Question of the day (4th August).

What’s the most ridiculous fact you know?

My answer:

Don’t know if it’s the MOST ridiculous that I know, probably not but just can’t really think of anything else at the moment, and the fact that did come to my mind is something I learned yesterday from my Mum. Perhaps it’s not quite so new and sensational to people in America though. Namely, yesterday I learned that Amish people will often pull out their teeth at the dentist’s, sometimes all of their teeth, and have dentures placed, to avoid loads of costly dental visits, as apparently they don’t brush regularly. It sounds freakishly radical, but in a way I can’t help but think that if you know in advance that you’re gonna have lots of dental issues, perhaps it’s the most logical way to go. 😀 This is a sample of what sort of topics my Mum and me discuss over dinner, lol. My parents came back from their trip two days ago and she read some book on the way where there seemed to be quite a lot about the Amish but I guess it didn’t deal with the Amish topic directly.

Your turn. 🙂

Question of the day.

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

My answer:

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

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

Who is overrated in your opinion? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s the most difficult thing to define?

My answer:

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

What’s such a thing that comes to your mind? 🙂

Question of the day.

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

My answer:

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

What is such a thing that comes to your mind? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s 100% worse when wet?

My answer:

The first thought that popped into my mind was chips/fries. I don’t even understand how people like them with ketchup, especially if they’re softer and less crunchy to begin with. I know some people though, like Olek, who totally bathe their chips in ketchup, and that’s pretty gross imo. 😀 And he doesn’t even mind eating them cold! :O

What’s such a thing in your opinion? 🙂

Question of the day.

How would you like to die? 🙂

My answer:

I’ve always thought that I’d like to die while sleeping, but also at the same time that I would know some time in advance that it’ll happen so I can prepare myself accordingly, especially spiritually. I know it happens for some people but I don’t really know how common or likely it is. In any case, I wouldn’t like to live too long, at this point I feel that even if I lived up to like 50 I’d feel dreadfully tired of living by that point. And whether I would die knowing about it in advance or not, I’d like to be prepared for it anyway, so that I could feel satisfied that I’ll be happy in my eternal life and wouldn’t regret too many things.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s your biggest fear?

My answer:

I have such an abundance of fears that it’s hard to say which one is biggest. Social anxiety’s definitely huge, but it depends on a lot of things and sometimes it’s less scary than others, or more manageable anyway, for no apparent reason. Then there’s this thing I call sensory anxiety, which I’ve generally gotten used to live with and it can also vary immensely in intensity, but it can be absolutely creepifying at times. My sensory anxiety is kind of connected with sleep paralysis, so that counts in here too. What’s particularly scary is this sleep paralysis/sensory anxiety “friend” of mine, known as “Ian” on this blog, about whom I wrote a short story on here, but I don’t tell his real name to anyone. He’s extremely scary and I always have a sick conviction at the back of my brain that he’s actually real and that some day I’ll get to experience his realness properly. As for actually recognised specific phobias, out of those that I’ve had emetophobia (fear of vomit) has always been the worst, though it’s not nearly as scary as it used to be for me in the past, most of the time anyway. Another thing that I have a fair bit of fear around is all things neurodegenerative, the possibility that I could end up having a neurodegenerative disease at some point, like Alzheimer’s (well, it doesn’t have to necessarily be a neurodegenerative disease, a TBI would be scary too but neurodegenerative diseases sound like something that’s particularly difficult to have any control over), and lose my brains as a result. My brains are like my fortress or something, so it would be a hopeless situation for me. And while usually it feels like vomit is scarier because it happens to more people and is more likely to happen, plus I’m also scared of it happening to anyone else, not just me, brain damage, of whatever nature, isn’t something that happens to everyone and it doesn’t seem like I’m at a particularly high risk in any way, as there hasn’t been anyone in my family as far as I know with this sort of thing. Yet on the other hand the brain damage stuff has way longer and nastier consequences. So I can’t say which one is scarier.

How about your fear? 🙂

Question of the day.

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

Whether you are single or in a relationship, why?

My answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how’s it with you, and, more importantly, why? 🙂

Ask me anything about blindness.

I had this fleeting but reoccurring thought for quite some time already, to make a post where I’d give people an opportunity to ask questions about all sorts of things to do with what it’s like to be blind. My Mum and some of my penfriends also strongly encouraged me to do this, but I’ve always felt like I’m not really the best person to do such a thing. I felt that if I was to answer such questions, then I would be kind of representing the whole big community of blind people, and I am not really a very typical representative of it, or at least not in all aspects, so I was afraid that it could be potentially harmful to the community at large if people were to consider my answers something of a general standard for blind people, or that in order not to be harmful, I’d have to constantly explain in which ways am I different and try to answer the questions from as broad a perspective as possible, rather than just my own, which I feared I wouldn’t always be able to do in a competent way. For example, I don’t live on my own, but there are a lot of blind people who do, and I was afraid that by hearing that I do not, people are going to assume that no blind people do and that they cannot.

But I guess that over these almost four years that I’ve had this blog, I’ve finally realised that I have no obligation to represent the blind community if I don’t feel like it, just because I am part of it. I can just represent myself as an individual. If I don’t believe that all sighted folks like K-pop just because Sofi does, why should sighted people believe that all blind people read Braille based solely on the fact that I do? I think I must have gotten the idea from school, where one of our staff told us that we need to be able to eat with knife and fork so that sighted people won’t think that all blind people are not able to eat this way. 😀

In general, I see that people tend to be either very in-your-face or very fearful of asking disabled people and their families any questions pertaining to the disability. As much as the in-your-face attitude is bad, because I don’t live to answer people’s questions and I may choose not to (not because they hurt my feelings or anything but just because I don’t have to, and even if disability isn’t a sensitive topic for me, it’s still generally quite personal), the fearful attitude, though very often coming from good intentions of not wanting to offend someone, is just as bad because the brain doesn’t like emptiness, so in place of the unanswered questions you create your own conclusions, which might be incorrect, or even quite harmful.

So that is why, in the end, I decided to do this. Perhaps you’re a regular reader and you’ve always wanted to know something but were afraid to ask or simply had no opportunity to do so. Or you’re a total newbie here and just want to know what it’s like being blind. That’s what this post is for. Ask me your questions in the comments and I’ll reply there, or if any questions will require some particularly detailed answer or I decide it could be interesting to expand on I might do a separate post on it.

As I said, I’m not going to be answering collectively as a blind people’s spokesperson or anything, but rather from my own perspective, so what you’ll be getting here is simply one Bibiel’s personal experience. Some bits of my blindness experience may be the same for the majority of blind people, others not necessarily. Still, I know a fair bit about blindness and a lot of blind or visually impaired people, so if you have a more general question I’ll also try to answer it as best I can, even if it may not always be exhaustive. As I’m blind since birth, I’m really not easily offended or hurt when it comes to blindness questions, as I have no idea what it’s like to see, haven’t lost my sight in any traumatic circumstances, and therefore I have a distance to it.

Oh, and I’m going for a summer trip on Friday/Saturday for at least a week, so if you ask me anything during that time you might need to wait some time for a reply, as I’ve no idea if I’ll be able to reply on the go and how regularly.

Question of the day (21st June).

What is the weirdest thing you eat on its own?

My answer:

Salt. Don’t know how weird it is in general, but I don’t know people who would do that. I don’t do it as often now, but I really used to a lot when I was a kid. I could just get a salt cellar, put the salt on my hand and eat it, without anything else. Or, what I suppose is a bit more common, when I’d finish some crisps, or chips, or something else salted, I would not only lick my fingers from all the salt but also eat the salt that was left. My Mum says it’s directly linked to the fact that my blood pressure has always been low, but I dunno, I just like salt. As a kid I had a salt lamp in my room and I liked to lick it sometimes, and salt figurines/statues as well. Now I also have a salt lamp in my room but I don’t lick it. 😀 One time when my uncle was on holidays by the Dead Sea he got me a whole box of the salt crystals so I had a supply for a really long time and absolutely loved it. I was in a salt cave a couple of times, which is a fabulous experience and so very relaxing, and I had a hard time not to eat any of that salt, I probably would if not the emetophobia. 😀 Sometimes I would also eat monosodium glutamate, I don’t know what it’s popular name in English is, in Poland it’s sold as Vegeta, I absolutely love the umami taste. And me and my brother often ate dry pasta. I can eat olives on their own, which some people find weird. I do think they’re much better with something else, but I do eat them on their own sometimes anyways. I guess olives are generally not hugely popular with people so that’s why eating them on their own is even more weird for many, but for me they’re one of my most favourite healthy foods.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (20th June).

What will you always say no to?

My answer:

A lot of things, I’m sure. Some I can think of right now:

When my Mum asks me if I’m still alive (she does that a lot and I always wonder what sort of question that is so I always answer that no, I died before she was alive), scrambled eggs, going to an amusement park, cigs, sex, bananas, diving, bungee jumping, going to the tropics, teaching people’s kids English, babysitting, another feet/legs surgery.

You? 🙂

Question of the day (19th June).

What do you wish was illegal?

My answer:

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

What is such a thing for you? 🙂

Question of the day (18th June).

If animals could talk, which one would be the most annoying?

My answer:

I guess something like parrots and other animals which are talkative anyways, they’d probably have even more to say if they’d be able to talk like humans very well, but I somehow doubt they’d have a lot of interesting or original things to say. Otherwise ducks, geese and the like, all those animals who are really noisy and not particularly pleasant-sounding. Or the small dog breeds, who, again, often make a lot of noise which is often already annoying even though they don’t speak human.

I always want Misha to be able to talk, even at least for five minutes so I can ask him if he’s happy or if there’s something he really wants that is realistically doable or if there’s anything he’d like me to know, but my Mum claims he’d be super annoying if he could talk, and just as now he’s very non-vocal, if he could talk he’d probably wouldn’t shut up for a minute. I don’t really see why his personality would be supposed to change at the same time as well. Still, perhaps it would be annoying regardless how much he’d talk, because Mum also says that in her opinion he’d only talk about food and how hungry he is or that he wants out, which is more realistic than the personality change because that’s already more or less everything he talks about when he does make any sounds, and it can get old.

What do you think? 🙂

Question of the day (17th June).

What is your biggest non-academic, non work-related accomplishment?

My answer:

Well, I think that would be my language learning achievements, especially when it comes to English and Welsh, as with Swedish I had a tutor for a long time so you could say it was kinda academic, but with English and Welsh I’ve been doing it mostly by myself. I did of course have English throughout my formal education, but, as I said many times before, I don’t feel like I learned anything more than just the basics this way, and anything else I wanted to achieve, I had to take care of myself, and only reached fluency in my last years of schooling when I had plenty of time to work on my English as I first had a year of individual education and then did schoolwork part-time and mostly from home. With Welsh, even though I don’t feel fluent yet at all, it feels like even more of an accomplishment because, even though I’m not fluent, I sort of doubted I could achieve even the level I’m at now, given the limited resources and their frequently limited accessibility and/or availability where I live.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

An extremely interesting question I have for you guys today…

What’s the longest time you have gone without pooping?

My answer:

Can’t say how long exactly, I guess it could be about a week or so. Generally I don’t have a lot of poo problems in normal life circumstances, which I’m extremely grateful for ’cause only when I do sometimes I see how uncomfortable they must be for people who deal with some major issues of this nature chronically or regularly. But what definitely sets them off for me is a lot of stress and change. I mean mostly change of location for some significant amount of time, more than just a couple of hours, especially if it’s just a temporary change but involves sleeping there etc. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with this, I guess in a way it makes sense because pooping is obviously a very private thing and it feels normal that you may not feel comfortable doing it everywhere even if it’s only on the subconscious level. My Mum is the same if not worse, but the reason why it’s worse for her is probably that she does actually have digestive issues and hates public toilets more than I do. Once I get used to that new place, I can poop normally again, but more often I just either have to help myself with something that works for constipation or wait until I can go home and then the problem solves itself. I have the same thing with social gatherings that are long and involve eating, and I guess that’s less common and definitely to do with my social anxiety. I generally am not a fan of eating out or eating with a lot of people like huge family meals, there are many reasons for that. I totally don’t get why people always need to eat during such gatherings, and if they really have to, why so much and almost all the time, and particularly as it seems when it’s mostly middle-aged people. 😀 Let’s say it’s someone’s birthday and they decided on such a stiff family party with sitting at the table, talking about nothing and LOTS of food, mostly cakes and the like. Or, more realistically, their family decided for them because they came uninvited but luckily the person in question was prepared for such a possibility. 😀 So, you’re sitting on your butt for two hours at least, continuously eating all those carbs, and, if you’re like me, feeling anxious/stressed/uncomfortable, or a bit tense at least. Perfect recipe for a shit problem. If it’s a bit more dynamic you can perhaps go out for a while or something, you can go to the loo but if you’re like me it won’t change anything ’cause it’s someone else’s loo. 😀 So this is one of many reasons why I generally eat very little in social situations, especially lengthy ones.

So yeah, I think on average the longest for me must have been around a week, when going somewhere for holidays or school trips or the like. After about a week I’m usually adjusted enough that things get better, or physiology takes the upper hand over my brain. 😀 Now I can also take the advantage of the fact that these days I always travel with my Mum and that she has been more aware of her own various digestive problems including constipation over the last couple years, which means she always takes a whole bag of things that help her when travelling or staying away from home, so we always have something helpful at hand.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

What’s the strangest/scariest thing you’ve seen in the middle of the night?

My answer:

Not really seen it but heard it, and not just in the middle of the night but for a good few months, but it started in the middle of the night. We still lived in our previous house in the countryside where I had a room in the attic. One night in summer I woke up, I think it wasn’t that scary strange thing that woke me up initially, if I remember correctly I was feeling unwell physically or something like that. In any case, I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. Suddenly I heard a weird, faint but clear noise. I still sort of remember what it sounded like but can’t even describe it in a good way, yet I remember that the first time I heard it it reminded me of something like the noise that a sheep or a goat would make, only a lot fainter and shorter and kinda raspy. There was no way there were any such animals in our area so I found this really bizarre and a little creepy because it quite clearly sounded like it came from somewhere in my room. Since it didn’t repeat for some time and I couldn’t come up with a good idea for what it could be, I decided I must have imagined it, but I couldn’t settle back to sleep. And then I heard it again. And again, after a while. And again. And a few more times. Sometimes hearing a sound to which I can’t attribute a source can really trigger my sensory anxiety, and I think it can be potentially scary for a lot of people even when they don’t have the sensory anxiety problem. In order to be able to fall back to sleep and not freak out completely I tried to think that there certainly must be some normal, prosaic reason for why I was hearing this, I just simply didn’t know what it was. I finally managed to fall asleep, but to my fear and frustration I could still hear it. I asked my Mum what could it be, perhaps there’s something in my room, but she had no idea. She came up there, but couldn’t hear anything, so she said I must’ve been imagining it at night like I thought. Only I could still hear it at regular intervals throughout the day. And the next day, and for the rest of the summer. Eventually I sort of got used to my invisible, creepy roommate, invading my little Bibiel haven, but it was really annoying, and when I was home alone, when it was really quiet or the night time, it would still creep me out, even just the idea that no one else hears it. So what does that mean? Am I going crazy? My Mum tried hearing out for it multiple times ’cause I kept complaining about it but the malicious thing never made the noise when she was in the room, or if it did, she wouldn’t hear it because we were talking or some other noises were masking it. When I mentioned it she laughed that I must be smoking something and that it’s not fair that I won’t share with the rest of the family. 😀 Dad often had a habit of taking a nap in my room, ’cause it was the quietest, which I utterly hated because he snores, as Sofi once said, like a million of dinosaurs. Still, I was hoping that one time when he comes, before he falls asleep, or after he wakes up, he’ll hear it. Thing is, my Dad falls asleep immediately, doesn’t even need five minutes.

The summer holidays had finished and the new school year had started, so I went to school and wasn’t home for the next at least two weeks. I hoped that by the time I come back, my roommate would get bored not having anyone in there to creep out and would magically disappear just as he appeared, or maybe Mum would find him. No such luck. I remember that when I came home I guess just for a weekend, I went upstairs to go to sleep, and when I was already falling asleep, I heard it again. And that was the case for the next few months, I don’t know how long. Finally, at some point Mum did hear it. She was relaxing in my room, and I was there too, and at some point we both heard it and she was all like: “Gosh, what was that?!” Then she kept looking around the room to locate the thing, which wasn’t easy, because it wasn’t very loud and only made the noise once in a while. Finally, she found it. Under a bean bag, there lay Sofi’s old toy phone, and right when she discovered it, it pleaded guilty by making that noise again. Its battery was dying, so that was why it sounded so weird. Sofi was no longer interested in it, so the phone went to trash, which I felt evil satisfaction about. 😀

And how about you? 🙂

Question of the day (15th June).

What makes you nervous no matter how many times you do it?

My answer:

There are loads of such things, but one that comes to my mind is definitely peopling in general. That is, sometimes I’m less nervous than other times, and there are times when I’m almost not anxious at all, but if we assume that the longer/more often you do something, the less nervous you become over time when doing it, here it just doesn’t apply. As for how much I’m nervous during a social interaction, I feel like a lot of the time it’s pretty random, which baffled me for a long time because I’d hear people with “normal” social anxiety always say how they’re always anxious or nervous with strangers, or in some specific kinds of situations, while for me there are times when I feel nervous talking to my own Mum, even though we generally have a very good relationship, or I can have trouble writing to someone online whom I like and know well, and there can be times when I can hold a fairly normal conversation with someone I barely know or even a total stranger, and even enjoy it, and the person mmight even end up commenting how very outgoing I am. 😀 I used to explain to them that I don’t, or even when I was a child my Mum would explain that it’s not like that, but now I no longer do as it’s not their business really, and they usually wouldn’t believe me anyway when I’d say that actually I’m normally very anxious around people and they’d say things like that everyone is a bit anxious sometimes, like my last therapist, for example, haha. The next day, my anxiety may work completely inversely, or I’ll be scared of all people equally. It used to really confuse me, well, still does in a way, but I used to think that because it’s not really like I have very clear social anxiety triggers beyond a few, I can’t have valid social anxiety and either it’s something else or I’m somehow making it up or whatever. I still haven’t fully figured out what may be the reasons behind such a weird, changing pattern, although I have some theories and think there may be multiple factors involved, but a lot has been cleared up for me when I learned that in fact I don’t have the classic social anxiety, but instead I have AVPD, in which the anxiety doesn’t have to necessarily be triggered by any specific situation, it’s just some general people phobia with some other, additional gimmicks to make things more interesting.

Another such thing for me is definitely horse riding. I haven’t done that in quite some time now, but I used to for many years, and despite that, I would always be more or less anxious beforehand, and as much as I absolutely love it, the anxiety could seriously get in the way or even spoil things completely sometimes. I’ve written here many times before how my fear started out mostly due to my balance problems and having obligatory hippotherapy at nursery, but then later on, after a few years’ break, my Mum got me back into it at our local stud where I grew to love it and also really bonded not just with my horse but also my instructor. I still experienced all the same issues that I did before, but since I learned that horse riding can be enjoyable and started doing it not just in a therapeutic but also more properly sporty way, I was able to overcome my fears enough that my love of riding and for my horse was stronger than the anxiety and most of the time I was able to motivate myself to do it, even if it took me some 15 minutes on horseback to relax and feel it properly. After those fifteen minutes I would usually start feeling way better, euphoric even. I always found it really annoying that it took me so long to get into it and that I was so shaky beforehand and for the first few minutes while riding, which also affected the way I rode since all my muscles were tense and of course my horse picked up on it too. My main horse was really phlegmatic and hardly moved by anything, which I found very reassuring, so he didn’t catch the anxiety from me like some horses do, but it was definitely an obstacle in our communication. So when I was put on the anti-anxiety medication I always took half of the pill before the riding to calm me down a bit. Sometimes it worked, sometimes I didn’t feel it at all. Then I guess at some point my brain started protesting louder and my anxiety became almost as strong as my love for riding and it was harder and harder to motivate myself to actually do it and I didn’t see much point if I was feeling horrid hours in advance. So that was one of the reasons why I stopped doing it, although I still don’t know yet if it’ll be permanently or not.

And yet another thing which very often makes me nervous is change. We all deal with changes in our lives a lot, but some of us I guess just never get used to it. Not all changes freak me out, but major or sudden ones or such that involve leaving behind something that I was emotionally connected to tend to be difficult. New things I have to get used to are also difficult, they may not always scare me but the stress related to getting used to the new thing can be rather exhausting, even if it’s sometimes exciting at the same time.

What is such a thing(s) for you? 🙂

Question of the day (11th June).

What is something you enjoy doing, but others don’t?

My answer:

I really like reading dictionaries, while it’s just flicking through them (with or without a specific purpose) or reading them as you would a novel. I find words extremely interesting and sensorily stimulating as I have several forms of lexical synaesthesia (lexical-tactile and lexical-gustatory). I don’t do it very often because accessibility of dictionaries isn’t very high as a general rule, I had a dictionary of foreign words/loanwords in Braille as a child but now no longer have it as it took up a lot of space that I could have used for other things, plus when I started to use technology more it became useless because if I’d really need to look up something in this dictionary it’s in public domain so I can very easily do it online. I also have some Swedish-Polish/Polish-Swedish dictionaries in normal print which I’ve also scanned so I can read them, but these scans are actually pretty bad and difficult to read so it’s often easier for me to go online and do research if I need to figure out some Swedish word and how it’s used. Then now that I have an iPhone I also have tons of English dictionaries on it, and a couple Welsh ones – one very detailed with all sorts of information you may need and quite confusing sometimes if you’re a learner, and the other a lot more concise. – But you can’t really go through a dictionary app on your phone as you can through an actual book, plus the Welsh ones are not overly friendly when you’re a screen reader user which is discouraging. Still, I do like reading/browsing through dictionaries when I can and I think I do it a lot more often than average, not just because I’m learning languages but out of plain curiosity.

You? 🙂

Question of the day.

What are you in the 1% of?

My answer:

I hardly care about percentages, but let’s think… The first thing that springs to my mind is that (touch wood) I’ve never really had a proper cavity, despite my dental hygiene being rather crappy most of the time and not caring overly about what I eat. My Mum says it’s a miracle, I’m more inclined to think it’s genetics ’cause my whole family have very healthy teeth. The reason why this springs to my mind first is that I recently actually chipped my tooth slightly, but at the same time must have been badly enough that it hurt. It wasn’t a terrible pain, but rather annoying and wouldn’t go away for about two weeks so I was rather concerned. I guess it’s now gotten used to being chipped ’cause it now only hurts very very slightly and occasionally and the dentist didn’t even see any problem with it on an X-ray, but I got quite freaked out by how suddenly and easily it chipped and didn’t know what was going on. At the same time, strangely enough, my other teeth also became temporarily more sensitive so I was seriously wondering whether perhaps my lucky time is over and now my teeth are decaying all at once. 😀 Which is a real scary prospect when you’re emetophobic, hate gagging and having things in your mouth which is unavoidable at the dentist’s. So I had a full mouth X-ray to see what’s going on in there and both the X-ray technician and then my dentist couldn’t stop saying how healthy my teeth are and how they’d like all their patients to have such teeth as me. 😀 Back when I was going to school and when my emetophobia was bad enough that I really struggled brushing my teeth, whenever we were told that we’d be having a dental checkup, which we’d typically learn right before it was about to happen, I’d just brush my teeth beforehand or if there wasn’t enough time just run to the loo and scrape my teeth with my finger until they felt smoother, and the dentist’s reaction was always the same: “Wow, you have very healthy teeth!” I’m so freakin’ grateful for it, I seriously feel for any people out there who are emetophobic or have other phobias that get in the way of dentist appointments and who have more trouble with their teeth. Or maybe life is merciful enough that bad teeth plus emetophobia just don’t happen together? Still, the whole experience and the fear around it did set my phobia back a fair bit. Which also means that again I have to take a break from working on my post about all things emetophobia ’cause I don’t want to make it even worse.

So yeah, I don’t know how many people don’t develop cavities, and also it still might happen to me, although obviously I really really hope it won’t, but still it seems like I’m in the minority.

Another thing is I often wonder how many people in Poland can communicate in Welsh on any level, and I’m actually very curious. Of course it’s a minority language to begin with and I don’t even know what percentage of people worldwide can speak it. What I’m even more curious of is, if we exclude any potential Welsh natives or Welsh people who acquired it later in life and can use it to some extend, who may live in Poland, and people of any other nationalities who were born in Wales and acquired the language there (or perhaps in Patagonia where it’s also spoken), and any Polish people who learned the language to whatever degree in an academic setting (you can study it here at one or two universities) or while living in Wales (there’s a big Polish minority), how many people are left who can speak it? Is my family very far off in thinking that it’s just Bibielle? 😀 I’d like to know if there are other people in this country who are learning it like me – non-academically and plain because they like it, without ever having been there, having family there or anything like that. – If I’m the only one, it’s cool because it’s quite hilarious as I’d be literally one in like 38 millions, lol, but it would be just as cool if there were other such weird individuals here ’cause the more the merrier, at least this is the case when we’re talking about an extinct language. I’ll surely be even more of a phenomenon when I start learning Sami or Frisian, as, as far as I know, there’s no way to study these languages here in Poland. I hope I can do this.

AVPD is quite rare, or at least rarely diagnosed, can’t remember how many percent now, if I ever knew it to begin with, but maybe it could be around 1%. Actually in Poland alone it’s very possible. Then I am also a synaesthete, and one of the types of synaesthesia I experience is lexical-gustatory, which is apparently the most rare. Google claims there are 2-4% of synaesthetes so perhaps this could count.

I’m also such a strange peep who hardly ever feels any smells unless very strong and chemical ones, and even then it’s more like I feel them at the back of my throat rather than in the nose, yet at the same time I can’t say I have any problems with taste and flavour, or if I do it’s towards the other extreme that I guess I’m overly sensitive to some flavours. I have totally no idea why that is, I know there’s such a thing as hyposmia/anosmia where you have little to no sense of smell but I guess those people don’t experience flavours either, plus these are medical conditions as far as I know and I can’t really say my smell anomaly impacts me in any negative way, I’d rather say it’s the opposite ’cause I don’t have to feel all the yucky smells of this world and don’t miss the beautiful ones as I don’t know/can’t recall them.

Also I don’t like some things which most people seem to like and it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t. For example I dislike Harry Potter. Not just because it’s not okay with my religion, but it just totally doesn’t interest me, I don’t like most of the modern fantasy genre I suppose. Same about Star Wars. Or Twilight, and all the other vampire stuff. I actually did give Twilight a fair chance and I totally see why people may find it appealing, but don’t share the excitement and don’t want to. I don’t like a lot of books that normal people do, or at least don’t see anything special in them.

Oh yeah , and on another note, I don’t like pizza. Don’t hate it, but don’t like it either, and it seems to be a very unpopular opinion, at least among people I know.

How about you? 🙂

Question of the day.

Is there something that you understand why other people like it, and wish you enjoyed it like they did, but just don’t?

My answer:

I’m sure there are many such things, but one such thing I can think of now is classical and early music. We’d call it “serious music” in Polish collectively but that’s just such an incredibly daft way to call it, ’cause it either implies that other kinds of music aren’t serious, or that this “serious” music can’t just be lighthearted and happy.

I do quite like it, but it wasn’t always the case, and even now that it is I feel like I don’t really have the understanding of it that some people do who truly like it a lot, and I’d like to because I think it’s quite enriching to be able to understand it better. Part of it I think is that I got a bit of an aversion to this kind of music at school, where we’d for example be taken to the filharmony once in a while and I always found it excruciatingly boring. I vividly remember several occasions when I had some fun plans for the weekend and then it turned out we’d be going to the filharmony and spend there half of the day, and there was no extricating yourself out of it. Like there was once a girl that I met who volunteered at our school for a short while, it was quite common that there were volunteers at our school helping with some things, she was just 17, and while she stayed there we realised that we were very much on the same wavelength or something, we also were able to hang out a lot because she was only volunteering in our group and that was only for the weekend so there were less people in the group than normal and more time. Then, although we both promised each other to stay in touch after she’d leave, our contact stopped at some point as life was happening to both of us, and then, after about a year or so, she came back for a weekend again and was put in another group. As it happened, I was the only one in my group who was staying at the school for that weekend. We still got to meet up, only it was already late Saturday evening. A filharmony visit was arranged for the next day for a few groups including mine, but since I was the only one in my group for that day and had what I thought was a valid excuse not to go – hanging up with J. until she leaves Sunday afternoon – I thought there wouldn’t be any problem if I wouldn’t go. Well, there was a problem, ’cause well, it’s already arranged, so, hmm, no way out. 😀

I DO understand that it’s important to introduce young people to all sorts of things, including all sorts of music, but I’m not sure that was the good way to do it. I was absolutely not the only one who sniffed at it.

But even when I used to genuinely think that early/classical music is boring, I still strongly respected people who actually saw something in it and enjoyed it. Now I don’t think at all that it’s boring and I’ll often listen to it, and of course with all kinds of harp being my favourite instruments, I enjoy any music where harp is very present, I also appreciate the huge influence those early music styles have had on my favourite music genres. but I still can’t really connect with it, or rarely can, and I sort of envy people who have the necessary sensitivity to experience it more deeply. I guess though that it often comes with maturity. Like, I’ve frequently heard that people who have really liked rock, blues and/or metal in their youth and didn’t really understand early music or didn’t even like it often come to hugely appreciate and enjoy it, and especially often medieval music, later on in life. Actually, speaking of medieval music, out of all those early time periods I feel like it resonates with me most. Since I love many shades of rock, won’t sneeze at a good piece of blues and had my (Gothic) metal phase as well, maybe I’ll get there too with the other early music periods too, who knows.

How about you? 🙂