Question of the day.

Do you do anything artistic/creative?

My answer:

I consider myself quite a creative person, but not necessarily artistic at the same time. I do write a lot, but these days it’s mostly non-fiction – either journalling or blogging. – I still write some short stories, mostly in Polish, and occasionally in English, and when they’re in English I usually post them on here as well if I think they are reasonably good, but I wrote a lot more of that kind of stuff when I was a teenager. Still, if we consider that only things that have some kind of audience cann be called art, most of my short stories from that time were no art because I would usually delete them shortly after writing or rip them into pieces and throw into the bin because I didn’t want to realise after a week or a year that what I wrote and originally really enjoyed writing it and thought it was good, is in fact super cringey. 😀 People would often be very surprised when I mentioned to them that I was writing something, and they’d be all like: “Show me! Show me!” and then learn that I deleted it right away. 😀

I also still have that whole Jack Hamilton novel which I’ve been writing since like fourth grade in primary school, but now it’s less about writing and more about just having a continuous connection with Jack who has been my great friend for years and I just owe him a lot, and besides it’s always felt more like he wrote it himself – I’d have some idea how to develop something but in the end it would go totally differently because, well, I guess he just had completely different ideas on how he wants to live his life than I did, and because it’s his life, and he’s quite a stubborn character, I didn’t have a say about that. 😀 – But it was more interesting this way.

I have two other novel ideas lying and collecting dust (well not really, they’re on my Braille-Sense so dust isn’t a problem) which are mostly just drafts even if quite detailed and well-developed ones. One of them I don’t think I’ll ever come back to writing seriously, because we originally started writing it with Jacek from Helsinki, then Jacek passed away and after a long time I picked it up again and wrote some more, but eventually realised that it doesn’t make sense without Jacek, who made up all the conlangs (constructed languages) that people in various worlds of this book spoke in, he came up with the idea first. It was no longer as much fun either. The other novel idea I am planning on developing and publishing under a pen name if ever I find myself in a more difficult financial situation, although I honestly have no idea how “publishable” it would be and if I could seriously make any money from something like this.

Also, I still try to translate some poems of Cornelis Vreeswijk into Polish whenever my creative juices are overflowing, which I’ve started doing when I was 17 and originally had a very idealistic dream of publishing them. Now I’m not so sure I would ever do that, even though part of me would still love to do it. There are many reasons for why not. The most important one is probably simply that I haven’t translated many poems in their entirety so far, and it’s even less when you don’t count the ones that I think still could be improved and I think I will be improving them over time. It’s always so that when I start to translate something, have some idea how it could be done, I get stuck at some point and I have a fair few translations that I think are really pretty good but there are either gaps or they aren’t finished because I don’t know how to translate something in a way that flows right or find some other problem along the way that I don’t know how to solve. Also I still feel incredibly self-conscious about the whole thing, if I’m honest. Another problem is something I had doubts about ever since I’ve started doing this – how well these poems could actually be received here. – Whether it wouldn’t be a bit as if, like I often say, I were trying to plant bananas in Poland, or something like that. A lot of his poems and lyrics are very Swedish and I can see some real Scandinavophiles being happy about such a translation, but not really beyond this niche. And lastly, over time, as I’ve been getting to know Cornelis better, and also forming my own views and beliefs, I’ve figured that, as much as I like him and a lot of his music and a lot of his writing, as much as I feel a lot of some kind of soul kinship or what you may call it with him, and find a lot of what he wrote relatable, we also do not agree at all about A WHOLE LOT of things. A lot of what he wrote is more or less political, and his views on most sociopolitical things are vastly different than mine, I am more than sure that I wouldn’t want to be associated with this and make an impression that I support his way of thinking, and I think that impression would be very strong to people. It would be as if I kind of betrayed myself or something. Of course, I could just translate the ones that do not touch on topics about which I strongly disagree with him, which is what I do, but as his views were quite naturally a strong part of him and his style, I feel like that wouldn’t be fully fair and wouldn’t give people a full picture. Which makes you wonder whether I’m seriously the right person to do this, as I originallyy thought and was told by some. Still, I can just translate his poems and lyrics for myself, and develop both my Swedish and general writing skills, especially that it’s quite a demanding kind of writing, to be able to reproduce someone’s writing style and what they have to say in another language, especially if you’re neither a poet nor a songwriter yourself. But I pretend I can do it. 😀

Something that I do that you could perhaps call some form of art ’cause it’s creative and it has an audience, is storytelling. Since Sofi was little, I’ve been making up stories for her about a creature called Jim. Jim is a so called Jimosaurus, which I don’t even know myself what exactly it means, other than he’s most definitely not a human, despite he looks exactly like one, and that being a Jimosaurus makes him immortal, and always looking very young (he always looks the same age as Sofi so you could say that his appearance is aging with her). Another difference that it makes is that, while he can eat normal, human food and really enjoys it, it is not life-sustaining for him. What is, is helping people, or any other living beings. He lives in a forest in Australia and is its king. His best friends and helpers are Zofijka the Bee – who is very practical, down-to-earth, chatty and sociable, a bit rough sometimes but very caring, and she’s something like a healer or a doctor, so Jim often takes her on his helping escapades – and a bear (I know there are no bears in Australia but Sofi doesn’t care either way, and I feel like it’s not a proper bedtime story if there are no bears, as I loved bears when I was a little child) who is very clumsy, makes an impression as if he’s always asleep or confused about where he is and what he’s doing, and wherever he is, something must go wrong, because he’s so forgetful and scatterbrained, but he has a heart of gold, and is a good listener if he isn’t too sleepy. Because he’s Jim’s best friend, Jim usually chooses him to replace him as the king whenever he goes to help someone, which is quite often. The Bear doesn’t like it but he likes Jim so he always agrees.

Jim has a little cottage in the forest, and whenever he’s feeling hungry, he takes his leather wings and his magical torch and sits on top of his roof, dangling his legs, and looks around the whole world to see who needs help most. When he finds someone, he puts on his leather wings, calls Zofijka if she’s needed and the Bear to let him know that he’s the king now, and anyone else who may be useful, and flies speedily to wherever his help is needed, and helps, always effectively.

Sometimes he helps people, sometimes animals or plants, sometimes it’s people Sofi knows or some random people, and sometimes they end up being friends and Jim takes them to the forest with himself, especially if the help they need is a change of surroundings because they live with mean people or something. Sometimes he helps with really trivial things that anyone could help with, while other times they’re proper miraculous interventions. Most of the time though he helps children all over the world in all sorts of situations, from a very difficult homework to dealing with life after a child’s mum was diagnosed with cancer.

Sofi really likes Jim and always when she has a problem she says she’d like if he could see her and come and wants him to be real. Who wouldn’t. I always tell her these stories before sleep – well not as in every time she goes to sleep but whenever I tell them to her, it’s at bedtime. – I really like them as well. My friend once said I could actually write them for more people and I thought it could be cool, but Sofi really hated the idea because it’s her personal Jim and I totally get that.

So yeah, that’s as artistic as it gets with me. 😀 I used to do music a lot at school but, as I’ve said many times, it was quite stressful and not all that fullfilling so in the end I decided I feel better as a listener than performer, although I do appreciate having that experience as I believe it makes me a slightly better listener/judge than I could be otherwise. A lot of people remember me from my early childhood when I was singing a lot, also in competitions and such, and I was considered to sing well (I don’t know, as far as I am concerned, when I listen to some old recordings of myself that my parents have I don’t think I sang any better than most children at my age then but okay), feel disappointed that I no longer do it (part of why I don’t is because that was the only thing some people seemed to like me for 😀 ), and when they say so I say that I simply switched to a different kind of music, which is languages. Because I do think that language is a form of music and that some musical skills are helpful with picking up honetics, although people have divided opinions on that and it’s not difficult to find very good singers who are crap at other languages than their native. 😀 So if you consider language learning an art, well, then I’m most definitely very artistic! The only audience for my singing these days though is Misha, who seems to like being sung to.

How about you? 🙂

Enya – “Hope Has A Place”.

Hey people! 🙂

Today I’d like to share with you another song from Enya. Roma Ryan (Enya’s lyricist) wrote the lyrics to it in Silent Valley in the Mourne Mountains, , co. Down, for her daughter Ebony, about first love, but also love in general and how it’s not only and not always an amazing feeling like we would all like to believe, but it also often brings a lot of pain, or even loss. But the thing you still have left is hope.

Enya decided that, in order to write just the right melody for these lyrics, she’d also need to go to the same place (I really like that approach and I think it seriously makes sense because places  always have their own spirit). Not only did she write the melody there, but also her producer – Nicky Ryan – decided that they’d record the lead vocal there, outside, which I think gives this piece even more of a soul. I think it’s actually the melody that I love the most about this piece.

Question of the day.

Do you ever use dry shampoo?

My answer:

I’ve started using it more often perhaps a year ago, and I believe it was after Niki from Take A Ride on my Moodswing commented on one of my questions where I was asking people something about their hair washing routine, and she mentioned that she finds it difficult due to her mental illness and often uses dry shampoo instead. I only used it before occasionally when travelling or something, but though it was a good way to make life easier sometimes, so the next time I saw it somewhere I got it. These days, most of the time I’m doing well enough that I can do basic self-care stuff and I try to wash my hair twice a week, luckily it doesn’t need more at this point. But when there are times when, either because of feeling very depressed, or being in an AVPD black hole where Maggie – my inner critic – takes things over and I feel a lot of self-loathing and stuff, the last thing I’ll think of is self-care, even as basic as that, ’cause why would I care? The only reason I can think of then is other people and so that it doesn’t feel quite so awful for them to be around me, so I’ll just use the dry shampoo as a bit of a substitute for a proper hair wash. Also when I have a migraine but my hair is really greasy, I find washing my hair a really obnoxious thing, so I’d rather use dry shampoo instead then as well.

How about you? In what circumstances do you use it, if you do? 🙂

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Droskblues” & Jack Vreeswijk – “Efter Midnatt” (After Midnight).

Hey people! 🙂

Maybe it’s not the best time to share a song like this – talking about all the crazy stuff that is going on after midnight in what we could call the margins of society – (it’s not even 10 AM here when I’m writing this) but I figured it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things since people are in different timezones and maybe you’re going to read this and listen to this song in the future, after midnight.

When I first heard this song sung by Cornelis Vreeswijk (who is, as you may already know, one of my faza people),

at the age of 17, and was able to roughly understand what it was about, I found it a bit creepy, but not in a somehow deterrent way, more like an interestingly creepy way. I also just like the bluesy sound of it.

Cornelis is quite known for having translated a lot of songs from other languages, mostly American though, and this one is no exception. It’s relatively recently that I learned that it’s not really his original song. It can be difficult to figure out sometimes if you don’t know the original version, because most often, his translations are quite loose and more like variations onn a theme rather than proper covers of the songs just in a different language. This particular song was originally written and performed by J.J. Cale and is known as After Midnight.

I feel that Vreeswijk’s version, even though it’s not written in first person like Cale’s, is more to-the-point and in-your-face. I can understand most of the lyrics (although I don’t even know what what the drosk- in Droskblues means) but there are a few lines which I don’t really know how to translate, so I figured that, to give you some  idea of what it’s about, I’ll share the original, English lyrics. What they differ in is that, like I said, Cornelis’ version is more graphic, and all sorts of people like directors, pimps, organisers and entrepreneurs, nymphomaniacs, drug addicts, are mentioned specifically. The ladies start their season, basically, all the yucky stuff that you don’t see during the day comes out. It has generally richer lyrics than the original, but well, Vreeswijk was also a poet, after all.

Additionally, I decided I’ll also share with you another version of this song, called “Efter Midnatt” and performed by Jack Vreeswijk – Cornelis’ son. – I like Jack a lot, but in this case I like his version a lot less than Cornelis’. I don’t dislike it, or I wouldn’t share it on here, but it’s not very interesting musically, oh, and my least favourite instrument is saxophone and it’s quite prominent in here. Besides, when I first heard his version, it literally made me laugh because I think his melody totally doesn’t match the lyrics. I often don’t mind and even really like songs which have dark, sad, depressing, scary etc. lyrics and a very upbeat melody when it’s clearly on purpose and kind of a way of being sarcastic or something, but here, I don’t think it’s on purpose at all.

So here are the J.J. Cale lyrics:

 

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna chug-a-lug and shout

We’re gonna stimulate some action

We’re gonna get some satisfaction

We’re gonna find out what it is all about

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream (after midnight, after midnight)

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion

We’re gonna give an exhibition

We’re gonna find out what it is all about (what it is all about) (what it is all about)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

(We’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

After midnight, we’re gonna shake your tambourine

(We’re gonna shake your tambourine) (we’re gonna shake your tambourine)

After midnight, it’s all gonna be peaches and cream

(We’re gonna shake your tambourine) (we’re gonna shake your tambourine)

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion

We’re gonna give an exhibition

We’re gonna find out what it is all about (what it is all about, what it is all about)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down (after midnight, after midnight)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down

(We’re gonna let it all hang down) (we’re gonna let it all hang down)

Cornelis Vreeswijk’s version:

Jack Vreeswijk’s version:

It’s not on YouTube, but here are other streaming platforms where you can find it:

Jack Vreeswijk – “Efter Midnatt”.

 

Question of the day.

What is your favourite book written in the last 20 years?

My answer:

That would have to be one of the books by Polish author Małgorzata Musierowicz from her series called Jeżycjada. The series has been going on since 1970’s until now and we’re just awaiting what is said to be the last book in this series, but somehow its release date keeps being postponed, and looking at the author’s website it seems that she hasn’t even finished it yet, as recently she’s been busy writing two other books which are like a sort of illustrated encyclopaedia of the series. Because it’s highly visual and people seem to enjoy it most because of the illustrations and pictures, I haven’t read the first one which has been released so far and I don’t think I will, I don’t really know how much I’d have out of it.

Anyway, Mrs. Musierowicz’s books are definitely among my most favourite books ever and have been for years, ever since I was a teenager – no, wait, earlier! I was already devouring them when I was recovering from the Achilles tendons surgery that I had when I was 10 and Olek – who was 8 at the time – was reading them as well, because I was borrowing them on tape books and then giving them to him, but he’s no longer into this kind of books. –

I only regret so much that, while there are some Japanese translations, and I’ve also heard of Italian and Russian ones, I don’t think any of her books have been translated to English. The series takes its name from Jeżyce, a district of Poznań, where most of the plot of the books takes place (it’s a joking reference to Iliad, Iliada in Polish). They are classified as YA books and most people think about them as books for teenage girls, and I think they are written primarily with such audience in mind, but I know many people who are not teenage girls yet who enjoy her writing and like to come back to it, and I don’t think the fact that this series is almost 50 years old and the characters who were teens at the beginning are middle-aged now is the only reason behind this phenomenon.

This series is like a family saga, with the Borejko family at its core, also involving their friends or some more distant relatives. Reading this series can give you an impression that the world (or at least Poznań) must be seriously very small, as almost everyone knows everyone there. 😀 Mr. and Mrs. Borejko (Ignacy and Melania “Mila”) have four daughters (Gabriela, Ida, Natalia (also known as Nutria) and Patrycja (aka Pulpecja, her nickname doesn’t mean anything but it sounds like pulpet which is meatball in Polish or humourously may refer to someone who is plump and roly-poly like she is). They were teens/children at the start of the series, but now are mums and wives in their forties and fifties. Typically, one book is particularly focused on one specific character, usually a teenager, who usually is more or less seriously in love with someone, but we also get to have very close encounters with a lot of other characters and see things through their perspective and catch up with their lives.

The Borejko family is quite peculiar, a lot of people who aren’t fans of the series say they’re a bit intellectually snobbish, with the grandfather – Ignacy – being a classical philologist and stoic obsessed with ancient culture and ancient philosophers and quoting them (in latin) obviously, looking down especially upon so called women’s literature and crime novels. His wife can obviously also speak Latin, as can all his daughters (Gabriela is also a classical philologist) and grandchildren, they’re also all very well-read people, even those who are not necessarily very academically inclined like Pulpecja who failed her final exam the first time and after she passed it she went on to study forestry and now is leading a bucolic life in the countryside as a fulfilled wife, mother and makes yummy food all the time. I get how that intellectual stuff can be annoying for people, and I think it could be very likely annoying for outside people in real life that you only seem to be a valuable conversation partner when you know enough Latin and have the right taste in literature, but somehow in the books it doesn’t bug me personally too much, maybe because I started reading her books when I wasn’t able to have so much insight into all this so it now seems just normal, or maybe because, while my own grandad isn’t well-versed in ancient philosophers and doesn’t brag with his Latin all the time, nor is he particularly similar to Ignacy at all, he also knows Latin and I’ve picked up a lot of bits and pieces from him over the years, as well as from going to Tridentine Masses and learning about names’ etymology, so it maybe isn’t as glaring to me or something. Besides I find them a very warm family (if a bit too hospitable, with their kitchen overflowing with people regularly 😀 and their house being always full even without additional people since their family is so huge by now), who all have very well-developed, realistic personalities, most easily likeable but not without flaws (well, except for Gabriela – the eldest of the Borejko daughters, who is a bit of a Mary Sue or has become over the years). I like how they’re all very close to each other yet they’re all very distinct individuals, and that they always have so much yummy food. Seriously, you can’t read any Musierowicz books without feeling hungry or getting wild cravings for whatever they’re eating.

They are amazing books if you just want to escape from the world around you and read something that is light and rather utopian but also stimulating and actually absorbing unlike a lot of so called light books. They are full of strengthening and heartening warmth and I love Musierowicz’s sense of humour and generally her way of seeing people. I’ve re-read all of her books at least a dozen times and they still often make me laugh when I re-read them.

I do have to admit that I think her earlier books were better overall. A lot of people got so discouraged that, although they used to be dedicated readers, they stopped reading her new books altogether because they think her writing has worsened so much. I wouldn’t go as far as that and I generally don’t like criticising her books (I was almost like brought up by them in some way so I guess it feels almost as awful as if I were criticising my parents or something 😀 ) and I think a lot of what people consider to be caused by her worsening writing style is just that times are changing, the characters are evolving, and so the series is changing, which is sadly inevitable but it’s as unfair to say that it’s worse because of this as if you said about a real life person that they are becoming worse and somehow lower-quality just because they are getting older and also adjusting to the changing times. There are definitely flaws to Musierowicz’s writing, most prominent one in my opinion being that she doesn’t seem to think things through carefully and does very little research beforehand when it would really be needed. But still, I really love her books.

It would be really difficult though to pick just one book of this series of those written in this century that I like the most. I don’t think I have a favourite. Sometimes when people asked me that I would say Kalamburka (which is a book about Mila Borejko’s life which starts in 2001 and then goes back in time gradually all the way to 1935 when she was born) but I usually said that just because Mila is one of my most favourite characters of the series rather than because I love the book itself much more than others.

How about you? 🙂

Clannad – “Vellum”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Recently I shared with you all a piece from Clannad’s debut album, and now I thought I would share a piece from their last album, which was released in 2013, after I believe a fifteen-year break since the release of Landmarks. I think comparing these two pieces and their style shows quite well how Clannad has evolved over all those years since its beginning.

Question of the day.

What do you do for exercise/recreation?

My answer:

I used to do a lot of horse riding, which was my main, if not only, form of exercise for many years. I’m not really into any other sports, nor am I good at them. I started with it in primary school only in the form of hippotherapy, because that’s what is mainly done at the stud where I go to, as it mostly serves disabled people, most of them quite severely disabled with severe forms of cerebral palsy and severe things. However, my hippotherapist is also a riding instructor and at some point she suggested to me that we could do more of riding as a sport, since I don’t have a severe movement-related disability, and do just elements of hippotherapy in it, which I was very happy to do. I also participated in some local competitions for disabled youth. Now though, things with my horse riding have been suspended for a looong time and I don’t really even know when/if they’ll go back to normal, for several reasons. First there’s the pandemic now. Even if it perhaps is an option for some people to do sports while wearing a mask (I have no idea how they do it) it is definitely not an option for me, because despite I’ve been riding for years, I’m at the same time allergic to horses and while this allergy is mild enough that it can be super easily managed with anti-allergy meds before and after the ride, I still do experience some mild respiratory symptoms of it, and having to additionally wear a mask would make breathing rather tricky. Social distancing wouldn’t work either because my riding instructor assists me a lot of the time especially when we’re somewhere that I’m not familiar with or when I’m learning some new technique or something or sometimes she holds me when I do some exercises on horseback that I feel insecure about because of balance stuff.

Besides that, even before the pandemic my instructor has had a crazy life. She had a breast cancer two years ago, which thankfully is a thing of the past now, but as she says it made her change her life and realise that she wasn’t prioritising the right things before. Besides being a horse riding instructor and hippotherapist, as well as a keen equestrian herself, she is also a very busy neurologist by profession, and a mum of a primary school-aged boy on top of all that. Before the cancer, I remember her as being always super busy and in a hurry and she kept saying that she wished a day would have more hours so she could squeeze more things in it that she had to do, yet she was also always very positive and energetic and rarely seemed very tired or worn out with all the comotion going on in her life. Yet when she got the cancer and several other things started going wrong in her life at the same time, it made her realise that she really needs to prioritise her mum role over her professional life, and maybe focus some more on her own riding for pleasure, which she had very little time and opportunity to pursue because she was constantly teaching other people and she had no time for riding just for the sake of it. That meant that she decided to slow down with work a bit and also with the stud, so I was seeing her less often. Then there was also some financial trouble they were having with the stud, and then my horse – Łoś (or Elk in English) – the one on which I rode primarily, died. All the horses at the stud where I go are older, often have some diseases and stuff or have had difficult or traumatic experiences before. Łoś was no exception, he was in his 20’s and had several illnesses, but ultimately died of bronchitis. Because my horse riding was very irregular already then, I only learned about the fact a lot later and it was a huge shock, because we’ve known each other for like ten years and we were a really good team, even though he would often fall asleep or get lost in his daydreams while I was riding him. 😀 After that, when I did go riding, I would usually ride on another horse – Rudy (or Redhead in English) – a very cute fjord horse whom I used to ride already before whenever Łoś had a day off or something and we knew each other well, and I really do like him very much as well, in fact, in a lot of ways, Rudy is easier to ride because he’s a lot smaller, lighter and a lot more sensorily perceptive so riding him requires a lot less strength and muscle effort, and he’s also a LOT shorter so I feel less insecure in terms of balance. But at the same time I never felt like we get along sort of emotionally as well as we always did with Łoś, we’re on quite different wavelengths while with Łoś we clicked instantly, so much so that even though I used to be scared of riding before, it miraculously changed the first time I rode him, or at least got alleviated enough that, despite the anxiety, I was able to fall in love with riding enough that I wanted to continue it even though I’d always be very nervous beforehand. He always was extremely sensitive to my feelings and especially when I was anxious. Often, even just his presence made me feel more at ease, perhaps because he was absolutely, unbelievably phlegmatic, like you’dthink absolutely nothing can phase him as if he was half-asleep all the time. 😀 Rudy is a lot more lively, which is super cool because you can have more fun with him and generally do more spontaneous things, but we just don’t have as much of the emotional connection and he’s quite anxious himself so my anxiety makes him more anxious and vice versa.

Then during winter before the pandemic has started, I got that weird, recurrent thing on my calf that I sometimes get during winter, apparently it’s similar to eczema but I don’t know really what it is or what’s the actual cause, anyways, it takes ages to heal and it hurts when walking and stuff or when something rubs on it which is quite hard to avoid when you’re riding and have riding boots on. So during winter I stopped riding completely. I’m always massively frustrated when that leg thing happens to me because as you can figure out I do love riding very much, but that year, my frustration was accompanied by a hint of relief that I won’t feel obliged to ride. Because the last few months of my riding, I found it more difficult than before. I wrote here many times before about my first experiences with riding in nursery and how I didn’t really like them and found horse riding super scary because of my balance problems, but how I then got into it later at our local stud because Mum read that hippotherapy would be beneficial to me. Even though I ended up loving horse riding, partly because of my very competent instructor and her being able to understand my issues around it, and partly due to Łoś magic, I never fully got rid of the anxiety and always felt quite anxious before riding and it took me some time to relax. Some times were worse than others. And I guess after Łoś’s death things got a bit worse generally and it became more difficult for me to feel at ease when riding, so that finally at some point it started to become more and more of a struggle for me to actually motivate myself to do it, and was no longer as much of a pleasure as it used to be.

So now, having not ridden since before the start of the pandemic, I don’t know if I’ll get back into it. I’d love to, I miss being in the saddle, I miss that feeling when I am finally able to relax my brain and my muscles while riding and I miss how freeing riding can be once you relax, I miss Rudy and I miss my instructor, with whom I really enjoy talking. But on the other hand I’m not sure, I just have super mixed feelings about it. Also I know that, while I’ve experienced a lot of benefits from horse riding, at the same time it’s very paradoxical that that’s the sport I’ve been doing, because I lack pretty much all the skills that are said to be required to be a good rider. My balance, coordination and sensory integration are all fairly rubbish, and I’m allergic to horses on top of that. Still, I’ve been told that I’m a pretty good rider despite that, given my possibilities, and I do feel I’ve achieved a lot and am quite proud of myself in this department. Being an equestrian is definitely a part of my identity since I’ve been doing it for years, and it would feel weird to decide that I’m no longer going to do it. And I don’t have as much interest in any other sport or physical activity, so I don’t know what I’d do instead. Yet at the same time I think it’s not really something for me because of my difficulties. I just don’t know.

But because I don’t do horse riding for now and I haven’t yet made up my mind on whether I will or not, I think I still need to do something so that if I decide to go back to it, I won’t realise that I’ve regressed physically. Therefore, I regularly go for walks with my Mum when we both can, often quite long ones, which I like as it can be a good way to clear your mind, although not as effective and cathartic as horse riding can be. I also do some low-key core exercises at home that my instructor recommended to me and that I also used to do in between my riding days, which I consider fairly boring as any form of workout so I’m not always as systematic with it as I should, these days, but it’s just to keep my muscles in some kind of shape.

How about you? 🙂

Lynn Saoirse – “Isabella Burke/Planxty Burke”.

Hey guys! 🙂

Today I’m sharing with you two harp pieces performed by Irish harpist Lynn Saoirse, and composed by the famous 18th-century Irish Celtic harpist Turlough O’Carolan. I wrote about him before when sharing some piece composed by him. He was travelling a lot and staying in the houses of rich people, playing for them. At the end of his stay, he would typically present his hosts with a piece that he wrote especially for them, as a way of expressing his gratitude. And these pieces that he composed specifically for his patrons are called planxty, just like the second piece in this set. I don’t know who the Burkes were, or maybe it was just one person, in his life, nor who was Isabella Burke to whom the first piece is specifically dedicated, beyond quite an obvious fact that they must have been his patrons. I really like both these pieces and I can’t even decide which one is more beautiful.

Question of the day.

Are you an early riser?

My answer:

Yes and no. I think I wrote about my crazy weird sleep a lot on here. I don’t like the morning lark/night owl classification of people, well I don’t mind it in general but it just doesn’t really work for me personally because I could say I’m sort of both and neither. 😀 And I’m sure I’m not alone with this. So in this post, I’ll go beyond just answering the question and try to explain in more detail why this labelling doesn’t work for me and what’s the deal with my sleep exactly, especially for those who don’t know me outside of the blog.

Basically, if you don’t know about it yet, I’ve been totally blind since birth, and totally also includes no light perception, so, quite naturally, my brain has always been more or less confused what time of day, or night, it is, so instead it decides on its own. There were times in my life when I was quite frustrated about this but generally I’m used to it and it’s just how it is.

Whenever my Mum talks about what my siblings and me were as babies and toddlers, she always says that she had no big problems with me in terms of behaviour then, except for sleep, and she learned quickly that mid-day naps were not for me ’cause then I’d be full of beans for most of the night, and that would of course affect my parents as well. I now know that there is something called non-24-hour sleep/wake disorder, which is a circadian rhythm disorder affecting mostly totally blind people, but I only learned about it as an adult and I’ve never found any resources about it in Polish so I don’t think anyone in my surroundings as a child even had an idea about it existing, plus even though a lot of problems that people experience with it sound familiar to me, I’m not sure that that is exactly what is the problem with my sleep, because it’s a bit different for me. I’d say it’s kind of more irregular, but at the same time I guess I seem to struggle with the whole thing less than most people with the condition and it’s easier to manage by things like avoiding naps, while many people who actually have non-24 diagnosed or are very sure of having it don’t seem to be able to resist the urge of napping as easily as I can, and no, I’m not particularly self-disciplined at all, although I do hate naps because they turn my clock upside down, but there are times when you just can’t fight it. I guess in my case, it must be quite a mixture of things causing the circadian rhythm situation that I’m in. I was born with hypopituitarism, and of course pituitary regulates a lot of things, and according to my Mum it’s circadian rhythm as well. I was taking growth hormone injections as a child as I had a deficiency of it and I remember reading somewhere that this hormone plays some kind of a role in regulating the circadian rhythm. And then of course there’s all the mental health stuff on top of it and it definitely has a strong impact on one’s sleep.

At this particular point in my life though, I’m happy to say that it doesn’t really matter whatever the name of my sleep problem is, because I can adjust my life to my brain’s whims if need be, having a very flexible schedule and being in charge of my own time for the most part, not having to work at strictly set times or anything like that, which is a great luxury after having had lived a very structured life earlier at the boarding school, where I felt quite sleep deprived a lot of the time, not just because of the schedule but also because I would often stay awake at night willfully when I could, to be able to do something more than the usual school stuff, like write the Jack Hamilton novel, journal, listen to music or just plain be with myself and my own thoughts, which I felt was essential to my mental wellbeing and for which I didn’t have a lot of space during the day but which also made me a zombie the next morning. I don’t think that, even if I had a diagnosis and a label for it, someone would actually be able to offer me a lot more help. I have an impression that accepting it as something that is a part of me (which of course wouldn’t be as easy if my life right now looked differently) and not fighting this all the time has actually improved my sleep situation over the last five years.

Usually what people say to me when I tell them more about my sleep problem, regardless whether they’re just casual people or some professionals, is that I should try melatonin. Since it’s such an obvious thing to try, I did and a few times. It would always make me feel drowsy during the day even at low doses, and, very bizarrely, I had the weirdest, scariest nightmares on it. Even more bizarrely, I’ve heard I’m not the only one in the blind community who had this experience, even though I also know a bunch of blind people who take it with no problem and it really makes a change for them.

I’d say the way my circadian rhythm works right now is that, most of the time I have a bit of a compromise with my brain, where both of us are having our requirements that need to be met but also try to be flexible as much as possible in regards to one another. I guess people with classic non-24 can’t afford that on a regular basis as their brain are less inclined to make a compromise.

I sometimes say that my brain is in something like a constant mild jet lag, travelling between different time zones. The times when I’m asleep or awake, or at least sleepy and alert, shift in a bit of a cycle. I still haven’t fully figured out how exactly it works, what kind of rules are there at play or maybe how many hours it typically shifts per what amount of time, because time involves too much math for me. And there must be many factors at play which can influence the way this cycle evolves, but there definitely is some sort of a pattern, even if it’s a subtle or a complex one perhaps. I’ve had my iPhone for over half a year now and I’ve been logging my sleep since then, but that hasn’t really given me much more of an idea so far either.

I’d say that one specific trend in my circadian rhythm will usually remain more or less of a thing for about a week, but it also depends on my lifestyle and loads of other things. So my brain may think one week that it’s really cool to wake up at 7:30 AM and go to sleep by 12 AM, which is okay with me too and this is always the sleep schedule I’m trying to aim for, because even if it doesn’t work out, I think it’s better when you have some sort of a reference of when you should/want to sleep and be awake. And then, gradually, I may be waking up later and later and falling asleep later and later, until at some point I won’t be feeling sleepy at night at all and will end up having a zombie day, which is, as you probably know already, what I call a day after a sleepless night. I typically have one zombie day a month, more if I’m stressed or something weird is going on. Zombie days are obviously quite horrid, I don’t think I have to convince anyone as I guess most people have enough first-hand experience of that, but I’m quite used to that and they seriously can have their upsides sometimes. The biggest upside to a zombie day, however, is that it resets my brain clock. It hardly ever happens that I’d have more than one zombie day in a row unless I’m having a lot of anxiety or something else is seriously off. Usually, after a zombie day, I’ll have a fabulous night of restful sleep and, if I go to sleep early enough – that is I think something between 7-9 PM –
chances are high that I’ll wake up feeling very refreshed in the morning and wake up at a decent time similar to when most human beings in my time zone wake up. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be able to fall asleep just as smoothly and decently, but a reset has happened, so I have a chance to try and do everything I can to continue a normal or near-normal sleep-wake cycle for as long as possible.

It doesn’t have to always look this way though, because I can just as well wake up early and go to sleep early, or wake up late and go to sleep early, any combination is possible. What particularly seems to disagree in my case with what I know about non-24 is that for me the amount of time I spend awake or asleep also shifts over time, whereas, at least from what I know, for non-24 folks it’s only the times. It can also change whether the amount of sleep I’m getting feels enough for me, for example I may be sleeping like four hours and wake up refreshed and bursting with creativity, or another time I may be sleeping just as much and feel like I could use some sleep. That’s also been the case lately, since about last Thursday, as I keep finding it difficult to fall asleep at night and usually do about 1 AM, and then wake up about 4-6 AM and would love to sleep more but it just doesn’t work. I still prefer that than over-sleeping which usually makes me feel awful even when it’s actually what I need and is refreshing.

So because of all that, as you can see, I can’t really say whether I am an early riser or not, it really depends. Like I said though, I do try to stick to some kind of sleep-wake routine, by having an alarm set to 7:30 every day and falling asleep by midnight. I do think 7:30 is pretty early. That does help with having a bit of a reference for my brain to what’s relatively normal, or getting back on track faster when things get messed up. I don’t know if that makes me more of an early riser, because even though that’s what I aim for and I manage to succeed sometimes more often and sometimes less, I don’t push myself for all means to get up at 7:30. If I wake up at that time and my brain says “No way, I want to sleep at least three hours more!” that’s what we’re doing, as long as there is nothing I have to do urgently in the morning and nowhere to go. Same about going to sleep. If it’s 11 Pm and my brain clearly doesn’t want to go to sleep, I’m not going to force it unless I really have to do something important the next day in the morning, but even so, I probably won’t be able to fall asleep anyway and will only get stressed about it more when lying in bed than if I were doing something more productive instead until I’ll feel sleepy. And feeling stressed makes me only less likely to fall asleep. I also won’t typically lay in bed if I wake up at 3 AM until my alarm goes off, unless I truly feel I may fall asleep again soon. If I don’t fall back asleep in about 15 minutes, and don’t feel any more sleepy than I did when I woke up, I’ll usually get up, unless I really have no idea what I could be doing this early and don’t feel like getting up. Usually I regret it though, because if I stay awake in bed for too long after having slept earlier, at some point I’ll often start feeling groggy and then drift off straight into sleep paralysis. It’s not the case every single time though, which is why I sometimes fall into this trap, thinking that maybe this time it won’t happen and not wanting to get up at such an insanely early hour, and then it starts happening so quickly that I can rarely pull out of it. Sleep paralysis is one sleep-related thing that I do find very difficult to live with.

I normally try to restrain my brain from sleeping after noon as that hardly ends well and is rarely actually properly restorative, but sometimes is very difficult if not impossible to resist if I had a bad night’s sleep. And like I said I really hate naps and avoid them at all costs. Sometimes when my sleep cycle is really messed up and it bugs me, and I can afford having a super low key, lazy day of doing nothing and possibly being a mental mess, I’ll go as far as to force a zombie day to reset my brain clock. I’ll get as much sleep as possible one night and day, and then won’t go to bed at all the next night. Sometimes that works, but sometimes I have to give up and go to bed early in the morning and sleep through most of the day, other times I just have to have a nap and then end up right where I started off. These days, ever since I’ve started having more frequent migraines, I don’t really do that because it’s a sure thing to give me a migraine, and migraines always make me sleep more so it just no longer works and is generally rather unpleasant and radical.

Other than that, my anti-anxiety medication also works for sleep and it really helps me immensely in crisis situations, but I try to only take it when I absolutely have to, plus I often only know that I’m going to have trouble sleeping when it’s already night, and no point taking anything for sleep at night as that will surely make me properly hungover tomorrow and I hate the feeling with a passion.

And of course I also have a lot of other ways of dealing with all the sleep stuff, which a lot of people typically use when they struggle with it. I have my sleep habits like how many pillows I sleep with, the fact that I listen to music quietly while sleeping or read before falling asleep, etc. and cultivating such habits helps me fall asleep and create a sort of sleepy atmosphere. I love to listen to Misha purring before sleep, even though he never purrs loud. I like having a hot bath before sleep when I can, or a mug of cocoa or something else that would make me feel cosy in a sleepy way. Or I like to imagine something calm and friendly before going to sleep. That doesn’t always work, because I’m a professional ruminator, but when I can focus on all things Bibiel-friendly, the results are often very good.

Okay, now over to you. 🙂

Clannad – “Nil Se Ina La” (It Is Not A Day).

Hey people! 🙂

I chose to share with you today this song by Clannad, which I believe is one of their more popular songs in their native tongue and comes back from the times when their music was a bit more folky than it became later. I think though the lyrics must be traditional. I found two different translations of this song,one vastly different than the other, and I had a feeling like neither really made sense, so no translation this time. I’m not even fully sure if I got exactly the right translatioon of the title literally, since I don’t speak Irish myself yet so can’t verify it, but even if it’s not fully accurate, it can’t be very far off in terms of meaning. Despite I know so little about this song, I like it, and that’s why I’m sharing it.

Question of the day.

What was the last thing that made you feel misunderstood?

My answer:

Since I have that thing called AVPD, I feel misunderstood a lot of the time. I don’t really even like admitting that because to me it sounds kind of as if I were so entitled in a way and expecting people to understand me and/or considering myself so exceptional that no one can even begin to get me if they try and how I’m oh so devastated because no one understands me. It’s not really like that, because on the other hand, like I wrote in a post about being understood by people perhaps a month or so ago, I don’t think I even want everyone to understand me because it would be creepy. Still, when you have more of a relationship with someone and you feel like they don’t understand you on a lot of, often quite crucial to you, things, it’s quite an alienating experience. I felt quite strongly disconnected from my family during the Easter holidays, but what currently happens to be bothering me the most in the misunderstanding department is my earlier exchange with someone, and I just keep ruminating about how I surely must have said something that wasn’t what I meant exactly and how, because of that, our friendship is already ruined beyond repair before it even had a chance to start developing.

You? 🙂

Camille & Kennerly – “The Rains Of Castamere”.

Hey guys! 🙂

I’ve already shared one piece by these girls, aka The Harp Twins. This time, it’s another cover of a piece from a movie soundtrack, but in this case, it’s The Rain of Castamere from The Game Of Thrones. I hope you enjoy. 🙂

Question of the day.

How clean is your house/appartment right now?

My answer:

Well, it’s right after Easter, or, actually, here it’s still the second day of it, and most people do a huge cleaning before Easter. My Mum didn’t really, but that’s because she is a full-time house manager, as she puts it, and also she can be very pedantic, so there was no need for a real big cleaning here. Still, she did clean it more than usual out of a strong sense of duty, so you can imagine it’s extremely clean now. My room is more messy than most other parts of the house. Not like dirty messy, but just kind of disorganised to an outside observer I guess, which is its normal state that I like and am okay with ’cause it’s more interesting, and I’m not a perfectionist. If it’ll start to bother me, I’ll clean it up, but no sooner than that, usually. I guess only Olek’s room can compete with mine, and he’ll win, most of the time. Sofi, on the contrary, despite what you could think based on her very impulsive and spontaneous personality, is almost as pedantic as Mum. People often are surprised when I tell them that I’m quite messy and like it this way, because I have a lot more important things on my mind than being orderly, as there’s a – very true – conviction, that mess and chaos can be very confusing when you’re blind. Sure, only the key part is about who is the one making the mess. As I always say, I’d rather live in my own chaos than someone else’s order. One of the easiest ways to make me mad is to tidy my room without telling me about it, so that it looks like some Bibiel museum and I feel as if I were actually long dead, everything is in what YOU consider its place and looks very neat, and then I come in here and need something specific from here right this very minute but have no clue where you decided to put it so that the room would look as aesthetically pleasing to you as possible. 😀

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day (4th April).

Hey people! 🙂

Here’s the question I meant to ask you yesterday:

Do you feel like you have a special connection with animals?

My answer:

I don’t feel this way at all, but, judging from how a lot of animals are extremely clingy with me, you could draw exactly the opposite conclusion. I do like most animals in general, I grew up in the countryside where we’d always have a dog or two in the backyard, some wild cats running around, and fishes at home, I even had a hamster for a short while as a kid, then I started horse riding, and now have Misha and Jocky, but I couldn’t describe myself as a typical animal person, who would take some great interest in animals in general, or even a particular species, or anything like that. The only animal which I truly love in a way that goes beyond just liking it because it’s cute is Misha. Since I love Misha very passionately or obsessively as some say, a lot of people automatically assume I must be some crazy cat lady in general. And I don’t usually tell them that it’s otherwise because, of course I do like cats, but it’s not like I have some special interest or extreme love for felines as a whole. I feel I also had a very strong bond with a horse I used to ride for many years, that was absolutely amazing, but he died two years ago or so. I guess the fact that I’m madly in love with one cat and used to have an extraordinary bond with one horse doesn’t really make me an animal person overall or doesn’t mean I could have a connection with all of them.

For some reason though, a lot of animals seem to like me a lot. Often when I’m just walking somewhere and a cat passes by, it will come close to me and let me stroke it. Same about people’s dogs. We even have one dog in the neighbourhood who will always get so agitated whenever she sees me and will not calm down until her mummy lets her come over to me and I stroke her. It’s hilarious, although a bit weird. 😀 In my family, when we visit someone who has a cat or a dog, the pet will often come to me first thing, even though it’s my Mum or Sofi trying to coax it with some food to come to her and I don’t do anything. It’s especially remarkable with my aunt’s dog – Daisy – who is always literally all over me whenever I visit her. And I visit this particular aunt extremely rarely. In a way, getting so much attention from animals in social situations is fun, because it often rescues me from having to be social with people, or gives me something to do on family gatherings where I’d otherwise be bored to death (I think I talked about that when sharing Leah Nobel’s song Talking To The Dog At The Party, which I think should be introverts’ anthem 😀 ). In this regard, credit goes especially to my gran’s cat, Feluś, and one of my maternal grandparents’ backyard cats whom I called Michelle, who always keep me sane during social gatherings, as long as they are home. But on the other hand it often ends up drawing even more human attention to me and I don’t like that one bit. Also, especially with dogs, it can be quite awkward. I feel about dogs very much like I feel about children. They’re cute, but, in direct contact, I don’t really know how I should relate to them, what I’m supposed to do with them, and they can be a bit overbearing long-term. I even feel this way about our Jocky, as much as I like him at the same time. With Jocky it’s also funny because of course he’s mostly Sofi’s pet, just like Misha’s mostly mine, and Sofi and Jocky have very similar characters and love each other so much and play a lot. Still, it always bothers Sofi very much that Jocky always seems a lot more affectionate withh me than with her, even though I am not nearly as affectionate with him as Sofi is. I do play with him regularly and it’s fun, but I don’t do it not nearly as much as Sofi and don’t give him as much attention. Yet when we come back home from somewhere and he sees me and Sofi, he’ll be all over me first and only then scamper off to play with Sofi. I really feel for Sofi, I’d hate to have a similar situation with Misha where I’d love him as much as I do but he’d be more affectionate with Sofi. So while in a way I feel honoured that Jocky likes me so much, even though I don’t get it, I think for Sofi’s sake I’d rather like it more if he was more like that with her.

I guess it’s kind of similar to what my Dad experiences with children. He makes a rather rough impression and can be authoritarian and not necessarily your ideal candidate for a nanny, but, for some weird reason, he’s very popular with all toddlers with our family. They are often a bit shy around him initially when they come to us or when we come to their parents’ houses, but after some time, it’ll be my Dad on whose lap they’ll be sitting or running to him to tell him about some game they’ve been playing or give him a half-eaten lollipop or something, even though I would think my Mum is far more engaging with children than he is. Maybe it’s about his sense of humour and that, unlike my Mum, he hardly actually asks them any questions, and I suppose not all kids like being asked a lot of questions even if it’s in a very friendly way as is the case with my Mum, who is genuinely interested and doesn’t just automatically ask about how school is going.

Weird how such things work sometimes.

How is it with you? 🙂

Pendevig – “Lliw Gwyn” (White Colour).

Hi hi hi people, and very happy Easter to you all! 🙂

I’m late with today’s song of the day, as it’s Easter so I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family.

For today, I chose a really hilarious Welsh folk tune, performed by Pendevig. Pendevig is a project evolving around traditional music, but also heavily infused with influences from lots of other genres. It is made up of a group of young talented folk musicians who are already well-known on the Welsh-language music scene, most of them from the band Calan. However, I first became interested in it because one of my faza people – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – is also part of it. It is also he – together with Bethan Rhiannon, the vocalist of Calann – who sings the song I’m about to share with you.

Its actual, full title is “Lliw Gwyn Rhosyn Yr Haf” which has been apparently translated to English in a lot of ways, but the most literal translation that makes sense is White Colour Of A Summer Rose. It’s basically a conversation between a mann and a woman, where the man tries to chat her up by comparing her to a white summer rose, and some other things as well, and she wittily rejects his advances, only to finally admit that she’s actually just as madly in love with him as he is with her. When I first heard this song, I had no idea what it was about, but as my Welsh kept developing and I was able to understand enough of it to figure out the context, I was snorting out with laughter.

While preparing to share this song with you, I’ve found this fantastic and very thoroughly researched post about it by

Ffion Mair from The Foxglove Trio

which I would highly recommend to read if you’re interested to find out more. – According to Ffion’s post, this song was written by Richard Williams – a 19th-century blind poet born in north Wales, also known as Dic Dywyll, or Dark Dick in English. – I just love how creative it’s original title was – “A new song, which is a conversation between a young boy and a girl about getting married”. 😀

In Pendevig’s version, at the end of the song, there is also a beautiful poem written by Iestyn Tyne – one of the members of the group – which, as Pendevig explain, is about the loss of a lover and healing from it.

Here is the translation of Lliw Gwyn from Ffion’s post, including one verse which Pendevig actually don’t sing, (the third one), but which does appear also on Pendevig’s website, plus it’s funny and I like it.

 

“Good day to you my final star,

As white as a summer’s rose,

You are the fine girl that I love,

As white as a summer’s rose.”

“Well, shut your mouth you vain old man,

The nastiest ever on the face of the land!

I will hang myself before I come to court you,

In a word, that is the truth.”

“Your kiss, my darling one

As white as a summer’s rose,

Is like honeycomb every minute,

As white as a summer’s rose.”

“And so is your kiss,

The nastiest ever on the face of the land,

Second only to being wronged,

You old big-mouth, that is the truth.”

“Tell me when we can marry,
As white as a summer’s rose,
I know you belong to me,
As white as a summer’s rose.”
“When you see the cat eating the pudding,
The nastiest ever on the face of the land!
And Siôn Puw’s cow making the butter,
You old big-mouth, that is the truth.”

“If you are going to refuse me,

As white as a summer’s rose,

Give me a kiss before we say farewell,

As white as a summer’s rose.”

“Well… I might as well tell you the truth as not,

O kindest ever on the face of the land,

You had two before, you can have another fifteen,

In a word, that is the truth.”

Happiness.

I thought I would do some journaling prompt-inspired post today, and I picked this prompt from Hannah Braime’s book called The Year of You:

“What does happiness mean to you?”

Thought it would be quite in-line with today’s question of the day.

They say happiness is easy to not notice, and you can find out that you had it only when it leaves you. It’s very true. Happiness is very quiet, makes hardly any sounds and walks very quietly, and is very small. It also often easily blends in with its surroundings because of its colour, so you don’t necessarily have to be blind to not notice it. It is also very easy to scare it away, even with just one unnecessary movement or sound. And then it may be very difficult to get it back to you. Happiness doesn’t like everyone, even if almost everyone likes it. Generally I’d say that a good rule to follow is that the less desperately you try to make Happiness come to you, the more successful you may be at it. Happiness doesn’t like unnecessary attention being drawn to it. If you call it and are lucky enough that it comes to you, don’t overuse its trust and don’t call it all the time. Also when it comes, make sure to provide it with the best food and sleeping accommodations possible. It’s not always the best idea to come very close to it. It always knows best what should the distance be between it and you, and if you will accept it calmly, it will be more likely to come closer than if you try to force it. When you hear Happiness at your door, it is not wise to wait with opening it, you should do it right away, or it will go somewhere else.

Happiness is very gentle and never intrusive. It is warm, soft and very smooth. It likes soft, quiet places, which is where you can usuallyy find it. There is only one Happiness in the world, which is probably just exactly why so many people are unhappy, and it often likes to hide. It is very clever, playful, but also a real scaredy cat. Almost everyone who sees it for the first time gasps in awe and wants to hold it, but it’s rare that you would be granted such a luxury right away. It has relatively big ears, so that it always can hear when unhappy people call it, but it doesn’t mean it’ll always come. It knows better than you when you actually need it most.

Unlike what many people may think, Happiness is grey. Not pink, rainbow-y, not even green, but grey. Perhaps this is another reason for why people often don’t notice it, since, ironically, the colour grey is associated with all things gloomy. Another fact about Happiness which may seem strange to many people is that it originates from Russia –
which seems to be feared as a whole by many people these days. – Perhaps the devil’s not so black… (if happiness can be grey, everything’s possible). It also has some Czech ancestry. Originally, Happiness cost $500, more or less (obviously because people, as always, didn’t even know what it actually was and what its value was, just that it looked kinda cute). I’m sure though that, if it ever had to be sold again (although I’m having a difficult time coming up with any legit reason why one would want to sell Happiness) its price would be much higher, and not even Bill Gates or Elon Musk could afford it. It only exists since 2016 (how did we manage to live prior to that excedes my understanding at this point).

Happiness can often be found curled up in a little ball. Although I said it doesn’t like too much attention, it also doesn’t feel well when you don’t pay any attention to it whatsoever and can feel hurt. Happiness loves flowers, leaves, feathers, birds, and especially the sunshine. It also loves routine, warmth and safety.

Happiness is actually male. He has the brightest green eyes. He poops every day and never flushes the toilet after himself. He has lots of facial hair, and he never shaves. Same about his armpits. Despite that, he always smells heavenly, and never sweats. He seems to enjoy, jazz, classical, baroque, and relaxing piano music, but secretly delights in Russian D&B.

The whole drama with Happiness – why so many people are unhappy, or pretending to be happy, or searching for Happiness, or racing after it, or find it so difficult to define Happiness, and all the other troubles that are caused by lack of Happiness – it has one very simple reason. Right now, Happiness is in my kitchen, happily eating sausage, and I’m not going to give him away any time soon. 😉 What a bad, selfish Bibiel, keeping all the 4 kg of Happiness to herself, when so many people die without having ever felt a warm touch of Happiness. But hey, not all is lost, I can always sell you a bag of Happy Poop (if only you can afford it 😉 Maybe it would work to some extend).

And maybe there’s also another reason for all the trouble with Happiness. If you want Happiness, affirmations, meditations, manifestations – they won’t work. – It’s best to be straightforward with Happiness and call him by his name, just like you would everyone else. Happiness is called Misha. Or better even, if you want to manifest Happiness in your life, say “Mish Mish Mish!”. Or make some other hissing, rustling sounds, and, who knows… maybe his ears will be big enough to hear you, too…? Maybe he already did, but the front door is locked, so he can’t get out to help you. Don’t blame me, it’s my Mum who locked it and watches Misha like Cerberus. 😛

Okay, so that’s my definition of happiness for you. If you’d rather have a more abstractive/serious one:

Happiness, for me, is any state of mind when I’m not unhappy.

Generally, I don’t really know if I know what happiness is. I hate it when people sometimes ask me if I’m happy, or unhappy. I know what unhappiness is and I know full well that I’ve experienced it, and I also know that I am not unhappy now. I also know what it’s like to feel joyful or euphoric, but I guess happiness isn’t really a feeling but more like a state so I don’t think you necessarily have to be happy when you’re feeling joyful, just like you don’t have to feel sad all the time when you’re unhappy. I’ve had depressive tendencies ever since I remember and had my first major depressive episode diagnosis when I was 8, but at the same time I laugh a lot and can be very enthusiastic about things. Sometimes it comes more genuinely, sometimes I need to fake it a bit, or a lot, but even so, I think it’s a natural part of me. Still, the depression is always there and I guess I’ve never felt happy the way people do when they don’t have stuff like this glued to their brains. Therefore, when someone, typically my Mum, asks me “Are you happy?”, I’ll always answer yes if I’m not unhappy. I try to keep myy expectations low in this department and be, well, happy, with what I get, if it’s something good. This strategy has served me well, as it’s a lot nicer to have your expectations exceded than unfulfilled, right?

I hope the way I explained it makes sense to people. 😀

So, how is it with you? Is there someone/something that embodies happiness for you? What is your definition of happiness, whether abstractive or more specific? 🙂

Question of the day.

What is something small and seemingly insignificant that brings you joy?

My answer:

The main thing that brings me joy and is definitely small, although we could and should argue about the “seemingly insignificant” part, is Misha. And also that Misha seems to be feeling better and is in a happier mood than he was recently.

Other than that, books, music, food, sleep, surrounding myself with my languages, some fun dreams I’ve had recently, playing BitLife –
although you probably wouldn’t call my current life in there the most joyful or successful one, even though I’m a millionaire and a member of the Danish royal family, at least to me it seems a bit grim – writing with my penfriends, playing with Sofi, being alone, some small milestones in my Welsh learning, my gem stones… yeah, these are all things that come to my brain right now.

You? 🙂

Gwen Màiri – “Hwyr” (Late).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I felt like sharing with you something from this great Celtic harpist and also singer. She comes from a Welsh-speaking family but was raised in Scotland and I believe can also speak Scottish Gaelic. I first learned about her because of Gwilym Bowen Rhys, with whom she’s been collaborating as a harpist on all his albums as far as I’m aware. The piece I’m sharing with you comes from her album Mentro (Venture) on which, in turn, we can also hear Gwilym playing guitar, mandolin, fiddle and shruti. She’s also supported by Jordan Price Williams – who is also very active on the Welsh-language folk music scene – on cello.

This particular piece was inspired by Gwen Màiri’s memory of her grandfather and the passing of time from the perspective of old age.

Question of the day.

What’s a problem in your life that you are currently trying to solve?

My answer:

For me, I’m happy to say that I guess nothing very pressing at the moment really, except for the stuff I was writing about yesterday. And other than that, what I’m dealing with right now that could be considered problems is either mostly easily solvable, or not really solvable at all.

You? 🙂