Not here for the trap music or too much of the upperclass flaunting, but this had me feeling some type of way. They always do.
Sun, Gemini, 13°58'
On this day my vessel has been thrown around the solar system 26 times. I’ve celebrated by eating cake for lunch and getting flowers from my favourite boys (my partner and my dad – du'h). Worked for six hours in an office without ventilation and took a stroll in the sun. Crushed my heavy squats workout and ate half a huge take-out pizza. And my present to myself was Megan Crabbe's book on body positivity.
I think it neatly reflects my life; the balance between responsibility and fun, the softness and the hardness of it. Because, as I turn 26 my life is extremely good. And I tend to forget about it in the midst of my internal highs and lows.
Moon, Cancer, 26°55'
I’m still very much in love, with my best friend, partner and soulmate. It’s the most casual and most profound thing in my life all at once. I commit to strength and taking care of my body by lifting and doing yoga ever so often. The barbell has become a source of meditation and growth. I don't have as many friends as I used to, and I've traded my love for pubs with a love for a stable mental health and economy. My social weekends usually consist of D&D sessions and candy, and though my past self would cringe at the thought of it, I really enjoy it. I'm still at a place in my career where I don't know what I'm doing, if I'm good at what I'm doing or if I'll ever be. But gosh darn it, I love programming. And working life (at a tech company) isn't half bad either.
I feel safe. Safe in my body, safe in my relationships, safe at home, safe in the world.
Ascendant, Leo, 22°56'
I've learned to learn a lot this year, which is new to me. I've become shyer in larger groups of people and less shy in my relationships. Even more outspoken and probably quite a pain in the ass most of the time. I've stopped jumping headfirst into discussions, trying to counteract and confront every sexist or homophobic remark – I don't have the energy to feel like it's my job anymore. I listen a lot, which I .. haven't really done before. I've gotten a real ugly, authentic laugh. I'm probably way less likeable now than what I used to be.
But I like whatever it is that I have going on. And even though I'm not the biggest fan of birthdays, I figured I owed myself to write me a little note:
Babe, you're doing alright.
Monthly summaries remind me of the blogs we had in our mid-teens when we used it as a substitute for a lack of ideas and content. Maybe that's what I'm doing now as well, but I'm telling myself that I like the transparency. Goals are personal and vulnerable, and give an insight in what I reflect on and feel the need to change/improve, unlike the otherwise filtered (one way or another) content I provide on social media platforms.
In May I wanted to
Create two node.js apps
I .. don't feel my best coding wise these days. I feel like I've forgotten things I once knew, even the very basics, and I find myself stagnating way more than I'm comfortable with. There are still so many plugins and libraries and scenarios I haven't touched yet, that change the conditions of what I already know. Experience, we call that. And what do you do when you lack experience? You do things to gain it.
Read two books
After I bought myself a Kindle in April I've found reading to be a whole lot easier, and I love how accessible new books are and how easy it is to take with me everywhere. So this one, I managed!
- "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman, his first novel, and .. I liked it. Not as much as the other books I've read by him, but he's still in a league of his own. Such a brilliant man.
- "Flux" by Orion Carloto, an addition to my "getting back into reading poetry" projects. I love the indie vibe I get from the urban poets of my generations: refreshing and bold, liberating and vulnerable.
- "Learn Node in One day" by Krishna Rungta. This was a bit meh, even though I liked what it tried to do. I feel like he mixed a very practical approach to getting started and a very theoretical one, which isn't inherently bad, it just didn't work for me. I like reading about how the technology works, and then use it to make things afterwards.
- "The Call of the Cthulhu" by H. P. Lovecraft. My first Lovecraft book! I loved it, was freaked out by it, and it blended perfectly with my insomnia. So there's that.
Have a social media break for a week
I thought this would be difficult, but it felt like a relief. And now I've permanently deactivated my Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, and unfollowed everyone on Instagram. IG is the only platform I feel like I still enjoy, and the only one I ended up coming back to, but I could feel how it affected me when I logged in again. I've thought that my feed was diverse, positive and loving, but, hah, it makes me feel like shit for reasons I don't manage to identify. I need to refactor and rebuild how and why I use it, who to follow and what I need from it. And for that, I need space. 🌔
Do yoga or meditation every day / explore some cool pranayama techniques
My yoga has primarily focused on the Asana – it has been a merely physical thing, as for most Western people, combining self-care, stretching and movement of the body. Which is great, but I felt the need to switch my focus to the fourth limb of yoga: Pranayama, the breath. Using different breathing techniques have deepened my meditation and yoga practice a lot. A lot. And it feels fucking amazing.
Not pick my skin
This one's personal, my friends. It's one of the only aspects of my life that I feel that I can't control, and I try regularly to change that, without really succeeding. I have this wonderful thing called dermatillomania, or compulsive skin picking (CSP), which is classified as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) by some, and body-focused repetitive behaviour (BFRB) by others. This makes skin picking a coping mechanism for me when I have anxiety, or when I'm stressed, uncomfortable or depressed.
I didn't succeed with this goal at all this month. I've been stressed, had quite a lot of anxiety, and a lot of things happening this month. And it sucks. I'll probably write about it when I feel better, because it's a part of my mental health that I feel ashamed of, and .. I'm not having that.
Draw once every week
I want to be good at drawing // I don't want to practice so I get better.
Once a week is not a lot, but it's more than nothing. I kind of did this, though very half-assed. I need to learn to carve out time in my daily life to consciously make mistakes, even if only on paper.
I went to Lviv at the end of March and haven't really looked at the pictures I took or reflected on the experience until now. I haven't been around Eastern Europe too much, and it's still an area that fascinates me with its history, architecture, and strangeness. It feels like home (Northern Europe), but at the same time, it's nothing like home.
Lviv was wrapped in soft colours and thick winter clouds, ice cold and more difficult to navigate than expected. Everywhere I turned there was a church from a different time period, empire, and Christian denomination. It's a city that has been occupied and annexed by Poland, Austria-Hungary, Hungary and the Soviet Union (and apparently the Swedes had an unsuccessful attempt at conquering it around 1655, silly Swedes).
It was .. beautiful. It really was. Old town looked like Rome's colder, less vibrant little brother. The "khrushchyovka"s surrounding the city center gave my dramatic body an eerie vibe. There's something about the look of the numerous, identical, grey buildings that I find very fascinating. The sweets were sweeter than here, and bacon is apparently considered vegetarian, which I learned the hard way. I ate a lot of chocolate and drank a lot of beers, pointing at menus and pictures to communicate.
I'm looking forward to going back this summer, and to hopefully learn more about the culture and history, get more used to the Ukrainians' lack of body language and social warmth (before you get to know them, that is, all Ukrainians I've met are rad), and to see the city in actual sunlight. I think we'll be great friends one day.
Spring comes in waves: waves of moods, waves of weather. My energy is shifting – back and forth, back and forth – from the statics of winter to something flux, fluid, dynamic. Gratitude and contentment spill out of me one minute, panic attacks and negativity the next. I try to let it all come and go. It's still all good.
I'm looking forward to the first T-shirt days and to be able to wear my chitenge. My best friend is getting married in three weeks and I get so emotional from all the love. April also brings this year's first trip to my favourite place in this country (s/o to Hardangervidda), and I'm back on a new strength program that looks bomb af.
"It's all good": my mantra to remind myself that even though things are uncomfortable, dull or sulky, I'm still better than what I've been in years. My depression is still lifted and I need to stay aware of the room that gives me. Keepin' the perspective. Keepin' the empathy.