Question of the day.

   Which part of the stereotypical teenager experience did you not relate to? 

   My answer: 

   Probably more than what I did relate to, and more than what I can think of right now. I guess most people think of teenagers as being rebellious, loud, having an attitude (this is such a weird, vague-sounding expression, everyone has some sort of attitude) and stuff like that. I wouldn’t say I was those things. I never really felt the need to rebel in some ostentatious way. Well, I guess you may say that I sort of did in my late teens when I turned away from Christianity and pretended mostly for my own sake that I was an atheist or agnostic, then later tried playing with Wicca, because my school was Catholic and I wanted to reject everything to do with it. I also identified and liked to present myself as a Goth, and I think there was also a sort of rebellious element to it because it doesn’t really get along very well with Christian values. I would also do stuff like I-dosing (using such binaural beats which work sort of like drugs and simulate various mental states) or lucid dreaming, which was primarily a way of escapism for me, but in a way I think a sort of rebellion as well. But while I really regret all of that now and have not only got a chance from God to re-convert but also found my place in the traditional Catholic community and now attend exclusively traditional Latin Mass, which is kind of funny when I think of it more, I don’t think people around me perceived me as particularly rebellious in a typical teenager way. 

   I definitely wasn’t impulsive or into risk. I certainly was emotional like a proper teenager, but I was a huge fan of bottling things up and apparently very good at it so I came across as the opposite of that to many people.

   I’ve always felt that most fictional teenagers – and most of the real ones that I knew while being a teenager myself, for that matter – seem to have a lot of friends, or at the very least one best friend that they share stuff with and are really close to each other. This is also not really an experience I had. As I wrote on here before, I think I was liked at school and unlike your stereotypical friendless teenager I didn’t have any enemies either and was never bullied or anything like that. I got along well with most people and had some common ground with a handful, I even called some of them friends, but wasn’t particularly close with anyone. The girls I particularly enjoyed hanging out with were already a very tightly-knit circle of friends to each other, and while I think they liked me and my company and we had a lot of common ground, they clearly didn’t see me as part of that circle and were most happy to spend time without additional people, as they had their insider things that they liked to do together and that they weren’t keen on introducing to anyone else, so I spent most of the time alone. I mostly didn’t mind that, though I often felt that life would be a lot easier in a lot of ways for me at school if I had someone that I could be closer with and with whom we could be best friends for each other, and while I wasn’t desperate for a friendship, the lack thereof contributed to my already strong feelings of inadequacy. There were also two girls that I met online about whom I really liked to think as my best friends, we met in a blind online network that was a thing back then. We had a lot of fun times and one of them introduced me to my first two faza people which she also had fazas on. But we only talked online, and I only had access to the Internet when I was at home, which was only either when there was some school break, or on an occasional weekend, or when I was sick or something so not too often, which doesn’t help with maintaining a relationship. Later on, when I was still deep in my teens, I met my now late friend Jacek from Helsinki which was quite a close yet also very turbulent friendship, but I don’t think it fits in with your stereotypical teenage friendships because I didn’t meet him at school, except on a forum for translators where I shared my Vreeswijk’s translations. 

   As regulars ón here know, I didn’t fall in love, date, or have sex either. Still, for some reason, some girls really liked to come to me for relationship advice. It sometimes felt a little awkward being practically the only one not going out with someone, except for those girls who had some mild intellectual deficits, but I didn’t really have any desire to that just because that was what everyone else was doing, and, more importantly, there was just absolutely no one sufficiently interesting that I could go out with, and just the mere idea felt slightly intimidating. 

   I didn’t go to parties. Well, I did, if I had to, but these were mostly stuff like school balls/proms or people’s birthday parties also held at school, and obviously parties within my family. No teen house parties, discos or clubbing or whatever else people might do. I never had any desire to do that sort of thing either. I hated even the school balls and always dreaded them and did whatever I could to avoid them. 

   I didn’t have much of an interest in make-up, doing my nails and stuff like that. Which I suppose is the typical teenage girl thing because it is very much Sofi’s thing and Sofi is, for the most, very typical of her age group. It just seemed like a lot of hassle to deal with being blind, and I had very little motivation. I became more interested in it once I became a Goth, but it was still rather half-hearted. 

   I was lucky enough that I almost didn’t have acne. I did get some occasional  pimple, especially before Jack the Ripper’s visits whenn he started coming, but for the most part I don’t seem to have a particularly oily skin. My Mum says that it also could be because I usually didn’t pop the pimples unless the more gross-looking or painful ones in more visible locations. 

   I didn’t try to desperately follow my peers in what I did or was interested in. Sometimes like I’ve already said it contributed to me feeling more inadequate, but even so I wasn’t interested in fitting in more. On the other hand though, I also liked not being into everything that happened to be trendy at the moment either worldwide or in my immediate surroundings and having my own taste in things and thinking a bit more independently rather than blending in with the crowd for all costs. Sure, there were things that the majority did that I did as well, it wasn’t like I would reject something just because everyone else did it so I wanted to be different for all means. I just took what I liked from what they did. 

   I didn’t look up to my peers more than my parents and I didn’t have any major generational issues with my parents. If I did, they never led to any huge conflicts or arguments or anything like that. A huge part of that was definitely the fact that I spent most of the time in the boarding school and I really didn’t like it and didn’t want it to have any influence on me, I also missed my Mum a lot so she was the strongest authority figure for me. But also my Mum is a very flexible-minded person so it’s easy to get along with her and make a compromise if needed even if we have different ideas about something, she’s also very loyal so even if my siblings or I did something wrong at school or anywhere else outside of home or were in trouble or something, she would always be on our side rather than, say, the teacher’s or whoever was accusing us, while at the same time acknowledging that what we did was wrong and not being happy about it, but she just thinks that if you’re a parent, you should be in your child’s corner so that they’re not alone even if they did something bad or stupid. She was also always very interested in our lives and we knew we could talkk to her about anything freely if we wanted, unlike what seems to be the case with many teenagers and their parents. In fact, as a teenager, often when I was witnessing a class- or groupmate having some trouble I’d be surprised when they didn’t think of talking about it with their parents first so that they could help, but instead tried to unsuccessfully deal with it on their own or talked to the staff who were often rather biased, or other kids who could often comiserate but not necessarily always help in a real way. I also didn’t understand regular teenagers living with their parents on a daily basis how they could be often so rude to their parents or argue with them all the time or almost not talk with them at all. So whenever I needed some advice, had some questions of vital importance, or decided to let a little bit of that bottled up stuff out, I would most often call my Mum. And I think I must have achieved some school record in calling my family , as from what I could observe, no one did it as often as I did, which was often multiple times during the day. 

   I guess it’s also a common stereotype among people that teenagers really want to become adults so that they can finally do what they want. Well, I didn’t. I always dreaded adulthood, even at preschool age, which I’m pretty sure I’ve already written about here how I had some sort of dream or vision or whatever that was of myself being an adult surrounded by little kids and having totally no idea what I’m supposed to do. If anything, when I was a teenager, I often felt a very strong sense of a sort of emotional/mental weariness, probably due to depression, and I sometimes thought how cool it would be to be a baby again and not have much of an idea about anything. That probably says something about my emotional maturity. 😀 I also often felt really confused when facing various life responsibilities. 

   How about you? 🙂 

Question of the day.

   What’s the worst part about puberty? 

   My answer: 

   Neither of these things are directly related to puberty, and they’re problems that I still experience, but I think they fully developed for me when I was around puberty. I think for me that would have to either be the neverending social pressure that I felt, or my constant emotional swings, which were probably all the worse that I kept bottling everything up. Regarding social pressure, I’m talking about all the socialising that you’re expected to do at school, in my case also at the boarding school ‘cause obviously after you go back from school you’re still surrounded by people pretty much all the time, in particular your peers, and you’re expected to act at least more or less like them. Also you’re supposed to make friends with people, which I didn’t really know how exactly it works. I guess I was mostly liked by people in my class and boarding school group and I liked most people as well and got on well with them, I also called a few of them friends if I got along with them better than with the rest, but these were never particularly close or deep friendships. Generally all those people that I considered friends, they were of course friendly with me and all, we’d talk a lot, even have our insider language or stuff like that, but they actually had a wider friends circle that they mostly spent their time with, and I wasn’t really part of that and they clearly didn’t want more people in that circle or at least not full-time, so I was alone most of the time. I generally didn’t mind as I really like being alone and not having to deal with people, I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed someone to be happy or anything like that, I was also used to it by then, but sometimes I did wish I had one proper friend and wondered what that would feel like and whether it would make my life at the boarding school any easier, because people who said they liked it there usually said so because they had friends there and they missed them while being at home on school breaks, which to me was unthinkable. I also had a strong feeling that it really made me stick out in the eyes of our group staff or teachers, and my Mum sometimes said that she was worried about me and that she’d like me to have a “real” friend there. While I could deal with the casual interactions with my peers, anything even slightly beyond that, and especially if involving more than three people at once, felt really straining for my brain, I was never sure what I was actually supposed to do or say and felt totally out of place and really stressed out. Just thinking about it in depth now makes me feel mentally weary and like phew, I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore, I’ve no clue how I did for so long and it’s little wonder that I ended up being a freak. 😀 

   Where swings are concerned, like I said I think that was something more due to my way of handling emotions and feelings rather than being so extremely hormonal. I remember it was really challenging for me that when I was an adolescent, I could feel quite a lot of really intense emotions in a very short time. The intensity could be quite crushing. On one hand, these were interesting experiences, but on the other, it was difficult to live with, especially if you’re determined to keep everything inside like I was, and I didn’t really have much in terms of a space where I could let some of that out safely and privately. I did keep a diary, but our days at the boarding school were busy, and I was rarely completely alone, so if I wrote in it, it was usually at night, which came at a high cost for my already messed up circadian rhythm and daily functioning, but I felt it was necessary for my sanity to have some time just for myself and I treasured every such minute. 

   Like I said, I still experience both of these things, I still struggle with that kind of peopling and I’m still very moodswingy if a lot is going oon for me, so I don’t really think these challenges were directly to do with puberty, but I don’t think that any of the typical puberty issues was really a significant issue for me. 

   What was the worst part for you? 🙂 

Question of the day (19th April).

   What’s a subtle sign that someone is not a nice person? 

   My answer: 

   Both Sofi and I think it’s when someone acts kind of sarcastic all the time. I mean, sarcasm is cool, we both like it a lot and use it a lot. But also I think sarcasm loses its point when you use it all the time, and from what Sofi tells me regularly it seems to be some sort of a trend among teenagers now. That doesn’t make sense to me. If you use sarcasm ALL the time, it’s as if you were eating, dunno, ketchup, for example, all the time, not as a condiment but as a sort of main dish. What’s fun or smart about that? I think they just say they like sarcasm so much because they don’t want to admit that they’re plain rude. When I hear Sofi’s school friends talk when they come over here, their dialogues really do sound weird. Like, you don’t know if it’s supposed to be funny, and if so, when exactly, and for whom, it’s like constant making fun of each other. Not directly, but still I think quite clearly. And then when you try to make a joke at the expense of such a master or mistress of sarcasm, they’ll be acting all offended and hurt and heartbroken. But I also think it’s unfortunately by no means just a teenage behaviour. My Dad’s family is very much like this, except it’s kind of worse because most of them don’t even have the brains to make it seem like sarcasm, so it’s less subtle actually. Whenever there’s some family gathering, they love dealing with their complexes by trying to laugh at, and some of them downright humiliate other family members, most often their wives. My one uncle is particularly good at it. He has some huge inferiority complex, which he tries to cover by being a jerk and pretending to have a very high self-esteem, while at the same time bringing other people down, or at least trying to, by making weird jokes or diminishing what they say or just acting almost rude. He also has some extreme problem with plain politeness. I don’t know if it’s with stranger people too but with family for sure. I’ve hardly ever heard him say things like “Please”, let alone “Excuse me” even if for something very small. If he sometimes does act a bit more polite, we silently go “Wow! So he knows how to do that, after all!” 😀 

   What’s such subtle sign that you can think of? 🙂 

Question of the day (26th September).

We haven’t had any questions of the day for quite a while, so let’s do some now. 🙂

What do you think is the most annoying piece of current slang?

My answer:

I’m in no position to make any particularly meaningful statements about English slang, given that I’m not an English native, don’t live in an English-speaking country to be able to immerse myself in slang regularly and know what’s current and what’s not, and I don’t really mingle with people who would use a whole lot of slang. Despite I’m very much into language(s) and linguistics and that definitely includes slang, even in Polish I don’t mingle with people who would use loads of it and I’m sure I’m very much behind as I’m quite an alien in general. These days I mostly get an idea about current slang from Sofi and if I like something I incorporate it into my own vocabulary, but Sofi herself doesn’t use a lot of slang and often doesn’t have much of a clearer idea what things are supposed to actually mean. Besides, a lot of what I’m introduced to by her is actually English words or English calques or some other Ponglish stuff, so to me that’s not even slang but normal English words. That’s why I don’t think I can say much about the most current Polish slang either. I guess one thing that annoys me a bit is that overanglicisation of everything that I mentioned. I mean, I absolutely LOVE English language, and for some kids (like Sofi) this way is one of very few of actively learning and actually retaining any English vocabulary, and English has SO many expressions and words that Polish doesn’t have so I too very often have super strong urges to use English words even with monoglots because otherwise it feels like there’s no way I’m going to get my point across and it’s frustrating. I’m not a purist, I don’t hate loanwords when they serve a purpose, and I believe a language is supposed to evolve or otherwise it’s dead, it’s also impossible to have a language with no loanwords perhaps unless it’s a conlang or something else rather artificial like that. But what I’m not a fan of is when the entire nation who has their own language suddenly starts replacing their own, perfectly functional words with foreign words that mean exactly the same, I guess just because the English words sound more trendy or something. Say there’s the word fame, which Polish youth tends to spell fejm which makes more sense with Polish phonetics. And that doesn’t make sense to me because we have our own words which express the same thing, and I’m a bit worried that in more long-term perspective this is gonna do a fair bit of damage to our language and many other languages as obviously it’s not like this process is limited to Polish. It can be funny mixing languages like that, I also often like throwing some English or other words into a Polish utterance for fun or expressive effect or because I like their sound more or because my brain sometimes just makes me do it for some not easily explicable reasons, but when it’s something more permanent and on a more collective level and we all speak like this ALL the time, like I said, gets slightly worrying. Also sometimes I have an impression that with some words those kids don’t even exactly understand the English meanings of those words, so I wonder if it isn’t a bit like that for every kid or teenager those English words mean something a bit different. For example Sofi claims that the word cringe (or krindż, as she prefers to spell it, which spelling always makes me cringe when I see it ’cause it looks so weird lol, and she pronounces it with an ee as well of course as that’s way more natural in Polish) is not so much about something being embarrassing in a disgusting, awkward or uncomfortable way but more in a hilarious way. I think something cringey certainly can be hilarious, but in her definition it’s a primary thing. Or maybe the Polish definition of krindż just really is different than the English definition of cringe.

Another thing which I guess could be classified as slang is acronyms and more exactly what I find grating is using them profusely in spoken language. Like, why?! I understand not having enough space or time or brain capacity to write in lengthy paragraphs, but when you speak in acronyms all the time it feels like you don’t really care about your interlocutor. Even when someone does that all the time in writing, I don’t like it. Sometimes when Sofi reads to me for some reason her texting interactions with her friends, to me it could just as well be some beat box exchange or something, there’s hardly any vowels. 😀 When she overdoses on acronyms while writing with myself or talks to me in acronyms I just go all the way like: “Y dnt u wrt lk a hmn?” (Why don’t you write like a human?). With other people, especially such that I don’t know too well, if I see that they use loads of acronyms without any particular purpose that I could figure out, my brain tends to quite automatically jump to the conclusion that they either don’t really like/struggle to write or aren’t particularly smart unless I have some evidence that challenges such conclusions. Too many acronyms can sometimes really affect the aesthetic feel of a language for me, and as both a linguophile and lexical (among others) synaesthete language aesthetics are important for me.

What’s such a thing(s) that annoys you? 🙂

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? 🙂