The challenging life lessons.

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

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

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

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

Β Β  I was born blind

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

Living 10 years in a boarding school

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

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

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

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

I experienced two years in an integration school

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Dad was falsely accused of abusing me sexually

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Β Β  My friend, Jacek from Helsinki, passed away

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

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

I failed my maths final exam

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Things of Thankful – #TToT. –

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

Ten Things of Thankful

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

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

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

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

What’s on your list? πŸ™‚

 

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

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

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

A Multitude of Musings.

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

Β Β  Ways I can show gratitude to myself and others

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

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

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

Β Β  Gratitude to others

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

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

Β Β  Self-gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Reasons why I’m learning English.

Nearly a month after starting up this blog, I wrote a post about all the

Reasons why I’m learning Welsh

and a year ago, I wrote a similar post concerning my

Swedish.

With each of them I felt like they got quite a bit of interest, so I’m going to continue it this year as well, and write about English. Let’s see how many reasons I can come up with

1.

Isn’t it obvious? English is obligatory in schools in most countries, I guess. Or at least in all countries in Europe. So, you could say I didn’t have much choice. πŸ˜€ Before I went to school though, I was already subjected to English thanks to my Godmother, whose English was on a pretty good level for a person growing up in the 80’s (communist period – learning Russian as a second language at school) and not needing English for professional purposes. I guess it’s more common for people about her age or older to learn English now even if you don’t need it for work, but I guess back then in early 2000’s there wasn’t as much pressure yet. I believe she started learning English around college and took private lessons and while she wasn’t and is not fluent, as I said, the degree to which she knew English could feel a bit unexpected, plus she’s very communicative by nature so such people don’t need a whole lot of vocabulary to be understood. Anyways, she taught me a lot of things before I went to school, and one of them was some very basic English vocabulary and a bit of fondness for English, which probably helped me more than I normally realise to remain positive about the language itself even when I started to see that English as a school subject is MEH, and pushed me to learn it anyway. So by the time I reached school, I remember I was actually euphoric when I heard on my first actual day of school that our next lesson is going to be English. I associated it with home and with fun things and I liked it as I said, so I was super happy that I would be able to learn it at school. Sadly, I didn’t have particularly much luck with good English teachers throughout my education. I’m not saying they weren’t competent or anything like that, probably some were more, and some were less, some were very nice, some were very unpleasant, some rather bland, but the great majority of them just didn’t do anything to me more than help me prepare for the necessary tests and exams. Of course I had to learn basics at school and I did, but after that, although I was learning English throughout my whole education, I feel like school didn’t give me much in that respect and I taught myself the most. Neither did school motivate me to learn English, in fact, my first English teacher wasn’t particularly likeable person and I don’t think she cared much if we liked her subject or not. I became disillusioned quite quickly and realised that, while English may be a cool language, the subject is just deadly boring. And my view on that became even stronger when I started to seriously learn on my own and became actively interested in learning English and not just ticking off exercises in the textbook. I don’t think it is solely that I just happened to have bad teachers. I think it’s the case with most people here, and that simply the way language learning and teaching is perceived in our country and the level of English education in our schools is terrible. Basically, unless someone has some extra English classes, or wants to learn on their own or something like that, most people go out of education being barely able to communicate. And since Polish language is way more complex than English, the problem cannot be with people”s brains. People get out of schools with the mentality that they are supposed to speak perfectly, with no grammar mistakes or otherwise someone will kill them, and if they can’t do that, they won’t speak at all, even if they do have enough vocabulary to speak decently. And English lessons are not interesting, or at least they are rarely as interesting and fun as language learning could be. My Sofi writes down tons of words and rules she doesn’t understand, and when someone in her class is thinking independently enough to ask the teacher for some explanation and say that they don’t understand something, the only thing she’ll say will typically be: “*sighs theatrically* Oh my, what do you still can’t understand? It’s easy. You have to practice more at home. How many more times am I going to have to explain it?”. Well, the majority of Sofi’s class go to extracurricular English at a language school. Those who do not, have very bad grades. And I assure you that Sofi’s school is not an exception. But OMG I could rant about education system and terrible attitudes of people towards language learning for ages. πŸ˜€ Anyway, I did get the basics of English at school and I’m grateful for that, but that’s all that any school or individual teacher did for my foreign language education. There also was that teacher who was having conversations with me for a year in preparation for my final exams, and admittedly he helped me to feel a bit more confident in speaking, and most certainly contributed to the fact that I got 100% from oral English,but not much else, although I hoped he would be able to teach me some new things. He was most keen on talking about himself though. πŸ˜€

2.

Because English is everywhere. That’s why I kind of feel for English natives. On one hand it’s so cool when you can go almost anywhere in the world, read almost anything you want and not have to make the effort of translating, understanding or learning another language. But on the other hand, people miss out on so much when they don’t learn a new language, and when everyone speaks your language, what motivation can you have to do that? So it’s a bit unfair on the English-speaking folks and only for their sake I wish we had some artificial or dead language to use internationally, rather than deprive a certain group of people – a large group of people – from the benefits of learning a language and developing their brains even more. Anyways, the rest of us does have to learn English if we want to have a somewhat broader perspective on the world. Internet is huge and you can read a lot in it, do a lot with it and learn a lot, but Polish-language part of the Internet seems so mini mini compared to English. I wouldn’t be able to do so many things that I do if I didn’t speak decent English. I wouldn’t be able to restore my synths, to give you a recent example, haha. My Mum tells me that about once a week “You’re so lucky that you speak English” or “I’d like to know half of your English”, so I am constantly reminded that I should be grateful for that, and that I was given enough determination to learn it myself, and, more than determination, just plain luck, because I don’t really feel like I made some huge effort with my English, from some point on it just came to me on its own, I guess via a lot of exposure. But perhaps not everyone can be that lucky, or not everyone can make use of it or realises it. Some people like my Mum constantly complain that they can’t speak English but when you actually confront them about it “So why won’t you try to learn it?” they will have tons of arguments, including that they are too old, too stupid, too busy, too lazy, don’t have a talent (there’s no such thing as talent for learning languages unless you want to have a native accent, you just have to find the right method for yourself and that can be tricky) to name a few.

3.

Because I plain like it. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I didn’t like English though. Would I still be so keen on learning it? My experiences with other languages show that not necessarily, because my effects at it seem to be strongly correlated with my feelings for it. I can’t quite imagine learning and being good at Esperanto for example, even if it was the international language. Of course I would learn it at school if need be, and would continue it if I really needed it, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be anything more than average. I was learning German at school (and I like German more than Esperanto, because I don’t like Esperanto at all) and, unless I put a lot of conscious effort into learning it, I was just having rather mediocre results, and forgot most of it very quickly after finishing my German education, even though I did have an ambitious plan to continue learning it on my own, but that just went out the window before it started properly.

But I do like English, and I do like the culture surrounding it, the diversity of its accents, which we don’t have in Polish, and – what I’ve mentioned in both Swedish and Welsh posts, I feel a kind of bond with the nations speaking my favourite languages. English is also the most boring of my languages because it’s so mainstream-y and it’s everywhere and it spoils the experience massively, but still, it’s so cool and so rich!

4.

Because it can serve as a bridge to the whole Celtic world for me. Of course English is used in Britain and all its Celtic regions, and as a Celtophile it’s very important to me. It helps me to develop my Celtic passions and discover more about all the Celtic stuff, the folklore, the languages, the people…

5.

Because it enables me to meet interesting people whom I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. As well as like-minded people. Actually, the most development of my English skills is largely due to all of my pen pals. With some of them I’d onnly written for a while, more or less short, but with some I have developed great connections and friendships and I am so thankful for that.

6.

Because it helps me with blogging, and generally expressing myself. I used to blog in Polish for years but it wasn’t quite as fun as it is now. I feel like I can be more candid about a lot of things on my English blog and that it was one of my better ideas in my whole life to start an English blog. It works both ways – my English learning makes my blogging better, and my blogging stimulates my English learning in an incredibly effective way. – As for expressing myself, since my English skills have improved so dramatically over the last few years due to a lot of exposure, penpalling and blogging, I also write my diary mostly in English. I’ve written frequently about that I find each language useful for different kind of writing, and that it also corresponds with different kinds of emotions for me. I will write about the specific emotions of English in a while, but first, I want to say more generally that I find it much easier nowadays to express myself emotionally in English. Where feelings are concerned, but also more specifically, any kind of mental health difficulties, especially more complex stuff, somehow it’s much easier to put it in English. I’ve come to the point where sometimes it’s easier for me to find words describing some things in English, rather than in Polish, and what I want to say sounds more clunky in Polish. πŸ˜€ The emotions that in my synaesthetic view correspond particularly strongly with English are especially love, pain, sarcasm, playfulness, sadness, emptiness, anxiety, comfort, passion, euphoria and loneliness.

7.

Because it has enabled me to build a more stable support network and become both more aware of my mental health struggles, as well as deal better with them. Again blogosphere and penpalling have helped me immensely with that. Previously, I couldn’t really say I felt free to talk to anyone about what I was experiencing. Partly because I didn’t really understand it myself but also because I simply either didn’t feel like I could trust them, or I knew they wouldn’t understand. Now, thanks to my English, I have found a lot of people who have similar experiences to me or even if they don’t, they are still very supportive and I want to support them as well, and I feel like I’ve made more meaningful connections with people even though they are just online. All this keeps me motivated to develop my English further, and actually makes it develop on its own because obviously the more you use a language, the more it develops.

8.

Because there’s lots of great music in English and I want to know what it’s about.

9.

Because then I can be helpful to my immediate family who are all practical monoglots and sometimes need to translate something from English. Especially my Dad who is a tanker driver, and it’s hard to be a tanker driver and often supply foreign ships with fuel and speak no English. I often don’t have the vocabulary that he needs anyway, but some vocabulary is better than none. At least I can help him how to describe the word he needs to use and then because they are oriented in the field, they understand quickly what he wants to say, unless their English is poor too. πŸ˜€

10.

Because there are so many cool accents. I’ve already said that, but it deserves a separate mention. I LOVE that feature of English that it’s so rich in dialects and accents! You can tell where someone’s from just by their accent, and here we can’t really do that, or at least not to such an extend as you! Polish language is much more universal. There are several major dialects that are commonly recognisable, but they aren’t many and not many people choose to speak them on a daily basis, and our dialects are mostly different because of specific words that we use in different regions, rather than accents as in pronunciation differences. That doesn’t mean there are none, but an average person who is not a language geek and has no interest in such things will not hear those subtle differences or at least certainly won’t be able to tell someone’s location by them, unless someone’s accent is really super strong and very commonly associated with a specific area which mainly concerns eastern accents that are influenced by languages like Russian or Belarussian or Ukrainian or perhaps Lithuanian. My grandma has roots in all of the above mentioned countries and despite living in the north for years people can usually hear her long and soft vowels and identify correctly and always ask if she’s from the east or something. But that’s a rare case. I consider myself a language geek and the only things I can recognise are those Eastern accents, some subtle things that are specific to Silesia or Lublin area, and some stuff specific to the highlands and that’s it pretty much. This is due to the fact that after WWII people were massively migrating from countryside to towns and moving around different regions, so the accent has unified a lot. I think it’s such a pity. That’s why for some people the whole concept of an accent is a bit out there and they don’t really know what it is in terms of English. For example my Dad asked me not long ago what that whole accent thing is in English, is it about word stress (because that’s what we call akcent in Polish), or that people have some speech deffects or what, hahaha. And for a long time I didn’t get that either. Like how can you hear that someone is from Sheffield or New York or Glasgow or wherever unless they tell you? πŸ˜€ I didn’t hear those differences for a long time either. Only at some point one of my earliest English online friends started to teach me about accents and then one day something clicked in my brain and I started to gradually hear them and now I think for a non native I’m pretty good at distinguishing at least the British ones and of course between which one is British, which Australian and which American, though I have a very hard time distinguishing American accents from each other or I can barely recognise English US from Canadian or New Zealand from Australian. With understanding it really depends on how out there someone’s accent is and how quickly they are speaking. I also like to think that my own accent is very good for a non native, and that’s what people have been telling me, both natives and non natives, though I’m sure I do have to have still at least a bit of Polish accent, not that I can hear it myself (I can’t, but you can’t be a good judge of your own accent I suppose), but because I don’t know many people who have just gotten rid of their accent, and also it is not something I am aiming to in itself, because I guess it would feel weird if people couldn’t tell at all that I’m Polish, as if I was a bit less Polish or something and I don’t want that, and I like to imitate different English accents though, while I can speak some kind of US English (or so I believe) I am much better and more comfortable at British and I have more clue about how to imitate different British accents than American ones, especially the of more or less general southern-ish/Rp and more or less general northern-ish. The only British accents that I know that I cannot imitate convincingly are Geordie and Scottish. But being able to fake different accents has come to me much later on and after a lot of immersion and listening, before than my accent was just kind of Ponglish. Now the only Ponglish I can make is the very extreme one, I believe I can’t speak sort of in-between any longer like I used to – with not overly strong but definitely audible Polish accent – it’s either hardcore Ponglish or normal English (with a possible little bit of Polish as I said), and the extreme Ponglish one I use either for making fun of some kind or with Poles who can’t understand my normal, English English otherwise like Sofi. πŸ˜€ Playing with accents is so fun.

11.

Because English is so rich in colourful phrases, idioms, sayings and words. I believe that must come from the very wide variety of influences on this language. Polish is a very rich language in this too, but English seems much more than any of the languages I’ve learnt and sometimes it overwhelms me how many brilliant and fascinating words I don’t know how to use yet. Every language has its words that are untranslatable, but English has just so many! Or maybe it’s just my impression? It’s so flexible and you can do so much with it. Swedish is also flexible and you can make a lot with it, but I guess not to such an extent. I really lack some of the English expressions in Polish these days, especially when talking to someone who speaks only Polish. πŸ˜€

12.

Because it lets me read more books, and because reading in English is fun. And because I want to read even more in English. I already read most of stuff on the Internet in English, but with books so far the majority of what I read is still Polish, even thoughh there are more and more English ones thrown into the mix.

13.

Because it lets me learn more about my music crushes/fazas. Even if they aren’t English natives. Usually, especially at the beginning of a faza, it’s easiest for me to find info on my crush in English.

14.

Because, apart from helping me to develop my already existing interests, it helps me to build new ones.

15.

Because I can learn other languages through it. Like I do with Welsh right now. It has its upsides and downsides, but if not my English skills, I wouldn’t be able to access Welsh resources that I can.

16.

Because it shares a lot of similarities with other languages. Swedish for example – when I first started it, I was told it’s just a blend of English and German. – It’s very simply put but it’s true to a large degree, and my English and Swedish definitely help each other. Also while English is a Germanic language and Welsh is Celtic, they influence each other so that helps to some extent as well. And I’m going to learn some more Germanic and Celtic languages in the future, so I am sure English is going to be helpful with those too. Both because I am most likely going to learn them through the medium of English, as well as because they share more or less similarities.

17.

To develop my brain. I’ve written on my brain paranoia and wanting to avoid cognitive issues especially in the Welsh post. It’s hugely important to me.

18.

So I can talk to Misha in English or to myself. If you want to read about my experiments with Misha and foreign languages, I recommend you reading the above mentioned posts. Of all the foreign languages, my English is the best, and so I can communicate with Misha the most easily, if I want to talk to him in a language other than Polish. I also think he responds to it the best except for Polish of course, but that could be due to many reasons, including my autosuggestion.

19.

Every language makes your perspective broader, and kind of adds you a new personality. This is just interesting to observe, but is also great in some self-development, or just self-discovery. It’s interesting to see your thinking pathways in Polish vs in English vs in Swedish, for example. It’s interesting to see in which moments and in what kind of situations my thinking switches from Polish to English or back to Polish or to Swedish, or when it’s a mix of all that plus Welsh. I definitely tend to think about more emotional stuff in English, the same as with writing. Recently I’ve even started automatically praying in English. πŸ˜€ The first time when that happened, I only realised that I’m praying in English a few minutes after I’ve started, and that was so hilarious. But obviously God is very multilingual so I let my soul and brain pray in whichever language it’s convenient as long as that doesn’t get in the way of prayer itself because for example I think more of how I should put things rather than focus on praying itself and on God. My dreams have been a linguistic mix for years now.

20.

Because it’s fun to have more than one language to swear in. Even though Welsh or Finnish is better for that than English, English is quite bland and cliche I don’t know why, and most people here know the basic words like fuck or shit so it doesn’t feel the same.

 

21.

Because it can help me with anxiety, as well as with depression, see the posts above for details.

22.

To be able to understand at least some slangs to whatever extent possible, as well as dialects and other such interesting language creations.

23.

To have access to English-language media, like radiostations, and actually understand what they are saying, and not just immerse myself in the language as I’d been doing for years.

24.

To challenge my social anxiety. See the posts above for details.

25.

Because it’s easy. So why not?

26.

Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only were learning some endangered, minority languages. I wrote more on that in the Swedish post. But also, even if I spoke Swedish, I guess that still wouldn’t look as serious if I didn’t speak any English. πŸ˜€

27.

Because, just like with Swedish, I hope it will be also useful in a more practical way, occupational for example. Who knows.

Yay! I thought there will be less reasons for English because it’s so obvious but there are even more!

If you are a native speaker of English, what do you like it for, or why do you not like it? If you are an English learner, what are your reasons for learning it? πŸ™‚

 

Ten Things Of Thankful.

I haven’t participated in

Ten Things Of Thankful

in ages, I saw the post by Astrid of A Multitude Of Musings last weekend and only realised I haven’t linked up in a long time or so it feels. So I’m very happy that I’ve managed to do that this week, although I doubted I will be able to do it in time. I’ve been feeling rather crappy emotionally and moodwise the last few days so a bit of gratitude will be a good thing.

  • Because it is Independence Day in Poland, the first thing on my list is just that – our independence! That we have been an independent country for 101 years now, that we have had such difficult history yet are thriving, and in the recent years it’s visible more than ever. I’m grateful to and for all those people who sacrificed their lives for it to happen, who went through all sorts of horrific experiences or personal losses during WWI. As I said in the song of the day post I think we so often tend to take it all for granted. I’m also so extremely grateful that I’m Polish. I love many countries, and even more languages to pieces, but I often feel like I wouldn’t like to be born any other nationality than Polish, and it would be such a flippin shame if I wouldn’t speak Polish. I probably would never learn it because it would be too difficult, so my brain would be so much poorer, and would I want to learn languages as I do know, my start with it could have not been as easy with a less complex mother tongue. πŸ˜€ Living in Poland has its downsides just as anywhere else, but there are so many things that are just non-existent in all other countries and that are absolutely great.
  • That I won’t have to pay for the repair of my new computer. As you may remember, it got damaged during the delivery, so the company through which I bought it appealed to the delivery company so that they would cover the cost of the repair, because it was actually not working at all. In the end they said they’ll cover the cost of a new one. I’m also grateful for that somehow my laptop is still functioning. I really don’t know what’s going on with the drive, it’s not working properly and I really don’t like this limbo phase lingering on forever, especially that getting used to a new one will be even more stressful, but at least I do have a (more or less) working computer. Otherwise my brain would stop working. πŸ˜€ Okay, maybe not straight away, but not long afterwards. So I hope I can keep it (the computer) alive as long as it’s necessary. And I’m doing something on it most of the time so I bet it’s exhausted.
  • That my airways are doing better. This time of the year is allergy time, and then it’s very easy for me to get my seasonal bronchitis. It felt like I was going to get it very soon but to my relief I’m feeling much better, and hope that doesn’t mean the bronchitis thing is just going to be delayed, but that it won’t come this year.
  • (mentioning self harm and other stuff, nothing graphic. Please skip if you feel it could be triggering) My bed. I spent all morning in bed and got out of there long after noon. I’ve been in a shithole and just didn’t have the mental energy to drag myself out of bed whatsoever, and the perspective of having to interact with people was overwhelming. So, when you can’t get out of bed, it’s good when you have a comfy, double bed like I do. I’m still rather shitty though more functional, generally that doesn’t happen often to me that I seriously can’t get myself to do things, I often struggle with it but can do it in the end, so today was pretty hard. I’m just feeling emotionally overloaded lately and my inner critic Maggie is having a hyperactive phase or something, she’s hyperactive most of the time but sometimes more than ever and then I feel like annihilating us both. Oh and another thing I’m thankful for that is related, I’m thankful for not cutting at all lately! I’ve managed to go no cutting since July which is not my life record but at some point this weekend I was sure I’m gonna do this but I didn’t. I guess apart from my will-power what held me back was that now I have that weird sore thing on my leg I’ll have more than enough scars on my legs, and I usually cut my legs because it’s not very likely to be noticed. I guess the cutting crisis is over for now so that’s good. I’m not sure why I’m having this overload thing right now, I guess just because I haven’t had for quite long so my brain decided it’ll be the right time, and I suppose a lot of small things triggered it.
  • painkillers. I’ve had a bit of a headache today, not a strong one but annoying enough for me to decide to take something for it as I had a hard time focusing on my writing. Luckily it helped as now it’s lessened and hopefully will go away completely soon.
  • My Inner MishMash Readership Award. I’m so excited about making it. It’s a long weekend now but hopefully tomorrow I can get the last things I need for it and then will be sending it out and revealing the winners.
  • Misha. Misha is such a tremendous support for me. For the last few days he’s been very moody, but he has his cuddly moments now as well when he wants me to cuddle him for like 15 minutes and is so cute then. It is rare for him so the more I appreciate it.
  • my Dad. I’ve been having a bit hellish times with him but that makes me feel like the more I should include him. I’m very grateful that he employs me, and helps me in a lot of practical ways, though being around him is a real test for my patience more and more, gradually and when I’m having those emotional overloads and all that self-loathing stuff I’m particularly easy to get angry with people as well.
  • my mum. Just like my Dad, she is very practically supportive of me so I wouldn’t manage without her, especially that she is my proxy when dealing with people, which I appreciate hugely and can’t imagine what my life would be like without a “peopling” proxy hahaha.
  • All my blogosphere friends and penfriends. They make it a bit lighter in the shithole. As I said, my family is brilliant but I can’t really talk to them about most of the stuff that is going on in my brain, except for with Mum about some of it that she can relate to in any way, and it’s also extremely hard to reach out to people when I’m feeling like I do right now. So it’s good that I have people online these days. Even when I can’t or don’t know how to talk about my mental health struggles it feels good to just be able to chat with someone who thinks similarly, and it makes a difference when you know you’re not alone.

If this list feels a bit forced to you it’s because it was, haha. But I just felt I needed to write something and I guess we should be grateful for even the smallest things, shouldn’t we? πŸ™‚

Ten Things Of Thankful.

I’m very very late but I thought I’d like to join in with

Ten Things Of Thankful

and write a bit about some things I’ve been grateful for this past week, since the link up is still open. Here’s my gratitude list.

  1. My Mum reading to me. I’ve always loved it when my Mum read books to me, although it hasn’t been very often in the recent years. Last week was different though. One day I just asked Mum to read me something, not expecting much enthusiasm in return, but she did agree! So I picked my favourite fairytales book with the fairytales from around the world where people always have so ridiculously long names and placenames are even longer (most of the fairytales in it are from the African countries), which always annoyed her so much. Like, is there even such a country, Biladutasemipi? I’m curious what does the Biladutasemipian language sound like? Must be crazy. But then I remembered there was a book I never read, that I bought for myself a few years ago. I never read it because my OCR scanner pissed me off and I couldn’t scan it, but I always wanted to read this book. It’s the correspondence between Astrid Lindgren and Sara Schwardt, who wrote to Astrid for the first time when she was 12 and they were like penfriends for 30 years, Sara was one of her readers. So then I asked Mum if we could read that book and, so far, we’ve read perhaps four letters, and that’s something, given how easily Mum falls asleep when reading anything. It’s very interesting, although I can barely keep myself from correcting her Swedish pronunciation, but I know I’d be a prick doing it all the time so I try not to.
  2. Cocoa. You know how I love coffee. And, even though I decided some weeks ago that I am going to, I need to, cut on how much coffee I drink and not drink it everyday, because it makes my anxiety worse, but I was drinking it once in a while anyway. Well, now when I don’t drink coffee everyday, I can clearly see that, apart from energising me, coffee really doesn’t make me much of a favour and makes me feel crappy in a lot of ways. Yes, I drink green tea instead of coffee, I am trying to befriend it, but, while green tea works perfectly in making me more functional in the mornings, I still don’t really like how it tastes, hence I miss my coffee still. So, I’ve looked for some alternatives and decided I’ll try natural cocoa. Even if it won’t be as effective as green tea, though it does have some stimulating properties, at least I can drink it as a taste alternative to coffee, prepare it a bit like I would a cuppa coffee. And that seems to work. I used to be really mistrustful towards cocoa because it made me sick years ago, and I am emetophobic, and I usually never eat things that made me sick even if just once, but cocoa and orange juice are the only exceptions, because I really like them and at some point, some years ago already, I just was able to think logically and realise I just had to have bad luck one time and drink them either when they were expired or something, and neither cocoa nor orange juice have ever made me sick again, and I would be very surprised if they ever would in future. Especially that, hey, it’s not that easy to make a person with emetophobia throw up. πŸ˜‰ So, I’m drinking green tea every day and when I want something more like a coffee, I have a mug of cocoa.
  3. My penfriends. For last week, especially my English penfriend whom I help a bit with learning Polish. Such things make you properly explore your own language and realise you don’t know quite as much about it as you’d like to think. I love such brain stimulating stuff!Β  I am also very grateful for those of my penfriends who have been very loyal and with whom I’ve been writing for a while already. It’s a rare thing to find a pen pal that you’d write with for, well, over 2 months, so when you write each other for half a year or 10 months it becomes to look impressive, and feels like a fabulous achievement! πŸ™‚
  4. Warm, but not hot weather. I really like how it is outside now. Definitely pleasant.
  5. Playing with Zofijka. We always have a lot of fun with Zofijka, and recently we’ve played quite a lot together. She always makes me laugh, not even because she’s always so funny, but because her laughter is very infectious.
  6. Music. I discovered a lot of great music last week again, and listened to a lot of music that I hadn’t listened to in ages.
  7. Good blood test results. I had a blood test last week, and so did my Mum. I wasn’t quite concerned about my results, and I am glad they are good, but I was very worried about my Mum, who was at the gynaecologist’s a while ago and she told her she had a cyst on the ovary and something on her breast as well. She doesn’t seem to have cancerous cells as it turned out now, so that’s good, although she’ll need to have an ultrasound to make sure all’s well. But that cyst thing really gave me a bit of a scare.
  8. misha. misha had a week of solitude last week and wasn’t very involved, I saw very little of him, but as always, I treasured every moment with him.
  9. doing cupping therapy for my Mum. Do you know what cupping is? You put the cups (but not the cups that you drink your tea from obviously haha, they’re either gum or glass cups that are used for cupping) on someone’s back, or chest at times, those cups are either fire cups or they suck in the air so that they stay pressed to the skin, and it’s an alternative or complementative treatment that is used to make the immune system stronger, so especially when you are ill. My grandad, who is a bit of a quack, very much into medicine, but not a doctor, can do cupping with glass cups and has often done it to us when we were sick and the doctor said cupping could help. And some time ago my grandad taught me how to do cupping for someone, with those cups that suck the air inside of them, that you place on the skin with a pump. That was horrendously difficult and I was stressed to do it on my own, because, well, what if I wouldn’t notice a bone or something and do it wrong! But my Mum likes to have cupping done regularly to keep her immune system working properly and over the last few months I’ve become pretty good at doing cupping, although I’ve had one situation when I failed and placed a cup on Mum’s mole by accident, which scared the shit out of me, but thankfully nothing happened afterwards. And, on Sunday, my Mum got a cold, probably during her run. We hope she won’t get her episodic asthma flare from it. So, to prevent it, and to get well sooner, my Mum asked me to do the cupping to her on Sunday evening. Which I did. It’s still a bit stressful to me but I enjoy doing it, and I am glad I’m getting better and better at it, and I like learning new things like that (that are available to me without sight) from my grandad. Mum feels a bit better today and is eating tons of ginger.
  10. A good news from my gran. She phoned my Mum last week and asked if we’d like to go on a pilgrimage with her again at the beginning of September, to a place where we were last year – Mum, Zofijka and me – and we all really enjoyed it. Of course we’re all going!

What are you thankful for? πŸ™‚

20 things that make me happy.

I got an idea for this post from Carol Anne of Therapy Bits. Here’s a list of 20 things that make me happy, in no specific order.

1. Yeeeah you guessed it… Misha! πŸ˜€ What would I do without Misha? I can’t even imagine and I don’t want to. I can’t imagine my life without Misha now. He can sometimes change so much just being around. And always makes me think that, blimey, God must be a real, real genius, to be able to create something so perfectly beautiful!

2. My music crushes! As I like to say, each and every one of them is like an antidote for all the bad stuff for me. They enrich me and my life and I can learn so much from them, deach of them brings different things into my life with themselves. They give me something to dream about and a different world to escape to when I need it. Also music in general as it’s really so beneficial for my brain in so many respects.

3. Books. They make me happy largely in the same way as music. Also literary crushes. Well that’s not quite as intense a thing, not for me, not as important and long lasting, but it came to my mind because I am just having a literary crush at the moment and it’s oh such a cool feeling, and a weird one, because the guy is very weird. I could go on and on about it right now but I’ll probably be over it once I finish my current read and it’s not relevant for you, so I won’t, people say I’m overwhelming with my crushes, but I’ll only say that I am reading a Norwegian saga at the moment (no, not in Norwegian, my Mum thinks I’m that educated, but it’s a Polish translation). It’s by May Grethe Lerum, the original title is “Livets Doetre” and it consists of 35 books (I know, sounds scary and/or ridiculous) and it’s happening in 17th-18th century. I’ve heard about it ages ago from my friend Jacek from Helsinki, he was reading it and was like “You have to read it, you’ll love it!”, but I was quite sceptical because of the amount of books, it kinda didn’t sound good to me, and usually Jacek’s taste and mine weren’t very similar at all in terms of books, apart from myths and legends and the vikings and language stuff. He sent me all of it and it was sitting somewhere on my drive with no interest from me, then I wanted to even just see what it’s about recently, but it turned out it’s this weird kind of a PDF file that is not accessible or something, but I got the books from our library for the blind and seems like now it’s a good time for me to read it. I’ve read loads of much better books but this lady is pretty good at describing people’s characters which I always appreciate, and now there is that guy I’m having a crush or something on, and now I want to live in 1740’s Norway.

4. Relaxing baths with bath balls! I had one today. Was so lovely. And Misha was with me.

5. Sleep. When I get some good sleep, anyway, or some fantastic and vivid happy dream. Oh, by the way, does someone of my regular readers who’s been sticking along for a while perhaps still remember Sasha? The cat we had for a while last October and then had to find a new home for him? I recently dreamt of him, and that I visited him in his current house. It was so bittersweet. I know I haven’t told you, not on the blog anyway, but the funny thing is that Sasha is now the cat of one of the children’s books’ writers I read as a kid. πŸ˜€ Seriously! It turns out she lives quite close, and she and her family were the people who took Sasha from us. I learnt who she was much later on, when my Mum got one of her books and a letter from her in the mail and I heard what her name was! It was a shock! But that means he probably has a good and happy life now with her, if you can conclude anything about an author from their books she sounds like a nice and decent person.

6. Kefir, kefir, I love kefir!

7. Blogging and writing in my diary. I am so happy and grateful that I have my blog, and so happy that I have my readers! I also love that I have my private diary as well where I can write what I can’t anywhere else, and where I can take a look at different things that have happened in my life to get a perspective, which sometimes may be a comforting thing to do if I get too irrational about what’s currently happening in my life.

8. Zofijka. And that we always have so much fun together and laugh a lot. We don’t always get along well and not about everything, but she is often the one who lifts up my mood the most effectively, just her laughter is infectious.

9. Jocky. I don’t hang out that much with him and he can be annoying, but I like him and he is always so sweet with me, everyone says he seems to like me the most in a way because he’s always so clingy when I am with him that he’s apparently not like that with anyone else. I am happy he loves me so much, although I have no flamin idea why is that.

10. All my online friends. I’ve mentioned my readers but I am also always very happy with all my other online friends, especially my pen pals. It goes a bit in waves when you regularly engage in pen palling, since you don’t stay regular long term penfriends with everyone you try it with, it’s actually a difficult business, but currently I have a lot of luck with penfriends and I have an abundance of them. Each of them adds something different to my life, and I hope I am able to add something to theirs as well. We’ve recently decided with one of my pen pals that we’re going to exchange some recipes, and yesterday she sent me a recipe for Scottish shortbread! Well I love Scottish stuff so I am excited to try it out with Mum as soon as possible, as I’ve never eaten shortbread.

11. Horse riding. I haven’t done it for almost a year, as my instructor has had a hiatus mostly due to health issues, but I love it, and I am likely going to go back to it in September.

12. Having long walks with Mum. As I say, they clear up your brain so well. I’ve been having a lot of overthinking stuff going on and worse generalised anxiety lately and walks have helped me a lot. A change of scenery is good sometimes too, to change your thought patterns, haha.

13. Toffifee! Who doesn’t like Toffifee? It is not a rhetorical question. I seriously wonder if there is something who hates Toffifee!.

14. Milka icecream. There are such icecream in our local shop, they’re cones, and they’re very yummy. And they’re called Milka so they’re probably from that Milka brand. So this is kinda like me, some people do call me Milka at times as it’s one of our Polish diminutives of Emilia. There are better icecream out there but Milka is the best of those you can get right here without having to go too far for something more sophisticated.

15. Learning Welsh. There are ups and downs. And there are periods of stagnation even. But then it makes me even happier when finally things go smoothly again.

16. Listening to any of my favourite languages. It’s brainmelting! A bit like an antidote in its own right as well.

17. Talking to my Mum, going out with her and doing stuff together. Finally we can catch up on all that to our hearts’ content.

18. Helping people in any way I can. Doesn’t it make us all a bit happier?

19. Bein by the sea. Especially in the sea. Even though I can’t swim too well. It always is so soothing and nourishing for my imagination. I made up some imaginary people/human-like beings who live under the sea when I was a kid and I still love to imagine that I am with them when I am by the sea.

19. Yummy sweets, as well as spicy food.

20. Doing some guided imageries when I am stressed.

What things make you happy? πŸ™‚

My gratitude list. #TToT.

I recently wrote a gratitude list and I thought I’d do this again, but this time I’m linking up with

Ten Things Of Thankful.

So without further ado, here’s my list.

Β Β  1.

Eating my Mum’s meringue with whipped cream, raspberries, strawberries and peaches. We had a bonfire today, and while I didn’t took part in it, Mum left some yummy food for me, including the meringue. We all like it most with blueberries, but blueberries seem to be very expensive at the moment and Mum didn’t want to make it with blueberries for all the guests not knowing if they will actually eat it. But it was still very good. And as we are at it, I appreciated that I didn’t have to be there too, I could hear all the noise from my room well enough. πŸ˜€

2.

Spending a lot of time with Misha. He wasn’t keen on sleeping with me every night, but still, we spent a lot of time together this week, and as especially the second part of it has been difficult for me, it’s greatly valued.

Β Β  3.

Green tea. Perhaps you recall my recent coffee dilemmas. It seems like I have the solution. I’ve been trying different kinds of green teas and other drinks like that that could get me going, but wasn’t particularly convinced as they either weren’t working much or I didn’t like the taste. Now I found the right green tea for me as it seems and I use xylitol with it to make it taste better.

4.

(Slightly) cooler weather. It’s still rather hot, but it’s manageable and cooling down which I am very happy about and desperately hopeful that this tendency will keep for a while.

5.

My family. Yesterday was the funeral of my Mum’s acquaintance’s daughter who died tragically in an accident. It was shocking, and made me feel grateful that I do have my whole family.

6.

Long walks with Mum and Jocky. That always helps me to clear out the brain a bit.

7.

Crisps. I’ve got a lot this week and liked them a lot.

8.

Music. I’ve been listening to plenty of fabulous music this week, including right now. Music helps me greatly in so many aspects of life and I can’t imagine my life without it.

9.

Eating pasta with broccoli sauce yesterday for dinner. This is such a ridiculously minimalistic meal we usually have it when there isn’t much time or not many things to eat at the moment or lack of creativity. But we all love it anyway.

Β Β  10.

Sleep. It hasn’t always been the best for me this week, but I did have some very restful sleep and I appreciated it very much, and I’m soon going off to sleep as it’s already past midnight and hope tonight I can also be grateful for good sleep.

What are you grateful for this week? πŸ™‚

Question of the day.

What are five things you’re grateful for this week so far?

My answer:

1. A very nice meeting we had on Tuesday that was organised by Zofijka’s friend’s mum, I wrote about it in the coffee share post, would give the link but I’m posting via email so don’t have it at hand. It was a very interesting meeting and a very nice one.

2. My anti-anxiety medication. The meeting wouldn’t be quite as good for me without it, and even with it it was still a bit of a challenge socially.

3. My exquisitely Scottish dreams that I had the night before the last. I just don’t know what happened, but I assume it’s also my anti-anxiety med that I should thank for that, to some degree at least, that it made me sleep so deeply and for so long. When we came back from the meeting, I felt a bit tired, like sleepy, and I thought it was because of the med, as it sometimes works like that for me. So I went to bed really quickly and early and was knocked out in a minute, or not much longer really. And then, I had one absolutely crazy, gloomy, sad and awful dream to do more or less with my past, but then I had loads and loads of Scottish-themed dreams, it was incredible! As if I had some calling from Scotland or whatever! Like I had one dream about being on holidays in Edinburgh, then another about a gig I went to with my Dad, of a harpist and I even remember her name – she was Aileen or Eileen MACHamish – beautiful name (especially that Hamish is one of my recent fastest rising personal boy name favourites, how did my brain know that?!), and she was also a fabulous harpist. But sadly it doesn’t seem like Aileen/Eileen MACHamish even exists! Then I had a dream involving Julie Fowlis (a Scottish singer who sings in Scottish Gaelic, and whose songs I’ve shared here some time ago and am certainly going to share more over time). I remember that there was a BBQ at my gran’s, we were all sitting in her garden, my family that is, and I was sitting on a swing that my gran has in there, with Julie Fowlis, and I remember we were chatting about something and both very absorbed in it and laughing a lot and hugging each other, and we had both crazily heavy Scottish accents, even Julie doesn’t normally have an accent like that, not to mention me! πŸ˜€ It was a bit comical. I also watched “Brave” with Zofijka, you know, that Disney movie about Merida and her mum who was transformed into a bear, the only Disney movie I actually care about at all. We did watch it with Zofijka loads of times and by the way Julie Fowlis sang in there. And I even dreamt about my potential boss, or the one I hoped would be my boss. You might remember that I was looking into another job opportunity about two months ago. So that company I so wanted to work with was Scottish, and I dreamt about the guy who’d be my boss there if I’d get that job. πŸ˜€ But while in our email exchange he was reasonably nice, in my dream he was very grumpy and not at all likeable. And I had other Scottish-themed dreams too but I don’t remember enough of them to have any very specific recollections. Anyway, that was cool, and funny and I really enjoyed all those dreams. I guess that must be some sort of a sign that I seriously should do Scots as my next language! πŸ˜€

4. The fan in my room. And that even though it’s really hot this week again, and I’ve had a lot of headaches thanks to this, I didn’t get another migraine.

5. Audible, Audible credits, and interesting books in ENglish.

What would be your five things? πŸ™‚

My little gratitude list.

I’ve just thought I’ll do one so here goes:

A very warm weather in the morning. I woke up quite early, ate breakfast and then sat in the living room with Mum enjoying our drinks, with the balcony door open, and the sun was shining and it felt almost hot there, but not too hot. It felt very nice. In the afternoon it started to rain heavily and was stormy though.

Having a nice, low key day. Which I really appreciate today, as I’ve been having a headache all day long, so don’t feel particularly energised and am happy I don’t have to go out anywhere or do anything very important or stressful or whatever. It is not the kind of headache that would put me to bed and that I’d be completely non functional, but still it’s quite disturbing and painkiller doesn’t seem to work, but it doesn’t feel strong enough for me to take the stronger one for more migraine-ish stuff. I’ve had this kind of headaches prety often in the last couples of week. Oh but I’m digressing.

All my friends – penfriends, in the blogosphere, etc. all of them. I’m really grateful for having so many great people around me online!

A long, hot shower I had a while ago. Sometimes a long, warm bath or shower helps me with a headache or a migraine, which today didn’t happen, but it was cool anyway. It’s getting warmer, so my skin is not as dry, so I feel more daring with soaking in the water, no having to regret it later because of feeling dry and itchy.

Yummy food I’ve had today, and a lot of veggies. For breakfast I had sandwiches with my Mum’s baked pork chop, I guess that’s how you’d call it, and lettuce, parsley, spinach, cress, tomatoes, radishes and chive. We have loads of vegetables right now, thanks to my Dad’s gardening hobby, which my Mum looks down upon and laughs at, but I think it’s really good for him that he has some constructive hobby, and also that it’s so useful, as it’s nice to have your own vegetables. For lunch we had chicken soup with noodles, and also a lot of parsley – we can’t imagine a chicken soup without parsley, not a good one at least. And for supper my Dad made his artsy sandwiches especially for me. πŸ˜€ My Dad’s sandwiches are very special ones, because he always puts so much effort into them, making sandwiches for himself or anyone else is a bit like a ritual for him I guess, or looks so. A characteristic of them is that they are full of everything, especially when it comes to spices, his view is that the more you put on your sandwich, or to any dish actually, the better it is. I don’t always agree with this view but I really liked his sandwiches today, and it was cool that he made them especially for me cus he needed company while eating supper and everyone else were either sleeping or immersed in the TV/smartphone/observing the fish tank. πŸ˜€

Misha. I’m grateful for Misha every day. Recently I tried to think back what it was like back when I didn’t have Misha, or didn’t even know him, which wasn’t so long ago after all, but it was kind of difficult to even imagine, Misha feels like an essential part of my life, and I call him my personal bundle of happiness. He wasn’t particularly convinced when I asked him to go sleep with me last night, but instead he spent a good part of the day sleeping in my room during the day, first in the morning, and then in the afternoon, when I was doing my Welsh, and then watching the rain falling outside at my window. Nowadays, when I learn Welsh, it’s mostly listening, and today I had my 2,5 hours weekly marathon, so then I don’t do anything else but listen and read. So, as I felt exhausted because of the headache, I just laid beside him and we held each other’s upper limbs for moral support – I suppose the moral support was mostly for me as I was really frustrated with myself ’cause I still can’t make sense of what I’m hearing, and kept distracting. Perhaps doing the Welsh marathon with a headache wasn’t the best idea in the first place, but I doubt it’d be much different otherwise, and I had enough free time on my hands so I knew I would regret it if I wouldn’t use it when I had it ’cause 2,5 hours without external distractions doesn’t happen often to most of us.

My Plextalk, and that it is so small so I can actually lie on the bed with it and plug the headphones in and listen. And generally, I’m grateful for it because it saves me from boredom, silence anxiety as I call it, and so many other things. I’m also grateful for my laptop as otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do most of the things I do, and for my Braille-Sense, ’cause even though it is falling apart I’m still using it a lot and life would be harder without it.

That I slept quite well last night. Not very well, because I have blocked nose since a few days because of allergy to something I have yet to find out what it is, but reasonably well. And I am also grateful that it’s already evening so I can soon go to bed and hopefully will wake up tomorrow and will feel better physically.

That I feel pretty much on the baseline emotionally and moodwise. That’s of course my baseline, not like for most people haha, but I am glad it is like this anyway.

Blogging, writing, journaling. As I’ve said multiple times, it always helps me with expressing myself so is always very therapeutical, and just pleasant.

Reading a lot of interesting things lately.

That I am able to learn my languages, and, even if there is such a bit of a low like with my Welsh lately, i am mostly really good at it, and am lucky not to have to put as much effort into it as many other people. I’m also very grateful that I could do my Welsh learning today, and hopeful that I’ll soon see some progress.

What are things you are grateful for? πŸ™‚

My inner phobias…

When I started this blog over a year ago, and wondered what it should be like, also what I should be like in relation to my readers, one of the things I thought should be particularly important to me was responsiveness. And it still is very important to me. I appreciate it a lot in others too and I think it’s an important part of communication, and also if you want to have a natural-looking blog that will appeal to people, I think it’s good to be in touch with them. Take an interest in them, who they are, what they are like, what is interesting to them, etc. and be possibly approachable. One of the purposes of my blogging is that I want to express myself – I have a diary for this, because I feel I can express myself so much better in writing than speaking, and I can be far more open in my diary, but I felt the need to connect with people as well. – So another big reason for my blogging was to find some people that I could relate to, or who could relate to me, with whom we’d think similarly or like similar things, just be like-minded in any way. So I thought that although my blog would be primarily for me, my readers’ opinions and suggestions should also be important to me. And I stick to it, or think so anyway. I try to engage with people and also help when and if I can in any way.

Last month I was going through my stats, including the often very quirky phrases that people search for and come across my blog as a result. While as most of you probably know most of those search terms are unknown, sometimes you can make interesting conclusions out of them and see what people are looking for on your blog, and some time ago I’ve got an idea that to be more accomodating for my visitors, I can look at those things they look for, and if I think they weren’t able to find the answer on my blog, but I could help with it, I could write a post about it, so that in case they search for it again and stumble upon my blog, they can find something relevant. So far I haven’t checked that very regularly , but from what I’ve seen so far I think in most cases people could find on my blog what they were looking for. Last month though, one of the searches that led someone to my blog was “my inner phobia”. Very interesting, don’t you think?

At first it got me rather amused and thinking what other kind of phobia you can have, other than inner. Are there any outer/external phobias? ANd if so, what could be the difference between them? Or is an inner phobia something you simply don’t share with others, don’t expres verbally? Or something that doesn’t manifest outside of a person’s brain and no one can see it? Well I guess my Mum must be right that I philosophise too much. πŸ˜€

I don’t know what that person meant, other than that probably they’ve been struggling with some kind of a phobia themselves, but it inspired me to write a post about my (inner or not) phobias. Don’t know what kind of help it can be to anyone but maybe at least you can realise that you’re not alone if you’re going through something similar. And I’ve been thinking about it earlier too, to write the list of all my anxieties, fears and phobias, or anything that triggers anxiety of any kind for me. Anxiety of different kinds has been a very present part of my life as long as I can remember, and has many forms, as you’ll be able to see. This post was quite challenging for me to write, because I had to open up if I wanted you to understand it a bit, I wanted to be honest but also not too negative and overwhelming, as much as you can be not negative talking about anxiety. πŸ˜€ and hopefully it might be of some help for someone, or you can just see how freaky I am. πŸ˜€

The list is extensive, but written spontaneously, mostly in no specific order, so probably not fully complete. It’s not just a plain list but I want to also clarify it somehow for you what it’s like for me so you can have an idea. I included both the more general and specific ones, more and less intense, some are very bothering, some just more like quirks or something.

  • Β Β  People. By fear of people I mean mostly social anxiety. Socialising, small talking, all the social dynamics, crowds, interacting with a large group of people, initiating contacts with people, strangers. My social anxiety is very weird and sometimes it can even show up when I’m with people I know well, while on other times I may not be too anxious with a person I barely know. It’s usually humming somewhere in the background whenever I’m interacting with anyone though, just with very variable intensity.
  • Vomit. Anything to do with vomiting. Emetophobia is my most crippling specific phobia even though I’ve made huge progress with it over the last couple of years. I remember always being very sensitive and fearful about that but it got particularly bad very suddenly some 8-9 years ago, where just eating anything was dreadful and scary for me, or seeing people eating. I was quite good at hiding it but one of the staff at the boarding school was actually very suspicious that I had an eating disorder like anorexia or something, though I’ve never had problems of that nature with food, it just probably looked very much like that. Now food is not so much of a problem for me anymore, but is still to some degree, and there are things that i won’t ever eat, even if I like them in theory, because something bad happened either to me or someone in my surroundings after eating it. I am afraid of vomiting, feeling like it, other people doing it or feeling like it, people being sick, doesn’t matter contagiously or not, poisonous/expired food, graphic descriptions of people throwing up, the sounds, even similar sounds like choking, substances that are of a similar consistence, travelling, medicines, alcohol, migraines (even though it has NEVER happened to me that I’d vomit during a migraine), other conditions that might involve vomiting, even having things other than food in my mouth, like when I was going to the orthodontist on a regular basis as a kid it used to be very triggering, and I can’t stand even the simple medical throat examination with a spatula, I have to have it without it, otherwise it’s no go. It was even hard for me as a kid with brushing my teeth and while now it’s not as dreadful I still really dislike it. It’s not really because I am afraid that I can vomit while I have something in my mouth, or that it happens to me so easily, but it just makes me feel sick and anxious and I hate the sensation of having something in my mouth. Hell! even the words describing vomit sound scary! English vomit is probably the lightest, I don’t know why they have to sound so graphic or is it just me perceiving them this way. I particularly hate Swedish krΓ€kas, so disgusting. Lots of things can trigger it. It really depends on how I am feeling overall I guess what and when will trigger this fear for me, sometimes it can be just a brief not graphic mention of it and sometimes I can cope with it much better and even read a book with someone vomiting in it if it’s not too detailed. As I mentioned in some of my previous posts, whether it is because of my extreme cautiousness, sheer luck or that my anxiety is so extreme, it actually happens to me extremely rarely that I vomit.
  • Feeling dizzy. A closely related one, it’s a sort of fear that makes a vicious cycle for me. I have balance issues so it happens to me that I’m dizzy probably more often than to an average person, usually have low blood pressure and other such, and I believe in some circumstances blindness can also make you feel dizzy more easily than when you can see. It always makes me feel very insecure and out of control because my spatial orientation gets even worse than normally which makes me feel disoriented, as dizziness always does, also I’m afraid of falling or something dangerous happening as a result of my dizziness. Then also dizziness brings a risk of vomiting too. And the vicious circle is that dizziness is actually one of my physical symptom of anxiety, like when it gets very intense I’m usually feeling dizzy. And the more dizzy I am, the more anxious I am, and vice versa, which makes me freak out. Also heights and very big, open spaces make me feel dizzy so I’m afraid of them. I can be very anxious of travelling because of that, especially if the roads are bumpy or someone is driving very fast, amusement parks and such make me freak out, even seeing people swinging, on carousels, even just sliding, or rather hearing them doing it, especially if they’re talking at the same time so I know that their location is changing all the time, it also makes me dizzy.
  • Future. A less tangible thing. I’m anxious and worried about my own future, as well as more generally, just what will happen to the world, particular people… It’s not something that I think about like all the time but I have times when I really can’t stop overthinking on it and it’s crazy. I guess I take it after my grandma. πŸ˜€
  • Old age. I’m simply anxious about becoming old and what it will be like, I think it must be scary. Ideally I wouldn’t like to live longer than 45-50 years. Usually people freak out when they hear me say this and suppose that I am suicidal and going to kill myself by then, no, I’m not, and I doubt I will, that’s just how I feel, I simply don’t share the enthusiasm/desperation for longevity that is so common now. Maybe my way of seeing this will change with time though, who knows.
  • My brain not functioning properly. That’s a bit of my obsession. I’ve heard even from my last therapist that my intellect is my strongest weapon and defensivee mechanism which I use to protect myself and my vulnerability. And yes I think it’s very true. My intelligence is one of few good things that I don’t doubt I have and that I usually do like about myself somewhat, I guess I might be a little bit vain about it sometimes despite that overall my self-esteem is low. And my intelligence has helped me to cope with lots of different things and survive different circumstances, well it’s always more useful to be intelligent than not to be right? Also most of my passions are of more or less intellectual nature and often require at least some learning, so I really really want my brain to be as fit as possible. And I can do a lot to ensure that will never change. I think I can say I have a sort of phobia for all those neurodegenerative diseases, they scare the shit out of me, even though rationally I don’t think I need to worry a lot about that, if not because of my languages and all the food that is good for the brain that I eat then because there haven’t been anyone in my family that we’d know of so far struggling with stuff like that. I tend to be very scatterbrained in some circumstances though, and my memory seems to work a bit differently from most people I know because I tend to remember things they usually don’t or easily forget things that they do remember, sometimes such that are actually quite important, which sometimes make me seriously wonder what’s wrong with my brain, though I suppose I just have to have different ways of doing things, apparently I have some minor difficulties with some of the executive functions or so said some of the people more or less knowledgeable in psychology/educationΒ  that I’ve met. And there are also my almost non existent math skills hahaha, though I don’t really care about those now as I don’t have to care.
  • Being vulnerable and showing it to others, talking about feelings. Sooo awkward.
  • Being a burden for others. There is one side of me that is very dependent on other people, mainly because I have to and need to because of my disability and various other difficulties however they should be called, which simply make me need a lot of help or at least support from other people with a lot of things. THe other side of me though is very individualistic and doesn’t like to ask people for help or needing it, and generally needing anything from others and making them focused on myself. That can cause quite a lot of chaos, for me, but also in a way to my family too.
  • Anything that reminds me of the time when I was recovering from my Achilles tendons surgery as a kid. It was a very sudden and unexpected experience for me, despite I knew it would happen, but when it did I wasn’t at all prepared to what it would be like, and it was generally incredibly hard for me and I still haven’t fully recovered from how scary that experience was for me, or processed it well. My legs were all in plasters for six weeks then and I was bed-bound and mostly alone, and then had to learn to walk all over again and such, which together with other circumstances was rather devastating on my mental wellbeing. Our Zofijka has very fragile bones and she had broken a few of them, and that was always very unsettling for me, I couldn’t even touch her plaster without feeling dread.
  • Institutions like schools or hospitals and such, that are aimed to help people and often do, but can make things worse for people as well. Can’t say that I have a full blown phobia around that, but I’ve been through a fair bit with different institutions, not always good things, and it has surely impacted my brain and the way I look at them, so I avoid them now if only I can.
  • Authoritarian, overly self-assured, egocentrical, obstinate and meddlesome kind of people who know best what’s best for everyone and always tell them what they should do, and have an aggressive way of being, sometimes unintentionally I guess. Well I doubt anyone could like such individuals, but I know a couple of such people and they are all terrifying!
  • Clinginess. I mean, I hate it when people cling to me like want constant attention, constantly being with them, helping them or doing something for them, invading my privacy, you know, I don’t know how to deal with it and feel disoriented, and because of this, I avoid being clingy myself and I often feel like I am in some way that might be annoying for someone. So I’d rather prefer to seem detached or uninterested than clingy, as it’s one of the traits in people that I dislike the most. I can’t judge it objectively if I am clingy or not, but I know that sometimes I can strongly attach to people, like them a lot, think about them a lot, want to be a lot with them, and if that happens, to me with someone, it can be a dilemma.
  • Rejection. Well I have the diagnosis of AVPD so that would be easy to deduce. I think my fear of being clingy is related to it. It’s not like I really desperately want everyone to accept me like for all means, like that I would be afraid to for example say my opinion on something in fear that someone might think differently and thus they will dislike me, or I don’t go frantically in search for people who will like me and then do everything to keep them, and I think I can hide well my AVPD issues in everyday life, to some extent of course. It’s more like that I often don’t let myself to be close enough to them so that they can’t reject me, or I don’t let them close enough to me even though I would like to, but am too scared. When I am close with someone, friends or something, and they are important to me, I tend to test people subtly, so that they wouldn’t be aware of it, or so I hope, well OK even I wasn’t fully aware of it before I started to explore that whole AVPD thing and the way my close relationships look like, I must say I feel very weird with this since I know it, testing people sounds scary, doesn’t it? πŸ˜€ I guess sometimes I do it almost involuntarily, though I don’t know if it justifies me. I just feel I have to do it though, to find out if they are able to accept me, what’s their opinion about me and relation to me really like, even if it means that I’ll make them reject me sooner because of that than if it happened later on, as it makes me feel more in control of things. Otherwise I’m afraid that they will reject me suddenly before I either manage to escape or make them do it myself. Ugh it’s hard to describe and sounds freaky, I don’t really know how to talk about it.
  • Criticism. I think I generally have distance to myself, often use autoirony and self-deprecating humour. I can take constructive criticism now, or so I think, I often een ask people for it to see some things from someone else’s point of view, especially if something is important to me, and I value honest opinions, and I at least try to appreciate it, but even constructive criticism can be very very hard for me to deal with. I actually hate to admit it.
  • Losing Misha or anything bad happening to Misha. Sometimes even small things can set me off, like when he gets badly stuck somewhere or closed somewhere for hours. I guess sometimes I care about it more than he does hahaha. And about losing Misha, well I guess I don’t have to say more.
  • Losing my Mum. My Mum is a very important person to me emotionally, but also helps me a lot with lots of things which otherwise would be impossible/very difficult for me to do.
  • Tech issues. My devices help me with things that other people can do without technology, everyday stuff like reading, shopping, learning etc. They also help me with communication with other people and expressing myself, and being less dependent on other people. It usually upsets me then to some extent when something’s not working as it should. Although I have an impression that those things started to worry me much more since last year when I had that long monthly hiatus from blogging in September, when my computer crashed so badly. I’d suppose it would make me deal better with it, but guess it worked the opposite way.
  • Change. Usually negative of course, but even positive but major changes can set me off for a while.
  • Silence, and speciffic sounds, or as I call it collectively my “sensory anxiety”. I don’t really know how to explain this, because it’s very complicated and hard to describe. I’m also not sure I want and should, I haven’t talked to anyone about this in detail and usually people just can’t get it, I don’t either. But basically, just about the silence and the sounds, it’s that when I’m in silence, on my own, it doesn’t even always have to be complete silence, my brain feels sort of understimulated or so I explain it to myself, since hearing is the sense that provides me the most information, so it would be probably some form of sensory deprivation, and when there are not many auditory stimuli, my brainΒ  tries to fill it in with something, and that’s when weird things can start. That’s how I’ve been told it apparently might work, though I don’t know anyone else with this type of thing other than a few blind people who had something slightly similar as little children and then grew out of it. Why it has to cause me so much anxiety, I don’t know. Maybe my brain is an adrenaline junkie. Well I am certainly not.I guess it could be compared a bit to how sighted people are afraid of darkness, and imagination starts working at night especially for kids. With sounds, it’s that some sounds, harmonies, just auditory stuff is scary for me. Not only the things most people would find scary, so loud noises or other intrusive, objectively aggressive sounds that we associate with something bad, not necessarily them, just things that I subjectively find frightening to some degree. Some could be just slightly disturbing, some very unsettling and feel like they’re seething with aggression towards me.
  • Sleep paralysis. Especially my sleep paralysis “friends”. I mean those people or creatures or whatever they are that regularly appear in my dreams. Therefore I’m generally anxious about sleep a lot of the time because I never know when it will happen for sure, and I have no way of freeing myself from them.
  • Releasing strong feelings, especially around other people, especially anger, or not being in control of my feelings.
  • Horse riding. yes, you read it right! I’m afraid of horse riding. I guess I’ve shared my story with horse riding somewhere on my blog before, and that there was a time in my life when I was deadly scared of it. Now I’m not deadly scared of it and I don’t hate it, quite the opposite, I love horse riding, as my loyal readers know. But at the same time I still do have some anxiety around it. I’m always anxious and tense before horse riding and it takes me a while to relax. I know it’s going to be great in the end, yet I can’t shake off the anxiety. Sometimes it’s stronger than normal and I once had a bad panic attack when riding. I hate it because it makes horse riding so much harder for me. I don’t even know what’s the source of it, I guess it could be my balance problems in part, sometimes I feel dizzy and out of control while riding, but I guess that’s just a part of it. My previous horse, Czardasz a.k.a. ŁoΕ›, was very good at detecting my anxiety, he was generally good at adjusting to the way the rider was feeling at any moment apparently, and I always felt like we had almost telepathic relationship haha. He was also so calm and phlegmatic and always making me feel safe that it helped me a lot with the anxiety to just be around him and feel him. But unfortunately ŁoΕ› died last year, so I no longer have him. I now ride another horse, when I have chance, whose name is Tarzan, aka. Rudy, and I love him to pieces as well, but we don’t have the connection like that, actually I feel that when I’m anxious, he becomes too, so it’s not helping.
  • That when people say something to me, they actually make allusions and mean something different, or when they say good things to me I’m afraid they say it ironically or sarcastically. Paranoid I know. πŸ˜€ Happens to me very regularly, but I try not to let it affect my relationships with people as much as I can, and pretend that I ignore it, until I’m alone and can think through their motives and my brain explodes with thousands of “what if’s”.
  • Eating around other people. First because of emetophobia, that someone or me might feel suddenly sick, but I managed to deal quite well with this now as my emetophobia is milder and I know it’s unlikely for people to get sick suddenly like that, Second social anxiety and that when I’m anxious I don’t feel like eating, while I feel that I should, when there is for example a family gathering it looks weird that I’m not eating, so I try to eat but it can be a nightmare when I’m really stressed. And third is that I am so self-conscious and just afraid I’ll do something wrong or inappropriate, for example because I can’t see what others are doing. Or that I might do something accidentally like knock over or spill something, not a frequent occurence, as even though I’m rather clumsy I try to be careful in such circumstances, but you never know. As a little kid I once had a situation at my gran’s that I was eating something that was hard to eat for me and I ended up being a bit messy, not very badly but my Dad saw it, and was very concerned and sort of told me off rather loudly, so that had to turn all the others’ attention. Now I don’t even remember the episode very clearly and I don’t think it was that important, but my Mum says I took it very badly at that time and as ifΒ  he offended me in front of others. So I guess that might be why I’m so self-conscious with eating.
  • People staring at me. Yes if someone is staring at me long and persistently enough I can feel it. I hate it. I guess I more hate it than am anxious of it, but am anxious too. I also really dislike the consciousness of a lot of people looking at me at once. I am afraid of people looking me in the eyes and seeing something I don’t want them to see (though rationally it’s highly unlikely), so when I don’t feel confident I like to use that luxury that I can keep my eyes closed whenever I want. πŸ˜€ I am a characteristic person overall, don’t like to turn to much attention to myself but on the other hand I like being different, I also wouldn’t have much choice even if I wouldn’t like it because I am disabled and it’s usually visible in this or that way, so it happens that people are staring at me when I’m out somewhere and if there is some bigger distance between them and me I can’t always feel it. But I have Zofijka on whom I can rely with this as she often informs me that someone is staring at me. And, quite to the contrast with my social anxiety and all, sometimes I like to let them know that I see them – stick my tongue at them, show them my middle finger or wave at them, depending on the severity of their stare, my mood and additional circumstances.
  • Singing. I used to love singing as a little child, or maybe I just believed I did, don’t know really, but I guess I was quite a good singer, some people were moved, said I sing very well and liked it. When I was in the nursery and early school years I was singing publicly on different occasions. But something just changed with time. One thing was that I started to see, or maybe it was just my perception, that people only see me through my singing, some people were very kind to me and showing me lots of their attention but as it seemed only because they liked my singing. I didn’t want to be perceived like that. At the same time my anxiety which was always a part of my life started going higher, things in my life were changing making it gradually worse and finally I realised I hated singing for other people and making music. i then had two years break while being in the integration school, from where I had to go back to the boarding school, but never came back to singing. I’ve heard lots of people complaining about that and asking me why I don’t sing anymore, what a pity and such, one teacher even said that she wanted to be my class teacher because she loved my singing. Maybe I was hypersensitive but I felt relief that she wasn’t, if she liked my singing more than me. And I still feel this way. Maybe I was hypersensitive because when people made comments about that and what a pity it was I felt like if they can’t get over it so much they probably didn’t like anything else about me or didn’t think that I can do anything else well. I was forcing myself to stay in the music school for a couple years and play piano, and sang together with others in a sort of church choir, I also once sang solo which was incredibly difficult for me, and in the meantime I tried a bit guitar at home, but finally I realised creating music probably just isn’t for me, even if I have a talent. I was relieved to free myself of it all finally, and concentrate on listening to music more. I am terribly blocked from singing in front of other people, after I stopped doing it at school and left the school, I did it only once, singing with my friend Jacek from Helsinki, who loved music and always wanted to hear me singing, and, well, he could persuade the moon to shine in the middle of the day if he wanted, I suppose. πŸ˜€ Other than that, I never sing in front of others, unless fooling around or something, although I do like to sing when I’m on my own or for Misha to sleep hahaha or in the shower. I’ve heard it from someone that it’s very bad, a sin, to neglect a talent that you’ve been given and that you know of. But honestly I don’t care. And I suppose in a way I use it with my languages, as languages are also a form of music. A bit surprisingly, I could deal reasonably well when I had to read something publicly, or even say if I knew exactly what, or act in a play though I was horribly stiff with the last. No I didn’t like it and it was challenging, but manageable if necessary and I think still would be if I had to speak in public, although I’m happy that I hadn’t have to be on the stage for years now and have no desire for it anymore.
  • Travelling, getting out of the house. In a way I like it, in a way I hate it. I hate travelling because it correlates with my other anxieties a lot, and getting out of the house because it often involves being around people and sometimes just feels unsafe. But on the other hand I do like travelling, and appreciate it very much that sometimes going out of the house and being out in nature, or even with other human beings, can actually alleviate your anxiety. Just depends I guess.
  • Being touched. Sometimes it can be comforting and I actually want it, but at the same time it’s scary. Same as any other kind of closeness.
  • Wasps. I had three bad encounters with them and I hate them. I’m not so scared of bees though, i’ve never had to do with them personally, maybe that’s why. And they are useful hahahaha maybe that makes a difference.
  • Some tastes. It’s not that I just dislike them but they are somewhat disturbing for me. can’t say I’m anxious because of them, but just very uneasy. Guess it’s more of a sensory sensitivity stuff than anxiety though in fact.
  • That people will use things I say against me. Just have happened to me quite a few times in my life in important situations.
  • Public transport. It’s simply scary and overwhelming. How can you not see it? Well OK trains are bearable, but the rest is real scary.
  • Parties, especially proms, balls, discos, dancings. No, I’m not really scared of dancing. I dislike it and don’t feel it like some people do that it’s so cool and fun, but am not afraid of it. I don’t know why I hate dancing parties so much and dread them so much. It was always the case. Apparently when I was a little girl my parents took me for a ball organised for children and I felt sick and threw up there but I don’t even remember it. Maybe it was that. I just know that whenever there was some disco or prom or ball at school when I was a child I would do everything to avoid going there. i feel very lost at such places. Crowds and loud music are overwhelming, and so is socialising, but it’s something else that must be so dreadful for me. I do a bit better at such parties and can even have some fun if I am with someone safe to whom I can stick to and always know where they are and have them close to me, so maybe it’s just disorienting.
  • Flying on the plane or travelling on the sea. That’s ridiculous in a way because I’ve never been on a plane. But considering all my travelling issues, it must be scary, and I always dread it. Travelling on the sea is very challenging for my balance though I haven’t had much to do with it either, only to and from Sweden.
  • Splinters. Seeing someone removing it, having it removed, having it removed myself. I’m normally not very afraid of pain but for some reason it’s different here and it really scares me.
  • Children, other than Zofijka. Not always am I afraid of children, though I usually don’t know how to get on with them, which often results in feeling anxious if I have to or feel I should.

OK, that’s enough hahaha. All that I can think of at the moment. Do you struggle with anything similar? What are your “inner phobias”? πŸ˜€

Reasons why I’m learning Swedish.

Hey hey people! πŸ™‚

Do any of you who were already around here a year ago remember my post

Reasons Why I’m Learning Welsh?

Well I got an impression that it got quite a lot of reaction, at least more than I’d suppose it could on not even a month-old blog, and it seemed like people were interested, and some time before I published that post on my Polish blog where even though I had only a couple of readers it also got quite a lot of attention and more that I initially expected. It was also lots of fun for me, so let’s see how it goes with Swedish this year. I actually should write the Swedish post earlier since I started learning Swedish earlier than Welsh, but who cares about chronology nonsense. Not me anyway hahaha.

I’m going to refer to some reasons I posted in the Welsh post because some of the reasons for learning both languages are the same for me. Also they are in no particular order, just as they come to my mind, and I don’t have any particular number that I’m aspiring to, we’ll see how many I can come up with.

1.

Because I just plain like it. What better reason can you have? I like Swedish language, I like Swedish culture, I like Swedes, (even though I don’t always agree with them or support them in all that they do and in all that is going on in their country but I don’t have to, and diversity of views, opinions and ways of doing things is in my opinion, among others, one of things that makes this world interesting πŸ™‚ ). I love the sound of Swedish. My first contact with Swedish was when I was a very little child, we lived in the countryside, on a bit of a hill, so that when there was good weather, or after the storm, and you went upstairs, you could find Swedish radiostations in the radio. And sometimes I listened to them, absolutely hypnotised by the sound of swedish. I didn’t even know for sure whether it’s Swedish,I asked my parents what it is and they said maybe Swedish, maybe Norwegian, maybe Danish, or maybe something else. But I liked to think it was Swedish, and it was Swedish. I could listen to it for hours, and I still can. After some time I watched “The Six Children Of Bullerby” with my Mum. I always loved the book and Mum read it to me countless times before watching that film. She read the subtitles to me so that I knew what they were saying, but I remember that I didn’t really care about it, I didn’t care about what was going on in the film, I just listened to the language and nothing else interested me, it was so beautiful. So then my obsession with Swedish developed fully and when I was 10 years old, Mum found a teacher for me. I was at the integration school back then for two years, not the boarding school, so it was possible for me to learn Swedish at home which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, we had to face the fact that integration was not for me, and there were also some external factors involved, so I had to go back to the boarding school,which meant there was no point in continuing my swedish lessons as they would be rare and very irregular, and when I was home from school I didn’t really feel like learning anything. I yearned for Swedish terribly though, so had to sort of suppress it, put it deep inside my brain to not have to think about the fact that I can’t learn Swedish to be able to accept it. I succeeded at it, only when I happened to hear something in or about swedish, my brain exploded with longing all over again. But I was able to restart my Swedish when I got out from there. Swedish is one of my most favourite languages, in case of which I feel some sort of pressuring need to be in contact with them, use them, explore them, just be in touch with them as much as possible. It’s a bit strange and hard to explain for someone who doesn’t have, it, it feels like some sort of a strange calling. πŸ˜€

Β Β  2.

Because one of my music crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk – lived in Sweden, created music and poems in Swedish, and I usually tend to love my crushes’ languages, since my languages are my fetishes, yeah it might sound crazy but I’ve just had to accept it hahaha. I actually feel like in a way I owe my reunion with the Swedish language to Cornelis. It was in my last year of being in the boarding school, I was at home for some short break, working on some project for school. And in my mind I was hearing a song which my swedish teacher showed to me years ago which we used for learning some new words. I memorised it back then but I didn’t think I could remember it after all those years of not thinking about it, but turns out I did and quite clearly. The song was called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Γ…kare Och Den SΓΆta FrΓΆken Cecilia Lind” (The Ballad About Fredrik Γ…kare And The Sweet Miss cecilia Lind), which surprisingly I also remember despite the long title, and was a real brainworm, but I didn’t know who did it so I just googled it. And so it was my first conscious contact with Vreeswijk’s music, and I slowly started to get this strange crush despite that actually he wasn’t really my style. If I have a crush, I’m very nosey and want to know everything possible about them, their music, their life, their personality, likes, dislikes, views, whatever. Vreeswijk was quite easy to get a lot of info about, as he was quite (in)famous in his time and still lots of Swedes love him or hate him and he’s well known, but in order to get that info, I had to understand at least basic Swedish. So I had to learn really quickly to quench my thirst, both for Swedish and for knowledge about my crush. And, despite at the beginning before I left school I really suffered for lack of resources, it was speedy, almost miraculous! I could amost feel the words I learned before and forgot coming back to my brain, and the more I listened to Vreeswijk’s music, read and worked on it, the more intense this process of language recovery felt, and it felt gorgeous! Summer holidays came, and passed away, and surprisingly and very dynamically my life changed diametrically and I got out of that school, that’s another story, and quite a yucky one despite a happy ending so I won’t write much about it here. But that paradoxically opened new possibilities before me, and because I had individual education for the next year which was less absorbing, time consuming and anxiety provoking than normally going to school, I had a lot of time to devote myself to my Swedish studies. By sheer luck and a very weird and funny accident my Mum got in touch with my former Swedish teacher so we could start all over again. Well not really all over again, because to huge surprise and amazement of both of us it turned out that my Swedish is actually a bit better and more communicative than those six years ago. πŸ˜€ Funny innit? He said that I had to literally skip some stages of development of my Swedish. With time I learned more about Vreeswijk, among others that he migrated to Sweden with his family at the age of 12, with no Swedish at all, but managed to start attending a normal, mainstream Swedish school after a year of learning. And I suddenly felt very competitive. Because wow, he learned Swedish in a year enough to communicate in it properly, and then was fluent like a native as an adult. I want to be like this too! I’m gonna do this! I guess his task was easier than mine as he lived in Sweden, didn’t have much choice about it, and Dutch is much more similar to Swedish than Polish, he was also younger than me which I guess does make a difference. But I guess i accomplished this goal really well. I still am not fully satisfied with my Swedish, but I think I would manage in a Swedish school if I had to. My crush on Vreeswijk has faded, which means that I still have it but it got dominated by my newer crush from Wales – Gwilym Bowen Rhys –Β  but my crush is my crush so I’m loyal to them all. Vreeswijk was a socialist and had quite controversial views on lots of things, which I most often don’t agree with him about, but I love his lyrics and poems that don’t regard politics and other stuff like that, and my dream is to translate them to Polish. Don’t know how realistic it is, and how realistic and successful could be introducing him to Polish people, but I’d like to try, and I’m still trying, very strenuously, even just for myself.

3.

Because I wanted to read “The Six Bullerby Children” in Swedish. I did. A few times. πŸ™‚

Β 4.

Because of other Swedish language music. I feel like Welsh music speaks much more to me than Swedish, but they still have loads of great music.

5.

Because so many people think it’s difficult. OK I can agree with you on Welsh, Celtic languages can feel a little abstractive at times, though I am also pretty sure there are more difficult languages. But Swedish isn’t difficult at all. It’s childishly simple. It has some annoying grammar quirks and a few sounds that might be a little challenging, but that’s all. Just because you don’t hear it as often as English, doesn’t mean it’s difficult. I’d risk a statement that it’s easier than English, well my ENglish is better than my Swedish at the moment, but I think overall Swedish is easier.

6.

As I already wrote in reason #1, I like Swedes, I like all of the nations that speak my favourite languages/dialects/accents, and I feel a strange sense of bond with them. Obviously my Polish people are closest to me than any other but I feel really close to all of them. I also want to connect with my people via my languages

7.

To show Swedes that their language is beautiful. I don’t know for sure and I know I shouldn’t generalise but it feels to me like many of them don’t fully appreciate their language, even though Swedish is not like Welsh almost on the verge of extinction. I think we all often take our own mother tongues for granted. All Swedish people speak English, or almost all but I’ve never come across anyone who wouldn’t. It happened to me countless times with Swedes with whom I initiated contact online that I wrote them in Swedish and they wrote to me in English. I know it’s just their kindness and they want to adjust to me (or maybe my Swedish is still so shitty hahaha), but it always sort of frustrated me because it felt like they didn’t want to give me a chance to practice, or maybe felt like Swedish is something exclusive, I don’t know. They were of course happy with it when I told them they can write to me in Swedish, but it felt weird. Same when I was in Stockholm, whenever I couldn’t find a word and automatically used an English one, they would respond to me in English. Ughhhhh. Maybe it’s a little incomprehensible to me because many people in Poland wouldn’t do it. I think I wouldn’t either if I saw a foreigner here and realised that he can speak at least basic Polish. And maybe Swedes just got used to speaking to all non Swedes in English by default because of so many imigrants that are in Sweden who can’t speak Swedish. So I want to show them that their language is also beautiful and worth learning, not so very difficult that a foreigner can’t learn it, and it’s not them who have to make all the effort, the other side can do something too to make the communication easier. If they can learn English, why can’t we learn Swedish.

8.

Because people wouldn’t treat me seriously if I only learned some endangered languages on the verge of extinction about which most people don’t even have the slightest idea. My Dad still thinks I’m making up this whole Welsh learning thing even if I talk to him in Welsh. But Swedish, yes! Swedish is a serious language! You can earn a lot of money in Sweden, you can translate crime novels, you can work in transport or in embassy! Swedish is well respected and recognised. In Welsh post I said that my learning Welsh is a good conversation starter ’cause people always ask either why or what it is or how it sounds. With Swedish, they always say: “Aww, that must be difficult. But you can do lots of things with it.”

9.

Don’t know how anywhere else, but in Poland people really dislike German language. All the WWII associations aside, they just think it’s an ugly, harsh language. And for some stupid reason they think Swedish is as well. Especially older people for some reason. But it’s not. It’s maybe not as softy as French or Italian, it has a character and is, as I like to put it, al dente, but it’s definitely not harsh.

10.

To scare my grandma. Yes I put it already in the welsh post. No my grandma doesn’t really believe that Swedes are pagans too like Welshies, but she has very conservative views and is slightly obsessed with religious matters, and constantly worries about the whole world like Filly-Jonk from “The Moomins”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a rightist and a Christian as well, but she is a little extreme and, oh well, I just like to make fun of people, even of my tribe. So, any time she sees me and conversation is focused on me/my languages, she asks me what I see in Swedish. “Sweden is such a cold, lawless, self-devastating country of lonely people! Why do you like them so much?” She is very intelligent but can’t comprehend why I like them so much. We often talk about Swedish politics, she asks me whether I know what’s going on there. I’m not always up to date and while I do care about politics, I don’t trace it all the time and for all my favourite countries, but I try to update my knowledge at least once in a while and with Sweden it’s rather easy. So I tell her about some spicier things that I’ve heard, often colourising it, and relish her utter fright.

11.

To develop my brain. For more details on my brain wellness obsession see the Welsh post.

12.

TO scribble in Swedish in my diary. I like my scribbles to be private and in my household no one else speaks Swedish, so I can have a guarantee that if I write in Swedish no one here will get it even if they would find my diary and figure out how to get to it. Also, for me, all of my languages correspond with particular feelings. As I wrote in the Welsh post, for Welsh main ones are anger, enthusiasm, longing and joy. For Swedish it’s happiness, (not like euphoria but just calm, stable, peaceful happiness, contentment and strong pleasure), amusement, surprise, serenity and disappointment/grief/apathy. So I feel particularly inclined to write in Swedish when feeling any of those things. Also, when my crush on Vreeswijk was at its best, I tended to even write to him. You know, if someone is dead, it’s different than when they are alive and don’t know you and don’t care about you. I believe that if there is an afterlife, which I believe there is, those who passed away can know what’s going on on Earth. I was sure that he must know me, and liked to think that he would be proud of me because of my Swedish and all that, and that he likes me. So I took an example from my Mum, who also wrote her diary in form of letters and wrote letters to Cornelis, in Swedish. πŸ˜€

13.

To talk to Misha or myself in another language. It was actually my Swedish teacher who suggested to me talking to Misha in Swedish because his point of view was that cats understand every language.

14.

It’s useful! If you can speak Swedish, you can understand at least to some degree Norwegian, especially BokmΓ₯l, and even Danish though personally I find Danish rather hard to understand while listening but if I read it I can get at least the mere context. Icelandic is related though not closely enough, but it happens that I also understand some interesting bits and pieces and it’s always nice. Recently I listened to an Icelandic song and understood that “The ocean is cold”, yay for me! πŸ˜€ It’s not much definitely but, hey, if I didn’t speak Swedish, I wouldn’t have a clue about it otherwise. One of my favourite languages is Faroese and while it seems to be even further related to Swedish than Icelandic, I believe that once I start learning it, I’m going to be very grateful for my Swedish. I also plan to learn Dutch which is of course not a Scandinavian language but shares some similarities and I can already see it very clearly.

15.

It’s useful not only with Germanic languages. I strongly hope that when it will be the time for me to learn Sami and Finnish, my Swedish will help me, as English helps me with Welsh because all resources are in it. Swedish is always close to Finnish than Polish because of Sweden and Finland being neighbours and influencing each other, and there is a Finnish minority in Sweden and Swedish-speaking Finns in Finland, and the Sami are also a minority in Sweden.

16.

Because “Swenglish” accent is cute, sexy and crasily amasing! I want to know why and how it is the way it is, and what better way could be than learning Swedish, figuring out its phonetics and putting myself in the same position as Swedes.

17.

TO be able to understand what they talk about in those radiostations I was so amazed with as a kid. πŸ˜€

18.

To read Swedish books, not only Astrid Lindgren’s. My vocabulary in Swedish is still a bit limited so it takes me a lot of time and effort to read something as long as a book and focus on it and enjoy it, but I try sometimes. I still haven’t read all the Swedish books I’ve got for myself during my trip to Stockholm. Not just because of the language but uhhh scanning sucks and is boring.

19.

TO scare strangers. See the Welsh post for details.

20.

To help me with my anxieties, depression and generally my freaky brain.

21.

Because every language you know gives you a different perspective on different things.

22.

Because if not my Swedish, I wouldn’t go to Stockholm and have so much fun there. I wouldn’t realise that although my anxieties including social anxiety can be really crippling and debilitating, my love for languages is stronger. And because if not Swedish, I would miss some other cool things in life too. Like I wouldn’t meet my friend Jacek from Helsinki. My friendship with him, although a bit stormy and weird, as he was stormy and weird, was also one of the most unusual and interesting things that happened to me, and now that he’s no longer on Earth, Swedish reminds me of his spirit and charisma.

23.

Because I like vikings and Norse mythology. I can like them without learning Swedish but this way it’s more fun. πŸ˜€

24.

Because I hope that indeed it will help me in future in some way.

Β Β  25.

Because Swedish is so uncomplicated in terms of expressing yourself. I consider myself quite a complex person, with lots of complicated feelings, ideas and complicated things going on, and sometimes I find it difficult and annoying that I can’t seem to be able to express myself properly and adequately, meaning that I can say exactly what I want and how I feel, not have to say that something is either black or white, sounding naturally and not too sublime and sophisticated or silly on the other hand. But in a way I love this trait of Swedish, because sometimes when I feel that my brain goes too complex and I get trapped in it, I like to just sit down and think it through in swedish. Things usually look much simpler then.

Oh my, I wouldn’t think that there will be more reasons than for Welsh! It’s a lot, isn’t it? So i can be sure that it’s worth it! 😍

 

Question of the day.

What’s on the top of your β€˜make life easier’ list?

My answer:

A new Braille-Sense. My current one, as I’ve mentioned a couple times before, is 11 years old, as much as Zofijka, and is gradually falling apart. πŸ˜€

How about you? πŸ™‚