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 last time I talked to you I was in suspense waiting for an answer to whether or not I would the apartment I was looking at, and on Thursday two weeks ago I got a call from the owner saying that I did! I am so happy, I can really see myself there with Khaleesi and my golden yellow 60’s brocade sofa. My dad really doesn’t like the apartment though, because it has a kitchen from the 60’s/70’s, but I think it’s perfect, I love me some retro.
Talking about retro; while I was still looking at apartments I came over this teak dining table and chairs. I had no idea where I was going to end up or if I would even have the space for it, but I bought the set. Irresistible impulse or impulse not resisted? Luckily I will have the space if I move into this apartment. (I say “if” because I haven’t signed a contract yet, and the owner could still change her mind, so please still have your fingers crossed for me).
I wish I could have moved in yesterday(!), but the owner takes over the house from the previous owner on June 1st, so it’s a bit of a wait. Now that it’s finally happening I can’t wait to move in and live. It’s stupid thinking that things are going to change just because I move out, but I can’t help but feel like it will somehow. I’m justified though, because my GP thinks it will help with a lot of troubles as well.
As you probably have noticed I’m blogging under a new name – journish. I changed my @ on Instagram as well. “Musky Musings” have kind of felt a little over the top and I’ve wanted something more relaxed, so when finding out that the musk tone that is used in perfumes is extracted from the excrements of male deer, I had yet another reason and obviously had to change it.
I feel like “journish” fits very well with my blog and IG. I don’t really have a specific niche, other than “being me”, and these platforms are an overall documentation of my journey in life, (whatever that means), so “journish”? Yeah, that fits. I’m also using my chosen name now, so hi, I’m E.J for short.
Changing the name of my blog also meant I had to make a new logo, so I opened Procreate. I don’t practice lettering as much as I would like, so this was a good exercise, and it also made me want to keep doing it more! I have this tiny dream of maybe creating my own font someday. I have a few “half” fonts, but perfecting them, completing the alphabets and making them seamless for typing on a keyboard for others to use would be amazing.
I guess this was just a lil’ update from me. I’m always telling myself I’ll get better at posting, but then I get overwhelmed thinking that needs to be 3-4 times a week. I think I’ll try and lower the pressure I put on myself to even be able to think about this blog. We’ll see what happens.
(I’m going to start off this blog post with a very cliché “long time, no see”, so brace yourselves).
Long time, no see! Almost a month has passed since I last posted something here and on my Instagram. My life has been 90% Animal Crossing, and I think I just needed it to be for a while, being present in my mind has been a bit too much. I’ve really been struggling with intrusive thoughts and recurring memories of past trauma. The littlest things set me off, so keeping my head preoccupied has been my main directive.
There has been some glimpses of light on better days too, though. I’ve visited my sister a few times, which has beenreally nice, and had some walks with a friend of mine who’s just moved back into the country. Him and I actually started looking at apartments to rent together. Him asking really helped me get out the cowed state my parents have put me in.
My parents have told me for so long that I won’t be capable of living on my own, that I would fail like I’ve done before, but when he asked I could kind of “blame” him. I didn’t have to stand up for myself to my parents, which my AvPD brain was very happy about, and never would be able to do. He changed his mind though and doesn’t want to move out until after corona, (he says it’s because his job situation might not be so secure, but I think he’s saying that instead of saying he changed his mind about me), so now I’m looking by myself again. But he helped me, I’m so set now.
I’ve found an apartment that I really like and I’m getting an answer to whether I get it or not tomorrow. I went to look at it on Friday and waited for an answer since, which has meant a spontaneous scream in anxiety every fifteen minutes. Cross your fingers for me, please!
Things feel really weird, because I feel so hopeless at the same time as I’m very ready to start my life. There’s some kind of hope growing there in the black dirt. Hmm.
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?
☁️ On Monday one of my favourite Norwegian artists, Kristian Kristensen, had a live stream concert on Facebook and it was so good, a great start to the week and a good encouragement when being mostly stuck inside. It’s such a great initiative that artists have these live streams on Facebook and Instagram to keep our spirits up these days!
☁️ I discovered a (for me) new artist, Lucy Rose, and her 2012 album Like I Used To has been played on repeat. Her rhythms and melodies are right up my alley for cosy days.
☁️ The clothes and shoes I ordered came, which cheered me up a bit this week. An incentive to get out of the house more, hopefully, or maybe even get out of my standard sweats even when staying at home (as I do most of the time)? Some self care? (I was going to say “there’s something about getting new clothes for Spring”, but I think I’d rather say “there’s something about getting new clothes period”, haha. Confronting your feelings? No thanks, I’ll buy a couple of new sweaters).
HOW DID I FEEL?
☁️ If you read my previous post you’ll know that I haven’t been feeling “on top of the world” recently. My depression is back and things feel hopeless. I try to trick my brain into finding pieces of happiness, like with the clothes I got in the mail, writing happy things down – a fake it until you make it type of thing. I don’t have much luck in getting to get it to stick yet, truly feeling it, but even fleeting bursts of joy is an achievement. And even though I don’t feel general happiness on behalf of myself, I can still live a little through the happiness of my dogs.
GLIMPSES OF LIGHT
☁️ Having cuddly dogs. ☁️ Having a friend send me random music recommendations. ☁️ Opening my shop in Animal Crossing. ☁️ Getting ready to start a new book. ☁️ New clothes to create new stories and memories in. ☁️ Being able to put my thoughts into words. ☁️ Realising I’ve managed to keep my Monstera alive for over a year. ☁️
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.