Question of the day.

Who in your opinion is the most overrated band, singer or musician?

My answer:

Most of mainstream pop that you can hear like on the radio and such is very overrated in my opinion. That doesn’t necessarily mean bad, but I just don’t really get why it’s getting as much attention as it does, and sometimes it does definitely sound genuinely bad. What I’m gonna be saying in this post probably won’t be particularly relatable to people as the singer I’ll be talking about is Polish, but if you really do want to know what I’m talking about or form your opinion you can just look her up or something I guess (just please don’t tell Sofi I wrote this ’cause she’ll kill me πŸ˜€ ).

The artist whom I really consider strangely overrated, even though I don’t consider her music bad at all, is Sanah. I guess that was the first thing that popped into my mind as an answer because Sofi really loves her, and yesterday when she was shopping she found a vinyl copy of her album and bought it and was listening to it all day (yes, we do have such an ancient thing as a gramophone πŸ˜€ ), and as we are the only people in the house all the time at the moment and so spend a lot of time with each other, I got exposed to quite a dose of her music, and also listened to it many times before with Sofi. She has her own style –
Sanah, not Sofi, I mean Sofi too but that’s another thing πŸ˜€ – and that’s what seems to draw her fans as well, and those (from what I have noticed, anyway) recruit mostly from teenage girls who fit in their age group reasonably well, like a lot of the same things that are generally liked in their social circles, care about fitting in more or less, but want to have a sort of feeling that they’re different, deeper maybe. It’s always nice to see artists who do things their own way and have something that sets them apart when most of musicians in the main-streamy world seem like one homogeneous mass where it’s really difficult to distinguish one ingredient from another if you don’t come in active contact with the thing very often. She also certainly can sing, doesn’t use loads of autotune or at least I can’t hear it. Yet, I don’t understand the hype. Not so much her popularity even, because she clearly does something for which there’s a lot of audience with a lot of need for it, but the air of “differentness” around her. Even though she does seem natural-, authentic-looking and has her own way of making music, I don’t think that alone makes her really all that very different. I mean, I know I’ve time-travelled from the middle ages so I don’t know anything, but what sort of freaked up world do we live in that a girl with little to no makeup on and no plastic surgery history is considered aw so different, even if she happens to be a singer? πŸ˜€ If she was properly different, she wouldn’t be this popular. My impression (which could well be wrong as I’m only kind of an outside observer and haven’t really spent a lot of time in-depth analysing her or anything) is that a lot of her differentness is just for the sake of being different. Her music is characteristic due to sad lyrics, and she’s very consistent with it, and sad lyrics are often automatically considered different, even though I guess they’re quite trendy now and a lot of people like them. I love sad lyrics too! But what I don’t like is when it makes a sort of shallow impression, like when we’re sad for the sake of being sad, because it’s so cool and so different and so romantic. And so infantile. Again, I could be wrong, but I don’t see anything more to her sadness, anything that would come out of it and make her music richer, therefore while her music is pleasant to listen to, as long as you don’t overdose, it doesn’t really appeal to me in any stronger sense. And so I don’t understand both music people and young people like Sofi claiming that she represents something vastly different than most of the young Polish pop scene. I’m actually kind of surprised that Sofi has been loving her so passionately because Sofi is generally a very happy, smiley girl. While I am mostly neutral about her music in general, my Mum hates it and claims she sounds like Donald Duck, πŸ˜€ and that all the other women in the modern Polish-language pop industry sound all very similar to her, as in have similar voices. I definitely don’t see the Donald Duck similarity, even though she is a fair bit nasal, but I do agree on a fair few of Polish pop girls sounding similar to her. Mum assumed that maybe they have the same producers or something, but I think maybe they’re all alter egos of one person?… πŸ˜€ Essentially though, to me, Sanah’s like a Polish equivalent of Billie Eilish, except not quite so dark and not “bad”. That comparison came to my mind yesterday as Sofi was blasting her music in the living room, and I shared it with her just as it came to my brain, expecting to be accused of heresy, excomunicated and poisoned because Sofi dislikes Billie very much, but, interestingly, she agreed. πŸ˜€

Who is overrated in your opinion? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What’s the most difficult thing to define?

My answer:

Just very recently it struck me again how difficult a concept to define is self, and how ideas about what it is may vary depending on loads of things. Another such thing that also got me thinking a while back is consciousness. We talk so much in psychology and even in normal conversations about conscious, subconscious, unconscious, but it seems difficult to clearly define all that. Another such thing is pain, since there are multiple kinds of pains, and even within the same kind of pain everyone will experience it at least somewhat differently, and describe it differently as well, and we don’t even know how different these experiences are one from each other as there’s no objective way of experiencing or even measuring someone’s pain. There are all those adjectives to help describe it, like sharp, dull, pulsating, burning etc. etc. but I guess sometimes they may contribute to the confusion even more so, because what one person would describe as dull, another might not, even if the feeling is more or less the same. Oh, and it’s interesting with love, but not exactly because it’s hard to define in itself, but because so many languages lack words to describe all the different kinds of love you might feel. Like, I don’t get it, all Indoeuropean languages have taken so much from Greek, yet while there are multiple words for different kinds of love in the Ancient Greek language, I don’t know of any other European language that has that sort of distinction. And we were talking with my Mum a while back how it probably contributes to why so many people have trouble with this word and its understanding.

What’s such a thing that comes to your mind? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What has no reason to exist in 2021 and yet it does?

My answer:

Inaccessible websites, apps, devices, places, culture, formal procedures etc… I mean, I guess some things will always be inaccessible, even just because there are many groups of people whose needs are conflicting with each other, but at this point, when we do actually talk quite a lot about accessibility and when people seem to have more awareness, and, most importantly, when technology allows to make a LOT of things accessible, I think we should be way further than we are with it. Of course since I myself am blind, I know most about what is lacking in accessibility for blind people, but, after all, accessibility is not just for the disabled, or other minorities like people who don’t speak English. Accessibility is for everyone, as having, for example, a more accessible website, also makes it (or should, ideally, make it) more usable for everyone. So I don’t really understand why it’s such a marginalised thing, especially that, in vast majority of cases, it’s very easy to implement, especially if you begin to think about it right away as you create something, be it a device, an app or a museum, as later on you may need to end up starting everything from scratch. As for accessibility online, I think people often forget about the fact that, generally, the whole western society isn’t getting younger, and even if it did and we’d have more children and youth than elderly people, the elderly would still be here regardless, plus people live longer and longer, and think of all the people who are now 40-50+, most of whom are definitely familiar with the Internet and will certainly want to continue to use it as they get older, ’cause why wouldn’t they, and perhaps even more so because it’s comfy and who sane at the age of 95, with arthritis, varicose veins in their legs and bad vision would care about and risk going all the way to the nearest grocery shop when they can order their groceries online and know how to do it efficiently. Except I’m a bit worried that if the snail-paced development of stuff won’t speed up a little, ordering online might be just as cumbersome for the future’s nonagenarians as doing it in person, because not all devices, apps, websites and services may be accessible for those with hearing loss, low vision, impaired cognition or motor skills. And, as much as for someone like me, who’s lived my whole life with a disability, it’s normal that there are things that I just can’t do or that perhaps in theory I could do somehow but they’re not accessible so I can’t anyway, for a person who loses their abilities as an older adult, I can imagine being gradually or suddenly excluded out of things like that would be hella frustrating. So it’s great that we’re talking about accessibility more than ten years ago, and people like developers are certainly doing more, and I’m sure things will keep improving, and like I said I also do realise that there may always be problems because of the conflicting needs of people, or because for some people it might be plain difficult to make something fully accessible, yet I think the progress here could be and should be faster for this day and age, and also that people should have more of an idea that accessibility is for everyone. Covid speeded some things up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them went back to “normal” as the world goes back to its normal.

What is such a thing that comes to your mind? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

We really haven’t had any questions in a long time, so let’s get into it! πŸ™‚

Whether you are single or in a relationship, why?

My answer:

I am single, and there are many reasons for that. I think mostly because I’ve just never come across anyone that I’d love and want to be with, as simple as that. πŸ˜€ I guess it’s quite weird for many people, but I’ve never been not single, have never dated, have never had sex, and have never even been in love. While that kind of reinforces my feelings of inadequacy since it seems to be vastly different for most people, I’m generally okay with that and don’t feel obliged to try to change it, any time soon, or any time at all, unless it comes naturally. Also I guess I still have quite a fair bit of time for it all happening, if it’s supposed to. My Mum considers herself asexual or something like that, she does have sex (obviously, since she has biological children), but has no physical pleasure out of it and no real need for it, we suspect that must’ve been the case with my grandma who has a giant repulsion towards anything even remotely sex-related, but of course back then no one knew about such a thing as asexuality and I suppose if anyone suggested that to her, even that would repulse her, and I guess this could be the case with me (without my grandma’s repulsion though πŸ˜€ ) the more that I was also born with some hormonal issues that often do affect such things. I’m not perfectly sure, because like I said I’ve never had sex so if I did perhaps I’d discover that that’s not the case, and then on the other hand I do consider myself a linguophile because I can get slightly turned on by a language that I love, especially right before sleep, haha, but it’s like I said only a slight thing and not extremely frequent, and generally I have an impression that for most people it takes waaaaay less to stimulate them, to the point where it actually often surprises me how little they need. That being said, of course by never having been in love I also mean romantically, yet I definitely do not think I am aromantic. Regardless of whatever might be the deal with me vs all things romantic and sexual, one thing I do know is that all that involves a lot of intimacy, and intimacy is scary as hell for me, whether it’s emotional or touchy-feely.

Another thing is that, aside from me having never found anyone I’d like to be with, I’ve never been aware of anyone who’d like to be with me. πŸ˜€ Which is fine as otherwise I guess I’d feel quite hemmed, even if he weren’t pressuring me or anything.

And then there’s also that I really don’t think I’m cut out for relationships anyway. I am very individualistic and, partly due to that, partly due to some experiences I’ve had, I still have a bit of an aversion to even mere words like together(ness) or common. I don’t like compromises, I don’t even know how to do them. If someone wants me to make a compromise with them I’ll usually either keep going my way or turn in the totally opposite direction where they want to go and go right after them. Same as I never knew and never liked to cooperate with people at school at all sorts of projects and stuff. If I knew that people at my group were either rather passive/submissive by nature or simply not good at the subject, I’d do everything for everyone as that was easier and faster than explaining and discussing everything, and I didn’t have much patience for that, plus they were happy, or if there was someone who I knew that they had it all together more than I did and had more of a personality, or a few such people, then I would barely do anything, I just don’t really know how to be in the middle with such things. πŸ˜€ Besides, like I said intimacy scares me and how usually people in relationship expect each other to be open. I know and have heard of couples where one person is pretty self-sufficient emotionally, and likes to have a bit of their own space, but the other not so much, and so this other person wants them to do everything together. It would suck if that would be the case with me and my potential husband, especially if we wouldn’t share a lot of hobbies to begin with. And I have a bad feeling, based on a lot of different little things, that if I went into it, I have all the necessary traits and more to end up with someone toxic, or maybe not properly, inherently toxic like narcissistic or something, but perhaps somehow difficult or damaged or something, which, since I have a very particular brain too, could end up making both of us intoxicate each other quite badly. I’m absolutely happy having difficult, weird, complex friends who have had a lot to deal with, but being such a person yourself and having to deal with another such person’s brain 24/7, seven days a week… I’m not this heroic. Also my last therapist, who for some reason was adamant that I need to be in a relationship (perhaps because she was psychodynamic and they’re obsessed with sexuality so she couldn’t help me if I had no sex life πŸ˜€ ) was very encouraging and told me that people “like me” usually have toxic relationships. A lot of her words and opinions couldn’t be taken seriously, but I feel she could be pretty right about that.

Then there are the little big things like that I am Christian, more exactly a (traditional) Catholic, and some stuff that is important for me is less and less important for other people, like such a trivial thing as actually marrying properly and not just going steady or however people call that in English. On the other hand, I don’t want to (and possibly cannot, due to the pituitary stuff) have kids, which on the other hand is usually what people with values similar to mine definitely do want.

Speaking of kids, I would be worried that I wouldn’t have much to offer the potential guy in question. I mean yeah, I have a lot of brains to choose from, people usually consider me interesting or fascinating or something like that, and judging from everything I seem to be considered a good listener, I am empathetic and I think I have a, weird sometimes, but still good for some, sense of humour, I seem to have the sort of shape that apparently appeals to males the most, being skinny and curvy and have reasonable looks, but generally, that’s about it. I can’t do a lot of practical things, I can’t cook, I can’t do a lot of other household stuff or can’t do it well, I don’t want to/can’t have kids, I don’t want to have sex, I can’t drive, I can’t get around outside by myself, I only have a part-time job with a minimal wage which will be over as soon as my Dad retires, I don’t do people… Yeah sure, there are interabled couples, but from what I observe, usually the disabled person is more autonomous than myself. Also when it comes to visually impaired/blind people, I’ve seen research claiming that there is a lot more couples where there is a sighted girl and a visually impaired guy than the other way around, which makes sense and is reflected among people I know. So, I just don’t see it (pun quite obviously intended). I could still be with someone blind, but I don’t want to for several reasons, plus I’ve spent ten years in a blind school where naturally a lot of people were dating at some point, and none seemed interested in me either, unless in the role of a relationship counsellor. πŸ˜€ Which is, actually, quite interesting, because a weird amount of people comes to me with their relationship woes, as if I had any idea about that. But I try to help as best I can. Maybe it’s actually exactly this that brings them to me, that I have like an outside perspective or something. Anyway, even if there was someone who would accept the downsides and want to be with me, I, knowing myself, would probably still have a problem feeling inferior in such an unbalanced relationship, unless I’d feel that there is some field(s) in which I could compensate adequately.

So, all in all, while the unquenchable Aquarius in me is definitely curious what it could be like being not single for a change, I don’t really feel like I actually do want to change it in practice.

Oh, and yet another reason! Dating sounds freakishly stressful from what I hear. I’d probably have to sleep two days in a row to recharge afterwards.

So how’s it with you, and, more importantly, why? πŸ™‚

How do I calm down my emetophobia? (part 2) Coping strategies.

See part 1 here.

This is the part 2 of my mini series about emetophobia. In this part, I want to put together some tips, tricks and ideas that work for me or that I know of for people who also struggle with this phobia. For the sake of people who have a strong fear around the associated words, unlike in the first part, I will be replacing any trigger words with only their first letters. The section dealing with exposure may be more or less triggering for some.

Β Β  Mindset

One thing, perhaps not the healthiest out there, that has helped me a lot ever since I’ve become aware of this mechanism is the understanding that, seriously, people with emetophobia are less likely, at least on average, to v* than people who don’t have this fear. Part of this may be all sorts of things we do to prevent it, and that many of us simply aren’t all that prone to it, but what I think plays a greater role is that we’re often too stressed and blocked for v* to occur. I think this is a good thing to keep in mind, and very comforting, even though there’s always some chance of it happening. On a similar note, there are people, emetophobic and not, who only v* once in their lifetime, or maybe never at all. Now, imagine you’re one of these people, that you never v*ed for your entire life since the last time you actually did, and imagine that you’re nearing the end of your life, and you’ve been given some crystal ball or a mind superpower, thanks to which you can, reflecting back on your life, see it from different angles, what would happen if you did X or didn’t do Y. And one thing you learn about your life is that, with or without all your efforts, you weren’t meant to v* anymore in your life anyway. Wouldn’t you feel pity for missing out on all the yummy foods you never ate, all the journeys you didn’t take etc. despite deep down you really wanted to, just to avoid something that would never happen regardless of your actions, and that your efforts were essentially meaningless? Of course, we know that most people do v*, so looking at things this way won’t make anyone with emetophobia stop avoiding v*, but I think it’s an interesting perspective to put it in.

Β Β  Coping with crisis

Β Β  Evaluating how you’re feeling

Something that helps me not to panic right away when something triggers my emetophobia is to focus on how exactly I am actually feeling, to determine whether what I’m feeling is truly physical, or is it just my anxiety. N* is my primary anxiety symptom so sometimes it’s difficult, but I’m getting better at it every time. Basically, when I start feeling n*, or anything else that I think could potentially lead to v* and feel distressed about it, I try to establish how bad it is. You can try asking yourself questions like the ones below and see if you can answer them at all, which I guess won’t necessarily be easy at every severity stage of emetophobia, and if you can answer them, perhaps the answers will help to reassure you. For me, that’s most often the case.

  • Are you able to function normally the way you’re feeling now, or would you rather just lay in bed?
  • How about things that you normally enjoy, are you able to do them now with the way you’re feeling or are you feeling too s*? I think it’s important to differentiate here between feeling too * and not being focused on anything else than the way you’re feeling and that it might lead to v*, which also can make it difficult to enjoy anything.
  • What exactly makes you think it may end up with v*? For me personally, n* alone, unless it’s really intense, isn’t a valid argument, because like I said I experience it a lot due to anxiety and n* itself never made me v*.
  • Totally hypothetically, would you be able to eat something, and what could it be? By being able I mean physically, not whether your emetophobic brain thinks it’s safe to do it or not, but, like, what’s your reaction when you think about food? If you had it guaranteed that, regardless how bad you’re feeling and what you’ll choose to eat, you will not v* after eating, would there be something you’d actually like to eat right now? Or does thinking about any food make you feel worse and eating is the last thing you want to do? Or maybe you’re actually hungry but your brain doesn’t want you to know? People could have n* when they’re very hungry or have low blood sugar, maybe it’s the case with you?

Distraction

Then the next key thing in my opinion is effective distraction. I know, it’s fiendishly difficult when you’re feeling anxious, so it’s good to have some sort of distraction toolbox prepared beforehand, so that you don’t have to frantically come up with ways to calm yourself down and distract while already in the grip of emetophobia. Read something interesting. Watch your favourite series. Go for a walk if you’re feeling well enough, play a game. Talk to someone, preferably not about your fears as that won’t really distract you, unless you clearly feel that that’s what you need to talk about. Personally I don’t like talking to people about my emetophobia too much at the time when it’s really bad, because it only makes me feel worse and sort of like that if it’s so bad that I need to talk about it to someone, it must be really bad. I only talk to people about it when I absolutely can’t cope. Otherwise, I think it’s a lot better to just chat about something as far from it as possible that will engage your brain or make you laugh, just shift your emotions from hyperfocusing on all things n* and v*. Listen to music. Or engage in any other activity that you find interesting, but also sufficiently emotionally involving, so that there’s no space left for the anxiety. I find that what works best for me specifically is some intellectual activity that requires focusing a lot, or sometimes listening to other people and whatever problems they might be having, unless things are too rubbish and I just can’t focus. Lite and rather passive activities like reading hardly ever work.

Breathing

That’s quite crucially important imo. I’m shitty with it, it’s really difficult, but breathing properly really makes a difference with anxiety, it’s not just a cliche. Breathing also comes in very handy when things totally spiral out of control and you’re about to v*. When you breathe deeply through your nose, chances are you can make the feeling go away. It’s also definitely a good thing to find some relaxation technique that you like and that works for you. I find mindfulness not very helpful with this specific kind of fear because, really, focusing on your sensations is the last thing you want to do when your emetophobia gets triggered. πŸ˜€ What I like a lot is some kind of imageries, visualisations, and, even more so, grounding exercises. I don’t know if grounding can work for everyone, probably part of why it works for me is because it can sometimes help me more or less with dizziness, and dizziness triggers my emetophobia. Have something, or someone, that you find comforting close to you, like your pet or your favourite fluffy blanket, or your safe person, or some object you have a strong connection to, whatever works. I like to have Misha around in such situations, listen to his breath and heartbeat, feel his fur, it’s really calming.

Exposure and trying to overcome your fear

When you have managed to get through the crisis safely and are no longer triggered, you might think about how to reduce or completely get rid of this fear. I think this is very comforting news that it so often seems to diminish over time as people age. That does seem to be the case with me, although other things have come into play. Exposure therapy can be a great thing, if you’re brave enough. I know a couple people who have managed to overcome emetophobia with great success largely thanks to it. I perfectly realise though that it sounds very scary to many people and it takes guts (hehe) to make such a decision, and many of us don’t have enough of them for that. I, for one, did not. I had some experience with it with my first therapist, who was mostly CBT but also used other modalities a lot, and she encouraged me that we could try it with one of my anxieties, not emetophobia-related). After some initial fears and hesitation and with a lot of reassurance on her part I courageously decided I’ll give it a go, as I was actually very curious what’s at the core of it and why that thing scared me as badly as it did, and still does. But unfortunately we didn’t even go through it fully because there was just one mini thing that didn’t go quite the way it was supposed to, which resulted in my fear getting worse and me not wanting to hear about exposure therapy ever again, and I still feel the same way about it.

Still, even those of us who don’t like the idea of exposure therapy can do some mini exposure by ourselves as much as it’s possible, and slowly, gradually go out of our comfort zone. Can you think of something that you CAN handle about v*? It may be still scary and/or uncomfortable, but doesn’t scare you quite as badly as other aspects of v*. For example such thing for me is the words relating to the v*. Yes, they ARE scary, they are gross, and when I’m feeling very unwell mentally they can trigger me, but usually I can handle hearing them quite well with minor or sometimes no distress at all, unlike v*ing myself or hearing someone do it or reading some graphic descriptions or eating something that is very very risky.

So, if you’re like me, you could try and expose yourself at least to these words a bit more, so that they feel even less scary. Say them out loud, think about them, or write them on a piece of paper, or read in a book, as long as they don’t appear in any graphic scene, unless you feel brave enough for this then sure, why not. I remember once reading an article somewhere about emetophobia and there was a suggestion, mostly geared at children, I think, that I really liked, about how you can try to deal with fear of the words. Take some well-known song, or even just its title, or a book title, or a film title, a nursery rhyme, a saying, whatever simple thing like that, and replace one word in it with v*, so that it’ll sound funny or weird or just silly and meaningless, or gross. Like: “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of v*”. I believe this technique is called reciprocal inhibition, where you try to replace one feeling with another. And so while it might still scare you at first, at some point humour will likely win and you’ll be less scared. Also it’s just meant to show you that these are just words and can’t harm you as such, and it’s a way of familiarising yourself with them and desensitising your brain to them. I have done things like that and, while I still consider these words grosser and more unpleasant than an average person, and still they can mess things up if I’m not feeling well, but generally they are nowhere near such a big deal as they used to be.

Or if you are scared of v*ing yourself, but less so of other people doing so, you could watch a movie where someone does it. Or if human v* is too scary, do what I did and get yourself a cat, they have such sensitive digestive systems that most of them v* very regularly and at this point I don’t find it as extremely disturbing as I did at the beginning, especially that Misha takes great care to always do it in my room and makes sure that I get my dose of exposure.

When you’re feeling relatively stable overall, you could try and eat something that you particularly liked and miss from your unsafe food items list, even just a very small amount. And then, if you feel okay afterwards, try to eat more of it. And then another product. And so on and so forth. It’s an extremely gratifying feeling whenever you manage to succeed at that and realise this product no longer needs to be considered unsafe. Especially that a lot of things that we cross out, we actually like to eat. My most recent achievement in this field is from about half a year ago when I started to eat waffles again. I don’t even remember now how they ended up on my no-no list. You could also try eating out if you struggle with this, even just a very small meal at first.

Daily life coping strategies

But exposing ourselves to things won’t always eliminate the fear entirely, therefore I feel it’s important to have your strategies as for how to deal with things on a daily basis, to make life easier and less scary.

I recently had a thought that it’s a bit of a pity that we have all those no-no foods, but not many emetophobics put quite as much thought in making something like a mental oh-yeah food list, so basically a list of things that we consider safe and like to eat. Maybe that doesn’t make sense since you usually know what you like and what you can eat pretty automatically, but I feel like it’s still good to acknowledge this somehow, because having all those unsafe foods it’s easy to subconsciously jump to the conclusion that food in general is unsafe, when I think most of us do have some food items that are safe, even if for some people they are rather few.

And speaking of safe foods, I believe it’s also a good idea to have some kind of edible things that you find to be helpful for you with things like n*, for when you actually feel bad and like you may v*, whether it’s caused by anxiety or a tummy bug or illness. My best friend in this department is ginger, I really really really love it, just plain because of its taste as well as for its antiemetic properties. I like to suck on it when I’m feeling n* or add it to my tea. Speaking of teas, I think chamomile is the most trustworthy when it comes to emetophobia, although It also has loads of other properties. Another one I drink when I’m worried I might v* is… sheesh, I don’t even know the English name for this plant! πŸ˜€ We literally call it wild rose in Polish and apparently it’s rosa canina in Latin. But chamomile is always my first choice. Peppermint is a good substitute for ginger. I know people who find sucking on ice cubes helpful. I think this idea probably comes from that it’s often recommended for people who actually DO v*, like after chemo, and ice is given to them to help with hydration, but I don’t really see how it could help with preventing potential v*. Still, since a lot of what we experience is psychosomatic, there’s nothing wrong with having your own little strategies that work even if they aren’t proven or anything, because they work for you and that’s what matters, as long as your entire quality of life isn’t dependent on it, regardless whether it’s a placebo or not. As some of you may know, I have a weird affinity with ice so I like sucking on it sometimes regardless. πŸ˜€ Eating more protein-rich meals (as opposed to more rich in carbs or fats) also may potentially help with n* or queasiness a bit.

Also, find scents that help you, if you haven’t already. Scents that help you both with n* and feeling s* as well as scents that you find generally relaxing. Can’t say much more on this as I myself can’t really feel most scents.

Have some strategy for a crisis situation like when someone in your family is s*. This will be different for everyone, what things you want to use to keep yourself healthy and how you will want to deal with the situation and make it bearable. My safe bet is apple cider vinegar, although it’s not wise to go over the top with it or use it long-term, as then it can actually make your gut worse, and different people have different opinions on its effectiveness. While it’s not a very healthy way to cope, if you really have no other way of coping at the moment and you’re very scared, there are antiemetic drugs that you can get over the counter for the time being like Hydroxyzine which is also anxiolytic. Probiotics may also be helpful, or foods/drinks that have such properties, my fav here is kefir.

And last, but not least, whether you do decide to go the exposure therapy route, I think it’s important, or at least really beneficial to have someone who understands those things. Find a talk therapist who has some experience with this, some fellow human being with this phobia, or tell your friend about it if you feel they will be able to empathise, so that you aren’t alone with this. As I said earlier, talking and analysing it all through isn’t always the best way to go, at least not for me, but there are times when you just need to put it all off your chest and in such case of course it’s important that the other person understands what you’re talking about. Having someone like this is also helpful for making progress, as they can motivate you and be there for you while you’re trying to overcome your v* fears.

That’s all I’ve come up with. Do you have any other ways in which you calm down your emetophobia? Or if you have any other kind of phobia, how do you cope with it? πŸ™‚

How do I calm down my emetophobia? (part 1) My story.

 

If you’ve been around on my blog for some time, you know that I like being possibly engaging with my readers. Part of what that means for me personally is ensuring, as much as I can, and as much as that actually goes in line with what I want my blog to be, that people can find here what has brought them to my blog. So I like to go through the search terms that bring people to my blog, either on WordPress or on Google Console, about once a month. And lately, I’ve noticed a surprising amount of my visitors and people whom Google has displayed my blog in the results have been asking it “how to calm down emetophobia?” and similar things.

While I am emetophobic and have written a bit about this, I don’t think they were able to find the direct answer to this question, hence I thought I would write about what I do, or what helps me specifically, to deal with *my* emetophobia, and maybe that will also help some other people who are dealing with this.

This post is going to be divided into two separate parts – one talking in detail but not overly graphically about my experience with emetophobia, so that perhaps if this is something you’re struggling with you might relate to it to some extend, and for those who don’t have the condition I hope I’ll be able to show people a bit of what it’s like, at least from one person’s perspective. The other one will be all about things that have helped me, or still do, or that I know help other people effectively, in dealing with this phobia.

This first part will be a rather rambly and free-flowing post, so if you’re in a full-blown panic attack or crisis caused by emetophobia and need some concrete tips on how to deal with the thing here and now, you might want to skip this part. If you are emetophobic, I want to put a little trigger warning first, just in case, mostly for those who are in a particularly bad place with their phobia. I’ll try my best to keep this post as minimally graphic as possible, but if words relating to the topic are very highly triggering for you, please note that they will be present here. I’ll also be discussing my triggers and telling my emetophobia story overall, mentioning various specific situations from my life or contexts in which it occurred, so some things may potentially feel uncomfortable. Even if you start reading this and feel distressed or triggered at some point, of course there’s no obligation to continue. Just be gentle with yourself.

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For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, emetophobia is a specific phobia, which causes intense fear of vomiting. What I mean by intense here is, I guess no one likes to vomit or see someone vomit or have anything to do with vomiting, and I guess a lot of people may have some degree of fear around it, but the degree to which it is present in emetophobia is a lot higher and affecting, more or less strongly, the quality of life of an affected person, so that in some cases it might impact their daily life functioning. The experience of this phobia may vary a lot from person to person, and so one individual with it might be anxious about vomiting themself, whereas for another it’s about other people in their surroundings or in movies or animals etc. doing so, or it may be even more specific like only pertain to vomiting in public. For me, and most people with this disorder I’ve heard about, it’s a combination of more than one thing. The weird thing is, most people who know something about emetophobia or learn what it is, seem to assume that emetophobic people must be somehow very prone to vomiting. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite for a lot of us, including myself. From what I’ve noticed, most of us tend to have pretty resilient digestive systems to begin with, and a lot has to be going on for them to give up and make us vomit, and on top of that I’ve heard that people with emetophobia are just too blocked emotionally for vomiting to occur, which makes sense and is comforting in a way. πŸ˜€ A lot of emetophobics also have their own strategies, like a special way of breathing, which help them prevent vomiting when it’s about to happen. Yet, typically, we tend to remember when was the last time we vomitted, and the last time before that, how long ago it was and why exactly (in our opinion, at least) it happened, along with such details like what was in the news that day or what we were wearing, depending on a specific case of course, not to mention what food we ate beforehand. It’s a bit strange the way it works. I’ve also come across people thinking that emetophobics are afraid of vomiting because they’re afraid they will die while it’s happening to them. Maybe some do, I don’t know. I only know that I don’t. I mean, it would be a horrible kind of death, probably the worst I could wish for myself, but it’s not what I fear the most. Like my Mum still seems to think that I must be afraid of choking on it or something, which I have no idea where she got it from. I mean, sure, this is just another valid reason for why vomit is evil, but it’s not a primary one, not for me anyway, and I don’t think for most emetophobics either. It’s just scary because it’s vomit.

I am scared of vomiting myself, as well as of other people – both because it’s scary in itself and because they may be sick with something contagious and I might get it too, or we may have been food poisoned with the same thing. – I hate the sound of vomiting, gagging, choking etc. and the feeling I get when either I or someone else is vomiting, that everything is out of control. I hate things whose texture reminds me of vomit. I’m afraid when Misha is vomiting, even though he always does it very quietly and it’s very much unlike it sounds in people. It happens to him quite often though so over time it has become a lot less of a deal but it still is a big deal, even though it never is for him. While like I mentioned above, the possibility of vomiting in public seems to be particularly scary for many people, and I do think it is terrifying, I don’t think I’m a lot more scared of it than vomiting anywhere else, whether alone or in company. Sometimes when I have really difficult days emet-wise and am just absolutely sure that I’ll vomit I can’t decide whether it’s better to be alone when it’s happening, so that you can do it discreetly and no one sees it, or with someone around so that you are – well – not all alone with it. I can just never decide on that, either is equally horrid. Also like a lot of emetophobics, I have that weird fear even of the words relating to vomit. These days, my emetophobia is a lot better most of the time than it used to be (or else I wouldn’t be writing this post) but on my worse days, just hearing or thinking about one of these words makes me feel sick-ish. But seriously, what’s up with all languages that their words for vomit, throw up and puke are so creepy? The English vomit is by far the best, although a lot of people seem to prefer throw up. Throw up is WAY too picturesque for my liking! It’s not just all about vomit. The words for gag are scary too. When I was learning about various British dialects and accents, I remember being absolutely mortified at the fact that gaggin’ means thirsty in Mancunian. Who would even still be thirsty after talking about gagging? Also nausea, even though I don’t have a fear of nausea directly. The English word isn’t so bad, I mean it sounds awful but it’s not so triggery. The Polish word is though. My radars always go off more or less whenever I hear someone say in Polish that they’re nauseated, or their tummy is hurting, even before I know if it’s a sick kind of hurting or more a period kind of hurting or maybe something else entirely. Even the word faint in Polish is kind of scary too because for some people it seems to mean the same as nauseated.

When you have a look around emetophobic communities and stuff, people talk about v* (for vomit), n* (for nausea) or d* (for diarrhoea) and, if it helps someone, that’s okay, but I feel like for me personally, such tiptoeing only contributes to creating the tension around the topic. What I prefer to do myself, when writing in my journal or something like that, is, I use a totally different, unrelated word to replace the scary v* with, when I actually feel the need to do so. Same as with my sleep paralysis “friend” whose name I’m too scared to say or even write so I always call him “Ian”. When I write in English, this word for vomit is Moomin. And no, so far this hasn’t given me a Moomin phobia. πŸ˜€

I don’t know how this whole thing has started for me. It feels like I’ve been more or less emetophobic ever since. A theory I have though is that it could have started when I was at around preschool age. I don’t know if I was already going to nursery or not. There was some kind of ball organised for young children somewhere near where I lived, and I was supposed to go there and was really happy for it. Yes, there were such times when Bibiel was happy to go to a ball. As a little kid,I was fairly shy but mostly like “normal” shy, and a lot more outgoing, if not more extroverted, and then at some point things just magically changed. πŸ˜€ That’s what people tell me anyway. My grandma, who really liked to sew at the time, made a special Little Red Riding Hood costume for me, just for that occasion, as that was my favourite fairytale back then. However, on the day of the ball, I was feeling quite funny. I remember that I came downstairs and was about to have breakfast but just as I went into the kitchen, the floor started moving very ominously, I suddenly started feeling utterly terrified, I guess that’s literally what people call a feeling of impending doom, and then I was sick. I felt a bit better afterwards I guess and I think I didn’t want to miss out on the ball, so we did end up going there but, from what I remember, I was still feeling rather miserable and was clinging to my Dad all the time. I don’t remember that, but my Mum says that I also got sick there. Since I can’t even remember that, and generally don’t have any particular feelings around the whole event, you’d think that it would be rather insignificant, but what makes me think that it might be that incident which caused my emetophobia is that I also have an absolutely weird, inexplicable fear of all things like proms, balls, discos, dancing parties, wedding receptions etc. Yes, I’m a socially anxious introvert with AVPD who doesn’t love dancing and has some feet issues, though I don’t particularly hate dancing either as such, but there’s something a lot more to my fear of things like these than any other people gatherings and I always avoid these more desperately and can’t even explain what scares me about them so much. So maybe there’s some link here on a subconscious level or something.

Whether it was that event which started my emetophobia or not, I certainly had some emetophobic tendencies as a kid, though for the first 8 years or so of my life they were quite easily manageable for me. I only remember feeling stressed about it whenever I was seriously feeling sick or about to vomit or when someone was vomiting I would feel as if I were about to faint, but I never actually did, even though I think I wanted to ’cause then I wouldn’t have to witness it. When I was 8 things started to change and gradually I was feeling worse and worse mentally, with both depression and a lot of anxieties, including health anxiety.

At the age of 10 I had a lot of stress to deal with due to various life situations but mostly having an Achilles tendons lengthening surgery, about which I wrote on here many times before, that I found the long recovery process extremely difficult emotionally. I was normally confined to my room during my recovery period most of the time out of necessity as I couldn’t move about easily, but there was one day when I went to school – I was at the so called integration school at the time – because they were doing some kind of theatrical performance. I can’t remember whether I was playing in it too, or just watching it. Anyway, this was the only day during the whole six weeks that I went somewhere for longer and mingled with people, so my autoimmune system probably wasn’t ready for it to happen all of a sudden, and I got some respiratory infection soon after that. I had to take an antibiotic, but it definitely didn’t agree with me, as it always made me feel super sick and weak whenever I would take it, and one beautiful day… Moomin! That was on Halloween! And it is then, I think, that my emetophobia started properly.

I knew that it was probably the antibiotic, but my small Bibiel brain at the time was thinking that if it seriously was the antibiotic, it would make me vomit right away, after taking it for the first time, rather than after a couple days. So clearly it must have been the orange juice that I drank ann hour or so before the Moomins came, because it made me feel very queasy straight after I drank it. So, with all my love for the orange juice, I decided to throw it out of my life permanently. And that’s how I started building my ever-growing no-no foods (and activities) list. Actually I already had some things on it – scrambled eggs (which had made me vomit at the gym in the nursery), bigos (a Polish stew made of chopped meat and sauerkraut), liver, and blood sausage), but that was different, because I didn’t like any of these dishes to begin with, so I was actually quite happy having an excuse that they make me feel awful so I didn’t have to eat them and no one would make me. But after that Halloween, things started evolving a lot more dynamically. After the orange juice, loads of items quickly followed, so that I think theoretically everything was soon included on it, because – let’s be honest and accept the brutal truth – everything CAN make you Moomin! Practically, I did have to eat something, so I broke my own rules, even if I ate very little and only when I really had to, and then felt sick and was convinced that I’m going to Moomin, the matter was only when that was going to happen. Then I learned that you can also kinda Moomin on an empty stomach, so I did start to eat a bit more ’cause I figured that if either way is bad I may just as well eat a little bit more, but it was still just a little bit more, and my no-no list didn’t get any shorter. Back then, things were also complicated by the fact that I had more general health anxiety and a lot of other anxieties, I was just a bundle of nerves. I kept washing my hands all the time, but on the other hand had a problem cleaning my teeth because I was afraid it would make me gag, regardless whether it would make me vomit too. I still have a problem with having things in my mouth that aren’t edible. If someone was sick, no matter how I loved them, I wouldn’t go near them. Which made me feel super selfish. Medications were of course a problem too. If I ever was prescribed something at that time, I would look up side effects and see if Moomin was a possibility. If it was (which it was typically), I would be stalking my poor therapist (whom I started seeing shortly after recovering from that surgery as my Mum concluded that she doesn’t know how to help me anymore) telling her that it makes people Moomin, I’m afraid it will make me Moomin, I know it will make me Moomin, asking her what to do so I don’t Moomin, and hoping that she’ll tell me “No, of course you won’t Moomin, you will never, ever Moomin, it’s impossible!”, but even then I’d still lose my sleep over the fact that there is 0,0005% chance that I will.

I’ve also always had some issues with balance and it’s easy for me to feel dizzy, and of course dizziness was something I’d avoid as much as possible too. Same about unnecessary travelling, especially on roads I weren’t familiar with, as I had motion sickness. I still have motion sickness but I never Moomined due to it so I don’t care about it now really. Forget things like amusement parks, which I despised anyway because of the balance problem but to which I still was forced to go from time to time with schools ’cause all children like it and people like to make children happy because it feels good. Even stress itself was a trigger, and still is to an extend, because my main symptom when I’m really stressed or anxious is nausea. So it’s a bit of a vicious circle as you can imagine and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between anxiety nausea vs sickness nausea.

Soon after my 11th birthday, something weird happened to me, probably to my brain, that I started feeling really, really ill physically. Mostly, it was just very bad nausea, but I also had a coming and going sore throat and other aches and pains, was very tired, weak and lethargic, and I don’t remember what else, I guess a lot of coming and going stuff, but mostly just overwhelming nausea, so bad that I wasn’t able to get out of bed or even eat anything, let alone things like go to school. Then after a day or a few I would have a break from that, or feel at least good enough to be able to do everything as normal, whatever normal was for me back then, and then again the nausea & co. would come back, and so on and so forth. At the beginning of this mysterious illness, obviously my family couldn’t accept the state of things and that I almost wasn’t eating at all, and that wasn’t even because I was scared of Moomin but I just felt it was physically impossible. I guess my grandma was particularly worried so one day she decided to make Silesian dumplings especially for me. Silesian dumplings are one of my favourite dishes, so, I think if it would be just about my fear, I’d eat at least some anyway, but as it was, I could only take a little bite after which my nausea got a lot worse, so I felt like a proper bitch for not eating them even though she made them especially for me. But it was just physically not doable, no way. My Mum in turn kept going with me from one doctor to another, doing blood tests (which all came back normal) and what not, which I remember I found quite exhausting as I was so tired all the time I could sometimes barely sit upright. Finally I ended up dehydrated so then I was seriously freaked out about Moomin because I could remember being dehydrated once as a small child and then I moomined so I was sure that now I would too. We found a paediatrician about whom my Mum already knew that he was extremely thorough any time he examined a child. Never mind that he said that Sofi was probably going to have psychomotor delay because she still had some neurological reflex that according to the textbooks she shouldn’t have at her age, and scared my aunt in some other way about my cousin not developing quite right. Well turned out that he probably had a knack for finding rare, dramatic diagnoses for children, because when we came to him and he examined me, thoroughly as always, he decided that what I have must be LCHAD (don’t ask me what it is, some genetic illness that apparently is noticeably prevalent among Kashubians, which is where we live and my Dad is Kashubian). That got everyone properly scared, including myself. Having health anxiety, I was already wondering what I may be ill with to feel so awful, and was rather stoically thinking that I’m probably going to die, which didn’t scare me as that was a lot better than the dreaded Moomin, of course, or some illness that would involve Moomin or even a treatment which would have such a side effect. As long as it was just nausea, or even death, I thought I could deal with it. But now with this LCHAD thing, I had no clue what that was, and his explanation was rather enigmatic as well, at least to me as a child, but my Mum didn’t seem to understand a lot more than I did. For the time being, he sent me to the emergency where another doctor started laughing heartily as soon as my shocked Mum told him about my newly acquired diagnosis, said that I of course do not have LCHAD but just need a drip, and probably I was just having a tummy bug, in which case a light diet for the next few days should surely help. As I was sitting there with that drip, thinking what’s better, LCHAD or a tummy bug, a mum with a baby came into the room, the baby had a high fever and was given paracetamol, which it moomined right away.

After the drip I felt a lot better, also emotionally despite that baby incident, because I wanted to believe this drip doctor was right, and so did my Mum, so we went back home. The next day my Mum called the endocrinologist who was treating me at the time for the hypopituitarism, and told her about the LCHAD doctor, but she also reassured her that I surely can’t have it because if it went undiagnosed for so long I wouldn’t be alive anymore. My Mum was immensely relieved. The day after that I felt awful all over again, and so the cycle continued, I honestly have no idea until when. People tried to give my Mum good advice, of course, my class teacher kept calling and asking how I’m feeling, saying that, if I can’t eat, it must be something gastric so I should have a gastroscopy, my grandma was saying that it must be anaemia and I need more drips or something if I can’t eat anything, while my therapist was saying that it’s a psychological thing, which my Mum found offensive. My Mum herself tried her best to force Nutridrinks into me at least and constantly asked me how I was feeling, and if I said that I wasn’t feeling well, she would pause whatever she was doing and be like: “Hmmm…” as if she was deeply thinking about something. I grew to hate it so much when she did it with that specific intonation, it still makes me feel weird when people say “Hmm” like that, ’cause it immediately makes me feel a bit stressed. πŸ˜€

About a month after that LCHAD scare, my worst dream came true and I actually did Moomin. I don’t even know why. My best guess is it must have been somehow stressogenic. It happened exactly at 3 AM and scared the heebiejeebies out of me, of course. I felt dreadful the whole day but it didn’t happen anymore. Neither on that same day, nor the day later, nor any time in the 13 years since then, yay! I associated the incident with cocoa that I drank for supper the day before, and so cocoa was promptly added on the no-no list, and spent a loooong time there. I had become even more crazy with regards to all things food and Moomin after that. And I still kept having these coming and going times when I felt ill.

At some point things got back to normal in that I no longer felt so ill, although I had another bout of it some time in the summer of that same year which was all the worse that we were away on holidays. When I went back to the boarding school after the integration school experiment didn’t work out, I no longer had these bouts of sickness but my emetophobia was still just as bad. However, my school had a bit of a different take on eating than my Mum, who claims that there’s nothing worse than forcing a child to eat, because no child has ever died of hunger when there is free access to food. At school, we were at the very least strongly encouraged to eat all we got without fussing or anything. So I had to start eating more, as it just wouldn’t work out any other way, which then made me endlessly ruminate about Moomin. Still, I tried to eat as little as possible at the same time, and avoid the products that were especially high on my no-no list. At some point, one of the group staff came into my room when I happened to be alone in there and was like: “We need to talk… I know you have a problem… with food. Don’t you?” “Ummmm, why’d you think so?” – I asked, feeling a bit scared and a bit genuinely surprised because I was sure no one would figure that out. – “Well, I once had such a girl in my group. She would also eat very little at meals and then would sometimes eat by herself and only certain foods, I wasn’t born yesterday, I know what anorexia looks like…” Phew! I was so relieved I could have laughed. She wanted me to talk to her or something, I can’t remember, I also don’t really remember what I told her actually, I think I must have made up some story that wouldn’t make her too alarmed but that also wouldn’t deny her assumption, but somehow no one ever talked about that anorexia thing with me again and when I was telling my Mum the story years later she had no idea that anyone had such suspicions.

Over the next few years, my more general health anxiety had quietened down a lot naturally, so that the only health-related fears I would have were either emet-related, or something to do with the brain, ’cause you regular people here know I’m freaked out by even the idea of neurodegenerative diseases and other such things to this day. It has also become less irrational and easier to function with. Having to live in such a fairly structured institution like a boarding school meant that I had to adapt somehow with things like eating, and while I still had my no-no list and my fear was very strong, I somehow managed to eat almost like normal and do other things as normally as I could, even if they caused me a lot of stress. Fortunately, this way, I was also quietly forced to tick off some of the less “dangerous” things from my no-no list. Sometimes for some reason, like a tummy bug being spread around, my anxiety would get insanely high again to the point where, again, I would eat as little as possible and avoid everything I could that I thought had something to do with Moomin, and then over time managed to go back to the apparently near-normal but constantly scared lifestyle, and so on and so forth. Because my way of eating was very irregular as you can imagine, I would often feel a bit queasy after every single thing I ate, I guess kind of as if my body wasn’t used to dealing with food. I would feel very full after even a very small meal, and that would instantly make me panic that surely I’m going to be sick and that something is wrong if I can’t even eat a small meal without feeling off.

I believe that part of why things were changing, even though very slowly, for the better, was simply that I was growing older and from what I know this phobia has a tendency to get better with age.

Things got a chance to gradually improve even more when I got to leave the blind school. By that time my Mum knew a little bit more aboutmy emetophobia, even if she didn’t understand it and still doesn’t really. I think in a way just the fact that I didn’t have to hide with it so much helped me to let go of it a little bit. Since then, I still have times when the only thing I’m able to think about is vomit because someone was sick at night and I heard it because my room is next to the toilet, and I still have times when I eat very little or nothing and restrict very severely what I eat but they are less and less often, and less and less intense. I am less freaked now whenever I just happen to have nausea that is anxiety-related or just not serious, whatever was its cause, and I can differentiate better between serious and not serious nausea. I could gradually and very carefully start to eat some of my more difficult no-no foods that really scared me but at the same time I liked them, and actually enjoy their taste, and then ruminate less and less about what’s going to happen afterwards. I was able to eat out again with less difficulty. It’s still a problem for multiple reasons, not just emetophobia, and I still prefer to stick to safe meals at restaurants, but there were times when eating out was a lot more anxiety-provoking. I’ve become less sensitive to all the vomit words. Of course I still have very bad days sometimes, but things are improving. I also worked a bit on my emetophobia and my thinking processes around it with my therapist, which helped a little.

And by now, I can say that my emetophobia is a lot less severe than like five years ago. It’s still a challenge, sometimes a huge one, but it doesn’t affect my life quite as strongly. I can function with it normally most of the time. There are still foods that I have very mixed feelings about and I still freak out at the thought of eating something expired and have no way of knowing whether it’s expired, I still hate the sound of vomit and can’t stand the thought of vomiting myself or hear someone doing so or be close to them when I know they are sick. But I can sort of deal with a sick Misha in the same room as me. It will always give me a bit of a scare but not bad enough that I’d freak out completely.

Tummy bugs are the worst. They can still really freak me out. When I know that someone in my surroundings is contagiously sick and is vomiting, I still tend to regress and stop eating for the time being until things calm down or will be eating very little and only the safest things in my opinion, and wash my hands and everything around me as often as I can.

I’ve had a tummy bug several times ever since my emetophobia has properly begun, and, while it never made me vomit, the experience was absolutely horrifying each time and recovering from it emotionally always takes me ages.

While like I said before, most of the time I’m now pretty immune to the words related to this fear, I still find them extremely descriptive in a gross way, and when I’m having a worse time anxiety-wise, even not specifically in terms of emetophobia but generally am not doing well, I can still sometimes feel affected by such words.

I absolutely cannot stand hearing the sound of people vomiting in things like movies or anywhere. It still makes me freak out very much. But I’m happy to say that I hardly ever struggle with books anymore, unless they have really graphic descriptions of the thing and very frequent, and at the time I’m also not doing the best, then I may need to give up on the book or at least skip a few pages. The last book I needed to stop reading altogether because of too much vomit scenes was “Tim” by Colleen McCullough, can’t even remember how long ago. I also can’t remember much of the plot line, except that my impression was that someone – usually Tim – vomited in it every few pages and it was really exhausting. I wonder if I would have the same impression now too, or was it just something that I focused on very much then, but I don’t feel courageous enough to try.

There are still foods I’d rather not eat and some that I won’t eat at all because of the emetophobia, but most of them I don’t regret because I don’t care for them very much. I still have problems with meds like antibiotics. I have a very hard time starting on a new antibiotic that I’ve never ever tried before, and I would never ever take the one that made me vomit when my emetophobia started out. And I have no freakin’ idea what I would do if, for example, it turned out one day that I had cancer and the only treatment available is chemo or something else vomit-inducing. Dizziness is also something I struggle with a lot in regards to emetophobia, and it sucks because dizziness or some other kind of floaty feelings and the like are very much my daily reality. There’s still always a strong niggling feeling somewhere in the background of my mind whenever I feel unsteady or dizzy or floaty: “Gosh, what if I’ll Moomin?!”

Going to the dentist is a huge trigger for me ’cause I’m scared of gagging.

I used to drink some alcohol quite regularly, but I stopped because it often made me very nauseous, even small amount. I don’t smoke either, because I’ve known someone since early childhood who claims that smoking causes her to vomit, so I never even wanted to try cigs, but also for other reasons.

I really don’t like public toilets because of the amount of germs and, like… how do you know if someone hasn’t Moomined in there? Maybe the person before you had a norovirus?

Panic attacks is not the most common type of anxiety I experience – my anxiety is more of the chronic and constantly present variety rather than sudden and gripping – but when I do have a panic attack, while most people are scared they’re gonna have a heart attack or can’t breathe, I’m sure you can figure out what Bibiel is most scared of in a panic without me telling you. πŸ˜€

My relationship with food still isn’t the healthiest. I’ve only recently been forced by circumstances to look at this topic more closely and it’s not just emetophobia which is responsible for this, but this is definitely the main thing. My way of eating can still be quite dysregulated and stress definitely plays a big role in how much/little I eat. I’ve been slightly underweight or bordering on underweight for many years, and while I suppose it’s mostly a genetic and hormonal thing, I guess my erratic way of eating/not eating contributes to it too.

So, there you have it. This is my emetophobia story.

If you have emetophobia, what does it look like for you? If you don’t have it, do you have any other specific phobia(s)? What has your experience been with them.

See part 2.

Question of the day (19th June).

What do you wish was illegal?

My answer:

Alcohol advertising. I feel like it is, or at least might be, doing a fair bit of harm. For example to addicts who are trying to quit, but seeing ads in the media or wherever else makes it more difficult. It’s also kind of normalising drinking, for lack of a better word, I’m not sure how to put it. I mean, everything’s for people, in moderate amounts and when you’re responsible etc. and no extreme is good, but I think when you see a lot of such ads, at some point you get the message that, actually, there’s nothing wrong with drinking, it’s just fun and cool, and you don’t see the other side of it. Here in Poland, the only alcohol that can be advertised is beer, and, as in the rest of the world, I suppose, it’s often advertised in connection with sports events, and football clubs are often sponsored by beer producers. So you can see footballers advertising beer or generally see beer being associated with football games, which long-term can surely influence people to believe that there’s no problem with beer being unhealthy, if even footballers drink it, even if they only advertise it. Then of course there’s the problem with minors who can see the TV ads even if there is a regulation of them not being aired before some hour (I honestly don’t know if there’s any limit in terms of time of the day for beer ads here, I’m ignorant when it comes to all things TV, all things beer and all things football). It familiarises kids with alcohol from a young age and as they are particularly impressionable I think they must quickly get the idea that alcohol is cool if they see those sort of ads a lot, they’re basically sucked down into the whole drinking culture thing before they can even make a fully conscious and willful decision and hence then a lot of people considering it very strange when someone doesn’t drink at all, for whatever reason. And, what always strikes me is, if we advertise alcohol, why won’t we also legalise cannabis where it’s not legal and advertise it on TV? Not that I’d somehow really want it to be the case, but it’s kind of illogical how even the word cannabis makes a lot of people panic, or even CBD, when alcohol has way worse side effects and long-term effects, and being high on it seems to affect people’s behaviour more negatively than weed, yet people have no problem with it and even alcoholism seems so “normal” for some.

What is such a thing for you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (27th May).

Out of all the mythologies that ever existed, who is your favourite god, goddess, or any other deity, and why?

My answer:

This is a super difficult question because I love myths. My Mum read them to me along with fairytales, legends etc. since I was a little child so I have quite an emotional connection to some mythologies and still find them so interesting, it always blows my mind how people were so creative back then and made up all those deities and how complex they can be sometimes. I like a lot of them, I seriously can’t pick just one… I like Epona, who is the Celtic goddess of horses. I like Cana Cludhmor, or Canola, who is also a Celtic goddess who is said to have invented the harp, quite accidentally. She is also the goddess of dreams, and I like most gods and goddesses of dreams, sleep etc. that I know of. I love the main Celtic god Lugh, mostly for his versatility which is quite astonishing, he’s skillful in so many areas. I find Freja from the Norse mythology very interesting as well and quite inspiring. I like Brigid – the Celtic goddess of healing, among other things – whose feast (Imbolc) is exactly on the same day as my birthday, and it’s also the feast day of st. Bridget of Kildare.

I quite like Hestia, which I mentioned a while back. I think she stands out from all of the Greek gods. Ever since I first heard of Greek mythology, I starkly felt the contrast between their gods and the Christian God, how they have so many shortcomings, can be so vengeful and obnoxiously cocky. And when Mum read to me about Hestia, it felt very refreshing and I immediately thought that if I was to believe in these gods, she would be the one for whom I could actually have some reverence, because she’s so humble and so dignified in this humility. And she just sounds totally like my peep because she’s an introvert, a homebody, she doesn’t care about living together with the other Olympians, she’s a virgin, she sounds like she is absolutely plain and uninteresting and is always in the background yet she is worshipped in every single temple, no matter which god’s temple it is, always gets her offerings first and receives the richest portion of food, so she must have not only have an idea about good food, but also must have known how to set herself in the right position, as we would say in Polish, so make things work in her favour, and to do that she needed a bit of character for sure.

I once wrote here, when sharing the song Proserpina by Martha Wainwright, that I used to feel a sort of connection with Persephone/Proserpina from Greek/Roman mythology, as a teen. As you may know, she was the one who was abducted by Hades/Pluto to his underworld. Her mother, Demeter/Ceres, was so desperate to find her that she searched for her throughout the whole world, in the meantime neglecting the Earth that she was responsible for so that it didn’t produce. Eventually they all reached a consensus that Proserpina would spend three months in the underworld, and the rest of the year with her mother on Earth. I had to spend a lot of time during my childhood away from my family, and so the story resonated with me on some level, I also remember I once wrote a piece called “Proserpina’s Longing”.

But if I seriously have to choose just one, the award goes to the Welsh goddess Ceridwen, even though not everyone agrees that she was a goddess. She’s still some kind of a mythical, or at best legendary, creature, so I think she counts even if she indeed is not a real goddess. Those who claim she is a goddess say that she is a goddess of love and poetry, but it’s not this that I find interesting about her. She had two children, a beautiful daughter called Creirwy and a hideous son called Morfran (Great Crow). Well, I think a lot of mothers in her position would now just focus all their attention and efforts on the beautiful child, and be happy that they have at least one child with which they can show off and be proud of, but not Ceridwen. Ceridwen is extremely determined to somehow help Morfran to make his way in the world. She is actually an enchantress, and comes up with an idea of making a potion, of which just three first drops can give wisdom, poetic inspiration and knowledge of the future to the one who drinks them. Nobody normal would decide to do that, because the potion had to be stirred all the time for one whole year, and she couldn’t go to sleep in the meantime. Yet she sets about it and keeps stirring the potion in her magical cauldron all the time, with no sleep. Finally, on the last day, she felt so extremely sleepy that she decided to have a quick nap. She asked her foster son, a boy called Gwioon Fach (or Little Gwion) to stir it for her while she catches some z’s. Gwion stirs the potion very ardently, and then an accident happens. Three drops pour out of the cauldron and burn his finger. He instinctively puts it to his lips and licks them off, right when Ceridwen wakes up. Gwion doesn’t know what the potion is for and how important these three drops are, but he immediately understands that what has just happened definitely shouldn’t have and that she’s going to be mad at him, so he runs away. He discovers that, thanks to the potion, he can now shapeshift, and so he turns into a rabbit. But Ceridwen, being an enchantress, can of course do that too, so she turns into a dog. Gwion changes into a fish and jumps into a river. Ceridwen becomes an otter and follows him. Then he turns into a bird, and she keeps chasing him as a hawk. In the end, Gwion turns into a little grain, whereas Ceridwen changes into a hen and eats him.

Some time later, Ceridwen, back in her human form, of course, finds herself pregnant and realises she’s probably pregnant with Gwion. She is set on killing the baby as soon as he’s born, but when the time finally comes the child is so incredibly beautiful that she just can’t do it. Instead she casts him in the ocean in a leather bag and from then on he starts a completely new life and is known as Taliesin, the most famous bard of Wales, which is a story in its own right, but a very interesting one too.

Anyways, if you haven’t yet realised what I find so great about Ceridwen is her maternal dedication. It’s really admirable how she can be so determined that she would even lose her sleep for almost an entire year just to make her son’s life easier. Her story also shows in an interesting way how even when things go totally not the way we’d like them to, still a lot of good can come out of it, perhaps even better than what we’d imagined. Taliesin was definitely a good thing, after all.

You? Do you have any favourite mythical deity? Or maybe you have so many that you too can’t pick just one? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What are your thoughts on ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response)? Have you heard of it/tried/experienced it?

My answer:

For those who don’t know at all what it is, ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is a sort of tingly sensation you may feel, I believe especially on your upper body, when your brain is stimulated with sounds that trigger this response. It’s probably most known because of the popularity of YouTube videos with common ASMR trigger sounds, which help some people relax or fall asleep or just make them feel better, because this sensation is perceived as pleasant.

I think this is an interesting topic in itself, totally regardless of what I think of ASMR or whether it works for me. So interesting, in fact, that I already once wrote one HUGE blog post full of digressions on my old, Polish blog, all about ASMR – minus the multiple and long-winded digressions. – I actually just read that post, because my old Polish blog is still floating and drifting somewhere in the internet world all alone,even though I’m not doing anything with it anymore and am not going to. At the time when I decided I wanted to focus on my English blog and no longer wanted to continue the old one and felt the need to step away from the blind community, I decided to leave it be and not delete it because I thought I produced some quite interesting posts over the course of… I don’t know how long I was writing there, half a year I guess, so not long at all. And now, freshly after reading that post, I have to say that, despite I approached it with a lot of trepidation and despite (or maybe in part thanks to) all the digressions, I still find it a fun, enjoyable and thought-sparkling read. So I guess it was a good post, if I could read it without cringing after what feels like such a long time.

Anyway, I mentioned that old post because what made me write about ASMR there in the first place was that one of my UK penfriends at the time wrote me that I should check it out if I haven’t already, and she thought that this would be definitely something for me, because it’s a weird brain thing, plus I’m blind, and blind people, according to her, have “heightened sensory perception” so I’ll surely have ASMR. Later on she also said that she could picture me having a podcast or something like this and doing this myself. Which, in a way, isn’t a bad idea, and I liked the creativity of it, but I feel like something like this has to be high quality to work at all, in any way, for anyone who takes their brain seriously, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have the technical abilities for that, and talking isn’t really my thing. Still, on that other blog, I decided to write about ASMR as it being a potentially interesting field to work in.

I didn’t, however, write there in detail of what I think about the whole thing overall, so I’ll do it here.

I’m not sure what I think of the phenomenon itself, like, whether it exists or not, I’ve read that there’s been some scientific research on it but I don’t really know how much or how good, but there seems to be a lot of contradictions about it, or so it feels for me. Like, there’s this whole ASMR genre of YouTube videos which you have certainly heard of if you’ve heard of ASMR as a phenomenon. Considering that ASMR is rare as it’s said, why are these videos so popular? On the other hand there is frisson so perhaps ASMR is just a form of frisson? Or a tactile synaesthesia, but simply one that manifests in a different way than it otherwise does? Other than that, what’s the whole thing with meridians? I find their existence questionable in the first place, and what’s their role in ASMR, I just don’t understand and find it rather odd.

As for my own ASMR experience, my first time trying it was after that penfriend of mine mentioned it to me, and for quite some time I couldn’t quite figure out what’s the deal with those videos, why are all those people whispering, talking to themselves as if they were having a dialogue etc.? Until I started reading about it. It did sound like something I could strongly relate to indeed, but only in theory. In practice, common triggers hardly affect me. In fact, it made me discover that I may have some misophonia (which many people seem to think is like the opposite of ASMR) because I totally don’t understand how listening to a binaural, close-up recording of someone eating could give anyone any pleasant sensations! Aaaaaaarghhhhhh! I’ll never get it! I don’t have problems hearing people eat in real life, not usually, but binaurally it’s a bit of a different kettle of fish. But mostly, common triggers just don’t affect me. I don’t get the hype of whispering. Why is it even so necessary?

Later, I learned that everyone has their own triggers, and not everything will work for everyone, which makes sense because obviously our brains are different. Still, I have never managed to find a YouTube video that would give me proper tingles, the sort of tingles like I’m used to with stuff like intense frisson or braingasms that I can get with some sounds or words. I did occasionally get some small tingles for a moment, but, like I said, not what I’m used to. I know that my triggers are quite specific, but I thought that perhaps if there are more people with something similar, there would be some more overlap between my triggers and theirs and I could find more everyday sounds that would work for me too. Then again, if that was the case, I’d probably have discovered them a lot earlier on than that. Things that make me tingle, aside from music which is typical with frisson, are some fabulous-sounding words in my favourite languages, especially when I just learn a new word and feel how beautiful it is and then maybe a few more times when I hear it again, also people talking in my favourite languages, especially with an accent that turns my brain on particularly, or even just if I haven’t heard the language for a long time anyone will make me tingle I believe. My faza people make me tingle big time, and cat purr when I hear it from a very close distance like when I lean my head on Misha a little bit. The fun thing is that I often get tingles before falling asleep or waking up and am still a bit between the worlds. In such a state, even just a bit of one of my languages will do.

I don’t know if this is ASMR or if not what else it could be. I have auditory-tactile and lexical-tactile synaesthesia, and I know that some people (if not most people) with tactile synaesthesias experience such paresthesias and other such sensations. What I mean by auditory/lexical-tactile synaesthesia is something more concrete, because when I hear a sound or a word I can feel it as an object, or at least some more or less clear shape or texture, usually of something that actually exists. Also tingles come and go as they want, while my synaesthesias are relatively unchangeable, my associations may fade a bit over time but it has to be a really long time when somehow my perception of a sound or word or the thing I associate it with has changed. Also my tingles are not on-demand, I cannot will myself into that, ever. Meanwhile I can always clearly feel my synaesthetic associations whenever I think of a sound/word or hear it.

That makes me think, that, for me, the tingles thing is largely psychological rather than sensory. Just to be clear, I’m not making an assumption that ASMR is psychological rather than sensory, or any assumption at all, for that matter, because I don’t know. I’m talking about myself here. All the stuff that makes me tingle tends to be something I have a strong emotional connection to, and, after all, when I get this fab feeling, it’s always the emotional sensations that are key for me, not the tingles, goosebumps or whatever else there might be. This is only an addition enhancing the experience. I don’t know if it’s the same for ASMR people.

That all being said, I sometimes listen to a few ASMR YouTubers and podcasters whose content I like and come back to, when I’m in the mood for it (Sophie Michelle ASMR is my newest discovery). Not because of any sensory sensations, but simply because I like listening to cool sounding sounds even if they don’t have any spectacular fireworks effect on my nervous system. When it’s high quality ASMR that you can instantly hear and feel that someone put an effort into – not just some kid with painfully distorted audio whispering about everything and nothing, smacking, blowing and spitting into their poor, poor mic – it can be real fun, and a form of art, actually. I do find a lot of pleasure in a lot of daily life sounds. And I totally see how it can be relaxing or soothing for people, with or without tingles, or maybe even sleepifying.

What do you think? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Congratulations, you just gave birth to triplets! Two girls, one boy. Their names start with S, M, and J. What do you name them?

My answer:

This one’s gonna be super rambly, because this is the kind of question that Bibiels like best, yay! Yeah, I think most of you know by now that, as much as I don’t want and don’t plan to have kids, on the other hand I’d love to have a lot of them for the sake of naming them. On a side note, my cousin just gave birth to a boy a few days ago and earlier on during her pregnancy I was very thrilled to help her find the right baby name. Now I’m quite thrilled that she actually named her baby really well, even if not necessarily what I would call my style but obviously that doesn’t matter. Anyways, back to the question.

Hm… so of course for me that would depend what language we’re working with specifically, or whether it could be any language. If we’re thinking realistically, I can only use names that work in Polish –
either because they’re used in Polish or because they don’t pose any linguistic challenges – since I live in Poland and am Polish myself, and while I love a lot of names from other cultures, I’m not a fan of too much name importing when it comes to Polish language, unless you are a mixed family, have a mixed background yourself or live abroad/live in Poland but aren’t Polish, as the result will usually be that your child’s name will be considered rather pretentious, and there will be a lot of pronunciation/spelling problems very likely. The first is due to the fact that we had fairly strict naming laws until not very long ago and most people still aren’t comfortable outside of them, and the second is because Polish is a phonetic language so if something’s spelt different than it is pronounced, it’s bound to cause trouble.

So, in Polish, for the S girl I would most certainly use Saskia. Unlike a lot of name nerds I don’t really do my favourites rankings, I used to but it’s not really helpful with anything for me, but if I were to have one, I’m sure Saskia would be featured somewhere in the top 10 every year for the last 5-6 years or so, I’m absolutely in love with it.

The M girl… I’ve always liked Milena, but it feels very 90’s, so by the time my hypothetical daughter would grow up, it would feel like Melissa or Jennifer does in English now, I suppose, and she wouldn’t be too thrilled, and neither would I. And also it’s too normal. Oh but hey, speaking of Melissa, I really love it! The problem is, it’s hardly fresh anymore in English, and it’s weird in Polish. There are Melisas and Melissas in Poland, I even know a Polish YouTuber who has a little Melissa, although I believe she lives somewhere abroad, but I still feel like for an average person, Melissa is more likely to be associated with the plant, you know, the melissa tea and its soporiphic qualities, than a human name. One of the naming laws we’d had is that common nouns couldn’t be used as names, except for a few that felt more or less traditional and somehow established themselves for some reason. Thus, I’d be afraid that there is a higher than normal name-calling potential here. But maybe I’m overthinking. My Mum, who’s quite narrow-minded when it comes to names, says she doesn’t feel like that would be the problem at all. So yeah, maybe Melissa, but maybe not… There are too many beautiful M names for girls. Another name I’d be highly tempted to use is Michalina. Michalina however, is extremely popular and I guess going up every year, so that’s a downside. Also, would people think that I’m weird having (or even having had) a cat called Misha and naming my daughter Michalina which is commonly nicknamed to Misia? Probably yes. I don’t know if I would/should care about what people would think in this case. And I wonder if it would be a huge discrepancy if I had triplets, of which one would have a highly unusual name (Saskia) and the other a name from top 20. I could go with Michaela (mee-khah-EH-lah of course, not mi-KAY-luh) which is a lot more obscure feminine form of MichaΕ‚, but… I don’t know. I feel like it could be considered very snobbish by some people who don’t know that it’s been in use, albeit sparse, for ages, and I would hate it if Polish people tried to pronounce it the English way, which I think could happen sometimes because I think people are more acquainted with Michaela as an English name than a Polish one. I wouldn’t even be surprised, although would definitely be very disgruntled, if someone tried pronouncing it like Michael but with an a at the end. But I guess I love Michaela pronounced the Polish way even more than Michalina…

Okay, I’ve made up my mind: I think that while I’m leaning towards Michaela the most, Melis(s)a would be the best in this sibset. I could give her some more common middle in case she’d be teased by other kids about how she makes everyone fall asleep, so that she could use it instead if she wanted.

And for the J boy, well, that’s pretty easy, I’m sure most of you already can predict where I’m going to go with this. Jacek is my Polish male name crush and has been forever. The problem with Jacek is, it completely doesn’t feel at home with Saskia and Melissa. Jacek is a homey Polish name which peaked in the 60’s I believe, and now, while it doesn’t seem to have as much of a boomer feel as other names which peaked then to most people, it’s definitely out of favour. Also there is a practical problem. My Dad is Jacek, so if I lived with him, it could get a bit too confusing when my Mum would call either of them. But there is a great alternative. Over the last couple years, I think, in a way, this alternative has become evenn more attractive to me than Jacek. It is Jacenty. Jacenty is so vintage that I don’t think there are still any people bearing it who are alive, at least as a first name, because as a middle name, it’s my grandad’s middle. Which, to me, means that, while very retro, it could be ready for a comeback. Also apparently it was most popular in the eastern part of Poland, where my Mum’s family comes from. Americans have the 100 years rule when it comes to baby naming, here it doesn’t always work but with this name I think it absolutely could. Jacenty is the original name from which Jacek evolved, originally Jacek was only a nickname. And eventually Jacek sort of trampled his ancestor to death, so I really wish someone would finally give Jacenty the credit he deserves and compensate for the neglect he has experienced for so many years. I feel like it’s a stronger, more serious and masculine name than Jacek is – even though you can’t say Jacek lacks masculinity despite it means hyacinth – it feels sort of more cultured, and I quite like that very very retro feel. Additionally, Jacenty is my great great grandfather’s name, so here’s another reason why it feels like I SHOULD use this name if I ever had a son. It also matches my overall taste a bit better than Jacek, who feels out of place with other names that I like. It doesn’t solve the problem of confusion, because I’d still definitely call him Jacek on a daily basis, or JacuΕ›, which is a nickname of Jacek, so like a double nickname you could say (we really like diminutives in Poland so you can seriously have a diminutive of a diminutive of a diminutive sometimes) rather than the full form, it would feel extremely overwhelming to call a little boy Jacenty all the time, I’d only do that if he would be misbehaving. πŸ˜€ And I’m sure my Mum wouldn’t call him that either. But at least his formal name would be different than my Dad’s. I think I wrote some time before on here about how I believe there is a risk of muffling ones identity as an individual when using exactly the same family names. So here that risk would be diminished because he’d still have his own full name, and of course a different middle.

So, Saskia, Melissa and Jacenty. Jacenty still stands out as a lot more vintage and traditional, but I think he doesn’t feel too mismatched.

If I were to name an English/multilingual triplet set, I think I’d still stick to Saskia. I also really like Sophie or Sofia, but all these Sophie names are too popular for my liking.

For the M girl, I’m tempted to say Millicent because I’ve recently started liking it a lot. I mean I always did, but recently I just do even more, I also like Millie both as a nickname and a full name. But I’m not sure if Saskia and Millicent go well enough together, guess not. Maybe the earlier variant Melisande would be better, but I’m not fully convinced to that one on a real life person, even a hipothetical one. There are too manyy M names I like. I could use that Michaela but the Mikayla pronunciation and the plethora of spelling variations put me off very effectively, I’d only use it in a country like Sweden where they pronounce it mee-kah-EH-lah. I love Michelle, I seriously do, but it’s way too dated and way too common for my liking. Another M name that I’ve recently started to appreciate more is Marigold. And I think that, while I’m not so much in love with it as I am with Saskia, I’ll pick this one because it’s nice and fits well with the sister’s name.

And for the boy – most definitely Jac(k). – Like, there’s no other option. I know Jack feels a lot less complete and unexpected than his sisters, and Jac (the Welsh spelling which I slightly prefer) even more so, but I have no other ideas that I would both love and see fit at the same time. A lot of people consider Jack a very default classic, but I’d make sure that he knows I called him Jac(k) not because I didn’t care about what he’s going to be called, but it’s simply one of my absolutely most favourite names. I could call him something like Jackson, John, Jacob or Jacinto and then call him Jack all the time anyway, but I don’t feel like either of these names fit the sisters’ names any better, and I like Jac the most as just Jac.

I’m curious what you guys think about Saskia, Marigold and Jac as triplets. πŸ˜€

Perhaps the best thing I could do is adjust the sisters’ names to Jac to make them fit better. In this case, I’d probably go with Sophie and Millie or something else light and friendly like that. I would be quite satisfied with that but probably not truly fulfilled. πŸ˜€ Or maybe I should go Welsh all the way, because Jac would feel like a misspelling withh typically English names like Sophie and millie. In which case, Sophie would become either Soffi or Siriol, which means cheerful, and Millie… maybe Melangell, which is the Welsh version of the Latin name Monacella and the name of one of Welsh saints. As much as I love a lot of M names, with Welsh ones, I can’t think of one I’d like very much, and I think Melangell is the best.

And how about your triplets? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Would you ever send your kids to boarding school?

My answer:

In strictly practical terms, no, because it’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to have kids, for several different reasons (the fact that I’m blind isn’t one of them, despite what a lot of people think πŸ˜€ ).

Hypothetically, it’s… complicated. As someone who spent 10 years in a boarding school and mostly didn’t like it to put it very concisely, I’m normally inclined to say NO WAY. It’s not that I think boarding schools are bad in general or that my school was bad, I feel like you really have to have a valid reason to do so, unless your kid is like in high school and actually wants it herself because she thinks it’s very cool. Then she has a more or less developed character so you can figure out whether it’s actually a good solution for her. With younger children, unless they have some special needs, disability or severe behavioural problems and there really is no other option, or you’re from some family where education is a priority and you want your child to have the best education possible in the fanciest school in the country because otherwise they’ll be a black sheep in their circle; I can’t think of a rational reason why anyone would want to send a younger child to a boarding school.

In my experience, when I mention someone about my being in a boarding school and not having the best time there, people often jump to a conclusion right away that it’s my parents who are to blame because they should know better and get me out of there earlier if I was struggling. Even my Mum used to think like this and I think she still has some guilt even though I don’t blame her at all. But I really don’t think my parents had a better choice. We had tried one alternative and it didn’t work out for me. And, as I think I’ve already written on here before, boarding school can have a fantastic influence on a child, or it can fuck them up, and you just cannot predict it in an easy way when the child is very young.

I always feel for any child when I hear about them going to a boarding school, even if they don’t feel for themselves at all. That’s just how my brain works now I guess. πŸ˜€ So, based on my previous experience that was mostly negative, it would be only natural that I wouldn’t want the same to happen to my child. Often I even wonder how I’d cope with sending a child to a normal school, and whether I wouldn’t transfer my anxieties around that and my less than enthusiastic attitude towards the education system onto the poor kid before they’d get to form their own opinions and figure out how much they like/don’t like school. I’d probably prefer to do homeschooling/flexi schooling or something like that (I always wanted to be homeschooled as a kid, like that was my biggest dream) only I’d surely have no patience for it and I dislike teaching other people.

On the other hand, I have such a weird tendency though. My Mum said half-jokingly that I should count this as yet another reason not to have kids, and yes, I sort of do. πŸ˜€ I feel like I’d probably be a very extreme parent. Either, like I just said, over-protective, shielding and molly-coddling or sometimes I feel that I would actually do just the opposite thing. I would send my kid to a boarding school, to make someone feel the way I did. I don’t know if it makes sense. I do know though that it sounds very immature and cruel, but I’m not gonna have kids anyway so I don’t think it really matters. Ever since I was a child, I had a weird sense of pleasure of reading books about kids who were sent away from home or had no family or something like that, firstly because I found that more or less relatable, and secondly because it made me see that there is someone who has it worse than myself and it made me feel better. There was one such Polish series I read as a child, (“Ania Z Lechickich PΓ³l” (Anne of Lechite Fields) by Maria Dunin-Kozicka, in case it tells you anything), it wasn’t really for children but it followed the main character – Ania’s – life from her childhood until young adulthood and it’s title was rather suggestive that it was for children, like Anne of Green Gables or something, so I guess that’s how I ended up reading it. Ania, after living a few happy years in a very loving family is sent off to something like an orphanage, because her father died and her mother married her rich childhood friend, who didn’t like Ania, so he arranged it so that her mother would think it’s just for a short while. Then WWII came, and the orphanage relocated to Ukraine, without the family knowing, because of course no one knew she had a family who would be interested in knowing that. She does eventually find a very loving adoptive family and then reunites with her biological siblings as an adult, but the first part of the series describing her childhood is quite harrowing given her personal situation and how painful it is for her as well as the war in the background. And, while I felt for her a lot, in a way it also made me feel good that this girl, even if fictional, had it so much worse and I enjoyed reading about all the difficult stuff in her life.

So, yeah, I don’t really know. Maybe I’d be a very bad mummy and send all my kids to different boarding schools all over the country, or maybe I’d be a good-bad, nurturing and obsessive mummy who would dote on their children all the time like I do on Misha and keep them locked at home like I do with Misha as well. πŸ˜€

You? πŸ™‚

Happiness.

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

“What does happiness mean to you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope the way I explained it makes sense to people. πŸ˜€

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

Question of the day.

What are you never too old for?

My answer:

Lots of things. A lot of people tell me stuff like that I am an old soul or something, and I was rather precocious as a kid and was always considered more or less above average intellectually at school or by my family, but then on the other hand, I’ve always received very contradictory opinions on my emotional maturity – like my Mum claims I’m emotionallyy immature but then she always says she’s so grateful that I live here because otherwise she’d have no one to give her advice, and I guess advice giving does require some emotional maturity. – I always joke that I should probably become a relationship counsellor because it’s quite weird how I’ve had a lot of people in my life, including my own Mother, who come to me and want advice on what they’re supposed to do with something in their relationship. The thing that’s so funny about it, is that I’ve never been in a romantic relationship myself, nor have I ever dated anyone even for a while. πŸ˜€ Personally, I am also not sure what is actually the deal with me regarding emotional maturity, I guess generally my development in all areas was a bit uneven or not very typical as a child so that may be why.

I was always also very childish, and in a lot of ways, still am, and am not planning to get rid of it any time soon, even if I knew how, even though it often makes me feel kind of conflicted internally to feel both a lot more mature than most people my age and a lot younger than them.

When it comes to the more childish side of me, I call her Bibiel. She’s very playful, sometimes a bit cheeky, has a weird sense of humour, is quite creative, and slightly more spontaneous and outgoing than me as in me. I also often call myself Bibiel as in the third person, like “Bibiel has to do this” “Bibiel likes that”. I used to do that almost all the time when I was younger, and people saw it in a lot of different ways – some thought it was cute, some thought it was too childish, some thought it was annoying as hell, some thought it was a sort of artistic expression of myself especially when I did this in writing, and some thought it was sick. – If you ask me, I don’t know, it’s just… well Bibiel. Over time, I did unlearn it enough that I don’t do this ALL of the time but I still do in some situations, like on an impulse – when I’m really surprised by something, or really happy or excited or when it just doesn’t make sense any other way than to say Bibiel – or with people who know what’s the deal with Bibiel and are okay with it like Sofi and some of my friends. It’s a bit less of a thing for me in English though. Sometimes in English I use Bibielle because it looks more feminine, just like I tried to be a Bibielka rather than Bibiel in Polish, especially since I’ve discovered that Bibiel actually is a thing in Brazil, as a masculine name, lol, but Bibiel just stuck years ago. It’s also funny because my Dad, who is generally not the most flexible person in the world, so you’d think he wouldn’t have understanding for someone calling themselves Bibiel in the third person, especially that, when I changed my name legally to Emilia when I was 18, he does accept it now but I guess has never come to terms with it, meanwhile he does call me Bibiel a lot, while my Mum, who is very open-minded, doesn’t at all and she really doesn’t like the whole Bibiel thing. So yeah, I’m never too old for Bibiel, or maybe Bibiel’s never too young for me.

I’m really glad that I have Sofi and that she’s sort of similar to me in this one aspect, that, despite she’s a teenager, she’s also quite childish in a lot of ways, while at the same time being more mature than her peers. This is a large part of why we get along so well, despite we’re ten years apart. I’m never too old for playing with Sofi, and we have a lot of totally crazy games. Like that one I’ve told you about a few times – that Misha can have a brain connection with either of us, through which he can talk and also perceive the world through us and, if he wants, also move our bodies. – Usually it’s me who ends up lending my brain to Misha, because Misha mostly talks to Sofi, and Sofi doesn’t feel comfortable talking to herself pretending to be two people. πŸ˜€ This way, we can incorporate Misha into our games, and also sometimes, I secretly use Misha as an educational/psychological tool, because Sofi often is more likely to listen to Misha giving her subtle cues on something rather than Mum or me lecturing her, and is also more likely to talk to Misha about her problems.

We also do a lot of roleplaying, often in a very exaggerated way which is totally on purpose.

We laugh a lot as well. Sofi really likes Misha and me to come to her bedroom at night and lie with her before she falls asleep, and then we play or she reads a book – because she doesn’t like reading by herself – or we talk about life, or I tell her a story about Jim the Jimmosaurus (the one who lives in Australia and feeds on helping others I wrote a post on him years ago I think). And often while we do all that stuff, we end up having real fits of laughter, sometimes we can’t even remember why. We’ll just laugh for a long time and won’t be able to stop, sometimes it really doesn’t take much to ellicit such a reaction.

Sometimes we do silly things like jumping on one of us’ bed, sliding down the handrails or pranking people we both know with creepy or just weird emails from accounts we’ve got just for this sole purpose or making competitions who can scream louder and for longer, writing funny parodies of songs etc.

Aside from all things Sofi, I am very imaginative which is often considered more of a children’s trait. I even still have my Brainworld, which isn’t as complex as it was when I was a child and really needed it, but it still is complex and I still do love to go in there and it does still develop a little bit. I’ve heard a lot of people who had such paracosms and most of them grew out of it, I hope I won’t.

Similar thing is with fazas. I remember getting really scared when I was like 14 I guess, when I got my first ever major faza and was talking about it with my Godmother, who was a bit of an authority for me at the time, and at some point she told me something like “Yeah… I also remember getting so fascinated with things or people at your age, or very inspired.” Me: “So why aren’t you still?” Her: “Such things go away, y’know? At some point you’ve just got to deal with real life, so you should appreciate this while you’re a kid”. I just couldn’t imagine that I could just grow out of this. And then I had another faza, and another, and another, and by the third one I was already an adult, and that one was especially powerful and intense and fruitful so I was comforting myself that maybe for some people it goes away, but not for me, plus, my faza experiences are a bit different than your usual fascination. And then I was going without or almost without a faza for what felt like ages, but I guess was only about a year (when my faza on Gwil started fading and before I developed a faza on Jacob), and got a real scare that this time had finally come. I was totally not ready for it, because my fazas play an important role in my life so it felt like someone screwed up or completely switched of something that was driving me. So it was an extreme relief to get a new faza again, finally. And now I really don’t think I’ll grow out of it. Also I don’t want to think about it because it’s scary. Generally perhaps part of why I’m childish in so many ways is because I do like to hold on to things and I mostly dislike changes.

in general, I just don’t tend to care overly about what I’m too old or too young for. Maybe because I don’t really care much in general about people’s age, because numbers and math as a whole mean very little to me.

Oh yeah, and I’m also not too old for having a teddy bear, even though I no longer sleep with him because I have Misha, but I do believe it would be horrible if I just threw him into the bin just because I have Misha or, worse even, because my age has changed, despite how much of a comfort he’d been for me, so PimpuΕ› is now in retirement and has his honourary place on one of my shelves. And I’m never gonna be too old for children’s or YA books, I read a lot of them.

You? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

If you could take a pill every day that perfectly replicated a good night’s sleep – made you feel physically refreshed and chemically balanced, like a real sleep – would you take it every day? What would you do with all that newly acquired time?

My answer:

I probably wouldn’t want to take it every day, because I love my sleep and dreaming and all that, but, if that was an option to do so, I’d probably take it once in a while. Sometimes I could use a longer day, to be able to squeeze more things in. Not because I’m that busy on a typical day, I just have a lot of ideas and things that I’m into, while at the same time being quite disorganised in general so having more time for things would sometimes be helpful. Also sometimes I don’t like sleep, like when I have a lot of yucky dreams or sleep paralysis or something, then I have a sort of mild fear of sleep until things go back to more normal. I could use such a sleep pill in such situations and just not have to bother with sleeping. Other times, sleep is just not refreshing or chemically balancing, so I’d take the pill after waking up to be more functional. Or when I’m a zombie and haven’t slept at all the night before. Or if I just wouldn’t feel like sleeping, wouldn’t be sleepy at all. That would be a fabulous invention if we had such a pill. Only I’m fairly sure that since it would have such a major effect on one’s overall state and affect the brain, which is still quite an unknown territory for us, it would probably come with its fair share of side effects and possibly addiction or some sleep dysregulation. Wouldn’t be surprised at all.

How about you? And what do you think about this idea? Would such a pill work out, if it was a real possibility? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What are some annoying things that people do to sound/seem intelligent?

My answer:

I haven’t noticed it so much in English, but in Polish it’s specific filler words, and, once you pick up on it, it’s annoying as hell. πŸ˜€ Using fillers is generally perceived to be something that not very intelligent people do, and, like I said, I don’t really have a very detailed idea of how exactly it works in English, that is, if some fillers are perceived differently than others and if some people use some fillers more than others, but in Polish we do have some filler words, or maybe not even necessarily fillers as such but words that are very much overused by people who want to be perceived as intelligent –
and often are indeed intelligent but, well, it’s annoying. – I don’t suppose they do it out of some desire to brag or cockiness or something, I guess it’s just something that became a thing with some types of intelligent, or should I say academically successful, people.

Another thing which is less annoying for me personally (because I am guilty of doing it too so that’s probably why I’m more forgiving πŸ˜€ ), but is widely perceived as trying to sound more intelligent and intimidates some people is using way more foreign-sounding words/loanwords than necessary – mostly what I’m talking about is a lot of words with Latin or perhaps Greek origins when we have words to use that express the same thing but sound more familiar because they come from the same language group that our language does, so Germanic in English and Slavic in Polish. Why say existence if you can say life, of course in situations when it won’t impact somehow the meaning of what you want to say. Or, in Polish, especially in a workplace setting, why say deadline in English if you can say termin in Polish (oh well, termin is Latin, πŸ˜€ but we don’t have anything better and termin is a lot more familiar and home(l)y). As I said, I do that a lot myself, however usually when I do it, it’s consciously and because I want to convey something by using lots of latinisms, like sarcasm for example, or sometimes I just prefer the sound or my synaesthetic associations of a specific Latin word over a more familiar, less sophisticated word. Other times though, I just want to brag with my vocabulary and language skills. πŸ˜€ Sometimes I also do something opposite in Polish and use a Slavic equivalent even though a Latin one is more popular, I’ve even made up some neologisms of my own because they sound better to me and I like making up neologisms, and ones which are rooted firmly in the language can be easily understood by others even if they’ve never heard such a word before.

One situation where this gets problematic is I think when you start using latinisms and hellenisms more than necessary all the time without realising and sound VERY clunky and serious and big-headed, and sometimes people don’t even understand exactly what you’re saying. Another is when you use them without really understanding what they mean, especially as an adult and in your native language. And then there is yet another situation where it perhaps isn’t problematic, but, like I said before, can be potentially intimidating for others. πŸ˜€

A perfect example is a Polish Catholic YouTuber whom my Mum, Sofi and me (but especially Sofi!) like to watch. We like him because he is a traditional Catholic like us, and he’s also very intelligent and clearly knows a lot about a lot of things and has his brain in the right place, while being humble and able to admit if he was wrong about something and just talking about things from the perspective of a lay person – perhaps well-educated and aware of a lot of things in the world, but without a degree in theology and often not understanding a lot of things. – Plus I like that he has a bit of a different way of presenting things than most Catholic people or media online that I have come across – not a different way of looking at them, but a different way of talking about them that speaks to me more. – Anyway, one thing I don’t like about his channel is how he uses those big words all the time. Yes they do sound better, and he knows what they mean, but his audience is very diverse, and not everyone knows that just because they’re Catholic. Sofi, who is very interested in all that stuff like religion and also politics, and likes to know everything, asks a lot of questions and likes to watch things like that, always says she has to watch his videos with me or Mum so that someone will explain everything to her, because it’s interesting but she doesn’t understand a lot of words. Admittedly, Sofi has a bit limited vocabulary, likely because of being a preemie and generally struggling at school a little, but the things he talks about aren’t usually so difficult that Sofi shouldn’t be able to understand them if they were said in a slightly more approachable way. I remember watching one of his videos last year and was quite confused as to what parousia was, as he was using that word in almost every sentence. Like really, I’d think I have quite a rich vocabulary but I had no clue what that parousia thing was. Finally I figured it out from the context and then looked it up just to make sure, and I was right – it means the second coming of Jesus, at the end of the world – and then when my Mum was watching that video, she had the same problem. And you could just say second coming/Final Judgment. Before we moved to where we live now, we lived in the countryside and our church parish consisted of a few small villages, where most people were farmers or something like that and had enough stuff to deal with in their own daily lives to be concerned with such a thing as language, even though a lot of them – being Kashubs –
were bilingual, and a lot were elderly people. And we had a priest who was a very intelligent, studious man, very eloquent and I guess he must have felt quite out of place in there and would have probably been able to use his talents better with theology students or something. He had a weird way of saying everything in such a way that it seemed extremely complicated. Even my Mum’s family – who are relatively intellectual people, my maternal grandparents were both born to intelligentsia families (I only recently learned that the word intelligentsia works in English πŸ˜€ ) – were often complaining of not understanding his sermons. I was a child and teenager then and the one thing I remember about him most clearly is that he used the word exegesis extremely often in his sermons, and no one could tell me what it was. I still don’t think I’d be able to use it naturally in any sentence other than something like the one I just wrote, even though I have a basic idea of what it is. πŸ˜€

Oh yeah, and, in Polish, the nasal vowels can make you sound more intelligent or less intelligent. Polish nasal vowels are Δ… and Δ™, which are pronounced like the French nasal sounds, Δ… is like the on in “bon”, and Δ™ is like… well, I don’t have a very wide French vocabulary at all, but I can vaguely remember the word “chermins” so it’s pronounced like the in in it. But, the thing is, sometimes they are pronounced differently, depending where in the word they are, and, to a lesser extend, where in Poland you are. Δ„ can sound like the English on, or like om, while Δ™ can sound like en, em or e, so then naturally they’re no longer nasal. Now, when people still pronounce them in a nasal way where it shouldn’t be so, it’s considered hypercorrection, and it makes a kind of overintelectualised impression it makes. Hence a rather hilarious way of saying in Polish that someone who is desperately trying to be more sophisticated, more intelligent than they actually are or generally aspiring to something they are not is so “Δ… Δ™”, it’s used like an adjective.

What are such things in your opinion/experience? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What is one thing that your parents taught you, that later turned to be totally wrong?

My answer:

For me it’s generally so that it’s my Mum who is more of an authority for me than my Dad, and our views on a lot of things are generallyy very similar, which is extremely fortunate since we live together and do a lot of things together so it would be tricky if we were clashing a lot more, and it’s not as smooth for a lot of other families I know, but also when I want to talk to her about something that I don’t agree with her on or confront her about something she’ll be able to have an open-minded discussion, and she’s also not the type of person who would insist on always being right and never was, she is capable of saying things like “I’m sorry, I really thought it was like this but now I know it’s not”, or we’ll simply accept that we’re on totally different pages about something and move on. My Dad, meanwhile, is more of an authoritarian type, rather than authoritative, he has generally a problem with admitting anything wrong on his part in any relationship, so he always insists on being right, but because like I said I’ve always seen my Mum as more of an authority, and Dad wasn’t involved so much in our upbringing and was more the breadwinner, even if he did tell me things that I was supposed to somehow learn or believe in, I would usually take it with a wee grain of salt from quite early on, because Mum was always more right, and sometimes what they were saying was right down contradictory. πŸ˜€ It’s not that I didn’t take my Dad seriously, I do for example consider him my go-to expert in geography or the history of WWII, he was just simply a bit less of a role model for me. I remember that my Dad would often say very generalised, stereotypical things about people, from a very narrow point of view. For example, I can vaguely recall asking him about what does a philosopher do exactly, and he said something like that nothing really, philosophers just think all the time, about things that don’t need that much thinking anyway. I think I found it interesting that someone would do nothing but think all the time and about meaningless things and consider it a valid job, so I guess I must have been asking some more questions or something, anyway what I can recall very clearly is that at some point he said that a philosopher is someone with whom it’s really difficult to communicate. I don’t think I know any philosophers, but whenever I think about it now as an adult I find it funny, where did he even get that from? I’m pretty sure it can’t be the case or even if it often might be, it certainly isn’t the fact that someone is a philosopher that makes them difficult to communicate with, or maybe it’s just difficult for the other side to communicate with them because they have a different way of thinking. Anyway, things like these, my Dad has a lot of such assumptions. Often, when you’ll talk to him calmly without trying to impose your point of view, and try to get him to think on his own, he can see beyond them, but some are really deeply ingrained, and yes, that has a harmful potential, because stereotypes can be very harmful, but usually the main reason why I think it’s such a pity is because it makes his thinking quite inflexible, and his view of people must be rather uninteresting, while I think that people, as much as they are a pain to socialise with and totally regardless whether I like them or not, are interesting as such in their diversity and complexity.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Reasons why I love Polish.

If any of you have been reading my blogfrom it’s early months, you might recall a post I wrote about all the

reasons why I’m learning Welsh

that I could come up with. It was a translated post from my previous, Polish blog, and I wrote it because pretty much every single person whom I mentioned it to would ask me this question as either the first, or the second one, right after “Isn’t it an English dialect?” πŸ˜€ and because, well, as you can see in that post, there are very many reasons.

I enjoyed writing that post and it got a lot more attention than I thought it would, so the next year I also wrote about

reasons why I’m learning Swedish

and last year

reasons why I’m learning English.

I haven’t started learning any new language since then (even though some people seem to believe that I start learning a new one every month, haha), and I think it’ll be a while yet until I do, but although my language bucket list is long, I’m not rushing anywhere. And, there’s still one language that I know that I think also deserves its own post, even though I’m not learning it. Well, I am technically, but since I’m a native, it’s a different kind of learning, of course. And obviously as you can figure out of the title, or even if you know about me, this language is Polish. I was a little hesitant about writing this post however, even though I was thinking from the beginning of this yearly language series that I should do it. Of course I love Polish, and in a way it’s a more special relationship than with any other of my languages, but, because it’s always been a part of my life and not really as a result of my own, conscious choice as is the case with the others, I thought it would be harder to come up with as many reasons. As someone who hates anything to do with math, I always tend to appreciate quality over quantity, but I wouldn’t like this post to stand out as the shortest of the whole series, that would be sad and unfair, even if just in my opinion.

I shared the dilemma with my Mum, who rightly noticed that it would be much more sad and unfair if I didn’t write it at all. And that perhaps the reasons as such will speak louder here than their amount would. That was a very fair point to me, so that’s why I am writing this post today, after all.

Here are all the reasons why I love Polish:

Β Β  1.

It is, like I said earlier, my mother tongue, so, in a way, I have even more of a connection with it than any other of my languages. It was the first language that sparked the love for language in my brain, I mean language in general, as a phenomenon, linguistics. It made me fall in love with words, my synaesthetic associations with them, it showed me how fun it is to play with words and expand your vocabulary. I love it because it’s the language in which I communicate with people I love – my family. – And because learning it made me more able and open to learn other languages later on.

Β Β  2.

Like all my languages. It is plain beautiful. While other Slavic languages aren’t among my most most most favourites (I do like them a lot, they are super cool and very charming but they aren’t in that MOST group), I strongly believe that even if it wasn’t my mother tongue, I’d still end up loving Polish, I don’t know how I could not.

Β Β  3.

While I’m not inclined to brag like some of us like to do that our language is the most difficult in the world (it depends on what you’re starting with, and there are much, much more complex languages out there), Polish does have a rather complex grammatical structure when compared to English, and – if you can ever be objective about such things – I’d say it’s also more complex phonetically than all the languages I’ve learnt so far. That makes me lucky, because the more difficult language you’re starting with, the easier you’ll likely find learning other languages, because you may be familiar with their trickier bits already from your mother tongue. I don’t have to be scared of languages with genuses or cases, for example, and arduously try to conceptualise them, because I already know what they are all about, now I just have to figure out how they apply to the language I’m learning and what differences there are compared to what I’m used to. And while picking up phonetics of foreign languages seems to be more of an individual trait, I think it does help me with it that, in my mother tongue, there are sounds which can hardly be differentiated from each other by a non-native even though they are different (see Ε› and sz, Δ‡ and cz etc.).

Β Β  4.

There is a lot of great Polish literature. I don’t know much about how much of it gets translated to other languages and which ones most often, but given that most countries are largely focused either on writing their own literature, or translating things from English, and the Anglophone world doesn’t seem to translate a lot, if I lived anywhere else and didn’t speak Polish, I probably wouldn’t get to know books by people who are now my favourite Polish authors.

Β Β  5.

Some of the swearwords and expletives are priceless. See my post

about gingerbread,

for example, if you want to learn more.

Β Β  6.

It has loads of amusing idioms. And lots of such that are very straightforward and to the point, and lots of such that I just love the sound of.

7.

The archaic Polish language. While I think it’s very true that a language is alive as long as it’s changing, because we are always changing and the times are always changing so it would be weird if the language wouldn’t, hence I don’t understand people who are all against slang, loanwords and other such things, I think it would be fun if we talked more like we used to, used more of that vocabulary we no longer do. Or, why the heck did we stop using initial stress in words to replace it with a paroxytone stress? I guess only highlanders speak with an initial syllable stress now, and I like that because it makes them sound like Finns. πŸ˜€ Or I hate that we stopped using long and short vowels because that makes the prosody of a language feel more interesting. I love love love reading older Polish books where there are words that we no longer use, some that I don’t even really get and I love learning what they mean and feeling them. People used to have such a delicious way of writing, even at the beginning of the 20th century, not to mention earlier. I feel like it often gets lost now. I say delicious because one of the synaesthesias I have is lexical-gustatory and while words almost always have some sort of a taste and it’s not like the modern Polish language doesn’t and like there aren’t any delicious words in it (far from it), it’s just that more archaic Polish language tends to have something very specific about its taste as a whole, that I really like. My Mum has also always loved reading books written in an archaic or obsolete language, so I guess it must be genetic. She especially has a lot of prayer books from like even before WWI I guess, when even the spelling was different and we used y instead of j, or my grandma has a cook book from the end of 19th century. I just love things like these!

8.

Dialects. You may perhaps remember from my post about English, that I wrote about Polish being a fairly unified language in terms of accent, especially when compared to English. However, there still are some slight variations to how people speak in different regions and it’s interesting to observe. There are also some dialects. I don’t necessarily have to love all of them as such in terms of whether they appeal to me aesthetically, but I love that the ones that exist still do, that we have some linguistic diversity (although I wish there was more or at least that it would be more pronounced), and although I myself don’t speak any dialect or don’t have a particularly distinguishable accent (despite being half-Kashub, and Kashubian is classified as a minority language but I can hardly understand it let alone speak it), I am very easily driven up the wall by people saying things like that it is not “elegant” to speak in a dialect, for example. I do think it’s a good skill to have to be able to speak your language in some universal, standard way that is often considered more formal, but being disapproving of someone speaking in a different way is not only discriminatory but also kind of smothering a person’s identity, and I guess that’s one of the reasons why it bothers me so much whenever I come across such an attitude.

Β Β  9.

Words that are untranslatable to other languages that I know. I am always interested in the concept of untranslatable words, in any language, and the ideas behind them, how you can express sometimes some incredibly complex ideas using one word in one language, but in another, one sentence may sometimes be too little. A very good example of a Polish word that is untranslatable to English is kombinowaΔ‡, which also happens to be a word that I really like and which, as many Poles think, reflects our resourcefulness as a nation. πŸ˜€ Yes, there is combine, and kombinowaΔ‡ absolutely can mean combine, but it also has another definition. It is something you do when you have a problem that you need to resolve, but there’s no straight way out of it and it needs first a lot of thinking and then coming up with some unconventional work-around strategy, which sometimes may not be the most honest one. Both the thinking process and then carrying your idea out is what kombinowaΔ‡ means. When it is dishonest, you could of course say it’s plain cheating but cheating feels a LOT more weighty and negative, and also kombinowaΔ‡ is more colloquial, plus kombinowaΔ‡ may, but doesn’t have to include, any cheating. It could be coming up with any creative, out-of-the-box solution or idea and then doing what you came up with. It is often translated as being up to something but it’s not the same.

Β Β  10.

Poglish, Ponglish, Pinglish or whatchamacallit. I’ve always said Ponglish, but a lot of people say Poglish and recently I came across Pinglish and I think Pinglish is best. Anyway, obviously you know what I’m talking about, the blend of Polish and English. It is often used by Polish diaspore in the US and the UK (like in Chicago I guess it’s quite a big thing) or by Polish young people in a slangy sort of way, or (voluntarily or not) by Polish speakers learning English/English speakers learning Polish when they’re dealing with language interference and/or nearly discharged/fried brains. It can be so freakishly amusing sometimes.

Β Β  11.

I often gravitate towards languages that are less popular and less heard off, if not obscure. Polish may not be as much as obscure, but, apart from Poland or places in other countries where there are a lot of Polish immigrants, you won’t hear it a lot, and there aren’t super many non-natives who would speak it. This small language factor is very appealing to me.

Β Β  12.

Because, whether it is the most difficult language in the world or not, it is viewed by many learners and natives as difficult, and I was lucky enough to not have to make a conscious effort of learning it. πŸ˜€ And the difficult factor is also appealing in itself. I like difficult languages, they are fascinating, kind of similarly to how complex human beings are.

What do you love your native language for, if you do, and if you don’t, why? πŸ™‚

 

People and things I’m grateful for.

I’d like to write some journaling prompt-inspired post, so I picked a prompt from Listify by Marina Greenway again, and it is the following:

Β  Β People And Things I’m Grateful For

In addition to the wonderful people in your life, make room to be grateful for the other special things as well. The talents you were gifted with, your home that gives shelter and comfort, a text from your best friend. There are things that we unconsciously appreciate each day. Wrack your brain and list as many as you can think of. By the way, make sure you are on your list too.

Now, you may remember a post I wrote last year about

expressing gratitude and “self-gratitude”

which was also based on a prompt from Marina Greenway, and if you read it you know that I’m not buying the self-gratitude concept and don’t really understand it, or even if it is a thing I don’t understand what the difference would be between it and what’s commonly known as self-care/self-love. I also don’t get the being grateful for yourself notion, so I won’t be including myself on the list below. I could be grateful for my life, or my parents for giving it to me or towards God for creating me, but for myself, I just don’t see the logic in here.

Here’s the list, in semi-random order.Just so you know, it’ll of course be rather long, since it’s all about coming up with as many people and things as I can.

  • Β Β  I’m grateful that God loves me. Also that I was raised in Christian faith and knew about God since the very beginning, and even though I later lost touch with Him, I have reconverted, and for all the people who help me develop my faith.
  • Β Β  I’m grateful for my life. I rarely actually feel genuinely grateful for my life and the fact that I am alive, because I’m not all that strongly attached to life and passive suicidal thoughts are something that is pretty much always there in the background for me, nevertheless it is worth appreciating and all the good things that have happened to me during my life so far. Also that I’m still alive despite I used to be actively suicidal in the past and that I’ve learnt to live with the passive suicidal thoughts.
  • That I’m Polish and live in Poland. I just like being Polish and I love the Polish language, and while you could always think about all the places where the grass is greener, I’m quite happy where I am and that my country is doing relatively well in the grand scheme of things – we are free, doing pretty well economically given the world situation, developing very fast etc. –
  • My parents, that they are loving and caring and that I have reasonably good relationships with them, especially with Mum, and that they are still alive.
  • My siblings, and especially my good relationship with Sofi and all the fun times we have together and that we get along despite a lot of differences.
  • Misha, and all the emotional support he gives me, that he makes me feel happier, safe, loved, useful and that he makes my life worth living, for his friendship and for how beautiful he is. Also that now he’s lived 5 years with us.
  • My online friends and the support and sense of community I get from interacting with them, and how meeting people who are like-minded with me but all in different ways makes me develop.
  • Β Β  All of my fazas, especially the major ones. That is, both the phenomenon of faza and my faza subjects as individuals that they exist. All the happy feelings that I get thanks to my fazas, how it helps me to cope with life, grow, develop, feel inspired and motivated. How it helps me with my languages. Also my faza subjects’ music and how it resonates with me. And, most of all, my current faza peak on Jacob!
  • Jocky and his neverending, infectious, child-like enthusiasm and happiness.
  • My other family and that they care, sometimes way too much, and all the good things they did to me and everything they helped me with, like when I was at school a lot of my extended family members would go with Mum to take me from school when Dad couldn’t and Mum didn’t feel safe or able to drive herself so far from home for some reason.
  • My languages that they exist and that I’m able to learn them or just be in touch with them, and especially the minority ones that are still alive, that they are alive despite it being a struggle. And that I have some sort of a knack for picking up the phonetics as it makes it a lot easier to learn languages. And that there are accessible places online where you can learn languages being blind. All the speakers of the extincting languages that I love, that they also keep them alive, and especially those who consciously care about keeping them alive and are proactive about this.
  • All the technology I use, whether it is assistive/specialised or mainstream, as it all helps me to do almost everything in life. My computer, my phone and my screenreaders on both, all the assistive apps, my blog and all the other places where I can stay in touch with people, my PlexTalk and Braille-Sense thanks to which I can read, and listen to music, and also that I can use my Braille-Sense in conjunction with my phone which makes it a lot easier. That I can work thanks to technology, and develop my interests. That there are dedicated people who make these things. That there are so many accessible apps and websites even if a lot aren’t, and that there are people who care about accessibility.
  • Β Β  Speaking of both language and assistive technology – people who create speech synthesis in small languages, which helps them to thrive and helps people like me with learning them. –
  • That I’m secure financially at the moment and have a job, as well as flexible work hours and that it’s not too stressful or anything, also that I am able to get disability benefits.
  • That I’m generally healthy.
  • That I haven’t had a migraine in over two weeks (this is really noteworthy because for the last few months I’d been having them at least once a week, I wonder whether it also has anything to do with a peak because the start of my faza coincides with the break in my migraines.
  • My home, that I have a place to live and that I actually feel at home here. And my room and that it is so great. That I don’t have to move around all the time anymore and have more of a sense of belonging.
  • All the beautiful things in the world.
  • Good sleep whenever I get it, and all my interesting, long and vivid dreams, and that I have a very comfy bed. Also all the nights when I cannot sleep because then I’m usually more creative so it has its benefits too.
  • Good food.
  • My synaesthesias, and other weird but fun things like that in my brain that make my life more interesting.
  • Great books.
  • All the great music in the world.
  • That I can blog and journal.
  • My sense of humour.
  • My imagination.
  • My brains.
  • My empathy and sensitivity, although it can also be a pain sometimes, just like the imagination.
  • My anti-anxiety medication.
  • Warm, relaxing baths.
  • My fabulous B&O headphones.
  • That I was able to learn how to use the iPhone.
  • My additional Bluetooth keyboard that I use with my iPhone when i can’t use my Braille-Sense.
  • My gem stones.
  • All the caring people in the world in general.
  • And all the people in the world who are able to think critically and independently.
  • That I haven’t vomited in over 10 years (for those who don’t know I am emetophobic which means I’m scared of anything to do with vomit).
  • That I don’t have any neurodegenerative disease and my brain is working well.
  • My relationships with the purgatory souls that I pray for, and the help from them that I experience.
  • That I’ve been doing quite well mentally lately (in no small part due to the aforementioned peak).
  • BitLife, and that today I won almost three million pounds in jackpot in BitLife and found a 10-carat diamond in my BitLife attic (which is a heirloom) so now I’m living the dream. πŸ˜€ That just shows BitLife isn’t really a real life simulator, but oh well. The first time I inherited an heirloom worth over a million dollars out of nowhere (it surely weren’t my BitLife parents who owned it πŸ˜€ ) and told my Mum about it, she said we should move there permanently.
  • Β Β  That I’ve got lots of Toffifee for my birthday.
  • That my cousin is considering the name Jacek for the baby she’s expecting (thanks to ME, of course! πŸ˜€ ) I somehow doubt they’ll actually use it, but I can hope, right?

That’s all I could come up with, hopefully I didn’t forget anyone or anything important.

What would your list look like? Let me know, or write your own post if you feel like it, and pingback to my post or comment with the link so I can read it! πŸ™‚

 

People of the blogosphere, come rejoice with me, and let me introduce my brand new, long awaited faza subject…!! 😊 πŸ˜‚ πŸŽ‰ πŸ§ 

Finally, it happened! I still find it a bit difficult to actually believe in, but I am now sure that it’s for real. My new faza has actually started some time ago already – on 13th January – but I felt like I needed some time to process things and to feel really sure that it’s a proper, long-term faza to be able to write about it publicly, I wouldn’t even tell people in private, except for Sofi, who it was because I always feel a bit, hm, insecure kind of, at the start of a new faza, and also I wasn’t sure if it was for real, I didn’t want to regret sharing something with someone too early on.

But, before I’ll write anything more, I want to tell you that if you’re a newbie here and have totally no idea what I’m talking about when I say “faza”, or maybe you’re even a regular but still find the concept a little confusing (because it certainly can be a bit confusing), I’ve got a

new page here,

which I hope will make things clearer for you. Please let me know if you’d like to know something and it’s not clear on there, because it’s difficult to explain stuff that is going on your brain level to outside people. If you’re not really familiar with what I mean by fazas and you want to be , I suggest you read that page before this post as otherwise it might be hard to make sense of what I’ll write here and I don’t want to clutter the post with explaining things on the go, as it’ll probably be a long post anyway. On that page you’ll also learn who it is I’m going to be talking about…

So yeah, I’m in the midst of a fabulous faza peak, which means I’ve been having quite a good time lately. What this new faza has certainly already taught me is: you can’t just make such things happen at will, just because you want. If you have been following me all that time ever since my faza on Gwil has started to fade and it didn’t seem like anyone was on the horizon to replace him on the dominant spot, perhaps you know a bit about my frantic search for a potential faza subject, especially in the music world as that’s where I most often get my fazas from. I tried to narrow down my criteria and especially looked for all sorts of musicians named Jack in whom, or in whose music alone at the very least, I could become passionately interested. Not because it’s any kind of requirement for my faza subject to be called Jack, or anything specific, for that matter, but, just like I said, it was just some sort of a criterion I used to narrow down what I was searching for, and I really love the name Jack so I thought it would be cool to finally have a faza subject named Jack. Later on I also started looking for people called Hamish because quite recently, being a name nerd who often falls in and out of love with different names, I’ve become enamoured with this name, according to my Mum it’s because it almost sounds like “Hey, Mish”, which is possible but in my opinion it’s mostly just because it’s so Scottish and both strong and kind of cute at the same time.

Despite my huge efforts, it just failed massively. Well, I did find a lot of great music so that was a plus, but none of these people were seriously interesting for me enough as individuals, nor did I feel their music enough to be able to consider them as my faza candidates for long. In fact most of them always turned out to be more Sofi’s thing, which means they just absolutely couldn’t be my thing because our tastes in most things vary a whole lot and thus it was just almost physically impossible. πŸ˜€

On January 13, I decided to finally do as mundane a thing as cleaning of all my gem stones and their appartments (which I normally make sure to do regularly and generally like doing but now somehow hadn’t done in quite some time and totally didn’t feel motivated as it really takes some time because different stones often need different kind of handling, and I’ve got lots of semi-precious and precious stones). So on January 13 I just got down to doing it. I put some music on just to play in the background , and even Misha came to entertain me with his company.

I think I was listening to one of Spotify’s Daily Mixes (if you’re not familiar with Spotify, Daily Mixes are mixes of music that it makes for you based on your listening activity, with stuff you’ve liked and things you might like but might also not have heard, there’s up to six of them depending on howΒ  varied your music taste is). I wasn’t really paying much attention to it, being deeply engrossed in my own thoughts, but just as I was polishing my lovely Fulk the Pyrite, I suddenly did start paying attention to the music because there was a rock piece I’ve never ever heard before and someone was “singing about [Welsh] independence” in a way that first made my heart wrench because of the hopeless lyrics, and then all of my brains melt with delight because it was so good overall and my synaesthetic experiences were bliss when listening to it. I had a quick look to see what that song was and by whom and that’s how I’ve first heard about a band called Y TrΕ΅bz. It’s interesting how even small, minority language music scenes have just so much going on that even if you’re as familiar as I am/feel I am with the Welsh-language music scene, there always seems to be something you won’t know about, even if it’s not exactly very new.

Much later on that same day, just out of plain old curiosity, I looked Y TrΕ΅bz up. What was my surprise to learn that one of the people in this band is Jacob Elwy – the same

Jacob Elwy

whose song (together with Mared Williams) I shared just two days prior to that, saying that I didn’t really know much at all about him. How fabulously ironic! πŸ˜€ In hintsight, I botched that post properly, because I even wrote that Mared Williams was from Gwynedd even though I knew full well that she was from Conwy, I don’t know what happened to my brain, but now it’s edited so hopefully my crime is forgiven and forgotten. While I’ve always found that song of Jacob and Mared that I posted really nice, it hadn’t exactly made me feel anything special which could suggest any forthcoming fazas, and I’ve listened to it many times, it was just that – very nice and pleasant. –

That in turn sparked my interest with Jacob himself, and, while I couldn’t find a whole lot about him, I thought I’d see if he’s doing anything solo. It appears like he’s just started spreading his wings in this respect last year, starting with the 2020 edition of CΓ’n i Gymru (so the second one in a row in which he took part), where he sang a song called “Pan Fyddai’n 80 Oed” (When I’ll Be 80), which I could vaguely recall and I knew I loved it to bits but I didn’t know who did it or how it was called or anything, I just heard it once on Radio Cymru while laying in bed half asleep with a migraine or something and thinking that it was really cool and reminded me of something very pleasant.

So I had a listen to his solo pieces as well and with time that priceless feeling I always get when having a new faza was getting stronger and stronger. I only had some doubts because I still knew precious little about him as an individual, and this is so key with fazas, but he has both rock and folk leanings, and also seems very much into reggae (which is cool because I used to be madly into reggae before I discovered folk so I have a bit of a sentiment for it) so at least musically I believe I feel him, although, a little surprisingly for me, even though I am a bit more into folk than rock, in his case I somehow prefer his more rocky side so far.

At the same time, as I was listening to him, somewhere in a corner of my mind I could feel that his music reminded me of something very vaguely but persistently. Something I couldn’t identify. And then I had a realisation! His voice, particularly in the lower register, reminds me of Jacek from Helsinki – my Polish Finnophile friend whom I’ve written a bit about on here who passed away from cancer a couple years ago. – Jacek was a rather musical creature who liked to sing sometimes, but most of all play the cello, which instrument I will probably associate with him forever and ever so it always makes me a little nostalgic. I really needed some validation of my experience so I even reached out to our mutual Polonophile Swedish friend although we’ve barely been in touch since his passing and I showed her the song of Jacob which he sang at last year’s CΓ’n i Gymru, where he sounds the most like Jacek in my opinion and asked her if she feels the same. She said she wouldn’t be surprised if Jacob could also play the cello. Honestly, I would be very surprised, because while they sound very similar sometimes, I don’t suppose they are very similar in other ways and I just can’t imagine Jacob playing cello! πŸ˜€ But, if he does, that would be a cool surprise.

But I didn’t want this faza to be just based on the fact that Jacob reminds me of Jacek, that would be just so bloody unfair, especially that by then I’ve already started to like him overall, not just because of some sort of similarity to Jacek! So, to avoid that, I am starting to get to know him the best I can without actually knowing much about him directly – because it’s not like he’s very popular outside of Wales or perhaps north England so naturally I won’t be able to find a lot of information about him like I could with one of my previous faza subjects, Cornelis Vreeswijk, for example. I am also limited by the fact that I can’t see (and when you can see you can figure out a lot of things about a person easier, obviously), and that I’m not on most social media, but oh well, we can deal with that. With my own online research I actually learned more about his family rather than himself, which was also interesting.

Jacob is from a village called Tan y Fron near Llansannan in Denbigh in the Vale of Clwyd, however currently I believe he’s studying music in Manchester or was doing so not very long ago. If I’m guessing right (I may be guessing totally wrong because I’m shitty with counting as you know and I only guessed it based on other things I knew) he’s probably 26-27 and he has a lot of siblings for these days’ standards which I think is so fun and they all sound very cool! Sadly what also seems to be the case is that his family has been through a lot of hardships, I personally think more than what would be considered a fair share, which is perhaps just the reason why they make an impression of being very close with each other. I’m not sure I can talk about this because I didn’t really find most of it as something in relation to his music career, the only thing that does somehow connect to his music out of these is that his father had an alcohol problem, and died quite early on, when, I believe, some of his siblings were still teenagers. He left behind a book of penillions – which are, if I understand that correctly, poems which are sung to music – and they discovered them later and Y Trwbz made a few of them into great songs, they also wrote a song about him.

I always ask Sofi to tell me what my faza subjects look like and what she thinks about them subjectively (she summed her description of him up saying that she thinks he looks like Justin Timberlake πŸ˜€ ), and Sofi’s usually the first to know about my new fazas. And she made me notice a thing I didn’t even realise before. I told her that I’ve got a faza on a guy called Jacob Elwy and she was like “Oh wow, so your dream has come true! You’ve got your Jac- someone”. I was dumbstruck for a moment. Yes, I am a Jackophile, so I was looking for a Jack, or a Jac, or a Jacqueline, or a Jacek, or a Hyacinth (because it’s etymologically related to the Polish Jacek as you may recall from

this post)

but despite the name Jacob obviously starts with Jac-, and even despite Jack Vreeswijk’s full name is Lars Jacob, it never fell under the same category for me because it neither sounds like Jack, nor shares the etymology with either Jacek or Jack. And then I realised one more thing. Namely that, after all,

Hamish is a, somewhat distant, but still, etymological cousin of Jacob.

And then poor Sofi got quite confused, because I just couldn’t help myself and started laughing my brains out. It was as if God – or perhaps my Guardian Angel or one of my purgatory soul friends, because God probably has more urgent stuff to deal with, especially right now in these hectic times, than my fazas – was smiling at me mischievously and saying: “Hey you, Bibielle, you wanted a Jack or a Hamish, why not all in one, eh?”” I was always rather neutral about the name Jacob, given that it’s so popular for children in the US and I’ve got a lot to do with baby names every day so it seems a tad bit overused to me, and here Jakub has been nauseatingly popular for baby boys for decades, but I’m gradually changing my view on it now, obviously. Edited to add: a few days after writing this post I learned that, in case of this Jacob, his name is pronounced like Jack, as opposed to like Jay, which makes the situation even more hilarious and also really cool because I actually like this pronunciation a lot more, and don’t know why I couldn’t figure it out on my ownn that this must be the way it is pronounced in his case, since with Welsh phonetics it makes all the sense in the world.

I also had my doubts about whether it will really be so cool to have yet another Welsh faza in a row after Gwilym, but now I think it’s the perfect situation. Because I’m nowhere near fluent with my Welsh yet, and if I got a faza subject who would speak another of my favourite languages, I’d get distracted. Last year was very fruitless for me Welsh-wise because it was such a techy year, with my eventful computer transition and then the iPhone and getting used to the touchscreen reality which for me took a lot of time even though it went much better than expected. This year, even before I got the faza, I’ve decided to catch up on this and that’s what I’m doing. It’s good to be back on track again.

Because I believe that when getting to know a person, it’s good to know their background and things like that, I made my Dad feel appreciated by asking him to have a look at what Jacob’s area looks like. My Dad loves Google travelling (he’s often like: “When I was in Mexico a few days ago…” and sometimes people get confused but he only was there on Google Maps πŸ˜€ ), and so I always give him that mission with my new fazas, to go on Google Maps and have a look around where they live or grew up or something and tell me what he thinks, like generally about the place, what it looks like, what there is, whatever. I don’t talk with my Dad about my fazas, he doesn’t know about it, he’s just used to me having weird whims like that sometimes and wanting to travel virtually to some often a little obscure corners of the world, but he seems to enjoy these Google rides a lot and they are very useful for me to form a bit of an idea. He also helped me a bit with my geography, because while I’ve got quite a good idea of north-western Wales, with north-central/north-east I didn’t really know where exactly all these counties are and what distances between different places there are and couldn’t make sense of it on my own. Fazas, you see, can be very educating experiences.

I’ve also figured out (which I may be wrong about, it’s just my suspicion/gut feeling), that while it doesn’t seem like he has written any of his Welsh lyrics because most or all of them are by Rhydian Meilir with whom he collaborates a lot, nor I guess any of the lyrics for Y TrΕ΅bz that he has sung with them, all his solo music in English (he has released only one English song officially but I’ve seen more unofficial songs of his) may have been written by him, and some of it has been written by him for sure. Which is a good news for me because people’s own lyrics usually can tell a fair bit about them. Perhaps not everyone is somehow super exhibitionist but still, it’s hard not to reveal yourself at all.

I’ve also looked at his Instagram even though I’m not on there myself and even though of course it’s not a very friendly place for blind people with so much pics, but still, I made use of all the image recognition stuff I have on my phone (Sofi was out, and I wouldn’t want to take an advantage of her too much) to get any idea of the pics, with mixed results, and luckily Instagram is not pics alone. So now I have a bit more of an idea of what he’s like, for example that he’s very keen on travelling as it seems, and has been to quite a few countries, I guess most recently Brazil before the pandemic has started. I’d read before that he went to Australia for a year, and, nosy as I am about my faza subjects and anything that may fascinate me (I should probably really work on this and become less nosy when it comes to people but oh well I’m an Aquarius and curiosity, which sometimes goes overboard, is the only Aquarius trait I seem to truly have so if I eradicated it out of myself I’d feel like a very fake Aquarius, this is my only excuse), I was wondering a lot about why, I mean whether it was something to do with the music or some other kind of career/education thing he was doing or just for fun, and now the latter seems most likely.

Okay, so, to finally close this lengthy post, I have a bonus song of the day for you. The one which originally caught my attention so much – “Annibyniaeth” (Independence) by Y TrΕ΅bz.

Y TrΕ΅bz is very much a family business, as originally it was created by Jacob as the vocalist and his younger brother Morgan as the bass, and then two other members – their cousin and Morgan’s friend – joined. Later on, Jacob was replaced by Mared Williams who is Morgan’s girlfriend, and then when Mared had other artistic things going on Jacob was with them again. Despite I’ve got a faza on Jacob, I like Y Trwbz with Mared just as much, it’s equally great but in a totally different way.

 

The lyrics are written by Morgan Elwy and I don’t feel like I can translate them for you literally because I don’t know the meaning of some words, but I do understand the point of it well and I can tell you that this song shows how one feels when their own country is not independent and basically facing a lot of unnecessary difficulties which surely wouldn’t happen otherwise, like the flooding of Capel Celyn, which was carefully planned ahead, about losing hope and not seeing the point in fighting for your rights when no one hears you anyway. So there’s a question, when will the day finally come that their country will be strong again, and the Welsh will be singing about independence. I dearly hope for it to happen as soon as it’s only possible, and wish them good luck with regaining their autonomy, just as I do with all of “my” other countries which also can’t enjoy independence.

What (if anything) do I wish more people knew about me?

I was thinking about writing some journaling prompt-inspired post on here for a while, and finally I’m getting to it, although it probably won’t be very long.

I chose to do a prompt from The Year of You by Hannah Braime which goes like this:

“what do you wish more people knew about you?”

Well, since just like I said I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, I could also think it through very thoroughly. And my conclusion is, I’m not sure there is anything of particular importance that I wish more people would know about me. Because what would that knowledge change? What would they be to do with it? I guess, if anything, it would only make me feel more self-conscious.

Having more people know things about you could be useful only if, along with the knowledge, they would also gain some understanding. Then, my answer could perhaps have been a bit different. But that’s a really high expectation to want people to understand you as we so often don’t even understand ourselves, and can often be very complicated beings to understand for one another. While it would make a lot of things easier for me if people could just understand, it’s not something I actually expect them to do.

Thinking about it some more, however, made me come up with three things that I think would be nice if people knew about me.

The first one is that, while I am blind, it doesn’t mean that I am good at the same things, or can’t do the same things, or should be able to do the same things, or like/dislike the same things, or am somehow otherwise similar to some other blind person you happen to know. I don’t assume that you are the same as my Dad just because you both are sighted, so that you too surely must enjoy all things automotive like my Dad does because YOU TOO CAN SEE. πŸ˜€ Similarly you. Why would you think that, for example I need to be a great musician/have a guide dog/have an extremely good sense of smell/be able to live completely independently/not to have my own eyes/always be smiling etc. because that’s what the blind person you saw on the telly was like? Being someone with quite a strong sense of individuality, such assumptions drive me absolutely nuts, and they are even a bit of a thing in my extended, or not so very extended, family, as my gran for example has this kind of mentality. It is also, to a lesser degree, present even among people who work with blind people, which probably drives my Mum even higher up the wall than me lol. I’d like to get rid of that, and so that automatically all the other blind people could get rid of the problem in their lives too, and any other disabled communities where such a thing is a big nuisance.

The next thing is kind of related, and is not so much about me as me, but it would be really good for me too if people were able to know that, at least on some basic cognitive level. Namely, I’d like people to realise that not everything they see and consider obvious, is always actually the way they see it, because there may be a whole lot of stuff they don’t see, which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And similarly, not everything that you think you see may necessarily be what actually is there, this is just your way of seeing things.

The third thing, in turn, is slightly and rather indirectly connected to the second thing. It’s not necessary for people to know about me, it won’t change anything either for me or for them, and I don’t think they’d also need to understand it but I guess it would be fun if people knew, just for the sake of knowing, maybe it would somehow enrich someone’s life or something, who knows. This thing is that I have a very rich and interesting brain life, even if it doesn’t necessarily seem like this, because, after all, how does it show on the outside that someone has a rich brain life? It used to be my coping skill, and still is, of course, but now that I’m generally doing better in life it is also simply a pleasant thing and just a way of escapism or recharging or entertainment and the like. Over the years, I’ve created a few imaginary worlds, some quite well-developed, some less. Also I have fazas as most of you regular people on here probably already know (if you don’t know, fazas are very very briefly and basically how I call my very intense fascinations on people, the Polish word faza means phase or stage), and I have synaesthesia which brings me a lot of sensual joys. So yeah, my brain can be a jerk but it can also be the best source of entertainment for me. And I think I’d like people to know that because I wish more people had Brainworlds, it’s just a lot of fun so why not share it.

And how about you? Is there anything at all you’d like more people to know about you? If so, what would it accomplish, in your view, or what do you hope it could accomplish? πŸ™‚