life is moving in strange directions. neither forwards nor backwards, yet i’m not standing still. most of the time it feels like i’m walking in circles, re-discovering things that have already been re-discovered from the time they were first discovered. yet everything comes in new forms, new formations, new formulations. new realizations? maybe.
it's a strange thing, being alive. i read through my old journals -- like the one i had on my bedside table in eighth grade in which i wrote down my dreams: both the drowsy hazy ones from mornings waking up with a dry sensation in my mouth, as well as those of sudden sparks of inspiration finding me at 2am in the morning -- or like that one journal i had with me when i was traveling alone for the first time, fourteen years old with my back leaned against the central park wall along 59th street, listening to 'white sky' on repeat. i read through my old journals and i realize that much of what i felt then, i feel now; much of what i aspired to be then, i still aspire to be today. some things have changed, of course. i no longer dream of vampire weekend and i no longer cling on to the idea of love embodied in brown curls and hazel eyes and bony arms on a weekday afternoon ;
but much of the anxiety i feel is the same, the thoughts that cluttered my mind back then still cloud my mind today. i am 14 and not feeling good enough. i am 19 and feeling like a disappointment. i am 14 unable to sleep because i'm scared of dreaming. i am 19 and i never dream anymore. i am 14 feeling lost and wanderlust, dreaming of a get-away. i am 19 feeling wanderlust but no longer in a pretty beautiful teenage tumblr girl-way but rather one of having a strong desire to travel out of myself; of diminishing myself to nothing; of disappearing, slowly and quietly. five years later i am realizing that the wanderlust dreams of big city life and ocean salt in my hair were all just a trying to get away from everything that was at the time. five years later i am realizing that ultimately, i was trying to get away from myself.
it’s a strange way of being alive because that was in eighth grade and i’m five years older now. i think a lot about what andrew told me during my final week at school: that one day when i caught him in the dining hall and we had brunch together, him and me and selina. and afterwards i walked down the stairs with him and i taught him how to climb the field house in his flip flops while i hugged eve on the ground. on that day he'd told us:
"when you grow older you'll realize that you're the exact same person as you were ten years ago. you're the person you're always going to be, right now. down the road you'll just have a little more experience",
and as i read through my old journals i'm starting to think that maybe he's right. and that thought, in itself, freaks me the fuck out. five years older and five years wiser, or so i thought. but we only learn by repetition and in the end i guess we become what we repeat. in this case, an endless self-perpetuation of anxious thoughts that spread out next to me in bed every night. like an unwanted habitual; a compulsion.
but the mornings are sacred. mornings i have retired to routine. a piece of peace of mind before i tackle the rest of the day. the sun will peek in my dim room and my family will rise at eight in the morning, leaving me in a sleepy haze. and so i hit the home button on my iphone placed trustily besides me on the bed to ensure myself it is still early, and then i doze off again until my alarm rings at 9:30. what alarm signal goes off depends on what alarm has been on top of my alarm list, and so whether or not i have taken an afternoon nap the day before. i have four alarms. two of them go off to "playtime" and two of them go off to "slow rise". i don't usually save my alarms but somehow have four different ones from different occasions. actually, they were probably all made when i needed to wake up really early and ensure my waking up and so i set four alarms in a row. right now they're at 09:30, 13:20, 16:37, and 17:30. i did not take a nap the day before then, because i always end up changing the top alarm to whatever time i need to wake up to, and the top alarm is still set at 09:30. anyhow, if the first alarm weren't to be set at 09:30, but something else - say a usual nap time (17:00) - then that wouldn't be the first alarm in the list anymore, but the 13:20 one would end up as number 1 (iphone alarms rank in order). and if the 13:20 one was on top then that one would be the one i would change to "9:30" before i went to bed in the evening. and so some times the alarms are all different. although right now i haven't had to change my alarm because i haven't taken a nap, and so tomorrow i know i'll still wake up to "playtime". i've woken up to "playtime" since i first had an ipod touch (in like... 6th grade) so that tone has become strangely familiar. it's like waking up next to an old friend. i'm the only one i know that uses it. the "slow rise" one i don't know why i have. i blame it on waking up on purple bedsheets next to blotched red cheeks every weekend morning during third semester. but if he or i set the alarms, i don't know. i just know that's the one he used to have on his ipad, and that is the one that used to wake me up to see him rise and throw on shorts and a flannel and sit down by his desk to study on weekend mornings. sometimes he would make tea for us. other times he'd stay in bed with me (but that'd always stress him out, afterwards). whatever. point is, i wake up at 09:30 every day.
i allow myself to dwell in bed for 30 minutes. i check my messages (living with friends across a million time zones does that to you), see what's happened on instagram, look at what crazy nights my friends have had on their snapchat stories. i am too obsessed with social media but it's never bothered me. i don't know if it should. it probably should. but right now it's like a following of lives you used to know to feel like you still know them. i don't know if that's sad or beautiful. maybe both.
i used to always skip breakfast but now breakfast has become habit-- one that i built during third semester, too. after i've gotten up from bed i go down the stairs. my mom will always be reading by her laptop and my brother will always have his head buried in headphones watching some youtube video and so i'll greet them with a good morning and reach for a bowl from the cupboard and grab a spoon from the drawer. i take the yoghurt out the fridge. prepare a cup of coffee. one and a half spoons of coffee (zoegas skånerost) and one full cup of water. i pour yoghurt into my bowl. pour müesli on top of my yoghurt. chia seeds. nuts, occassionally. and then i'll put the yoghurt back into the fridge. place the bowl on the table. grab the book that i'm currently reading (troubling love by elena ferrante, right now). and then the coffee machine will make that razzling noise indicating that my coffee is finished and so i'll pour it out into my favorite cup: a white one with pink roses that i got for my 14th birthday. and then i sit down at the opposite side of the dinner table from where i usually sit (i always sit in the wrong chair when i eat alone. i don't know why), and begin breakfast. an intricately simple preparation.
i haven’t read this much in a very long time. it makes me happy to have built that habit again. i devour murakami like i’ve always done, reading his novels back to back. i read his first two works: "hear the wind sing" and "pinball, 1973", and the introduction that comes with them, written more than 30 years after their release. i fold down the lower corner of pages that evoke emotion: pages that contain words that i read over and over again; sentences that end up compiled amongst my phone notes; sometimes entire pages of thoughts that resonate with me. i finish "hear the wind sing" in two days and when i close it it seems three times thicker from all the pages that i’ve decided to fold down so that i can re-read them again. i haven’t related so much to a novel in very long. and that’s when it hits me. i want to become a writer. it's a violent force hitting me stronger than before. it's always been in the back of my head but this is the first time it's actually felt real. like this is what i actually want. like this is what i actually need. writing has saved me so many times. nothing consoles me more than writing.
and so i write a lot. i think a lot. i scribble down things amongst my phone notes. i write letters to selina and facebook messages to mihir. and maybe one day, that’ll become something. i just don’t know what, yet.
p. 88-89 contains description about 'equal' love, e.g: it sounds like you're trying your best not to fall too deeply for her, but also hoping not to lose her. exactly. it's contradictory, i know. [...] i just can't lose her. if that happened, i'd lose myself.
as with most people who are well raised, well educated, and financially secure, dr. tokai only thought of himself.
WHO IN THE WORLD AM I?
p.95: realizing the simplicity of humanity
my heart moves in tandem.
p. 113: description of the importance of raw love for human emotion and life"
July 20, 2017 at 22:58: "depressingly chaotic"
#3: excerpts from my diary (2012)
(sorry the english translations are really bad. swedish is a pretty nifty language and sometimes it just doesn't translate very well. i tried, at least).
"B R Ä C K L I G och vill att någon ska rädda mig. jag behöver en vinterdrog som kan lugna mig under årets kallaste dagar. något som kan tina mitt frysna novemberhjärta. vill inte falla tillbaka i dimman. V I L L. I N T E. " // "F R A I L and i want someone to come save me. i need a winter drug to calm me down during the coldest days of the year. someone to defrost my frozen november heart. i don't want to fall back into the void. I D O N ' T W A N T TO".
"saker som är fula: LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET LIVET" // "things that are ugly: LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE"
"hjärtat skaver men dina kyssar bedövar" // "heart is aching but your kisses numb the pain"
"imorgon fyller jag 15 vilket är lite konstigt, men fortfarande okej. förutom att jag vill inte bli äldre. så egentligen är det nog inte så okej" // "i turn 15 tomorrow which is kind of strange, but still okay. except i don't want to grow older. so i guess actually, it isn't that okay"
"00:51: jag tror jag vet varför jag känner mig så ensam. ingen berättar något för mig längre. inga hemligheter att dela, förälskelser att tjuta om. tyst tyst tyst. ps: jag har ingen att berätta något för heller. fast jag vet inte vad jag skulle berättat ändå så det kanske är bäst så.ds" // "00.51: i think i know why i feel so lonely. no one tells me anything anymore. no secrets to share, no infatuations to rejoice about. quiet quiet quiet. ps: i don't have anyone to tell anything to either. but i guess i don't know what i would have told them anyway so maybe it's better that way. ds"
"ljusslingan är på hela tiden nu. de små gula ljusen ger mig någon slags komfort, en trygghet - fast rädslan är kvar. denna ständiga rädsla, blandad nu med en bultande irritation som besöker mig oftare och oftare. i takt med att natten blir längre sönderfaller jag: faller faller faller (rädd)." // "my fairy lights are always on nowadays. the tiny yellow lights give me some kind of comfort, a safety of sorts -- but the fear is still there. the constant fear, now mixed with a pounding irritation that visits me more frequently than ever before. as the night grows longer i fall apart: falling falling falling (i'm scared)."
"lyssnar på E18 och känner mig tom. hjärtat skaver men det gör inte ont. tomt bara. tomt. snart är klockan 01.30 och jag är rädd för att sova. rädd för att drömma" // "i'm listening to E18 and feeling empty. my heart is aching but it doesn't hurt. just empty. empty. it's almost 01:30 am and i'm scared of falling asleep. i'm scared of dreaming"
and on the last page it says:
"för första gången på länge gör det inte ont. jag är bara tom. tom, men ganska glad ändå. denna sommaren kommer bli bra." // "for the first time in a long time it doesn't hurt. i'm just empty. empty, but pretty happy still. this summer is going to be a good one."
#4: from my diary (2017)
the past seven days have been spent pondering my not being good enough; scrutinizing myself and my character into tiniest detail to try and figure out where things went wrong. it’s been exhausting. i’ve felt like shit. i feel better now.
forest green t-shirt tucked in black shorts in the bouldering hall. awkwardness. he seems to be scouting the area for me and little does he know i’m right behind him. i poke him in the back and stick my head out to his left, to which he turns around to the right just to have to do another 180 spin and embrace me. his voice is tired. he kisses my forehead. he asks me how i am. i say i’m good. i’m lying. i ask him how he is. he says he’s really tired. he looks really tired.
none of us say much. it’s uncomfortable and i don’t want to be there. i just want to get up on the wall and not think about anything for a while. i want him to stop talking. i want him to stop trying to make things not awkward. i just want to climb. and so i race up three problems to get my body warm. it makes me feel a little better. he's not climbing at all. it makes me slightly frustrated. what’s the point of being in the gym if you’re not going to climb? he blames it on his being tired. "why are you here, then?” i say. "because i was going to see you”, he replies. i force a smile. it feels in-genuine. probably looks in-genuine too. he gets frustrated when i try helping him on the wall. it makes me frustrated, too. i really despise people that believe they can be fully independent. i despise them because i’m the same way.
"have i made you frustrated lately?” he asks me after a while. at this point kisses have been exchanged, laughter has been cracked.
"what, with your crappy motivational speeches?” i joke.
"no, in general, i mean”. he turns serious. i turn serious too.
i tell him the truth. i tell him: yes, yes you have made me frustrated. i’m just not a very stable person either and i get really anxious sometimes. he tells me he doesn’t want that for me. i tell him that’s just how it is. i tell him about knowing how it is like to cut people out. i tell him about knowing how it is fucking up relationships because you’re mentally unstable. i think about my behavior making my ex boyfriend turn to counseling. i tell him he just needs to be honest with me. he nods. he tells me he understands where i’m coming from. he tells me his illness is delving into darkness. he tells me he has no intention of hurting me. he tells me he would like to be there for me. he tells me that sometimes he can’t. that right now he can’t. that right now he’s so focused on taking care of himself that everything else becomes secondary. i nod. i tell him it makes sense. he tells me he knows himself well enough to realize he has the capacity to hurt me without realizing it. i sit quietly. i tell him i’m sorry he feels shitty. he tells me that’s just how it is. he shrugs. i shrug, too. i tell him that just because it’s become a normal state of being doesn’t make it not shitty. he shrugs again; and so i shrug too.
"so what are you telling me?” i ask him. if he wants us to stop seeing each other i want him to just tell me that straight up without making excuses.
”i’m just telling you how it is."
i appreciate his honesty. i tell him i don’t want to be a contributing factor to his feeling bad. i tell him that i don’t want to make it worse. he tells me he doesn’t resent me in that way at all. he tells me he likes spending time with me. he tells me that this is why he didn’t want anything serious. he tells me that he’s having a good time. he tells me this is a good day. he tells me a good day is one where he is capable of doing the simplest things: like forcing a smile, or holding a conversation.
i tell him: "so just spend time with me when you’re feeling okay”.
he replies: "yeah. we’ll leave it at that, shall we?”. i nod. i try to smile but it feels fake. he kisses me on the cheek. my entire being feels indifferent. if my entire being could be one mode of thought it would be: such is life. andrew would be so proud of me.
he asks me if i think love is over or underrated. i tell him i think it’s neither. i tell him i don’t think you can classify love like that. he chuckles. ”you’re such a diplomat” he tells me. wow, how familiar. thoughts of my parents telling me the same thing ten years ago when i couldn't pick favorites flash by my mind. oh, and that sunday when we were route setting on the climbing wall and hugh had taken one of the grips that i wanted to use for my route and i got really jokingly upset but in actuality i was actually quite upset because that was my favorite grip and i really wanted to use it. that sunday andrew had asked us about our families, and i had revealed to him that i was a middle child to which he had reacted like that made SO. MUCH. SENSE. and like he had now de-coded and finished psychoanalyzing my entire being.
and so he'd said: "so that's why you're so obsessed with things being fair!" like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
and then he helped tie hugh's rope to the wall so he couldn't move up or down as he was self-belaying. it made me laugh. and then i thought about what he'd said for a long time. although i doubt andrew thought about it much himself, it stuck with me. and so that's what flashed by my mind as i got told i'm a diplomat. that, and a strong taste of the bittersweet. because i hate that quality of myself. i hate it because it's a coping mechanism that is limiting and compromising. and ultimately, it's protecting myself but in a manner that is also hindering my own will, independence, and self-confidence. and also, i miss andrew. and hugh. and route setting sundays on our 20ft campus wall.
and so i turn to instantly saying that i think love is underrated. i say i think love is underrated because i think people are scared of not feeling lovable. because people can't love without validation. and so people never fully give themselves away to the act of loving, because when there seems to be nothing to gain, the fear takes over. and that act, the act of giving yourself foolishly selflessly wholeheartedly, is the most beautiful thing there is. and that's why love is underrated. i don’t formulate it that way — i’m really clumsy in conversation — but ultimately, that’s what i mean. and the denial. the denial as a coping mechanism. denial as a compromise. denial as protection. i hate denial.
when i sit on the bus back home i think a lot about love being under/overrated. i think love is underrated because i think people are too scared of what it can become. i think love is the purest form of emotion; the rawest exposure of human nature; and ultimately, the most beautiful one. however fleeting, however temporary. maybe even more so, then. the intensity of love, of the act of love, is grander than anything else. that’s what i think. and i don’t think a lot of people agree with me. or i think they do, because that’s the image of perfect love society has forced into our minds, but ultimately i don’t think a lot of people would make that sacrifice. put themselves on the line like that. love is about giving: and purely so. love is raw and love is masochistic and to love is to give. to receive love is not the same. and that’s why it’s such a beautiful act in itself.
i wish i could love without fear. i wish i could love without validation. i wish i could love without having to be diplomatic about it. when i become more mentally stable, that’s the first thing i’m going to work on. to love limitlessly. to never compromise for the sake of protection. to never fear.
#5: a recurring thought
every human is the center of their universe and therefore all humans are too self-absorbed because life cannot be experienced outside the borders of the self. and so everything we feel and think and relate to tie back to our own experience. our world circulates around us. my problems are my problems and your problems are your problems and your problem when it becomes my problem becomes only my problem. and so your problem becomes mine, but in a different sense than it is to you because i can never know exactly what you are feeling because my sense of being alive will ultimately differ from yours. and so everything i gain from the world i internalize and make my own. and the same goes for every single human being on this earth. everything is shared but nothing is shared, really. and that's both cool and freakishly scary when you think about it. that "no man is an island", but in reality, everyone is. because we don't know any other way.
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.