I feel old…

Right next to where I live, there is an elementary school, and a middle school. These are just the terms I use, since I’ve lived in the US; you might call them something else. Elementary in Norway is 1st through 7th grade, middle is 8th through 10th, and that’s all the compulsory school there is; it’s illegal for a parent not to have their child attend school for those 10 years (I don’t know the rules regarding home-school, long term illness and such, but in general, 10 years of school is compulsory). Next month, it’ll be 9 years since I finished grade 10, and I’ve forgotten a lot of things, but living next to a school triggers memories of when you were in school yourself.

I was not yet 6 years old when I started 1st grade, and I had to walk to the middle school to take the bus to the elementary school. I remembered getting in line for the bus, and being scared by the middle school kids, because they were so much older, and scary. But I noticed things about them – some of them smoked, which was something only adults were allowed to do. Some of them wore a lot of black and a lot of makeup. And some of them wore chokers. This was in 1998.

Almost 20 years later, chokers are now back in fashion. The last few years, I’ve started noticing things that I remember from my childhood coming back, and it’s a weird feeling when you notice it for the first time. When I was in maybe 5th grade I was allowed to get a rainbow colored choker, and a while later I got a black one (black was edgy, and a little bit scary). Being almost 25 and seeing them back in style now, is weird, and personally I cannot imagine myself wearing one. It’ll probably happen, someday, when I find one I like, but I can’t imagine it. The same goes for faded, light blue jeans that are not skinny jeans. And mustard yellow clothing. I cannot imagine wearing it, because I remember it being worn by older people when I was a child. I know that fashion always goes around, but I didn’t expect it to come back around so soon.

I probably make myself sound old.

There is a development up the hill from where I live. I live at the bottom of the hill, and a bit further down the road is where the schools are. A lot of the school children live further up the hill, and therefore I can see them walking past my window around 2pm every day that I am home. And one thing that I’ve noticed is the surprising amount of people who wear sweatpants to school. When I was a child, sweatpants is something you only wore when you were sick. I didn’t even wear them when traveling in a car for 10 hours. For many years I didn’t even own a pair. And now everyone wears them, all the time. When I was in school, we wore jeans. Boot cut jeans, most of the time, before jeans that had cuffs around the ankles became popular. And at some point it was in to have your socks on the outside of your jeans, to imitate cuffs, before cuff jeans were a thing. And at one point, camouflage pants in all colors were in, too; around 7th-8th grade for me. I had a pink and a blue pair. And hoodies, from “WOW”, at the same time. I only ever owned one because they were expensive.

And if you didn’t wear makeup, you were weird. I found that out on my first day of middle school, when it was just me and one other girl who didn’t wear any. She had chosen not to – but no one had informed me of the unspoken rule of popularity that if you didn’t wear makeup you were weird. I haven’t studied the faces of the girls walking past my window, so I don’t know if they wear makeup or not. I know some girls in town walk around with a full face of makeup and sweatpants. Such a contradiction, to me. If I’m gonna do my makeup, I’m gonna wear proper clothes. If I’m gonna wear sweatpants, I’m not gonna bother putting on any makeup, or at least not more than some mascara at most. But that might just be me.

I find it strange how, at the age of almost 25, I’m sat here feeling old, because fashion is recurring and I’m shaking my head at the clothes worn by girls in middle school. I’m sure people my age have always done that. I just didn’t really realize it until just now.

Until  next time,

~ Julie

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Things You Should Read

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is kind of different. I wanted to recommend some reading to all of my readers. If you’re not a book-reading kind of person, don’t fret; these aren’t book recommendations. And if that disappoints you – you should read them anyway.

The first thing you should read, is Do Nothing by Markus Almond. It’s about taking a timeout, to take care of yourself. If you like what you read, you should check out his other works, he has published a few books. At the end of last year I read his book These Are The Days, it’s a book of letters to a stranger every day for 100 days, and I really recommend it!

The second thing you should read, is Life Lessons from Mr. Boho Berry. It’s a blog entry, with 8 little things he has learned in life and that he thinks other people should know about. It’s very well written. There were things I didn’t understand or agree with when I read the headline, but after reading the text below it I completely agree with what he said (I’m talking about the no tv in the bedroom one, by the way, haha).

Thirdly, I think everyone should read You’re Allowed to Leave by Rania Naim. There’s a video below the text on that link as well. It’s kind of related to the Do Nothing post, I feel. And it hit me right in the feels right now. No one should feel guilty for leaving something that doesn’t improve their life. Leaving doesn’t necessarily mean quitting.

Lastly, here’s a tumblr blog entry called How To Grow The Fuck Up by user veux3. The link is from my tumblr profile, which I don’t use anymore. This entry contains a lot of links to things I, and many others, feel we should have learned in school but we didn’t. There are 7 categories – home, money, health, emergency, job, travel, and better you. I haven’t clicked on all the links to make sure they work, but I remember reading a few of them a couple of years ago and finding useful things, like how to take care of yourself when you’re sick, for example.

Happy reading!

~ Julie

From Gryffindor to Ravenclaw but really about Change

When I joined Pottermore a few years ago, I was very excited to join my Hogwarts house. All the tests I’d taken online had been so predictable, and all the answers to all the questions were written in a way so that you could easily see which statement belonged to which house, and you could really just pick and get the house you wanted regardless of your true answer to the question. But on Pottermore it was different. I was torn between wanting Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, having always seen myself as a clever person and a sort of Hermione myself, whom the sorting hat had seriously considered putting in Ravenclaw. I was happy when I got Gryffindor, feeling like it confirmed my feelings of being Hermione-like.

A friend of mine from Twitter is a Slytherin, and we have often talked about how Slytherins have been stereotyped as mean and bad people. I assure you, that is not the case. She is one of the sweetest people I know. But trust me – she will stand up for herself. And her house. When I purchased a necklace of Ravenclaw’s diadem late last year, she told me she always thought of me as a Ravenclaw, even though I was sorted into Gryffindor. I had only gotten the necklace because I found it beautiful, and I already had the time turner, deathly hallows, and wands.

The other day when I was in university one of my friends went on Pottermore and got resorted. Like me, she had been a Gryffindor from the start. Now, however, she was sorted into Ravenclaw. Being a person who is a lot like me, she was happy with this. We both value wisdom and knowledge and cleverness.

This made me curious. Would I still be a Gryffindor if I were to be resorted now? Or would I be something else? I feel like I have changed a lot over the past few years. Naturally, as I’ve gone from being a girl in her late teens to a woman in her mid twenties, I’ve grown. I’m a different person now. I’ve changed.

And this got me thinking. If I’ve changed in a few years, what’s to stop people from changing in many years? Just because someone was sorted into a house when they were 11, who’s to say they wouldn’t be sorted into a different house if they were to be resorted at 20, or 30, or even later in life? Everyone in the Harry Potter universe seem very true to the personality traits of the houses they were sorted into as kids, but is it not possible to change completely in a few or many years? Personally, I may not have changed that much. Perhaps I was always close to being a Ravenclaw. Much like Hermione. Perhaps I’ve just developed, rather than drastically changed. But there are people who do change drastically, over shorter or longer time, and I was just wondering… What about them?

Just a thought about validation

People. Myself as well as others. We very often need validation from other people to feel okay with being who we are. And that really sucks. I know from experience that when I don’t hear from people for a few days I start to think I must not be interesting enough or important enough to them, otherwise we would have spoken. Constantly needing confirmation and reassurance that people want you in their life is exhausting. Not only do you feel like they may not want you in their life, but when this happens with many people at the same time you also start to feel incredibly lonely and abandoned.

Writing the word “abandoned” just now made me think of abandoned buildings and train tracks and things left in forests. You’ve probably seen “abandoned places” accounts on twitter for example. I always thought that they were beautiful and interesting. And perhaps that is the case with humans too? We can still be beautiful and interesting even though people don’t talk to us all the time. I think maybe that’s a way I need to try to start thinking on days like today…

– Julie 

How We Should Protect Ourselves (but never do)

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
– 
Holden, The Catcher in the Rye

Personally, I have a twist on this quote, an idea I would like to share with you. Something I wish I was more capable of controlling myself. It goes like this:

Don’t ever think anything about anybody. If you do, you start missing everybody.

What I mean about this is… As people, when we get to know other people, we start thinking things. Imagining things. Creating scenarios in our heads that the people are a part of. It’s all good and well so far. We’re aware that they’re just daydreams and imaginations, they’re not real. But the people are. These imaginations and scenarios are things we want to do with these people. Things that maybe someday will happen. Conversations we’ll maybe have, someday. Places we’ll maybe go to. All good and well so far.

The problem with this, I propose to you, goes something like this: those people aren’t real either. They are our imagined versions of these people. How we want them to be. The things we want them to say. Things we imagine maybe someday they will actually say. We know them, we know how they talk and behave, and all we do is take this a step furter and create situations in our heads. Correction: All we think we do. But something else happens, that we may or may not be aware of. We begin to apply the imagined version to the real person. We look for traits in the real people that fit the fantasy. We begin to believe that the imaginary version is the real person. But they’re not.

People, sooner or later, in one way or another, will let you down. They’ll say or do or be something that doesn’t fit with the imagination. They’ll shatter the illusion. Naturally, we blame them. “This isn’t who you are, you’ve changed, you’ve never been like this before” we might say. It’s their fault. They don’t fit the version that we’ve created. The version WE’VE created. We. Us. I. The individual. Our mind. We are to blame. We created the imaginary version of the real person. We are to blame, not the person. They never promised to be this or do that or say a certain thing. We expected them to because the made-up version of them did. But the actual person never agreed to being who the imagined version them are.

We let ourselves down. We lead ourselves on. We break our own hearts. The person didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t do anythign at all. They just weren’t how you made them out to be in your head. And that’s your fault, my fault, each our own fault, and not the person’s fault. We hurt ourselves. If we didn’t do this, we’d be more protected. But it’s impossible not to. We can’t fight what’s inside of us. Well sometimes we can, but fighting ourselves is the most unnatural thing in the world because we are everything that we are. Maybe. Not necessarily. Other sides of this can be argued (think: “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are”). But if you drag that statement into this it becomes a matter of distinguishing right from wrong and knowing the difference. What I propose is that imagining scenarios and creating versions of people is on the light side, the right side, we don’t see anything wrong with it, which is why it’s unnatural to fight this part of who we are.

Before I lose my point completely: the last part of my twist on the famous sentence from the famous book taught in most high school literature classes. If you do, you start missing everybody. People turn out not to be how we imagined them, how we wanted them to be. When we find this out, we have to come to terms with that. Accept that they’re not who we thought they were. And that isn’t necessarily easy. You may feel like you’ve been lied to (by the person, but really by your head). If you can come to terms with who they are, who the REAL person is, then maybe you can have a wonderful friendship (or relationship or whatever it is that you might have). But if you can’t, you’ll probably end up not having anything to do with them. And you may find yourself missing them. But you don’t miss the real person, you miss the imaginations, the fantasies, the daydreams, about the person you have by this point discovered doesn’t exist. Holding on to those is hard to do once you know the person isn’t like that. So you end up missing them, too.

Don’t ever think anything about anybody. If you do, you start missing everybody.

This entry was inspired by this tumblr post.

~ Julie

A Note on Weirdness

We’re all a little weird, in one way or another. Many of us try to hide it. We wear neutral makeup. We wear what society deems “normal” clothes. We keep or music volume to a minimum. We try to stay below the radar.

I think that’s wrong. If we hide who we really are, if we all hide who we really are, how are we going to find other people that are like us? Looking for and finding one specific needle in a stack of needles that all look the same is nearly impossible. Looking for a specific color pencil in a pile of pencils of all different colors, now that’s something that can be done. It may take a while (it may not) but eventually you’ll find the color you’re looking for.

We often hear about teenagers and their stages. The hair, the makeup, the clothes, the attitude. I wasn’t like that. I started wearing makeup late. My clothes were ordinary. When I was around 15 I started wearing dark nail polish and a leather jacket, and was then called emo, despite my natural blonde hair and only wearing some eyeliner. I did what I was told. I was quiet.

It was only by the age of 21 I started expressing myself as a more “different” type of person. I had just gotten out of a bad relationship and realized I had absolutely no idea who I was. So I started to figure it out. I listened to music. I made friends online, friends who liked the same music. I gradually started to change how I dress. Gone with the plain t-shirts and normal hoodies. In with the beat up old converse shoes and skinny jeans that aren’t Levi’s and printed t-shirts and band merch and fandom merch and plaid shirts. In with the makeup, the eyeliner, the lipsticks. The hairspray, my god, the hairspray! “Inhaling hairspray” became a phrase of mine. Sounds like a band name, doesn’t it? It was a friend online who pointed it out. Same with “hills and high heels”. Another phrase of mine.

Do your makeup. It’ll make you feel better. This is something I do now. When I feel bad or ill or anything, I do my makeup. Take my time, and do something artistic. I know it’s weird. My mother stares. Sellers in the streets don’t approach me. Perhaps I look foreign. Good. I don’t want to look pretty. I want to look otherworldly and slightly threatening. I wear my individuality on my sleeve (or in this case on my face). Leaving my face natural, to me, feels unnatural. Like putting up a blank canvas at an art exhibition. With all the things I can do, why should I choose to do nothing? I don’t look like this on accident. I want to look like art. Art isn’t supposed to look nice, it’s supposed to make you feel something. Maybe I scare people away. But that’s just so many less color pencils to sort through before I find the right one.

My 23rd birthday is one month from today. I’m an adult. My dad tells me to behave like one. Maybe I should. But I’ve spent so much of my life not knowing who I am. I want to find that person first. Then I can be an adult. I have a few years left before I finish my university studies. I plan to know who I am by then. Maybe someone else will know who I am by then, too. Until then, I keep staying weird. Keep exploring. Keep being me. Keep trying to find the real Julie. She has to be in here or out there somewhere.