WHO DO I THINK I AM

Hello, earthlings

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.

x E.J

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 E.J

MAY SUMMARY, RECLAIMING MY LIFE AND GOALS FOR JUNE

Hello again, precious earthlings

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.

See you soon, stay safe ❥

x E.J

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 E.J

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

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

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