Question of the day.

Do you like to cook and/or bake?

My answer:

I thought I’d do a bit of a rambly post of this. Just so you know. ๐Ÿ˜€

Whether I like is one thing, whether I can is another, lol. Because my dexterity is out of kilter – mildly but enough that it does affect some areas of my life and functioning – I never really had any spectacular achievements in the culinary field, in fact it often was exactly the opposite but at least the perk of it is that it can get interesting. ๐Ÿ˜€ When we had such class at school which involved cooking or baking among other things (I’ll write about that a bit more in detail later) I always preferred to have a bit of distance to my lack of abilities in this field so would tell people that I’d rather allow my creativity to flow freely rather than have some damn recipe rule my brain and tell me what I’m supposed to do. Who cares if it comes out inedible, lumpy or something? It’s a piece of art so it would be a sacrilege if you tried to eat it anyway. And esspecially when baking, I would openly show my weird creations around the class to the great amusement of the other kids. It’s always been one of my coping strategies that I’ll either laugh at myself or things that are happening, or distract people from something I don’t want them to talk about/notice by making them laugh, but in this case I didn’t really have a huge problem with my lack of culinary abilities, I don’t think they’re necessary these days in the age of caterings, though are certainly extremely useful. Probably a factor influencing this was that these classes were generally not very competitive as the few other kids who took part in them with me had some form of learning disability, which for most of them didn’t affect their dexterity or coordination so that they didn’t have exactly the same problems as me and with the same activities, but had others, often more challenging ones, instead, and so if they were laughing that was not really in a mean way, and I even sort of liked entertaining them. I had also a very good relationship with the teacher, she was in fact one of those adults there with whom I had quite a good relationship and liked them, I know she liked me a lot as well, and she was often very supportive of me.

I do not either cook or bake independently and never have, but when I do get enough individual support and guidance with that, the results can be tolerable, but then again, I feel like it’s not really exactly my merrit then, but rather the person’s helping me. This is quite an interesting and to a degree even fascinating field (maybe not hugely fascinating like to a degree my languages are to me or some other things but it’s interesting for me to observe how people cook or bake especially when they’re particularly talented and how something they’ve had in mind or some recipe on a piece of paper develops into something very specific it’s a little bit black magic to me ๐Ÿ˜€ ). My Mum says cooking is all about chemistry and physics, which I think is very true, but might be just another reason why I find it as tricky and a bit abstractive as I do, also with all the proportions in recipes and all that.

Going back to that class thing, what it was in fact was a sort of fusion of art class with stuff like knitting, cooking, baking and other manually focused activities. I have no clue how you call it in English if at all, but in mainstream schools here in Poland, children have class which is called the same but they learn things like calligraphy or how to pass a bike licence or such. In our blind school, that class probably wouldn’t work out or even have much sense in its mainstream point, so I guess they must have adapted it to be something more suitable to our abilities and useful at the same time. It was more like what people my parents’ age had at schools during the communism period which was called practical and technical activities, or something like that.

So as you can imagine knowing the above about my coordination and culinary skills already, I was generally super lame at that subject, but the teacher was always very understanding of me and I always got B’s at the end of the year, though wondered for what. ๐Ÿ˜€ I liked the cooking and baking because we typically did some very yummy things but at the same time felt useless because rather than contributing to it as much as everyone else did, I was more likely to screw something up, possibly ruining everyone else’s efforts as well, or at least come out with bleeding fingers or something unless I got a lot of help, and even if the other kids wouldn’t have additional difficulties, they were still blind, and blind people even when they’re only blind, do need to at least be shown individually how to do some things if they’ve never done them before, so she couldn’t focus all her attention on me even in such a small class where there were only like 4 people or so. So even if I didn’t have particular problems with the sole fact that I wasn’t able to cook or bake, it was still quite distressing in that class, at first.

Until somehow one day, I guess it was Mother’s Day, we were making cards for our mums, and I wanted to include a poem on mine, and I came up with it myself and the teacher wrote it on my card. I’ve always considered myself much better at prose than poetry and I do like writing prose much more thann poetry, but she decided that my poem was great and witty and long and to my huge embarrassment showed it to my class teacher and everyone else who was in the teachers’ room must have heard it as well although it was just for my Mum, and she couldn’t get over it as if I wrote God knows what a masterpiece. And since then, we’d developed an unwritten agreement of sorts with her. She would help me greatly with all the technical stuff – not just cooking and baking but anything that I found more challenging to do by myself so basically almost anything in that class – or would do the whole job for me if it needed to be done well and quickly, or I wouldn’t have to do it at all if there was something else I could do, and instead I would do a lot of writing if there was any need, especially for poems because these were typically writings on cards or other occasional stuff. For example there was one boy in the class for whom I wrote poems for his aunt who was his main carer I believe and he always seemed to like it so much. Or I would write for school – Teacher’s Day, enf of school year, Christmas etc. – I can’t say it was something I liked a lot, because just like I said I don’t really feel very comfortable in the world of poetry either as a writer or reader (except of Vreeswijk and a few other poets), and I found especially the school poems quite an annoying chore, but at least I could rhyme well and make even verses which were even a bit witty sometimes which seemed to be enough for everyone so I was glad there was something I could do better than cooking and make myself kinda sorta useful. The only type of poetry I enjoyed writing, for myself, were some spontaneous, weird, long-winded, full of wordplay, immature- or black-humoured poems whose topics I found hilarious and which made my roommates laugh. I guess though what must have been most funny about them was the language, the way I wrote them, rather than what I was writing about, that’s at least how I see it now, the plots themselves were mostly rather immature just like I said.

The good thing about that whole writing thing though was that sometimes there were art competitions organised somewhere in the country, and our school often took part in such thiings, especially if they were for people with disability. And since art competitions are often also literary competitions at the same time and you can choose which form you prefer, and my teacher knew I’m better at literature than art, she would always encourage me to take part in such things and then I could do a bit of prose. While everyone else was making their artworks, I would be making up some short story and then dictating it to the teacher (as they had to be in normal print typically). I didn’t like the dictating part really because, well, you often change your mind about stuff while writing, and with dictation there isn’t really as much room for that, you have to form your sentences well from the start, know what you want to be happening next in the plotline so that the other person doesn’t have to wait for ages until your creativity strikes, and at the same time it also requires a lot of spontaneity and is a bit like stream of consciousness writing in my view, only more stressful because you have to be mindful of the quality. I don’t know why I simply didn’t write these things on the computer or something, but I guess there must have been a reason. But overall it was always an exciting experience and one such time my dictated short story must have actually turned out quite good quality to the judges, because it got a first place – it was a Bible-inspired contest and I wrote a story inspired by the parable of the prodigal son and based on a real life story from my family. –

When I was out of school, I asked Mum to teach me some basic culinary stuff. I also thought I’d like to be able to help her a bit, because my Mum is the only person who cooks and bakes in our house –
Zofijka now does some occasional cooking or baking but only when she’s in the mood really, although she’s extremely good at it when she does do something. – And I thought it could be interesting and that maybe now that I’d have my Mum’s undivided attention it would be easier for me to learn and practice and for her to actually teach me things than for my teacher. It wasn’t really as good an idea as I expected though, because having to instruct me and often help me with more complex things made meal preparations longer and actually my input didn’t help at all, but instead contributed to Mum having to spend more time in the kitchen. Plus she didn’t really have the patience or the skills to teach, which I guess is a common thing with people who are self-taught at something. Finally one beautiful day I was grating vegetables and cut my finger really badly, and that was the end of my cooking adventures practically. ๐Ÿ˜€

Still, because I feel a bit sorry for Mum, even though she hardly ever complains, I traditionally ask her whether she wants help when she’s making some food but that’s more of politeness or something rather than I actually expect her to need/want my help or think I could be helpful, she’ll always say no but I ask anyway I guess to show her that I appreciate her efforts and would help if I could, in case she needed it. Sometimes she does say yes and then we do something together but that’s when she’s really got the time and energy to spare.

Given all that I wrote above, I don’t really know which of these activities I like more as I have very limited experience of them, but if I really had to choose I think I’d go with baking, there’s something atmospheric about it.

Okay, your turn now. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What is your favourite snack?

My answer:

I like to snack on a lot of things, but I think if I had to pick my most favourite thing, excluding all things candy as I guess sweets are a different thing, it would probably be some hot crisps. The spicier the better, although I’m not super picky here as long as they aren’t sour at the same time, which some spicy crisps tend to be.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

My answer:

I used to love summer. If someone would ask me why, I’d typically say that because holidays are in summer (so I could be home from the boarding school for a longer time), because you can be in the sea, and because you can pick berries (I loved berries as a kid, I still do, but back then I lived in the countryside so we had a forest on the other side of our gate and we would often go there to pick them. But I never really had high tolerance for heat so for that reason summer also really sucked for me. Now that I’m out of school and don’t have to wait for holidays, and still hate heat, it doesn’t have all that appeal to me anymore. I think these days I like winter more, when it’s cold outside but you can keep yourself cosy inside if it gets too cold and feel happy that you don’t have to be outside. Misha is also so delightfully sleepy in winter. He’s also super sleepy in summer but that’s more of the heat and it feels more lethargic and apathetic, while in winter he’s just kinda lazy and often even a bit more cuddly. And generally the feel of winter feels somehow friendly to me these days. My ex-pen pal said once that he thinks that winter is a very friendly season for introverts. I got very curious and asked him why he thought so (with all my current liking for winter I think Christmas, New Year celebrations and the like don’t necessarily have to be the best thing for all introverts, in my family we also have a lot of winter birthdays, myself included, so I wasn’t really sure if I shared this opinion) but he couldn’t really specify. But when I think of it more, even with all the Christmas shopping, socialising and what not, there is something about winter indeed that makes it friendly for introverts and other asocial individuals. What do you think? ๐Ÿ™‚

And what about your favourite season? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What’s one video that never fails to make you laugh?

My answer:

The one I could think of off the top of my head is that about the Scottish guys and the voice recognition-operated lift. I believe it was quite popular at some point as I’ve seen it circulating around the web in many different places and many people from different countries that I know know about it, but all these people have some linguistic interests so maybe that’s just the only reason, so in case you have not seen it I’ll include it below. The first time my friend Jacek from Helsinki showed it to me we were both laughing like crazy. It still makes me giggle after like 5 years. But I also find it interesting because it just shows how people with not so standard accents, not so popular languages are often discriminated when technology like that is created. I’ve heard that Scottish people also have regular problems with Siri when they speak to her in their natural accent. But Apple has made Irish Siri so maybe Scottish will come at some point too, I personally think Scottish is a bit more difficult to understand than Irish accent though so it may be even harder to make an AI stuff that will understand it. But oh my it would be so cool if there were even more accent/language (or maybe even dialect??? well I’m probably asking for too much right now ๐Ÿ˜€ ) diversity in technology like that.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What would be your perfect weekend?

My answer:

I don’t really think I have any high demands. I’ll be satisfied if it wasn’t too stressful and overwhelming, and I could do things I enjoy. I really don’t need a lot of adrenaline or anything like that to have a good weekend, though sometimes it can be a good thing if it’s a good kind of adrenaline, so to say. Weekend is typically my least favourite part of the week, but still I mostly like the way mine usually are.

You? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (16th November).

What’s your favourite number?

My answer:

I don’t have any at all. I generally have an aversion to numbers and was diagnosed with dyscalculia, and they don’t really mean much to me, they could just as well not exist. My Sofi is constantly very undecided and she always asks us, but especially me as I spend most time with her during activities which she has a hard time deciding on something while doing them, “Give me a number from 1 to 8” or things like that. This always drives my family nuts because they can’t understand how she can’t make the simplest decision which of the three outfits she should choose and then when you choose the number that she has assigned to the particular thing she’s not satisfied with it anyway, reorders them or excludes that thing and asks you again, and the show goes on and on until Sofi realises that actually there’s only one thing she likes out of all the things she can choose from. If she thinks afterwards that the choice she made based on the number was wrong, she will blame you. That’s what you call a manipulator. ๐Ÿ˜€ While I can understand inability to make decisions as that sometimes happens to me too although usually not as often and with as simple things, what drives me nuts in this is that it’s simply annoying because I just don’t do numbers and I have a hard time understanding the whole thing. If I have a problem making a decision, the last thing I need is coming up with – or even having someone come up for me – with a random number. ๐Ÿ˜€ But when she asks me and I’m having enough patience at the moment to actually give it any thought, I usually say five if it is possible. Reason? Just because it kinda sounds good in Polish. Not the actual Polish word for five –
“piฤ™ฤ‡” – but a dialect variation “piล„ฤ‡”. I just really like the sound of it. It always used to make me laugh as a kid (my gran always says so and a lot of older people I know) and I still find it funny and in a way cute. Or any other number that contains “piล„ฤ‡” if it is an option, or if it isn’t an option I don’t say anything. She always knows I will always say piล„ฤ‡, and I guess this alone sort of helps her to make the decision more independently because before I say piล„ฤ‡ she’ll make sure that the fifth thing is at least remotely satisfiable for her. So when she asks me I say, in a very grumpy, bored voice, or sometimes just automatically, or I yell at her if I’m frustrated: “Piล„ฤ‡!” Now, thanks to Apple, their iPhones, family cloud, VoiceOver and some decision app, after Sofi and later I got ourselves iPhones and I set up a family cloud for us which is the only way Mum allows Sofi to use her phone for anything other than calling, texting and taking photos, we hear a bit less of that dreaded question, because Sofi installed some app on her phone that helps her make those big outfit decisions. Thank you, Apple! ๐Ÿ˜€ One day during holidays she even made it decide about what she was going to do at what time during the day, what she should eat for breakfast etc. and considered that a lot of fun and that it was like some YouTubers she watches who sometimes ask their viewers on Instagram or somewhere to decide what they’re going to do, so it made her feel like an influencer.

How about you? Do you have a favourite at all? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (15th November).

How was your day, or how is it going, if it’s much earlier where you are than here? What about last week?

My answer:

Today is okay-ish I guess. I’ve been feeling kinda shitty lately, mainly because of depression I guess, but I can’t even describe exactly what’s been going on, the main point is that it’s getting better. By this time last year, I had my MIMRAS sent out, but things have been a little chaotic for us here as we’d had a bit of a house renovation and MIMRA went on the backburner for a while as it’s my Mum helping me with the practical side of things and she’d crash having to do everything at once. We planned to finally order the MIMRA cards today – we’ve made friends with a company who makes them for me the way I want, when it’s possible, lol. – But it didn’t work out so hopefully we’ll do that tomorrow. That being said, plus the fact that the mail in many countries seems strained by Covid, there may be a fair bit of delay in MIMRAs arriving to their recipients, so apologies to all the unofficial winners, as I know they can take a long time to arrive even without a delay on my part.

As for the week, as I’ve said it was a bit chaotic with the renovations, even though they didn’t directly affect me as it wasn’t my room that was renovated. Sofi’s got a lot of changes in her room and while the works in her room continued, she temporarily lived with me. As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, we have a strong and generally good relationship with Sofi, but we’re also very different which causes a lot of emotional short-circuits between us sometimes, and I’ve gotten out of habit of living in the same room with other people I guess so it was a bit mentally exhausting and I was euphoric last night to be able to sleep alone in my bed. ๐Ÿ˜€ Sofi not so much, she loves having company even at night, and even tried her best to invite me to sleep with her in her renewed room but that was not an option as far as I was concerned, may be later when I recharge a bit. We also had the workers around all days and that felt kind of unsettling and awkward for me long-term, I hate having strangers in the house for longer periods of time. And some things in our house have changed now, so I had to adjust to it. It wasn’t a huge or very scary change but it did require some effort from my spatially disoriented brain and was a bit frustrating as changes tend to be.

How has it been for you? ๐Ÿ™‚

My first holiday/vacation.

As you guys know or may have noticed, I’ve recently been very big on all sorts of journaling prompts. Particularly in my private journal but on here as well. You also know that I know about most of my journaling prompts’ sources thanks to Astrid of A Multitude of Musings. One such source that I haven’t used for a blog post yet is an app for iOS called Paperblanks that I’ve been using for a while now in my personal writings and really like. So I thought I’d do a post loosely based on one of the prompts from this app on here today. It asks about the first vacation that you remember taking.

I said it’s going to be loosely based because I’m not sure what was exactly the first vacation I remember taking in my life, but one of the earliest holiday related memories that comes to my mind is about a little seaside village called Smoล‚dzino, that we used to visit very regularly, pretty much every summer. I don’t remember the first time we went there and discovered that place, I don’t even know how we discovered it because it wasn’t a popular holiday destination then, and it all blends together in my brain, but I thought it could be fun to write a bit more in general about my memories from there and give you a feel of that very lovely place.

Smoล‚dzino lies by the sea in Sล‚owiล„ski National Park, and is part of a nature reserve. So you can imagine it’s a very clean, quiet and peaceful place. I live in the north, and we have many more beaches closer to where we live, but since we’d discovered Smoล‚dzino, for a long time, whenever we would have some more time on our hands, even a few days, we’d go there. It’s about 90 km (over 50 miles) from us, so it was always a longer trip than what me and Olek were used to going to the seaside. For me, that was both good and bad. I always found longer travels exciting, and the longer the better, but at the same time my vestibular system had a different view on this so I was generally rather ambivalent about the whole thing. ๐Ÿ˜€ I always looked forward to summer mostly for that particular reason, because I hoped we’d go to Smoล‚dzino, as I really liked it there. After over an hour in the car, since it was a nature reserve, you had to leave it about four kilometres from the beach and walk the rest of the way with all your belongings, of which we usually took a lot with us, on foot. It was typically mid July or so, and thus could be very hot (one year I remember it being about 35 degrees C or 95 F which is considered unusually hot here) so it could be rather exhausting, dire and boring, especially for us kids, but when we finally got there it also felt so extremely rewarding! And over the years as we did it every year or almost every year, sometimes more than once every year, we all got used to it and considered it part of the overall unique Smoล‚dzino experience.

From our first few times being there I remember me and Olek making sand mountains and sliding down from them. There were always hardly any people, if any at all except us. No madly screaming, splashing kids peeing in the sea and their parents shouting at them to get out of the water for now and possibly their dogs running around, no people selling pop corn and yelling about it through the whole beach, no stray bottle caps or cigarette stubs or other surprises – an ideal place for hermits! ๐Ÿ˜€ – As a child, I loved collecting seashells and these in Smoล‚dzino were always particularly good quality so I loved doing it there. I grew to love Smmoล‚dzino so much that after some time going to any other beach was just so blah and boring, only Smoล‚dzino had real value for me. The sea was always so clear there. We – but especially our parents – were always marvelling how come people not know about this place, and how great that naturally is for us. – We often bragged about this summer hideout we’ve found to others or recommended it to them but somehow no one shared the degree of our enthusiasm, perhaps because people didn’t think it would pay off for them to drive for an hour to get to the sea when the nearest beach is 15 km away. The village itself though, with its inhabitants, made an impression of a very poor, socioeconomically neglected and kind of grim place. When I realised that when I was a bit older, I found that a very jarring contrast with all the beautiful nature and the sea and the idyllic associations of Smoล‚dzino that I had. The people there lived mostly from fishing and tourism but I wonder what sort of tourism if there were so few people on the beach, and aside from the sea and beautiful nature and views, there wasn’t much more in Smoล‚dzino so it wasn’t like the tourists had many more alternatives as for where to go, unless they used Smoล‚dzino as their base and from there drove to bigger towns where there are more touristy beaches and more things happening, but because these towns are also by the sea they have a lot of accomodations for tourists of their own and they are much better from what I’ve noticed.

That year when it was so extremely hot and Sofi was already part of our family and starting to speak her first words, my aunt and uncle expressed an interest in tagging along with us and Mum somehow got in touch with a woman who lived there and had one big room for rent, so we decided we’ll stay there for a few days rather than just go for a day trip. I thought it was a brilliant idea but I didn’t end up liking it quite as much as I did the day trips, perhaps because of the heat, which was particularly aggravating in our room, and that when we weren’t at the beach, I was deadly bored in there with not much to do. The woman at whose house we lived was extremely chatty and sociable and would make barbecues for us almost every day or want us to spend a lot of time with her family which was very nice and friendly but rather annoying and obtrusive long-term for all of us, and I just didn’t feel as comfortable there with my Dad’s family around as I did when there were just us. I remember one night particularly clearly. Usually when we were there, we the kids would be sent to beds much earlier than the adults, and my circadian rhythm was cooperating for a few first days. But one day, when we were already in beds, I couldn’t fall asleep and the adults decided to go to some local party that was taking place there and see what it’s like. I was still not asleep by the time they came back which was about 1 AM. They all went to sleep and fell asleep pretty quickly as it seemed, but not me. And then suddenly my uncle started snoring, and it was SO freakishly dramatically spectacular and loud! ๐Ÿ˜€ I was used to unbelievably loudly snoring people (not like used to in the sense that it just didn’t phase me, but more like I was very familiar with the phenomenon from an early age and accepting of that sometimes it just happens and you may end up having a rotten night as a result if you don’t fall asleep before the snorer does ๐Ÿ˜€ ) because my Dad is a super loud and passionate snorer and when me and Olek were younger we didn’t have our own rooms but rather one huge bedroom where our beds were in one corner and our parents’ bed in another. But I’d never heard before –
and haven’t afterwards either – someone snore THAT loud, like my uncle did, and I wondered how everyone else managed to sleep in such conditions. In the past, when Dad’s snoring would go crazy before I fell asleep, I would cover my head with a pillow or something, but it was way too hot for that then. I found the situation kind of hilarious at first but over time I grew more and more frustrated to the point where it became rather dangerous and I was starting to have some homicidal ideations. I think I finally did manage to fall asleep some time before everyone else woke up, but was the most frustrating night ever for me, hahahaha. I didn’t tell anyone about that, until years later, when it was a great source of amusement for everyone including the snorer and myself.

Also when Sofi was already with us, I spent a lot of time in my Brainworld which was my most powerful coping strategy with life which was yucky at the time. I always had a very rich brainlife but at that time my Brainworld became much larger and more developed. Among other stuff, I made up a sort of submarine or generally aquatic world with sea people ruling it. The king’s name was Akrofil back then (it wasn’t supposed to mean anything specific, it was just a name I made up and liked the sound of but I later changed it to Magnus when someone told me that Akrofil sounds like some kind of pervert and I looked it up and acrophilia apparently is a real thing, a paraphilia, that is ๐Ÿ˜€ ), and I don’t remember what was his wife’s original name, something sort of oriental, but currently her name is Nerissa, and they had two children and a lot of subjects and they all lived in a castle under the sea but they also felt at home in any other body of water and not necessarily deep down. You could call Magnus or anyone else of them up if you knew how and they would appear if they would consider it necessary, and they could help people with a lot of things. Naturally they always helped people who had something to do with the sea in the first place but they were also very eager to help people who were struggling with anything else a lot and just unhappy. You could talk to them and typically they would take you down to their castle and you could spend some time there in their happy world and just relax and have a lot of fun. They always had a lot of feasts and led a very sumptuous life. But you couldn’t stay there indefinitely so after some time Magnus would send you back on to the land, but he would give you some magical things that could help you cope with the situation that made you call them in the first place, for example such items would enable you to call upon them wherever you were so they would help you in a specific situation, or he would give you a drink that would make you feel better or a special vehicle that could transport you wherever you wanted etc. etc. etc. Sometimes though, when he decided he couldn’t help you practically, he’d just let you stay in there forever, and you could just become one of the sea people. They make up just one section of my Brainworld and aren’t as important a part of it as they were back then, but I still love hanging out with them. And back then when I did that a lot, it made me feel especially close to them and like they were real when I was by the sea. I wasn’t particularly eager then to share things like these with people, but funnily enough, for some reason I did share the whole Akrofil thing with my Dad, and although he’s generally not particularly imaginative and not very flexible-minded, he seemed to love the whole idea almost as much as I did. Perhaps because he loves the sea so it spoke to him somehow. So in Smoล‚dzino I taught him how to call Akrofil/Magnus and we would play sea people together. ๐Ÿ˜€ Or I would do by myself. Either way was super fun and very nourishing for my escapist brain.

After some time, somehow we stopped going there. I guess life just went in a different direction and we always wanted but never really did. Until last year, when my parents decided to go there for a quick day trip, this time with another aunt and uncle from my Dad’s side of the family. I decided not to go for a mix of different reasons, and turned out that it was a good idea. They arrived there about noon and were hugely surprised to see a long line of cars, all waiting to be let in. And because there are limits on how many people can be at the beach because it’s a nature reserve, only some portion of them were allowed and my parents who were quite late to the party weren’t among them, so they came back. The guy who let people in told them that things have changed a bit over the last couple of years and more people come there regularly, and from what they’d seen the village seemed in a better state now and there were more people. It also had a more touristy feel apparently, with more shops and other such scattered around, which I found worrying when I heard about it, but it’s apparently not very bad and it’s not obnoxiously touristy,, it couldn’t be when it’s a nature reserve, so that’s a good thing, in the grand scheme of things, and for the village it’s good that it’s more prosperous, as it really made a rather sad impression on me all those years ago. Good for them that they are developing.

So there you have – my one of the first and the most favourite holiday destination. – What are your earliest holiday memories? ๐Ÿ™‚

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:

ย ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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.

ย ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. – ๐Ÿ˜€ –

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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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.

ย ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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.

ย ย  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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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:

ย ย  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.

ย ย  Gratitude to others

  • ย ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

ย ย  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”. ๐Ÿ˜€ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

What about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What was the first book that scared you?

My answer:

Again, can’t think about the FIRST, but the one I remember most vividly is Himmelsdalen by Marie Hermansson (the English title is apparently The Devil’s Sanctuary). It was a thriller about a guy whose identical twin brother lived in a luxury facility for psychopaths, and who got invited there for a short visit by his brother and then tricked into changing identities with him and trapped in there for an indefinite time.

In hintsight, I guess it wasn’t even the book itself that has such a power over me but I was also reading it in sort of wrong circumstances, it was recommended to me by a friend and I didn’t have much of an idea what it’s about exactly, and not the most fortunately picked it up at night when I couldn’t sleep and also happened to have a fair bit of sensory anxiety which makes me jittery and overstimulated in a general sense as well. So it did make a huge impression on me, but while it did feel very scary at times, overall I really enjoyed reading this book despite the accompanying circumstances, luckily somehow it didn’t make me feel muchh worse, and read it whole in one night, and also later I recommended it to my Mum and she read it as well. She read it in much more relaxed settings and over a much longer period of time, typically in the kitchen while having her morning coffee, but found it rather chilling in some parts as well and we talked about it a lot.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (19th October).

What was the first book that made you cry, or at least feel very, very sad?

My answer:

I’ve been thinking about this for a while but can’t think of a book that was the first. While books often affect me strongly and I may easily feel sad if a book is sad, I don’t cry very easily at all because of a book even if I fee like I’d like to be able to sometimes, it’s just a super rare thing, same with movies and music. While on one hand I’m glad I’m not an easy cryer and at least in some part it is the effect of my own considerable efforts over the years of bottling things up, on the other hand I actually envy people who can cry when they’re moved by things as it seems a very healthy mechanism and seems to be generally seen as a very sincere reaction by people. So basically because it’s very frequently that a book moves me very deeply and I find it very sad, but at the same time ultra rare that it would make me cry, I can’t think of one particular example that would be either the first or even just one that would stand out particularly. I remember that the last book that I was crying a little bit when reading it was Maggie Hartley’s book Battered, Broken, Healed that I read last year, when for some unexplained reason one specific thing made me feel particularly sad, namely when the mum of a baby whom Maggie was taking care of at the time was telling Maggie about how whenever her daughter cried at night, her abusive husband wouldn’t let her see to her and how difficult it was for her and for little Jasmine as well. I don’t know why it made such a very strong impression, it’s definitely not my typical reaction even when I hear sad things like this and it’s not the most difficult thing I’ve heard definitely, but it just made me feel so sad I suddenly started crying but only a little bit. I guess I must have generally been feeling down.

Oh, yeah, now I remember a book that made me feel particularly sad, but it definitely wasn’t the first one, actually quite recent, and it also made me feel a whole spectrum of all sorts of feelings and, despite a rather difficult topic of the book, quite a few fragments of it also made me laugh a lot and overall the experience was very positive. It was Room by Emma Donoghue.

So, how about you? Also, are you easily moved by books at all? If so, is it to such a degree that you just easily absorb emotions that are in the book, or does it also mean that you cry easily when you read something particularly moving, be it positively or negatively? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day (18th October).

What was the first book that got you hooked on an author? Do you still like that author?

My answer:

I believe the very first one would have to be The Six Bullerby Children by Astrid Lindgren. That’s where my love for Sweden, Swedish language and Astrid Lindgren’s books has started. And yes, she’s still one of my all-time favourite authors that I like to go back to sometimes. I haven’t read all of her books or haven’t reread all of those that I read because not all of them speak to me but the ones that do, do really strongly and I love the idyllic feel in them as well as Lindgren’s sense of humour and just generally the feel of her books.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚