New work, decisions and breathing

Oh my, again a month has passed without me writing a word. I did make a conscious decision for these past few weeks to just focus all my energy on getting to grips with the new job I’ve started. Frankly, even if I didn’t make that decision I still probably wouldn’t have written anything as I had no spare brain cells left to deal with the the world outside the training and the assessment test, all the new people (so many people!), and navigating the new premises, and pretending like I’m a proper grown-up for hours and hours each day.

It’s all still tough, I’ve another week of training left and then I’m on my own, let loose on the innocent strangers. I have no doubt that it will be a few months yet until I’m more confident about what I’m doing and able to function properly. But I have also made another decision a long time ago, and I am planning on sticking to it – work has never been, nor do I intend it ever to be, the central focus of my life. It’s something I do because inexplicably people don’t want to give me things like food, electricity, clothes and books for free and therefore I concede that I need to work in order to survive. And I need to be productive, and around people even when it tires me, and needed. But it is not my proper life, though I have to spend a solid portion of my days doing it. My life is my partner, my family, my friends, books, owls, my writing, poems and photos, my little and big projects, delightful food experiences, my travels and my imaginary adventures in long-lost civilizations and on the distant planets. And so now I feel is the time to start separating the 8 hours a day I need to spend being the corporate-me, all confident, business-like and acting like I’m totally conversant in stuff I have heard about for the first time only a few weeks ago, from the rest of the time when I get to be the actual-me. It’ll be tough but it is doable and I will do it. Get back to the blog and all other writing undertakings, schedule some small portion of my days to work on a passion translation project I came up with, keep meeting up with important people in my life, just keep living, keep enjoying the small and big pleasures of life.

This sounds like I’m complaining about having to work already. Not at all, I need to be working, the 4 year hiatus from reality has provided me with ample proof of this fact. But you know, you’re always going to bitch a bit about your work, right? Well, I will, a bit, sometimes a bit more if I have a bad day.

Here’s another decision I’ve made though, from now on I shall not write about work. I may mention it in passing, or give an occasional insight into the amazing extent of human foolishness (anyone working in customer care has stories, stories that would make you weep for humankind…). But my writing is my breathing space, and so I intend to figure out a way to leave the work at work and not infect my air with it.

This is not a good or interesting post, I’m aware… But I kind of had to remind myself of these things after a tough week. Now, let the two whole days of freedom and books commence!

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Fight or flight?

What is my dominant trait? Easy – running away from things. Fight or flight? Flight, every time. Or at least that’s the overwhelming desire I have, burning every moment of every day. Run, just run, into books, movies, TV, computer games, my head, another country, a tiny deserted island in the middle of the ocean, another universe entirely. Away from unpleasant realities, responsibilities, work, duties, hardship of any description, expectations, people. Run, run as fast as you can and pray that nothing catches up with you.

 I’m ashamed of it and for as long as I can remember I’ve been aware of it and tried to develop some fighting spirit instead. Because deep down I know, running away isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, there is this wonderful moment, when you feel all free and ecstatic. Just a shiny precious moment of ultimate potential. But then, then comes the guilt, shame, loneliness and fear, and lessening of the mind until there’s so little left you couldn’t fill the matchbox with it. So instead I try to go against that chanting voice in my head, that constant background of “screw it, just run” and try to make a stand instead, an every day warrior, doing the sensible shopping (even when I have to buy toilet roll, detergent or cleaning products – the most hateful purchases), filling the forms, cooking, cleaning, remembering people’s birthdays and anniversaries, working on myself, trying to get better, trying to learn things, understand, be kind.

It’s human, I know, that desire to run away, to hide, or at least defer unpleasantness/responsibility/obligation of any kind. We all have it to a certain degree, the “fuck it” voice in our heads. I allow myself little escapes, in wonderlands and Narnias of this earth, in written pages, and made up histories of my head. These I have to have just to stay sane. Otherwise I try to fight, keep going, get through, and it turns out, as tiring as that is, it’s rewarding beyond anything running away has got to give.

What is my dominant trait? Easy – I persevere.

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Verbal archaeology

verbal archaeology

resurrection

however temporary

of lives once lived

and migratory people

by the means

of old past-due-date

words

smiles covered with

spiderwebs and ash

frozen mid-breakfast

in your own Pompei

…………………………………………

I fall into

the between space

where life is not properly lived

but rather

flickers like the old

movie tapes

all jerky movements

and unearthly glow

faces all look like

they’re wearing too much

makeup not real enough

sounds much too loud

blaring their insignificance

I walk

through moments

like through separate frames

wondering

what post-production

will turn these

incoherent days

into a story

with a beginning

or an end

or a moral

or a cautionary tale

I don’t flow

I blip in and out of

view throughout

the sets

verbal archaeology

Dissonances or Hang the DJ

For the first time in about a week, I’m sitting in my sitting room, dressed in jeans and a cozy jumper, instead of my pjs, almost like a real person. I’m still a bit of a snot-monster but definitely on the mend now. I even went for a little walk, because I’ve been getting cabin fever.

It’s a Dublin kind of a day (I have to stop saying that, I used to say that in Canada when the weather reminded me of Ireland, but now I’m back in Dublin every day is a Dublin kind of a day really) – fierce mild and drizzling. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, or maybe it’s the remnants of sickness but the world feels a couple of degrees removed from reality and shimmering on the edges. It’s not unpleasant, just a touch trippy.

On Grafton Street Christmas decorations and lights, in Stephen’s Green some trees are losing the last of the colourful leaves, while others, a few confused cherry blossoms, are blooming like they’ve decided December is not really a thing they could be bothered with. Half-walking, half-swimming through the misty, muted universe in which the seasons and moods change on a whim, without discernible rules.

My music selection only intensified the sense of the surreal. I made this massive eclectic list and put it on shuffle. For a while, as I was walking, my phone decided to play solely Polish songs for some reason. They sounded so out of place, a soundtrack of a bygone era, of another life, not well suited to Edwardian redbricks, uncomfortable strangers unaccustomed to the rhythm of Dublin streets, and all of a sudden, I found myself looking at familiar places like I never saw them before, missing a heartbeat of the town, and a step or two in the process. Shortly after that “How to Disappear Completely” came up, so painfully perfect, so at home in this city, in this day and this dreamlike state that I could feel every last note, every scrap of lyric pouring out of the headphones, straight into me, coursing through my veins, liquefying into perfect rain(or possibly tear)drops at my fingertips and falling onto the expectant ground, spreading in the mist, flowing down the Liffey, the canals, the sea, and for a couple of minutes the whole world vibrated enthralled, the impeccable reflection of the song as I stood rooted to the spot, letting it carry me, letting myself dissolve and disappear.

I feel such love for this city sometimes it’s bruising my heart, it makes it hard to breathe…

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On the subject of magic

Sometimes it doesn’t come naturally all the time. Sometimes I playact, I pretend, I go through motions, hoping for my clothes to turn into a magician’s cape full of rabbits, flowers and Queens of Hearts. Sometimes the stick doesn’t want to turn into a sword, a lightsaber or a wand. Pots of stew obstinately refuse to transform into witch’s potions and brews. Sometimes the stars remain beyond reach and distant planets full of alien life go undiscovered. Sometimes animals never want to talk and sentient software doesn’t learn to love. The world doesn’t spontaneously spring to bloom nor burns with colour in the fall. Sometimes angelic hush doesn’t cover the parks in blindingly white snow and summer’s gentle dusk doesn’t rock me to sleep in the hypnotic scent of roses, jasmine and night-scented stock. Sometimes the magic eludes me and the days run into one another, gray, and dark, full of numbers that don’t add up, sharp pointy elbows and burnt milk on the stove.

But then again, sometimes it takes nothing at all, a play of light on a fallen leaf, a music note juicily clear, a snippet of conversation overheard on the bus and there it is, the awakened dream. My eyes fill up with swirling galaxies, I dance and fly above the mountaintops, on rainbow wings, a jet-pack, or a travelling spider web. I play with dragons in the air, threading my way through the sky-scraping columns of some mysterious civilization long gone, like a ribbon. I traipse through the ancient ruins of heroic castles and shake hands with the noble ghosts while we await the mighty battles against the evil hordes. I swap gossip with the halflings over goblets of mead at the roadside inns and grow the first ever tomatoes on Mars. I bring dinosaurs back to life, explore the Antarctic and build a hut on an enchanted glade in the middle of the forest older than the oldest tales. I melt in with a smooth silver beech tree and live a life of majesty and peace, singing a quiet song along with the Universe. Sometimes, the wonder is right there, underneath the eyelashes, spinning with the planet under my feet, beating its rhythm right into my ears, breathing quietly, waiting for me.

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Moan, whinge, whine, complain, also some music musings.

Damn and blast the crime book series I’m reading (a Polish one, so I won’t bother with the titles as it’s not likely you’re ever going to find it)! Another novel ends on a massive cliff-hanger and so obediently I’m jumping straight into the next installment to find out the hows and whys of the whole thing. Small blessing that at least this particular series is already written and even if it wasn’t, the author is pretty prolific so I wouldn’t have to wait too long anyway. I’m a completionist (which is another word for “sucker”), I’m getting better though, it used to be that if I started a series I simply had to finish reading it, even if I hated everything about it (yes Robert Jordan and Kate Elliott, I’m talking to you). These days I usually manage to disentangle myself by about book two if I’m not enjoying it. Life’s to short for reading books you don’t like.

Anyway, I have nothing better to do, I’m propped in my bed, surrounded by tissues and lozenges, drinking unholy amounts of hot liquids, smelling strongly of Vics VapoRub, downing my doses of cough syrup and other concoctions trying not to get extremely irritated by what I can’t help but perceive as an unlawful imprisonment. I have stuff to do damn it, jobs to find, hot buttered rum to drink in a new swanky pub, walks to walk and friends to meet! I went out for a short walk a couple of days ago though and that resulted only in my getting decidedly worse, so I guess I better do my time and let this bs of a cold/flu/bug/whatever the hell it is go away organically. And in meantime, as my brain is refusing cooperation in any more serious undertaking, I shall read violent murderous fiction. The violence and murder are somehow soothing. I’m not sure what that says about me…

I’m not really certain about writing this post either. Today’s prompt did very little to spark my imagination, so instead I’m treating is as a permission to unleash an unfair one-way stream of discontentment at the world in general, and my present affliction in particular. Can you tell that I really don’t like being sick? I know, I know, nobody really likes being sick. And it’s not like I’m suffering from anything serious, it’ll go away in a couple of days. But I guess that’s kind of the point, that it isn’t anything serious, it’s just a bloody cold (or something along these lines), so how dare it make me feel so miserable and prevent me from operating at full capacity?! Normally I’d probably try to just power through and go about my day but I have been quite a bit run down lately, so it is hitting me a bit harder than it usually would. So bed it is, and hot drinks, and Vicks, and lozenges and crime stories and moaning to the strangers on the internet. :/

Although I had my little chuckle for the day earlier this morning. I woke up, clogged up, heavy-headed, feeling like death on a stick and to try and put myself in some sort of a decent mood I made myself a lemsip, put on headphones with the cheer-me-up playlist I came up with last night and started listening. After a while I realized that I was sort of vaguely rocking in rhythm with the song in the bed, dressed in my warm flannel red pjs, hot lemsip in one hand, a tissue in another, wheezing quietly to myself after Iggy Pop “I’m a real wild child” A wild child indeed… 😀

Speaking of cheer-me-up lists, mine are usually weird. They have the normal stuff – cheery upbeat songs, power-strutting melodies, cheesy but entertaining pop/rock/dance numbers but there are always some things there that make people unaccustomed to my brain’s twist and turns look at me a bit funny. I don’t care, I will go to my grave claiming that for example “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine is one of the happiest songs on this planet! There is simply no happier thing to do than shouting very loudly “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” over and over again, whether you’re a teenager or a 35 year old woman. And as to why for instance “Creep” and “Looser” and “Panic” make it to my happy lists? Because fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me, that’s why 😉

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Photo of me from a long time ago but perfectly capturing my mood today 😉

15 minutes of worries

I worry and stress a lot. Nearly all the time, and always, always before going to sleep. I’ve read recently about a technique that is meant to help with that. It’s a very simple thing really, you just assign specific time for worrying, say 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. During this time let your anxiety run wild, list your worries, try to come up with solutions, stress to your weird little heart’s content. But once the time is up, you put the worries in the box and not touch them until the next worrying session. If the worry starts bothering you during the day or night, just remind yourself that it is locked in the box. Again it’s a simple concept, and perhaps just a little bit silly and smelling strongly of pop psychology, but I’ve decided to give it a go.

My first 15 minutes of worrying starts now.

  • I’ll never find work again, ever, nobody will ever even give me an interview. The only job I have any hope of obtaining is one that no one else wants – like cleaning vomit from the cubicles of a dingy pub’s toilets.
  • I’ve no money.
  • I will never have money and will end up homeless.
  • I’ll end up old and alone, forgotten by the world, in some institution and nobody will notice when I die, for like a week, until I start to smell and rats are chewing on my decomposing remains.
  • All my friends secretly hate me. I’m not sure why they continue to hang out with me, I never said I was rational.
  • I’m not rational.
  • I’m not a proper adult, I don’t understand adult things.
  • I’m too much of an adult and I’m becoming boring.
  • I am boring.
  • My English is not as good as I want it to be and my Polish is starting to disintegrate.
  • When we get a dog it will never love me, it’ll sense my inner wrongness and will judge me for it.
  • I have an inner wrongness about me.
  • My teddy bears don’t like me.
  • I own teddy bears and sometimes I’m not ashamed of it (see “I’m not a proper adult”).
  • Sometimes I’m ashamed of having teddy bears (see “I’m too much of an adult”).
  • I don’t read enough these days.
  • Some days I read too much.

15 minutes is up. Into the box you stupid things! Aaaaand breathe….

15minutesofworries

Head above the water… Barely, but it’s possible to breathe…