If We Were Having Coffee… #WeekendCoffeeShare.

We haven’t had a

Weekend Coffee Share

in a while, so I thought we could have one today, ’cause I have a couple things to share with you all, and I want to hear how you’ve been doing, too. πŸ™‚ So if you feel like having a cuppa, or something yummy to eat, come along and join me, and I’ll be super happy to have you here! πŸ™‚

Grab a cup of your favourite coffee (we only have black, whole bean coffee in here right now, which I personally think is the best, but if you’d like something fancier you can bring it with yourself). I can also offer you some tea (we do have plenty of these), or cocoa, or some orange juice, or kefir if you like it or want to find out what it’s like, or plain tap water, or you can bring some other drink that you like. I don’t have much interesting stuff where food is involved, if you’re properly hungry and are a meat eater there’s a fair bit of meat left because we didn’t manage to eat everything for lunch, or I can make you a sandwich, but otherwise I suggest you bring something yourself if you’d like a snack with your coffee or something. Yeah I know, bad Bibiel, what sort of coffee share it is without providing your guests with snacks, and a proper variety of coffees. Will try to prepare myself better next time. πŸ˜€

 

So if you’re sitting comfortably and have something to munch and/or sip on, let’s get into it. πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d ask each of you how you’re doing…?

If we were having coffee, I’d start with the mundane topic of weather and share what it’s been like here this week. Because it’s been quite warm, if not hot, for late summer, at least here. It’s a common thing that late August is all gloomy and rainy, and then the first few days of September it gets maliciously hot so that poor kids who are starting school are melting indoors and want to go out and play but can’t cus they have to do some goddam fractions or whatever else they have to do, but after these few days it usually gets a fair bit colder and stays this way. Well, not this year. This year, the first week of September was very very windy and rainy and quite chilly, whereas this week it was as high as 27 C on Tuesday. It felt a lot fresher outside though than the temps would suggest and was just nice and summery. Then yesterday we got pretty bad rain and storms, and today it’s cooler but still very sunny.

If we were having coffee, I’dfill you in on

the Sofi situation.

In the post above I wrote how Sofi is suspected by her new GP to possibly have Marfan syndrome and that she’s gonna have genetic testing in February. In the meantime, my Mum had been ruminating about it quite a lot, which is not her normal, but she’s now feeling a lot better about it as it seems. Like, whatever will be, will be. The good thing is that Sofi doesn’t have, to our knowledge, any major complications that can arise from this condition, so even if she ends up being diagnosed with it, I personally figure that we should feel lucky that despite this diagnosis, she’s been doing this well so far. Mum agrees with me, and Sofi herself doesn’t think much of it. What had been particularly bothering my Mum, and still does, to an extend, is Sofi’s height, as she’s already like 180 cm and shows no signs of wanting to stop growing any time soon. I mean, maybe she herself wants, but her hormones or whatever is in charge does not. Since the genetic testing is still to come and we still have to wait quite a while, there’s no other news strictly where it comes to Marfan’s, but, as you may remember, all the worry related to that also made my Mum worry that Sofi could have polycystic ovaries and that that may be the reason behind her still growing and still not menstruating. So she had her first gynaecologist’s appointment about a month ago or so, and, while she was extremely anxious before that, it all went well and there were no bad news, everything is perfectly fine with Sofiwhere gynaecology is concerned.

If we were having coffee, speaking of Sofi (wow, what a cool rhyme lol, and yes, in case you’re wondering, this Sofi is pronounced like coffee with an S, not like Sophie because that’s how most Polish people say Sophie), I’d also tell you that recently she got vaccinated. Not for Covid, but for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (these sound really weird in English :O ). She got the vaccine on Thursday, then started having some arm pain in the evening. The next day her arm hurt even more but she still went to school as normal, but when she came back she was feeling horrid. She had a headache, sore throat, achy muscles, couldn’t breathe normally and was very tired and weak and had a bit of a cough. She was supposed to go have her nails done after school, which she did, but as soon as she came back she just went to bed, so it all felt kind of concerning given that she’s normally very strong and healthy. But I guess that could be the exact reason why she reacted to this vaccine so fiercely. She didn’t get up for the rest of the day and by the evening she seemed like she had some fever and it got quite creepy because not only did she have muscle aches but her skin seemed extremely sensitive to touch pretty much all over her and she couldn’t even change position easily ’cause she said it hurt so badly. My Mum claims though that as long as you’re hungry while sick, things are looking good, and by late evening Sofi got a wild craving for fast food so I got her some. When I was a kid I also got wild and very specific food cravings whenever I had fever, and especially at night, so it either must be a common thing that I didn’t realise or it’s genetic for us. πŸ˜€ On Saturday things were a little bit better and Sofi really wanted to go pick mushrooms with Mum, so she did, but she was quite drained by the time she came back and spent the rest of the day in bed. So has been the case today, and she’s also got a stuffed nose. Mum doesn’t really know what to do, since these appear to be vaccine side effects so it seems counterproductive to her to give Sofi some medicines because she thinks her body needs to deal with all this on her own. If things won’t get better until tomorrow, which it doesn’t seem like they will, Mum will take her to the doctor.

If we were having coffee, I’d share with you something about which I already wrote a couple times here, but not much and only in passing. This is not like a huge news or anything breakthrough, but I think it’s worth noting in its own place. This something is that I’ve kinda sorta started learning Norwegian, I guess it was some time in July. I think I’ve written at least one coffee share since but I still had too much turmoil in my brain surrounding it so didn’t feel able to write anything constructive. Perhaps you remember that, as long as my favourite languages list is, and despite it features languages like Swedish, Faroese or Sami, Norwegian had never been on it. And I’m still not sure whether it is now. But for some reason I’ve been feeling more drawn to it lately, and also want to have a closer look at how it works, so that I have some more idea about it other than simply through my Swedish. I don’t know why I’d need it because I could already understand a fair bit of (especially written) bokmΓ₯l Norwegian (there are two written Norwegian languages – bokmΓ₯l which is like more classic and nynorsk which is more modern and rural) via Swedish, but that’s what’s happening right now. I started to realise my feelings for Norwegian were deepening in late June, around the time when we were on our camper trip in Masuria, and Sofi and me rode in the back of the camper, on the bed, where if the roads were bumpy, it made us jump up high to the ceiling, so when people ask me “why oh WHY Norwegian? Have you got a faza or did something specific happen involving this language that made you love it out of the blue?” I say perhaps because I got a brain injury from all the close encounters between my skull and the ceiling on the trip, ’cause I really have no better ideas. I mean, I could tell you now, at the point where I am currently, that I like Norwegian for its extreme diversity, like, it’s one language, but it’s two languages, and in practice, as some say, there are more dialects than people there. πŸ˜€ This definitely contributes to me liking it now. But I only got to experience this phenomenon first-hand after I got into it. And my feelings started to deepen before I decided to go with the flow and get into it and try to learn it. And it wasn’t like these feelings came and I embraced them right away, far from it. At the beginning it was freakishly intense and I didn’t know what was going on and I was really reluctant to do it, actually. I mean, I’m learning Welsh right now, it’s my first Celtic language and it’s more difficult than any language I’ve learned before, have still like a dozen or so languages that I want to learn in the future, Sofi says I should be treated for that ’cause something’s wrong with me, so I seriously can’t afford another language, someone save me or it’s gonna kill me! In the end though, I just had no willpower left to resist my brain any longer and got pulled into it properly. It felt like I had no choice but make room for Norwegian in my life.

The situation isn’t as bad as I feared, since I already know English and Swedish so there’s a whole lot of similarities between Swedish and Norwegian, they’re generally mutually intelligible, and Norwegian and English also share some common ancestry being both Germanic languages. That means it doesn’t really feel like I am learning a completely new language. More like a complicated dialect or something. It’s not like I have to learn everything in a sort of linear, structured way, starting from the very basics, because a lot of vocabulary I’m either completely familiar with or can figure out without much trouble, and a lot of grammar also already makes sense. Also, compared to Welsh, learning Norwegian is also way easier due to the wider availability of all sorts of materials. I’d long forgotten what sort of luxury it is to be able to learn a language via your mother tongue, and there are plenty of Polish immigrants in Norway, so plenty of Norwegian online courses, workbooks, whatever you want. Only problem is that a lot of the Polish material I’ve looked into isn’t of particularly good quality, like they teach a terribly unnatural accent if not plain wrong pronunciation (like you in Norwegian is du, where the u sound is pronounced like in the English word you, while I’ve found a Polish resource where they teach you that it’s pronounced with an oo sound, more like the German du. Except when you pronounce it like that in Norwegian it’s spelled do and it means the loo πŸ˜€ ) or only give you an idea about some stiff, official bokmΓ₯l which might be a thing in writing but no one speaks like that. So I still tend to stick to the English stuff for the most part, and am also able to learn Norwegian in Norwegian itself, especially from written materials. So with a bit of effort on my part, I managed to make it work so that I can squeeze in both Welsh, which is still in the centre stage, and Norwegian, which I learn usually on weekends plus a lot of exposure in the meantime. It feels kind of weird to call it learning though, because for me language-learning is when your brain lets out steam and your brain muscles get all sore and pulsating, whereas here it’s rarely this intense. It’s still enjoyable though. I still wouldn’t say that I love Norwegian as much as I do all “my” languages, but I think if it won’t disappear as randomly as it appeared I’m probably going to get there and I do like it a lot. I mean, I’ve never disliked it, but now I like it more than ever, yet still don’t love like I do Swedish, Welsh & co. Like I said, I love the whole diversity in it and I’m loving more and more how it sounds. It’s so cheerful and childish compared to Swedish, and at the same time kind of more rugged than Swedish and less fluid, to me Swedish sounds more serious and sort of posher.

I don’t even know yet what I want to achieve with this whole Norwegian “learning” and where I want to go, what for etc. but maybe things will clear up. I guess it might come in handy when I’ll start with Sami. Maybe I’ll finally pluck up the courage to read all those Norwegian books my Mum bought me, thinking they were Swedish, including a grammar book from I guess the 50’s. :DBut overall, while I usually try to aim for as much fluency and familiiarity with a language as possible, at least for now I’m taking it very easy with Norwegian and don’t have any wild ambitions or anything, we’ll just see how it develops, I’m not in charge here anyway, my brain has taken over while I was on those Masuria holidays. Who knows, perhaps it’s just a short episode and I’ll soon be over it?

Now that I’m no more reluctant and have accepted the state of things and flowing along with it, I’m thinking that perhaps there’s something like destiny or whatever involved here, because I’ve had several people in my life who have told me in one way or another that I should learn Norwegian. My Swedish teacher started learning it at some point during the years he was teaching me and could go on and on and on about it and would often try to tempt me into it too saying stuff like that, actually, Norwegian is just like a little dialect of Swedish. It made me think what Norwegians would think of someone putting things this way and I thought it sounded quite diminishing. Like, I myself am half Kashubian, and while I don’t have a strong bond with the Kashubian language (I can barely understand it when someone speaks fluently) or culture, and also am far from supporting the separatistic notion that some Kashubians have, one of the reasons being that I personally identify as Polish far more than Kashubian, nevertheless it really irks me when people call Kashubian a dialect of Polish ’cause it’s just not a dialect. One day he devoted the entire lesson to introducing all sorts of Norwegian phrases and idioms to me that he wanted me to translate to prove to me how Norwegian is very easy when you speak English and Swedish. Sure, but at that point I just didn’t feel it, and if I don’t feel a language there’s no point in trying to convince me. It’s as if you tried to make someone be friends with or date someone else just because YOU think they’d make good friends or couple, while the individuals in question feel totally indifferent about each other. Now that I’m learning both languages, I totally agree that, while Norwegian as it is now certainly is not a dialect of Swedish, in many aspects it really seems like it could be. πŸ˜€

Then there was a classmate I had at the blind school, who didn’t know about my Scandinavian interests (which I was trying to suppress at the time because I temporarily wasn’t able to learn Swedish and it was a huge source of frustration to dwell on it or expose myself to Swedish in those circumstances) and for some weird reason he told me several times how in his mind he associates me with Norway, which I found rather hilarious. He didn’t know why either. Later my paternal cousins have come up with some weird theory I’ve no clue how, that we have some Norwegian ancestry. It’s always seemed doubtful to my Dad and my gran and me too, but in the past they would often say how I should rather learn Norwegian than Swedish ’cause we allegedly have some distant family connection to Norway.

And lastly there was my late friend Jacek from Helsinki, who shortly after we first met said that, as much as he praises my learning Swedish and considers it aesthetically superior over other Scandinavian languages, he felt that perhaps Norwegian would have been a better option for me, because of all them weird dialects and because they have two languages instead of one so I’d probably have more fun. All of these people would probably be happy now that it has come true, after all, lol.

I also have THREE uncles who all work in Norway (one full-time and two get sent there from time to time for some longer-ish periods) and one has told my family that apparently he’s learned to communicate in the language decently. He never said that to me, although we have talked about Norwegian vs Swedish several times, and he never talked Norwegian in front of me, but now I have to admit I’m looking forward to some bigger family gathering where all of these uncles of mine will be present so I can break the news to them and we can find out who can snakke (speak) better than Bibiel *evil laugh*. Or maybe I’m in for a surprise and any/all of them actually snakker better than Bibiel, which would be just as cool, they’ve certainly had more exposure than me and more potential opportunities to practice with people! πŸ™‚

If we were having coffee, I’d mention that we’re having a bit of a national Catholic holiday today. This is because it’s the day of beatification of cardinal Stefan WyszyΕ„ski, the Primate of Poland. Beatification means that he is now known as blessed (which is like a step below canonisation when a person is proclaimed saint) and a primate is the archbishop of a country. Even due to his function alone, he was a very important and valued figure in the Polish Catholic church during his life and still is very much valued and respected due to his huge positive influence on the church and aspects like the so-called folk devotion to Mary, to name just one thing. Along with him, another person who was beatified was mother ElΕΌbieta RΓ³ΕΌa Czacka who was the foundress of the religious order who leads the blind school I went to, and also the foundress of the school and everything around it as well. She was blind herself ever since she was 22, I believe, and is said to be the first person in Poland who has taken the problem of education of the blind seriously. This school is relatively well-known and quite a few people who have nothing or very little to do with the blind have heard about it somewhere and back in my school days they would ask my Mum whether I go to THAT school. I am talking about this because now that she and the whole blind centre and the order she founded have been talked a lot in the media and churches in the period leading up to the beatification, I’ve got quite a few people from my family and even beyond, asking me things like whether I’m happy that she’s gonna be beatified, and I found the amount of that and this specific phrasing of the question quite interesting so I thought I’d write a little bit about that and how I feel about it. Am I happy? Yes, I’m very happy! I feel tempted to throw an “obviously” in there, but since I’ve got this question so often perhaps it’s not so obvious for some reason. But I can’t think of a reason why I wouldn’t be happy. We definitely can’t complain about lack of representation of disabilities among saints but the more the merrier, and also I’ve got a feeling that blindness in general has gotten a little bit of spotlight in the Catholic church due to this, because they are telling her story everywhere now and obviously it’s impossible to tell her story without talking about blindness and the blind. Also while I can think of several blind saints, most of them have lived quite a long time ago and when reading about their lives there’s not much you can learn about their experience with blindness specifically, perhaps except for my dear patron saint bl. Margaret de Citta di Castello but she has also lived quite some time ago. So I think mother ElΕΌbieta (or should I be saying Elizabeth in English now?… I never know if you should translate saints’/blesseds’ names or not, it seems so inconsistent) is going to be particularly relatable and close to the hearts of many blind people, and I think that sort of connection is important. I know many who have loved her long before she has been beatified, even if they were too young to know her or didn’t get a chance to meet her personally. I’ve heard of some blind people from that school who actually regard her as a sort of mother figure or something. And beyond that, whether it’s her or someone else, I think a beatification of someone new is generally a very happy event in itself for the Church as a community. My Mum also asked me whether I feel any sort of bond with her, which I think is a more interesting question. We’ve both had the same disability, so on this level I think there is some connection that I feel to her. Also, while personally I have very mixed feelings about both the school and my experience there, i feel grateful to her for the mere fact that she founded it, because the whole thing was extremely courageous of her, and that she devoted herself to the blind so much and on so many levels. One thing I’m extremely grateful to her for is that she adapted Braille to the Polish language. But I don’t feel much of an emotional bond with her like a lot of blind folks do. Or a very strong spiritual one. When I was at school, they’d talk a lot about her and I remember one person once suggested to me that if I struggle with homesickness and stuff like that, I could think of mother ElΕΌbieta as my second mum or a mother figure or something, that some people have this sort of bond with her. I initially really tried and really wanted to, but somehow didn’t feel it. Then not much later I got truly sick of all that talking about it being our second home and stuff like that and I internally rebelled against it all, so there was no way I could think of her as my mum. When I was older, I read her writings and letters and several biographies and a couple memoirs involving her. She was incredibly wise and virtuous and strong-willed and in many aspects very extraordinary and fascinating, and while I didn’t see that at school because I had vastly different outlook on things and vastly different things on my mind, now I do admire her deep devotion to the Cross. Yet when I read her writings she doesn’t come across as someone whom I could truly feel close to. With all her admirable traits and all the great things she did, I think we just are too different for such a close bond to be possible. Or maybe I just have a somehow skewed perception of her despite all the stuff I read about her. And the mixed feelings I have about the school surely get in the way too, even though it doesn’t have to do with her directly. Like I said, the saint I do feel more of a connection to, and who also happens to have been blind and multiply disabled is bl. Margaret of Castello.

If we were having coffee, last, but not least, I’d share about a major purchase I recently made. I got myself an iPad, YAY! Now this is really a huge thing because not long ago I thought I wouldn’t be able to be able to use a smartphone, due to the touchscreen, and now I’m getting a second Apple device. This is because, actually, recently I had been considering a possibility of transitioning to a Mac from my Windows computer. Yeah, I’ve transitioned to a new computer over a year ago, but I’m sure Sofi would be more than keen to inherit this one from me, and also some of its parametres are well above what I need. I’ve recently got to hear a lot about how it looks in practice to use a Mac with VoiceOver (the built-in screen reader) and I was like, huh, this doesn’t sound quite as difficult as I thought. It sounds way more intuitive and non-geek-friendly than Windows. And I really have grown to like the way Apple does things ever since I’ve got my iPhone, while at the same time Windows irks me in more and more ways. Yet I’ve also heard about several blind people who have tried using Mac and it didn’t really work out too well, and because it’s not like I am incredibly tech savvy or anything, it felt risky, especially that Mac OS computers are not the cheapest in the world as everyone knows. So I was playing around with that idea for a long time until I figured that perhaps a cool golden mean would be getting an iPad, because I’ve heard of some blind users who just use an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard as their primary device rather than a laptop or a computer, which they only use when something is just physically impossible to do on an iPad. Perhaps if I tried that, I would be able to say more decidedly in a couple of years how worth it and how risky for me getting a Mac is. And I guess in a year or two I’ll be able to apply for funding which you can get for an assistive device, and a computer counts as one. Since I don’t need anything more than a MacBook Air, perhaps the funding would even cover that if I’m lucky and counting right.

So in the end I got an iPad 8 and Apple says it should be here tomorrow and I’m really really curious and a little bit apprehensive. One thing I’m kind of afraid of not working out as well as I’d like is typing. I do a lot of writing, but while I have a Bluetooth keyboard for my iPhone as well as my Braille-Sense which works like a Braille Display and Bluetooth keyboard at once, I find writing on iPhone a pretty arduous experience, especially on the Braille-Sense which I prefer for longer writing because it’s easier and faster to review what I write. Except in the end it’s not because the cursor often flies around so it’s hard not to make mistakes, or in some apps it will randomly throw me out of the edit field after every few characters, or it will be very slow and freezy or otherwise buggy. Since iPad is essentially the same system, I’m not sure whether I can hope for much difference there. But it’s not like I am supposed to ditch the Windows computer and rely on the iPad for everything from tomorrow on. If, after a year or a few, I’ll come to the conclusion that I like the Apple ecosystem increasingly and the only thing that stops me from using iPad full-time is the typing, I might still get the Mac as I don’t think it has the same typing issues as iOS devices do.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee? πŸ™‚

 

Today, I…

Recently, I came across this simple, mini prompt in the PaperBlanks app, and so I thought I’d share with you what I am doing, thinking, feeling etc. today.

Today I… feel really tired and sluggish. My sleep has been fairly weird lately, lately meaning a couple weeks, I think. It’s like as soon as it’s night time, my brain suddenly gets a kick of energy and I just can’t settle myself down for sleep, whatever I do. I had a proper zombie day on Friday, having not slept for the whole night, then the next night I crashed as is usually the case with me after a zombie night and so got a lot of good sleep, but my sleep system didn’t reset, for some reason, as it normally does after a zombie day. Today it was back to where it was. Well, except that I actually did feel rather tired and in need of sleep this time around, but was at the same time kind of wired or something and it just wasn’t happening. Since I had to get up at 8 AM, I’ve only got like 3 hours of sleep and my brain’s not impressed. I generally don’t like taking my anti-anxiety medication for sleep even though it does work, but if this keeps up I’ll just have to resort to it for a while, I guess. Since I guess Jack the Ripper is about to visit any time, PMS coupled with little sleep means I’m having a rather shitty day mood-wise.

Today, I am finishing a sort of prayer challenge or whatever it could be called, that I’ve set myself. I promised God and myself that I’ll be praying for three weeks in July, until this Sunday, for someone that I sort of know and am rather concerned about, even though I don’t know him very well. He seems to be dealing with a lot of yucky stuff, multiple addictions being one of those things, and many years ago I’ve decided that I am always going to pay particular attention and have special dedication in my spiritual life to those people that I know or have come in contact with, with whom it seems unlikely that anyone prays for them, or at least not consistently and seriously, despite it seems that they might need it particularly much. I’ve learnt it well in my life that God loves creating what we’d usually call coincidences, and so this time, when I got into it I learned that July is actually considered a month of prayer for people who struggle with addictions. At the same time, addiction is a sort of… hmm, hot topic in my family currently, and my Mum is also praying for someone who has this problem who is our family member, so I felt a bit stronger having company and support like that, especially that my Mum really has been my best spiritual director and always has the strange talent to say or point me towards something that is exactly what my soul seems to need at a specific time. This whole challenge thing has been rather difficult, with a lot of ups and downs, and I wasn’t even sure if I was seriously going to stick to it, I mean, I really wanted to, but some part of me didn’t think I could manage with all that praying, IFing etc. for long. I also often had thoughts that I don’t believe strongly enough in that God could actually do for me what I was asking Him for, because from a human perspective, a dramatic change for the better in this person’s life doesn’t seem very likely and is even hard to imagine. But I tried my best to believe as strongly as I could, and even though I always experience a lot of hurdles with praying, in that I find it difficult to actually concentrate on it properly, I have a feeling that, while I don’t know if I could have put more effort into it, I’ve put a lot more of it than I thought I even could. I am so hopeful for some better, fuller, more valuable life for this person, whatever God considers that to mean in practice for this guy. Pretty much exactly at the time when I took up this little challenge, I also learned about a 30 day Gospel challenge that is a thing now on Hallow (a Catholic prayer/meditation app that I sometimes use). The goal is to read 2-3 chapters of a Gospel every day, so that we’ll be finished with all four Gospels in 30 days. And while I thought it wasn’t for me at first, because I’d never be able to stick to it, and because I’ve always been somehow apprehensive of reading the Bible in English mostly because then I tend to focus on the language more, haha, eventually I figured that the timing of this is very telling, and that I probably should take this up too. I have previously read all four Gospels chapter by chapter several times, as well as the whole Bible, but I initially thought it would be challenging to stick to it every single day and finish exactly in thirty days. But so far it’s going extremely well and I’m actually very surprised! It’s day 14 and I’ve never missed a day. The linguophile in me also manages to keep reasonably quiet, and I feel like I’m more actually engaged into it than I was all those times before, when, despite being Christian, I’d always read the Bible more like I would any other great work of literature, more intellectually than anything else. It is rather difficult for me to just sit down and listen to the Gospel for 20 minutes without doing much else in the meantime, I usually do several things at once and it feels more natural, but at the same time it feels weird to be listening to the Bible while doing something else very trivial in the meantime and give God only part of my attention. So this has been an interesting time in this respect and I’d never have expected it.

Today, I am a little anxious about living practically on my own for the next two weeks. You might recall that in one of my recent posts I was saying that I’m going for a trip into the mountains with my family on Friday/Saturday. The Friday/Saturday eventually was postponed until this coming Tuesday, because my Dad’s leave was postponed until then. Then Sofi decided that she’d like to take our cousin along, as she thought she’d be rather bored otherwise. As I’ve said, I’ve been feeling a bit off recently, very crampy and with rather little energy, and am pretty sure Jack the Ripper’s coming any time, and I started to feel kind of doubtful whether going for that trip is a good idea in my current hormonal and brainstate. So, as our camper isn’t very huge, I thought that was a good enough reason not to go, ’cause our cousin could go in my place. And so that’s what going to happen. Olek is also going to stay, as he always does, since he has work and stuff to do, but he’s out most of the day, so it’ll be mostly me and Mishmish. Which is fabulous, but, like I said, I’m a bit worried. I’ve never really lived on my own for this long, and, while Olek will be here in the evenings and he’ll also bring dinners for us both, so that at least I won’t have to deal with any delivery people or anything like that every day, I’m kind of scared, like, what if something goes wrong? I don’t even know what… anything could go wrong. From Misha choking, to Olek forgetting to clean his litter box, to me letting him slip out accidentally, or having some sort of an accident and doing something to myself, like in the kitchen or whatever, as usually if I do something in the kitchen Mum supervises me more or less, to needing an “eye” to help me with something asap, to having a bad sensory anxiety flare in which case I really don’t cope well with being totally alone. My sensory anxiety has actually been pretty bad this week, and it’s the sort of thing that is extremely easy to set off or exacerbated by thinking about it, more than any other anxiety that I have, so in a way that feels kind of unavoidable, especially if we consider my shitty sleep lately. Still, an equally big part of me is really looking forward to this, and, if things go reasonably well, I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for Misha and me to be pretty much only by ourselves for so long.

Today I am very glad that Misha has been with me all day so far, and not hiding under the bed or anything like that, but properly laying in his own bed, and he’s very cuddly. I hope this state of things won’t change soon and he’ll be like that once my family leaves for the trip.

What has been your day today like? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Are you learning anything new?

My answer:

Of course I’m always learning new words and structures in, and new things about my languages, but this is the everyday standard. Other than that, one major thing I’ve been learning lately is, I’ve recently started exploring and also practicing a bit Christian/Catholic meditative prayer, which I was a little bit apprehensive to before for all sorts of reasons, both totally personal/emotional and more spiritual, and a bit confused by it, but now I feel like it could be both a good thing to encorporate into my life long-term for strengthening my relationship with God and becoming a better Christian, but also a very valuable alternative to secular mindfulness for my emotional well-being and healing. That being said, I still haven’t made up my mind whether it will be a regular thing in my daily routine and whether I’ll stick to it, I’m trying to get more of a feel for it for now and if it could work for me on a regular basis.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Do you prefer Christmas or Easter (if you celebrate, if not pick your favourite holiday)?

My answer:

I feel like saying both and neither at the same time. πŸ˜€ Both because they’re both very important to me in a spiritual sense, and neither because I mostly dislike the very social aspect of both and they can be super stressful. Well, maybe not just plain dislike, I do think it’s important and an integral part of these festivities but I simply find it quite challenging and exhausting most of the time so I struggle with it on a personal level.

But I think I’ll choose Easter, because, at the end of the day, it is more important for us Christians and the real essence of our faith, and also because it has less of that kitschy, marketing coating that Christmas is wholly covered in, and which puts me off a bit more each year. It’s not quite so infantile. There’s no Easter music haunting you everywhere from the start of lent so that by the time the actual holiday comes it comes out your ears, as is the case with Christmas. The general craze with shopping, decorating etc. seems a bit lighter. Oh yeah and in recent years, I seem to have followed my Mum and started to really like Lent for all the specifically Lenten prayers and things like that. I used not to like it very much at all but these days I do. And then when it ends, somehow I also feel more joyful than at the end of Advent. Speaking of the ending of Lent, I love the Paschal Triduum and especially the rich, complex and loooong liturgy of the Paschal Vigil. The Midnight Mass on Christmas has a great feel too, but the Easter Vigil is kind of more mysterious, for lack of a better word.

But I do like Christmas food more than Easter food. Maybe it’s just my family and not a generally Polish thing but I feel like there’s a lot more diversity and generally a lot more traditions for Christmas dishes vs Easter dishes, and the Christmas ones are simply better in my opinion, and my siblings think so too. Generally, despite the greater importance of Easter, we always celebrate it more low-key in terms of external festivities like food, presents or what we do on these holidays in general. Like this year for example we didn’t even do presents at all, and that was okay with everyone, we just didn’t feel like doing it this year, especially my Mum. I only bought some candy for Sofi because I promised her a lot earlier that I’ll get her a specific type of candy for Easter that she likes.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (25th December).

Does fate exist? If so, do we have free will?

My answer:

As a Christian, I see fate as God’s will. Both God’s will and our free will definitely do exist. I believe that God is the one who takes care of what we call our fate, He is the one in control of our life and death, and He has a plan for our lives that’s best for us. However, we are also able to choose freely whether we want to live our lives according to His plan or pursue our own ideas and go against His will and He won’t stop us from that, although He can make different circumstances happen in our lives, which we may not necessarily always perceive as positive ones at the time when they happen, but which are meant to have positive outcomes for us eternally and maybe even during this life and which may prompt us to come back on the road that is the best for us or give us different kinds of grace that will help us with that in whatever way a specific person needs to be helped, but essentially the choice is ours whether we’ll choose to ignore/waste it or not and how we’ll use all that. I think it’s a huge responsibility. God of course knows in advance what decisions we’re going to make during our lives but that does not mean that everything that happens in our lives is God’s will simply because it happens.

How do you see it? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

If you died today, what regrets would you have about your life?

My answer:

If I died, I don’t think I’d have any regrets afterwards, because I think our perspective on things must change quite a lot when that happens. As a Christian and Catholic, the only thing I can think of that I could really regret after death would be any sins that I didn’t do anything about in my lifetime, didn’t confess or regret them earlier or expiate for them or didn’t apologise to people who might have been affected or didn’t try to compensate them in any way, maybe even didn’t accept that I was sinning, as well as good things I didn’t do that could have helped my soul grow and be somehow beneficial for others around me. Which would mean I wouldn’t be able to enjoy being in God’s presence until my soul would be cleansed of all that yucky stuff in the purgatory, and purgatory souls do suffer a lot, not because they are somehow tortured in exquisite ways as some people imagine purgatory, but because they are separated from God, and they have a deep longing to be near Him but at the same time don’t want that to happen any sooner than when they are completely pure. Must be a strange state of being to find oneself in, when the whole perspective in which you look at yourself, the world and everything is no longer the same which you had when you were alive, but you see everything the way God does. I find it difficult on a cognitive level and as it seems it’s not just me. Anyway, since I’m still alive, I do try my best to do what I can not to have such regrets afterwards, although of course we are all flawed, make mistakes and all that, so we all will have some regrets of this nature when our time comes, I believe. Helping and devotion to purgatory souls is quite a thing, you could perhaps say a tradition, in my maternal family, as my great grandma had very close contact with and apparitions of them from what we know and she passed her passion for helping them onto her children, and it’s still alive. I have a fair few souls that are dear to me and whom I try to help by praying for them and offering up what I can, so that in case they are in purgatory, they can be released possibly soon, and I trust that when it’ll be my time to die, they will be there to help me too, I already do feel their help in some ways in life.

As for what I’d regret at the time I was dying or knowing that I’m going to die soon… I don’t really know what I would regret. Probably also those thoughts of spiritual nature would pass through my mind so I’d try to prepare my soul for death, but other than that… I’m thinking hard now and I have no idea at this point, so it’s possible that there wouldn’t be anything more. Oh wait, there is one thing! This is a thing that I already regret and have been regretting ever since it happened, and so I may be regretting it forever in this life, because it was really awful. It wasn’t even really my fault or my decision but I was involved in it anyway, I witnessed it and sometimes I wonder if I could stop it in time and it was so sad I haven’t fully gotten over it yet. I regret that it had to happen, the whole thing. I’m talking about Sasha – a Russian blue kitten we bought I guess two years ago, and had to rehome after two months. Some of you who have been around on here then may remember him, there even are some pics/videos of him on this blog I believe.

My Mum – who is famous for impulsive decisions on the spur of a moment – was thinking about getting another Russian blue cat, in addition to Misha whom we already had. We were all thinking that Misha was feeling lonely when we weren’t home, or even when we were. That perhaps he needed a playmate. It really blows my mind how we could be so daft, but now I’ve read lots of things about feline behaviours and brains so it’s easy to say to me that it was daft, but it really was. I liked a comparison I’ve read at one cat behaviourist’s blog – imagine you have a very loving partner, whom you love to, and who really admires you and thinks you’re beautiful. And one day he/she comes home and says: “Oh look, I was thinking you were so beautiful, that I decided to get myself another one, just like you. Now I’ll have two real beauties/handsome guys to sleep with. And you guys will be having real fun times with each other too, won’t you? You won’t mind sharing the same rooms?” πŸ˜€ Rude and selfish, right?

The more we all talked about it, the more Mum looked at Russian blues breeders’ websites and pics of Russian blue kittens, the more we felt like having a mini copy of Misha in our house.

And finally Mum learned that the breeder from whom we got Misha is going to have little kittens super soon, in the matter of days, I mean of course his cats were going to have them, not he. So Mum called him right away and he said that one is still free so she can take it when it’s born.

I did think it was really rushed and had mixed feelings, although mostly also for selfish reasons – because I thought Misha will spend more time with this other cat than with me/us and will no longer sleep with me – yet the perspective of having two Mishas was so pleasing that I couldn’t oppose for too long, and Mum’s arguments were very convincing as she was very sure of her decision and thought it an inspiration from God. I wonder what God was thinking of this accusation.

Whenever the topic of Sasha comes up now, I wonder, if I tried more to stop her from doing it so hurriedly, would it make the situation any better? Maybe if I tried, I would manage to change her mind, or at least cool her head off enough that the whole procedure of introducing a new cat would be better planned, not just: “Misha, this is Sasha and he’s going to be your new best friend from now on, deal with it if it doesn’t suit you”. Because when Sasha came it was nothing what it should be like and even the breeder, when he learned about the failure of the experiment, was shocked and kept saying that he did tell us how we should introduce them to each other, that it should be a gradual thing and all that. Maybe then at least they could live together in relative peace.

But it was as it was, and a few days later, Mum and Sofi went to the breeder and took Sasha home, and Sofi almost immediately brought him to Misha. Misha got super mad so that me and Sofi were scared, and Mum even accused him of being mentally ill because he can’t just react in a normal way to any change, even a positive one. πŸ˜€ He hid under the sofa and hissed and made such low noises all night. Good thing that at least Sasha had a bit different temperament, or very different in fact.

He was super cuddly, bold, happy-go-lucky and very extroverted. We were laughing with Sofi that just like Misha has his birthday two days before me and we are both incredibly similar to each other, Sasha was born just a few days after Sofi’s birthday and, like her, was a typical Gemini and very much like her. His outgoing personality and cuddliness made him even more likeable.

In the coming days, we saw very little of Misha, he was usually either hiding, or chasing and scaring Sasha, letting him know that it’s his – Misha’s – house, and Sasha has nothing to do in here. At some point, from what we’d managed to figure out, he must have scared him in the loo, HIS very private loo, because Sasha had a deep fear of doing his thing in the litterbox, but until we figured out what was the problem with the help of a behaviourist we were thinking he was just doing it on purpose for some reason, because there was no way to persuade him to do it in the right place and we had poo surprises everywhere from bathtub to wardrobes to pillowcases, which didn’t make the atmosphere any better as you can imagine.

Sometimes we stupid humans were treated to a special performance by Misha and Sasha implying that they are very good friends, so that’s what we liked to believe in.

Finally the loo situation was getting really out of control, unhealthy emotions were rising, everyone was stressed out and tired, Mum was near depressed, blaming herself, or being angry at Misha for being “antisocial” or Sasha for pooping, I was blaming Sasha for everything because if not him, Misha wouldn’t be going crazy and the whole situation wouldn’t have taken place, so I wasn’t treating him as nicely as Misha even though he was clinging to me as much as everyone else, and then after five minutes I would be very nice to him because he was so cute, after all, that you couldn’t resist for too long. He must have been super confused I guess. The culmination was that they both got sick. The vet said that there isn’t anything wrong with either of them physically, but they had high fever and other awful symptoms, Misha was throwing up with some gross, foamy stuff, Sasha was barely in touch with the world, so he said it must be stress and, after being told the story with minute details, he said it can’t go on like this and said they could even die if it would be dragging for too long. So we finally saw this too and started doing something about it.

We had to rehome Sasha, which was a great pain for our selfish brains. But at least he had real luck with his new family, or so I like to think. They’re very interesting, artistically inclined people, and months later I learned that Sasha’s new mummy is actually a children’s writer whose books I used to read, what a cool coincidence!

So the situation generally had a happy ending, although I can only hope that Sasha doesn’t have any bad memories or anything like that and that he has a better life now, but still… this situation would be so easy to prevent, or make it take a slightly different route. That’s why I regret it. I regret that Sasha couldn’t have a happy childhood right away, and that it had to be us with whom he had such a difficult start. I regret what we did to Misha, that we betrayed him in a way, as Mum says. Even though Misha seems like the biggest monster in this situation because if not his “antisocial” behaviour, we could have two cats, in fact, after Sasha left, we all only fully realised how virtuous Misha has actually been all that time. He forgave us what we did. He recovered and keeps being the sweet, good-natured Misha for us. Even while Sasha was with us, we did see much less of him but when we saw him, he was never aggressive to us and was very tolerant of all our whims at that time. Mum says he has a very noble spirit, and I think that describes him very well.

Okay, so how about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (16th December).

What is a miracle that happens every day?

My answer:

I can’t really think of many literal miracles that would be happening around me as frequently as every day, and I do think it’s this kind of word which loses a lot of its meaning when used metaphorically too often. My first thought when trying to answer this question was: the fact that I’m using an iPhone. πŸ˜€ This really feels a bit like a miracle, and not even all that metaphorical, as I and people around me all had had quite a lot of doubts and it might have just as well not have worked out. But it did, and I’m so glad about it! But looking at it from a more serious angle, being a Christian, and particularly a Catholic, the answer to this question is really easy to find, only we often tend to underappreciate this miracle we get to witness so often, just because we see it so often and it’s so everyday, but also so difficult to grasp, unless you have some real grace to be able to do it. I am talking about transsubstantiation, which, in case you’re not familiar with this term, means that we Catholics believe that, in Eucharistic prayer during every Holy Mass, thanks to the action of Holy Spirit, the consecrated bread and wine change into Body and Blood of Christ. It definitely is a miracle as it is, like most things to do with faith, the kind of thing you just cannot explain logically and scientifically, and that’s the case with miracles, only just like I said we see it take place so often that it’s often difficult to really see it this way without really trying, and moreover to believe in it. Or at least that’s the experience I and some people I know have had. In any case, this is a great miracle and I am very grateful for it every time it happens in front of me and try to see it for what it is.

What’s such a miracle for you? Do you see any miracles at all around you? Do you actually believe in miracles that they ever happen? πŸ™‚

Karliene – “Jack’s Lament”.

Hi people! πŸ™‚

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

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

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

Question of the day.

What was the last YouTube video you watched?

My answer:

Hmmm, let me have a look… I watched a lot of YouTube earlier today and a lot of different stuff, so right now I don’t remember what was last. πŸ˜€ Ah, yeah, it was a testimony of a Polish guy who is now a Christian but used to be muddled in the occult and new age stuff, and how he got rid of it and now educates people about spiritual dangers, from the point of view of the Catholic church, of course. And he actually seems very competent in the topic. Many people I’ve heard about or even known, who are dealing with this or who tried to help to get me out of my own shit like lucid dreaming, Doses etc. etc. seem to know what can be harmful and dangerous but can’t say why, which makes it feel much less credible, ’cause naturally if something is harmful, you want to know why exactly, what are the risks, what’s wrong with it, and if they can’t provide you such information, why should you believe them, especially if what you’re doing seems fun, as it often does with such things at the beginning? People just tell you “Don’t do this” “Don’t do that” because “It’s wrong”, and it always bugged me when they wouldn’t say why. Of course, in most cases, if you’re inquisitive enough and genuinely want to know you can dig deeper yourself and check it out, but not everyone wants to, for example I didn’t want at the time and only later did I begin to want to learn about what might be wrong with these things, when I’ve already started to feel like I might be heading in an entirely wrong directioon with this whole life thing. And not everyone has the patience or intellectual abilities required. And even if people do know about what’s exactly wrong with specific things that are considered spiritually harmful for Christians, and what makes them harmful, they often seem not to know much about this thing in practice. I mean, back when I started feeling like there might be something seriously wrong with lucid dreaming, and I was reading in Christian resources on it, even people who claimed to have some past experience with it and now specialise in helping people with similar experience, know a lot about the topic both from the inside perspective as well as from the Christian perspective, they often wouldn’t be able to even spell the word oneironautics properly – oneironautics – oneironautics is lucid dreaming and the ability to travel in the dream world – and would often confuse different terms or such, that made them feel much less credible to me because it made them look like they didn’t even care to make the research, and their claims of having experienced it directly or indirectly weren’t very believable. For people who are deep into the bad stuff it’s not going to be convincing. I remember how I once got really annoyed when my Mum sent me a list of “forbidden” artists and bands that a Christian shouldn’t listen to, compiled by some priest. I can understand, though don’t approve of, the intention behind using the word “forbidden”, as it’s so jarring and I guess the whole thing is not about forbidding because everyone has free will, but it was all the more jarring that the list following it was not only full of spelling errors, making it feel very possible that the author had little practical idea about these artists and who they were or didn’t care enough about the people who were going to read it to even just autocorrect the spelling, and, more importantly, it felt like a totally random list of artists from all sorts of genres, without any explanation or anything, just a list. It did include obvious stuff like “Ozzie Ozborn” or Juda’s Priest, but even such people like… Amy Grant! Amy Grant is a Christian singer. I used to like a few songs by Amy Grant just because of how they sounded, I only knew English enough to understand that it’s Christian music but not what it exactly is about, so I don’t know, perhaps there are some disonances between her lyrics or whatever she’s doing and the actual Christian faith, I had no idea and I’m no longer into Amy Grant because I’m just not into Christian pop music, but back then, even though I was no hardcore fan of Amy Grant at all, I found that very frustrating that someone would “forbid” me to listen to something without any explanation at all. And I think many people may feel that frustration and it can discourage them greatly and effectively from either coming back to Christianity or accept it as one’s religion. I’m so grateful that I was not one of such people and that I got a chance to re-convert and was able to use it and that I have my Mum who has prayed for me and has been my spiritual director, and who has shown me that there isn’t only one way of experiencing God, even in one religion. So it feels really good for me to see people who actually have an idea about these things. And as it seems not only about the new age-y kind of stuff, because a lot of Christians when they think spiritual dangers think only new age and the occult.

How about you? What did you think about the video you watched? πŸ™‚

My top 5 core values.

I haven’t written in quite a while, so I thought I’d do some longer piece today using one of the journaling workbooks. This time, I chose a prompt from The Year of You by Hannah Braime, which goes as follows:

What are your top five core values? Core values are the qualities and experiences that are most important to us to embody and have present in our lives. These might include things like trust, love, connection, freedom, growth, etc. (…)

I’ve written such a list of values already in my diary a while ago, but here I’ll try to expand on the topic of each of them at least a bit so that this post is more substantial. In my diary I also mentioned some of my negative core values, but here I decided not to do so for a few reasons, but mostly because typically when we think core values we think about the positive and helpful ones.

Β Β  Belief in God and Christian values

This is extremely important to me. As I wrote in the post about the roles I play, I may not always feel like I’m doing a great job with this, but nevertheless, I’m trying to do my best and do and think what and how I believe a Christiann should do and think. Obviously I don’t only mean things like praying or going to church, but also things like being helpful to other people, not judging them, making big and small decisions in my life so that they’re intact with my conscience and Christian rules, like not voting for a party who promotes killing unborn children or not celebrating Halloween. It’s also an important quality for me in other people which I deeply respect, but at the same time I have no problem associating with people who believe in God differently or believe in a different God, or don’t believe in any God whatsoever. Some Christian people have a weird problem with that but I think that, while common values of this importance in friendship make things way easier, having some different values and beliefs can make things more interesting, as long as both sides are willing to respect each other and not argue about that. Which sometimes means it’s just safer not to discuss the topics in which your opinions differ, or otherwise you just most definitely will argue, while at other times exchanging your different beliefs can be enriching and fascinating. In short, this is the most important value, or perhaps I should say set of values I am always trying to follow in my life, with varying success, also probably the most difficult to follow, but normally if something I’m making a decision about is contrary to these values, I am not going to do this.

Β Β  Intelligence, versatility and open-mindedness.

I’m putting them together because while they’re three different things, I think as values they have a whole lot in common. Intelligence is a quality I really appreciate having, as it’s proven so helpful for me in countless situations. I guess it’s my biggest strength and one of my most effective protective mechanisms, and seems like one of the things that people value me for. My brains are a crucial part of my identity, therefore my brain health is important to me and I’m utterly scared of all sorts of neurodegenerative diseases. I also very highly value intelligence in other people and love having such people around me. It’s a very important quality in a friend for me. As for open-mindedness, I value thinking outside of the box, outside of my own perspective, or just in some unobvious way. It isn’t always easy, as it’s in our nature to think from our own point of view, and it can feel very abstractive to do it the other way around, but it’s an intriguing brain challenge and can be a powerful experience. Similarly, I appreciate people who are capable of doing so. The more so that, as a blind, mentally ill and just all round very quirky person with strange experiences and ideas, it seems like my perspective is not always easily understandable for other people, so it’s great when someone does take an effort to try and understand things from my point of view. Or even not from my point of view, but generally when I see someone who can easily think very flexibly, I have a lot of admiration for such a person. I think the most open-minded person in this way that I know was my Swedish teacher and I often think that if not his open-mindedness, his courage in taking up different, weird challenges with me and his flexibility of thinking my Swedish learning may have been much more difficult, or I may have even become completely discouraged from learning languages altogether, and this is not at all an overstatement, in case you’re new here and don’t know my a bit tumultuous language learning history and are wondering. πŸ˜€ By versatility I mean taking an interest in lots of different things, as well as having knowledge about them, or being capable of doing lots of different things. This is a very impressive quality for me and I always say that it’s one of the most important qualities for me in a faza object, haha, or at least they always do end up being quite versatile people. I do have a whole lot of different interests, and I believe I know a fair bit also about things that don’t directly interest me quite as much, but I am somehow not sure I am quite as versatile as I would like to be. Still, I am probably more versatile than most people I know in person.

Β Β  Traditions.

Yeah, I often say when someone asks me about my views, usually in the context of politics, that I am an open-minded traditionalist. I like combining innovation with tradition. In any field, be it music, religion, food, politics, baby naming, language, fashion or interior design, etc. Always with a bit more of tradition than innovation, but enough innovation that it doesn’t feel plain, boring, or, God forbid, totally backward, but tasteful, fresh, niche and unexpected. I’m thinking about tradition and traditionalism here as a very broad thing. My religious beliefs are very traditional, apparently these days they might even classify as orthodox for some Christians, though I personally don’t consider myself orthodox, however I admire truly orthodox (not to be confused with fanatic, as these are yet another kettle of fish) Christian people. I love folk music, which speaks for itself, folk is obviously traditional, though just as I said earlier I do like tradition with innovation so things like neofolk, electrofolk, folk pop, folk metal etc. are close to my heart and brain just as well. I am passionate about keeping endangered and minority/indigenous languages alive, and same applies to all sorts of cultural traditions. I love learning about folklore of different areas and people’s customs, and always feel sad whenever I hear about such things extincting, though a lot of such traditional treasures – especially languages – are so unbelievably resilient and can thrive in the most unfavourable circumstances. – By the way I think we humans can really take an inspiratioon from languages, when we’re going through rough things in life. πŸ™‚ People typically think of trees, especially oaks, as symbols of resilience, but I think of languages. Oh yeah and on a more personal level I absolutely dread changes and have a hard time adapting to them, which I think also goes in line with the whole traditional thing, though probably has a bit different etiology. πŸ˜€ However it’s not like I’m totally against change, if I can see its positive aspects, just that it’s a totally dreadful process and adjusting to it usually takes me ages and a lot of rumination in the meantime.

Β Β  Helpfulness.

I even like the way the word helpful looks in English. I have fun synaesthetic associations! πŸ˜€ Would describe them to you but it’s too complicated and would take up too much space and this post is not about this. That’s why I wrote “helpfulness” rather than “helping people” which would probably look a bit more natural. I really like that feeling, when you know you have helped someone. Well I guess it’s a natural thing for all of us who are empathetic beings to have that feeling and to like it. This thing alone can drive us to want to be more helpful. I don’t know, however, if I help people as much as I could. I often feel effectively inhibited from doing it by different factors. I am rubbish at helping people in person because of all the difficulties I have with communicating with people like social anxiety. I have a hard time initiating the simplest conversations with most people, so while I am a good observer and very often easily notice that someone may need some kind of help, I don’t know how to offer it to them, or how to ask them what they need, or don’t know what to do about it altogether, or maybe even know but it feels too scary and overwhelming a process so I only watch the situation from a distance hoping that there will be someone else who can help them and feeling awful for not helping them myself. If I do try to make the effort and help them, I feel awful for helping them not the right way, or not adequately, or making things worse rather than better. Also I usually feel like I’m not even the right person to help people because of my own various limitations and that I just won’t be able to give them the help they need. Thankfully there are some areas where I do feel a bit more confident when helping people, like listening to people (unless they clearly expect me to say something, as then I usually feel like there’s nothing I can say that could be particularly helpful), or supporting people online, or helping people financially, or sharing something with them, or sharing some of my skills with them, with the latter I’m thinking things like translating something for my Mum, for example. These are usually very small areas and I feel like most people help others much more, but I comfort myself in that at least a lot of the people whom I have helped have said I was helpful to them so perhaps my help is more a quality over quantity kinda thing. I’ve always lived by that rule, as quantity is something largely abstractive to me, so if it seriously works like this with my help, it’s probably not as bad as I usually imagine. πŸ˜€

Β Β  Family.

I actually wondered whether I should really include this value or perhaps leave it out and write about something possibly more interesting, because this whole family thing is complex and I’m not sure it’s indeed this high among my values, but I decided to write about it nevertheless, because even though I struggle with sense of belonging and don’t really feel a strong connection to my extended family, my closest family are pretty much the only people in real life that I’m close to and they are important to me, also I do respect all of my family, and am loyal to them, never mind that I don’t really feel anything more towards most of them. Also family as a more general term – as in roots, origin, heritage etc. – is an important thing for me. Loyalty towards family is, as I said, an important thing to me and I think family members sort of owe it to each other. I try to keep good relationships with them as muchh as it’s possible, though I don’t give a shit about it if they don’t try as well. My most immediate family – by which I mean my parents and siblings and grandparents – are people for whom I am capable of making a lot of sacrifices, for example attending family gatherings even when I don’t feel at all like doing this mentally and have to deal with the consequences of this afterwards, which include a substantial increase in Maggie’s (my inner critic) activity, feeling mentally and physically drained and a general brain overload. I know they won’t really care about my actual presence there in itself, but if I won’t be there they’ll have a problem either with me that I am so unfeeling and neglectful, or with my Mum, which I don’t understand, it appears that some of my family think that somehow my Mum is to blame if I don’t appear on their birthday party. I want to spare her that, because she has so much stronger ties with her family, so unless I really really can’t, or it’s someone I can’t be bothered about, like some people from my Dad’s side of my family whom I have a hard time genuinely respecting, I just deal with it and go. It’s awful, it’s pointless and I don’t think they realise how much mental energy it sometimes can cost me while it’s happening as well as before and afterwards (though perhaps it’s not okay that I actually expect people to care, and most likely makes me sound terribly whiney,) but I do this because I feel obliged towards them as my family. I also deeply value the connection I have with my Mum, she is so very important to me, as well as Sofi. Sofi is very valuable.

So there you have it, these are the top five of my values.

What are yours? Have you thought about this before and made a more comprehensive list?

 

What roles do I play?

This post is going to be long, the more that before I get to the actual topic of it, I’d like to fill you in a little on what’s been happening in my life so that you have an idea if you’ve been wondering what was going on, but feel free to skip a few paragraphs to the actual topic. πŸ™‚

As you know, I’ve been getting used to my new iPhone the last couple of weeks, which is one of the reason I hadn’t blogged much at all lately. I’m getting better with it, though still, there are things I have to figure out, and I’m still pretty slow at using it, and I suppose it may just be the case that, despite it seems to be the opposite for most people, I will not be able to use the iPhone as fast and efficiently as my computer. But I do know how to do the basics, and even some things that aren’t basic by now.

Also, we had a bit of a heatwave and that really affected my energy and generally my wellbeing, and last week was migraine-filled and also difficult emotionally as I was really low, which was followed by our short family trip during the weekend. The trip wasn’t that very fun at all, as it wasn’t a particularly interesting place and there wasn’t much at all to do, also it was terribly hot for all of us and the conditions in our hotel were rather poor, but we mostly just went to keep Dad company as he was having some work related training and exams there, and because Zofijka loves staying at hotels, so we thought it could be fun for her. I’m really happy to be back home and now appreciate it even more than I did before that I can sleep in my own bed and do things I want when I want and just be in my safe space. We also went to the seaside on Sunday and that was so much more fun, I just love the sea. Except that I got badly sunburnt and now it hurts like shit but oh well, luckily it’s going to pass at some point. So that was, in a nutshell, why I was less active in the blogosphere in the last few weeks.

Another thing I started doing recently is I’ve got more ebooks to read in English. I’ve always wanted to read Kindle ebooks which I theoretically can do as there’s a pretty accessible Kindle for PC app, or was I really determined I could get myself a Kindle device with text to speech functionalities, but I’m very picky about the ways I read, and I want to be able to read my books on my PlexTalk, as well as Braille-Sense. Which I can only do with Kindle ebooks if I remove the DRM. I know, I know, it’s illegal, but I believe that if I buy a book, I have every right to read it however is convenient for me, and the mere fact that I’ve removed the DRM doesn’t immediately have to mean that I’m going to give it away to all the people I know IRL and online, or to anyone at all, for that matter, does it? There is a pretty uncomplicated little app that converts ebooks from and to lots of different formats and can remove DRM protection so that you can copy your book on to your preferred device and have it in a format that your device is able to recognise. But despite this app is very easy, for some reason I’ve been struggling to remove the DRM with it from Kindle ebooks specifically, it just doesn’t seem to recognise them properly or something or can’t locate them, even when I select the Kindle folder and a specific file manually, there’s just something wrong and I can’t figure it out on my own. I contacted the developer but so far haven’t heard from him, it seems like he’s been inactive online for a while so I may have to just wait. Meanwhile, because the app is able to work with other types of files on my computer with no issues, I decided to give Kobo books a go. And Kobo works really well for me, I don’t have to convert their books, as my devices read epub, so I only have to remove the DRM. I also may give iBooks a try soon, now that I have an iPhone.

Anyways, since I’ve started using Kobo, I’ve got myself quite a few ebooks, all of which I’m still going to read, and amongΒ  them are two books with journaling prompts that I learned about from Astrid of

A Multitude of Musings

who uses them. One is The Goddess Journaling Workbook” by Beatrix Minerva Linden, which sounded really good to me as a folklore junkie, and the other is “The Year of You” by Hannah Braime. I really like the idea of books for journaling and I think I may be getting more of them. I’ve already used a few prompts from both in my diary, but also thought that I’d like to do some of them on my blog, and this is going to be the case today.

I thought I’d use the very first prompt in Hannah Braime book, which I already did in my diary in a bit of a more extended and personal form, but I think I could just as well write about this one on my blog. The prompt goes as follows:

What are the different roles you play in your life (e.g. mother, partner, sister, etc.) List as many as you can think of.

So here goes, in mostly random order. To make it more interesting than just a mere list, I will write a bit about each of these roles. I am not including roles as in masks, like who I may pretend to be for all sorts of purposes that isn’t actually me, and also I’m not including very small roles that don’t really matter for my life as a whole and that I simply don’t have much to say about.

  • Β Β  I am a human being. This sounds very obvious and we rarely think much about the fact that we are humans but I think it is a very important role that we should remember that we have and that one of our responsibilities as human beings is to act in a humane way and be proud of all the things that make us human, that distinguish us from any other beings in the world. It’s especially important in times like these when you see so many different situations where people as individuals and as a whole are being dehumanised in so many different ways, some very overt and some very subtle, that have become casual to us over the years and that we rarely think about as dehumanising, or that we may even perceive as good and beneficial because of how our collective thinking has twisted over the years. I personally think I often underestimate how important this role is. And I guess I don’t often take it seriously, for example in the situations where I feel a lot of self-loathing I definitely tend not to think about it at all.
  • Β Β  I am a daughter. – It is also one of the main roles, in my case. I am really grateful to have my parents and that my parents are the way they are. From what I have observed, it seems common for children to want their parents to be more like someone else’s parents, or to idealise other kids’ parents and think that theirs aren’t quite as good. But I remember when I was younger and thought about it sometimes, whether I would like to have different parents, and with which of my school friends I’d be happiest to swap, and, especially when it comes to a mum, I couldn’t think of one from those that I knew that I would like more as my mum. This doesn’t mean that my parents are perfect, as neither am I so I couldn’t expect them to be, or that there certainly are no other people on Earth who would make better parents for me, but that I think I’m really lucky to have the parents I have. Perhaps it’s my AVPD speaking, or something else irrational like that, but I often have a strong impression that I’m not quite as good in this role as I could be, and as I should be. I know that I often disappoint them, but it’s not even this that makes me think that I’m not as good a daughter as I could be, because children usually tend to disappoint parents in some way, I guess, just because they hardly ever are exactly the same as the parents expected them to be. I’m always more concerned about that I am mainly a burden for them, especially for my Mum, more than my siblings. I feel like there’s little balance in our relationship, and I guess that’s how most of my relationships actually work. What I mean by that is that I often have, or in any case, feel like I have, relationships with people where I either give too much and the other person keeps overstepping my boundaries, so that I don’t really have much satisfaction out of it long-term, or take too much than I give and feel like I am not able to recompensate as much as I should and would like. And it’s the same here. I know that my parents, especially my Mum, like to chat with me, my Mum often says that she would go crazy here if not me because I am the only person in this house with whom she can have a more intelligent discussion or share some of her thoughts that no one else in this house would be able to understand, and I am also a good listener and both of my parents like to come to me for advice, which I find pretty hilarious since obviously I am much younger than them and don’t have quite as much life experience, my Dad seems to appreciate my sense of humour because we’re on the same wavelength and no one else here gets some bits of our sense of humour, but overall it feels very little compared with what they do for me.
      • Β Β  I am a sister. – As you likely know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I have a brother and a sister. I get along worse with Olek than I do with Zofijka. I’m happy to be his sister and I like him overall, but our relationship isn’t and has never been very strong. These days it looks so that we barely talk to each other unless there’s a clear need for it, we hardly just do small talk. Not because there’s any resentment, conflict or anything, although we used to argue a lot as kids and at least I openly disliked him and was really nasty to him at times, though I mostly don’t remember that, but it just feels awkward these days. With Zofijka, we have a very strong relationship, despite she is much younger than me than Olek is. We often argue with Sofi and get on each other nerves, sometimes it can be very harsh, explosive and difficult because we are very, very, very different from each other and often have trouble understanding each other and our personalities can just clash in a big way, but we can also have lots of fun together and I think in a way I could say that Zofijka is my best friend, we’re sort of like yin and yang and despite there’s a ten years old difference between us we interact with each other very much like peers. I very clearly remember when Mum was pregnant with her, and I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep at nights because I was thinking about “Helenka” (we referred to her as Helena throughout the pregnancy and only after she was born was she named Zofia) and I just couldn’t wait for her to be born and was so badly frustrated that I had to wait for so long, I would think all the time what it would be like and what we would do together. And after all I didn’t have to wait that long as Zofijka was born prematurely. That was so much different than with Olek, whose birth is my very first memory and I wrote about it in detail here which was definitely not so pleasant for me. While I’m not sure I am a good sister for Olek, I think I am a pretty good sister for Zofijka, I try to be helpful for her when I can and she often comes to me when she wants to talk about things that she isn’t comfortable talking about with Mum, even though our Mum is the kind of parent with whom you can talk about most things, but about some things Sofi seems to prefer to talk to me. I want her to have a happy childhood and so I do what is possible for me to do to contribute to it, we spend a lot of time together and I teach her a lot of things and I’ve created the Jim guy for her about whom she still likes to hear, and about whom I wroteΒ here.
      • I am Polish. I love being Polish! I feel an affinity with all “my” countries (that is all that speak my favourite languages) and their nations, I love their languages, but I can’t imagine being something else other than Polish myself. πŸ˜€ I am very proud of my country and language and I love the Polish language to pieces. Speaking of being Polish, we just had presidential election a few days ago, so I was able to fulfill one of the duties associated with that role, and I was very happy that that our current president, for whom I voted, has got the majority of votes this time round as well, but We’ll still have to have another round, as one of his opponents also got quite a lot of votes and at the same time no one had at least 50%, and to be the president in Poland you have to have at least 50% of votes. So we’ll see yet how it goes, but I’m very hopeful.
      • I am a Christian, and a Catholic. This is a hugely important role for me and to me personally it has a lot of overlap with the human being bit. This has been something that I’ve had a different view on throughout my life and I didn’t always identify as Christian, I was born to a devout family and raised Catholic but there was a period in my life where I considered myself agnostic/atheist, and later also something like Wiccan or along these lines, but I’ve sort of “reconverted” to Christianity after some deep thinking and I’m really happy I did it. It isn’t easy to be a good Christian, especially when you have a mental illness and stuff, some days are harder than others, but I think it’s still really worth the effort. What I struggle with the most in regards to my faith is that I often don’t feel the connection to God as much as I would like, I often feel lost, or don’t feel much towards Him, or not as much as I think I should when I listen to other people. I’d really like to be the “hot” kind of Christian, and I really envy people who are, but I think I’m still really lukewarm and more intellectual than emotional/spiritual in my faith, and I’d like to be able to love God more and have a more genuine relationship with Him. I even envy people like my Mum, who are able to dissolve into spontaneous and genuine tears when contemplating Way of the Cross, or feel deeply moved on a spiritual level by a homily or a hymn, cry during confession or feel a deep spiritual need to receive Communion when they haven’t been able to for weeks, and awful sadness when they cannot, like Zofijka does. I guess it’s already something that I want it, but I don’t know how to make it. I try to be the best Christian I can be without being able to feel such extreme things and think that perhaps I am just meant to live like this and need to accept it, and that there’s some meaning to it, I don’t know. Another huge obstacle I’m facing every day is that I have real real trouble focusing on prayer, my brain doesn’t seem to be cut out for thinking about just one thing at a time. πŸ˜€ I realise though that these things are probably also partly a consequence of how things used to look in the past for me.
      • Β Β  I am a cat mummy. I love my Misha to pieces, am immensely grateful and happy to have him and so glad that I can take care of him as much as I can, feed him, sleep with him, cuddle with him and receive so much love and beauty in return. This is a relatively new role in my life but I love it, it is a pure pleasure to take care of Misha. I only think it’s a pity that I can’t do all the things that a cat mummy should do, whether it comes to his hygiene or our relationship. Contact with Misha is mostly visual, so that makes the situation more difficult for both of us. For me, because I don’t have the ability to read many of the cues he’s sending, so I often feel confused about what he wants or needs or how he’s feeling, and for him, because that means I have to touch him more than I would otherwise, and that he would like, because he isn’t the most touchy-feely and is often fearful of touch and closeness.
      • I am a friend. At this point in my life, I have no friends in real life (unless we count Misha and people like Zofijka and my Mum in, then I have three), and I’m pretty happy about this fact because I don’t really feel the need to have them in real life just for the sake of having friends. I wouldn’t mind having friends in real life, if there were people in my surroundings that I would feel we have a lot in common with each other and if they’d also want to be my friends, but I’m not desperate and happy to be friends with just anyone just because it looks better to have friends. I do have a few people online though that I consider friends. Some in the blogosphere, and some who are my more long-term pen pals. This can be challenging at times too because I still have some struggles with social interactions or expressing myself even online, so I find it difficult to have really close relationships with people, but it is easier and I really appreciate having friends who think similarly, have similar interests and like me. I know I can’t always be as supportive for them as I’d like, but I do like to be, and I want to be helpful, or at least kind. And, when it comes to writing with my pen pals, especially those with whom I’m closer and have known them for a while, I treat it very seriously and even when I have little time or don’t feel that well or when sometimes I don’t feel very much like writing, I try to write back as soon, as much and as interestingly as I can. Which means that sometimes I can spend a large portion of my day, or even more than that, typing away to people. Not because I have so very many penfriends but because if you’re committed to it, it can consume a lot of time, unless you’re instant messaging or something. ALso sometimes there indeed are a lot of people to write back to, because I still try to make new penfriends, or people initiate contact with me, and there are times when I get like waves of emails, and after a while it gets much quieter because a few people fell off for all sorts of reasons or just have a temporarily a more busy time. Usually when you want to have penfriends you do snail mail or email and typically both of you want to get long mails and possibly regularly, get to know the other person and their life and anything that may be interesting about them and their life, and also know that they are genuinely interested in you. So, if you want to get long mails, you have to write them, too. Some people get easily discouraged from pen palling after a bit of initial enthusiasm when they realise that they won’t get long, beautiful letters every week automatically just because they wrote to someone once, and that they need to put some effort into it as well. So I would say it’s not really for very busy people, because they won’t be able to keep up, unless they’re very organised and motivated. It pays off definitely, if you can find people with whom you actually click and who are equally committed, which may take some trials and errors, some disappointments on both sides and some time, a lot of time in some cases. I am grateful for all of my friends, especially that not so long ago I didn’t have friends like these at all, and now life feels much better.
      • I am a granddaughter. I rarely think of this role of mine. I love my grandparents because they are my grandparents (though I dislike my (paternal) gran and it’s hard to love someone when you dislike them and when you know that they dislike you even more), but, except for my (maternal) grandad, I find it difficult to connect or even just interact with my grandparents. I often think that I am a very bad granddaughter, because I know they generally really like it when their grandchildren visit them and consider it a primary sign of respect or something like that, while I don’t visit them nearly as willingly, nor as often as I and other people think I should, as I find all the socialising exhausting, and, don’t really have a personal bond with them, again except for my grandad with whom we have some sort of an understanding without words and he’s always stood by my side even when no one else did and I will be eternally grateful for that to him. Emily Starr [of New Moon] wrote in her diary in context of her cousin Jimmy that it’s good to have one such person in your life who only sees the good things about you and none of your flaws, more of such people would spoil you. For me such person is my grandad. Therefore I feel even more guilty these days that I don’t live close to him anymore that I don’t visit him more often, and I’m not sure he understands actually why. But what I can do is to try to be nice and kind to my grandparents and show it as much as I can while we are together. I guess though that the lack of relationships with my grandmas (my paternal grandpa died when I was rather little), isn’t entirely my fault. They have a hard time connecting to me just as well, the way I see it, I guess mostly because I’ve been away from home for most of my childhood.
      • Β Β  I am a goddaughter. This is another role I hardly think about on a conscious level. But the way I was brought up, since I am a Christian, I was often told by my parents that it’s important to pray for your godparents and support them this way just like they are obliged to support you in your spiritual development. I think it makes sense, so while I don’t have close relationships with my godparents either, and actually don’t really like them, I pray for them every day, especially that they both have very difficult life situations. My godmother is someone with whom I find it really difficult to talk and she usually ends up triggering all my shit so I hardly feel normal after talking to her. We used to get along a bit better when I was younger, and I can enjoy talking to her still because we have a lot in common, but you have to know how to interact with her and which topics are better to be avoided. I am not the only one person in our family who finds her extremely difficult, though. She is generally the type of person who will always give you unsolicited advice and ask lots of questions you definitely don’t want her to ask, and she always knows best what’s best for you but you simply happen not to have discovered it yet, she can be also very hurtful. I suppose attending her birthdays, name days and such also belongs to my duties associated with this role, but as I usually can’t bring myself to do that, I just call my godparents on their special days. This is one of the few instances where I actually prefer to call people rather than see them. πŸ˜€
      • Β Β  I am a blogger. I have been a blogger for years, almost a half of my life, haha! I’ve always really liked it and I’m proud that I’m doing it. I’m especially proud now, that I have an English blog, this was a really big decision for me and a big dream of mine and it has helped me very much both with my mental health and my language development.
      • I am a language learner. I am not sure if something you do mostly as a hobby can also be your role, but I guess so in a way. What I perceive as a role about it is particularly the bit with endangered languages. My role is learning them so that they are still in use and can survive, or at the very least, even if I don’t get to use them that much in practice, I am still able to speak them. For now, the only minority language I speak is Welsh, and I’m nowhere near fluent yet, but I am learning and I’m going to learn more languages – endangered and not endangered. –

What are the roles you play in your life? πŸ™‚

 

What Day Is It Anyway? #WDIIA.

With many of us being in self-isolation right now, days of the week can become very similar to each other and we may get confused. Therefore, Linda has started the

What Day Is It Anyway? (#WDIIA)

series on her blog, so that we can keep track of what we are doing each day and just be in touch with each other within the blogging community during this strange time.

For me, and most of my family, this time hasn’t been really very different from our usual lives, because I am spending most of my time at home and am happy with it, so does my Mum as she is a homemaker, or a home manager as she prefers to put it, and my Dad and Olek have to work anyway. The only person for whom life has become quite significantly different right now is Zofijka, because she doesn’t go to school since about the beginning of March and has recently started to learn online. This is not easy for her, first because it’s such a quick and stressful transition for all students and teachers, and second because she is not a very disciplined child and now there’s no one really to make sure she’s doing what she is supposed to do most of the time, so if she has something to catch up on that she hasn’t caught up on in time, isn’t up to date with something, didn’t do something on time or isn’t informed, there’s no one to blame other than herself, and she has to be more responsible. Also she is such a sociable kid and now there is no one to play, she can only Skype her best friend from her old school, and play with Jocky of course but that only helps so much. Misha has been incredibly supportive of her in this time, as if he could empathise with her. He spends loads of time with her in her room, assisting her in her learning, even during her live video lessons, watching movies with her and sleeping for hours in her armchair. He is just so sweet. Still, despite the social isolation effects not having much of a direct influence on my life, I decided to jump in anyway.

The only area in which I do feel affected by the pandemic is that we cannot go to church as we used to. We are a Catholic family as you may know and we normally go to church every Sunday and on holidays or important feasts as well. Now, here in Poland, there can be only 5 people during Mass, so in practice that means you are only supposed to come if you have ordered it, or you are a relative of someone in whose intention the Mass is celebrated, or something like that. This sucks big time, and we are not impressed, but I’ve found that it has it’s advantages too. Now there are more religious services being broadcasted in the media, or live streamed online, I don’t think it was as much of a thing here before the coronavirus outbreak, not to such an extend. While it is of course the best when you can go to church and receive Sacraments, I’ve noticed that now, when we are praying more at home, it is easier for me to focus on prayer. I wrote on that a while ago that for me it can be really difficult to focus on just one thing at a time for an extended period of time, and that can be extremely difficult when praying or meditating. It seems easier now that I am not surrounded by a lot of people, a lot of stimuli and all that, I’m less prone to distractions and feel more relaxed and focused, and I don’t have to worry that my blood pressure will drop below what’s my “normal” because of a lot of standing in one place or feeling hot and that I will faint, which of course doesn’t help with focusing, staying engaged and present. That has been an interesting experience. I mean, I’ve often listened to Mass from home when I wasn’t able to go to church, due to migraines or something, but it’s a completely different thing when you’re lying in bed and participating very passively so this whole thing now is quite new to me. It’s Lent, and both me and my Mum have decided to take advantage of this time and use it for our spiritual development. We all, as a family, have been praying more now, together and on our own, since the start of self-isolation. I had decided to do my Lent retreat online. Mum has managed to complete her retreat in the church at the beginning of Lent before the COVID-19 situation has become more serious in Europe, but the rest of us wasn’t able to complete it fully, so I decided to make it sort of more personalised this year, make use of all the resources online, and that was not only very interesting and enjoyable and very new to me, but also, because of being more personalised, I think it enriched me more in a way, and I was able to delve in some religious topics that I’d always wanted to. My Mum wakes up early every day and listens to the Mass in Latin on YouTube. If my brain is in the right timezone and I can wake up on time without being a zombie, I try to accompany her. So in fact I guess we’re praying more than we would otherwise, even during Lent, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

I was talking about all that because today, I did wake up in line with the timezone we have here, or maybe even earlier than that, as it was just a little before 6 AM, which I didn’t expect because my sleep had been all over the place most days over the last couple of weeks, and I’d been in a phase of sleeping in late even like until 1 PM and generally sleeping a lot, I’d had to put a lot of effort into it if I wanted to wake up at a more decent hour or sleep less and a lot of the time I’d fail at that anyway because I was too groggy. I don’t like to sleep in late too often, though that happens a lot of the time to me, I mean certainly more than to a normal person with normal circadian rhythm anyway, so I’d be happy if my early awakening today would mean that my internal timezone is going to change to something less lousy, for however long that may be.

That allowed me to listen to the Mass with Mum, so that was a nice start of the day for us. Then Mum went out to get some groceries for ourselves and other family members who have it more difficult right now, and both of us plus Zofijka who also woke up by the time had a very yummy breakfast after she came back, and we drank cocoa. We drink a lot of cocoa lately, and especially so do I. I guess from being a coffee addict, I went on to being a cocoa addict lol. I still miss coffee though, nothing’s gonna change it, and I’ve lost hope that there is an equally good alternative that is good for me in the sense that it wouldn’t make me as anxious as coffee did, that I’d like the taste of, and that would make me as energised as coffee did. But cocoa at least tastes delicious, and I like to have mine very strong just as I did coffee.

Although no one in our house is particularly scared of the coronavirus and getting sick, and even my Dad stopped watching TV now that COVID-19 news are everywhere, Mum says that going out of the house is starting to make her feel a bit anxious when she sees all those people in masks, and when they tell everyone to put gloves on in grocery stores etc. She said that when she got home she felt a bit paranoid for quite a while, feeling like her hands are very dirty all the time, no matter how intensely she would wash them, and that all objects and surfaces around her are dirty and full of germs as well. πŸ˜€ I can understand that, I think I would feel similarly, even though in general as I said I don’t feel particularly scared or stressed out by the pandemic. The only thing I’m anxious about is if my family catch it, as I would be devastated if someone from my immediate family would get serious complications or die from it, but then it’s not very likely as no one in my immediate family has any underlying conditions other than my Mum has episodic asthma which is generally mild when it does flare up and is now in remission.

I spent a lot of the day trying to help Sofi with her school work and encourage her to think independently. I’m not the most patient person with kids, not even with Sofi, and neither am I particularly tolerant to ignorance or good at teaching others, so that was difficult for both of us. Misha was in her room though, so he was making the atmosphere calmer. πŸ˜€ Then we were watching a movie, eating crisps and bouncing on those big, exercise balls, I don’t know how they’re exactly called in English, and so did Misha with us. I don’t remember anything from the movie itself as I always struggle with following movie plotlines and it wasn’t anything I was into, just some teenage-y kind of movie, and we were talking meanwhile so I don’t think Sofi registered much either.

I’ve also bought some new English books for myself, and an audiobook for my Dad (in Polish of course) so he can listen to it at work.

It’s evening already, and I think I’ll soon be going to sleep, since I’ve had such an early start. As you can see, there hasn’t been much going on, but overall things are going well. I’ve noticed that I am actually having somewhat lower anxiety levels since the world has began self-isolating, which makes sense as a lot of my anxiety triggers are temporarily gone or have decreased to the bare minimum. So, subjectively, so far, I can’t say I feel the toll of this whole situation.

How are you doing today? How has the coronavirus outbreak and its consequences affected you so far? Are you feeling very worried or anxious? Or maybe bored? Let me know. πŸ™‚ Or write your own #WDIIA post.

 

Question of the day (15th November).

Hi people. πŸ™‚

I’m so sorry I haven’t posted for a week but this week has been rather nasty for me.

Do you believe in ghosts, spirits or paranormal occurences? If so, have you had an experience yourself?

My answer:

In a way I do, in a way I don’t. I don’t believe in ghosts that haunt the attics or show up to innocent people at nights just to make them jump out of their skin. What I do believe in, as a Christian and Catholic, is that there is purgatory and that the souls of dead people can visit us on Earth if need be – that is if they need us to pray for them, or perhaps to help, especially if a person has helped them in the past to get out of purgatory or something or if they’re family. – I guess technically you could call them ghosts but this term sounds firstly rather superficial to me, and secondly, kind of offensive. I would never call someone I liked or loved who had died a ghost. If they visited me I’d rather refer to them by their name or said they visited me in spirit or that their soul came to me or something, not a ghost! Also, purgatory souls do not want to do us any harm, not even creep us out, so, even if someone does experience such a grace and extreme privilege that they can talk to or see a person who has died, it’s usually in dreams or such unless you’re a mystic or something. They don’t want to scare people or haunt their houses or blackmail them or possess them or whatever else stupid things people can come up with. I don’t believe that what people do at spiritual seances is calling the real souls of their loved ones and the people who died. Or rather, okay, they may want to evoke those people but it’s not them who they see, rather those are demons and evil spirits pretending to be who the person wanted it to be. Souls of people in purgatory or heaven don’t come to you at your whim, not even at their own, but when God wants it, He is smarter than we and them together and, seriously, He knows what to do and when, without us telling Him. And the consequences of such evoking spirits can be nasty. As for other paranormal stuff, it’s hard to say, I have an impression different people classify different things as paranormal and also have different terms for what’s considered paranormal. Since there can be so many such phenomena I guess I won’t be writing about those things in detail but I’ll just say a lot of paranormal phenomena feel like absolute bullshit to me, while there are some that I definitely do believe in and that they exist and can happen, and what I think of them can really vary haha.

As for my own experiences, don’t know if that fully counts as paranormal, I guess more esoteric, but back in the day I used to have a lot of OOBEs (out of body experiences) and LDs (lucid dreams). And lucid dreams still happen to me but these days they’re unintended and not even half as frequent as they used to be. I have witnessed and experienced some things that perhaps may feel on the edge of paranormal for some but overall I don’t think I am the kind of person who is susceptible for such things to occur to me. I know from my Mum and grandma that my great grandmother – my maternal grandma’s mother – was very devoted to praying for purgatory souls. She was a Franciscan tertiary and was said to be able to see purgatory souls on quite several occasions (or experience their presence in any other way and communicate with them, I’m not sure about the details). I think it’s so fascinating and I’m so happy and proud to have had someone like this in my family, I regret that she died before I was born and I’d really like to know what she’s like more than just what I’ve heard. But she was very humble about it so didn’t even talk much about it to people from what I know. I think this is largely why my grandma, my Mum and me and Zofijka feel a close connection to purgatory souls and praying for them is a huge part of each of us’ individual spirituality. I have several people that have died and that I feel a close connection to that I pray for every day and ask them for intercession so that we can help each other, I think it’s so fun that it works like this that we can actually take care of each other, be thankful to each other, count on each other’s help and try our best to return the favours, haha. I have not had such spectacular experiences like my great grandmother did, but while I often find it hard to pray, to feel God’s presence in my life, I guess everyone who has some spiritual life has such difficulties at times, my purgatory souls help me with that, and there have been many occasions in my life, especially in recent six or so years, that I have felt their presence very deeply, not in any metaphysical level or anything like that, but I knew they were there praying for me and helping me. Especially at the beginning of my journey with praying for them, straight after I sort of re-converted, there have been SO many absolutely strange, wonderful and unbelievable, seemingly purely coincidental but on the other hand very unlikely to happen otherwise situations in my life, it was mind-blowing! And not only was it simply mind-blowing to observe but I also believe that their intercession has helped me, more or less directly, hard to say, to get to the point where I’m in my life right now. One of the souls I’m putting a lot of effort in helping is one of my music crushes Cornelis Vreeswijk who died 32 years ago and I’m sure needs a whole lot of help, and, of course it’s just my belief or an assumption and maybe it wasn’t anything to do with him, just how I want to see it, but always when I think about how I got out of my boarding school (which was just a couple months after I got my crush on Cornelis and quite soon after I started praying for him) and how absolutely weirdly, miraculously and fabulously all my problems with further schooling were solved, and the following school year was my best and strangest school year ever, when I think of that I always think of him, and am grateful for his intercession (as strange as it sounds that Vreeswijk would pray for anyone but I believe his spiritual views may be different now) because I was praying a lot for his soul and I often just talked to him casually and was asking him that if I’d helped his situation at all, I would very much appreciate him helping me as well, as I was struggling a whole lot mentally and with life in general. Since then, there have also been many small, often humourous coincidences in my daily life that I strongly suspect may have something to do with my relationship with the purgatory souls. Also, another way of helping the souls out of purgatory is to offer your sufferings for them or make any sort of sacrifices for them. That sounds so pathetic when you think of it especially if you’re not religious and have no experience yourself, but since I’ve been praying for those purgatory souls I feel close with, I am really happy that I can offer up all my daily life struggles whether big or small to help them, and I started to enjoy fasting and like seriously fasting, not just not eating meat on Fridays but having one day once in a while when I wouldn’t eat anything whatsoever. I used to think it’s a huge deal but really, when you have a reasonable motive and are supported by Holy Spirit and the soul you’re praying for it doesn’t have to be like this, although I did have to switch to intermittent fasting when I want to fast because otherwise my blood pressure drops like crazy. That’s by no means paranormal, but it definitely is a wee bit otherworldly.

When I was 10 and recovering from the Achilles tendons surgery, with my legs in plasters from thighs to toes and unable to move them for six weeks, I was super neurotic and feeling very lonely and anxious and just all things awful, and this was a time in my life when my relationship with my faith and with God and all that was incredibly neurotic too. One of the many nights when I couldn’t sleep and felt very lonely and desperate, I had a feeling that someone came into my room, or rather sort of floated in, and I could sense someone standing by my bed. I reached my hand out and felt some silky fabric, as if I was touching someone’s dress or something. Knowing me, I would normally be creeped out in such a situation, at least a bit, even these days, let alone in the state of mind I was then. Yet I wasn’t creeped out, I immediately had a feeling that I was experiencing something quite unusual. I suddenly felt soothed by this presence at my bedside even though everything was back to normal in a second and I didn’t feel anyone there with me anymore. And for whatever reason, whether rightly or not, I was strongly convinced it was Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn who visited me. It was her holiday that day and I knew about it. I was convinced about it for many years, though considering how generally messed up I was at that time and how surreal and vague the incident was and feels I’m no longer so sure of it, I’m actually very skeptical. I wasn’t psychotic or anything like that at all, and it’s not completely unlikely of course that it did happen, but I just think my sensory deprivation and mental state could make me think and perceive things in really strange ways, especially that my imagination is overactive even when my brain is doing much better, and it’s more likely that it was the effect of my brain feeling completely disoriented and more that I just really needed to feel soothed and less lonely. But it was interesting.

Also that’s not my own experience but I’ve bee on several pilgrimages to a sanctuary where a lot of people experience a very fascinating thing that is called sleeping in the Spirit, or something similar. It is when the priest prays over a person and they fall asleep in the Spirit. It’s just like people lose control and fall to the floor and just fall asleep for a couple minutes. When there is prayer over people, some men have to stand behind a person just in case to hold them if they fall so that they won’t hurt themselves or fall hard unexpectedly and there can be quite a few people falling asleep during such services. I used to be sceptical about that and so was my Mum because, well, there are mostly older women going for those pilgrimages, you could very easily think it’s hysteria or something. But it’s really all kinds of people who fall asleep, often such that you really wouldn’t suspect of being histrionic or attention-seeking or overzealous or anything like that. It once happened to my gran who said she didn’t feel nothing while asleep but when she woke up she was feeling calm and rested as if she was sleeping for a long time. Still, I am a control freak and I can’t help but feel a bit creeped out when that happens, even though I rationally know there’s no need to feel this way. But I think you need to feel open for such a thing to happen, and really trust in God and let Him control things. It’s never happened to me, but that priest was praying over me for the first time last year and I felt a strange sensation like I was very firmly pushed backwards. I was absolutely convinced that, for whatever reason, it was that priest doing so and at the beginning I was like huh, anyone can make people fall asleep in the Spirit if it’s like this, πŸ˜€ and my Mum and Zofijka who also experienced this type of prayer for the first time were convinced about it too, but my gran, who’s going there every year and has loads of experience in that sanctuary told us that she could see those people falling asleep many times and that they are not pushed, they’re just sort of bending backwards. Weird. Apart from that I didn’t feel anything, certainly not that I was going to fall asleep. I was only a little bit nervous about what if I will, and a tiny bit frustrated because I came to the sanctuary to ask God to help me with my sleep paralysis, and I expected I’d be able to tell the priest about that during that prayer, yet the priest knew from my gran that her granddaughter is blind and readily assumed I must have come there to pray to be able to see, but in the end I guess it didn’t matter what he was thinking right? Again, would I call that falling asleep in Spirit paranormal? Not really. Supernatural and extraordinary? Yes. I think there is a difference. But people perceive different things differently so I’m mentioning it.

How about your views and experiences with all sorts of paranormal/supernatural/spiritual phenomena? πŸ™‚

,My thoughts]

Question of the day (28th August).

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

Here are some questions for you.

What were your teenage interests?

My answer:

I think my interests have been, overall, pretty consistent. I don’t think very much has changed since then. At some point, as a teen, I felt very lost, in an emotional and spiritual way, and was full of shitty feelings that I hadn’t let out for years that were bottling up, and, as a way of silent rebellion, I decided I didn’t want to be Christian anymore and desperately tried to believe I was an agnostic, then Wiccan, or something. It was because my school was Catholic, and I felt like there was quite a lot of pressure put on it. But also, my family is very Christian so in a way I wanted to rebel against them too because, what I didn’t fully know back then, deep down I was feeling rejected by them, so I wanted to reject them as well. My Mum once told me that she’s not worried about me, because she knows I’m at the right place, that she knows I’ll never be lost in life because my school is Catholic and because I myself am mature enough to know what’s good for me, as if this was all you need as for not to feel lost at some point in your life. She said she was most worried about Olek, who was doing a lot of silly things at the time. So – because I think deep down I was desperate for attention even though then I’d say I wasn’t – I sort of decided that she’ll have a reason to worry about me too. And I just wanted some adventure, ya know, something fun to do, but most of all, something that could give me an escape from my life. So, getting to the point, I think my only other interests that I don’t have right now but had back then were all the spiritual stuff and esotericism. I was lucid dreaming whenever I could, or doing astral projections, talking to psychics and doing my own rituals and just reading all that I could find on the topic of astrology, esotericism and all that. I still think it’s interesting, but am no longer directly into it, apart from some stuff in astrology that I genuinely think makes some sense. I was also hugely into new age-y things. But most of all, I loved lucid dreaming and experimenting with Doses, which are like sound drugs – these are sounds which change something in your brain waves and simulate the effects of drugs. – They say they’re not addictive so that’s why I gave them a go, but in fact they can damage your brain pretty badly and, really, considering all the stuff I was experimenting with, I assume I must have a really determined and patient Guardian Angel. πŸ˜€ Or just as they say, silly people always get lucky haha. Apart from it weakening my relationship with God, and having some obvious but not overly tragical emotional and spiritual consequences that I had to deal with after that, I don’t think it did very much harm to me, not quite as much as it potentially could. I’ve started getting more severe sleep paralysis since then but that doesn’t necessarily have to be related. And my relationship with God was very difficult even before, and I’m still trying to get closer to Him which is at times very difficult, but I think I’m already much more bonded with him than I ever was. Oh, and at that time, I also loved all things Gothic. I wanted to be a Goth, I listened to Gothic music, when I was at home I dressed very much in a Gothic way but without the makeup, I listened to loads of Gothic rock and metal and symphonic metal and such and later on also to artists like Emilie Autumn – I still sort of like Emilie Autumn but listening to her always makes me depressed, and I still listen to some Gothic songs/bands that don’t have something that would go against Christianity in their music/in the way they present themselves, but I’m not half as crazy about it. – I did meet a real 100% Gothic Goth some time later on when that esoteric phase was already over for me and after I came back to God and came back home (it was my dear friend Jacek from Helsinki) who got me into his online Gothic cycle, but, being slightly older and more certain of my own values and all, I didn’t get fully into it, I never became a real Goth. I learned that there are people calling themselves Christian Goths and I identified as such for some time while hanging out with all them Goths in Jacek’s online community, but also I didn’t wear all that stuff and makeup they usually do, didn’t listen to most of their music, so it was a very loose connection. I liked that and liked being one of them but at the same time being a part of such communities, who are sort of supposed to look the same, like the same things etc. was never fully for me and I never truly felt like I belonged there. So, my fascination evaporated relatively quickly, my contacts with Goths loosened even more and then I just only talked to Jacek and all my other interests started to really bloom. I never do all that esoteric stuff anymore and don’t have the slightest desire to do, also I don’t take Doses anymore and don’t do OOBE and such, I sometimes lucid dream because sometimes that’s the only way for me to avoid the scary dreams and sleep paralysis, or it happens without my control, but it’s never like I seriously want to do it. It was always a bit difficult for me anyway because to get to the lucid dream part, first I had to get through terrible sleep paralysis and anxiety that was through the roof. My “transformation” started very suddenly, but that’s a whole new story, and I am so so grateful I got that chance!

How about you? πŸ™‚ How much has changed in your interests since you were a teen? πŸ™‚

What did I do for my Easter weekend?

I’m a little late to the show, but I wanted to give you a bit of a life update on my Easter, as I haven’t posted any proper one in quite a while, and I saw this question on Carol Anne’s blog,

so I thought I’d answer the question and write the update in one go. πŸ˜€

So, my Easter? Nothing too unusual. We were invited for two dinners, on Sunday and Monday, to my Dad’s family. I was very nervous about that but some time before the holidays I decided that I’m not going to any of them and no one will make me go there, especially that Olek wasn’t going either. I’m so glad I didn’t go. Gatherings with my Dad’s family always feel even more boring than any others, with my Mum’s family I have at least a little bit of common ground and they are more communicative. Also, on Tuesday it was my grandad’s name day, my maternal grandad, I only have one grandad anyway, and if I had to choose I’d definitely prefer to go to him rather than to those yucky dinners, and I felt like that would be impossible for me to do to go for three days in a row socialising (especially that it turned out that there was fourth in stock for me too, but that’s another story). But other than my personal feelings, there is currently very bad atmosphere at my Dad’s family. The uncle who invited us on Sunday is freshly after divorce, and the uncle to whom we were invited on Monday has been drinking even since before Easter, he’s an alcoholic. And apparently both those dinners were quite unpleasant. Besides I’m feeling depressed lately and just not into that, even more than usual.

I don’t know if there is such a tradition in any other countries, but in Poland, on Easter Sunday, we have a resurrection mass very early in the morning. I’d never been to one prior to this year, we’d usually go for the Easter eve service at night or however it’s called, as it’s nowadays usually celebrated together with the Easter liturgy in the end. But my Mum really wanted to go, and I was curious too how it feels. Only that I got very little sleep that night. I usually get very little sleep at night or none at all if I know that I have to be somewhere early. This time, I fell asleep like a baby, quickly and early, but woke up at 1 AM and was wide awake since then. My sleep cycle is in a messed up phase since almost two weeks now though. We were meant to get up at about 4:30. So at least the only advantage to the situation was that I wasn’t groggy in the morning, while my whole family were all yawning and one brain hemisphere still far away in Dreamland, while the other having to face the brutal harshness of the real world, yes waking up at such early hours especially if you have to go out is a yucky state to be in. But it’s just a few minutes and then everything’s OK. So we went to the mass and it was really beautiful, I always like the late night services like the midnight mass on Christmas more, but in the early morning it’s also very atmospheric. We had a yum yum yummilicious Easter breakfast. I wanted to get Zofijka Flips for Easter (Flips, or Flipsy actually, are a kind of vintage, unflavoured Polish crisps that Zofijka likes, there are flavoured too, but for some reason our usually fussy Zofijka prefers unflavoured), but she expressed her wish very late and I didn’t manage to get hold of them before Easter. I also got perfumes for Mum but they haven’t arrived yet. I got some sweets from Mum and Zofijka.

A while after breakfast, Mum, me, Zofijka and Jocky went for a long walk which was very nice and helped to clear out my brain a bit and I felt a little better emotionally. The most of the rest of the day I spent just with Misha, and Olek in his room, and we all were just chilling out and stuffing ourselves with food and sweets.

Easter Monday is a weird day in Poland, because people pour water on each other. Or in practice, anything they can put their hands on. Just a tradition. So I was woken up by Mum, splashing the water from a bottle at me. At least Mum is more human-like, when Zofijka came in with her bottle, my whole duvet got soaked, not to mention myself. I’ll have to use Olek’s strategy next year. Before he went to sleep, he got himself a big bottle and placed it beside him. And whenever anyone even opened the door to his rom, he’d splash the water at them immediately. Dad and Zofijka tried to outsmart him, Zofijka opened the door quietly and Dad wanted to quickly pour him over, but Olek was quicker. And everyone was shrieking and screaming and the water was all over Olek’s walls, bed, TV, all over Zofijka and Dad. And believe me, at our house it’s really low key and decent, my Mum is actually afraid of going out on the streets on Easter Monday, because people don’t always seem to know where good-humoured fun ends, and stupidity begins, or my aunt likes to greet all her visitors on Easter Monday by soaking them from head to toes. πŸ˜€ We only have a bit of splashing around in the morning and then it’s over.

So the rest of the day was calm for me. After we came back from the church I was sitting on the terrace with Mum and we were chatting about lots of things. It was very sunny. They weren’t long at that other dinner, probably because of my uncle being, hm, poorly. I was feeling pretty blah emotionally most of the day but tried to distract myself by catching up on the correspondence with my penfriends.

So, nothing unusual, as you see. But overall, even with me feeling low, it wasn’t as bad as Easter last year was for me, with my very grumpy Daddy not being satisfied with anything. Most of all I’m glad I didn’t go to those flippin dinners.

How about your Easter? πŸ™‚