Note: I do not mean any offense in any way when I used the term “mental instability” in the title and when I’ll use it below. I simply don’t have a name for this condition and refer to it that way; if you do know of a more appropriate term, please let me know so I can correct my usage!
Okay people. I think this is a now or never moment. Right this moment, I actually feel ready to talk.
So, remember all the times these couple few years when I told you of my “state”? I always called it my “state” or “condition” because I’ve never – and still don’t for sure – know what to name it. I guess it’s some form of mental unavailability or instability. I don’t think it ever reached the state of an archetypical depression (that is if there even are any archetypical depressions… I simply mean the kind of depression classified by a professional, say, a doctor or psychologist) but then again I’ve read multiple times that mental instabilities (Can someone please introduce a simple-to-use word for these… “things”?) always develop differently in each sufferer, so it could well be that I reached a mild state of depression all along.
Anyway, I never talked – and never wanted to, frankly – about when and how it came about but I think I’m ready to do so now. For whatever reason I feel sick to keep it shut inside me and maybe, maybe someone will read this post and will be grateful for it because they can in whatever ways resonate with it, with me.
Thing is, I’ve always been an idealistic person. I’d even say I’ve always been idealistic to a fault, leading to me having so many presumptions and assumptions about what the world should be, how everyone should be and behave and how the processes of live and living should take place. In my opinion, it’s the most infuriating trait I have.
On top of that, I’ve always been self-conscious. It was very bad when I was quite young but then improved and was greatly reduced with the help of nice teachers and generous and kind-hearted friends I’ve met along the way.
Then I entered third grade of high school (no idea what English natives call that) and that’s when everything started to fall apart. Why? Because looking back, what I can conclude from being mentally unstable for such a long time, what the gravest consequence of all my suffering was, is that I’ve lost every bit of self-confidence I built up before. It might seem like such a small loss but let me tell you that losing every believe in yourself is one of the most painful and annoying things you could experience. (Or at least it has to be, from my 18-year-old perspective on life.)
See, I started third grade as a happy 14-year-old girl – in fact, I don’t think I’d ever been happier before in my life. Everything went great and while I knew that school’s just getting more and more challenging, I had enough self-confidence that I could make it somehow, someway. Moreover, I’m one of those people who sometimes have (ridiculously) high expectations of themselves and I wouldn’t let myself be disappointed by, well, myself. Also, my parents had high expectations of my achievements, too, so that’s something I had to fulfill as well… but at that point I was so used to it that it didn’t bother me much. So far, so good.
So, I entered this class in third-grade and – let’s not forget how idealistic and happy/content I was – I was instantly so overwhelmed by how grateful I was to be in that class. I can remember the couple of times when I gushed to my best friend about how lucky I am to be in that class and how it must be hands down, no doubt, the “best class ever”. At that time idealistic me thought that everyone in the world was good, or at least 90% good. Don’t ask me how I could have been so naive…. seeing as I knew that there were bad people out there, abominable, detestable people. I guess that because I never got in personal touch with someone doubtlessly “bad” on a regular basis, that fact never fully reached my awareness. I’m sure that dozens of people could’ve repeatedly told me “there are really malicious people in the world out there, Stella” and it wouldn’t have changed a thing because of course there are vile people out there but it’s not until you see it right in front of you or them personally affecting you that you can fully grasp the most obvious facts. (Or at least, that’s how it is with me… tragic, right?)
But then, as time passed, all of a sudden I saw cracks in those people. Fissures where unexpectedly dishonourable behaviour would flow out and make a mess in that perfect environment I thought I lived in. It’s not that I didn’t knew that even people close to me can sometimes be mean and cruel but those were people I stupidly thought were golden, angelic, (almost) perfect. At the beginning it came very naturally to me to ignore such behaviour or just to decide that I wouldn’t be so chummy with them anymore in the near future; but of course, foolish me completely disregarded the fact that everyone can be good and bad. And that there are people who don’t have a problem with showing their selfish sides, who don’t have a problem with being mean for a moment; and with the number of them increasing, my idealistic world view started slowly, but surely to shatter and to leave me completely befuddled and confused.
Now you probably think that if that was the only reason I got mentally unstable, then it’s doubtlessly a self-inflicted one and basically it was just me being foolish and stupid and this whole episode is simply one big tragicomedy. Well, laugh all you want – I don’t mind – because in retrospect, frankly, I cannot help but shake my head at 14 and 15-year-old me, too. But let me also tell you that a lot of times mental instability is very much part of a person (by which I mean there are already seeds planted inside someone) and it only needs a trigger to unfold, which I believe was the case with me. And of course there were other reasons shattering my world view; such as that I came to the full realization that without money in life it’s very hard to carve your own path in this world or that there are a lot more inequalities in this world than I’d ever thought there were.
Anyway, I suddenly felt very foolish and also irrationally deceived. Deceived that I could’ve believed that people were simply at least 90% good. Deceived that I could’ve thought that everyone lived by the same rule of trying to never flaunt your imperfections in front of other people or to always try to be generous so that “greater goods”/ common goals are easier to achieve. Deceived that I probably should have realized this all along and was probably the latest teenager in the world to come to that conclusion.
Also, about the same time or a bit later, people started to get weirdly competitive in my environment. Not always an obvious competition rather than that one feels a shift in the atmosphere and a certain feeling of, well, being challenged or people comparing themselves with you about every possible topic one could compete about. And I realized that while I have quite high expectations of myself I somehow was simply a) not smart, b) not diligent and c) not ambitious enough to compete with them.
Needless to say, that my perception (whether true or not doesn’t really matter in the end, I guess) of myself added to my existing insecurity about my judgement.
And after all those happenings and realizations, I think, is when my mental condition started to weaken and when everything started going downhill.
By the way, I have to remark that I still am not 100% sure whether that was the trigger for my instability or whether it was just the tell-tale sign that I was mentally unstable; all I know is that being insecure about yourself and what you are and what you mean is a great part of what shapes mental instability (as I experienced it).
Let me explain it: It was around entering 4th grade that I started to have breakdowns on a monthly basis. Later there would be times when it extended to weekly breakdowns and sometimes I also had them several times a week. By the way, my definition of breakdown is this painful throbbing or stinging in your heart – psychosomatic I guess – sometimes even accompanied by headaches, that builds up a tension in you; and at one point you just collapse inside or sag and usually you start crying/sobbing and you can’t really concentrate on something anymore… it is as if your mind or your soul is just so heavy and leaves no place for logic; you just are in a state of despair (and at times you don’t even know why). And that’s basically what it’s about: Once you enter that desperation, that bleakness, it’s very, very hard to get out.
It messes with your mind. It doesn’t give you time to compose yourself for longer periods, doesn’t let you think logically. In fact, logic pretty much leaves your life. And all those insecurities you had? On one side they are intensified and on the other side you often feel so irrationally and inexplicably sad and dull that where they would’ve pass as logical reasons for your condition before they just don’t matter that much anymore because you are simply miserable without any sensible reason. (This is very hard to explain, I’m sorry.)
What I thought was the worse of those two was the first one; it’s also the one that has a lasting consequence. A simple example: Usually when I was crying or in a state of self-pity, I instantly chided myself and told myself to stop the foolishness and that I had no reason to cry at all. And that it was weak and stupid of me to do so. But what I couldn’t figure out was if the insecurities I had were justified, or if they were simply caused by me dramatizing them because I’ve always been pathetically melodramatic, or if they were even only dramatized because I was in an unhealthy state (that much I knew, by the way, that something was wrong with me). Basically it’s a vicious circle: Because of my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy and feelings of being misunderstood I never knew whether I could trust my judgements and my thoughts (after all I thought everyone in my environment was simply good when they also had their bad sides that they didn’t feel uncomfortable to act upon, which was a massive blow on my confidence that I could judge properly), which in turn increased my insecurities etc. and leave me in even bigger misery than before.
Of course that’s only the surface of what it means to be mentally unavailable; it’s a condition so complex and multidimensional – there are so many factors more (that my mind likes to suppress) to it and so many ways more in how it has influenced my perception of myself, my world and my life. There are also many more examples of living that way and effects it has on your lifestyle but I think that’s material for another time. I hope at least that I could show you one example (out of millions of different ones) of how it could possibly be triggered and the ways in which its roots start to dig in your heart and mind until you just feel mentally poisoned.
All in all, it just takes reason and logic away from you, increases your insecurities, implants self-doubt in your mind and heart; it’s a wrecked state, a poisoning state and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. (This is coming from me, who was probably comparatively stable as opposed to the people who are so effected they have suicidal thoughts.) All in all, this was simply the story of how the worst 3 and a half years of my life began. (Not that I think they’re fully over yet… I’m just a lot better. Quite a lot better.)
Thanks for reading and until next time,
PS: I’m back from hiatus… I guess?
No BEDA post written by myself today but instead an article recommendation; I really liked the points made in this article about rape victims and the (non)existent consequences for the people involved.
If you want to share your thoughts about this, leave your comment down below! I’d love to hear what you have to say. (I wish I could have written a comment on this but I’m running short on time, I have to pack for holidays.)
NOTE: I know I haven’t done BEDA for over a week but I was very, very busy. Trying to catch up now though. (Hopefully.)
WARNING: This is going to be enigmatic. Basically, it’s just me talking/ranting to myself. Probably better to ignore this since it doesn’t make much sense anyway. (more…)
Remember the days when I used to participate in Weekly Photo Challenge? Yeah, long ago, I know. But I was thinking of possible posts for BEDA this morning (these days everything is about BEDA, I guess) and I thought that maybe I could establish Fridays as Weekly Photo Challenge day, so that I would have at least 4 more days of this month covered and on top of that get my lazy self to work on my photos. Coincidentally, today is the very first Friday of the month and when I looked up what next week’s challenges were…. I realized that I may have to postpone my idea until next week. Why? Because I looked the challenges up after lunch and one of the topics was about lunch or lunchtime; the other one was about colours but I couldn’t find interesting enough photos in my archive.
This is the reason why I instead decided to have a go at the daily prompt challenge, which I’ve never done before. Today’s task is about the following: Tell us about another blogger who has influenced your own online journey.
I’m afraid to say that I already know that there’s no one particular who stands out in my mind. The thing is, as you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the most avid and not the most prolific blogger. I don’t have that much experience and my journey is so to speak practically non-existent. Because I haven’t been blogging regularly, I have to delve into the world of bloggers anew every time I’m picking up blogging, which means that there’s no one I have been keeping in touch with or someone whose work I’ve been following so diligently that he or she’d have had the chance to influence my own work.
I can tell you though which person got me into blogging: It’s Libba Bray, the famous YA author and one of my favourite writers ever. (By the way I was just about to link you all to her blog and when I looked up the link (because I haven’t read her blog for about a year) I saw that she’s actually not – as she was back in the day – on LiveJournal anymore but that instead she moved here, to WordPress!) When I discovered Libba Bray’s books and her blog, which was late 2007, I think, she used to be really active on LiveJournal. She’d post almost everyday, if I recall correctly, and she had a really witty and humorous blogging voice that instantly got me hooked on her daily writings.
Also it was the first time I was directly confronted with blogging and the whole new world that comes with it – and I got deeply fascinated by how different you could design each blog’s layout, how there are so many people on the internet engaging in those comments or writing posts themselves, how people can be so productive and write a text everyday… (Yeah, I know. But I was 13 at that time, so give me a break.)
Because I was set on improving my English anyway, it didn’t take me long to set up my own LiveJournal blog afterwards. I was very confused by the ways blogging works and also greatly overestimated my English abilities. Looking back, I don’t think I understood half of what the site was saying and the tagging system was just one big quiz for me. It’s no surprise that I stopped very shortly and put blogging aside for the next few months.
I did pick it up in December 2010 though and that’s when I created this blog here on WordPress. I can’t remember having someone in mind as I was creating it but I do recall how in the first few months my mind would often wander to Libba Bray’s blog and how prolific she was. A great motivator was also Kristin Cashore, another YA author, and Scott Westerfeld, yet another YA writer. They never influenced me in style and posting format, I guess, but every time I’d pay their blogs a visit and see the amazing response of their fans or the amount of posts they wrote in one month, I’d be reminded of how much fun blogging can be, when you actually keep doing it at a constant level. The thing with blogging is, the more you post, the more fun it gets. It is exhausting, that’s for sure – but unless you keep the posts coming in, you won’t get any response at all from your audience, no progression and no motivation to continue. Blogging for me is something you do all the way or not at all; if you’re not committed then you simply won’t benefit from it. Or at least not as much as you could.
In retrospective, I’ve noticed that blogging has taught me a lot – about the English language, about writing, about internet culture and about organization; but first and foremost, it taught me a lot about myself and how to express myself in words. The few times I was active were already enough to help me to open up, to let feelings in, to mature, grow and become the person I am today.
Going back to today’s prompt, I can’t say there has been someone, especially a blogger, who has influenced my own blogging journey so I could, among other things, thank them today for it; but I’d like to think that Libba Bray, Kristin Cashore and Scott Westerfeld have deserved my utmost affection and gratitude, for they have introduced me to this world and have kept reminding me that blogging is a hobby worth pursuing. So, a big thanks to them.
And while we’re at thanking, I guess it’s time again for me to say: Thank you, followers, for still being here and still sticking with me. You too might not have influenced my work but I wouldn’t be here today without you all and your support. You’re among the top reasons why I haven’t given up yet and, despite all the hiatuses, am still running this blog. Thanks.
Until next time,
Note: Because I started BEDA 3 days late, this post is going to be a “substitute” for my missing BEDA #2 entry.Time for another music recommendation! I haven’t done one of those for a while now and when I went onto my categories list… I noticed that I’ve only done it once as part of my “from the cd stack”-series so far and only 2 other times all in all. (Proves again how rarely I post things around here.)
Today I’m going to introduce you to Mighty Oaks, which is a “Berlin-based indie-folk band”. They were founded in 2010 by their lead singer Ian Hooper and guitarist Claudio Donzelli. Later their bassist Craig Saunders joined the two founding members and completed the band. They’re now a three-man group from three different countries even: the USA, the UK and Italy.
So far they’ve only released one EP and that might be the reason why people outside of the scene probably haven’t heard of them yet. I myself got to know them Sunday two weeks ago – Shout Out Louds are touring at the moment and a friend of mine gave me the tickets for their Swiss concert as a birthday present – and Mighty Oaks happened to be the supporting act for Shout Out Louds.
From the beginning on Mighty Oaks had me enraptured. I bought their EP later but when you’ve listened to them live, you’ll surely agree with me if I say that the EP is only narrowly a substitute for their live music. They are good. They are really, really good. Ian Hooper’s voice is amazing and the guitar playing is amazing and those guys are nice, funny people. In general, I’d describe their music as a rough-but-also-smooth voice paired with mood-brightening guitar tunes making you want to sway to them all day long.
Because I obviously have trouble expressing myself eloquently, let me write out two lists for you:
1.) Words I associate with Mighty Oaks’ music: green, wind, summer, spring, forest, trees, nature, road trip, morning, dawn, grass, meadows, earth, fun, happiness, smiles, heartache (of the good and the bad kind, I suppose), blue skies, gardens, breeze, bare feet, freedom
2.) You’ll probably like Mighty Oaks if…
- you like indie music, folk music and optimally indie-folk music;
- you like bands such as Mumford & Sons or Angus & Julia Stone;
- you like music played mainly by guitars;
- you like music which reminds you of words from the list above.
What do you think? Did I get you hooked on it? (I admit I’m terrible at selling things to people… but I have a possibly sprained ankle at the moment and it hurts and my head does too… excuse me for not thinking clearly right now and being so ineloquent.) If not (yet), you might want to listen to the two samples below (the second is my favourite):
I hope I could got some of you hooked on Mighty Oaks – they’re one of my favourite bands now and in most places still unknown, so I felt the need to spread their music out because in my opinion they surely deserved the support. I’m only afraid that I couldn’t give you more information – I didn’t have that many to begin with and I don’t like to analyze music before listening to at least a whole album of the artist and they have only their EP out… if you want some more information, you might want to check those links out:
Note: I’m sorry – somehow it’s not possible for me to embed the two video samples above. Just click on the link, it’ll redirect you to their vimeo pages.
As I said in yesterday’s post, part of my BEDA will be the update of boredmaiden’s colour scheme and header – which I just did! I only have a few minutes left before the day is over, which means that I can’t write that much about it if I want to post this on time – but I’ll update this post first thing tomorrow for sure.
This is what boredmaiden looked like for the past 2 years, by the way:
UPDATE: Apparently funny things happen when you’re writing blog posts around midnight and you’re already sleepy and tired; I really don’t know why I would count a post about my new layout as BEDA-appropriate. I mean, look at the post above and it actually tells nothing and I’d like to think that doing BEDA should have the goal to write about things – be it in a short or long post – that have meaning. Oh well.
I guess I now can just as well tell you what I was thinking about when I changed my colour scheme: So, for two years boredmaiden had this dark colour scheme and as I previously mentioned I chose it because it works as a nice contrast to my photos and acts as a neutral background for them. With dark blue, colours hardly ever clash. But when I was looking at my latest posts a couple of months ago and noticed how depressing they all were and how dark even the header is, I decided that I might need a change, might go for something lighter.
I tried out a few colour schemes yesterday – I first wanted it to be white, but this theme doesn’t allow a white – white background so I’ve switched it now to this cream tone. If you now scroll down to my latest photos, you’ll probably notice that the background and the pictures don’t fit that well anymore – the contrast’s less obvious – but I’d like to think that it works out all right, which was my objective. Also it fits the black-and-white header I’ve chosen very well, in my opinion. What do you think? Do you think it’s obnoxious? Hideous? Should I change back? Should I only change the hue?
Note: Because I started BEDA 3 days late, this post is going to be a “substitute” for my missing BEDA #1 entry.
So I was checking my mail box this morning and I was really, really surprised to see this nice line of unread mails in my inbox informing me about your likes on yesterday’s post. I mean, it’s not a huge number or anything but it sure is huge enough by this blog’s standard – especially considering the fact that it was a text post. So thank you lots! And again, don’t hesitate to comment below – likes are nice and all, but hearing from you would be even nicer!
I also got some new followers (Hi, new followers!), which made me realize that I haven’t done any kind of introduction for some time now. Sure, there is the one on my about-page, but I think a small introduction would be appropriate what with me starting BEDA and this being unofficially my first BEDA post.
I know though that introductions can turn out incredibly lengthy and more narcissistic than planned; so I decided to compile some “meet the blogger”-posts from tumblr and answer a few dozens of those short questions.
Here we go:
Favourite colour: Green
Best school subject(s): English, German (Who actually comes up with questions like this one, really…)
Mac or PC: PC
Current shirt colour: Black. (I always wear black shirts when the opportunity to wear one comes up.)
Gamer: Not really.
Day or night: I prefer the wee hours of morning – when the day technically has begun but the night hasn’t fully receded.
Celebrity crush: Keira Knightley and James McAvoy; also Ashley Clements and Daniel Vincent Gordh (although they’re not celebrities yet, I suppose)
Favourite food: Indonesian, Italian and Vietnamese cuisine
Where are you from?: Lovely Switzerland! (The small country in the middle of Europe.)
Do you usually sleep with your closet door open or closed? Um, closed?
Do you take the shampoo and conditioner bottles from hotels? I do have a weird fetish to collect those hotel goodies as travel souvenirs…
Where is your next vacation? The Netherlands and Germany
Who do you think reads these? My followers who probably have already stopped after the first question
What’s your plan for the day? Well, the day ends soon, so I hope I’ll manage to write my BEDA post for today.
Are you reading any books right now? Yes, several: Game of Thrones, Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, There Is No Dog, The Tiger’s Wife, High Fidelity, Never Let Me Go, Lean on Pete and a couple more. I’m actually one of those people who start to read dozens of different books but have a hard time to finish them all.
Do you ever count your steps when you walk? No, why should I?
Do you ever dance even if there’s no music playing? Not really…
Do you chew on your pens and pencils? Hardly.
What is your “song of the week”? There are a few: “Good Man” by Josh Ritter, “The Great Northwest” by Mighty Oaks, “All of This” by The Naked and Famous
Do you still watch cartoons? Sure!
What movies could you watch over and over and still love? Oh, so many: Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Love Actually, The Boat That Rocked, Easy A, Becoming Jane, Juno, Red Cliff, Mulan, Invictus, Harry Potter series and many, many more
When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? A friend of mine recently had her birthday and I usually write my birthday letters by hand.
What is your usual bedtime? Sometime between late night and before sunrise.
Are you lazy? Are you crazy? I’m the epitome of lazy.
Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Actor, director, architect, teacher, writer, designer, librarian, vet, interpreter
Tea or coffee? Both!
And finally… I’m done! What I’ve learned from doing this: Never again should I answer tumblr introduction questionnaires. They’re silly and time-consuming. If you’re reading this, I admire you for your patience. Thanks for sticking with me until here and see you tomorrow!
So I’m actually supposed to be working on a presentation right now, but here I am, procrastinating as usual and spontaneously deciding to blog again after a months-long hiatus (also as usual).
The thing is, I miss talking / writing to you guys. And tonight I just had the irrepressible urge to blog again after a long pause – and who am I to deny my heart its most ardent wishes? (I’ll just excuse myself by saying that you’ve got to let the creative mind do what it wants to do whenever it wants to do it – or the missed opportunity of being inspired for a moment will haunt you forever.)
I actually don’t even know what to write about and it feels so weird to be writing again: It’s a mix between familiarity and strangeness – on one hand my fingers know what they want to type but on the other hand they hesitate ever so slightly as if not sure if what they’re doing is right. It also feels weird to write so formally again, after such a long time, or to carefully think about when to begin a new paragraph – on most social media platforms I hardly ever check my spelling or grammar or structure and I have a tendency to write without much planning. (Which I am actually doing as well right now.)
I guess I can update you on my life though; a lot has happened in the past few months, and I think I do have enough to talk about for the near future once I’ve thought things through and made a plan. So far I can say this:
1.) Remember how I wanted to write a post about introversion? Turns out I somehow lost half of my notes. The topic is very important to me though, so I’ll definitely write about it some day (when I’ll have rewritten my notes) and hope you’ll still want to read about it then. (Thanks for being patient and ignoring my inability to keep promises, by the way.)
2.) A post I could write with less preparation though would be about the ways internet has changed my life – and it’s something I’ve wanted to write for such a long time now, so you might get to read it in a couple of weeks. (I won’t make any promises anymore, ever, since I’m apparently really bad at keeping them.) The post will tell the story of how I got involved in the internet in the first place, when that happened and how it has affected me and my life.
3.) Third, I’ve just decided to participate in BEDA 2013! So you all know how bad I am at challenges or challenging myself but I guess you also know by now how much I like to try and try again to actually conclude one.
This time it’s BEDA which stands for Blog Every Day in April, which in turn is the writing version of VEDA (Vlog Every Day in April) and means that I’m going (to attempt to) blog every day. I don’t think there are any rules to it except the blogging every day part, which gives me all the freedom to choose between short or long posts, text posts or photo posts, telling stories or recommending something. Sounds exciting, right?
Yeah, I know, a lot of you are probably sighing at the moment, saying “you’re not going to write every day Stella, you know you won’t, and anyway, you’re already three days late” but… I don’t know, I’ve just got a better feeling this time since some of my internet friends and a lot of people I’m following are either participating in BEDA or VEDA and that is an actual motivator for me. (They’re all ridiculously prolific.)
To give you an idea what I’m going to talk about, here’s a list of topics I could imagine writing/posting about (no guarantees though):
- As mentioned above in 2.) “How the Internet Has Changed My Life”
- “A Short Introduction to Webshows”
- Teenage ramblings à la “I’m soon going to finish school – Arrgh!” or “University – help me!” or “I Feel Mopey and Depressed – A Post about Common Adolescent Angsting”
- A post featuring my latest photography
- Recommendations of compilations of articles on a specific topic you should read (which is rather reblogging than blogging, I guess) e.g. campus sexism, internet culture etc. or recommendations of bands you might want to check out or recommendations of other websites (link lists)…
- Travel reports of amazing places I’ve been
- Posts about events that happened recently
But maybe you have something you’d like me to post about? If so, don’t hesitate to tell me and write down your suggestion in the comments below. I’m generally open for anything and try my best to write about everything (since this blog has no concept anyway). Or maybe you have something of the list above you’d really like to see? Just tell me, I’d love to hear a response from you in any kind of way. And I know I’m not the best at replying very fast or sometimes I would forget to reply, but I do read each and everyone of your comments and am genuinely happy about each of them, really! Some of you have also written feedback per e-mail, which is totally alright, too.
4.) I know this blog has never changed its appearance in its almost 2 1/4 year-long existence but I’m actually thinking of changing parts of the layout. But before I do that I want to know what you think. Should I leave it like this or should I change? Do you associate this blog especially with its layout?
I’m not thinking about changing my theme since this one displays text as well as photo posts so perfectly; but I’ve been thinking of changing the background to a lighter colour maybe. I know that the dark blue goes well with a lot of different photos, which was really important to me at the beginning but I think a white or crème or beige background would fit well, too. And maybe I’ll also change my header. What do you think?
As always, thanks for reading and sticking with me – see you tomorrow!
PS: Today, I’ve unusually used a lot of slang words – I’m sorry, I’ll try to be more formal next time.
WARNING: Don’t read unless you have an enormous patience for grammar mistakes and wrong spelling and colloquial language. I was moody and grumpy and tired when I wrote this so a lot might not make sense. Sorry!
I’m back! And as promised here the posts informing the interested ones among you what I’ve been up to (I actually said what I’ve been up to in the last couple of months but I figured a reflection on the whole last year would be just as good). About some of the mentioned experiences and happenings I’ll probably post something more detailed sometime so I just talk about them briefly.
First the good things that happened to me (I was actually surprised that there were more than 5 bullet points on my list):
1. This May the Mia Patria Choir (MPC) from Jakarta, Indonesia has come to Switzerland during their Europe tour! The MPC is basically a professional catholic choir from Indonesia singing and playing music partly for services (then church music) and for shows (traditional Indonesian music). Their coming to Switzerland was my personal highlight of 2012: I’ve never felt so truly, satisfyingly happy before or after meeting them.
My family and a lot of other family friends spent with them 2 amazing weekends – my family was among the most active because my mother was part of the organizational committee and therefore we practically went to all their shows and had to stay the night nearby (when they had concerts at two close places which were far away from our home town).
During that time I had the chance to meet amazing, lovable people from my home country and being surrounded by Indonesian culture and music and food got me on such a high like never before. I was part of the photographing team (I was ‘appointed’ by my mum) and it was the best thing that could have happened to me. A lot of our family friends take photographs in their free time too, and having all those more experienced photographers around was wonderful and extremely beneficial – at times I felt like an apprentice learning from masters.
I won’t say more though; I want to recommend them and their music in a post later this year.
2. + 3. I bought myself a new camera! I’m still so excited by looking at it and getting all giddy inside…. don’t ask. I’m weird. But yes, this is the second highlight of my year and it’s – I actually have told you that already but it’s so worth repeating – a Canon EOS 550D and it’s my biggest treasure and I love it and I’m so satisfied with it. I’ve saved money for a camera for such a long time and I still can’t believe that I finally did it.
I’m not that proficient in handling it yet but I’ve realised that slowly, I’m making small progresses along the way and I’m very happy with the way things are at the moment. (Wow, how eloquent of me.) I started out mostly shooting in half-automatic mode and a couple of months ago I finally began to take photos in the manual mode. It was frightening at the beginning and I often confused one setting with the other but I’m making less and lesser mistakes now.
Coupled with this event is actually a recent one: I got a brand new, only-for-me-to-use 1TB hard disk from my dad! Yay! You probably never thought that a 17-year-old girl could get that excited over a hard disk but I can. I am. I’ve been hijacking my dad’s own hard disk for far too long and my photo archive is getting bigger and messier every day. It’s actually a win-win situation: My day gets his own hard disk back and I finally found a place large enough to contain my photos. The negative side was the many hours that I spent sorting out new files and old files I had next to my photos and the many more hours I spent on categorizing and sorting out my photo archive. It’s finally done though and I’m super, super happy.
And because I have an actually organized archive now it’s so much easier to look for photos for my blogs… which is awesome for me and awesome for you.
4. I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge 2012! I set up a goal of reading 30 books last year which I eventually and very narrowly only managed because of all the school books we had to read. Thanks, school! You are useful for something after all.
5. I got to travel to amazing places! There was Sicily with our school choir this spring and then my Singapore-Indonesia-tour this summer (I’ll post about both.) of which the latter was even more amazing because I got to see my cousins and my grandmother and the whole extended family again. I didn’t always felt at ease there (my ‘condition’ unfortunately didn’t vanish for summer holidays) but it definitely felt like home and like heaven and at the end of the summer I looked back with good memories in my mind.
6. This autumn/winter highlight was the Florence + The Machine (FATM) concert which I attended with a couple of friends. FATM has always been one of my favourite bands ever since I discovered them but I think that after the concert they started to play an even more important role in my life. Especially Florence Welch, as lively and energetic and creative as she is, has always been an inspiration to me and thus seeing her live on stage got me on a high shortly before the concert, during the concert and shortly after the concert. Doesn’t seem like much but these days I’m craving for even the smallest bits and pieces of happiness.
7. Last but not least – I finished my final paper! Yay! I first didn’t know if I should put it in the positive or negative list because it’s been so much work. And with ‘much’ I mean enormously, life-consumingly much. I swear, I don’t think I could ever describe the amount of hours I worked on it properly and the endless frustration that came with it (especially since you didn’t need 95% of the painfully patiently collected research material in the end anyway). Eventually, after about 9 months researching and working and frustrating on it and pulling some all-nighters for last corrections I managed to write a 60 (65?) pages long paper (with appendix though). I don’t even want to think of having to do that on a regular basis in university next year…
Looking back it does seem like I had a good year but I probably should show the other side, too:
1. We moved house. And it’s painful to think about it and I admit I still wouldn’t feel slightly at home if it weren’t for the fact that my family lives here too but I guess it will take another couple of years for me to accept this place as my new home. (It’s only a couple of houses down the street but it feels like a completely different world.) I don’t know if I’m ever going to write about this experience (and I tried a couple of times, believe me) but I do know now that you can shed a gazillion tears for an old, wooden table. Or for a bedstead. Or for a white wall.
2. At the beginning of the year I actually started to count the times that I hung out with my best friend. We both have very different schedules and other people in our lives too, so that for a couple of years we haven’t been able to see each other as much as we’d like; but I don’t think it has reached such an all-time-low as last year. And that was the year I was counting and actually could improve the whole situation by communicating more with her (we both are also non-texters…) but I just don’t know – every time I felt like I could do something with her I was way too tired for any kind of interaction or communication, especially with human beings that I know. And I should probably receive the ‘worst friend award’ for this, I know, but at so many days I felt so incredibly tired and at a lack of energy.
It wasn’t even always the physical energy but more of an inner one, you know what I mean? I generally get frustrated with other people so easily and it always takes me a lot of this inner energy to interact with basically anyone. This year my energy has been needed at other places too, so I guess that friends were somewhere near the bottom of my priority list. (It sounds rude but it’s true and I wish I could find a nicer way to phrase it.)
Moreover, we both, my best friend and I, are very relaxed about our relationship. I won’t say that this lack of time together doesn’t have its effect – because it does. It does so heavily, and when I once used to know so many facts about her, I’d be glad if I can get 5 things right about her nowadays. Lack of intimacy has caused a change in the superficial part of our relationship which revolves around the momentary well-being and preferences of the other. But the essence of our friendship, the core of it and what has brought and kept us together for all these years – that hasn’t changed and, I hope, will never change.
The problem that we both know this leads in me (I’m not 100% sure about her) sort of taking this friendship for granted, which, I know, I never ever should do. And I hate it but I can’t help it and I don’t know how to fight it and it doesn’t occupy my mind as much as it should these days. I guess, I can only hope (and work on it!) that this year our friendship will get much more intimate again.
3. And last about my ‘condition’ (I have to find a better name for it): I don’t know how eloquent and articulate I’m going to be (probably not at all) because I’m not used to writing about it – and I’m still not 100% ready for writing about it – but I’m going to try to describe the general state of this year in a couple of sentences. (I’ll write a couple more posts about it later this year.)
I actually thought for a long time that at the beginning of last year I experienced the peak of my ‘condition’. It was quite dramatic then, I guess, because I showed it like never before (and I was never supposed to show it). I don’t know how many people noticed, if anyone has noticed but I felt pretty naked and exposed at that time, especially because so many things coincided then and I was overwhelmed by the gigantic pile of emotions I had on a weekly basis. But then this autumn/winter happened. I already told a couple of people (not that there are many who know about this personally, so ‘a couple’ = max. 3) that I was bettering and it’s going upwards and whatnot but I didn’t realise that I experienced a new aspect of my ‘condition’. Looking at it, I think that you could compare spring 2012 to a raging storm because then I was the loudest; but this winter seems more to be of the ‘horrendous aftermath/possible build-up for another storm’-silence kind because my anxiety etc. more often than not expressed itself in physical pressure I feel (and leads over then to mental pressure) than in outbursts as it did once.
And I should probably elaborate and explain more but it hurts to think about it and it’s giving me a headache on top of it all. So I’ll just stop writing here until I find enough courage again to continue.
All in all (and I might elaborate here more on a separate post) if there’s a lesson I learned in 2012 than it’s this: Patience is a virtue. Don’t rush into things. Be patient. (Because waiting for a better state is painful and after a long time of anxiety you tend to rush into positive things the moment you get a glimpse of them.)