Living With Eating Disorders

A person who is an alcoholic, or a drug addict, can stay sober for 30 years, but that doesn’t mean they’re cured. They can’t just casually have a drink with everyone else, they can relapse at any moment in time, even though they’re sober and have been for a long time. It’s not a perfect analogy, but it illustrates the point.

Easter is coming up. Not yet, but soon. We do shopping once a week, and I was told to pick out which Easter Egg I want, it’ll be here tomorrow along with food for the next week. I have a hard time believing I’ll be able to leave it until Easter… Maybe that’s not a big deal to some, some people probably get a lot of eggs while they’re in shops and eats them like other sweets. But when I was young, we had a week off school, starting Friday before Good Friday, lasting through Easter Monday, and my brother and I wouldn’t usually get our Easter Eggs until the following weekend, because that’s when it really is Easter, not just Easter holiday from school. So I was brought up to enjoy my Easter egg during actual Easter, and I only got a small/medium sized one too.

You might think I’m overthinking this. That’s it’s not a big deal if I eat my egg before Easter, or that I can just leave it until Easter to eat it. I wish it were that simple.

I have super self-control when walking through a shop looking at all the good things. I have no issues walking down the candy aisle and smell all the chocolate in the air, I can just walk through and buy my things and leave, no biggie. But the moment I buy something, I have a really hard time not eating it once I get home. I’m just not wired to have a “snack drawer” or shelf or cupboard or whatever. It was fine when I was a child and my parents were in charge of handing out sweets to us (Saturday nights with TV, birthdays, Christmas, and Easter). But when I was, maybe around 10, my Mum started working away from home, that’s when the problems started.

I was fully aware of where to find cookies, sweets, and the chocolate spreads. And I was struggling in school, not with the material but with the social aspect. I’d come home and make myself two slices of bread with chocolate spread, a glass of chocolate milk, and a few pieces of chocolate, and watch 7th Heaven on TV while home alone. I was comfort eating. It made me feel better. This went on for several years.

The summer before I turned 15, I stopped eating meat. That’s a story for another time, if I haven’t already talked about it before, I actually don’t remember. My grandmother made a comment that I was gonna become skinny because of it. The same grandmother had earlier made comments on me being on the bigger side and asked whether I was the only one in my year in school who was. It stayed in my head. I’d already started working out a couple of years earlier, because my MP3 player broke, and my dad said he’d buy me a new one if I kept up my grades for summer term and started to exercise (he got me the 2nd generation iPod Nano, 2GB, which was a lot back then!). At some point, I started to notice the weight loss, and it drove me to keep going. I ate less and less. I exercised more and more. At the worst, I was down to one tiny bowl of cereal for breakfast, and a small portion of dinner that I couldn’t always finish, and I had dance class on Monday, PE on Tuesday and Thursday, aerobics on Wednesday, and I’d go running and biking on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I did strength exercises too, every evening before bed, which was what I’d started doing back when I wanted my MP3 player replaced (I still remember the first time: 10 push-ups, and 10 crunches, and I was aching a lot the next day. By the end I had a full hour’s worth of different exercises for my core, legs, and arms). I wasn’t healthy. I had headaches every day. I drank only water, and juice with dinner when the others had soda. I never ate sweets or crisps.

But here’s the thing. I never looked like someone with eating disorders. There weren’t any teachers or classmates who were worried about me. One teacher made a remark once, he’d seen me out running after school, said something about me being into jogging, when I rejected a Twist (which are like Celebrations) he offered me once (nothing creepy, I had to stop by school for a signature on something I’d forgotten, and he was in the teacher’s room). I never saw a doctor, I was never hospitalised or treated in any way. My parents knew something wasn’t right, I think, but we’ve never actually talked about it. Once when I’d been out jogging around mid-day on a weekend, and came home, I told my mum I wanted to go for a bike ride and she said absolutely not. And for several years after I got better, whenever I’d talk to my dad on the phone (when I’d just started uni), he’d ask me what I’ve eaten today. At this point, I was able to tell him the truth. A few years earlier (my first year of high school/upper secondary), I’d make up something about using my pocket money to buy something from the school cafeteria. That happened maybe twice during the year (other than ice coffee before science tests, which became a sort of ritual for me and a friend). So my parents were worried. But no one else had any reason to be. One girl made a comment on me becoming fit when high school started, but we were 15-16, a lot of people’s bodies changed over summer, she asked if I’d been working out and I said yes, but asked nothing further. I didn’t look like someone with eating disorders. But I had them. First one way, then the other.

eating disorder
noun
plural noun: eating disorders
  1. any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits

I’m well now. Mostly. I’ve been mostly well for several years. I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, most days. Sometimes I skip lunch, if I have a late breakfast and don’t want to have a late dinner. I don’t like eating late at night. I don’t like snacking, much. I try to eat mostly healthy. I still haven’t eaten meat since I stopped in the summer of 2007. The thing is, I know how easy it would be for me to relapse. With being unemployed, and away from my family and friends, with being located to mainly just one room in a small house, my mental health isn’t always doing so good. And a lot of the time I want to eat things I know I shouldn’t. Like yesterday, we had takeout pizza. We’re having Easter eggs being delivered tomorrow. And I’ve been craving sweets for hours, mainly due to talking about them with someone on twitter (really lovely conversation though!). I am able to not eat anything because I don’t have anything. I don’t even have cereal. But food is being delivered tomorrow, and I might go make tea in a bit, my hands are quite cold and I have a sleepy time tea. Sleep is another tool I use to control cravings and overeating; in writing moment it’s nearly 10pm and like I said earlier, I don’t like eating late, so I will have some water and/or some tea, and go to sleep, and breakfast will taste all the much better in the morning.

So you see which way I’m leaning at the moment. I want all the things I know I shouldn’t have. But then some days, I don’t want anything. Or I’ll be really healthy, those are the best days. But sometimes I feel like not eating anything at all, especially following a time of me eating things I know I shouldn’t. And I know I need to eat, and I do, and I have people around me who care about me and want me to stay healthy and well, who make sure I do, or at least that I don’t skip meals multiple days in a row, that’s really the danger I am in sometimes.

I’ve been mainly well for about 9 years now. Or at least 7, maybe 8. I started to get better around 9 years ago, but that too was a process that took some time. It took me more than 2 years to get back into eating lunch on a regular basis. And it’s always a process, it’s always going to be a process, it’s never going to end, I don’t think. And that’s really the point I wanted to get across here. I may never have been in any physical danger, or maybe I would have been if things hadn’t happened to change the course I was on, I don’t know. But I was never hospitalised or in danger of dying, and I never developed diabetes due to how I was living and eating. But even though I’m, for the most part, stable, for now, that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still spin one way or the other, it doesn’t mean I won’t relapse into comfort-eating or not eating at all. Every day, I work at making sure it doesn’t happen, by eating my meals, and getting the nutrients my body needs, but there are times when I feel bad and I eat a whole pack of Jaffa cakes, and there are days when I feel so bad about my weight or the shape of my body that I want to go on a water diet for a week, there’s no denying that. But for now, I’m fine, for the most part. Let’s hope this stupid Easter egg (that I cannot wait to eat, I got a Cadbury mini eggs one!!) doesn’t ruin any of that…

If you’ve made it this far, this is the end! Thank you so much for reading, I know this was a long piece; this is something that’s really personal to me, and that I haven’t really opened up about in the past. Please feel free to talk to me in the comments – but if you’re gonna be nasty, I’ll just delete you, so let’s keep it civil okay ūüôā

Xoxo

Julie

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April Fool’s Day

Today is April 1st. Or as may of us know it, April Fool’s Day. If you google April Fool’s Day, you might come across this definition:

April Fools’ Day¬†or¬†April Fool’s Day¬†(sometimes called¬†All Fools’ Day) is an annual celebration commemorated on April 1 by playing¬†practical jokes¬†and spreading¬†hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called¬†April fools. People playing April Fool jokes often expose their prank by shouting “April fool(s)” at the unfortunate victim(s). Some newspapers, magazines and other published media report fake stories, which are usually explained the next day or below the news section in smaller letters. Although popular since the 19th century, the day is not a¬†public holiday¬†in every country. Little is known about the origins of this tradition.

Aside from April Fools’ Day, the custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbour has historically been relatively common in the world.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† (Wikipedia)

I don’t like this day. I don’t believe anything I read on the internet today, especially Facebook status updates. There are a lot of tweets too. Someone just tweeted that they just stumbled through a street, way too drunk, and even wearing flats. I don’t believe it.

A few days ago, I came across this on Twitter:

april1st

The most common one I see is people announcing pregnancy and engagement. And it’s not like it’s harmful… I just think it’s incredibly pointless, not to mention unoriginal.

Sometimes I see some funny ones from the media, who have people trained to write and are able to come up with something witty or believable. BeautyBay posted on Instagram that they have a new palette out, the “Prima Doner” palette with “buttery, greasy texture” and “scented shades” with names such as Nuggets, Garlic Mayo, Pepperoni Pizza, and Extra Gravy. That was pretty funny. What’s funnier is people tagging their friends and asking about the price! I saw someone else posting about a unicorn lipstick too, although I can’t find that one on my feed at the moment. Superdrug sent out an e-mail advertising the new trend: Glitter ears, for festival season. A local newspaper back in Norway has an article out today with the 20 best pranks they’ve played throughout the years.

Personally, I just don’t think April Fools are funny. I don’t think it’s funny to pull pranks on people, and I don’t like it when people do it to me. I find the whole concept ridiculous. I wish we’d get rid of it. But I can’t change the mindset of the majority of the world, so for now, I guess I have no choice but to go through April 1st being suspicious of everything I read and everything people tell me; alternatively barricade myself in a room with books and movies all day for the rest of forever.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, there’s nothing harmful about trying to make people laugh by announcing ridiculous makeup palettes and fashion statements, but most of the stuff people do is ridiculous and some of it can be harmful towards others and my personal opinion is that not much good comes from this day and it’s really quite pointless.

I hope you have a good day and sorry for being so negative, it’s just my two cents on this day, that’s all.

Xoxo

Julie

20 Questions With Myself (x2…)

For today’s blog post, I wanted to do something light, something fun. I had a job interview earlier today, so it’s taken a lot of energy from me the last few days, as I get nervous and overthink things, and I was sat here thinking, since I’ve not prepared a post over the weekend, what can I do that I’ll enjoy doing? And as I was scrolling on Twitter, I came across one of those “for every like, I will answer one question” posts. I’ve re-posted those a few times, sometimes I’ve got two or three likes, most of the time I haven’t gotten any likes at all. But I enjoy answering questions, so I thought why not turn it into a blog post! Those who want to read and learn some things about me can do that, and even if no one reads it, I’ll have fun filling it out! So, here we go!

1. Who was your last text from?

On messenger, my friend Charlotte. On WhatsApp, my boyfriend Matt. Actual phone text message, a Norwegian grocery shop called Kiwi.

2. Who was your last call from?

The man who interviewed me earlier today. I sadly don’t remember his name…

3. What is your worst habit?

Probably the amount of time I spend on my phone, when doing other things like watching TV, movies, or YouTube. I can prevent it by using Forest and blacklisting all the apps again, but I get very bored and fidgety, I want to be doing mindless things like playing games or scrolling on Instagram.

4. How many people have you dated?

I’ve had 5 boyfriends, plus 2 that I knew online but I never got to meet them in person before we stopped talking, plus 3 or 4 that didn’t turn into relationships.

5. What is your favourite TV series that you have watched?

Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds. I never get tired of re-watching them, and they’ve been with me literally half my life (I was 13-14 when I started watching them, I’m 26 now, turning 27 later this year).

6. What is the last song you listened to?

I actually have no clue. I mainly listen to music on Spotify on my phone, and I have Spotify Free, so I can only skip 6 songs per hour, so I make a point of finishing a song and pausing right at the start of the next one, so that next time I want music I don’t have to start in the middle of a song (or waste a skip). The next song up though, is Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

7. Do you want to get married? 

Someday, yes. I’m in no rush. But I also want to be married before I have kids, so I guess biologically I am in a little bit of a rush!

8. Does talking about sex make you uncomfortable?

Not at all.

9. Would you ever share a bath with someone?

I don’t know, to be honest. It’s one of those things that looks romantic in films, but I imagine it would be awkward in real life. Most tubs are not made for two adults! It’s the same as with showering with someone – sounds like a good idea until you’re actually doing it, and you have to keep walking around each other to get to the water…

10. What is your favourite animal?

Owls, but I’ve never hung out with one so I don’t know what they’d be like as pets. I’m currently living with 3 cats, and I adore them to bits!

11. Would you ever smoke weed?

I’m not opposed to weed where it’s legal, but I don’t particularly want to inhale things that aren’t fresh air…

12. What is your favourite way to wear your hair?

All the ways. Straight, curly, braided, bun, ponytail, french twist… It really depends on my mood for the day! Most of the time if I don’t wear it down, I put it in a high ponytail though.

13. Who was the last person you had a deep conversation with?

My boyfriend.

14. What are your favourite bands/singers?

Oh god that’s a hard one… I don’t listen to a lot of music at the moment, and it’s mainly just random songs here and there, not complete albums or anything. According to the Spotify Wrapped 2018, I think All Time Low and Ed Sheeran were the two most played bands/artists, I also really love Simple Plan, they’re like an all-time favourite, same with Breathe Carolina… Taylor Swift is also pretty high, but I haven’t listened to anything after her 1989 Album.

15. What is your relationship status?

I’ve been in one since late 2015.

16. What is your sexuality?

Straight.

17. What are your initials (including middle names?)

J. K. V. I always thought the K name was my middle name, until my mum gave me my birth certificate last year and it turned out I have two first names, no middle name!

18. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

Person, or cat? Yes to both! (I kiss the cats on top of their heads a lot eheh).

19. Who is the most attractive celeb?

Oh fuck if I know. I don’t really have a celebrity crush, haven’t had one for years…

20. Do you/would you ever drink alcohol?

I’m gonna answer this with a quote from Game of Thrones: “That’s what I do. I drink, and I know things.” – Tyrion Lannister

21. What makes you happy?

So many things! Cats, my support system of people, cute animal pictures and videos online, some TV shows, an essential oil called “Joy”, reading, playing games like Two Point Hospital and Anno, doing my makeup…

22. What are you like when you’re drunk?

It depends. Most of the time, giddy, happy, cute. A couple of times I’ve had the alcohol hit me the wrong way and I’ve become mean or upset, but those aren’t the majority of times fortunately!

23. Would you rather live without music or TV?

TV, easy. Even though I don’t listen to a lot of music right now, and I am watching quite a bit of TV, I can totally live without it. I have done for some stretches of time, like when my family went camping, or on school trips. With music and good company, I didn’t miss having a TV at all.

24. Do you like people playing with your hair?

YES.

25. What traits do you find attractive in someone?

Altruism. Being passionate about something. Treating people kindly, even strangers. The ability to make people around them feel good.

26. Would you kiss someone of the opposite gender?

We already covered this when I said I’m straight, didn’t we? But yeah the answer is yes :’)

27. Do you feel awkward during silences when with someone?

That really depends on the person and the context. But just the fact that it’s silent doesn’t bother me. Comfortable silences exist. But yeah sometimes it can be awkward too, of course…

28. How long did your longest relationship last?

3 years, 5 months, 8 days, and counting.

29. Would you ever become a vegetarian?

I haven’t eaten meat since July 13th, 2007. I never gave up fish, but I could really easily do that do be honest, I don’t enjoy it much, apart from sushi, but vegan sushi can be really good too!

30. Do you think aliens exist?

I believe we are the aliens to others… The word literally just means foreigner, whether we’re talking country or planet. Do I believe we’re the only life in the universe? Hell no. If our planet can sustain life, surely there must be others. I don’t particularly believe they’re green tentacled monsters, that’s a human imagination, but I think it’s highly likely life like our own exists somewhere else. Maybe at a different developmental stage from us, either behind or beyond… Or maybe life forms our human brains are incapable of imagining. Maybe it’s like in The Guardians of the Galaxy, with people and creatures in all shapes and colours. Who knows!

31. How many people have you kissed?

Oh god. Uhm… Nine or ten, I think?

32. Favourite school subject?

It changed a lot throughout school, but I went on to study English in university, mainly because of the amazing teachers I had in the subject in secondary school!

33. Do you have a lot of friends?

I’ve never had a lot of friends. At this point in my life, I probably have more than I ever have, because I’ve become more secure in who I am and who I want to have in my life. I have two really good friends from university, a couple of friends from school that I talk to sometimes, a handful of really close friends online, and there are people I’m friendly with, that I would probably still hang out with if we were in the same physical place… But no, I wouldn’t say a lot, but I’m very happy with the ones I have! ‚̧

34. Where in the world would you like to visit?

My dad once said, “there isn’t a place invented that you don’t want to visit, Julie” and he’s right. Very high on the list right now, of places I haven’t visited, are New York, Tokyo, and Bali.

35. Do you have trust issues?

Sometimes. I guess my main one is trusting people to do their part/do what they’ve said they will, due to a lot of bad experiences with that in the past, and I’d much rather prepare for them to fail just in case, so that all doesn’t go to hell, than blindly trust¬† everyone to not let me down. When it comes to personal things like secrets and confiding, I don’t really have a lot of those things, and depending on the situation I have different people in my life to talk to that I trust wouldn’t blabber or judge me, that I trust would help me if I needed it, or just let me vent at them should that be what I require.

36. What is your favourite season?

Any that isn’t cold. But for the most part, early autumn. I don’t like really hot summers, I don’t like undressing really, I’m most comfortable in jeans, but late spring and early autumn are really good, when the temperature is nice and I can pretty much wear whatever I want! Winter is too cold, and I’m really sensitive to it. It’s currently about 10 degrees Celsius, and I’m wearing a wool tank-top underneath my fluffy Primark knitted jumper, and three pairs of socks on my feet… And my hands are so SO cold right now!

37. Would you ever have kids?

Someday, yes. A few years ago I couldn’t imagine it. I’m a lot closer to being able to picture myself as a mum now, but I’m not quite there yet…

38. Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter. For sure. I spend hours on there a day, probably, but I might drop by Facebook once a week or so. I mainly use that for messenger, but you don’t even need to have an active Facebook account for that anymore. I did deactivate it for a couple of months about a year ago… It was so nice, once I’d “detoxed” from it!

39. Do you still speak to your first crush?

That was in like year 6 of school so no. I don’t even know where in the world he is now.

40. Do you believe in luck/miracles?

Luck, definitely, yes. I don’t have a lot of it… Miracles… I’m not sure. I’ve not had one happen to me. I guess they could be kinda tied, for example if there is a car crash, it can be a miracle that no one died, but it’s also really lucky/fortunate… So I guess yeah, I do! I just don’t have much experience with it!

 

That’s all for this time! What have you been up to lately?

xoxo

Julie

 

Similar posts: 20 questions the book tag  //  15 facts about me

Human BEINGs

We are called “human beings”. Not “human doings”. This has been pointed out in at least one movie/TV show I’ve watched, although I cannot remember which, as well as on those kind of accounts on instagram that post inspirational quotes and tell you not to be so hard on yourself, etc etc. It can be kind of annoying, and kind of clich√©. But it’s also kind of true.

Who we are is more important than what we do. And that’s easy to forget in a society where, when you meet new people, one of the first questions asked are “so what do you do (for a living)?” This question being asked early in conversation, makes us feel like this is of huge importance. Our answer to this question forms the person’s opinion of us. How stupid is that? People literally form opinions about us based on our answer to the question “what do you do for a living?”. They needn’t know much about us at all, perhaps you were just introduced, you say hi, your name, and they ask “so, what is it you do?” and that can colour their opinion of you forever.

Many people have impressive things to say. I’m a surgeon. I’m a lawyer. I’m working on my PhD in __. Many more people have answers such as hair dresses, mail man, I work in a food shop. These are professions that are essential to society, but they rarely make people go “wow, impressive!” in a conversation. And then there are people like me. I haven’t had to answer that question recently, but for the past six months, I would have had to say nothing. I don’t do anything. I don’t have a job. I’m unemployed. And that doesn’t feel so great.

Just over two years ago, I wrote this post, about how I felt like I’d done nothing all day, and that I needed to give myself more credit for the things I did do, and not beat myself up about all the things I didn’t do. I’m still struggling with this. Since the start of the year, I’ve started to write down almost everything I do in my bullet journal, just so that I don’t feel like I’ve done nothing all day. There’s a huge focus in our world about doing things. My mum will always ask “so what have you been doing today then?” when we talk on the phone. My friends ask it in group chats. They mean nothing bad about it, it’s never anyone’s attention to make me feel bad about not doing anything. But that’s often the focus, the starting point of a conversation, what have we been up to.

But we are called human beings. The first question should therefore be “how are you today?” or “how have you been?”. I try to ask this first, especially when I talk to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. But “what have you been doing?” or “done anything fun lately?” or questions along those lines quickly follow. It can’t be helped. But as much as I can, I try to focus on the being part over the doing part, because who we are is ultimately so much more important than what we do, for a living or otherwise.

The things I do don’t reflect who I am as a person. What do I do? To mention a few, I read books, I binge watch TV shows, I play video games, I go for walks, I play with makeup. These say very little about who I am as a person – as a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, cousin, god-mother, acquaintance, colleague… I am not the things I do to entertain myself. I am not the thing I do to make money, even though that’s nothing at the moment, and I am not that either.

Maybe we should all try to focus a little bit less on everything we’re supposed to be doing, and a little more and just being, in the world, existing, and enjoying it. Maybe we should stop and smell flowers, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the crispness of it that is so typical for this time of year. Maybe we should focus on what we can be, who we can be, and who we can be there for, rather than all the things we think we ought to be doing?

xoxo

Julie

Be harmless, not helpful

When I was younger, say about 11-15/16, school was always finished at 2.15pm, and I’d always race home to put on 7th Heaven on the TV, and if I was fortunate, I’d only miss the few minutes that were before the intro music. That’s where I first came across this phrase, the title of today’s entry – I don’t remember exactly how it was phrased, I think it was used multiple times, but the gist of it was that it is better to be harmless than to try to be helpful.¬†I think there are a few different ways to look at this and interpret this phrase that we need to talk about.

Firstly, I think we have all been on the receiving end of advice that didn’t go as planned; that made things worse instead of better. To be honest, we’ve probably all given such advice as well – the intent was good, we were trying to help, but the end result did not reflect our intentions. Sometimes trying to help can do more harm than good, and thus backing up the statement that you should be harmless instead of helpful.

Now, what do we mean about being harmless, exactly? I think this is something we should talk about, because a lot of people will say something that seems or sounds harmless to them, but it most definitely is not. Take for example people with any kind of anxiety disorder, or that are struggling with depression – many seemingly harmless statements can actually be hurtful to hear if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression. One of the most well discussed things, going off of my own experience and that of friends and family, and what I see on Twitter for example, is to be told to “just calm down”, “cheer up”, or “just breathe”, or that you’re overreacting. Taking an example from my own life recently, I know, rationally, that I am in fact overreacting, but that doesn’t stop the tightening feeling in my throat, the hyperventilating, or the tears, and I most certainly do not need anyone to tell me to calm down or that I’m overreacting. I know that I’m overreacting, that there is no physical threat to me being sat in front of a computer screen looking at a programme I don’t understand, but if it was so easy as to just breathe or “calm down” don’t you think I would do it? (PS: no one was telling me anything of the sort at the time, this is just me stating what would not have been harmless in the moment). Most of the time, I just need a minute, a little while to let my body catch up to what my brain already knows; that I am fine and in no danger at all. But if someone were to tell me things like the ones above, it might have been intended as good, but cause me harm, because it’ll make me feel worthless, like what I am experiencing isn’t valid, and it might make me feel afraid, and lead to me not being able to be myself around them, it might lead to me wanting and doing everything I can to be invisible, to not make them feel uncomfortable because of what is happening to me.

So you see, phrases that are often intended to be helpful, and perceived as harmless by the person uttering them, can sometimes do more harm than they do good. There is a difference, in my opinion, between being harmless, and saying something you think is harmless. And the above things would fall into the latter category. Being harmless, I think, is a much more passive thing, or it can be – we’ll get to other less passive things in a bit. Being harmless, in some cases, doesn’t require the saying of things. It requires being there for the person who needs it. You should be a safe place for people in your life, a place where they know they won’t be judged or told things like “you don’t look like you have (insert mental state)”, a place where they can just be themselves, where they can rant and scream and cry if that’s what they need. Being harmless, to me, means that people can talk to you, that they can cry on your shoulder, that they can lay with you being held and feeling safe, sit next to you, have their hand held or their back stroked, knowing that no physical harm can come to them in that moment, so they do whatever they need to do, while being with someone who will ensure their safety in the process.

But being harmless can also mean other things. Sometimes, it means being the distraction someone sorely needs, the one who makes them laugh, who takes them places to look at weird stuff or walks¬† around the city or the country side people-watching or cloud-watching, to be the person that takes their mind off of things. This is a slightly less passive form of harmlessness, I think, where you actively try to be what the person needs, regardless of what that actually is. But I also think it’s important to make sure that this is what the person needs at the time, because they might require other things, such as what I wrote in the previous paragraph, or what I’m about to write about in the next paragraph.

Sometimes, being harmless means letting people go. It might not be forever, it might just be for a¬† few hours or a few days. Being there for someone, being a harmless place, means giving them what they need, and sometimes what people need is space. It might be time off from social media, it might mean them going away for a while, it might mean that you being in their life is causing them harm, and therefore giving them space is the most harmless thing you can do. This is the one that is hardest to do, this is the one that hurts the most. I can openly say that I have been the person causing harm to someone else simply by being a part of their life, and us trying to stay in each others’ lives ended up causing us both harm. Which sucked. This was a person I cared about a lot, and who cared a lot about me too, but in the end we were no good for each other and went our separate ways. It has been years, and I know this was the kind of letting go that meant forever, even if I didn’t want it at the time. I recently looked them up on social media, without them knowing about it, and discovered that, from what they have been posting, things definitely seem better in their life now, and seeing this made me really happy. It made me realise that we did the most harmless thing we could do, which was remove ourselves from each other, and that made things better, for both of us. And now I am at peace, knowing things are good for them, and I am okay with the fact that what they needed was to not have me in their life, because not all people are good for each other.

This, of course, need not always be the case. I have other people in my life in present time where we’ve taken breaks from each other, time to heal, and have ended up reconnecting after a few weeks or months, and at present time we are no longer causing each other harm. And that’s a wonderful thing. We were causing each other harm, we took a break from each other, which at least for me was hard and painful, but reconnecting and looking back on it in retrospect made me glad we did it because we are positive presences in each others’ lives now. Letting go is not always bad. It might hurt at the time, but the most important thing is that people are safe and not in a harmful place, whether that be physical, mental, or emotional. If someone is causing you pain, would you want to keep them in your life? If you’re causing someone harm by being a presence in their life, do you really want to stay, knowing that you’re hurting them? The selfish answer is, I like having them in my life and losing them will cause me pain so I will do everything I can to keep them in my life. The altruistic answer is, I am causing them pain, I need to remove myself from this situation/their life so that I am no longer causing pain to another human being. I completely understand the logic of the first, no one wants to do anything that will cause themselves harm, but I also think it’s important to consider the harm we might be inflicting on others, and make sure we do as little of that as possible – that we need to focus a little bit more on being harmless.

This entry took a very dark turn, but I think it’s important to talk about it. Dark and painful and difficult topics might be the ones that need talking about the most. But it’s important to remember that being harmless can mean many different things, and people require different things from other people around them. On the internet, where I spend a lot of my time, I see people being so mean to other people, and I always see people talking about how they hate other people, and how animals are better because they are never cruel. As humans, we are the only ones who can change how humans behave, starting with ourselves. If I start by being kinder to you and providing you with a harmless space, you can be kinder and a safe space to the next person, who can then do the same to their next person, and so on. It might be a dream scenario in an imaginary world, but piece by piece the castle gets built, you just have to start somewhere (I don’t know if that is an actual metaphor, I may have just made that up…).

What I wanted to say, above anything else in this entry, and if you didn’t read anything else and just skipped to the end for the TL;DR portion, this is it: People cannot cure other people, you just have to be there for them.

I will end this entry with one of my all-time favourite quotes, which I’ve had written on whiteboards and pieces of paper stuck to the wall and book covers and also really wanted to by a jumper with it on, which is from an organisation called To Write Love On Her Arms, and it is this:

twloha

Feel free to leave a comment and we’ll talk down below!

Xoxo

Julie

 

Related entries: Mission First, People Always

 

Regarding Passion

If you’re with someone and you try to change who they are or what they do, I really don’t understand what kind of person you are.

Take for example gaming. I’ve seen tweets from women saying if your man is in his 20s and still plays video games, ditch him. What kind of bullshit is that?!

It’s important to be passionate about SOMETHING. Passion is hot, it’s attractive. I may not personally enjoy or take part in your hobby but please tell me about it, tell me about what interests you, what you’re passionate about, just seeing the sparkle in your eyes makes it worth my time. People so often are told not to bother people with their weird interests and I think that’s complete and utter bullshit.

I once saw an online article where people had described their ideal partner, and there was a man who said his ideal girlfriend had an interest outside of sitting at home watching TV. He didn’t care what it was, he didn’t care if she’d drag him to museum after museum full of what he called “useless crap”, all that mattered was that she was passionate about something.¬† And I loved reading those words.

I myself am sometimes a very passive person. I can have days where I don’t get out of bed and I watch every video ever posted by one specific YouTuber, or binge a whole season or two of a TV show. And I enjoy it, but it also makes me incredibly bored sometimes. A lot of times. And I feel so… blah. Recently, I’ve been getting notifications from Instagram while scrolling that I am “all caught up on the last 3 days”. How ridiculous is that? I follow 615 profiles on Instagram, and a few hashtags, and I’ve seen everything that has been posted for multiple days in a row! I need to get back into my hobbies, the things I am passionate about.

But what exactly are these things? I do love going to museums and seeing all kinds of weird stuff, and aquariums and zoos and gardens. But often they cost money to get into, and it costs money to get there, and it has to be planned. So what are some free things I can do that I feel passionate about?

It’s been approximately 18-19 months since I started bullet journaling (my first blog post about that is here). I’m now about 1/4 into my second bullet journal, but I’m not enjoying it as much. I stuck with the same notebook brand but a different design, and the paper is completely different; I get ghosting with some pens, but what’s worse is everything that isn’t a ballpoint pen bleeds. I reached out to the company and they kindly sent me a new one, but I didn’t want to waste a whole big beautiful book, so I stuck with it, and the other one is not available to me at the moment. I switched to only using ballpoint pens for a while, which was fine, but I lost inspiration and didn’t want to keep working on my bullet journal much. Over the past two months, September and October, I’ve been part-taking in a weekly theme challenge by someone I know from the Norwegian bullet journal community, where there’s an umbrella-theme for the month and smaller weekly themes within the bigger one for each week. It’s made me want to work on my journal more, and I even went back into using my brush pens for colour a little – at first it was fine, but then the bleeding started up again. For this last week of October, I actually decided to draw on separate paper and glue it into the book to cover the bleeding from the previous week and avoid more bleeding back onto those pages. It’s a bit disheartening… But I have ideas for things I want to do for November and hopefully they won’t be completely disastrous, and will motivate me to keep going!

Another passion of mine is photography. I always used to love getting disposable cameras for the summer when I was a child, and got my own digital camera as a teenager. I took a photography class in school and learned a little more about composition and some simple editing. Then I went on to do a “folk high school” year in Norway, focusing on travel and photography, and I learned lots. I have a lot of equipment and different programs, although they’re on an ancient computer I can really only use to edit pictures and play Mario Kart…

I kind of put photography aside for a while when I was in uni. There were some days that I went out, and I took some pictures with friends using my camera and tripod and knowledge, but not much. I keep repeating that I want to get back into it, but I feel weird walking around with my camera in small towns like the one I’m from. There was one day last summer however, that I decided not to care and took my camera and some music for a walk. I sat for probably 20-30 minutes on the ground taking pictures of a field in the sunset, and I found a lot of trees, attempted some silhouette shots and such, and I really enjoyed both the process of taking these pictures and the editing afterwards.¬† Maybe I’ll upload a few in another entry soon.

Yesterday, I watched a YouTuberI subscribe to who had done an “ugly location challenge” photoshoot, and it made me really want to try taking pictures of people again. I wish I had friends that (1) lived where I do, and (2) WANTED to be photographed, so that I could ask them to do a photoshoot and get good pictures and not awkward “if I must”-poses (this is NOT a comment towards any of my current friends, if anyone is reading this!), so that I could start building a portfolio. Naturally, friends that volunteer for this will get the pictures from me, as long as they let me use their pictures in my portfolio. Then, a dream of mine would be to be able to post ads and get photography work I’d get paid to do. The more I think about it, the more I want this kind of job. I never studied photography professionally, I don’t have a degree to show for my skills, but if I could build a portfolio I could let my work speak for itself. God, how I want this now…

What are YOU passionate about? Leave a comment and we’ll talk below!

Xoxo

Julie

It’s Okay Not to be Okay

Two years ago today, I woke up at 6am on a Monday, because I had to take a ferry at 7.30 to go from my hometown to the city, and when I got to the city I went straight up to uni, so I didn’t get home to my apartment until the evening. I remember the skirt, boots, and cardigan I was wearing. I remember talking to my friends in uni. I remember music I listened to while travelling. I remember that I forgot to wish my parents a happy 19th wedding anniversary in the morning and had to message them in the afternoon, and felt bad about that. And then I went to sleep.

Fast forward 9 hours, and my mom called me a little before 8am, something she’s never done, so I knew it had to be bad news. She told me my dad had taken the last ferry last night and driven all night, and just arrived at my grandparents’ place, where he and grandpa was gonna have some food and then go to the hospital. My uncle had called the night before, saying “you have to get down here right now. She’s been asking for you today”. I got up and lit a candle. I didn’t go into uni, I didn’t have any lectures, I tried to work from home. Around 4pm, my phone started to ring. I knew it had to be my mom. It wasn’t. My roommate had had a hair appointment and been told the salon had a customers’ night that evening, and asked if I wanted to come with her. I said yes. Less than 15 minutes went by, then my mom called. She told me my grandma had passed away. Dad and my uncle had been there with her. She told me she had to go check on my brother but I could come home again if I wanted to.

I went to customers’ night at the salon. I remember the trousers and jumper and boots and necklace I was wearing. I called one of my friends on my way to meet my roommate. I talked to my roommate, who said to just let her know and we could leave if I wanted to. Another friend of mine returned my call while we were there. We stayed for the duration of the event, and then went home. I didn’t sleep till 2am. I posted about my grandma on Facebook, after seeing my dad and uncle do the same thing. I woke up again at 6. I got a bag and threw in some clothes and things. I was at a shopping centre in town by the time they opened at 9am. I bought a dress. I was by the ferries before 10, and called my mom to say I was on my way home. She came to pick me up in my brother’s car. I wore nothing but sweatpants and hoodies for several days. Mom and I watched a lot of daytime television; renovation shows, gardening shows, the shows where people want to buy a house and then they do it.

My grandma was the first person I’ve lost. I lost a great-grandpa when I was 1 or 2, and a great-grandma when I was 9, but I don’t remember the first and I didn’t have a close relationship with the second. Then I lost my grandma two years ago tomorrow. 9 months later, my grandpa died, too. And three months after that, a year after my grandma passed away, I lost my last remaining great-grandfather, the only one I’ve ever known. I’m okay for the most part, and I can say without problems that I needed an extension to finish my master’s thesis because I lost three family members in 12 months, and that that’s also why that grade is so different from my average. People look at me with expressions of complete and utter shock when I tell them this though. But for me it’s just something that happened to me.

A year ago, I was busy finishing my master’s thesis before the deadline in November. I don’t remember much how I felt a year ago. This year is different because I don’t have anything like that to keep me busy, and I think that’s why I’m feeling it differently this year, almost like I feel it more. The last couple of days, my emotions have been all over the place. But that’s okay. It’s okay to miss people, and it’s okay not to be okay. You just have to let the feelings come, and go, and you’ll return to being okay again, until the next time. That’s just how it is, and that’s okay. Perfectly normal, in fact.

Xoxo

Julie

 

Older posts about this: Circle of¬†Life¬†&¬†Hallelujah – You’re Home.

Content Moments

I have been reading a book about mindfulness lately. I’ve not yet finished it, and I’m only just now reaching the part about how to practice mindfulness in everyday life, but over the past week I’ve been, perhaps subconsciously, focusing on enjoying the moments and trying to make the best out of whatever is happening at the time.

Something really good happened to me at work today. One of my colleagues came back from his break, and as there were no people who had showed up wanting a tour at that time, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk, to which I agreed. We walked out of the café/shop of the museum, through the courtyard, out the front gate, and followed the path that leads up to the building all the way down to the road. Then we walked back up the path to the gate, and turned left and followed the path to the parking lot on the other side of the building, and back down again. We did this twice, then we walked onto the grass and through the garden of trees, admired our workplace from the garden with the trees framing it, and continued walking for a bit. We met some tourists, who said it was like watching a painting moving towards them, as we were both wearing our historic costumes. We spoke to them for a while, and when we saw other tourists approaching the front gate of the castle we began making our way back through the garden and into the building again.

We talked about many different things while walking, past, present, and future, which I won’t bore you with repeating here. What I really wanted to convey, is this amazingly content feeling I had while walking, or perhaps I should use the word strolling, through the grounds of our workplace. I almost felt like we were a part of some 1800s film scene, where two people in beautiful costumes are walking and having some sort of deep, important conversation. Two people who are comfortable being on this stroll together, comfortable talking to each other about the topic of conversation. I felt so incredibly at peace, and in that moment, nothing was wrong in the world, in my world, everything was calm and peaceful and¬† good.

I’ve had another similar experience with the same colleague this summer, actually. At that time, it was the start of the day, it was sunny and warm but not yet too warm, and we were sat outside on the curb by the stairs going from the lower to the upper courtyard at work. We were talking about life and the future, which has been uncertain or unpredictable for both of us, and in that moment, I felt like nothing else mattered, despite the anxiety I’d had the previous night, despite all the feelings that had been raging through me for days. In that moment, everything was perfect, and the feeling lingered and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt such serenity.

Last night I was sat wondering, how do people make friends in the real world? I only ever make friends on the internet, except for my two friends from university that pretty much decided to be my friend and that’s how we are where we are, two of us being godmothers to the third’s child, still friends despite studying separate things and living in separate places. I do know work plays an important role in making friends, and a lot of people know each other through work. I repeated this to my colleague today, whose fianc√©e I happen to know from working in the same place earlier, which lead to us playing Pokemon GO together outside of work and meeting up in uni sometimes as well – although I actually even knew OF her even before that, as we’re from small towns close to each other and have gone to school together. My colleague told me that just for the record, I am able to make friends outside of the Internet too; he likes me, and if I’d been staying in the city he’d hang out with me and play Pokemon GO with us now that he’s started playing again too. So maybe I don’t completely suck at making friends after all…

Xoxo

Julie

Times change

Earlier this summer I was talking to someone on snapchat (digression: I actually use it to have conversations with friends much in the same way as on messenger, just with pictures – not to send nudes that disappear in a few seconds like some people do and think is the purpose of the app), and I’d had my hair up for work which I do on most days. I work as a tour guide and in the caf√© we run on site, two of the shifts have half a day of caf√©, half touring, while the third shift does tours all day, and in the caf√© we can’t have our hair down when we have long hair. So I’d had my hair up for work and left it up all evening, only undid it when I was getting ready for bed. And the person I was talking to said my hair looks really good down (not that it didn’t look good up, but that it looked even better down). I guess it must have been stuck in my head over the last several weeks, because I’ve started to wear my hair down more and more when I’m at home, undoing it when I get home from work, and even leaving it undone at work when I’m a guide and just doing a fast and easy ponytail when I’m on caf√© duty.

I had long hair as a child. Long, fine, and incredibly silky. I used to beg my mom for French braids and she’d give in once in a while but most of the time there was no point, it was so difficult because my hair was too slippery and wouldn’t do anything. As I grew older, up towards my teenage years, I wore ponytails all the time and never had my hair down. In my early teens, when my hair was at its longest, I always had it down and I always carried hair ties on my wrist. My grandma always asked “can’t you tie up that long hair of yours?” when we were about to eat. Then, when I was 17, I chopped it all off. I had short bob styles until I was 22, when I decided I wanted to grow it out, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 4 years, telling my hair dressers to take off as much as necessary, but as little as possible, ie only what was absolutely necessary to keep it healthy and to keep split ends from spreading up.

As a student, I’ve worn my hair up a lot, and it’s been getting easier and easier the longer my hair has gotten, and with all the studies I’ve done it’s been convenient to have it out of my face, and I also used to go to the gym a lot, so I barely ever had my hair down, only when I was invited to an event and such, sometimes at work in the museum shop. I can do buns, different kinds of braids, headband styles… All kinds of stuff. And I’ve loved doing my hair! I feel classy, elegant, and I can look fun and girly and childish or adult and professional, the opportunities are endless! But over the last few weeks, I’ve found myself gravitating towards having my hair down again. It’s been a long time. But I’m loving this look now, too!

Xoxo

Julie

Summer Freedom

There’s just two weeks left of my summer job and I’m only just now starting to feel like the time I’m not at work is MY time to do whatever I want. I’ve not had uni to deal with since my last exam on June 5th, why has it taken me so long to feel free? My summer job lasts 8 weeks, meaning it’s taken me 6 weeks to get to this point. This really baffles me. What have I been doing for so long? I honestly have no idea.

I think the feelings of freedom started when my parents went away on holiday. The first time I really felt free this summer was a day where I was on nobody’s time but my own. My parents had gone away for the day and were eating dinner out, my brother had plans to go on a hiking trip, and the weather was lovely so instead of going home after work I went on a forest walk by myself, just listening to happy music and playing Pok√©mon GO and enjoying life, because no one was waiting for me with food or anything like that. It was a lovely feeling.

Whenever I’ve been home for a weekend or even longer, during the past 6 years of living in the city and going to university, I’ve spent a lot of time with my parents. I’ve sat in the living room watching whatever they’re watching on TV, I’ve hung out with them, going for walks, going with them to shops etc. I’ve spent very little time to myself, next to no time in my room except for to sleep. The reason for this, is that I’ve sometimes not known when would be the next time I’d get to come home – it might be weeks or months until the next time, and therefore I’ve felt that I need to spend all the time with them.

Now that they’ve been on holiday, I’ve been entirely on my own. Taking care of the house, cooking for myself, spending time doing whatever I’ve wanted to do. I’ve had a couple of days where I’ve only read, I’ve had a few days where I’ve needed to do a lot of chores but it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve spent two mornings and an evening editing pictures for a friend, watched a movie, played a lot of Mario Kart on my laptop… I’ve taken back my time, even though no one has demanded that I do anything else anyway, it’s been liberating.

I’m moving, in 16 days from today. I’ll need to start packing soon, to prepare for the move as I’ve no idea when I’ll be back to pick up more stuff, and I can only bring a suitcase and my carry-on. But even so, I don’t feel the pressure that I’ve felt before, that I need to spend as much of my waking time with my family as possible. Because it’s not necessary to be around someone 100% of the time or to talk to them all the time to know and show that you love them, care about them, like them… It’s perfectly fine to take time to yourself, be by yourself, do things for yourself. Because YOU are the only one who has to be around you 100% of the time, and it’s important to do things that make YOU happy, that make YOU able to live with the person you are.

xoxo

Julie