Have you ever shared a toothbrush or a stick of deodourant with anyone?
We do share a toothbrush with Sofi, and a deodourant with my whole family all the time… Ewww! Well, actually it’s not quite so gross. 😀 It’s not gross because our toothbrush is electric, so each of us simply has her own head for it. I guess that’s a lot more economical than having two toothbrushes for two people. And as for the deodourant, well, it’s not a stick, so it doesn’t really match this question’s criteria, but still, it’s a deodourant that my Mum makes for all of us. My Mum is a health, lifestyle and wellness geek as y’all know, and part of what it means is that ever since she’s embraced this new identity of hers, she’s started doing some cosmetics of her own. Not a lot and nothing fancy, because she’s not the kind of person who’d need a lot of cosmetics these days, but she just doesn’t believe in most of the mainstream ones that they’re working at all and she says that if they do it’s a placebo. She makes her own deodourant, toothpaste, sometimes soap, but rather occasionally because she does have a soap that she likes and considers good and that we all are also happy to use, and she also makes some other things for facial care that are easy enough to make. So we have a huge container of Mum’s deodourant in the bathroom. It’s made of baking soda and coconut oil, and a drop of some essential oil for fragrance. This doesn’t block your sweat glands like typical deodourants do, but simply totally neutralises the smell.
I’ve started using it more often perhaps a year ago, and I believe it was after Niki from Take A Ride on my Moodswing commented on one of my questions where I was asking people something about their hair washing routine, and she mentioned that she finds it difficult due to her mental illness and often uses dry shampoo instead. I only used it before occasionally when travelling or something, but though it was a good way to make life easier sometimes, so the next time I saw it somewhere I got it. These days, most of the time I’m doing well enough that I can do basic self-care stuff and I try to wash my hair twice a week, luckily it doesn’t need more at this point. But when there are times when, either because of feeling very depressed, or being in an AVPD black hole where Maggie – my inner critic – takes things over and I feel a lot of self-loathing and stuff, the last thing I’ll think of is self-care, even as basic as that, ’cause why would I care? The only reason I can think of then is other people and so that it doesn’t feel quite so awful for them to be around me, so I’ll just use the dry shampoo as a bit of a substitute for a proper hair wash. Also when I have a migraine but my hair is really greasy, I find washing my hair a really obnoxious thing, so I’d rather use dry shampoo instead then as well.
How about you? In what circumstances do you use it, if you do? 🙂
Do you use a skincare routine consistently? Why or why not?
Not really. The only thing I try to do consistently, at least in the winter months when my skin gets really dry, is using some oil, like coconut oil most of the time, on it, and I have a peeling once in a blue moon, but it’s a very minimalistic and natural peeling, I don’t use any ready-made exfoliators. I seriously don’t feel the need for anything more, I’m not someone who would interact with lots of people in a professional setting or anything like that so I don’t think I have to look perfectly, and doing it for myself doesn’t really sound convincing because I’ve always found these kind of beauty self-care things quite uninteresting. On one hand I think my skin isn’t that bad at all that I’d need some fancy skincare routine, I have no big problems with it apart from being a bit too dry at some times, and on the other hand, I don’t know how to put it but it’s like, I don’t have the drive for such things because my self-esteem is too messed up, so I just don’t see the point in bothering, it’s not something pleasurable to me like it is for some people and it doesn’t really affect the way I feel about myself. I’m sure the fact that I’m blind plays some role in it too though I know some blind girls and women who are way more image-conscious than a lot of sighted people I know. And, while my Mum is someone who definitely likes to look good and take care of her appearance, and even is a trained beautician, by the time I was about the age when girls usually learn about those things, her views on skincare shifted dramatically, she’s always inclined to live healthily, but it’s become much more of a passion and a discovery journey for her and she’s started living much more naturally, she used to use tons of things for her skin and now she doesn’t use any shop-bought beauty products at all and relies much more on sport and diet. So the message I was receiving at that time was that it’s actually good that I’m not interested in putting too much shit of unknown origin on my skin, because skin will not absorb all that, so usually a skin product will only have an effect as long as you don’t wash it off, and what will get through the skin may be actually harmful, and it’s illogical to expect for example a cream, especially a cheap one, to make your skin look considerably better, and that it’s better to use natural oils from plants for example, we even use a homemade deodourant. Most of that made a lot of sense to me and still does, so that’s how I am trying to live though I am not nearly as much of a lifestyle freak as my Mum, rather than doing everything to stay healthy or something like that I just do what I like, and if it happens to be good for my health, then it’s a great bonus. She has it much more difficult these days with Sofi because she is much more image-conscious, she’s very pretty and knows about it and wants to fit in, watches loads of YouTube videos and observes her school mates and while she rationally understands Mum’s point of view, she really wants to do make-up, manicure etc. though she’s rarely allowed, but when she is allowed she is very creative, and she does have a very fancy skincare routine.
and the topic of this week is self care. Gonna be tricky, but let’s try. I’m going to participate in prompt #1. Here goes.
Were their signs of your self-care routine lacking before you were officially diagnosed with a mental illness/disorders? – Yes, definitely, especially that all my official mental health diagnoses are relatively recent. I think I’ve struggled with self care my entire life, and not only due to mental illnesses. For a long time I wasn’t concerned about my appearance at all, which had surely to do with my blindness. Since I didn’t look at people and care about their appearance, why the heck would they look at me and care about mine? And I just wasn’t interested in that. I am still not, and I’m still not particularly caring about my appearance, when I feel OK I just do the minimum to look OK, I never do makeup at all, I hate clothes shopping, I don’t even do this myself, my Mum likes similar things to me in terms of clothing and she knows what I like and look OK in so she is my stylist as I say. Then when things with my mental health started slipping down fast, which I can’t even tell now when exactly it started happening, my self care routine slipped down too. It’s all very complex and layered and not even fully understandable to me why I experience all the difficulties with self care that I experience. As I said in a way it’s that I don’t care, then I’ve never had healthy self-esteem so on the other hand I feel sort of like even if I did care how I look like, I don’t deserve such things as self care, my inner critic cringes even at the sound of this word. I’ve got a deeply ingrained conviction in my brain that I am very emotionally weak because of what happened to me and how I reacted to all that, and also I hate feeling vulnerable and showing my vulnerability both because it makes me feel weak and even more insecure around other people. And then there is depression, which sometimes just makes my self-esteem even worse, sometimes it gives me so many other things to care/worry about that I just don’t find the time and space for self care and it feels very unimportant, or I don’t have the energy for it. And on top of that, there is the fact that I am not very independent, I need relatively much assistance with a lot of things, well it’s hard to make comparisons especially that I hate comparisons but what I mean is that I often need at least some help with certain self care activities that a fair few blind people I know can do on their own, and there are probably other things involved too that I either can’t think of right now or don’t fully realise. So when my mental health started slipping down, I started doing things like not eating on purpose when I felt hungry, not for weight related reasons but I’d say as a way of punishing myself but also distracting from what I felt, my emetophobia which was very bad at that time played also a role in it. It wasn’t like I wouldn’t eat at all and I tried not to make it obvious but at some point one of the staff at the boarding school noticed some things and was worried I am anorectic though I wasn’t. I often deliberately didn’t do things that were bringing me pleasure when I could do them, and I started self-harming, though in fact I was doing mild self-harm a lot of the time since I can remember. Pain has often been comforting for me or at least distracting, or my inner critic whom I call Maggie in English would just punish me this way. Or I would do things like when I felt cold I deliberately didn’t put warmer clothes on either to distract from my feelings or to feel that weird and crazy satisfaction that I am doing something against myself and that I could manifest how I hated myself. A lot of those things have gotten milder now or disappeared because my life circumstances are now different and my self-awareness is a little bit better.
Did you (or) do you suffer from low self-esteem? – Yes. One of the things I’ve been diagnosed with is AVPD (avoidant personality disorder) which is very tightly related to having very low self-esteem. I really don’t like to talk about my self-esteem because it makes me so much more vulnerable and it’s not fun when people know such things about you, the more that deep down I have a feeling that they already know it because it’s obvious, but also because it’s hard to talk about it honestly in an open and raw way and not sound whiney and I hate sounding whiney. I try to change it on my blog where it’s much easier, but still difficult, hence this post is a little bit tricky for me. My inner critic Maggie is very good at her role and I have that niggling, snarky feeling about myself always there in the back of my mind. I do have times when my self-esteem goes higher, sometimes for a while it goes veeery high if there is something that makes me feel really good about myself or accomplished but then it doesn’t take much to crash in a big way and I end up self-loathing. When I feel more depressed or overwhelmed with all sorts of feelings I loathe myself for days or weeks very intensely and then self care is more challenging and it’s hard not to self harm.
Is there (or) have there been stages of guilt when not properly taking care of your self-care routine? – Hm, well, I deal with guilt a lot while depressed and then it doesn’t need a specific reason for me to feel guilty, but I guess I never or very rarely feel seriously guilty specifically because of lack of self care, unless I look really horrific or something happens because of it that affects other people in a bad way.
(You can refrain from answering the next question if you wish to). What was the longest period of time between taking a shower, and/or brushing your teeth? – I try to always shower or take a bath, I’d have to be suuuper unstable not to do it or extremely wiped out and my energy rarely goes that low solely because of mental health as I only have dysthymia and not major depression so it’s not normal for me to feel so very drained. Taking a shower actually often helps me to feel better and calmer. Sometimes when I’m really depressed/overwhelmed/self-hating I only have a very quick shower just to get it over with as quickly as possible, or in turn I can sometimes stand in the shower for ages with my brain either running a mile a minute so I’m too absorbed in my own anxious/dark thoughts to do anything else in the meantime, or frozen because of the depression, and I go out of the shower and realise that: “Aha, cool, I didn’t even wash myself. Oh well, who cares. Let’s better go off to sleep”. 😀 So, completely without showering, I remember a time when I was 15 and didn’t shower for 3 days, and that’s the only single incident with not showering for a few days because of mental health stuff that I can think of. Brushing teeth is tricky. I hated doing it as a child for a while because of the sensory feel of it, then when my emetophobia got bad when I was a teen there was a situation when I saw my Dad brushing his teeth, and he was brushing his tongue so very energetically that he gagged and I was like “Oh no, no teeth brushing for me anymore, I don’t want this to happen to me!”. And it was really tough for me to brush my teeth until my emetophobia calmed down a little bit and I was able to talk some sense into myself that people don’t normally just gag when brushing their teeth. 😀 On the other hand, because I hate having things other than food in my mouth, also because of that same fear, I am also scared of the dentist visits and such, so I try to take care of my teeth. But still, when I feel shitty, I don’t care and I don’t brush my teeth or I do it very superficially. I can’t remember for how long it was when I was so scared of brushing teeth because of that gagging thing, but I can sometimes go without brushing teeth for 3 weeks or so. Then when I don’t do it for so long, I easily plain forget to do it sometimes, as I can be very scatterbrained. I am one of those lucky folks though because I’ve never even had a single cavity or any such things.
If you are supposed to be going out for whatever occasion, are you concerned with your over-all appearance? (Or) Do you take care of your self-care needs before leaving the house? – It depends whether I am concerned or not and how much on how I’m feeling, if I am concerned then usually because I feel so self-conscious than because I want to look well. I do basic self care things before going out though even if I’m not concerned, just for the peace of mind, because I should. 😀
What advice can you give to someone who is having difficulty with their self-care routine? (Note: If someone was to ask for your advice, what would you share with them?) – Oh gosh! That if they need a good self care advice, they shouldn’t come for it to me, because I’m anything but a self care guru. 😀 No, I’m kidding of course, but it’s really hard to advise people on something you struggle with yourself, it feels hypocritical. Wait a moment, I have to think… I think what I can say is that you are certainly not alone with it, most people with mental illness struggle with self care, and it is OK to admit that you are struggling, that you don’t feel like focusing on your appearance, that you are not into it at this moment, it’s OK and it is valid, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty about it if you do, because it just happens, it’s not something you chose to happen, did you? It’s important how you look, but it’s not the most important thing in the world, not the most important thing about you either, and you don’t always have to look glamourous, especially that it is such a subjective thing, and, let’s be objective for a second, most people care and worry too much about how they look to judge everyone else’s appearance and whether it is appropriate. And that everything in life is transient, so there are big chances that you won’t always struggle with it as much as you do right now. Uhhh what a lengthy post haha!
But today, I’d like to share with you something newer of hers. I actually really like this song, I think it’s one of my current favourites, if I’d have something like a list of my monthly favourites I’d put it on there. This is a song that Iselin wrote intending to promote self-care. I’m in my lower than usual, depressed and self-loathing phase right now so at such times self-care is always difficult. So I thought I’d share this song as a bit of a boost, both for myself and those of you who may also struggle with it currently. And somehow it even goes in hand with my current questions of the day topic in a way. Hope you enjoy it. 🙂
Lots of things, and to a varying degree, depending on what it is and also on my mood and how much filled with joy I actually can feel at a certain moment. First and foremost, Misha. Though… well it was probably thoughtless of me to call him a simple and common thing. He’s one of the most complex beings that I know and I’m sure there is no other like him, and above all he’s certainly not a thing. OK, so, once again. Music (even though the music I listen to can rarely be called common as it’s rarely popular but never mind), reading interesting books, yummy food, sometimes playing with Zofijka, being by the sea, feeling the ice, having a hot bubble bath as long as it’s once in a while, lots and lots of nice/soothing/interesting sounds and on top of it the sounds of my languages or doing something with them, although again, not many of them are common, or even simple, so sometimes if they don’t feel very simple it can be also a challenge, but then I do love a good language challenge too. And there are probably other things that I can’t think of now too.
Actually, I participated last week too, but was too unsettled and chaotic to make a post and sum things up.
If you follow Bee’s blog, or have read my previous Music Monday Care & Love post, you know that right now Bee is using Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” as a resource for self care exercises, and now we’re in week 2 of it.
There have been a lot of tasks to do in both chapters in the book that we’ve gone through so far, but I think I’ve acomplished most of them, those that I could do at the time and that seemed most relevant to me at the moment at least.
I’ve been doing most of these tasks in my journal, as I put a lot of things in there, much more than just how was my day and such, and I think it will be a great sort of documentation of my self care and artistic recovery.
Similarly to Bee, and a bit surprisingly to me, I found the whole process more personal than I thought it’d be, so I won’t share things very in depth.
Anyway, I’ve discovered some quite surprising things about myself, my way of thinking, being, my beliefs… That was quite hard, the more that I am having generally a bit of a hard time lately with all the memories that have come back rushing to me together with my friend emerging from the past, and other things, but I also found it interesting.
What particularly resonated with me were affirmations and negative beliefs, about which Bee wrote last week HERE.
That was all quite powerful and gave me a lot of stuff to think about.
I had some trouble listing my “hall of horrors”, so the three people who have said something negative about my art. I realised that in my case it is more circumstances and events than just particular people, but I did manage to write a horror story basing on those circumstances and events anyway. Listing my champions of creativity was much easier.
Writing a thank you letter to myself was another hard thing, I don’t think it’s particularly good, but I still did it.
I just loved the idea of imaginatively lives.
And I did go for a walk too, last week, with my Mum.
As for journaling, or as Julia Cameron refers to it “morning pages” I am usually pretty consistent with it, which helps me a lot. I may not write on all days, but I always catch up on everything and generally write quite a lot when I write. Last week I journalled 5 days out of 7.
I had my artist’s date last week – which as you may remember for me is horse riding – and enjoyed it thoroughly. This week, unfortunately, it wasn’t possible, as my instructor was too busy.
I still have the list of 20 things I enjoy doing to make, and I look forward to doing it as maybe then I’ll come up with some new ideas for artist’s dates for weeks like this when I don’t have my horse riding.
ONe of my imaginatively lives is to be a writer, and, indeed, I’ve been writing almost all the time this week – apart from journaling, blogging etc. I decided to write some more of one of my books, that I’d stopped working on for a while, I don’t have any particular ambitions with it but I feel that writing it has always helped me to distract and feel better. This book is called “Jack Hamilton” and it’s about… well it’s about Jack Hamilton, Jack Hamilton is my imaginary friend, and I write about his life successively since many years and just can’t quit. I leave Jack alone for months, but can never quit writing about him. So that made my week in a way.
Actually, as I think about it now, I could make it another idea for my artist’s date hahaha.
Another task in 2nd chapter of “The Artist’s Way” is to write a list of 10 small changes we would like to make in our lives and pick two to and do them. So, one of my changes is “I would like to be more consistent with my creative writing”. And what I decided to do with it is – I will try to write at least three pages of one of three books I started per week. This week, it was time for Jack Hamilton, next it might be my viking book, and then, I don’t know yet whether my potential harlequin, or whether I’d rather want to focus o translating Vreeswijk, I’m rather leaning towards the latter as that seems more interesting, but also way more hard. And then again, Jack Hamilton, vikings, Vreeswijk/harlequin, every three weeks. I have a week for writing just 3 pages, and a week is actually a lot of time, so I’ll probably end up writing more if I’m not in a crisis or something haha. I’ve written 5 pages of Jack this week. I’m not going to stress myself out with it, just to be a bit more consistent and organised and really notice any progress with my writing.
My another change has to do with my thinking patterns, namely I’m trying to think less critically about myself, though, that seems to be much harder, and acually not such a small change as it may seem at first.
So that would be a little idea for you as for my self care and artistic recovery, now let’s get to the music.
As we’re going through “The Artist’s Way”, Bee suggests to make a playlist of songs that are encouraging for uus. I have two private playlists so far that are encouraging or helpful for me. One is entirely instrumental, with some relaxing music of different kinds, not always objectively relaxing like for meditation, but also folk or classical or electronic or chillout or soundtrack, it’s all just calm and instrumental. Another one is with all the music of my crushes. My all musical crushes are sort of antidotes for pain for me, and so is their music. It is actually quite amazing how it can lift me up at times or at least distract. I wouldn’t like to be boring and monothematic though, because I’ve shared two of my crushes’ music in last two Music MOnday posts.
But there’s also plenty of other kinds of music and songs that I find more or less encouraging. I decided that today’s song will be something that’s rather new to me. I like interesting new discoveries, the mere idea of interesting new music discoveries is always very encouraging and making such discoveries is a part of my weekly self care routine 😀 so I decided to go through my new discoveries of the last few months or even weeks and pick something.
And I found something that feels perfect in a way. It is “Gold” by a Swedish synth pop musician Frida Sundemo.
Just the sounds of this song are so light and delicate and a bit magical and make you feel relaxed and your mindset more cheerful. And I love the lyrics. They’re soothing, but encouraging. There is an ocean. Ocean can be gentle. Comforting. Beautiful. Ocean is smooth and its waves can rock you to sleep. You can swim peacefully in it. But ocean is also big, for me it feels like a challenge. So it’s not just soothing. It’s gently motivating too. And that’s what encouragement is all about in my opinion.
Since this week, Bee is following Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” as a prompt for Music Monday Care & Love. In this book Julia Cameron writes about creativity, how many of us don’t use their creative potential and don’t have enough space for creativity in their lives, as there are so many important things we have to do in life and not everyone finds the time to be creative. It seems like her idea of creativity or being an artist is pretty similar to mine – I talked about it in the past in one of my question of the day posts where I asked you whether you consider yourselves artistic. I think that art is generally quite a narrow idea – the way that many people look at it – so that it only includes those generally accepted so to say creative arts, or even just visual arts. For me though, art is something aesthetic, beautiful. Creative or artistic people are those who are sensitive to beauty, and in general. They don’t have to do any of the common creative arts, they can do anything – but in their own way, with a lot of enthusiasm, and wholeheartedly, withh a lot of dedication. That’s an artist to me.
And I also agree with what THE Bee said, that being creative, doing creative things, can be a way of self care, a very good and helpful one in my opinion.
Because it helps us to find some point in our life, because being creative we can do what we love, and because via our creative activities we can let out emotions, so it’s generally therapeutic. And it simply gives us something to do and focus on.
I like Julia Cameron’s ideas of “morning PAGES” and “artist’s date” – I send you to Bee’s blog if you’d like to read more about those things.
I always liked journaling and writing and it was always greatly helpful to me in understanding, figuring and letting out my emotions, which, particularly that last thing, can be often very tricky for me, therefore Julia cameron’s idea of writing 3 pages as first thing every morning and letting out spontaneously what’s on your mind without any editing kind of spoke to me. I can’t do it this way, because morning is usually part of the day when there’s the most hassle around and I have the most to do, and it was always hard for me to establish some consistent, more sophisticated morning routine, plus sometimes with my messed up sleep cycle it is hard to figure out when morning actually is, as I can wake up pracctically any time. 😀 And of course handwriting isn’t doable as I’m blind.
Still though, I do journal every day, or even if not, I always catch up on my journal if I miss a day or two, and my diary is incredibly important for me. And who knows, maybe if I counted it, many of my entries would turn out to be 3 pages long or even longer. 😀
And I love the conception of artist date, to do something you’ve never allowed yourself doing, but always wanted to, and that sounds fun. Something that will awake your creativity and allow your inner creative child to play.
At first, I had some difficulty though to choose something that I could do as an artist’s date. There are many things that are really fun and that I love and that I’ve always dreamed about doing, but they’re not always manageable to do just whenever you want.
And then I thought – but hey, there are so many creative and fun things you already do, about which you dreamed for so long and finally you can do them!
And that’s true. There are so many things. If you told me like four years ago, or earlier, that I’ll be doing them, I’d probably just laugh in your face and think you’re foolish and unhealthily optimistic or something. But now I do them.
I can learn my languages. I can horse ride. I can write how much I want and no one can tell me I can’t. Moreover, as for my languages, I’m learning those that I’d almost accepted that are out of my reach because of accessibility – or lack of it – like Welsh!
SO I decided I won’t be trying to come up with something new, at least not this week. I’ll rather try to appreciate those things thaT I can do, and that are creative, even more, and have fun doing them, so that they would be even more pleasurable and not just a part of my routine.
So both yesterday and today, I was doing my Welsh, and was having A LOT of fun with it – with learning new words, with all my small successes and all – and I hope I’m gonna do some of it every day.
And a special thing this week – which I’m gonna treat as my artist’s date – will be tomorrow, because tomorrow at 10 AM I’m going horse riding. I just hope I’m gonna feel good afterwards, and not as crappy as last week hahaha. Then all will be great!
So that’s my self care plan for this week.
The milkshake about which I was writing in last week MusIC Monday post, didn’t work out, but I still have tons of kefir in the house to comfort myself with. 😀 I think overall, on a daily basis, kefir is much better than milk shakes hahaha.
OK, so as for the music, Bee suggests us to choose some music from the year we were born.
I was born in 1997. Most of my music is either on my Spotify, or on my SD cards, and if I’m honest – apart from my music crushes – I’m not always oriented from which album which song comes and when it was released (as numbers have little to no value for me), so I wondered for quite a while as for what to choose. Enya has released a compillation in 1997, but it’s just a compillation, so… I wasn’t really sure. I filtered my whole Spotify library to find all the stuff in it that has been released in 1997, meanwhile making lots of interesting discoveries as I didn’t know that many songs that I listened to and loved and had in my Spotify library were released in the same year when I was born, but I still hesitated, and then I realised that this Enya’s compilation that I mentioned, it has two tracks that haven’t been released before. One is “Only If”, and another is just as the compillation’s title “Paint The Sky With Stars”.
I think many many people may know “Only If”, as this song has been quite popular, and if I’m honest, although Enya is my music crush and I like almost everything from her, in my opinion “Only If” isn’t as haunting and beautiful as most of her pieces, though it’s still beautiful and very positive overall.
So I thought “Paint The Sky With Stars” would be a perfect choice. This is such a beautiful song, isn’t it?And again, like last week, I’m sharing with you something from one of my music crushes. As some of you may remember, Enya is my very first one.
It’s definitely not a beginning of the week now, but despite it I decided that nevertheless I’m gonna participate in Music Monday Care & Love
I haven’t participated in it for a while due to my laptop being fixed and now I’m happy to get back to celebrating my achievements and doing some self care together with Bee and all other participants, though I was afraid I may not do it this week too as I’ve been a little disorganised lately, mostly due to feeling a bit unwell physically. But now I hope I’m back on track and things will be getting better.
So here’s my very rambly post.
This week, Bee suggests us to go back to basics and simply celebrate ourselves with a mug of our favourite beverage, and she also encourages us to journaling.
As journaling is a part of my routine and helps me a lot with figuring out my feelings and other things, it wasn’t difficult to do this. And hopefully I’ll be having one of my favourite beverages tomorrow.
Recently, my Mum is crazy about protein shakes – she has some natural protein supplements and she makes drinks of almond milk, lots of fruit, a little honey and coconut oil and melts that protein in it. I also tried it, and it’s cool, but it made me think of shakes at KFC. 😀
I had a shake from KFC only once in my life, I guess I was in my early teens, I was at the boarding school at the time, and I was in touch with a girl who was studying typhlopedagogy and writing a dissertation on the blind in integration schools, basing it on my case. So we were seeing each other every now and then and talked about my experiences but also other unrelated stuff and one day she suggested to me that we could go out to the city and have a real treat. She was a big eater – herself working in a fastfood restaurant, and she told me we could go to a few of such places and eat whatever we wanted. That sounded cool and of course I was always happy to leave the boarding school with someone I liked and do something nice, so we did it, and I can remember that we visited really quite a few fastfood locals, and I was quite amazed at how much she can eat, while I felt stuffed already after we left the first one haha. At the end of our fast food trip, we went to KFC and I remember that I had a shake, and it was soooo yummy, but so terribly sweet and as I said I was way too stuffed, so I wasn’t able to drink much of it. I really regretted though haha.
Overall I am not a big fast food eater, I do like a lot of junk foods, but I can’t remember when was the last time I was at MCDonald’s or KFC, it’s not a regular thing for me. And although after that big fast food trip I remember I even had dreams involving vanilla and chocolate shakes, I never actually thought about that whenever I was at KFC after that.
But now my Mum’s shakes reminded me of that and I thought to myself that finally I have to get myself a shake at KFC. And tomorrow Zofijka wil be getting a takeaway for us all, because when I mentioned shakes she said she got very hungry and wants to KFC now, so finally we decided we can wait one day longer. 😀
I’m curious to see whether I’ll stil be so impressed with this shake and whether there was really something to regret or was I just idealising it because I was happy to be free from the boarding school atmosphere for a while and simply have nice memories of that time. 😀
So yeah, that’s gonna be my very healthy self activity of the week, lol – drinking a chocolate shake from KFC.
Oh, and there was another self-care activity that was very important to me this week, and much more healthy.
I finally went horse riding! I was a bit hesitant, because of that skin infection on my leg I’m having and about which I was writing earlier, how I was frustrated with it and that it won’t let me ride. I’m still dealing with it, though it’s not as painful now, I’ve been having also quite low blood pressure this week for some reason which makes me feel a bit crappy and groggy, so I was worried whether it would actually make sense to go riding in such state, but I just couldn’t resist and say my instructor that again I can’t go. I told her about my issues and so she told me that we will cut it to only half an hour for now, the more that I wasn’t riding in months, so we should have an easy start.
I didn’t regret that I went, even though it was rather intense and we were repeating all we’ve done before. It wasn’t only a big restart for me, but also for my instructor, as she wasn’t riding or doing anything at the stud for months as well, due to her other duties and issues.
The ride was great. I was happy to see Rudy – my horse, and my instructor too. I was doing very well despite my leg not being in the best condition and was feeling great at the time I was riding though.
Afterwards though, I felt yucky again and like my bp was dropping, but luckily my Mum already was there so we left quickly. I was a bit scared by that episode as I felt really shitty and weak for some time and whenever I was standing I felt like I was going to pass out or something, which luckily didn’t happen, I was afraid I maybe did too much or that it wasn’t wise to go riding when I wasn’t feeling too good.
I went to bed for a while and then I felt much better after some rest, so I guess it wasn’t that bad in the end, though my Mum was rather worried too. We both think now that it was just that I did too much at the start.
I hope next week is gonna be much better for me and I can’t wait for Friday to go ride again. 🙂
OK< so that would be about my self care, now let’s get to the music.
Bee asks us to share some music that reminds us about our successes. That also wasn’t hard for me to think about such piece of music.
One of the successes I treasure the most in my life, is thatI translated some of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s poems and songs.
This one I’m going to show you, is particularly important to me because it was the first one I translated, and funnily enough, with not very big knowledge about Swedish language. I started to learn Swedish when I was 10 and was learning it for about two years, at the time when I was in the integration school, but then had to leave both the integration school and Swedish for a long time, there was no possibility for me to learn it at the school for the blind. When I translated this song, I guess I was about 16, still going to the school for the blind, my crush on Vreeswijk was very fresh and I was even more determined than before that I am going to learn Swedish again, whatever it takes. But all that I had at that time was some bits and pieces of Swedish that I learned as a child and still remembered, some other bits and pieces that I forgot but that came back to my memory with Cornelis’ music, and some new vocabulary that I tried to learn just of curiosity of Cornelis and his songs and poems. So that wasn’t much.
When I first heard this song, the little bits of its lyrics that I understood made me very curious what it’s all about. So when I came home next time I tried to deciffer the lyrics, not without a difficulty. Finally I understood them more or less though and was in awe, because it is a really beautiful song!
I scrolled through the lyrics over and over and over again, and at some point I started to a bit unconsciously translate it to Polish so that the lines would be equally long as those in the original. How surprised I was to see that that little mishmash of words in my brain was actually becoming a logical construction that was even rhyming! I was so excited and very spontaneously decided to write a translation of it. Just for fun, but I wanted it to have the same rhythm as the original.
In all that excitement I felt, it went really quickly once I started, or so it felt. HOnestly it felt kinda as I was on drugs or something, I never felt that way before hahaha. When I was reviewing it years after writing it, I always saw some shortcomings, some pretty significant, and I still feel like I could improve a few lines but just don’t know how. Though, as such an early thing, with such a low level of Swedish I had at that time, I think it was great! And I am so extremely proud of it. I was elated for weeks after I did it. And my Mum hung it over her bed in our previous house. 😀
OK, but I guess I should now tell you a bit about the song itself. I tried to translate it to English, at least very literally, or find a translation, but there doesn’t seem to be any and I found it a bit too difficult to translate such a thing to a language that I’m not completely fluent in. So I’ll just tell you a bit aboutit.
It is a beautiful lullaby, one of Vreeswijk’s lighter poems and in my opinion one of more beautiful ones. It is dedicated for Bim – this nickname belongs to Birgitta Gunvor Linnea Warne who was his second wife, I love this nickname by the way – Cornelis – yeah, how cool is that, to dedicate your own works to yourself 😀 – and, how thoughtfully, all other people on Earth (I feel so honoured to be included! 😀 )
In each verse, we can see different people and other beings sleeping.
In the first verse, we see Staffan and Stina asleep. I’ve always imagined this couple as bee-keepers, because straight after that we get to know that the hive is asleep, and the bees in it. The dachshund is sleeping in its basket, and even the joy and sadness are asleep. Only darkness is awake, painting the roof black.
In the second verse Kenneth and Marit are sleeping, who, as I understand it, are factory workers, and during their sleep are away from the stress and the economy, rent and hysteria, away from worries about children…
Then we see Lasse and Pia, who are free, because the sleep, or dreams, are free. And then Greta and Ellis are mentioned, though we only know that they are dreaming, and finally Bim and Cornelis, also dreaming…
The refrain says, as I understand it, because it is hard to translate literally for me, that although we have many troubles and limitations of all kinds, we sleep in freedom, “so sleep, sleep”.
That’s an interesting point of view in my opinion, that only during sleep we can be fully free.
I could argue now, and talk in length about my sleep paralysis and other rubbish, but overall it’s so true! Plus it’s Cornelis, so I feel like I shouldn’t argue with him, even if my views are often dramatically different than his were, hahahaha.
OK, so I’ll leave you with this song, and… sleep well, at leastif you’re in my time zone or similar, and I wish you peaceful dreams full of freedom.
As a self care suggestion, this week Bee invites us to start a journal, or generally focus on journaling, which I find awesome, because I find writing a fabulous way of caring for myself.
I’ve been writing my diary for years and years, in very different formats, depending on circumstances. Right now I’m having a big folder with a collection of files written in Word, and that’s my diary at the moment. Also I tend to write some journaling posts on my blog which I also love and find very helpful, and I am so happy I have this blog.
If you’re interested in journaling, or plan to start your own journal and need some suggestions, I greatly recommend Bee’s post to you, it’s great and it shows that writing yourself out is really a good and beneficial self care idea.
What I found quite inspiring of what Bee wrote about, are Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. While it isn’t manageable for me to write my journal by hand obviously, I find the idea of stream of consciousness writing very good and helpful, and I think I’ll incorporate it into my writing, because so far, although I am pretty spontaneus in writing, I’ve always tended to filter my thoughts more or less. I think if I started to use stream of consciousness writing, it’d help me more to clear my mind of things easier. It sounds a bit hard to achieve to do journaling as a first thing in the morning, I don’t think I’d be ever able to do it, firstly because morning is part of the day when I’m most busy and secondly because I just find writing in the evening more suitable for me, and I am a night owl, so writing 3-4 pages is not an issue for me in the evening, while it can be in the morning sometimes.
So I’m gonna go deeper into journaling this week, focus at it more. I’ve ben planning since quite a while to start some new sections in it, so that it looks more journal-like, and not too chaotic, and so I think this week is the best time for it. And I’m going to try how the stream of consciousness writing will go, I’m very curious.
I’m really looking forward to all that, because I love writing, and I hope that this week I’ll be able to make my journaling even better, even though I think I can already now be proud of my diary, my consistency with it, and my writing.
As for the music, the Bee suggests that we share a song that describes our lives.
Now there are so many songs I can relate to, more, or less, or a lot. But it was hard for me to come up with something that would describe my life as a whole. The song that describes a huge part of my life is “Evacuee” by Enya, but, first, I shared it at the very beginnings of my blog so I don’t want to be boring and repetitive while there is so much other music out there to explore, and second, that was mostly a negative experience (even if the song is utterly beautiful) and why focus only on negatives.
Instead, I decided to perhaps go on an easy way a bit, and use the song I’ve planned earlier to share with you today. Or actually, it is a track. So there are no lyrics, but I still feel that in a way it does describe my life. A tiny little part of it – this day. When I was at school, I used to have music therapy, where we often interpreted various pieces of music in lots of interesting ways, for example, to what kind of activity they are most suitable, in what surroundings they would sound the best, what is the sort of “personality” of a certain song, etc. etc. etc. The song which I want to show you today was released a couple of years ago, and in Autumn, but if I had to interpret it and say what it fits, I’d say for me it is filled with summer chill and serenity, and is so pleasantly hazy. And my day today feels just like it. It’s a holiday in Poland today, we’re having a barbecue in a couple minutes, just the five of us, so chances are it could be fun, we’re all home and are chilled out, and I feel pretty stable overall. The only thing that doesn’t fit in is the rain, this song definitely sounds like a sunny day.
But anyway, I think it’s very nice, and that’s what counts, I think. 😀
It is a track from Elaine Mai, who is a Dublin-based electro musician. I’ve heard this song in an Irish-language radio station for the first time, and I liked it a lot, and then I saw it i my Spotify, and I think it really knows what I like, even though my tastes are so eclectic and picky at the same time.
The title of the track is “Enniscrone”. It didn’t ring a bell in my mind, I couldn’t figure out what could it be, so I asked my good and wise friend Google if he maybe knows what it means, and he did. Apparently Enniscrone is a seaside town in country Sligo in Ireland. With sandy beaches and such. So another thing to the picture of a chillaxed, holiday afternoon – the seaside. 😀 Makes for a very chill combo in my opinion.
OK, so there you have it. And as always, I strongly recommend Music Monday Care & Love for you to take part in, it’s great, music and self care is a great combination and can really make you feel better if you start your week with it, or even if you jump in in the middle of it as I did, music and self care are always good things, if used in appropriate amounts.
maybe a little late, but I think it’s much better late than never, especially since it lasts until Sunday. 😀
Last week, Bee encouraged us to just being and sitting still, to do it as a self care activity. That was a fabulous idea for me, but also a bit of a challenge as I’ve always been struggling with it quite a lot. Surprisingly, at the first day when I tried to do it last week with a little help from Misha, it went really well, I mean, much better than I expected. So I continued throughout the week, with the exception of Thursday when I was just too anxious and messed up and wired that it actually wouldn’t work out at all. But even during the weekend, which was also full of anxiety for me, I managed to do it for five-ish minutes everyday, always with invaluable help of Misha. it definitely wasn’t always easy, but I tried, and will continue if I can, because I feel like although it’s so hard, it often indeed helps my brain to shut off for a while. Music helped me with it hugely as well. When I was in so much anxiety at the weekend it was very hard for me to stand the silence so I listened to Enya’s music, to my favourite album “The Memory Of Trees”, which always soothes me a lot, well Enya is generally like an antidote for me. I am lucky to live in the town, but have all of the charms of the countryside as well, as we are on the outskirts, so I could also, like Bee, listen to the nature. On Sunday we even went to the beach, not for long as it started to rain just after we arrived, but still, we were able to stay there for a while and relish the sound of the sea combined with the rain and storm.
And this week, Bee invites us to not only be still, but also to focus on our breath. That sounded a bit easier to me when I read it, as I already had some more experience with just being, and now as I could focus on something, it seemed like even more doable. Turned out it doesn’t necessarily have to be like this, it is also a challenging thing for me in a way, as my attention constantly gets distracted by some other thoughts, but I try not to care about it too much. When I finally did focus on my breath fully, doing it yesterday night, I felt like it helped me significantly with my anxiety. I mean it was still there, but not eating me up, like a while before, and didn’t occupy the central position in my mind any longer. I hope I’ll get out of this anxious episode completely soon and that then it’ll be much easier for me to focus on things. Yesterday as I was doing this, Misha was accompanying me as well, and I was also feeling him and his deep breath, which in turn made me realise how shallowly I breathe when under a lot of anxiety. That’s generally not anything particular as it is normal that people often don’t breathe properly while stressed, but it helped me to see the difference between how it is, and how it should be. SO I tried to in a sense imitate Misha, in how deep his breathing is. It felt really good and soothing to be with him and just breathe together, I wouldn’t think it can be so much fun honestly, he seemed to be very contented too. 😀 He’s very slowed down by this kind of weather we’re having now, so he seemed to like this very simple activity.
Today I was very lucky because I could again be and breathe by the sea. This time not in the rain. I always find the sea very relaxing, soothing, healing and just fun, so I thought it would be a fabulous idea to do it by the sea. I sat on the sea shore and focused only on my breath and the sea around me, all its sounds, the water, sand and waves, and suddenly I just felt literally that my anxiety has washed away. At least for the time I was by the sea, but anyway, I was very happy to notice this, and it was such a lovely experience.
So yeah, really, if you’re gonna do this, if you want to do something for yourself this week, also do join us on the Music Monday Care & Love, and try to just do nothing except for breathing and focusing on it for a little while every day, but what I would myself greatly recommend you to do, if you can do it, is – to go to the seaside, and do it there. You’ll see how wonderful it can be then. Or if it can’t be the sea, let it be anywhere you feel really really safe and soothed.
OK, so on to the song I want to share with you today.
As some of you may know from my last Weekend Coffee Share post, on 29th July was my friend Jacek’s first death anniversary, and that I still can’t fully get it. I decided, or rather I didn’t decide, it went very spontaneously, anyway I spent almost the entire day listening to Finnish music. And no, it wasn’t Finnish metal, although I listen to quite a lot of it, but usually when I am very depressed, and this time I wasn’t. It was mainly folk, pop, and some lighter shades of rock, anyway, the music that I discovered via Jacek, that I recommended to him, that I associated with him. Because what always united us was the love for Finland, Finnish language, Finnish people and Finnish music. Swedish as well, but that’s another story, Jacek’s kinda main domain was Finland, while mine was Sweden.
Anyway, so I listened to all that Finnish music I knew, and lots of new stuff, mainly on Spotify, which resulted in Spotify overflowing me with tons of Finnish music, because I hadn’t listened to it to such a extent in a while before that day. And so I was happy, discovering lots of new things, and then I discovered a band called Curly Strings. I listened to one of their songs, then another, and yet another. Cool. Really cool, but… wait… sounds familiar, but… is it actually Finnish?
What can an incompetent human being in 21st century do in face of such an unsolvable dilemma? Only ask uncle Google for help, and that’s quite obviously what I did. And my instinct turned out to be right because it wasn’t Finnish! It was Estonian!
Maybe an average Finophile would then just shrug and go away in an opposite direction – I don’t know, but I am certainly not an average Finophile. I just love good music in interesting and not very well known languages. And this was quite a discovery for me and I was like YAAAY! because I can count on my fingers of one hand all the Estonian language musicians I know. All of those I knew so far were from a programme we have in Poland called “Strefa Rokendrola Wolna Od Angola”, (roughly Rock & Roll Zone Free From English). There is so much good music and so much of all the excentric music I listen to, I know from there.
So yeah, now I am exploring the world of Estonian music. Generally, Estonian isn’t among my VERY BEST FAVOURITE languages, but I still do like it a lot, and if I’ll ever learn all MY languages, Estonian might be one of the first ones I’d learn afterwards.
So here is the song, and there are also lyrics under the video, I think they’re very interesting, in a way they speak to me.
What do you think? Have you actually ever heard Estonian language before? 🙂
Once again I highly recommend you to go visit Bee and take part in the Music MOnday Love & Care, and start to love yourself a bit more.
I’m so happy to participate in Music Monday Care & Love (formerly Music Monday Blog Party), hosted by the Bee at The Bee Writes.
Music Monday Love & Care is all about appreciating yourself, caring for yourself, celebrating your life and loving yourself more, all the while sharing music we love and that helps us with doing it all.
I think most of us would benefit from being more caring and loving for ourselves, so if you think it’s you too, I really encourage you to take part in it as well, and do some special self-care activity to be better for yourself, and do listen to some good music meanwhile, it really helps in boosting your self-esteem.
The activity that Bee is suggesting for us this week is to “just sit and do nothing”.
An extremely hard thing for me to do, I must admit. 😀 I’m not like hyperactive or anything, but my brain certainly is, and I don’t like, or am not used to, doing nothing for a long time, when I read it in the Bee’s post I actually wondered for a while whether I’m capable to do so. 😀 I don’t like feeling bored, and my brain is constantly overthinking, analysing and stuff. So, here’s the challenge for me!
This week (excluding Monday because it was just to busy), every day I’m going to sit still doing nothing – maybe besides listening to some not very brain-engaging music – for like 5 minutes, or more if I can. Just switch my brain off and exist. 5 minutes isn’t long, but that’s always something for a start, and, who knows, maybe until Sunday I’ll be able to increase it? Maybe to 10 minutes? That would be cool, wouldn’t it?
I was always kinda jealous, but also kinda surprised seeing people who don’t have any issues with doing nothing. Like on the beach – you see lots of people just lying, sunbathing, and doing nothing else. I was often thinking that if I’d do it for longer… I don’t know what would really happen, but the thought of it just scared me! And no, I am not any sort of workaholic or anything, it just seemed, and still seems in a way, kinda odd to me to do just nothing. My Mum is a master at it, so I’m gonna take an example from her. She is a very productive person, but she seems to be an expert at herself and her own needs and always knows exactly when to stop.
Because of these issues I have, it’s also often hard for me to pray or meditate, and I often find it disheartening, I need to be really determined if I really want to do such things right and succeed. Not because I can’t focus my attention on what I need to do, but because at the same time I focus my attention on a thousand of other big and little things, and then any prayer or meditation just can’t go right, you need to immerse your whole mind in it.
But, yeah, today I tried, for 5 minutes, 5 and a half almost, Misha was with me and Misha was the only thing I tried to focus on. We just lied together and I felt his fur, his slightest movements, listened to his breath, the gurglings in his tummy, felt his smell… We do it very often with Misha, just lie together, but usually at the same time my thoughts are racing like crazy, and today I did my best to stop them. It went surprisingly well. It was hard, but not as tough as I thought it could be. I think the weather we have now here helps people greatly in just existing, it’s really hot and it always makes me feel kinda sluggish, so it’s easier to do such things.
So I think I have the reason to be quite proud of myself, that’s always something. and also yesterday evening I ended up with sky high levels of anxiety and was feeling very low because of something that sort of triggered me, I was feeling better in the morning, but still rather not stable, and I feel like switching off my brain and turning my attention only to Misha helped me to feel more stable and grounded, which is really good.
So, I’m curious how it’ll go for the rest of the week, and if you can relate in any way to what I wrote, I would recommend you to try doing it too, I’m curious about how and if it will help you.
OK, so let’s go to the song. As you could notice I didn’t post anything yesterday, including song of the day, so it’ll be the song I planned for yesterday, in Norwegian.
It is a Norwegian version of John Legend’s song “All Of Me”, (Allt for Deg in Norwegian so actually All For You), sung by Hilde Selvikvåg. I really like it, and Iäm curious if you will too, and which version you prefer, the original, or this one. Enjoy. 🙂
So as I wrote a while ago today my brother Olek and my Mum have their birthday together. Olek is now 19 and I can’t believe it’s my Mum’s 45th birthday. She definitely doesn’t seem her age for me.
Besides having completely sleepless and very anxious night, I’m doing well. I could catch up on sleep in the morning which I did. It’s crazy to fall asleep at 7 AM, innit? 😀 But I’m glad I fell asleep finally, I prefer to sleep during the day than go around looking like Zombie and feeling totally rubbish, especially that with all the celebrations we had quite an eventful day. Although I doubt I will sleep tonight too, but well, we’ll see.
So right now we had a full house with lots of family, they came around 6 PM and I stayed with them for a few hours, but then me and Misha took a French leave before nine and are both in my room together. We have loads of delicious food, my Mum’s spectacular dessert which everyone likes and which never is boring – meringue with fruits (today peaches and billberries), a cheese cake, chicken wings, gyros salad and chops with chilli and mushrooms and other stuff, and some nachos and breaded nuts. Misha loved the chops.
Earlier today when I woke up we went with Zofijka to the shop and bought Mum a blanket she wanted to have. It looks really cosy and snug. I got some money for Olek as right now it seems to be the thing he needs and dreams about the most, plus I just hadn’t got any other idea honestly.
Also I will get some music for Mum as she mentioned to me she doesn’t have anything new to listen in the car.
As for other things, on Thursday I had an appointment with that OM doctor who is also a dermatologist and about whom I wrote some time ago, this time I saw him as a dermatologist because of my dry skin and the infection I have on my leg, but he didn’t really tell me anything which would be very new to me. He said I shouldn’t take showers but rather baths and don’t use a usual soap. I stopped taking showers last week already and we all always use black soap which is natural, also I try to make my baths possibly short most days. He also told me I should moisturise my skin and he prescribed me something moisturising. I moisturised it before as I thought it’s logical when you have dry skin, but I did it with oils, so maybe that cream he prescribed me will be more helpful, I didn’t collect the prescription yet though. And he told me the issue should ease a bit as the winter will finish which he told me last time too and which I’m really hoping for. I showed him my leg and he said he also thinks it may be because of my dry skin, then I mentioned to him that I showed it my GP two years ago and she said it might be staphylococcus and he said that yes it might be this too, but didn’t even suggest to make any tests or didn’t prescribe anything specifically for it, so looked pretty much like he didn’t know what it is. I told him I try to treat it with tea tree oil which seems to help and he said I should continue with it as it helps with healing. So, both me and my Mum, who also has dry skin and he says it’s genetic, we felt a bit like we wasted our time going there.
Yesterday I had “brain drainage” in the evening – that’s how I call Maths because I always really feel brain-drained afterwards 😀 and I hate it – and because I was feeling so drained I decided to have some self care time. I had a long, oiling, moisturising and relaxing bath with olive, coconut and sunflower oil and Epsom salt. I felt a bit like I was sitting in some mediterranean dish lol, Greek salad or something, wondered whether I maybe should put some feta cheese or olives into it too 😀 it was really oily, but I felt a bit desperate to do something with my skin as it pisses me off more and more. It’s strange that it never was so hardcore until this year, I’ve never realised I had dry skin before. So I spent there about 15 minutes listening to Plu and relaxing and even took a drink with me to the bathroom and drank it, it was Jack Daniels with Pepsi. I love Jack Daniels (not only because it’s Jack 😀 ), this is actually the only alcohol I drink, and I didn’t have it for ages, since September, but somehow I felt I’d like to drink it that evening. It was so good to hear Gwilym singing and drink Jack. I felt very moisturised afterwards and also very relaxed and warm, so I think it was a good idea, although I think I should probably repeat it once or twice as I felt itchy again later at night, but not as horribly as it used to be recently. The doc said I may feel more itchy when I’m stressed and I was definitely very anxious at night so I think that could be a reason for it.
So yeah, the evening after Maths was definitely fabulous for me.
The night was pretty rough as I mentioned, my Mum suggested it was maybe because of Jack still circulating in my blood and I also think that’s possible. I felt somehow very agitated and anxious, sometimes even panicky and it was very exhausting. Misha wasn’t with me, I looked for him for a while but felt too overwhelmed and scared in general to walk around the whole house and look for him everywhere, I hoped he’d come to me later on but it didn’t happen and everyone was asleep so I didn’t call him with food as it makes a bit of a noise.
I still felt that anxiety staying with me for most part of the day, also probably because of so many people around, but now I’m not anxious almost at all.