Karliene – “Jack’s Lament”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Yay!!! I’ve been waiting all year to share this song with you, and finally the right time has come! πŸ™‚ This is a song about Halloween. Those of you who know me may be wondering now what happened to me that I’ve been dying all year to share with you a song about Halloween when I’m Catholic and do not celebrate Halloween. But if you know me you’ve also noticed that there’s Jack in the title and you know that I’m a Jackophile. So there you have it, that’s exactly the reason. πŸ˜€

But seriously, to be more specific, I absolutely love this song because to me, it proves that even Jack-o’lantern doesn’t really like Halloween. It’s so heartwrenching and I truly feel for him! Any time I’m listening to it it makes me want to call out to all the Jack-o’lanterns of the world “Hey! Come to me! You want to have to play creepy here! I promise I won’t be scared of you, you all will have different, better lives”. Actually, as someone who doesn’t celebrate Halloween, I wonder, what do people do with their poor Jacks after Halloween? Perhaps I could become some sort of a Jack-o’lantern collector and people would drop them off or send here for me and I would transform their lives from crappy to happy, from yucky to lucky. I wonder are Jack-o’lanterns edible? Uncle Google says yes but not particularly delicious for purees. Well, I was thinking that my Mum could make a soup out of all them Jacks because she likes pumpkin soup but if they’re not good for it that’s even better because I hate pumpkin, it’s so pulpy and mashy and it tastes gross, so it would be sad to have them all lost in my Mum’s soup, and she wouldn’t eat so much of it anyway so it would also be a huge waste. But I love pumpkin seeds! And My Mum has mentioned to me many times around Halloween how she thinks the Jack-o’lanterns are very decorative and before the Halloween boom came here to the point it is now (not that it’s anywhere near to how much people celebrate it in the US, it’s still seen a rather new tradition) she often thought that she’d like to have a pumpkin candlestick, but now everyone would think she’s a Halloweener too. If I was her, I would do it anyway, but at a different time of the year. And yeah, someone may think I am celebrating Halloween in February but so what? πŸ˜€ I’m all for celebrating things in an unusual way as it’s so eccentric and out of the box. I love it since when I once called my former long-term therapist in the middle of April (we mostly had phone contact because that was often the only option because of me being in the boarding school) and when I called her there was a lot of chaos and people talking in her house, so she apologised to me and said she’d call me back later because she forgot to let me know earlier that they were celebrating New Year’s Eve today. I was of course like: “But… New Year’s Eve? In April?!” “Yes, why not? We’re just weird like that”. And I love doing things this way since then when I realised that you actually can! πŸ˜€ My family is very conventional so it usually isn’t an option with festivities but I can practice my eccentricity in other ways, too. And now, I could have Jack-o’lanterns all around the house as candlesticks all year round except for Halloween. They wouldn’t be creepy. They would be warm, cosy and inviting and if someone would scream at their first sight it would be in awe of their amount and how beautiful they look. I’m sure with very many of them it wouldn’t be possible or safe to transform them all into candlesticks and it wouldn’t be practical either, but over time I’d become more inventive I’m sure. Oh, I was just about to publish this post when another potentially superb idea creeped into my brains! We, in Poland, have All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on November 1 and 2. And we have a custom, which as far as I know isn’t a thing anywhere else, of lighting candlelights on the graves of our loved ones. I suppose it would be controversial for many people to place Jacks-o’lanterns on graves, but if it was with the right intentions, perhaps with Jacks having been exorcised or somehow consecrated beforehand if need be, it could be a good idea.

I think I shared something by Karliene Reynolds on here before as I like her a lot and she’s such a prolific singer, but even if I didn’t, here’s Jack’s Lament.

Jack Vreeswijk – “Lilla Regn” (Little Rain) and Georg Riedel & Sarah Riedel – “Lilla Regn”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Today, I will share with you another poem-song written by Cornelis Vreeswijk. With this one, I am sure it was written by him and as it seems originally was intended as a poem and not as a song as it didn’t seem to have a melody. The interesting thing about this poem which later became a song though, that I want to show you, is what came out of that it didn’t have a melody in the first place. Namely now people who cover Vreeswijk have all the freedom in the world to create their own, and here we have almost two different songs, very different in style yet with the same (only slightly varying) lyrics.

The poem – maybe a little surprisingly for someone who would know about Cornelis and roughly about what kinds of things he wrote – is not political, not a protest, not about people/society, not about love, not about Ann-Katrin Rosenblad (his muse) and not even about drinking. It’s, as you can guess from the title, about rain. Little rain. He addresses it in a way that makes you think this rain is a child. It’s a gentle encouragement for it to fall. “Of course the Earth is heavy and cold, but rain anyway”. And when it finally has fallen, the birds are hesitantly starting to sing more and more.

I think it’s very nice, and the two totally different musical versions take two totally differing looks at it.

Jack’s version comes from the same album from which is his last song that I shared with you – “Till Den Det VederbΓΆr” – also written by Cornelis. Jack composed the music to it (or so I assume it was Jack) and it feels very deep but also minimalistic.

And then there’s another version of it composed by Georg Riedel, who is a Swedish jazz musician, and sung by his very talented and sensitive daughter Sarah on their album Cornelis vs Riedel. I’ve already shared a song from this album much earlier that was also sung by Sarah – “Se HΓ€r Dansar Fredrik Γ…kare”. – This is a very carefully made, heartfelt and refined album and both Sarah Riedel and Nikolai Dunger (who is another singer on this album) do a great job, in my opinion, of conveying the feel of each of these songs, as if they really took a lot of time to truly feel them and could relate to them personally. It is a very jazzy album as both Georg and Sarah Riedel are jazz people, which is normally something that would discourage me more or less as I usually don’t have a strong connection with jazz music, but here it doesn’t bother me at all and is great since Cornelis himself also drew from and was inspired by jazz among other genres, and it was his more jazzy songs that convinced me that jazz doesn’t always have to be awful and incomprehensive.

And so I seriously don’t know which version I like more. I wonder which one would be Cornelis’ favourite. And how about you guys? Do you like one of these more than the other?

 

The challenging life lessons.

I don’t have anything more constructive to do for the time being, so thought I’d write another list inspired by Listify by Marina Greenway. Here goes the prompt:

Β Β  Difficult challenges that I pushed through (and what I learned). You have been through a lot. Pushed yourself, faced difficult situations, overcome challenges – all of it. List those moments and look back every now and then to acknowledge your journey and appreciate how far you’ve come.

The following list is not going to be exhaustive, we all have too many challenges to list and I’m too lazy to that, that would be endlessly pathetic and also too intimate, and I’m probably going to overshare massively anyway. I’ll write about major things. Because I’m supposed to include both the challenges/events and what I learned from them, and I want you to know the context and also just write more about it so it’s not just a dry list, it may not be your typical list with short elements. Actually, on second thoughts, I decided to make it a bit unconventional and will simply put each point under a separate heading because sometimes it may get lengthy and I don’t want to be limited to one paragraph which will be hellish to read. πŸ˜€ Now it’s actually no longer a list, but oh well. Does it matter a lot?

Also, before I begin, I feel like some minor, just-in-case trigger warnings are due. Brief mention of suicidal thoughts from the past, mention of accused suicidal thoughts (however absurd that may sound), brief mention of self-harm, in-depth discussion on false accusations of child sexual abuse, and generally challenging topics so if you feel like anything may be difficult be careful and don’t feel obliged to anything. Another disclaimer is for the length – it did turn out huge haha, and I was writing it for ages. Again, don’t feel any obligations to read everything or if you don’t think like reading a lengthy post don’t pressure yourself at all and do something more relaxing.

Β Β  I was born blind

Not like I remember any of it, haha, but blindness, even when it’s congenital thing and you can’t imagine your life any other way, is still more or less of a challenge. I don’t know if I learned anything specific from this… I mean, being blind you definitely learn things that you wouldn’t otherwise, but I never knew anything else so I can’t really compare it with anything I’d know before. Someone who lost their sight later on could have said that they have learnt to accept their blindness over the years – I was saved the problem as that has always been the only reality for me so I didn’t have to adjust to it in such a dramatic way. – It certainly was a difficult lesson for my parents though. Speaking of my parents, perhaps what I can say could be that I learned from quite an early age that I have a really loving and accepting family and not every disabled or non-disabled child is as lucky as I was.

Living 10 years in a boarding school

That was a huge challenge for me. It’s always difficult for any child to separate from their parents at the age of 5 and see them every two weeks at the very best, often much less frequently. If the environment where they live is friendly and there are other kids, as is the case with boarding schools (I want to be an optimist in this case and do hope most boarding schools are child-friendly and mine generally was, though I realise it’s not always the case), most kids grow to like it over time and bond with people there, though obviously they still miss their parents and, given the choice, would much prefer to live with them. But when they do go home, they’re often so used to being with their peers and the boarding school staff all the time that, while they’re happy to be at home, they may even miss their school and then be happy when going back there, to hang out with people they know well and have things in common with. That was not the case with me. I never fully adapted to living in such a way. Not because my school was scary or awful, though there were many things that I strongly believe shouldn’t take place. I guess I just wasn’t the type of kid to thrive in such conditions. Often when I’m close enough with someone to tell them about my experiences with this more in-depth, people will readily assume that my, or any other child’s in a similar situation, parents are to blame here. I don’t think so. There’s no way you can tell at such a young age whether this will be a good choice for your child or not. You can have a very extroverted, outgoing kid who loves spending time with their peers all the time, going to sleepovers, being in charge maybe, but stay in a boarding school and separation from family or any other subjectively negative experiences they may encounter there might make them much less self-confident and unhappy. An introverted child who hates leaving home even for family holidays and can’t find their place in a group may discover their true self in a good boarding school and make longer-lasting relationships because they can get to know their peers more deeply. And as for my personal case, my parents didn’t have another viable choice, or didn’t know about any. It had quite a destabilising effect on me that I had to change places so often. The result was that I didn’t feel at home anywhere and I didn’t have any sense of belonging. Because I hated the boarding school and didn’t want to have anything to do with it and that I felt like it smothered my sense of individuality (though I only fully realised what that feeling was exactly and the extend to which it happened after I left), I felt repulsed by what people were saying there a lot of the time that we should think of it as our second home. I didn’t understand those who actually treated it as such. I hated whenever someone would say about themselves, or moreover about me, that I “lived” there (we have two separate words in Polish for living, one for living as in being alive and another for living as in dwelling somewhere long-term, and I’m obviously talking about the latter). I wasn’t living there, I just was staying there at the time. I was scared thinking of girls in like their 20’s who were still there (most of them because of doing some higher education (most people there started proper schooling later than in mainstream school so it wasn’t that unusual for someone in their early 20’s to still be in higher education, that was actually the case with me too, only not in there) or studying at a mainstream university which was located nearby so it was easier for them to still reside in the same place that they’ve known for years and which was adapted to blind people in every possible way) or even older blind people who lived in this whole centre permanently (either because they worked somewhere there or just felt safest there and didn’t want/weren’t able for some reason to face the big wild sighted world) and I was wondering when I was little whether that was going to happen to me too, and then even later too but in a more cynical way rather than because I just didn’t know. I always waited when I’d be able to go home but I never felt truly at home either. It was like a holiday both for me and for my family, the more that often I’d come for summer holidays, or Christmas, or Easter, winter breaks or other. I loved it there but always felt more like a guest. I never was up to date with whatever was happening in our community or in the family. I felt like some very dignified stranger in some ways and didn’t like it. My relationship with my brother – which was never strong and kind of ambivalent, was particularly affected by it. I could never truly enjoy my stay at home because I was constantly thinking about how I needed to go back there soon and stressing over it. I hated being sort of on the move all the time. Yes, I did get used to living there, like you get used to living with one arm when you have it amputated at some point, but I was never comfortable with it and never fully accepted it. I did have kinda sorta friendships in there, liked many people, many people liked me, but these didn’t feel like true friendships, often felt either not really satisfying to me or sort of forced on the other end. I never had anyone there that I would miss when at home or think about what we’d be doing after the holidays/weekend/school break. I felt awfully inadequate and moreover awfully guilty for being so inadequate and not being able to feel good there. I tried to pretend and I think I was quite good at it or at least at stifling negative emotions (though sometimes in my first years of mastering this skill things would get really wild when there was no space left and it all popped out at once, until I learned that you can also implode and not just explode) but ultimately at least the staff knew that I didn’t feel good there, though it’s possible they knew it mainly from my Mum who couldn’t get over it naturally and her way of trying to get over something is talking and talking and talking and crying, they surely learned from my Mum that I was cutting myself, for example, which my Mum was supposing. During my whole long stay there, I only met one girl much younger than me who had very similar issues to me. Sometimes I thought everyone must feel exactly the same as me and they must be just acting, but why would we even be acting in front of each other so much that absolutely nothing would show. Some of the girls in my group that I was closer with knew that I didn’t feel exactly great there, but they never mentioned feeling the same. Yes, of course, everyone misses their parents, I often asked some of them about whether they do and most naturally they always did, and school work is always boring for most kids, no matter where you are, right? But no one seemed to feel the same desperate kind of thing and instead enjoyed being able to be around other people with whom they shared so much in common because of living together for so long, being blind and often some common interests. People bonded with the staff a lot, some girls sometimes jokingly called some staff members their another mum or something. Many happily went on summer camps with the group despite spending with these people all year. Or devote one holiday weekend to spend it doing some fun things with the group as well, like going for a trip or something. my parents strongly encouraged me to take part in these things as they thought that would integrate me with them more but it was always quite nightmarish for me. There was only that one primary school girl, whom I happened to get to know more closely because she was from the same region as me so we would often go home together – like I would go with her parents and she with mine so that made it more possible for us to be at home more often. – I know she was self-harming and also finding it difficult to adapt there. She’s a teenager now though and a few years ago I saw her on Twitter where she wrote a lot about her school life – still in the same school – and very positively. So I’m very happy for her that she did eventually found her place there, even though after I got out of there me and my Mum were strongly encouraging her mum to take her out as well. Only now I have even bigger problem with myself, as that just confirms my… ahem! uniqueness. πŸ˜€

What have I learnt from that? First I have to say I learned some independent living skills there. Not as many as a lot of other people there and not always as well, I think due to a whole mix of factors, but I definitely did learn things that I likely would not have learnt otherwise at all, and so for that I am grateful. As well as for learning to read, I’m so flippin happy to be able to read Braille. I know there are screen readers, audiobooks etc. and many blind people live happy lives without using Braille at all or say it’s impractical but for me, being able to read something vs hear makes a world of difference.

Not to invalidate other people’s negative or traumatic experiences, no matter how minor they may seem to me. I hate the word trigger or trauma in context of myself about which I wrote here a few times earlier, because it feels like trivialising people’s serious traumatic experiences, but at the same time, paradoxically, I’d say if I do have any actual triggers it’s when someone else invalidates someone’s negative experience in any way, for example tell them that it’s impossible for them to be traumatised by something. I only recently discovered how much it can upset me and drive me absolutely nuts, much more than when someone does that to me.

It taught me to appreciate the good things while they last. To cherish my private space and time I can spend alone. To appreciate music that I love and that I can listen to it any time as I couldn’t do that for many years of my stay there. To appreciate my family, my roots, anything or anyone that I feel a close connection to. In hintsight, it made me appreciate my individuality, quirkiness and realise that I am not, can’t be and don’t have to be like other people. It works both in a negative and positive way because while I love being different and quirky and don’t have any interest in being normal and average, at the same time I have strong feelings of inadequacy and strongly feel all the downsides of not being normal. I try to have a distance to it though. It made me understanding and more aware of the differences of other people and more interested in them and in what they’re actually feeling. Because what they’re showing or saying or doing or not doesn’t always have to mean it’s in line with what they’re feeling. Just in case you didn’t know. πŸ˜‰ Also in hintsight as well, I learned to accept my mental illnesses to which that experience had largely contributed, but I was only able to do that after I left, despite I knew deep down much earlier that things weren’t okay. It took me a long time to accept what was going on and put my finger on what it was exactly, and obviously I needed the help of other people. And oh yeah, I learned how to be a defensive pessimist, which skill serves me very well to this day, yay! But I can assure you that the learning process was quite shitty haha. I’ve learnt that different people may see one situation entirely differently. I’ve also learnt not so positive things, like have gotten quite an ingrained belief of being extremely not resilient and mentally weak, or the bottling up stuff I mentioned before.

I experienced two years in an integration school

If you don’t know what I mean by integration school, it’s like a cross between a special school and mainstream school, where disabled children learn with able-bodied children, but it’s meant to be more inclusive and generally supposed to be better prepared for the needs of disabled children or children with any special needs, like there may be teaching assistants more readily available as teaching assistants are not something you’ll encounter in every normal mainstream school in Poland (not necessarily even in an integration school either). As you can imagine from what I wrote earlier, my Mum was also quite desperate and not happy with the boarding school situation and wanted to help me. So when I was 10, when my parents left me at the boarding school at the beginning of a school year and I was doing quite visibly unwell emotionally, my Mum started to look for some alternatives and she asked in a nearby integration school kind of specialising in teaching visually impaired students or in any case most of their disabled students were visually impaired, whether they perhaps could admit me, without huge hopes as she’d already asked before. Miraculously, this time round there was a different headmistress and she agreed. When I learned about this from my Dad I was absolutely euphoric. To fully understand my euphoria, you have to realise that my idea about what an integration school is was rather peculiar. My absolute biggest, secret unrealistic dream was to be homeschooled. Or if not homeschooled, then I wanted at least to be in an integration school. Probably because most kids who left the special blind school I was in while still being in education, went to an integration school (naturally closer to home), I thought an integration school is any school that is not a boarding school, from which you go home straight away. When I was in nursery, there was one girl in my group who lived close enough to the blind school to be able to go home every day. One day as I witnessed when someone was coming for this girl, I said: “Wow, she has such an integration!” I couldn’t understand why all the teachers burst out with laughter. πŸ˜€

I don’t think I thought much about what it was going to be like, in practice, except for what I knew from Mum that the classes there were similarly small as in my school and that some kids there were blind and some were not and some were in between. And, of course, that I’d be at home every day.

The experience wasn’t bad in itself. It was just that a lot of nasty things happened in the meantime, that my brain state at the time was really awful and I was one super neurotic and constantly ruminating mess and got my first major depressive episode diagnosis around that time, as well as that I simply wasn’t a fit for that place either. My Mum says now that integration schools might be good for children who use wheelchairs or such but that they aren’t good for most if any blind children. I’m not sure I agree with that, it may not be the perfect idea but nothing is perfect and I know a bunch of blind people who thrived in integration schools or even completed their whole education until high school/college in such a way and are all for integration and it’s great. It’s just not a fit for everyone. For me, perhaps the more with the other issues that I mentioned that started surfacing big time, it was quite challenging. Practically – because I wasn’t independent enough – socially – because I couldn’t find my place in there and get along with people at all – and to a lesser extent academically. My Mum struggled with the idea that, rather than having the school books provided by the school as was the case previously, she’d have to get them printed in Braille and pay for them herself (which is not a cheap business), so I only got the most necessary books. My Mum was expected to help me with more complex/less easily adaptable school work or the things I struggled with the most, aka math, which is typical and mostly understandable practice in integration schools but my Mum wasn’t ready for it nor used to it, and hardly able to do it with baby Zofijka, the more that she isn’t particularly good at math either. I wasn’t used to needing this much help with school work either, before that I usually wanted to deal with it as fast as possible to be able to do other, more interesting things, had no time and patience for waiting for someone to come and help me, even if I sometimes needed it, so it was frustrating for us both. Eventually, after the two years, I left it. The final reason was not my not coping there though, but something more major. And, as there weren’t any more options, I went back to the boarding school for another five years.

From this experience, I learned more about the sighted people’s world. It’s a commonly mentioned disadvantage of blind schools that people in there are in their own, blind environment and, if they don’t have other, sighted friends or some other circle they would spend time with it’s easy to lose touch with what it’s like to live in the sighted world, and connect and relate to sighted people, especially with people who really spent there years and had few chances to really engage with sighted folks more. My primary source of such knowledge were books, just as books taught me about any other things that average people do, not just related to sight but socialising for example, haha, but that was an interesting early experience too.

I’ve learnt that integration school is another place where I don’t fit in, which instilled in me the conviction that there are real many places, situations and groups of people where I don’t fit in. Today I’m more okay with that than I was then. I got to learn some Swedish and generally my knowledge about a whole lot of things increased a lot.

I learned the same thing that I previously learned at the boarding school and also later on in all the other schools I went to, that the education system is evil and I still think very much the same and delight in ranting about it with whoever has similar views – which at this point is most often Sofi. – πŸ˜€ –

During my time in the integration, I had an Achilles tendons lengthening surgery, after which I was recovering in casts for 6 weeks and then getting back to life for a few months

2007 was a horrific year for me. At least it was balanced with only two but both great things – Sofi was born, and I received First Communion, although the significance of the latter didn’t fully sink in until much later even though my family was very religious. This horrific thing happened at the very start of my integration adventure – I started out in there in the middle of September and had the surgery in early October. – It was a possibility that was talked about previously a lot, I visited a few orthopaedists who all said I’d need it at some point. Finally I had even some very distant date for it in some huge faraway clinic and a hazy idea of what this surgery would entail, and just one day after coming back from that clinic, my orthopaedist said that he can fit me in for the surgery right away, here, in 5 days’ time. So obviously my parents jumped at the chance to have it dealt with and not have to think about it longer than necessary. I was quite stressed about it but I was also stressed out about a billion other things and didn’t really know what it would be like so tried to believe what everyone was saying that it would be okay, and by that possibly minimise the amount of stressful things, you can’t ruminate about everything at once. And it actually was okay. Except for that the surgery didn’t really work long-term at all, and for some reason the whole experience was really creepy for me. Again, perhaps it was just that I was generally in a rather bad emotional condition so anything would crush me. Or what I’m more inclined to think, my overall mental capabilities and the level of resilience are such that it would crush me any time. Or maybe, as my therapist later said, it was a shock for me because no one really took the time to explain to me the details of it. Maybe it were the accompanying circumstances – my Mum being chronically busy with Sofi and the building of our new house, me not having much to do and being chronically bored etc. – I only know it was super creepy and still when someone has something broken and is in a cast, and I happen to touch it, I get nausea and chills, and sometimes I still have dreams about the damn thing.

My Mum really wanted me to be admitted to the hospital for as short as possible and the doctor agreed, so I was only admitted one day before surgery and was discharged almost as soon as I woke up afterwards and they made sure everything was alright. That was scary too. Not just because I never was in an actual hospital by myself, but also one particular creepy thing comes to mind when I think about it, which may be as much important for the whole picture that it could have added significantly to my overall perception of the situation. In the hospital room with me, there was a girl my age after an awful car accident and another, much older one with something more complex. She needed a lot of assistance with everything, but one of her issues were also contracted Achilles tendons. I didn’t know what conditions she had or anything. I only knew she had some sort of a surgery a few days ago and accidentally learned about her Achilles tendons. The doctor was passing by our room while talking to someone and said: “There is a girl with contracted Achilles tendons here and we’ll be discharging her tomorrow”. This other girl thought he was talking about her and was overjoyed as she’d been in the hospital for a long time. I don’t know what sent my brain in such an irrational direction but I thought that OMG, she has the Achilles tendons too, so will that be how I’ll be after this surgery? She had to be fed and needed help with changing positions, a whole lot of other things that I’d always taken for granted.

So in the hours leading up to the surgery I was massively stressed. Finally, after I woke up from it, of course I was so foggy I could barely make sense of anything. The first thing I felt was that my legs were stuck in something, and I thought these were some sort of huge buckets, and I wondered why I can’t get out. Then my Dad said something like: “Wow, what fashionable winter boots you have! Aren’t they a bit too warm for autumn?” I laughed and then it sank in and I realised that I almost couldn’t move my legs. From what I know now, my doctor was really generous in covering me in casts, because they’re not normally quite as huge with this surgery as the ones I had. They went from slightly above my knees all the way to my feet, so that only my toes were sticking out. So essentially, I had my legs in pretty much one position all the time and couldn’t bend them even slightly. I absolutely didn’t realise that it would impact me so much. I think I wasn’t aware that it would change my life in any way beyond just the surgery itself. I often saw people – particularly my Dad – with broken limbs – which was the only comparison with that I could make – and for what I knew, he almost lived on as normal except for using crutches or having his hand in a splint/cast. He didn’t have his limb stuck in one place for weeks, didn’t need rehabilitation or anything, sometimes he’d even go to work or pick me up from school with Mum. I remember that my grandad, before I had the surgery, talked about it to me a little, and he said my legs would be in stagnation for a while. I didn’t know what stagnation was, so he explained to me that if I would spend all the time in one room, without seeing anyone, without ever going out, without being able to read anything, listen to music or radio, watch TV, talk to anyone, I would be in stagnation and that the same thing would be happening to my feet now. I thought that would be super scary if that happened to me, but didn’t really apply the allegory to my feet, or don’t think I did.

But it turned out my grandad had great intuition because, while it wasn’t as radical as what he described, my brain also went into some sort of a stagnation for all that time. As I said, my Mum was busy all the time with Sofi who was very demanding or at the building site of our new house or picking furniture for it etc. and all other people naturally also went on with their lives. I spent most of the time on my own, which I typically find absolutely fabulous, but not really when there isn’t much to do. My only regular company in those weeks was Polish Radio BIS, which I loved and listened to all the time and even called them and stuff. Sometimes Mum would get me talking books on tapes from the nearest library which had it, but I was done with them in no time as there was a limited amount of them you could borrow at once and I could listen to them all the time, while it wasn’t close enough that my Mum with her busy schedule could pop in there any time I wanted it. I had a lot of old children’s magazines in Braille, as well as a Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases which I got from a sort of organisation which printed it – I was always fascinated with words and wanted to have my own dictionary and that was the only one my Mum found out about that she could get me. – So I had that to read any time and I did, only I had a whole tall bookshelf of these children’s magazines and another one with all the volumes of the dictionary (Braille books are very clunky in case you don’t know so there are almost always multiple volumes even when it is a novel, let alone with something like a dictionary) and both of these shelves were quite a distance away from my bed. So I had to ask someone to give me something to read and as these things weren’t labelled in standard print, I’d often get the same thing to read multiple times because they’d just pick whatever was nearest randomly. A few times I attempted getting something myself, I slid off the bed and moved to the shelves on my butt so that I could get something specific from the lower shelves, but then I couldn’t make it back up on to the bed as my legs wouldn’t move almost at all and the casts were heavy enough that I couldn’t drag myself up on the arms. Eventually I managed it somehow one time I tried it and can’t remember how but that required a bit of inventiveness, haha, the more that at this time my Dad was back from work napping on my bed so I didn’t want to slog him with my leg accidentally, or with the book, lol. Sometimes Mum would bring Sofi to me and leave her with me but she was very small so that wasn’t often or for long. My class teacher visited me sometimes to help me catch up with what my class was doing, though that was rather rarely and more often when I was already out of the casts.

So I had rather little stimulation in general, not too much contact with people, and as I wasn’t very active either cognitively or physically, my circadian rhythm was crazy in that I slept very little so I often also had to figure out what to do with my stagnating brain at nights. All these things alone can contribute more or less to my sensory anxiety, and together they really made me feel like my nervous system was on fire all the time. My generalised anxiety and other mental health difficulties I was struggling with also got much worse, and I developed lots of weird specific phobias or the ones I already had to some small degree became much more of a problem, I still struggle some of these to a variable degree particularly the emetophobia but it’s much better most of the time. My thinking was generally super weird in a lot of ways, I can’t even describe it. And my imagination was extremely wild, which sometimes was very helpful, and other times very unhelpful. I didn’t have a computer yet, or any other technology really, my Mum had applied for funding for a computer and some specialised equipment for me earlier and it came right at the end of my cast stagnation, but it took a few more months until I had some training on how to use these things. I was suicidal for all sorts of reasons but also because I felt like an extreme burden for my family since they were so busy but also Mum had to help me with showering, and as we didn’t have any wheelchair for the occasion I also needed someone to transport me to the loo which sometimes was tricky when Dad wasn’t at home.

When the time came for me to have the casts taken off, and they actually got them off me, and the doctor who was on duty at the time was talking to my parents about me, I suddenly started crying and couldn’t stop. No one knew what was going on and my Dad was a bit annoyed as he didn’t understand why now that I’m no longer in the cast, I suddenly start crying. And I didn’t knew either but I was just crying and crying and crying like I was going to do this forever. Also now that I didn’t have the casts I realised that my feet were hurting a fair bit whenever I moved them. A few days after that I started rehabilitation and that was really scary too. The first few weeks it hurt like shit, probably not just or not at all as a side effect of the surgery but more because of the muscles in my whole legs not being able to move for so long. He wanted me to do a few squats during our first session already, and I was very surprised how am I going to do a squat if I’m not even able to stand up. It scared me a little but I figured he’s a physiotherapist so he knows what he’s saying, so I stood up rather confidently with his assistance and totally wasn’t ready for all the sharp pain that was coming. So I was very resistant to doing anything with him but I was also scared of the prospect of not being able to walk so I did it anyway and it felt like a torture, and any time I was waiting for him I was shaking like a leaf.

Years later, another orthopaedist said that because that Achilles surgery wasn’t effective, I should have another one called Grice-Green’s. I was still a minor then so I didn’t really have a say, but for some reason it never happened. And as long as I get to decide, it won’t. I don’t know what would have to be going on with my legs for me to have another surgery, someone would really have to give me a very good reason.

But I learned loads of things from that experience! I learned loads new, weird words and useless things. Some of these useless things interested me enough that I developed shorter- or longer-lasting interests in the very narrow fields they were connected to. πŸ˜€ I learned a lot about myself and the murky side of my brain, and got to test the limits of my imagination. I learned what it feels like to be suicidal. I’ve had depressive tendencies ever since but that was the first time I was actively suicidal. I learned lots of internal strategies to cope with boredom, though still this is one of the things I despise the most, the good thing of it is just that I’m not very easily bored at all thanks to this experience. All these things were very difficult, but also very enriching for my personality and my inner world.

My Dad was falsely accused of abusing me sexually

I still don’t know how exactly that happened. There was a school psychologist I started seeing when I got back to school after I recovered from the surgery. She was weird. Made a very strange impression on me. She had a weird way of talking, both in terms of modulation and the words she used, there was something very serious and pompous about her, and she always seemed very sad and very sad about anything you’d tell her. I’d always loved to make my therapists/psychologists laugh to lighten up the atmosphere when needed, and many of those I dealt with weren’t easy but I always succeeded and quite impressively, except for this one lady, I never heard her laughing not even a little bit. Perhaps also because, just like I said earlier, I myself was in a weird mental place at the time so not as capable of it. Sometimes when a class would behave badly she would come to the whole class and tell them how they should behave well, and one time she came to us – our class mostly consisted of boys and could be rather unruly sometimes. – The incident that she was called for included someone who had jabbed someone else with a pin. And, what stayed with me from that lesson, was how she addressed that person: “It’s not allowed to jab thy neighbour with a pin!” And no, I really don’t think she got “thy neighbour” or her general way of talking and acting directly from reading a lot of the Bible (she didn’t even say “Thou shalt not”), in fact my Mum said that to her she seemed like she had some strong preference for new age related things, which is possible, I was too young to see or not see that myself and that doesn’t matter, it was just funny and portrays her quite well.

Talking to her made me feel quite awkward as she herself would say very little and there was something very depressing about the whole experience. She asked me often about my relationships with my family and seemed to draw not the most favourable conclusions. At some point, I don’t know what led to it, but I was talking to her about how my Dad sometimes plays with me that he is a hamster and my fingers or toes are his food and bites them slightly and how I consider that funny. She didn’t seem to share my feelings about it. Either after this same appointment or the next one, she was also supposed to see my Mum to talk to her about my depression. And at the end of that appointment where she was supposed to see my Mum, she told me what she was going to tell my Mum. And among these things was one thing that made me feel sort of uneasy. She said that she’s going to tell my Mum about my Dad’s “erotic” behaviour towards me. I did very basically know what erotic was, and didn’t think it could have anything to do with my Dad and me. I suppose though I must have been thinking that she knows what she’s talking about and she wants to help me, or maybe after all I didn’t know exactly what the word erotic implied, anyway I said that okay, you can talk to my Mum about all this, and felt very happy that perhaps she’ll be able to help me somehow. Didn’t really know with what exactly, or the more how, but I definitely felt like I needed someone to help me so that was good that she wanted, right? I sat outside of her office as they were talking and I could hear that my Mum was crying and some broken sentences about something sexual, and how my Mum thinks it’s important to have physical contact with a child, especially when the child is blind and you can’t have eye contact or communicate things through body language. Mum cried afterwards too but I don’t think we talked about that much until later when my Dad learned about the accusations. It only sank in with me then, and I talked about that to Mum and told her that I didn’t say anything about such things, or nothing that I’d realise would be about it. I felt awfully guilty and sorry for Dad and couldn’t really understand the situation and how it happened. I still can’t fully. My Dad was mad and so I didn’t even talk much to him at the time but he wasn’t mad at me, only at the psychologist and the school. I apologised to him and things went back to normal.

One day during summer holidays I was at my grandma’s, when Mum came and called me to come quickly back home. When I came, there was some lawyer lady – I don’t know now what exactly her function was – who wanted to go into my room and chat with me. She asked me weird questions about my family and my Dad that seemed totally stupid to me and that I felt quite uncomfortable with – most of them weren’t even sexual I guess but just general about my home, but I can’t give you any examples. – Then she asked about me, how I was doing, if I was often sad or thought about death etc. I was all like: “Why???” I kept asking her directly why, but she wouldn’t say anything specific until finally she started asking me about some sexual things and Dad and then I had a lightbulb moment and remembered the situation with the psychologist. “Aha! Now I know why you came here!” So obviously I told her that no, my Dad is not an incestophile – well that wasn’t probably what I said but I got really quite mad – and told her a bit about my Dad and what he is and what he’s most certainly not. But then it turned out it wasn’t just that! Apparently, a girl I was closest with in the class – not really because I liked her so much but because as I joined this class she was the only other girl and was also visually impaired to a degree so she was most willing to help me get around, as she both was able to do it with the sight she had and could understand my situatioon better than the rest who were able-bodied. – I can’t say though that we got along well and I mostly hung out with her sort of out of duty and gratitude that she’s willing to help. But we didn’t have any common interests and clashed in terms of characters a lot. And I don’t know exactly what was the deal with her, were they asking her about an opinion on me, whether she saw something weird or what, anyway she apparently said to a teacher or someone else in school that I told her that I am going to hang myself! Really… If I wanted to kill myself I most definitely wouldn’t go this route. And I don’t think she’d be the first to know, haha. So I also gave the lawyer lady a piece of my mind about that (I wasn’t mad at her, obviously, but at the situation) and let her in on how I generally saw the situation between me and that girl. She seemed quite relieved and actually became more human after I told her that (I’m sorry to all the actual sexual abuse victims if it’s always the case with people who interview them that they appear so unfeeling and detached and difficult to connect to) and apologised for the fuss and made sure that I understood her motives which I did. Good thing that she actually decided to mention that to me, I’m curious how it would go otherwise.

The thing eventually ended well although I had to go to a psychological assessment or something and another psychologist was supposed to judge based on my behaviour whether my Dad was a paedophile, or maybe not.

Is there a lot to learn from such an experience? I know I learned one thing which is not really very good, or at least it’s not good that I had to learn it but the goodness or badness of the thing itself probably depends on the context, namely I learned not to trust therapists easily and be really, really, extremely careful of whatever I tell them, if it’s anything of significant importance, and make sure that they understood exactly what I wanted to say. That means therapy was generally a bumpy road for me because therapists want you to be spontaneous.

Β Β  I was treated “like a piece of furniture” by the superior of the boarding school

And bless her for that, because otherwise I might have been in there still, or gone totally bonkers if I haven’t already. πŸ˜€ The inventive “piece of furniture” analogy is my Mum’s, I just didn’t know how to put it in short. The whole thing is even more complicated than the incest drama and very specific to the environment it took place in – not in that such stories happen there frequently (I hope) but in terms of dynamics and the way it all happened – so I’ll spare you the whole picture and just say that whenn I was 17, the superior sister (this place was founded and at least partly led by nuns) decided a major change about what would be going to happenn to me, without taking anyone’s opinion on that into account. The thing was of huge significance for me, as, from what you already know, I struggled there already without major changes like that, and a lot of people actually did try to speak up on my behalf and tell her it wasn’t the best idea. But she knew what was good for me better than me, my Mum, the group staff or I suppose anyone else, despite working in there for only a year and having to do with me perhaps once or twice for longer than 5 minutes, and she was going to do that no matter what. After some time, she decided that, actually, no, she won’t. So I breathed a half-hearted sigh of relief – as there were already other major changes coming for the next school year, but at least the biggest one and such that was affecting me personally was a thing of the past. – Then in the end it turned out not to be so because sister changed her mind yet again, a day before the start of the school year, and decided that after all she does think that that change would be the best for me. My Mum, and one staff member who worked with me for many years and knew me well still tried to talk her out of it and my Mum kindly didn’t even let me know about the whole comotion, thinking that I’m probably feeling sick about school already anyway and hoping that they will be able to talk her out of it so I won’t need to know about that. Well this time she didn’t change her mind, so my Mum had to tell me about it. I honestly said I really couldn’t imagine how I was going to deal in there, entirely practically. It was also a time where I perhaps wasn’t as neurotic as I was in the integration school but felt very depressed and the thing was just totally beyond me, I didn’t know how I was supposed to cope, also with other things on top of it. Actually, as time went on, over the years rather than feeling more part of that place I felt more and more weary of all that and like I had less and less energy for coping. I had a brief period of intense escapism into all things esoteric, because I felt very lost and pretended I was an atheist or Wiccan or something, I didn’t even know what. I did lucid dreaming and out of body experiences whenever I could and used the kind of binaural sounds that can work like drugs. That all helped me going, but then I re-converted to Christianity with the guidance and help of my Mum and some other events that occurred and helped me come to this, and while that made me feel more of a purpose in my life, I wasn’t mature in my faith enough to use it like I did those other things, to help me cope in any way. Also my fazas were of some help, but generally I felt gradually more and more like I was slowly, lethargically sinking.

We talked and talked about that with Mum but nothing was coming out of it. My Dad came in to the kitchen and we filled him in and he was all indignant but didn’t see any other option than that I’ll have to carry on with that. My Mum said it’s not an option. My grandad happened to visit and we filled him in, he was raging and said it’s time for me to leave that place or else I’ll go mad and that he’d rather have me sane than academically accomplished. Which was a huge thing for such an intellectual like him to say but he always stands by me and sometimes I think that whatever I’d decide to do, even if it was a mass shooting, he’d say that I absolutely should do it if I want and that he also thinks it’s a good idea. πŸ˜€ But if you have only one person like this in your life, it’s not yet very harmful, I think it’s actually highly recommended as long as you have other, more critically thinking people around you and some reasoning skills of your own. He couldn’t do anything, but he hugged me and from his words and presence I felt the confidence that things can get better and that perhaps indeed I don’t have to, or shouldn’t even, go there.

So my Mum started looking for a different school for me which was obviously a trick, but in the end one was found, but I wrote about this fascinating situation many times before. The point is that, thanks to that sister, I got my sanity back! In a way, I’d like her to know that and sometimes I regret I didn’t send her some thank you letter or something. But I try to remember to pray for her. Another thing that we regret even more, is that we didn’t notify the headmistress about the event, about why exactly I left, so that no one else would have a similar situation, which they may be not as intolerant to as I was or not have parents who would take such strong action, but it’s still something that absolutely shouldn’t happen. Making decisions about your subjects may be a common practice in religious orders, but we were not nuns in training.

I learned from it that even the most awful, scary, enraging things can lead to the most fabulous things that you wouldn’t expect. Perhaps not always immediately, and you have to go through some things first but sometimes it really does happen. And that sometimes situations where someone wants to be malicious can grotesquely turn around.

Β Β  My friend, Jacek from Helsinki, passed away

You all regular readers know about Jacek. He was a good friend of mine that I met online shortly after leaving the school and had a lot in common with in that we both loved Cornelis Vreeswijk, learned Swedish, loved Finnish, vikings, all things Norse and had some Gothic tendencies – Gothic as in referring to the subculture, not the historical Goths. – He was actually Jacek from Poland, but a large part of the time when we knew each other he spent studying in Helsinki. He was also not the easiest person to interact with and there was a lot of clashing, he was a very strong character just as quirky as me but in his own unique way. He introduced me to so many new, fascinating things and had his own part in pulling me out of the black reactive hole I was in still at the time when I first met him. We made lots of happy, strange and funny memories together. But after a few years since our friendship started Jacek was diagnosed with a malignant bone cancer and a few months after that he progressed quite rapidly and passed away. It was a huge shock for everyone who knew him and I only recently realised that I didn’t process it fully. I was just in such deep denial of his death, it didn’t even fully register. Yes, I knew he was death but still couldn’t believe it, until earlier this year, and that was hard. He was so lively, fiery and spontaneous it felt like some physical law was broken when he died. But now it sort of makes sense that someone with such a huge personality wouldn’t live long, there can’t be too many suchh people on Earth at once, they wouldn’t fit.

His death taught me a very cliche thing that I knew but only then truly realised, because such a thing had never happened to me before – that yes, even people I am close to, they also die. – And it taught me even more about the importance of praying for the purgatory souls and how satisfying it can feel in making you feel useful for them.

I failed my maths final exam

I wrote about it quite recently so I won’t be going into much detail as you may know about it already. I was studying for it a lot, but knew from the beginning that I just may not pass it because I’ve always had huge difficulties with maths on a lot of levels. This wasn’t a big deal for me as I didn’t know what to do with my future yet anyway and I told everyone in my surroundings that I thought should know that in case I fail it, I won’t be trying to rewrite it until I clearly see the need for passing all my finals because I will want to do something that will require it and I will know what this something is. I failed indeed and quite spectacularly, which was sad but as I knew it could happen, I didn’t dwell much on it and as my score was so low, I was even more confident about doing, or not doing, what I intended. Turned out though that my family were less accepting about my decision than they seemed at first. They got over it quickly though, so that’s good, as while I was convinced I was not going to change my mind I don’t like when people feel bad because of me and it wouldn’t be fun to live in a conflict over such a thing for too long. I still haven’t passed it. Sometimes it contributes to making me feel like a failure but ultimately I try not to think to much about this.

It taught me that you doon’t always have to have a schematic life to have a good life. You don’t need a piece of paper to prove a skill you have if you can do something well. That’s something my Swedish teacher always said to me, as he knew I may not end up having a PHD. in linguistics or whatever else someone may have expected. And yeah, screw the education system. πŸ˜›

So that is, my lovely people, the conclusion of this very lengthy post! Well no, I’m just kidding a bit, I hope you don’t have a reason to agree with me and have only positive associations with your formal education. πŸ™‚

If you feel like this post needs a conclusion – which I guess I do after writing so much just about myself – let it be that it all really proves how our brains are extremely plastic – we’re learning something all the time, even from going crazy. –

And now, sleepy time for me, and in the meantime you tell me: how about your challenges, and in what ways did they improve the plasticity of your brain? How did they enrich you? I’m very curious. πŸ™‚

Enya – “Only Time”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

I’d like to share another song by Enya with you today. An incredibly popular one. So popular, in fact, that it doesn’t even have as much of that special Enya feel to me as most of her music does. In a way I’m glad that her music isn’t totally obscure, that at least a lot of people know who she is, that you don’t have to be some real quirky individual to come across her music and enjoy its beauty and that it can speak to many people. But sometimes I feel like it really sucks that she’s so popular. Because as someone who’s had a faza on Enya and her music and has a special and very strong connection to it, it doesn’t sit right with me to know that people often listen to her music randomly without thinking much about it, call it new age when even Enya herself says it’s not, just because it reminds them of new age music, that some of her music is played in any of your average light pop radio stations often squeezed in between some rather mediocre tracks, and her most popular singles are often made into totally cringeworthy and sacrilegious – in my humble opinion – remixes which make my brain shrink and indeed, at least in my perception, ironically make her music have more of a feel akin to these sort of new age/pop/ethno fusion projects like Enigma, Era or Deep Forest. Yeah, I know I’m weird, but I can’t help the way I think about this. πŸ˜€ I just find it a bit yucky simply because I have a very personal relationship with her music and it feels like a prophany but I realise it’s just me. And, oh yeah, there’s that one song, only one single song by Enya that I dislike, to be more exact I actually hate it, not for any other reason than just because it doesn’t sit right with my brain and causes me sensory anxiety – so paradoxical given that her any other music has exactly the opposite effect, I don’t know why that is and I wish I liked this song, I really tried, but I just do not and trying to like it only makes it worse. – This song is Orinoco Flow, the single from her 80’s album Watermark, which got insanely popular and appears to be her most well known song. Such an irony.

With this song, Only Time, there is an awful, pop-y, cringey remix which as far as I remember was the first song by Enya that I’ve ever heard (no wonder that my first impressions of her music were very negative and I used to think I dislike her music in general, only later a friend convinced me and infected me with the faza on her ). You could hear this cringey remix in some stations here and I guess even more often than the original song.

So, after I’ve realised how much I actually love Enya, I never really had big feelings for Only Time just because it’s so normal, so popular, so overheard. I did like the original version but just not quite like her lesser known music. I still don’t have huge love for this song like I do for example for Dreams Are More Precious, but I try not to be unfair and disqualify it just because it’s popular. After all, it’s still very good and became popular for a reason.

I guess Enya is much less popular and known in America than in Europe, but this song is probably quite well known to American people as well, since it was used as a tribute to 9/11 victims, and in connection with that events the lyrics take on an entirely new meaning. So is the case in our current, weird times.

Jack Vreeswijk – “Till Den Det VederbΓΆr” (To The Concerned).

I’ve decided to share this song with you quite spontaneously, as I didn’t have any other ideas planned. And I have sort of mixed feelings about it because I feel I didn’t research it quite as well as I should, or perhaps there’s just not enough info on this. Usually if I post a song for you guys – and especially if it’s in another language – I try to put it in a context so even if, as it often happens, there is no translation, and I am unable to provide it myself, you can have a basic idea of what it’s about and what was the background of it. Here, I know very, very little.

I was listening to Jack Vreeswijk a while back, as I hadn’t in a long time and wanted to refresh some of his music for myself. And when listening to this song and trying to understand its lyrics (which I always prefer to do when having them written especially if I’m not sure of something and that was the case here) I learned that this was written by Cornelis Vreeswijk (which is actually no surprise when you look at them more closely) and Jack Vreeswijk. In case someone feels confused, Jack is the son of Cornelis. I’ve written a lot about Cornelis Vreeswijk on my blog before as he’s been one of my major fazas but to sum up quickly, he was a Swedish singer, songwriter, poet, guitarist and actor born in Netherlands, he passed away in 1987 (way too early) but his son, Jack, is still alive and also sings as well as composes music, often drawing from his father’s huge legacy and covering his songs not too badly at all (only when you compare him with Cornelis he just… ahem… lacks that charisma a little bit, so this is a clear example why we should not compare people to each other and why following your parent’s career isn’t always the best choice if you do not want to be compared. But don’t get me wrong, I do like Jack. A lot. I just see a lot that people compare him, and I do too, and I’ve heard how on his concerts people are far more enthusiastic about hearing his covers of his dad’s music rather than his own songs. Although maybe it’s just how I interpret or maybe it’s just me who would feel awful about myself and my music if I were in his shoes). I wonder whether this piece was originally a poem to which Jack composed music later on (it does musically sound more Jack-esque) or a poem late enough that Cornelis could somehow write it in collaboration with Jack (I’ve never heard about them ever having such collaborations but who knows, right?…) or a song that was unpublished or somehow very obscure or something. And if it was a poem, was it actually published in any of Cornelis’ poetry books or not? I can’t find any info or hint anywhere about it in another context than it being a song by Jack, but thenn I don’t have Cornelis’ poetry books as such so it’s possible it is there somewhere.

Moreover, I don’t really know the context of the lyrics. I can understand them quite well – although because neither Swedish nor English is my native language I don’t think it would be a good idea if I tried translating something I don’t have much of an idea what it’s more broadly about, also there are some single words I am not sure what they mean in here – and I couldn’t find a translation either.

But I just found this song interesting because the lyrics made me think, they’re intriguing, murky, weird and haunting. I’m not sure I like them as such but I don’t necessarily always love Cornelis’ lyrics, I doon’t have to agree with them and I often don’t, I don’t have to relate, there’s just something else that is not about plain liking. And I’m always excited to see something new from Cornelis (see how some people are so prolific that even after their death it feels like their creativity is a whole endless well), though I’d like to have more of an understanding of it, perhaps I will over time. Also I feel like I haven’t shared anything by Jack in a very, very long time. So basically these are the reasons why I decided to share with you guys a song about which I know next to nothing, and perhaps you’ll like something about it too. πŸ™‚

Song of the day (27th October) – Ella Henderson – “Glorious”.

I’d like to share with you another song that I think has great lyrics. Yes, they are a bit cliche, but I think it’s good anyway that we have music like this, which can help us become more accepting of ourselves, of our flaws. I’m not sure I fully agree with it literally that our flaws make us glorious, but the way I interpret it is that we shouldn’t be as harsh with ourselves as we often are about things that are part of us that we don’t like, but which we have little to no control over and can’t change. And there indeed are flaws which can ultimately make us better people.

Song of the day (26th October) – Ella Eyre – “Careless”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

This time, I have something in quite a different feel than what I’ve been sharing a lot with you lately, as it’s not folk. If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you may remember Ella Eyre from its very beginnings, when I shared her song Even If. I really like her strong voice and she has a lot of relatable lyrics. This song is definitely relatable for me and I think it’s this kind of song that could be easily relatable to many of us. So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it. πŸ™‚

Ten Things of Thankful – #TToT. –

Today, after a long time of not doing this, I’m linking up with

Ten Things of Thankful

to list some things I’m grateful for, as a sort of follow-up to my earlier post about ways of showing gratitude.

Here’s the list of things I’m thankful for.

  1. Β Β  That we are all in good health, me and my family. I think that’s a huge thing to be grateful for any time. I’m not just talking Covid, but this, of course, too. It’s one of these things you typically only start to appreciate when something goes really wrong, so I’m trying to be grateful in advance.
  2. My room. It’s my recharge place and a place I feel very strongly emotionally attached to so I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my own room. Especially that mine is really beautiful, cosy and Mishful. I got to particularly appreciate it yesterday when Sofi was having a party that I mentioned earlier today, but Misha and I could just lock ourselves here and be oblivious to all that.
  3. Great music and interesting books! I always make sure I’m not short on either and both these things are of tremendous importance for me every single week, making my life richer. Right now, I am listening especially much to Enya’s music – Enya was my very first major faza (or music fascination) and even though she’s more in the background now, still, every year, when it gets colder outside, I feel like listening to a lot of her music. –
  4. Everything to do with MIMRA (My Inner MishMash Readership Award). That I am able to do MIMRAs, that I have my Mum to help me out with them, as she always helps a lot and although she’s not my reader she probably deserves a MIMRA herself πŸ˜€ that I have my loyal and supportive blog readers, that I have some cool ideas for MIMRA this year (although it all still needs to be polished)… There’s so much to be grateful for about MIMRA.
  5. Kefir! A lot of people who aren’t really as huge fans of kefir as I am but do drink it sometimes might argue that it’s a distinctly summery drink. Well I drink it all year round and this week I’ve been drinking tons of it.
  6. My Mum yet again! For all the other things beyond MIMRA she does for me. I feel really grateful that we have such strong relationship and can talk about lots of things, and also that we have relatively similar views on a lot of things – would be difficult otherwise living together, so it’s really a big plus. –
  7. That we’ve been having pretty good weather this week. Today’s especially nice and sunny out there.
  8. My iPhone and all the stuff I can do with it that I couldn’t before I got it, and that I’ve learnt to use it despite the touchscreen challenges well enough. This week, I’m especially grateful for being able to play BitLife when I had not much constructive stuff to do, especially at nights, as my sleep cycle was all over the place this week because of migraines, but at the same time I had too little energy to actually do something more useful. I’ve lived about 6 lives in Bitlife now and I always bond so closely with the character I’m playing.
  9. All my penfriends, especially the ones with whom I’ve been writing for a longer time, their interesting emails, care, support, and all the conversations we have.
  10. And Misha!!! How come I didn’t put him higher on the list? Misha slept with me in my bed last night, I mean really in bed, not on the bed or in his bed on my bed but properly under the duvet beside me, which happens very rarely, and I loved it. I am also grateful for that he spends a lot of time in my room now during the days, sleeping in a basket on the windowsill, so he can look out the window, smell the fresh air, feel the sun and wind, and the radiator beneath it. Sadly the radiator itself is way too narrow for Misha, otherwise I’m sure he would have preferred sleeping there. I’m always so grateful for having such a beautiful Mishball in my life, I’m insanely lucky in this regard.

So, these are the ten things I’m grateful for this week.

What’s on your list? πŸ™‚

 

Question of the day.

What are you watching/listening to/eating/drinking?

My answer:

I am not watching anything. Today I only watched a few short videos on YouTube in the morning.

I am listening to Cymru FM, but not very actively, currently it’s more like a background noise. And I’m listening to Misha slowly waking up and tossing in his basket, that’s so lovely.

Eating – Sofi had a big party for her friends yesterday and Mum made a cake so we’re finishing this.

Drinking – I have water in my room so I sip on that to stay hydrated. Other than that the last thing I drank was a glass of kefir that I had with dinner.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Sian James – “Aderyn Bach Syw” (Little Laden Bird).

Hi guys! πŸ™‚

Today I have something very short and sweet for you – a Welsh nursery rhyme. I find this little tune quite interesting – as a lot of nursery rhymes are, even if they don’t seem to be at a first glance. – I’ve always believed that since nursery rhymes are generally for children, and we put so much pressure on teaching kids all sorts of things even through literature or music that is made especially for them, that they’d have some kind of a moral. But if this one has a moral indeed, it seems quite hilarious to me. People complain so much that times have changed a lot and how so many children now are overweight or even obese. Well, perhaps it’s nursery rhymes like this, emphasising the role of our bellies that are at fault. πŸ˜€ Perhaps it was just made for the fussy kids… Well yeah, sometimes music provokes strange thoughts in my brain. πŸ˜€

I like how stoical this bird is and accepting of the possibility that we may die just absolutely any time. Reminds me of how Sofi was little, and when you asked her what she was going to do tomorrow, for example, she’d say “I don’t know, maybe I will die”. No, Sofi wasn’t suicidal or depressed, I can assure you of that. She would always say that in a happy/neutral tone, like the most natural thing in the world. Since our family is Christian and my Mum has a very similar mentality, she was simply taught that you just never know what will happen but whatever will, it was surely meant to happen, and even if it seems a bad thing, something good will likely come out of it for someone at some point. This, rather than making her nervous and worried about the future as some would perhaps expect, made her a very spontaneous girl who never plans anything too far in advance and prefers to live in the now. Which has its good and bad sides, obviously, but that’s just what Sofi’s like, and this bird reminds me of her. The part about the belly also reminds me of Sofi when she was little, because there was such a time when, whenever she would introduce herself she would say something like this: “My name is Zofia, I like to dance, draw and eat”. She doesn’t remember that but she still loves to eat more than an average person and even though she eats a lot, it doesn’t show as she’s very thin, and, because she knows about that thing she used to say from what we’ve told her, sometimes now that’s what she tells people on purpose when she doesn’t know what else to say about herself: “I’m Sofi and I like to eat”. πŸ˜€

Perhaps then, the actual moral of this nursery rhyme is accepting whatever happens to you, even if it’s death, and being aware of the fact that it may be just about anything, but while you’re alive, doing things that will keep you alive and that you find pleasant at the same time. Very simple, but perhaps not necessarily as obvious life truth as we may be tempted to think.

I used to wonder why there’s a bird in this nursery rhyme, but Welsh nursery rhymes and lullabies generally seem to be full of animals (which is, after all, not a distinctly Welsh trait at all), moreover I’ve heard about similarly nonsensical nursery rhymes from other countries where an animal is asked where it’s been or where it’s going and its answers have nothing to do with what animals of its species actually do/eat etc. The word for little bird in Welsh is aderyn, and I’ve seen somewhere that it could also mean a boy (don’t know how accurate it actually is though as I’ve never heard it in such use and am not sure how credible the source is) so perhaps it could be a boy, not a bird, but each and every mention of this song that I found in English says bird, so it’s much safer to assume that it is actually a bird.

Okay, now I’ll let you formm your own opinion on this song, here is the translation, and the song itself is below.

β€žWhere are you going, little laden bird?”

β€œI’m going to the market, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do in the market, little laden bird?”

β€œGo and get salt, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do with the salt, little laden bird?”

β€œPut it in the soup, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do with the soup, little laden bird?”

β€œPut it in my belly, if I will be alive.”

β€œWhat will you do with the belly, little laden bird?”

β€œIf it weren’t for my belly, I wouldn’t be alie.

Question of the day.

What are you putting off?

My answer:

You may say I am kind of putting off doing some stuff for MIMRA, but I don’t think that’s really putting off, because I am just thinking whether there are some better ideas, as I’m not fully convinced to my current one, so I’m waiting for my brain to come up with something new, but I have to wait anyway because I need my Mum’s help even with the plan I have so we both need to have time at the same time to take care of this and right now my Mum has to do other things. So that’s not really putting off as such. But other than that, at this moment, I don’t think I’m putting off anything.

How about you? Is there any specific reason behind why you do this, like it’s stressful or you don’t have enough energy to do this now or don’t like doing it? πŸ™‚

Enya – “Shepherd Moons”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

Yesterday, after having wild dreams featuring The Loxian Gate by Enya and sharing the afore mentioned song on here, I’ve started to listen to all of her albums chronologically and still hasn’t finished, and it feels like my faza on her has renewed a bit. Recently I had a bit of a refreshment of my faza on Cornelis – as I was working on another translation of his another song, the results of which were very mixed – and now it’s Enya. It’s very good, as I still don’t have an official, new, major faza, and faza on Gwilym has faded into the background so I do need something to keep me going. It’s a very regular pattern with Enya though. My faza on her never was particularly intense, no huge peaks or other such, but it’s always been very enriching, satisfying and just making my life feel better. And every year since she stopped being my major faza, when it gets autumnal, or more wintry, the faza will always come back and I’ll be listening to her music all the time and reading about her and just feeling very strongly about her music. I guess this time of year is just very right for listening to Enya and I also know I’m not the only one Enya fan who experiences a similar phenomenon.

So today I’m sharing with you another beautiful, space-themed piece which has always been very close to my brain and heart. I like Enya’s wordless, soothing and kind of magical vocals on this, and the keys – don’t they sound like they’re laughing? To me they do. πŸ˜€ They sound as if they were laughing quietly about something that only they know and as if they just were very happy in a quiet, calm way. – Shepherd Moons is one of the most special albums by Enya to me, maybe not necessarily the most favourite, but I just have so many significant memories with this, it’s helped me with so many upheavals in life, and this particular track, as well as Caribbean Blue and a few others on this album I find great for any kind of relaxing visualisation as they are very nourishing for the imagination.

The album, as well as its title track, got its name from the shepherd moons of Saturn – Pandora and Prometeus – which was Roma Ryan’s idea.

Ways of showing gratitude to others. And how about yourself? List of the former, and my (probably biased) musings about the latter.

Gosh, what a wordy and clumsy title! But I didn’t have any more graceful-sounding ideas and didn’t want it to be too bland either.

A while back, I bought myself another book to work with for my journal, and also for blog post inspirations, about the existence of which, again, I learned from Astrid at

A Multitude of Musings.

It’s Listify, written by Marina Greenway, and as you can guess from the title, it focuses mostly on lists. The first part of this book is all about gratitude, and the first list idea is the following:

Β Β  Ways I can show gratitude to myself and others

It’s important to show others we appreciate and care about them, but it’s equally important to acknowledge ourselves and all we do. List the ways you can do so, and challenge yourself to do one from each list everyday.

As for the challenging myself part, I wrote the original list in my journal a few days ago and decided to indeed do these things to show my gratitude to people. So far I don’t find it particularly difficult as it’s mostly my close family, and of course I’m doing the MIMRA which is also one huge act of gratitude but also a whole lot of fun for me. I suppose though with people I’d feel less comfortable around I’d have more problems with some of these points, but I’ll try anyway when there will be an opportunity, as gratitude is a good thing, obviously.

Below is the list of ways of showing gratitude to others that I’ve come up with so far.

Β Β  Gratitude to others

  • Β Β  Simply say “thank you” or acknowledge in any other verbal way that I appreciate what they did.
  • Give them an appreciative hug or show them affection in some other way.
  • Compliment or praise them, or say anything nice that could boost their mood or confidence.
  • Help in any way I can.
  • Be attentive to their needs and show them my interest in them and that I care about them.
  • Listen carefully and actively.
  • Do something that may make them happier or even just make them laugh or smile.
  • smile to them.
  • spend time with them.
  • Do random acts of kindness for them.
  • Be there for them when they need it.
  • Do the same thing for them that they did to me, if applicable.
  • Give them something nice that they will enjoy, like a care package.
  • Give some of my free time and energy to them, even when I could use it to do something else that I may like more.
  • Be patient with them.
  • Offer advice if wanted.
  • Remember about them – for example, when doing shopping for myself I may do it for them as well if they need it, or if I see something that I know they like I can get it for them, or at least tell them that I saw it and where so that they know I often think about them and know what they like. –
  • Write something nice about them, or for them, as writing often feels easier than talking to me.
  • Give them their favourite meal or treat.
  • Find a book or music they could like, again, to show them that I care and know something about them.

Can you come up with anything more? Please do share in the comments, unless you prefer to write a separate post and pingback, whatever feels better. πŸ™‚

Β Β  Self-gratitude

Now that was (and is) a tricky thing to me. Not just implementing it, but generally the concept. I don’t know, perhaps I’m seeing it in a very inflexible way, and most likely, just like I wrote in the title, my view of this is very biased, but I can’t really see much sense in self-gratitude. Maybe I just don’t understand it well. As I was preparing to write this post, after I read some things online about it, thinking that perhaps they will enlighten me (which they didn’t) I asked my Mum what she thinks about it, whether she has ever felt it, and if she has any ideas about how one could express it, and also how it’s different from self-care or taking pride in your accomplishments. My Mum had a similar view on this and actually started laughing and said that to her it also doesn’t make much sense, because according to her in a way it implies that there would be another self inside of you to whom you could be grateful for example for doing something you yourself wouldn’t think about doing, or wouldn’t be able. Like: “Oh, thanks, self, for reminding me that I should set my alarm at 6 AM, I don’t want to sleep in”. πŸ˜€ I mean, do any of you really think like this – say you’re driving somewhere, and instead of taking your usual route you have a gut feeling to take a roundabout one, and later you learn that on your usual route there was a huge traffic jam because there was an accident earlier – would you think: “Oh yay, thank me!”? If you would, it’s not at all that I think it’s wrong for anyone to do this and I think you shouldn’t, I’m just curious and would like to know because it’s certainly not my default reaction and I would probably burst out with laughter if I tried to force myself to it.

What I assume people understand as self-gratitude, is for example when you had an exam and passed it very well, you learned for ages until your brain got so swollen it nearly burst out of your skull and you mainly focused on this goal of passing this particular exam because it’s important for you, so perhaps you often refused yourself many things you liked and spent most of your time with your nose in the books despite you didn’t particularly enjoy it. But you did pass the exam and you’re euphoric, so now you can go for a huge dinner plus some very fancy coffee and an ice-cream dessert, then go to the spa and have a massage and then go shopping for things you really enjoy shopping for, because this is your way of thanking yourself for your perseverance, determination and for achieving your goal.

And that’s all good. But, just like I said earlier when asking my Mum, how’s that different from just regular self-care or celebrating your accomplishments? It seems like it should if it has a different name, and when I was thinking about a potential list of ways to show myself gratitude, I thought it was just a list of self-care activities.

Perhaps I don’t think in such a “Thank me” way, because I am a Christian, and rather than thank myself, a much more natural thing for me is to thank God. Like, when it’s a nice day and the weather is lovely and there’s a lot of crunchy, fallen leaves for Misha outside, I’d rather say “Thank you, God, for giving me the idea to go out and refresh my brain, and thank you for the lovely weather and that there are so many beautiful leaves for Misha here” than something like “Thank me for going out”. It just feels totally unnatural to me, and I’m not just talking about the “thank me” form which I’m mostly using in a humourous way to emphasise just how unnatural and awkward the whole thing seems to me. I may rather say: “Oh, I’m so glad I went out” or: “What a great idea I had that I got some leaves for Misha” (that’s still not my typical inner dialogue as I’m normally way more self-critical and sarcastic with myself but at least something I’m trying to aim for).

When thinking about any accomplishments, I don’t really think of them in a way that I’m grateful to myself for them. For example, I am quite proud of my language learning accomplishments but am not grateful to myself for them. It’s not my merit that I have good linguistic skills, I didn’t get to choose them at birth or program my brain to pick up languages easily. Neither is it really my merit that I’m learning Welsh now, because I wouldn’t be able to do it if the people who did the course wouldn’t create it, if my Swedish teacher didn’t show me how to learn a language on my own and didn’t always believe in me and that I can do it, if I wasn’t taught how to use technology and if my Dad wouldn’t be employing me so I could actually allow myself for paying for the courses, buying Welsh speech synths, Welsh books and what not without stressing myself about it. Thinking according to Christian faith, I wouldn’t even be able to take any action having all these things if I wouldn’t get the idea from Holy Spirit. Okay, I guess I could be grateful to myself for acting upon that idea and not wasting the skills I have, but in what special way should I show this gratitude to myself? Sometimes I also have a sort of self-gratitude feeling when I feel really euphoric about something so my self-esteem also goes up but that’s very much fleeting and not a mature, serious kind of feeling so the more I don’t know in what way I could act on it.

Going my Mum’s trail of thought, that it sounds like we should be grateful to some other self, well, perhaps that makes some sense when we think that our personalities are made up of different parts. There may be, speaking in a very basic way, a part of us that is more prone to do good things, and another one that makes us do things that we regret later. So we may be grateful to that “good” part. Perhaps that’s what it’s all about. Or I’ve mentioned on this blog sometimes how I have this part of myself that I call Bibiel, who is very childlike and humourous and eccentric and always talks about Bibiel-self in first person and who is like a mentally healthier sort of, less inhibited version of me whom I actually genuinely like. So maybe the clue is that I should feel grateful to Bibiel? Actually I sort of am, because without Bibiel I’m not sure where I’d be now, and Bibiel helps me with a lot of things. Perhaps I should be more grateful to my inner self-critic Maggie when she’s not as critical of me as she is usually, and maybe that will make her feel better?

My Mum goes as far as to say that all these self- things only make people more conceited. I think that’s a rather huge overstatement because it’s definitely important to be kind to yourself and love yourself, as much for your mental, physical and emotional, as spiritual wellbeing and even the wellbeing of others, though there is certainly a risk of this as these days we hear about alll things self- all the time and it’s easy to lose balance between what’s still self-love and what’s already conceit, in my opinion.

So my view of this is definitely strongly influenced by the fact that I’m a practicing Christian, someone who is not might think differently, as well as the fact that I have avoidant personality disorder, which has quite a strong influence on how I feel about myself. And it’s because of AVPD that I think I may be biased here.

So I’d like to hear your thoughts about this. Do you practice self-gratitude? If so, in what ways and how would you define it? In what ways would you say is it different from self-care and celebrating your accomplishments? Am I missing out on something huge here? Let me know. I may not be able to share your opinion, but that doesn’t matter as far as I’m concerned, and who knows, you may even convince me. πŸ™‚ Oh yeah, and let me know if you can think of some other ways to show gratitude to other people perhaps ones that you use yourself that I didn’t list.

 

Question of the day.

What are you planning?

My answer:

Well, just like I wrote yesterday, my plans for the near future right now are mostly evolving around MIMRA. In even nearer future, I am planning to take Misha to the vet, because he’s due for deworming, but I don’t know when exactly that’ll happen, it must be also a good time for Sofi because she wants to take Jocky to the vet as well. Beyond that though, I’m not really planning a lot at the moment.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Enya – “Loxian Gate”.

Hey people! πŸ™‚

Today I want to share with you a song from my very first faza, which is Enya. While I find the Loxian language in which it is sung very fascinating and intriguing, I never had any very special connections with this song in particular. But last night I had some really wild dreams, and when I woke up, I heard this song in my brain, and I’m pretty sure it was in my dream too, so I decided that this will be our song of the day. But let me first tell you a bit about this Loxian language thing first, as I’m pretty sure most of you don’t know what it is. πŸ˜‰

Loxian is a conlang (constructed language) created by Roma Ryan – who is a poet, as well as Enya’s lyricist and close friend. – Actually Enya, while being the anglicised version of the name of the singer, should be seen as the name of the whole trio – that is Eithne ni Bhraonain (or Enya Brennan – the composer, singer, keyboardist and the main person behind this) Nicky Ryan (the producer and manager) and Roma Ryan (the lyricist) – that’s at least what Enya says herself. Enya is known for singing her music in very different languages, I believe depending on which happens to suit best to what she wants to express, and both her and Roma have a strong interest in Tolkien’s literature (Enya has after all sung two songs for the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). In 2005, when Enya was recording her album Amarantine, she had a problem with one of the songs, she called it Water Shows The Hidden Heart. She attempted to sing it in English, Irish and Latin but none of these languages conveyed the message that she wanted this song to express. So Roma created, just for the sake of this song and inspired by Tolkien’s elvish languages, an artistic language, or more like a soundscape at first, that she called Loxian, and it turned out just right for its purpose. Enya liked it so much that in the end she wanted to sing two more songs for this album in this new language, and so Roma decided to develop it further, as well as the culture in which it would be spoken. I’m not sure I understand it exactly the right way (it feels a little bit abstractive to me the more that the language itself seems to be very much a visual thing, with six visual scripts that it can be written in, so I don’t really get the chance to bite into it properly and figure out for myself what it’s all about and how it works), but according to the creator, Loxian is the future language of the Celts who would have migrated through space to some other planet. Loxian is, as you’ll be able to hear, an incredibly vowel-rich language, and is based on bits of English, Irish, Old English, Welsh, Hindu and Siberian Yupik (quite an intriguing, diverse and beautiful mix!).

The song Loxian Gate (from her last album) itself is about how the Loxians (so those descendants of the Celts from another planet) view the seasons of the year, the ones that we have now, and the ones that they have in their world.

Question of the day.

What are you thinking?

My answer:

It’s MIMRA time on my blog now – well, at least MIMRA preparations time, it’s still a fair bit of time left until MIMRA sending time I think (for the uninitiated, MIMRA stands for My Inner Mishmash Readership Award and is a thing on here since last year, it is sent out every year around Christmas/New Year to three of my readers who I think are particularly engaged or provide some particularly valuable input into this little Mishmashy world, and it’s kind of like care packages) –
so I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. It’s going very slowly this year because I’m sort of undecided as for what I want to do with it this year, at least as for some elements, I have some idea but am not really sure it’s right. But today I got the first items for it in the mail, and was very glad about that, especially that they look like good quality stuff and I was a little bit concerned about this because I feel like it’s something that can have really differing quality especially if you order it online and can’t have a first hand experience, and I’m not really an expert in the field as I hardly ever buy things like these for myself. But it looks really good to me and so I think it was a great choice for MIMRA. So yeah, my thoughts have been going around this topic quite a lot lately. πŸ™‚

What about you? πŸ™‚

Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter – “My Lagan Love”.

I’d like to hsare with you another song by this mysterious and multi-instrumentally talented duo. This is a popular Irish folk song apparently originating in county Donegal. The first version of it that I’ve heard was by Celtic Woman and I still really like it, but I also really like this one a whole lot. The “Lagan” in the title seems to most likely come from the river Lagan in Belfast.

Song of the day (21st October) – Rachel Newton – “The Changeling Reel”.

Hey guys! πŸ™‚

Here’s another piece from the great Scottish harpist, Rachel Newton. This was one of the first pieces by her that I’ve heard, I like the vibe of it. Also changelings are among the things in folklore that feel very close to me, so that’s another reason why I really like this interesting reel. Hope you will too. πŸ™‚