out he didn’t die when we though he did. And then I asked him? Who did we bury then? He shrugged his shoulders and looked away. Then I thought, wait, it was cremation, there is no body, no coffin, it doesn’t matter. Read more

Long way to go

It is not a surprise I have been unemployed for more than a year. It’s been 14 months now, and I can tell that I haven’t done enough to get employed. I also understand that the job market does not have what I can offer. And yes, the moment I write these words down I have to take them back immediately, because there are things that I could potentially do. Now the searches result in things that are in my range. I am not under pressure to actually find a job. Of course living on one salary sucks. We cannot really afford anything. At the same time, I understand why I am so stubborn about finding what I want to do, and not want to do something only for the money. That is true luxury that most people do not have.

I have been unwell. And when I got better I made the mistake in an instant to blame myself for not having been more productive, for not having tried harder to find a job, to find ways to make money. I need to have more compassion with myself. Of course I couldn’t do it. When you are sick, your focus needs to be on getting better. Sometimes it is by mere surviving the day, for instance by not killing yourself. I have come a long way since then. I can actually read more things, but I feel that my attention span is not huge at this point either. But it is getting better. I noticed I lost weight due to not eating added sugar. I managed to avoid it for several days eating fruits, drinking smoothies and proper breakfast for a week probably. My belly started losing the fat that is has on it. That is encouraging.

Now that I know I am going to study from September I have to find the money to do it. And in the first place I looked into how to get a loan from the state, so I have breathing space. The next step for me is to figure out the exact costs that I need to find money for. Secondly I have to find a new apartment and move to the city where my education will be. My husband agrees that we should just move. Then I have to set up my website and not just talk about it. Just like I did with my podcast. Yes, it was difficult to launch it, but I did it. I improved the site once it was online, and tweaked it just a bit. It is more important that it works than the fact that it has possible mistakes. I kept up with the work, but didn’t do more than that apart from producing all the episodes, I mean.

Still. I should be proud of myself that I am climbing out of this dark hole by myself. I started writing, getting out of my head, doing almost all the housework, taking care of people around me, and nurture the artist in me. I don’t think it is pretentious to call myself an artist. What I want to be is to stand on my own two feet, and be able to give back the support to my husband. I want both of us to be able to work on things we love, enjoy, and get immersed in. And that is the next huge step. I have to change my mindset even more. And that makes me scared, but also excited. I have the hunch that I can do it, which is huge. I have a very long way to go.

Portfolio

It’s been a while, since I last spent time on here, and yes, I missed it. I liked the therapy of starting my day here, and just get the stories out of my head. But there comes a time, and I have noticed here as well, when you don’t necessarily want to relive and retell all the stories that happened in the past, just because they are there. You do want them to be the past. The present is here, and in the mean time waiting. So…

I  made up my mind, worked on my portfolio and applied to a Master’s degree. Already what I had in the portfolio was almost only things from the second half of the last year. From the time, when I thought I did nothing, I worked on nothing, I was worth nothing. Still. The prospect of pursuing a degree that I am actually looking forward to do made me filled with hope. And when there is hope, there is life. Then my head is up, looking into the future with focusing on the present to do what I need to do know in order to succeed. I think it does say a lot about the activities you do whether they fill you with joy while you are doing them. And not necessarily only joy, just a general purpose, an understanding, a general will to want to do what you are doing. Instead of resentment and an endless questioning of why I have to do this?

The whole process of reviewing my work, having the courage to think that it is something I could show to the committee was joyful. When I really want something I do not doubt myself that I can do it. That is just such a weird feeling. Having this deep sense of worth and confidence that yes, what I want is something that I deserve and can do. So weird, especially thinking about the times when I feel like nothing and want to disappear. I don’t doubt my work. I can tell when it is good, and when it can be better. I love working. I love improving, reading, soaking up information and share what I have just discovered with anyone who is willing to listen.

I have been writing elsewhere, I have been publishing. Slowly taking steps towards the future. Maybe I am on the right path, well, this is the only one I have, so I am trying to feel less shame and just go for it. I still have a long way to go, but as if I have managed to take two steps in the right direction. It feels scary. I even had a mild panic attack two nights ago. And still, I want it. As a famous swimmer once said: decide that you want it more than you are scared of it. Well, I want it more. I want it despite what made me scared during my last studies. The exact same thing barely counts anymore. That is my age. I was worried about still studying at 30, or almost 30. Now I am over 30, and 31 even when I start again. The others will probably be younger, less experienced. But that is not sure.

Well, I have decided that I want to be the best. I want to do my best, and be my best self. Not beating others at it, but stand out in a good way with my work, my ideas and just general for being myself. I am going to soak everything up. I will read, write, do whatever it takes to enjoy these ten months from September. It is a very different attitude I have compared to last time. The only thing that hasn’t changed was that I wanted to do well. Hence the improvement in my writing, my nurtured love for turning thoughts into sentences. Let’s see what happens when I don’t put pressure on myself. When all I focus on is for me to be the best I can be. When I put pleasure, and enjoyment of the work first, and not be scared of what other people think. Can I cultivate and prepare myself for criticism? Can I be honest to myself? Can I be less defensive? Can I work with the negative emotions? Can I transform how I think to grow? Can I use growth mentality for myself and forget the thoughts that keep pulling the break on me?

Tomorrow is 1st March, time flies fast, faster than I think. And I am getting somewhere. It feels good and grateful.

Grateful thought (18)

Something truly wonderful happened to me, and the reason I know that is because my heart is heavy now. When something uplifting happens just like this insightful and warm conversation I have had on Saturday evening, only later we notice how much we were in the moment, and experiencing human connection.

This is the type of connection I have been looking for. A way into my new family, the one I married into. And the way I notice it is that finally somebody asked me about me, and actually listened. It wasn’t to make small talk or a polite question, but more than that. And I have to mention here that politeness doesn’t run in the family. It is more like information exchange, and not much to do with an actual interest in me or anyone else for that matter. Even though I should be at least some kind of concern. That also shows the status my husband has in the family. If he had any type of importance in terms of hierarchy, his choice would draw interest in me – naturally.

Well, that has not happened yet, even though it is getting to five years that we have been together. And because we don’t often see the family it is also a question to use the time when we are actually sitting around a dinner table. The conversations I have hoped for never happened. Up until this Saturday evening. I have had a glorious day full of art, love, good conversations, delicious cakes, and even enough time to think to myself, just walking in the city by myself in this misty January.

I got lucky, because my phone didn’t work in the country, which meant everyone needed to trust I would be where I needed to be, and arrive when I arrived. No distractions, nothing tragic, important or particularly game-changing supposed to happen in those few hours I had my rendez-vous to go to. And it did, and it didn’t. Had I had my phone, I would left my friend’s place earlier and joined my husband in visiting his grandmother in the middle of the city. Instead I left by myself when I wanted to, when the time was right. On the way back to my great-aunt-in-law to my relief that my husband had not been back yet. We were staying at her place during the weekend.

I was happy to know I wasn’t too late for dinner, so there we were, just the two of us. She said: good, we can finish the champagne and talk. (My husband decided not to drink this year.) I was honestly looking forward to this time alone. I love talking to people, who actually listen. Who doesn’t? So she asked me: would you tell me how this art school thing came into your life, why did you choose it? And then I asked: where exactly should I start? How far should I go back to explain the importance of art in my life and how much the pressure was on me to go to university when I didn’t? And I started telling my life as I had always wanted to, but only to those who I knew would listen. And she listened, and I could say many things I wanted to. And of course I would have continued to do so had my husband not showed up 15 minutes later after I started. Those minutes were truly magical. I am beyond grateful for finally being seen as part of the family. That is how that conversation felt.