slow daze, lazy haze. listless and lethargic, negligent and phlegmatic.
I collect a single teardrop from the corner of my eye with the back of my hand. left eye left hand. it sticks to my skin before running down my arm leaving a salty trace behind it, like how snails leave rails behind them: slimy and almost unnoticable, and like how rain has made the windows weep every single day this summer. I observe it running down my forearm, slowly and then faster. a single line of salt. and then it seeps into my skin almost like merging with my being. (I guess it's just coming back to where it came from)
the sky is painted in a blatant white. actually, I guess, it's slightly off-white -- but not like the disgusting cream yellow walls of my previous dormitory room, rather a shirt that's been washed with color laundry so many times it's stained itself in a permanent gray -- but it’s still white enough to make my eyes hurt when I look out the window, blinded by what seems as if the entire sky was just one big cloud waiting to smog the world underneath it.
and the clock keeps ticking and the world keeps moving.
when I was younger the ticking clock was a sound I was used to, a sound I could easily sleep through. when my friends came to sleep over they would take down the clock from the wall and muzzle it underneath pillows to drown the ticking. taking out the battery was never an option because we were scared of losing time; scared of diminishing it to nothing, of making it stop, and so after we'd been whispering secrets and giggling about boys and watched spirited away for the second time and they had left in the morning, I'd dig out the clock from underneath the blankets and put it back up on the wall. time hadn't stopped. tick tick tick said the clock, as a comfort and a reminder. that the world kept spinning, that everything was in motion, yet.
I took my clock down the first thing I did when I returned home this year. its ticking a nagging annoyance in the early hours of the night, my jet lagged insomnia richer for it. this time I took the batteries out. time might as well stop. nowadays I like that thought more than time being an everlong extended period of nothing and everything. most days it feels like the world is in motion around me. like I'm simply observing, from distance. I can't really explain it, but it scares me and I prefer living without it. and so I find my eyes gazing over the empty spot on my glaringly white walls where it used to sit. the nail it was hanging on the only remainder of the infinite circling; the lingering looping of time. what a scary concept.
heart on my sleeve tomato sauce stains on a freshly laundered shirt berry stained fingers white cotton dipped in red
the color of blood ;
blood is the color of death.
the worst thing is that i'm still dreaming of cold coffee lost amongst cuddles and kisses and still the constant craving for confirmation and comfort of soulless strangers (like an ache in an amputated limb)
in my phone notes i scribble: "there is something so distressingly beautiful in the mundane, in the everyday, in the ordinary; in the routine, the structure, the habit."
i listen to säkert! and i re-read the first pages of norwegian wood and i cry. everything hurts but i don’t know why.
#2: august 13 2017 16:14
there’s a lot in this world that makes me angry. small things, like how when moa introduced herself she said: ”hi, i’m moa. i’m victor’s girlfriend!”. yeah, you’re also just moa. keep it at that. you’re no one’s anything. (it reminded me of how during faculty introductions two years ago doug was asked to introduce nandita and nandita stood up and said "hi, I'm nandita and I can speak for myself, thanks" (wellesley woman right there)). or how the first thing I asked freja when there was a guy at the club that didn't understand that she wasn't interested was "did you tell him that you have a boyfriend?", when really, a no should be more than enough. or like how i’ve been craving to write for so long but how i can’t seem to find words or thoughts or anything that i want to write about. i feel uninspired yet itching to write and i hate it so much.
(august 17 2017 10:37)
there's also a lot of big things in this world that makes me angry, too. like how it's 2017 and nazis are free to roam our streets to a president that isn't even condemning. or how it's 2017 and antiblackness is still so prevalent among my asian peers. or how it's 2017 and things like this are no longer surprising. I watch a VICE documentary and it leaves me in tears. I read columns after columns of the hate he dares not speak of and it infuriates me to a degree of hopelessness. but it is in times like these that we cannot forget to fight, to resist, to stand up for what is right. here's a list of things everyone can do. it is in times like these we simply cannot be complicit.
there are so many things in this world worth giving a fuck about. and there are so many things in this world that are arbitrary and meaningless. and it is in times like these that I'm reminded of that, over and over again. I've once again delved into the world of self help books (ha-ha, I know right?) and am currently reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. I often wish self help books were more widely accepted because I can never take myself seriously when I discuss them, nor do I feel like anyone else does, but I DON'T GIVE A FUCK! (see, I'm already applying my newfound knowledge).
anyhow manson argues that we ought to give fucks (because everyone has got fucks to give); you just gotta choose your fucks wisely, because if you give too many fucks about everything, you'll simply run out (and thus have wasted your fucks on arbitrary things). he writes:
"Most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given. We give too many fucks about the rude gas station attendant who gave us our change in nickels. We give too many fucks when a show we liked was canceled on TV. We give too many fucks when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend. [...] You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. [...]
There is a subtle art to not giving a fuck. And though the concept may sound ridiculous and I may sound like an asshole, what I’m talking about here is essentially learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively—how to pick and choose what matters to you and what does not matter to you based on finely honed personal values. [...]
Because when you give too many fucks—when you give a fuck about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the fucking way you want it to be. This is a sickness. And it will eat you alive. You will see every adversity as an injustice, every challenge as a failure, every inconvenience as a personal slight, every disagreement as a betrayal. You will be confined to your own petty, skull-sized hell, burning with entitlement and bluster, running circles around your very own personal Feedback Loop from Hell, in constant motion yet arriving nowhere.”
and: "Who you are is defined by what you're willing to struggle for".
seems like an awful lot of common sense but put in perspective and applied to the context of (at least my) own life, it's not. it's a pretty sensible book, to be honest. manson resonates with me a lot. pick it up and give it a shot. trying to better yourself, is (at least in my opinion), one of the things worth giving a fuck about. KKK members roaming our streets is another.
#3: on assholes, appreciation, and admiration (august 10 2017 12:41)
wow, what a strange 24 hours it's been. i feel emotionally drained.
mihir spent two days here, which at times felt strangely familiar yet also strangely distant. it’s strange sometimes how lives that used to be so intertwined come about to be completely different. sometimes i think distance really does matter. last night we were out at mejeriet with mikael. mihir and mikael. my two best friends, my two brothers. we squeezed down on the wooden stairs at mejeriet for one of their pub quiz evenings and later retreated to ariman to squeeze down in the sofa's where me, zsuzsa, and elias had been sitting just a month earlier. and then we ended up getting a huuuuge box of fries and walked to the station for mihir to catch his train to the airport at one in the morning. and so we sat down on the bench and I pulled up my phone to figure out my plans for tomorrow. "when do you get off work tomorrow?". and then everything stopped for two seconds. the screen of my phone lighting up my face would've surely noted my surprised expression; hint of smile but mostly confusion, left hand gesturing in a "what?" manner as by reflex. "WHAT THE FUCK?" I almost yell out. and then I read the message out loud. "...you're giving me a lot of pain", "tired of playing games", "goodbye Anneli". and then I couldn't do anything else but laugh. "is this some sort of joke?" I ask. neither mihir nor mikael say anything. if this was a game I was bound to be the loser because I didn't even know we were playing. and so I just kept laughing because it all felt like a giant joke. maybe I was just hoping that the one cider that made me blush so much was actually making me feel drunk, that this was all just a drunken illusion, that it was just some weird dream or an absurd joke that my mind had made up. or I was just laughing because maybe I was right that one time — laughter is the best way to cope with pain. laugh pain in the face and it can do nothing back.
and then followed the two am walk back home, mikael's hand on my shoulder and my laugh echoing through the empty streets of lund. I've always loved walking back home in the middle of the night. there's something special about occupying empty streets, almost like knowing something no one else does. like you're a carrier accidentally stumbling across secrets spread out in the frosty night breeze; the contrast between the yellow lamp posts and the night sky making it appear bluer than normal. but this walk felt longer than usual. time really moves in its own way in the middle of the night. and mikael kept saying that in the grand scheme of things, this doesn’t matter at all; much like how when we were younger we used to always quote submarine by richard ayoade and say that: "none of this will matter when I'm 38". and in the grand scheme of things, he’s right.
and after he dropped me off at home, I sought refuge in different time zones in the confusion of the night. and carlie kept saying that I had nothing to do with anything and that I have so much else to focus on in life. and she’s right.there is so much else in life that is beautiful. so much else that is worth paying attention to and that is worth embracing and experience to the fullest. I’ve been getting all mushy all morning just thinking about it. and it reminds me to not waste my fucks on things that don't matter; on things that are arbitrary and superficial. that have no meaning in the grander scheme of things.
and so I've been thinking about things in life that are beautiful, like how beautiful it is that I have a friend group like klanen — how grateful I am for their existence and support, even though seemingly superficial at times. there is no one I share more inside jokes with, no friends I have more memories with, than them. they are family, and now more than ever that is starting to hit me: when sara is moving to linköping, and siri is moving to scotland, and linnéa is getting her own apartment, and jonathan is moving out too, and freja is becoming a doctor, and malmer is traveling the world, and herman is just.. being herman. and I’m moving to boston. we lead such separate realities now and in many ways i think that’s the most beautiful part — that despite that, we’re still good old klanen. we’re still ugly dancers and backstreet boys and ugly singing and wonderwall. although hopefully nowadays people don't hate and despise us as much as they used to. I love these people and I know they love me too, even though we don’t see each other as regularly or much as we used to. there are so many exciting things in store for all of us, and I’m so curious to see how the future will play out for us all.
and so I've been thinking a lot about UWC, and how grateful I am to have had an opportunity and experience like that. how valuable it has been to me and how much I seek refuge in the thought of montezuma; memories collected underneath chihuly chandeliers and secrets hidden within cream yellow walls.
and so I've been thinking a lot about the things in life that are worth giving a fuck about. like my little brother on the climbing wall, or my future nephew and the fact that henry’s 28th birthday present is a soft toy dog -- just like his christmas present to me 16 years ago was the plush dog that rests besides me every night. that my parents are yet again going to be blessed with the wonders of a small child, and that they in essence will stay young forever. that they’re healthy. that we’re all healthy.
there is so much to be grateful about. so much to thank and so much to take in of each and every single day. kristian gidlund was right. every day is a new chance, a new opportunity, to be re-born. to re-prioritize and to realize. today is a day like that.
two more weeks left before I go. I’m getting excited to leave, but first, let me appreciate every single day that I have left, here.
#4: varje dag är en födsel and eight months of not trying hard enough (why I decided to go to an all women's college)
I've been trying to draft this for the longest time but for some reason haven't been able to. it feels like something hard to write, and in many ways, I guess it is. let's just say I've been thinking a lot about the fact that I'm going to an all women's college lately. let's just say that I've been thinking about it a lot, in fact, ever since I started applying to college. and let's just say that I'm scared shitless of that fact.
when I think about it, it all dates back way further than eight months, but let's start there. on january 6th 2017 at 7:30 pm, I write:
"I think back on 2016 and it feels surrealistic. can't believe everything that happened actually happened within one single year. it feels like a lifetime.
I think a lot about how my entire year revolved around guys, how I craved for confirmation and how they often got to define me for short (or long) periods of time. different boys, different definings. how naive I was. how I let most of them take up huge chunks of my life over long periods of time. in retrospect I'm just sad about how inapprehensive I was. how I thought the times I was treated like shit were just... supposed to be like that. that I deserved it, for some reason. [...]
I think a lot about all-girls schools. about wellesley and barnard. that maybe I need to go to a place like that. be away from boys for a while. be away from the constant craving for attention for self-validation. fuck."
and eight months later, I'm thirteen days away from wellesley. fresh starts, new beginnings. "varje dag är en födsel", kristian gidlund once wrote. it directly translates to "every day is a birth" which sounds lame and unintelligible, but maybe the message carries through anyway. every day is a chance to be reborn, however corny that is. it sounds better in swedish, I promise. it's a cheesy cliché quote but it's one of the only ones that has stuck with me through the years; during my last months at uwc I let it sit proudly on the little whiteboard I had on my wardrobe, a glance away from intense studying and the first thing I saw getting dressed in the morning; and every time simen would come over he would say it in a ridiculing swedish accent like it was stupid (but it's not. yeah, screw you simen>:(). every day is a new day and every day is an opportunity for change or new beginnings. a memo that it's never too late to start trying ;
something I keep trying to tell myself now.
it's funny because I look back on that first page of my 2017 diary and I realize little has changed. I cloud my summer entries with despair; a longing for intimacy. when life fails to bring me what I want, I find new things to be excited about. lips that taste of cigarette smoke (camel rather than marlboro this time) and new birth marks to count. I write about blueberry pancakes messy blankets and the attractiveness in the unattractiveness of the vulnerability that is naked bodies; when life fails to bring me what I want, the vitality of dynamism that I keep writing about, I create my own. the homemade void I wrote about in my last entry. it becomes a refuge, a cloud of familiarity, a constant reaching for new highs, but I already know how it's going to end. I know too well. and so my july 26 entry ends: "WHEN WILL I STOP FEELING LIKE SHIT?"
it's funny because my dismantling of five oversized boy t-shirts into a door mat generated a lot of response. people would either shit on or celebrate it; there was simply no in-between. I guess that kind of behavior isn't really normal either, but it was a statement, nevertheless, and it made me feel powerful and in control. and then, on grad I returned a shirt that survived the genocide along with a note that said "color didn't match with the rest of the rug. also you should probably become more non-materialistic anyway. sorry for turning you into a meme. - anneli" and when I left for sunport for the last time we hugged and he said "not too bad of a year anyway, huh? good luck with everything" and then my favorite sweater smelled of his cologne as I boarded my flight to new york.
it's funny because elliot asks me if I think that I'm true to myself. I tell him yes, or at least I'd like to think so. and then I realize that maybe I'm just too caught up in what others think of me to ever be true to myself. like how I adjust to others to keep the image they have of me in their head; like how my always wanting to be and sound intellectual ended in not being able to say anything at all but when in fact I am not one single shell rather a layer; a multitude of complexities and perplex emotions thoughts and anticipations. but somehow I fail to see myself as such. comforting thought in theory, scary in practice. (yeah, I'm not sure what I mean, either)
it's funny because in my half-drunken haze at mejeriet last weekend, an old friend came up to me and said something about admiring me, about inspiration and me being a strong girl. it warmed my heart and I replied with a hug. and then I biked home feeling like a hypocrite.
it's funny because avital writes to me about her boy free years at an all-girls high school. "do you ever think about taking a boy break?" she writes. "I know boys have been taking so much of your time and energy and really messing with you emotions for the past year". to her I write about boys having become coping mechanism, distractions, the easier way out it’s easier focusing on other people and your relationship with them than focusing on yourself and inner monologue: "It's just hard (or it's felt hard) to look inwards when I have no idea of what I want to do (which means no tangible thing to work on in terms of achieving) and most parts of myself I just really dislike and so it's easier to just dismiss them completely." and then I write "I really do hope that the physical separation will help though- I honestly think I just need it and that'd it'd be healthy for me".
it's funny because I keep telling myself that I just need to spend some time on myself, on my own, scrutinize my being in relation to myself (and myself only). that I need to define myself only in relation to who I am. not anyone else.
it's funny because it's so sad. because the root of all of this is simple, really. ;
it's hard. it sounds like some kind of ridiculous addiction; in fact, all of this sounds so incredibly dumb, stupid, naive, but for me, it's hard. obviously it's been hard if I've spent eight months thinking that I need to take a 'boy break' but not being able to because boys have somehow always ended up being the easy way out. it's hard looking inwards and it's easy surrounding myself with minor problems (such as boy problems) and let other people define me instead of trying to figure it out for myself. but it's also incredibly self-destructive, if not even inherently so. I realize wellesley being an all-girls school won't hinder me from chasing new comfort and confirmation; that it's all just a matter of reprioritizing and for me to stop being so fucking millenial; for me to realize that sometimes it's better to actually deal with problems from the root of them instead of constantly trying to reach for new highs. for me to realize that 'varje dag är en födsel', that every day is a new opportunity to do things right, to change old habits, to become the person I always wanted to be; to dismantle shirts without doubting when the smell of cologne lingers in my hair; to become the 'strong girl' that elizabeth was talking about. I don't know where I want to go with this and maybe that's the reason it's taken me so long to draft this post. I simply don't know yet; can't know yet. all I know in what is here and now is that I'm excited for a change of scenery. that it'll be healthy for me. I hope I'm right.
if this blog post touched you in any way, if you like what i do, or if you simply want to support my being alive, you can buy me a coffee here: https://ko-fi.com/annelixie. it would make my day.