Working On Us – rejection.

I haven’t participated in Working On Us by Beckie of

Beckie’s Mental Mess

for a while, so I thought I would this week. THe topic of this week’s mental health prompt is rejection.

1. Have you ever been rejected by family/friends because of your mental illness/disorder?

No. I think it’s mostly simply because I usually do not tell people about my mental illness or such things, or if I do it’s very briefly if necessary. I have experienced some negative or invalidating reactions, in particular from my Dad, which often felt very hurtful to me, but I wouldn’t call that rejection. Rather a lack of understanding and flexibility in thinking. My Mum is very supportive in all sorts of practical ways and I wouldn’t do without her, she is also more open-minded than my Dad, she tries to understand it but it’s often not easy for her as she’s never experienced things that I have, and often says hurtful things more or less unintentionally. I used to struggle much more with that but I’ve never thought that it could be their way of rejecting me. Other people are far more likely to reject me because of my blindness than mental illness.

2. Has anyone mistreated you to the point you felt like you were nothing?

Don’t know if it made me exactly feel “as if I were nothing” but I had experienced some emotional abuse at school, particularly from one of the boarding school staff, who was humiliating me in a veiled way and diminishing me and all I did, which caused me a lot of confusion and feelings of inadequacy, and made my self-esteem drop quite a bit, and it never was particularly high. It took me a lot of time, only as an adult, to figure all that out and make some sense of that situation, because for a long time I felt like it kind of wasn’t real and that I perhaps misunderstood her words or actions or something like that. There were also many other situations there where I felt like people were making me feel very shitty about myself but it wasn’t as bad and I think wouldn’t even affect me as much as it did if not my overall life situation – that I was miles away from my family and could never fully adapt there. – When I got older I frequently experienced quite spectacular reactions of people to my disability, like, I assume some people must be terribly afraid of catching optic nerve hypoplasia from me or something, I’ve had people treating me like I was a mass of air. That felt very unpleasant for sure and as if I was nothing to them, but I can’t say I cared very much or felt significantly hurt, it was frustrating and annoying, but more funny than seriously hurtful, it’s funny when people are so silly that they’re so scared of you that they can’t talk coherently when they see you. πŸ˜€ It’s paradoxical when people are scared of you and you’re a sociophobic.
3. Have you ever confronted the person/persons that have made you feel this way?

No. When it comes to that staff person, I was a child then, I didn’t really feel safe talking to her at all, let alone confronting her, also, I’m sure you guys know how it is with toxic people, emotional abuse and all that. I actually had no clear idea what was going on. I wouldn’t think it was abuse or that she was treating me wrong in any way. First because I was a child, even if fairly intelligent and enjoying observing and analysing people’s behaviours, and second because it’s all always so veiled and subtle, I wouldn’t know how to talk about it to her and not sound irrational or something. I think I would still have trouble in such a situation if it happened to me now, it’s just tricky. I tried talking to another staff member who was a really competent person and whom I quite liked, but she didn’t really get it, I honestly don’t think she believed it because that other woman was always so positive and everyone saw it, so how could she do such things? I only talked to her because my Mum told me to do so.

4. If the answer to #3 is β€œYes”, was anything resolved?

When talking to that staff member didn’t help my Mum talked to her – that other staff member, not the one who was nasty to me – and things have changed a little for good, but not significantly.

5. Has rejection changed you in any way? ie… Self-Esteem, Depression, and/or changed your opinion the way you feel towards the human race as a whole?
Wellyes it did. I have avoidant personality disorder in which fear of being rejected is one of the features, and it often develops in people who have experienced it early in life. I had never thought about it this way, but some time ago my Mum wanted to talk about it and her theory is that when I went to that school (I was 5) I might have felt rejected by my family and confused about what was happening. I just never saw it this way, I always thought it was normal I must be there and that the problem is rather that I can’t adjust there and accept the situation. But perhaps when I was 5 I didn’t understand what it was all about, why I had to be away from home, and why people were coming and going, or taking me home for a few days and then leaving me there again. This theory makes sense to me now. But obviously I don’t blame my parents now or anything like that because I know they didn’t feel like they had a choice and their motive wasn’t that they wanted to get rid of me. But I think such an experience could successfully make me more sensitive to rejection. I wouldn’t say this is the strongest AVPD symptom in me, like that the primary reason why I avoid people, why I struggle with social situations, why I don’t do socialising is because I’m afraid of rejection. I don’t think that’s most important here, though at the same time it’s hard to say what is that core thing, I just think it’s a mixture of loads of things. I’ve heard about many people with this disorder struggling with this particular thing the most of all. For me, I’m not desperate for acceptance from everyone, I won’t typically tell you that I like something just so we would agree and be friends and would like me or I won’t tell you my opinion on something because yours may be different. I don’t go around in search of people who will accept me and if some relationship doesn’t go well or if I see that someone doesn’t really feel the connection I won’t desperately try to keep them. I do value my individuality even if at the same time I hate it because it makes me feel like such a flippin’ alien. I guess when I interact with people, they may see I’m anxious or depressed or such things, but I think I’m pretty good with hiding my AVPD related difficulties in daily life or in casual interactions with people, but perhaps that’s just what I think. I have no problem with, for example, people I know online for a little while when they suddenly stop writing back to me or something, unless there are some other things involved, but when it’s people I feel attached to that reject me or I feel that they reject me it’s crushing. For me, the fear of rejection manifests more in the way that I hate being clingy, for example, I just hate clinginess, both in myself and in other people. I don’t want to feel like a burden for people or someone needy, either emotionally or in any other way, yet I often strongly feel like I am. I often don’t let myself close enough to people I would like to be close with, and keep at least a bit of a distance, ’cause then they can’t reject me. Or if I have a possibility, first I do an in-depth observation and analysis of a person before I start talking to them. With people with whom I am more close with I always sort of have a radar on, which is in a way very yucky and a bit paranoid, I think I have this particular tendency from my Dad, but then again, I’ll do everything for them not to realise that. Often I’m just simply scared of closeness with people. I’ve realised some time ago that I often test people that I meet and that I feel we could be friends, or when I just feel very insecure, I do it often almost unconsciously, kind of automatically. I virtually only realised I’m doing it when I got diagnosed and was reading about it a lot, I had no clearer idea before that. It feels quite yucky too but you do have to protect your brain don’t you? You’ve got only one and when it’s already screwed up to begin with you have to be careful. I suppose they’re not aware of that testing thing, or maybe it’s just my wishful thinking. It feels rather gross when you think about yourself that you’re “testing people”, but that’s true, even if not always fully voluntary. If the test is negative, I have the possibility to retreat before they reject me, it makes me feel more in control of my own life and feelings. I’m often afraid though that I would become attached to someone so much that I won’t be able to notice it in case they would no longer accept me for whatever reason or never truly did, and then they would suddenly reject me without me even being able to prepare for it emotionally in advance and accept it.

6. Or, has rejection done the opposite and made your stronger and more resilient?
I don’t think so, but I do think my tolerance for it has increased over time.

Question of the day.

In childhood, did you ever have extra-curricular instruction (for sports, a musical instrument/singing, or participate in any arts and crafts classes or organisations)? This may or may not be related with school.

My answer:

While at the school for the blind, we all had a lot of extra-curricular activities which weren’t always associated with our schooling, but more with the rehabilitation thing. Like, all of us had some mobility training which we simply called “spatial orientation”, which involved learning some routes, using techniques for walking with and without white cane, but also some other life skills not necessarily always closely related to mobility. Many people, including me, had so called corrective gymnastics, I had that mostly for my shortened Achilles tendons. All of us went swimming twice a week after school. Things like that were sort of basic there. I remember I really didn’t like going to the swimming pool, it always stressed me out for some reason, so I looked for any way of skipping that, which was easy since I seemed to have some skin reaction to the chlorine and my Mum didn’t want me to absorb too much chlorine because she read somewhere that people with hypothyroidism (which I had) shouldn’t get too much of it. I really love being in the water, so it’s not that I am afraid of it or something. I love being in the sea or river, I just still have that crazy aversion to swimming pools which I don’t really understand, I would just never go to a swimming pool voluntarily, unless an open one, like Zofijka has. But I hate the in-door swimming pools.

When at the nursery, all of us had horse riding, which I wrote about earlier, that I was so scared of and then started to love to bits, haha. I also ended up getting into the music school, which was a bit accidental. As I wrote even in the last question of the day post, I did a lot of singing there, also on stage. I was taking part in some sort of contest and I had a lot of rehearsals and preparations for that. I guess, being at the age of 5 or 6, I must have been sort of confused whether it was a temporary thing or if I was to have those rehearsals regularl even after the contest, and at some point I asked one of the staff out of curiosity if I’ll be still having that. She was puzzled and said that I’d better ask our… OMG how do you call it in English…? rhythmicity teacher…? People make up really weird subjects, even for nursery children lol. Anyway, she told me to ask her, because she was working at music school, so she would know, or would get in touch with that tutor who was preparing me for that contest earlier. So I did, And the rhythmicity teacher asked me which instrument I was learning to play with that lady. I was very confused, I was just singing. But after a while, not knowing what I should say, I said piano, because she played piano, so I thought maybe that was what the teacher asked me about. And she was like: “Oh, but she doesn’t teach piano…” and she told me that she will talk to the teacher who did teach piano and get her to work with me. And, although I hadn’t ever think about learning to play piano,a week afterwards I met my teacher, who was a lovely and cheerful young woman, with whom I loved to chat with, especially about the Parpills (the creatures I made up), but the whole piano learning thing was super strenuous. I found it really difficult, technically, to repeat more complex things that she asked me or showed me to do. Then after a few years, when I was in primary, that nice teacher had to go on maternity leave and I never worked with her again, instead, I was assigned an older lady, who was very sophisticated and serious, and super calm and had the patience of a saint, which was probably life-saving for us both. Most of the girls in my group at the boarding school were in the music school and quite a few were very passionate and serious about that so I sort of felt like I should too, and once I very carelessly shared one of my dreams with my Mum. Not my real big dreams, you know, just a little, funny daydream I once had that didn’t mean anything, because I’ve had daydreams about being a hundred and one things in my life, and it doesn’t immediately mean that’s what I would seriously like to do for my whole life. Dreams are fun because you can pop in and out of them when you want. My daydream that I shared with my Mum was influenced by a book I read. For a while I wanted to be like the main character in that book – a 30-something sophisticated, elegant mummy with a big family of six children living in a mansion, who was very artistic and liked to play piano for her family’s entertainment. –
I had to hear about that little dream of mine for the next three years until I finally couldn’t take it anymore, my extended family seriously thought I could play the piano, and I felt like an imposter, and I was just frustrated with it and with myself and I quit. The more that that year I had to get my corrective gymnastics hours increased because the creepy shadow of Grice-Green’s surgery was hanging over my feet and the last thing I felt like focusing on was freaking piano. πŸ˜€ Some time afterwards I quit the singing thing for good as well, for a mixture of reasons but I guess mostly because it wasn’t my thing any longer. I only sing in the shower now or for Misha’s entertainment who seems to like it for some reason. I later tried learning guitar at home during holidays with my aunt’s acquaintance, mostly to please my Mummy but also because I had a glimmer of hope it could get better this time. Piano felt like a very sophisticated instrument, but I’d heard from lots of people that guitar is easy, and knew people without much talent for music who learned to play some tunes by heart, so I thought if it’s so easy, and since I did have an ear for music, perhaps I could master it too. It didn’t work like that. After four months I was definitely getting it at the brain level pretty well,but couldn’t repeat any of the chords completely on my own properly without at least some instructions or assistance. I wasn’t too disappointed though, just came to the conclusion that being a listener is much more fit for me than being a creator of music. If we all only made our own music, no one would listen to it, I guess. I also had other classes as part of my musical education for a while, which lasted for too short to give me very much knowledge, but I appreciate that experience because I did get some knowledge or understanding of music that I would probably never get otherwise, so while I don’t know nearly as much as someone who completed music school, I also guess I have a bit more insight than an average person would. And later on I was taking part in music therapy which was extremely helpful and relaxing for my brain which was one big nervous wreck at the time haha.

When I left that school to try the integration school out, my Mum made me a surprise organising horse riding lessons for me, which was scary like hell at first for me, but as you know I discovered very soon how much I in fact love horse riding. During my second year there, at 4th grade, I somehow ended up in a theatre club. I really don’t remember how I got in there. I guess it must have been something like that everyone had to pick an after school activity or something? And my Polish teacher was running it so I guess I got in there thanks to her. I really didn’t like it here. Neither did Olek, who also took part in it, well I suppose he must have disliked it even more, I had at least some experience with such things so could grit my teeth and get on with it, but when you’re new to it and not into it… sucks. I’ve had people telling me that I have some acting skills, which at first made me snort out with laughter, but when even my Mum said that I started to think about this more seriously. I like to play pretend with Zofijka, I am good at mimicking accents, I guess, and that’s what people say, but it’s been mostly Polish people saying that to me about English accents so they might as well have no idea, the more that Polish people usually have nasty accents in English, even if they are fluent. And I like to mimic people and how they act too. The thing is, I have to be really chilled and comfortable to do that. Every time I took part in a play on stage, I was stiff as a stick. And while I have mostly very good memory, I don’t do well with absorbing stuff like learning a poem by heart, or a word list in another language in specific order, or lines for a play. I always struggled a bit with that. I remember standing on a stage for hours after school, which always made me dizzy because it was so high and I was like “What if I fall from these stairs?!”, ravenously hungry and stressed, and I know so was Olek. We were doing a nativity play that year, and I was Mary, and hated it with my every brain cell. When we were finally performing in front of the whole school and parents and all, the power was out and mics weren’t working, and we all had to yell our lines, which I remember clearly because I had a bit of a cold that day and my throat was aching so that wasn’t fun. πŸ˜€ And I remember having high-heel shoes (did Mary seriously go all the way to Bethlehem pregnant in high-heel shoes), which was a really bad idea because I felt even more unsteady and panicky. πŸ˜€ But the whole thing seems rather hilarious to me now.

That’s also where my saga of my math compensatory classes (is that how you call it?) started.

At some point during my education at that school, my Mum found a teacher for me, via some local newspaper, with whom I had Swedish, as I always wanted. I loved that to pieces!

I had to go back to the “blind” school in the end, so all my jolly horse riding and Swedish adventures took a backseat because I wasn’t able to take part in them as often anymore, and then they finally all completely disappeared leaving me in a lot of distress (especially the fact that I couldn’t have Swedish) that I managed to sort of suppress and not think about but any time something reminded me about Swedish language I was enormously frustrated.

Instead there was some project funded by EU at our school in which I was chosen to take part and learn English via Callan method, together with some of my groupmates. I guess all of us disliked it because it was really boring, and looking at it now, I really wonder where that decision came from and why they chose Callan method, because I guess it’s the most ridiculous language learning method on the Earth. I mean, it certainly must have been of use in the circumstances in which it was created – for soldiers, to quickly learn the language, I guess soldiers do not need to be incredibly fluent, but just say what they need to say and learn as much as possible as fast as possible. – It’s basically that you memorise loads of grammar rules and learn loads of artificial sentences from the textbooks, no flexibility or anything like that. ANd I don’t think it gave me anything special, was just a waste of our time, and waste of the precious funds of the EU. We really liked to skip those classes if that was possible for any of us, but they emphasised it very much that we shouldn’t because they were paid in advance, so I guess it’s a pity they weren’t a bit more useful.

Basically as you can see we were able to have lots of extra activities there so it’s possible there was something else that I don’t remember now.

When I got out of there I could finally breathe with relief and restart my Swedish and horse riding after my depression got more manageable (the horse riding I still have even though I’m not in school anymore, though I’m having a hiatus again). I also had extra English classes at home for a while, I felt like I needed them to be as well prepared for my English finals as I could, and I happened to get a really really chatty teacher so I really got to talk a lot with him in English, which I liked and which probably helped me to get that 100% result at oral English, not even because I learned that very much from him but because I gained more confidence in that and could speak even more freely. Oh and I also had my poor math tutor, who was courageously teaching me all the stuff we had at college plus helping me immensely with exam preparations. I liked her as a person, but those lessons with her I sometimes still get in my dreams – that I am sitting there and don’t know how to resolve some ridiculously weird equation or something and we both get more and more frustrated and hours are passing and I feel like punching and throwing everything around – really stupid topic for a dream isn’t it?

So that’s it from me, phew, quite a lot, as I can now see. πŸ˜€ I really appreciate it now that I can decide on it myself what I want to invest my time in, although some of those experiences were really interesting.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (26th August).

Hey people. πŸ™‚

Here’s my another question for you:

Throughout childhood, did you seek to have a specific profession (perhaps different professions during different periods) once reaching adulthood? Did this change once you passed beyond high school?

My answer:

I had multiple ideas throughout my childhood as for what I wanted to be as an adult, but it rarely or never was very clear, like, I’m sure I want to be this, and I will do anything to make it happen. And, in fact, the older I got, the more blurred my ideas were getting, due to many factors. When I was in nursery, so in my case from the age 5, I really loved singing. I don’t know where I got that from, I certainly had some skill for it but I have an impression this could be that stereotype that, you know, blind people are always good at music, and my family picked it up and so I did too. But whatever the cause of that, I liked it at the time, and whenever someone would ask me about what I wanted to be in the future, I’d say I would like to either be a singer, or a musician, or perhaps even a dancer, and that I didn’t want to have babies, because when women want a baby, they can have it, but they don’t have to when they don’t want. πŸ˜€ Around the same time though (I have a feeling I might have written about that somewhere on my blog earlier), I got some weird dream or an imagining or whatever it was. I was lying in bed at night in the nursery and almost falling asleep, or perhaps I was already somewhere between asleep and awake, and I know that a while earlier I was thinking about how it feels like to be an adult, and that I guess I wouldn’t like to be. And then, I saw myself as an adult, in a really huge kitchen. I was about to prepare a meal I guess, and I was all surrounded with little children and toddlers clinging to me. But the most weird and vivid thing for me that I remember the best in that little scene was the sense of hopelessness and despair I felt, and that I didn’t know what to do, like at all, with myself, with those kids, with that damn meal, it was frustrating, I was lost and confused and like people are expecting something from me but I didn’t know what and how to do it. I think it had to be a really powerful image because it stayed with me for years and when I was a kid, whenever I heard the word “adult”, that was what first came to my mind, and I still have that association somewhere in my brain.

When I was older, I wanted to be a writer, which has always been quite an appealing thing to me and I’ve always loved writing, I also had a stage when I wanted to be a psychologist, I guess as in therapist, and then for quite a while I also wanted to be a sound engineer or a music producer, which eventually led me to getting a chance to try my hand at the former for a couple years in an online academic radiostation where my friend Jacek (the one from Helsinki, but back then from Poland) volunteered, even though I wasn’t a student at his uni, but he managed to get me in there. Was loads of fun, but I realised I wasn’t enough into it to do it full time. I also wanted to do something with linguistics, like be somehow involved in creating speech synthesis for example, as it’s definitely something that is hugely based on linguistics and they need people who know something about specific languages and phonetics stuff in general.

When I met my horse riding instructor, who is also a neurologist and knows a whole lot about the brain and loads of other interesting things about horses and humans, and after I spent some time with her, it slowly dawned on me that had I been sighted, I’d definitely have to be a neurosurgeon, I’ve also read some really interesting books about the brain at that time as well as about the beginnings of neurosurgery. But obviously since I’m blind that was out of question, and while it was and still is a fun dream for me, since it’s not a realistic one, I don’t think about it outside of the dream zone anymore at all.

I’ve fell in love with harp along the way and I had a really strong phase when I wanted to become a harpist, but at the same time, having tried two instruments before and not being able to learn to play any of them really well because of coordination issues and such, I was too scared to try in case I would be disappointed, because then I’d be disappointed really hard, and since it was Celtic harp I was dreaming about, there weren’t even any tutors in my area for that instrument, and it would be even more unthinkable for me to learn on my own.

Then I got a chance to finally do more with my languages and finally I’ve embraced what people have been telling me for ages, probably just because it was the only idea that popped into their mind as for what a blind person could do (apart from being a musician or a massage therapist) that I should become a translator. It wasn’t too appealing to me before, because the only idea of a translator I had in my mind was someone who follows you everywhere in a foreign country if you are a VIP and translates your every word and translates what people say to you. I never knew how they managed to do it – remember what someone is saying and translate it in their brain and then tell it the other person in the other language so quickly – and I couldn’t imagine myself doing that. –
Oral translating, especially simultaneous, is still like black magic to me, but I like the idea of doing written translations. I also discovered for good how in love I was with Celtic languages and cultures and wanted to do something with it. I didn’t really know what I could do after Celtic studies, apart from making another translation of Mabinogion or something like that, but I wanted to study Celtic studies. And I think I would probably do that, if not the fact that the two universities in Poland where they were available were very far away from me, and I completely didn’t feel like going to the other end of the country again, not even for the Celtic studies, and didn’t feel it would be realistic for me to live there independently. There were Celtic studies at University of Wales Trinity St. David that I really really really wanted to apply for, because they sounded like just for me, but after some investigation their e-learning environment turned out not to be very accessible, and later on I realised that they were MA studies so I couldn’t do them straight away after finals. And then I didn’t have to worry about my Celtic studies anymore because, quite as I supposed it could be, I didn’t pass the math final exam, and failed in a big way at it. I decided that at least for now I am not going to rewrite it, as you may already know. But still I think it’s not unrealistic for me to become a translator or something like this. I might rewrite that exam at some point, or even if not, I still know a couple languages, and as my Swedish teacher had always told me, knowing about all my other issues, no one would need a piece of paper to confirm that, and no one can tell me I can’t speak a language if they see I do. I am also slowly working on my translations of the poems of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s, I’m never happy with them and my feelings about whether I should ever show them to the wider audience or not are ever fluctuating, so we’ll see. I am, as you also probably know, also working as a secretary/office worker in my Dad’s company, which I feel very lucky about, and which I don’t think my childhood self would ever guess to happen. πŸ˜€

How was it with you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day (25th August).

Hi guys. πŸ™‚

I was feeling shitty all day yesterday so didn’t even write anything, so here’s the overdue question for you, another childhood related one.

Did you like school? Are there reasons that you liked/disliked it?

My answer:

Who likes school? Not me anyway. Okay, at the beginning of my education I liked school somewhat, just except having to stay at the boarding school and except all the stressful stuff. It was stressful and challenging but I guess I liked learning. But it didn’t last long. Things were becoming more and more stressful, and I realised that, at least most of the time, creativity isn’t very well seen, and that most of the time it’s just either boring or freakishly abstractive for my brain, and that it was becoming more and more rare that what I learned at school would be either interesting or significantly beneficial/useful to me and bring something new into my life. I much preferred to learn things myself, things that I found interesting, although that wasn’t always possible, or not to a big degree. I didn’t do socialising literally at all at the beginning, then with years I learned to engage with people a bit more but it was very superficial. At the beginning of primary I remember I loved learning Polish and especially English, with English I stopped loving it as a subject very quickly because we happened to have a teacher that no one of us really liked who wasn’t too approachable or likeable, and then for the next year or two we had in turn a very meek teacher who was a lovely person but couldn’t even have much control over the class, and wasn’t demanding at all so things were either boring or chaotic on her lessons. And most of the time I didn’t have luck with English teachers, no matter in which school I was, I had only a few pretty good ones, and I’ve had fair few of them haha. Polish I loved for longer, as long as I was allowed to write elaborate stuff on topics I liked or that I felt comfortable with and could read at least mostly what I liked or stuff that we were reading for school was interesting. I think I started to get seriously disheartened by Polish in 4th grade but still was fairly good at it, and still there were things I liked about it. But, as you hopefully know, at least if you’ve been here for a while, neither English or Polish as a subject has ever discouraged me from liking those languages as such, although it was very close to it with English at some point and I had to rediscover it for myself a bit and, in a way, relearn it in my own way. I never cared much for grades, neither good nor bad, and I was not a perfectionist at school matters whatsoever, though the bigger tests usually really scared me and with time I did started to feel slightly inferior because of my math dilemmas, but only a bit. I hated that they wanted me to be good at everything (thankfully my Mum didn’t and was pissed off with that approach when she found out there is such so I didn’t want to be good at everything either). I guess I must have some sort of ability to learn things reasonably quickly, which was a bit weird but which really saved me at school, because I didn’t like studying hard, I mean repeating what we had at school and just spending more time than necessary with school stuff, I only did homework and repeated things very superficially before tests if I felt like I could fail spectacularly or if I needed to do reasonably good. I just never like to spend too much time doing boring things that I don’t have much interest in. I had to change that approach when preparing to my finals and spend horrendous amounts of time preparing to my math exam, but, as it seems, even studying really hard can’t always save you. πŸ˜€ So, especially as time went by, there were less and less things I liked at school. I was constantly stressed and depressed, having trouble engaging with people and doing a lot of daily prosaic stuff because of various things that I was struggling with, I was awfully neurotic and just hated school with a passion. Somehow I guess though that most of the time I at least managed to keep the impression that I’m doing well, unless someone was a bit more perceptive but I didn’t want people to see, or see as little as possible. I’ve also always been scared of changes, and at school you get a whole lot of them sometimes.

When I was 17, I got out of the school for the blind permanently and for a year that I had left until starting college, or however else you’d call it in your country, I was having individual education at my local school, where my brother was going to. My dream was always to be homeschooled, but I knew that was hardly possible, so I was happy that the psychiatrist who saw me at the time agreed with my Mum and therapist and the headmaster of that school who felt I could benefit from doing that year in individual education. And my poor teachers would benefit too, they weren’t really prepared for me appearing suddenly and I know most of them were deadly scared of the prospect of teaching a blind student. So I think it was easier for them doing it just with me than in the class, if it felt so challenging for them. And that year was the best year at school for me. I am sure that had I been at that school all the time it wouldn’t be a good decision, but I sort of regretted I didn’t come there earlier. I discovered that – while I was reasonably good at most subjects before – I was doing much better when learning one to one, and also I liked that I could really get to know my teachers well and they could get to know me well. I had exams at the end of that year, before going to college, but I don’t remember being very stressed about them. I was, a bit, for sure, but not quite as much as I was before previous or later major exams. I only remember finishing the syllabus for most of the subjects ridiculously quickly and reading my Vreeswijk’s poems translations or my short stories to my Polish teacher during our lessons and such. They really liked me there and I liked them. Sometimes I came to Olek’s classroom and had had lessons with the class (we were in the same class even though he’s two years younger than me because I had two years delay) and I kinda got along with a few girls in there even though they didn’t even know where people speak Finnish but oh well, never mind. I had a whole big classroom just to myself where I had all the lessons, and I remember passionately reading “Outsider” by Colin Wilson during most breaks while listening to music on the headphones so, if you know me, you’d figure out I was pretty chilled there, as for my standards. πŸ˜€ So yeah, that school I did like.

Then I went to that weekend school for adults, which was just boring. I also found it hard to socialise with people, especially with most of the teachers, those who seemed to be plain scared of me or something like that. I was really struggling with math stuff, and the rest was usually quite boring. I had one good friend who was helping me with things like getting around which made it all much easier for me, and I had some other fun people in the class too though a lot of people were dropping out or coming as they pleased since it was a college for adults so no one could pressure them to do anything really, and many folks got some benefits at work or something like this when they were learning at the same time so they enrolled often just for the sake of it. It all felt a bit artificial for me but then school is generally one big faking in so many ways for me so I was just trying to get through that period as best I could. At some point my Mum got tired of driving me back and forth and I was tired of sitting in the class while they were looking at slideshows or doing something from a textbook that I didn’t have and we collaboratively decided to ask my teachers if I could do the learning at home and just come in for exams and such. They all agreed with great relief, and promised profusely to send me what they are doing in class and the topics of the assignments and dates of the exams, but then I had to send them countless emails asking for that and that was rather yucky and resulted in a couple situations where I knew just last minute that I had an exam coming up or wrote an assignment a day before the due date. I hated that and it annoyed me like shit but overall when I stopped having to go to school every weekend life became a bit easier practically, and even more so for my Mum.

So that’s it, my experience with school, quite eventful, but mostly miserable, and made me feel really spiteful towards the whole education system, so that if someone wants to rant about it, I am always open and happy to chime in, just for the sake of it. Though Mum claims I am intoxicating Zofijka with my spite when doing it with her. I’m not sure I even care, is that awful of me? Zofijka mostly thinks what I do anyway, and comes with her school troubles to me a lot of the time, and I have to get my shit out somewhere finally too.

How much did you hate school? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Did you share bedroom with any siblings?

My answer:

Yes, for some years. The first house that we lived in was in the countryside, we shared the same backyard with my maternal grandparents and my Mum’s two sisters and their gradually developing and growing families. My grandad has built this house for my Mum. It was pretty small. There was a kitchen, a mini bathroom, and a living room, and from the living room you could go upstairs. There was one big, sort of open plan room and we all lived there, that is my parents, me and Olek. Me and Olek slept in one part of it, and my parents in the other. Strangely, as much as I’ve always had an enormous need for privacy, this particular thing rarely bothered me much. In a way I even liked it because it was easier to deal with my night time anxieties when I had my family all around, and my Dad snoring his lungs out every night (now I couldn’t sleep with that level of noise). Sure, I liked the idea of having my own room and I envied a little bit other kids who did, though I also remember that it was normal to me to not have your own room, and I remember feeling genuinely surprised hearing from other children for example at school that they have their own rooms. It wasn’t something I desperately wanted or dreamt about every night though. I think it was also good because then it let me get used to sharing bedrooms with roommates at school, which is a different thing than sharing a room with your family but I think it made it easier for me than if I went to school without having that experience before, especially with my need for privacy and adjustment issues I had there. Some time before my Mum was pregnant with Sofi, at least a year before Sofi but I think it must have been a few years, my parents got an idea of building a new house, technically on the roof of my grandparents, and a much bigger one. This whole thing lasted for years, because they had real bad luck with the people they hired and other stuff kept going wrong, it was really exhausting and affected all of us in a bad way, I wouldn’t believe building a new house could affect your entire life and your whole family like that if someone told me and if I didn’t know from my own experience, I thought we would always be just building it and will never really move in there, as I said I don’t even remember in which year or at what time it had started because it felt like we’d been building that house since forever. And then when Zofijka was 2 months we moved to our new house very spontaneously, though it still wasn’t fully finished, and I had my own room there, and at this point, I can’t imagine sharing a room with someone else all the time, not even a sibling.

How about you? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

Here’s another childhood/family related question I have for you.

Were you closer to one of your parents than another? Has it changed in your adulthood?

My answer:

It was differently at different times. I had a long time as a kid when I was closer to my Dad. He was, and still is, though not to such a degree as in the past, getting along with me the best of all of his children, which, as I later learned, was largely due to the fact that I was blind. I hated it so now I’m no more as close to him personally because I find it a weird reason to favour one of your children more than the rest because she’s blind and not at home most of the time. πŸ˜€ But before I found out that little piece of info, and especially when I was a little child, we used to spend a lot of time together, he even played with me, went to the beach just with me, we had quite a lot of things to talk about and were almost on the same wavelength. My Mum was more neurotic at that time, and while I definitely loved her, I wasn’t as much into being around her as she was easily irritated and not as fun to talk to. Then things somehow changed, and that thing I learned did influence it too, and our relationship with Dad became somewhat distant and still is a bit. But I think even without that thing about my blindness, it’s really hard to interact with my Dad, he is a good person, but has a really difficult character, gets incredibly suspicious easily and is very hypersensitive and now it’s him who is way more irritable than Mum, you just have to tiptoe around him, never criticise and always do what he wants if you want things to stay calm, so sometimes it’s better to not interact at all for a while. My relationship with my Mum has deepened a lot since my adolescence but especially in the last 5 years since I got out of the boarding school and we’ve both opened up a lot to each other and, well, are just spending more time with each other now when it is possible. We are in a lot of ways like friends, or in any case best listeners for each other haha, even if we don’t really understand each other in all things. And we always have stuff to talk about. I don’t know if something with me has been going on or if my Dad’s bad traits and annoying habits have worsened over the last year or so but recently our relationship has been really suffering, at least from my point of view. I feel really annoyed by him most of the time, he just pisses me off, so I prefer to avoid him sometimes in order not to let my irritation show too much. I frequently catch myself feeling relief when he’s going to work for a few days, or looking forward to him leaving for longer, and then I feel like a monster for feeling so, because it doesn’t seem to have any particularly strong reason other than he gets on my nerves, sometimes just with his presence.

How about you and your parents? πŸ™‚

Ina Wroldsen – “Mother”.

Hi hi people! πŸ™‚

So, this song, for me, is that kind of song which lyrics are just so ridiculously, creepily or comfortingly – depending from which angle you choose to look at it – relatable to you and describing you, your life and various situations you’ve been through, as if someone just broke into your flamin’ brain and wrote about your feelings. I hear so often that people say things like “Oh God, this song is just about me!” or such things, but to me it actually doesn’t happen very often, not to such an extent that I could literally sign myself with all my limbs under the lyrics, although I did have my personal song as a child and teen, which was “Evacuee” by Enya. This one is vastly different from Enya’s music, but no less relatable to me, maybe even more relatable to me in a way because, thankfully, I no longer have to relate to that child in “Evacuee”, and this song by Ina Wroldsen describes my feelings and my life and my relationships with people in so many more ways, not just a part of my life as it is with “Evacuee”.

Ina Wroldsen is a Norwegian singer, she is very popular in her country and in Scandinavia but also in other European countries, collaborating with many DJ’s and such, I am pretty sure that I must have heard her somewhere earlier before I discovered it for myself, as for example her song “Strongest” was a real hit. I discovered her for myself when I started to listen to more Norwegian music, largely by accident, but I never was very crazy on her, just another cool Norwegian artist out there, a bit too normal for me to like her really really much. πŸ˜€

Sometimes I focus on lyrics of my favourite songs, sometimes I don’t. Usually I focus more on those I like more, and when something is just cool but normal I tend to only focus on the music, since it rarely has very striking lyrics anyway. And so was when I first heard “Mother” last year. But at some point while listening to it I focused much more and thought: “Huh, these lyrics sound familiar”, as in, something I knew from my own experience and from my own brain. πŸ˜€ And, seriously, when I listened to the song thoroughly, just everything felt so so much like me. And not at all only in regards to the time where I was at the boarding school and struggling with a lot of stuff and wanted outa there, and not only even in relation to my own Mum. Some verses, that I’m sure were written more metaphorically, were about me in such an absurdly literal way that I just had to laugh, other were more metaphorical. I could find descriptions of my relationships with important people in my life in it and things I’ve been through, and pretty much my entire life in a way, but especially my childhood. It feels odd and crazy! And, as always when I find a song that is even somewhat relatable for me in any way, I am still so very curious what inspired Ina to write it, although I believe it was a piece written collaboratively with some other people. While it speaks to me in such an incredible, almost eerie way, I also think that most people are able to find something about themselves in it, as is the case with some songs. I hope you enjoy it anyway. πŸ™‚