I’ve been feeling a lot of feelings recently, as one does. They have been all over the place some days and consistent the next. If I get all existential, it’s really just the human experience. The thing though that is new and greatly appreciated, is that underneath it all I feel a sort of calm and certainty. Continue reading
This was a bit of an unintentional experiment with wearing my hair out in its natural state. For me that meant no extensions in the form of braids or twists, how I normally wear my hair; no heat – straighteners or blow dryers (primarily because I don’t own any); and no chemicals, which I haven’t used since September 2012. I was transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair till about July or August 2013, when I chopped off all the relaxed bits.
Happy New Year’s Eve!
2014 was a polarizing and challenging year. But there were definitely some highlights that made the whole thing worth while, from new products I tried to things I did to the people in my life. Even the little things, like a pack of chocolate chip cookies or apples (any food basically) made all the difference. And thanks to Buzzfeed, I think it’s safe to say that 2014 was also the year of the list. So to continue this tradition, let’s recap in list form, shall we? Continue reading
Back to the grind. Or rather, back to the lack of grind. There is a not-so-surprising lack of hustle that has reentered my life and brought me back to a post mid-August phase. Post mid-august wasn’t the best of times and this mid-October phase isn’t the best of times either. I’m back to old habits which aren’t particularly productive or helpful or beneficial to me in any way. It’s kinda like a slow downward spiral that has started turning again – albeit not as fast as previously, but the spiral is definitely moving.
This time two years ago I was in Spain embarking on the scariest journey of my life that in the end, thought me more about me than I thought it ever would. These were some thoughts when I returned to Canada in June 2013.
Awhile ago someone posted this on Facebook and it’s completely accurate. The year abroad is over, and although I am very, very glad to be back home, I miss Spain. I miss a lot of that time where I met so many people from all over the world, where I learned things about them and their countries that I never would have learned otherwise. I miss the freedom I had, the ability to go where I wanted when I wanted. I miss the sunshine (when we had it) and not having to drive or take public transit to get where I needed to go. I miss my view, the old and the new mixed together. I miss the history, the stories that the red tile and beige bricks tell, I miss the river by which people gathered and ate and drank. I miss the language, as bad as I am at Spanish. I miss my faculty, not so much how it’s run, but the beauty of it and the strange feeling of walking out of an exam being greeted by a group of tourists, exploring the things which to me had become mundane as a part of my daily routine. I miss my friends. I don’t know the next time we will see each other. I guess that’s what Dr. Seuss (to whom the quote is attributed), meant by don’t cry that it’s over. I’m not the type to cry at the end of these sort of experiences, but it does make me sad to think it will be a long time before I see any of these people again or Spain itself. But then I smile, because I am glad that I have these things to miss, that I had the opportunity to travel and immerse myself in new things. I smile because I have new friends who I can talk to and will be there when I need them, wherever we might be. I smile because I am grateful. And I smile because it happened.
I also smile because, well, sangria.
A few months ago, I wrote a draft blog post about something I was struggling with, and had been for awhile: agoraphobia. It was just another on a list of mental health issues that have plagued me for years but I had never really dealt with until very recently.
As I was going through some of my drafts this morning, thinking about what I could write about next, I reread that post and thought about how far I have come and improved in the last month, month and a half. The biggest and best changes have definitely come through getting involved in things like volunteering as well as getting a new job. So much of my time was spent at home, wasting my days away by myself in pits of self loathing and unhappiness. They would come and go but were never too far away. It took a lot of effort to try and get to a better place and I had to work actively at developing a way to try and improve my situation. Perhaps one day I shall write about some of the struggles, most of which I internalized for a long time.
I am writing this little preface I suppose to give a bit of clarity to the following post, the original draft I never published. I recently read on what I think was Louise of Sprinkle of Glitter’s blog the phrase “Never blog angry”. I have done too much of that in the past, or blogged from dark places. (That is why one of my last posts, about going for a walk, while on the surface perhaps a bit benign, was so very important to me.) Everything is still up because although I might be ashamed of some of those feelings, I think that they serve as a reminder to where I was and where I want to be.
Agoraphobia. Let’s talk about that.
Wikipedia: Agoraphobia is a condition where the sufferer becomes anxious in environments that are unfamiliar or where he or she perceives that they have little control. Triggers for this anxiety may include wide open spaces, crowds (social anxiety), or traveling (even short distances). Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public. This is also sometimes called ‘social agoraphobia’ which may be a type of social anxiety disorder also sometimes called “social phobia”.
I’m on the social side. Open spaces suit me just fine.
It’s a side of effect of everything else I’ve got going on with me that I often desperately trying to hide. Sometimes I will be okay, if I don’t think about it too much. Then there are the days where I get up, I shower, make breakfast, eat, get dressed, even put on makeup, my jacket, my shoes, pack my purse and sit by the door or locked away in my room because leaving the safety zone is too scary and the big horrible world outside is just waiting to wreak havoc on my dull, insecure life. I become paralyzed with fear.
Saturday mornings I go grocery shopping with my dad. I always make sure I wake up in time for this because I know that this might be the only time I leave the house for the weekend. Even taking walks is something that frightens me, the lack of destination and unfamiliarity with the area. I will sit by the window and daydream about taking a walk and never put on my shoes and go.
This whole thing makes me sound like a recluse. I can be. But it’s not to say that I don’t leave, it’s that it is often very hard to. And trying to explain this to people is very difficult because they just don’t understand and most times I don’t even try. I have become the person who backs out at the last minute because all of a sudden I’m not good enough to be invited to this event or to have friends. It just happened recently with my classmate and her arts fair, I just didn’t show up. It’s been two days now and I haven’t even messaged her because how do you explain that an event earlier in the day put you in such a mood that you just refused to leave the house, even if your dad offered to drive you across the city to go. It is common knowledge in my household that new friends are a rare thing, so the fact that I let her down, if she even thinks that, (she might not), just makes me want to cry.
I feel like I know how to combat this but at the same time, there are so many other factors that I don’t really know what to do. I have had panic attacks when I think of talking to someone in the elevator and end up hyperventilating, sitting on the floor of my closet, where no one can get me. This had a major effect on my school life when I was in Spain and during fourth year of uni, were I basically stopped going to one of my classes for fear of confronting my prof.
I often feel that everything is scary and that everything is against me.
I sit at my kitchen window, on a hard chair that lends no comfort yet is the only place I feel comfortable. My body is heavy, burdened with the weight of everything running through my head. I try not to focus on the thoughts swirling around, the negativity that never seems to leave, that only distances itself from neutral conversation for a time being, then comes back with a vengeance, wishing not to be forgotten.
I distract myself. The view from the 26th floor never ceases to amaze me. I count the planes that go by, taking mental note of those that are headed to the airport quickly, as if they can’t wait to disembark, and those who fly leisurely, drifting in and out of the clouds as they glide along. And closer above me, I count the ones that are now leaving, heading out on their journey to destinations unknown to me.
The sun is setting and as the sky changes slowly from a light pale blue to a pinky lavender, my eyes turn to the clouds, as I lose count of the airplanes, becoming harder and harder to keep track of. Each cloud is a puzzle. An enigma of water and air, shaped in whatever Freudian image my mind decides to conclude upon.
I see a boy in a rocket ship-shaped wagon, speeding about. There is a demonic rat in the lower corner of the sky. Each time I glance upon it, it seems to shift into a friendlier image, becoming a guinea pig in a few minutes. A spider floats near by. I see roses and bushes, a lady with a pill bottle, a bear who slowly goes dissipates as he gains a hat.
My brother walks into the room, and asks why I am looking out the window. I tell him that I’m looking a rocket ship, a bear with a top hat and a rose bush. He thinks I’m being sarcastic and when I say I’m not, he thinks I’m high. Fair enough.
When I turn back, everything has changed. My spider is now squashed, my bear now blind, my roses wilted and my rat turned guinea pig looks like a pregnant lady dying. It all is a bit surreal yet fascinating and reflective.
It seems I feel a sense of ownership over these images in the sky as they disappear. Now I feel emptier than before. The clouds never stop, never rest for no one. Everything is fleeting.
I went for a walk yesterday. In a valley and through a forest. There’s a first time for everything.
I’m sitting on my bed, pondering. That’s what people do right? They ponder? When they want to think about and examine and contemplate and be hypothetical; pose questions and come up with answers, possible and not possible, all at the same time?
I guess what I’m pondering about is the future. If you’re familiar with the inner workings of my mind, this would be of absolutely no shock to you. It’s something I do on a daily basis and perhaps should stop doing because it doesn’t often end well. Usually I come to some grand, generalized, somewhat dystopian conclusion about the horrible fate that awaits me in the days, months, years to come. Most days my mind equates the future with negativity and failure.It is something I am trying to change, slowly.
FYI, my neck hurts. I spent about 2 hours lying on a bed playing cellphone games above my head, while my brother tried to explain why Lil B is the BasedGod and who Bruno Caboclo is. I’m still fairly confused about Lil B but out of fear for turning into Kevin Durant I shall keep my opinions to myself. I wish Bruno all the best in his quest to learn English.
Am I still pondering? Yea. Right now about this blog. This oh so confusing blog that is angry one minute, happy the next. Consistent and then sparse. Desired and then the biggest chore in the world. Oh what to do, what to do…
Perhaps I need to challenge myself. I’m not good at challenges but I could try to make an exception I suppose? If not for the lone reader of this blog, then for me. There is not much happening in my life right now, but perhaps instead of just sitting around, letting the many effects of depression seep into every aspect of my life, I could do something about it? I put all these statements as questions because inside, I really am having a conversation with myself. But if something declarative is what I need then by golly, YES. I SHALL DO SOMETHING. There. That sounds concrete.
Every other day at least, I think should be a good time to write a post. Consistency, as I’m sure someone somewhere once said, is what makes the world go round. I should act before it’s “now already, and forever, never was.” If that makes sense…
title: Welcome to Nightvale Podcast, Episode 21 “A Memory of Europe”