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 fiancée 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

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You can laugh, but I don’t care.

People think I don’t know when they’re making fun of me. But I know. I just no longer care.

I know I’m a bit weird. Quirky. Odd. Strange. I don’t always pick up on irony and sarcasm, I too often take things too seriously and believe stuff that’s not true. I’m book smart, theoretical, and don’t always understand right away how some of the things that are obvious to a lot of people work. With a lot of things, I’m a bit slow, and I need things spelled out to me.

But I know when I’m being made fun of, laughed at behind my back… I know it. I’m aware that it happens.

But here’s the thing. The thing is, I don’t care about it. If people have nothing better to do than make fun of me, then I feel sorry for them. If that’s what they want to spend their time on, then that’s their time being wasted, their life. I’m not gonna waste my time caring about it, because I lose so much precious time that way. Life may be long, but it might be short. We never know how much time we’re gonna get and I don’t want to waste mine. I want to focus on doing things that are good for me, that bring joy to my soul. I don’t want to care about people who have negative opinions about me.

And I want to share a poem with you. It’s one of my favourite pieces of writing, I’ve copied it down so many times, and I might have shared it on my blog before, but I wanted to share it again:

I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, Kiss me harder, and You’re a good person, and, You brighten my day. I live my life as straight-forward as possible.

Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.

Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.

But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.

And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.

We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.

We never know when the bus is coming.”

—Rachel C. Lewis, Tell The People You Love That You Love Them

Xoxo

Julie

Globally Friends

I have a feeling I’ve written about this before, but it’s a topic that can’t really get old so I want to write about it again. The topic is internet friends.

A lot of people receive so much bullshit for having internet friends.

“You can’t know they are who they say they are.”

“You have to be careful, they could be a predator.”

“But they’re not your real friends, you’ve never actually met them.”

Sound familiar? For me, I heard the first two in school and the last one from friends and family. And there is some truth to it of course, back when I was 15-16 and we talked in chat rooms and on MySpace etc, hiding who you are was really easy. But technology has changed, life as we knew it back then has changed. I’ve met a lot of my friends on the internet. Some of my best friends, and my boyfriend, I knew on Twitter first. But we moved from Twitter to other platforms like Snapchat, following each other on Instagram, messaging and calling using Messenger and WhatsApp… We actually talk and use video and send pictures on a daily basis, some of us. The development of the technology we have today has made it so easy to spot fake people.

One of my closest friends is someone I met on Twitter several years ago, we’ve still not been able to meet in person, but hopefully that will happen sometime soon. This friend is someone who has never judged me, who’s helped me through some of my hardest times with heartaches and panic attacks and depression, who’s talked me out of doing stupid shit and made me see things clearly when I’ve not been able to, who’s even been able to explain my feelings and the reason behind them when I’ve been majorly confused. Someone I can talk to about things I couldn’t bring up with my “real life” friends, because this friend understands me in ways others don’t.

I read somewhere that people originate from stars and we’re always trying to find the remaining bits and pieces of the star we originally were, someone said this was the reason why we have soul mates, they’re people originating from the same star as we do. I like to think that this might be true, and that the dust from the multiple stars have mingled together and that’s why we feel different kind of attraction to multiple people, that we’re connected in some sort of way. It’s a force we can’t really deny, it’s just the universe pulling us together like gravity. Some of us belong together. Friendly. Affectionately. Romantically. Sexually. Platonically. In person. Online.

The other day I wanted to throw myself off a cliff, surely that would be less painful than some of the emotions I was feeling at the time. Then I talked to one of those scary people on the internet, the ones I’ve been warned to be careful with, and my friend was able to put words to a lot of the things I couldn’t explain, and understood without me having to go into too much detail. My friend reassured me that there’s nothing unnatural about the feelings I was having, that it’s all just human. My friend, a person I’ve never met in real life, could be there for me in a way no one else that I know could at the time, and I could talk to this friend about things I didn’t feel I was able to talk to anyone else about. This friend wasn’t judging me or telling me I was a bad person, or get weird about anything, this person was just there for me, supported me, talked to me, and made me feel better. At the end of the night I was sat singing A Day To Remember songs at the top of my lungs, and my friend from the internet did that.

See what I did there? My friend from the internet. Just as natural as saying my friend from school, or my friend from home, or my friend from London, New York, Chicago, whatever. My friend from the internet.

They’re people, just like us. If I can be on the internet, so can they, and if they can be the “scary stranger” so can I. There’s really nothing different about it at all. There are 7.6 billion people in the world. Am I supposed to only now people that live where I live?

I want to conclude with an image of a post I came across on Tumblr the other day, when I was browsing my archive from the early days:

online friends

xoxo

Julie

Just Not My Night

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen! Or, it’s 2am here, I don’t know how you greet people at 2am… Anyway, story time! 

Today was supposed to be a good day. I watched some TV, called my boyfriend, ordered plane and train tickets to visit him, and then I was supposed to visit a friend who turned in her Master’s thesis today. 

On my way out of the door, however, my beloved Hedwig key chain from the Platform 9 3/4 shop at Kings Cross Station in London, broke. 

And now I can’t get my key back on it at all. I’m considering putting it all in a ziplock bag and taking it with me when I go there at the end of the month, since I only bought it a few months ago, and ask if it would be possible to exchange it for a new one, since I’ve not been abusing it and it just snapped, which it shouldn’t, considering their stuff is quite pricey. Can’t hurt to ask anyway, worst they can do is say no… 

All was well at my friend’s house, we made cupcakes and had a lovely time. She gave me a present for helping her proofreading: a bottle of Riesling white wine with butterflies on the bottle, and three books she knows I’ve been wanting for over a year: The Selection, The Elite, and The One. I’ve read them on my Kindle, but I really enjoyed them and they’re so pretty. I really didn’t expect it – I would’ve been happy with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. But I’m beyond happy with my present! As I was packing my stuff to leave, she asked if I wanted a plastic bag, but I said I was alright because I had my handbag. In hindsight, I should’ve accepted the bag. 

I’d only walked a few houses down her street, when the shoulder strap on my handbag snapped. The bag hit the ground, and the wine bottle smashed, all over the stuff I had in it. Since it was nearly 1am and not a soul was in sight, I left my stuff and ran back to my friend’s house, knocking frantically on her door. I briefly explained what had happened and she gave me a plastic bag. I ran back. My handbag was full of wine and broken glass, but I managed to get all of my stuff out and into the plastic bag. I carried the handbag all the way home, stopped under a street lamp to make sure I’d got all my stuff out, and then threw it in the trash. 

The books my friend gave me were mostly intact – just a little bit of damage to the edges, mostly due to the other wet stuff in the plastic bag, as they had been wrapped in the wrapping paper when the bottle smashed. Everything else, however, was soaked. My wallet, the little bag I keep my most essential essential oils in, a pack of ibuprofen, sunglasses, powerbank (portable charger), and the bullet journal I’ve only been using for a month. My oils were fine, it’s been proven before that it’s apparently not easy to smash Young Living bottles! My compact powder looked completely untouched, I threw out the powder puff thingy though – it was cheap and from H&M so no huge loss there. Everything else has been rinsed out, and I didn’t have any cash, only cards. It remains to be seen if they will work tomorrow. My powerbank will probably need to be thrown out as I’ll need to get a new one, but I’ll consult my brother tomorrow. I once had an iPod that survived a washing machine and worked for years after, so we’ll see. 

Worst off, then, was my bullet journal, especially this week’s spread and next week’s, that I only made earlier today. 

The following two pages don’t look so great either, so I guess I’ll just skip those, or write this story on them, or something. 

The strap of my handbag was already one being shared by two different bags, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that it broke. But I guess it was about time to get a new one now, then, anyway. It sucks that I’ll probably need a new powerbank, and that I lost a bottle of wine and one of the two CapriSuns I had in my purse, but my books are okay and and the rest of my bullet journal isn’t so bad – it’s mostly just the few pages around where my pen had been left inside it. My pen still works. Everything else will be fine. Depending on the wine smell, I might need to get a new wallet, but that one was old anyway. 

And I’m okay, and thats what’s important, my boyfriend said. Poor thing, I woke him up by calling him after this happened, and he didn’t sleep much last night or today. I feel bad. But I also feel grateful to have someone like him in my life, someone I want to call while walking home in the middle of the night, being upset and annoyed, carrying a handbag full of broken glass and wine. Someone who answers when I call because they know I’m calling because I need to talk to them. Sure, some crappy things happened in the last few hours, but I also spent it with and talking to wonderful people, and for that I am grateful. 

Until next time, 

~ Julie 

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

Is it really so wrong to NOT want to get to know people, or have them get to know you?

I feel like getting to know someone is all trickery.

First, you make yourself all pretty, in whichever way you prefer whether that’s with makeup or a new dress or whatever you prefer that makes you feel good and makes you feel like you good, or to attract the kind of people you wish to attract.

Then you have a conversation. “Tell me something about yourself.” You tell them normal things, cute things, funny things. Things to draw them in. Awake interest. Make them like you. Find the things you have in common. Talk about them. Talk about common interest even if you have opposing views. Opposites attract, right? Just be cute and flirty. Touch their arm. Look into their eyes for a second too long. Keep them wondering, keep them wanting.

It’s all a game.

You don’t mention your flaws. You don’t mention your bad habits of not cleaning your house often enough or only washing your hair once a week or your bad relationship with people or how you can spend the entire weekend in bed watching TV shows or how you don’t really like people or your mental health. Nothing that can be percieved as boring or gross or a burden. You don’t mention that. Not yet. You make sure they like you first. Like you enough. Then, maybe, you let them know. A little bit at a time, so they don’t run away screaming. And you hope they don’t. Because you’re not ready to start all over.

It’s exhausting, getting to know people. Is it really so hard to understand that some people prefer to just, not? Is it really so  hard to understand that some people can’t handle the pressure?

Mission First. People Always.

This is a quote I learned when I was watching the Lifetime TV show Army Wives. However, I did grow up with a father in uniform. And this is one of my all-time favorite quotes. When I told a friend about it, he didn’t get it. But then I explained.

To me it’s like, people are what matter, people are what’s important. Not all people – but like, the people that matter to you. Your friends, family, who you love… They’re the most important thing in your life. And I’ll always choose them over doing something. Not like, use them to avoid doing something I wanna do but like, if/when they need me, I’ll choose them over sleep and I’ll ditch a lecture and I’ll drop what I’d been looking forward to doing on my day off to be with them because they’re more imporant than things. Mission first. People always.

I would gladly stay up all night for someone who needed me to be there for them. I would do anything in my power to help. It’s like that song by The Fray: And I would have stayed up with you all night, had I known how to save a life. I would stay up regardless of whether I am capable of helping. I would stay up no matter what the situation was. No matter who it was – I would do that for anyone who came to me for help.

I have another friend. Actually, he’s more than just a friend. He’s special. And I can always tell when something isn’t right, even though we’ve never met. I get a feeling, and I can also see it in how he writes – that’s how well I know him. Tonight is one of these nights, when something isn’t exactly right. I got the feeling when I asked me a question. He confirmed with how he replied when I asked why he asked after answering his question.

I wish he was closer. I wish I could just get in a car and drive to be with him – I can’t drive but how hard could it be? I’d get there. I’d kick down the door if I had to (or at least break the window so I could unlock it from the inside). I’d hold him. Talk to him. Listen to him. Not say a word. Whatever he needs, that’s what I’d do. Make him feel less lonely. Show him that everything will be okay. Be there for him. Tell him that this is the part that sucks but it will get better and that I’ll be here through it all. I’ll always be here. He’s never alone.

It’s terrifying to love someone and worry about them when you’re too far away to do a damn thing about it. But I’ll stay up all night tonight if that’s what he needs. I’ll talk on whatever social media or skype or whatever he wants. I’ll do whatever he wants. I’ll be a wreck tomorrow and my parents will ask why on earth I didn’t sleep and I’ll tell them that someone needed me and I’ll tell them “Mission first – people always”.

I’ve been listening to All Time Low while writing this, and the song Missing You came on and it reminded me of him. The lyrics are perfect, so I will end this entry with them:

I heard that you’ve been self-medicating
In the quiet of your room
Your sweet suburban tomb
And if you need a friend
I’ll help you stitch up your wounds

I’ve heard that you’ve been having some trouble
Finding your place in the world
I know how much that hurts
But if you need a friend
Then please, just say the word

You’ve come this far
You’re all cleaned up
You made a mess again
There’s no more trying
It’s time to sort yourself out

Hold on tight
This ride is a wild one
Make no mistake, the day will come
When you can’t cover up what you’ve done
Now don’t lose your fight, kid
It only takes a little push to pull on through
With so much left to do
You’ll be missing out
And we’ll be missing you

Grit your teeth
Pull your hair
Paint the walls black and scream
“Fuck the world!
It’s my life and I’m gonna take it back”
And never for a second blame yourself

– Julie