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Being a dreamer

I think I’ve been throwing around that descriptive a little too uncomprehendingly, and I have never doubted its positivity.

To me, being a dreamer meant  that you spend more time in your head and are prone to fantasizing of other worlds and alternative lives or environments, some more realistic, others completely not.

This is the kind of dreamer I am. However, I’ve recently realised that there is after all a downside – I don’t like it when my dreams start to turn into reality. I want to take the opposite course. I want to reject it and run away. And it is not fear, it’s the misery of getting what you want.

Truly, there is nothing worse than getting what you want to a dreamer like myself.  I live on hopes and dreams, what will I live on if yet another is destroyed by turning itself into a reality? Reality can never live up and I will have lost.

Sometimes, it’s not so bad, of course. Sometimes you get used to it and there are days when you are pleased and praise yourself for having made a very good choice. But other times you just want to get rid of what you obtained to return to the blissful state that you were in when only dreaming of it.

A few months ago, I made myself an Instagram account upon a whim. Sometimes I scroll through other people’s pictures. Who has not heard that social media depresses people because they feel their own lives are inferior? Well, it doesn’t seem to work on me. Instead, I use it to cheer myself up. It inspires me to dream on dull, dreamless days. I notice someone has a fabulous flower garden, and I dream of my own, and make a mental note of the design. I notice someone more beautiful than me, and am full of admiration. I notice someone has an awesome bookshelf and dream of the time when I will have a similar one.

Dreams are the most important things to me in life. I am truly unhappy only when I don’t have anything to dream about, anything to be inspired by, to look forward to, to hope for.

So getting everything I want must promise great unhappiness indeed.

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Today looks like the last day of summer. The wind is so strong but also so warm. I spent the morning reading The Secret Garden, and must praise it as one of the few 19th to early 20th century children’s books that doesn’t suffer from excessive sentimentality. It is what it describes. Magic. The style does exactly what the words say the garden and children are doing. Growing, transforming. It’s an ode to the transformative potential of the individual and to nature.

I hope the fair weather holds until I get my work done and can go out to enjoy it.

Continuing on truth

I’m struggling to find things to write about on the blog now that I’ve banned introspection and incompetent statements expressed with unfitting confidence.

I’d just end up producing lies or texts that embarrass me upon a second reading.

Introspection defines the self. The moment I do that and realise that I’m X rather than Y, I cancel out the Y. Even though the Y might also exist in me. A while back, I wrote about how I assumed I was an introvert for most of my life and my lifestyle adapted to this. Currently, it’s taking a lot of effort from me to adjust my life to my extroversion. Making new friends at my age is not the easiest thing etc.

I think all these introspective thoughtlings that I have – and continue to have because I am simply like that and cannot help it – they should stay amorphous like my dreams. I will think and analyse as before, but I shouldn’t drag them out into the open. Just as with dreams, when expressed outside the mind, they become one’s prison bars, limiting a person to a homogeneous identity, which mine is not.

Some time ago, I was rehearsing a difficult conversation in my head. I didn’t seem to get anywhere with figuring out the best way of saying what I wanted to say. In the middle of yet another clumsy monologue, I stopped: “Just tell the goddamn truth!”. But what is the truth? All the four or five monologues I had been having were true, but they emphasised completely different aspects and would create a completely different emotion and reaction in the recipient. That was my struggle. They were all true, but I couldn’t easily tell them all because they seemed inconsistent with each other. How can you invoke – or desire to invoke – anger and pity and hurt and disappointment and amiability at once? I would have to choose my preferred narrative, my preferred emotion and tell that. But that would be a lie because the others are as essential.

To my surprise, I do continue on this course of truth-seeking. The mood Jean-Christophe and perhaps a certain person I know (whose name begins with the letter J) have led me to, seems to be more lasting than I initially dared predict. In the end, I resolved the above situation by deciding to offer no explanation whatsoever and simply say the gist in one sentence. At least I wouldn’t be lying and avoiding that seemed topmost.

I hope in the future I can focus more on simply being and not trying to force the inconsistent manifestations of character into something like a personality. I think it is the right thing to do  – for me, at this point – and not for anyone else, because this is my journey, my shedding of skin I have grown too big for.

It seems old-fashioned to be valuing and striving for truthfulness at our time, but it feels fresh to me, like spring water.

The blog, though, maybe I’ll just start making outfit and recipe posts. This dress is perfect, for example. I don’t think I’ve ever ended up with a dress that fitted me so perfectly in almost every way (it could be a bit longer, that’s the only downside). I’m going to live in it come autumn.

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I look positively cross-eyed on this picture. So maybe mirror selfies are not going to be my new blog direction after all. I think I will do cat pictures instead.

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Authenticity dream

Sometimes, truth hits you in the face with a frying pan. And everything you are and were becomes a lie.

I have no wish to disseminate more lies by writing about myself. I don’t like this self.

Let’s see how long my rebellion against falseness lasts. I’d give it two weeks.

Of course, I’d like it to be more. I’d like a rebirth as a purer and truer version of myself.

 

Other than that, my rose is blossoming.

My rose is blossoming

Laziness

The truth is,

laziness is my undoing.

 

I’ve never had to, never learnt to put in a lot of effort to acquire knowledge and understand things at school. In primary school, I deliberately lowered my grades and studied less so to be more equal to my classmates. Not tower above them like a genius (which I am not, but the average level was dismal in my class). I didn’t understand people who learnt for maths or English tests. I only ever learnt for tests where you had to memorize rather than understand, such as history or biology.

In high school, I was surrounded by somewhat brighter students. Likewise at university, but even a lot of my BA courses were cruising (from an intellectual perspective). I did have to study for them (to memorize), and some sort of motivation to study for exams I do have, but outside that – I just can’t be bothered to systematically work towards improving myself. The rewards are not concrete enough. I wonder if it’s the early years of being so used to doing very little to obtain good results that this has become ingrained. I’m really just naturally lazy too, of course, no doubt about that.

I’ve spent years at a point from which I don’t develop further intellectually. It’s snug here. I’m smart enough. Just enough. I can write tolerably enough. My English is decent enough. Everything is enough. Not great, but enough.

I’ve put no effort into being here intellectually, but I would have to if I wanted to progress further from this point.

But the laziness and self-satisfaction.

I’ve been thinking that I’d like to live like the moomins really. Their family dynamics are delightful. And if you want to be a moomin, there is no reason to become very intelligent, but you would need to have an open mind and an intelligence for living. As a moomin, I can have strawberries on the veranda and stars in the sky bright enough to get a stiff neck from staring. I can build a tree house with the kids and water my husband from the watering can when he is napping (and I’m not).

But it’d take a few years until then. These days, I have to content myself with threatening to water the cat.

And meanwhile, my laziness does frustrate me.

So there. Hoping against hope to conquer it.

The base and frivolous things I do

My recent surge in frivolity requires a proper send-off (temporary, of course!), hence sharing my greatest current fictional infatuation.

Morse

morse purr

I have moods where I act like a complete airhead and my favourite conversation topics are other people. Such moods tend to alternate with more serious, intellectual or melancholy moods, where I prefer to discuss the nature of selfishness, the shortcomings of personality theories and my lack of prospects in life. In my reading habits, I tend to alternate between serious literature (usually classics) and light literature (usually children’s books or adventure novels). In films too, I cannot imagine watching three comedies in a row without having a good dose of drama in between. And the dramas I divide into those that might personally impact me (due to being able to relate) and those that most likely won’t (war films, hero films, stuff like 12 Angry Men). In short, I like varying things up a bit and cannot imagine spending time with only one type of things or indulging only one side of my personality.

There is an embarrassing side to it, however. A side I’d really much rather eradicate but which probably is just another manifestation of my general tendency of liking low culture. Except I can’t say I liked THIS, I just do it.

I read internet comments and internet forums quite often. Sometimes I visit blogs and websites by the kind of people you’d meet in reality TV. I’m sure there are decent people in some reality shows too, but it shouldn’t be hard to deduce the type I have in mind. It’s not something I particularly like doing, but I do it out of habit. It gives my brain a rest, and at one point, I must have done it to keep myself informed about how the average person thinks. I no longer feel like I care, but the old habits die hard. Sometimes I feel grateful my world is so different. Other times I feel alienated and depressed that I must live in a world where mentalities like that predominate.

Mostly though, and this is why I wanted to write about it in the first place, is that it has left its mark on me. One cannot consume anything on a regular basis without it leaving a trace on their thinking and being. My core personality and values are relatively fixed since the dawn of time, but subtle changes can be produced. And these changes are hardly flattering.

I’m far too impressionable and sponge-like and I ought to make that quality work for me and not against me. When I read good literature, I’ve noticed my writing automatically improves and takes on slight style influences from the author I’ve been reading. It’s not deliberate, but it happens. I read Keats and Lucy Maud Montgomery during my first years of university and my writing was really a poor imitation of their work in hindsight, although I never consciously meant to imitate it. And those two I liked. A year ago I read A. S. Byatt and started writing my novel roughly around then, her influence had crept in, even though I didn’t even like this novel of hers and didn’t finish it.

The gist of it is, I shouldn’t consume so much things I don’t like out of sheer apathy because such things breed apathy and mental stagnation. And I may have moods when I want to be emotionally dead, this is why I read such stuff, but I do not like it.

There is  a vast difference between consuming high culture and low culture on an emotional and intellectual level for me. When I’m exposed to truly beautiful, engaging, challenging art (in any form) or ideas, it makes my eyes shine and I feel enlivened, inspired. My mind is a lot more alert and I’m brighter. When I indulge my base side, I just feel apathy. I feel like I imagine a stay-at-home-housewife must have felt in the old days. You stop using a part of your brain and all you can think of is new hair curlers and shoes and what your husband is doing. Difference is, I do that to myself. I feel a lot of people are doing it to themselves. Too tired after work for worthwhile things, so you just watch TV series on the internet.

I’m light-hearted by nature sometimes. This I don’t really have a problem with. It alternates nicely enough with serious moods. But the baseness just gives me a bad feeling, like I was constantly lowering myself. What a pompous narcissist, true enough, but I can’t help how I feel. I do feel it degrades.

It’s my single filthy habit. Like other people have smoking or drinking or casual sex, I have dumb internet content. I try to quit it but never quite seem to. Maybe I should make a new year’s resolution the next year. Or get myself a motivational wristband.

Freedom

I travelled through the countryside for four hours in total and somehow it got rid of the excess of negative emotion I’ve been suffering under lately. Life has been overwhelmingly stressful but this is not what I want to write of.

A friend asked me some months ago what was the most important thing for me in life. I said liberty. In hindsight, I think it is impossible to pick one thing that towers above others, but I could narrow it down to three: love, liberty and health.

Why liberty? Because I can’t take being pigeon-holed and forced into roles and behaviour patterns. I was never good at accepting authority and it is stressful for me when I have to do it. I chose my job because it provided maximum liberty compared to a lot of other jobs. I couldn’t do regular hours. I had tried regular hours during high school, but I soon grew frustrated with having outsiders regulating MY daily schedule.I like doing as many things as possible when I feel like doing them. I do need some rules or I procrastinate to no end, but I cannot imagine a life where my work hours were fully determined by someone else. Unless I, being of sound mind and in possession of absolute freedom to do otherwise, would grant such permission. Suppose I got a raging stomach ache? Or I need to deal with some serious personal crisis? Like the roof leaking. I mean, yes, adults are supposed to ignore that and carry on, but I prefer to do things in my own time and pace. If I get them done, it shouldn’t matter if I work from 10.00-12.00, take six hours off to go for a picnic at the seaside, and continue at 20.00? That’s what my work hours are like these days.

Financial freedom has always been important to me as well.  I very much dislike the idea of being dependant on having a job and facing ending up on the street if I should quit or be fired. This is worse than having a few loans hanging over your head, such defencelessness against external forces. I’m hoping to counter this by having some sort of buffer fund to last me at least 3-4 months and by one day living in a country cottage of my own which would guarantee some amount of food. It’s harder to starve in the country and living costs are lower.

Freedom is important to me in everything. It’s hard to provide a full list of areas, but one of these is freedom from social expectations. I don’t know if this is just my personality and life or whether it is some general human tendency, but my relationships with people always fall into specific patterns whilst cancelling out others. My parents know me as very reserved and disinclined to share personal stuff, albeit with bursts of excessive chattering on more general topics. My best friend knows me as an extrovert who needs to be restrained from sharing everything that pops in my head. There are people who would be a little surprised reading some of the stuff I’ve written here because they have no idea such sides to my personality exist. Inevitably, such habitual ways of being friends and family limit me a little. Not all of that is disagreeable. I never talk of my romantic relationships with my family, but I really don’t want to either. I don’t discuss poetry or reveal my childlike sides to people who are not likely to appreciate it. It’s a constant fine-tuning of personality, intuitively choosing what to reveal to the full and what to keep on the background. The full range of my personality is not known to anyone, but those who are more like myself will be trusted with most of it. Freedom to be fully oneself is probably only found in solitude, although some soulmate-like friends come close.

Worldliness, or lack thereof

I have been horrid of late. I’ve become steely, hardened, impatient with the incompetence, inefficiency and weakness that surrounds me. My best friend pointed it out too. I was not as soft any more. I had noticed, but I couldn’t afford myself the luxury of doing anything about it.

Why has this happened?

For a very long time, I’ve been operating far out of my comfort zone, crossing my habitual limits daily, doing things I’ve no aptitude for. I have no worldliness about me.  There are moments, when after having put my best effort into things, I no longer care if I get treated a little dishonestly or unjustly. All  I want is for it to be over. No more dealings with worldly stuff, so I can go back to candles, books and my glowing orange ball of affection (that is a metaphor I use to describe how people close to me make me feel – as if being surrounded by a glowing orange ball of affection, all safe and content).

What the world is doing to me, how stressed I am, how disconnected from myself, how considerably worse a human – this is a heavy price to pay for a little bit of financial security and social advancement.

I went to the bus stop after returning from the bank, and some old lady told me to watch it and not sit on that bench because someone had spilled milk on it. She said milk stains are hard to get out. Then she put a tissue paper sheet on the spot, saying that she hopes people will notice it better that way, so they won’t get their clothes dirty.

I understand her world where milk stains are important. I understand the world of pensioners thronging around discounted bread. And I understand the world of families taking their kids for a sled ride on Sunday. Because my grandmother took us too. I feel sympathy with the people on the bus, and the people that live in little ant hill flats. I used to hate that world, but now it gives me a warm feeling of belonging. I wonder what they are like and what they do in life, whether they are happy. The people on the bus who can’t afford a car. I smiled to myself when I overheard two men in their 50s-60s wishing each other happy father’s day and discussing their children and soon-to-arrive-grandchildren. And another pair of men discussing the evil cat of someone’s mother-in-law. I get all that. That world is mine. I grew up in a world where things that some call “small things” were the essence of life.

There is much more purity, serenity and truth in that kind of existence. Perhaps I’m getting Dickensian in romanticizing poverty, but what can I do? I get these people and what makes them tick a million times better than I get an average middle- or upper class person’s aspirations. I am somehow between the two worlds. My education and profession place me in one, my childhood and upbringing into another.

I like to take things slow, but nothing seems slow in the modern world. It drains me and turns me into a bad person, a disagreeable person who has no affection to give and wants to call everyone gits. Or alternatively, sleep all day and not do anything at all.

Things I’m truly proud of

A completely unorthodox list of what I’m truly proud of. Inspired by the ramblings in the previous post.

I’m proud…

 

  • for knitting my very own lace over-knee stockings, even if it took me three years (I took a break for 2 years)
  • whenever I manage to be myself in an unfamiliar social situation or with people I don’t know well
  • for taking a shy and difficult cat, having the patience to endure her first week’s antics and somehow intuitively do things right so that after a month and a half, I had melted her heart and earned her trust. She no longer hid and hissed, but purred and wanted to be stroked more often than I could manage
  • for conquering depression and overcoming other similar challenges
  • for the things I know and understand about the workings of human nature and life
  • for sewing my own pretty 19th century inspired pyjamas
  • for having the capacity to think outside the box and trying to live my life outside the social confines I don’t agree with
  • for putting together my own bike and other jobs I’ve done for the first time and not made a complete mess of
  • for the items in my wardrobe, which are ever so pretty, by far my wardrobe is prettier than most people’s, and obviously I say so myself and don’t expect others to agree
  • whenever I manage to cook something that tastes reasonably good
  • whenever I do all the pesky tasks I set out to do that day instead of procrastinating

And as a proof of how proud I am… I made pizza some weeks ago. From scratch. It didn’t turn out horrible and I was quite proud of the sauce. The dough could do with improvements, but here goes my first self-made pizza. I don’t take photos of food unless I’m proud of it, so yeah, no joke, I truly am.

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Happiness

I wanted to think about happiness a little bit. What it means to me, meant to me, and perhaps generally what happiness could be all about.

Yesterday I encountered the idea that if you suffer a lot, experience a great deal of deprivation, the more you begin to value the so-called simple things. The fact that you can breathe normally, have a roof over your head, functioning eyes and limbs, and something to eat.

At the same time, this presumes that you’ve also either lost all else or never had it, so you must draw your joy from very primitive sources. Hasn’t life dealt one a pretty cruel hand if the greatest source of joy is something others have long ceased caring about? For example, Soviet people going all giddy over bananas or shampoos, when for those in the West they were a standard shopping basket item. No one cared. But in these parts, I’ve heard it said, people were over the moon when they washed their hair with a proper shampoo. To me, that particular joy is lost already. I’d be over the moon if I washed my hair with a shampoo that actually made my hair look nice without drying it, causing it to fall out or whatever other pesky things modern shampoos can do. I’ve moved on from the primitive “any shampoo is a treasure incomparable”.

There is also health. If you suffer severe illness, only then will you learn to value health. Even life. I find that the people who are casual about death often lack personal experience with it. How could they value life if they never almost lost it? Never saw someone close to them die? I feel like an old lady pensioner for actually valuing my good health.

So, a great many sources of potential happiness do only seem to come through suffering and lack? Is that really so? Is it like that for my own person?

We lost our family home when I was nine and ever since I’ve wanted to recreate elements of that. It’s been a strange discovery to see how my current dream home copies so many aspects of that first home. I’ve never consciously set out to copy anything. We had a huge wild garden and veranda. Even when planning the interior of my flat, I noticed I was copying that veranda. Insisting upon a swing and the green walls. The question is, though, would I still worship nature as I do now if I had had ready access to it? If I could lie under the lilac tree and read Romantic poetry at will? Have as many dream-filled picnics as I like? Garden to my hearts content. I cannot answer it. We lost our garden when I was nine.

I also feel in myself a desire to have more of those simple joys, to almost artificially create myself a state of deprivation so I would have more things to find joy in. When I was writing down that example of Soviet economy, a part of me felt a sense of loss. Shampoos and bananas are no longer able to bring delight. I’d like them to be. I suppose I wish I could take less things for granted. And maybe stopping to take things for granted is happiness? Provided you have things to value and treasure, of course. Then if you noticed those things, you might find happiness.

A lot of this “noticing” happens through loss and suffering, however, but not all things. Definitely not all.

And maybe some people have a better developed ability to value everything they have. I might sometimes be too ambitious and competitive to repose like that, but I have my moments of gratitude. For having the best friends in the world and a happy childhood and good health and decent level of intelligence. But then, ambition, the killjoy….forces me to chase after worldly acclaim and status, forgetting all that. Yet the fulfilment of my ambitions has never brought me permanent joy. I feel no sincere gratitude. I feel no emotion. I can simply recount, like reading someone else’s CV, that I have good education, qualifications and exactly the job I wanted. But I don’t FEEL grateful. Maybe only for my job and the freedom it gives me.

I contemplate more and more lately whether I’m the sort who could find happiness in “big successes”, or am I more of the sort who finds taming a cat and building a gazebo to be truly satisfying instead. Ambition and the world’s opinion pull me one way, but maybe Poe is right and happiness is to be found in giving up ambition. Particularly since I don’t seem to care much for my achievements. I feel more sincerely proud for the lace stockings I knitted than for my MA thesis. But try saying that at a job interview when asked about your greatest achievements…

Beautiful hearts

I have some sort of interesting thing going on with beautiful souls.

Whenever I come upon one, either in real life or through TV or internet, it makes me want to cry. I’ve wondered about this sort of peculiar reaction a lot. I’m obviously touched that a person like this exists. But it doesn’t quite seem like a sufficient explanation. I rarely do actually cry, but I feel like their beauty pierces my heart somehow. That my own heart leaps up and wants to run to theirs. Or press their hand in sympathy and understanding. To express it somehow how much it means to me that people like this exist.

In addition to that mixture of joy and pain, I also experience an overwhelming desire to protect the said person from the world. Even if they are a grown man twice my age in no need of protection. But there is that feeling. Of a treasure. And a distrust of the world. That destroys its beauty.

But a grown man twice my age surely knows that….

An absurd feeling overall.