Us + Them.

Last day of my holiday: I watched my childhood hero's childhood hero, aka Roger Waters with my dad. It was an experience full of Palestine flags and calling out neo-nazis and 50+ years old white men crying. I hope the collision of love for the music and anger for the injustice that was shown sparked something in them all. It sparked a lot in me. 

And Christ, I cried too.
Thank you to my dad, for showing me this love and anger
that day and all my life.

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July.

July was: a month of travel and love and everything refreshing. July was not: a month of work and productivity. I haven't trained, I haven't kept up with my ~*~goalz~*~ (as I've said earlier, having goals really helps me moving when I'm in a rut, so I don't know why I'm sassing the concept here), and the mere thought of coding has made me gag. But July was good nonetheless. 

Quick note before my wall of text: I've started learning Spanish! With an actual course and an actual teacher, so I'm making actual progress. I'm quite stoked about it and it's really all I want to talk about. That and aliens. Great.

Movement

Even though my powerlifting is on a break now I've started walking way more than I've done in a while. My goal this month was one walk (min. 40 minutes) a week, and one interval running session a week whenever I'm home. Most of my walks end up being very long phone calls with my Papi RINS, but I've been on one mountain hike and it felt good to be back on that track. Another goal was to do three yoga sessions a week when I'm home, and that just didn't happen. I've started incorporating stretching into my workout routine, though. That's fun.

Books

I've read a lot this month! I started listening to "The Strain" by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan as an audiobook, but to be honest, it was fucking scary and I don't deal well with scary stuff. My plan is to continue to listen to it when I'm back home and safe with my partner, but until then I'll .. just leave it.

But I've finished:

  1. "What a time to be alone" by Chidera Eggerue aka @theslumflower. I loved this book. It was short and sweet and full of healthy reminders. I recommend buying the physical version though, as the Kindle edition removes basically all of the aesthetics and visual art of this book, which ruins the overall experience.
  2. "Body positive power" by Megan Crabbe aka @bodyposipanda. I don't exaggerate when I say that this is maybe one of the most important books I've ever read (for me personally). It taught me so much about the diet industry, what dieting does to your body, and some harsh realities about life. As someone who has struggled with an ED and body confidence all my life it felt like this book lifted my recovery to the next level. The level where I understand that I'll never look like certain people and that's okay, and I can move on with my life and focus my energy elsewhere. And eat whatever I want. It's marvellous.
  3. "The subtle art of not giving a f**k" by Mark Manson. Didn't think I was going to like this book – liked this book. This also taught me a lot and gave me some good tools to restructure my thinking and .. chill. 
  4. "The road less travelled" by Scott M. Peck. I honestly didn't even finish this properly, that's how much I didn't like it. I'm sure this was brilliant when it first came out, but I've read so many books (both new and old) about the same concepts that are way better. I don't necessarily disagree with his message either, I just hated his writing, "white middle-aged man" rhetoric, and the way he looked at mental health and diagnosis (which he mentions in every other sentence) is very out dated and total trash.

Programming

As I've already mentioned, I'm in the middle of a programming burnout and I can't think of a thing I'd rather not do. So I've spent this month trying to do other stuff, figuring out why I'm so sick of it and change what I need to change. I believe I'm tired after a stressful spring and early summer at work, where I encountered a lot of problems I couldn't fix on my own. That on top of a stressful work environment was really discouraging. Hopefully, I'll manage to get my self-esteem and motivation back by doing smaller projects and play it safe with things I'm good at for a while.

Life

I wanted to focus more on cognitive therapy this summer. I'm working my way through the Why I'm Not Happy List to fix as much as I can, my thought process included. Combined with some inspiring reading, a good holiday, and getting rid of people that really didn't do anything good for me, I do feel less shit now. I've been .. happy this month. Happy and content, in a way I don't think I've been in years. I've done a lot of good ol' soul searching, got some new perspective, and managed to untangle things that have been messy for a while. My mood swings are less persistent, I feel more grounded, and my thoughts are calmer and less dramatic. And tbh, that's all I've wanted for a while.

Eclipse.

I think it must have been exactly 27 degrees because the wind felt like nothing moving the hair over my face. Sometimes the only thing that helps in to think of all the things – the trees and the birds and the impalas and the squirrels and the rivers – that will go on without me. How limited my impact is; how insignificant my life is. It gives me a notion of relief. And hope. : It's not that big of a deal after all.

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Summer shenanigans.

I'm lucky enough to have multiple places that feel like home, and as I am in a low budget mode this summer I've brought on the tradition of a slow, homecoming holiday. I've spent my days in Oslo (my hometown) meeting old friends, catching up with my cat, drinking gin, eating fast food, and being extremely warm. The city feels like an old acquaintance – one I didn't get along with when I was younger, but for every time I come back we've grown a little more mutual, patient, and accepting of each other.

 Comrades ordering bougie gin, as comrades do in 2018.

Comrades ordering bougie gin, as comrades do in 2018.

Fun fact: I've been traveling to Molde for the jazz festival since I was 16/17, as I didn't have any friends in real life when I was a teenager and many of my Internet friends lived in the area. It's also my partner's hometown, and as his family feels like my own I tag along every time he goes home. The festival is Molde's chance to pretend it's a big city, with people in the streets, concerts and sky high alcohol prizes. Not the most impressive act the world has seen, but (more fun facts!) one year it actually managed to convince two Brits to move here as they thought the town's always like that. What a lovely disappointment that must have been.

 Sister-in-law #1 and #2, aka Lillefin and Storefin.

Sister-in-law #1 and #2, aka Lillefin and Storefin.

Why I'm not happy (a list).

I'm back in a creative rut and I don't know how to get out of it (as per usual). I watched this video by Sam Ravndahl (which I highly recommend) where she talks about her biggest flaw, and it was .. kind of like looking into a mirror and see the reflection talk. Which would be terrifying, but not when it's Sam. So I got inspired to write about this subject because it started a thought process I think I need/is necessary. This post will also hold a new record for the number of times the word "I" will be written. Sorry about that.

This is my very uplifting list about why I'm not happy:

  1. I don't feel like I'm doing enough with my life. I don't feel like I'm doing enough with my time. I don't understand why I'm so tired and unmotivated (note: it's my depression and I know that). I don't understand why I'm depressed. I feel like I'm always waiting for something.
  2. I'm lonely. I've lost most of my network in Bergen in a stunningly short amount of time. I'm not politically active anymore, I'm not volunteering anymore, my childhood friends have left the city, my uni friends have left the city, and most of my (once, let's be real) close friends have left the city.
  3. .. And I've been hanging around some not-so-cool people for a while, and it has left me feeling drained and sad and not wanting to see anyone. I've convinced myself that I'm an introvert and happier alone. Which is bullshit. I'm the most intensely extroverted person you'll probably ever meet. So now that I've realised that I've also realised point two. And it sucks.
  4. I'm horrible at giving myself credit for the things I do. Big goals I've accomplished, small goals I've accomplished, daily routines, workouts, taking care of myself. Every time I reach a goal the bar has been raised and I just .. don't feel any satisfaction from accomplishing it. None of the things I've done the past years (graduating, getting a good job, getting a better job, finding a beautiful apartment) felt fulfilling. It doesn't feel good, it feels like the bare minimum. My standard for myself is extremely high because I know I can do extremely good, and I feel like lowering it is me being a whiny bitch and not taking responsibility for my own life.
  5. My motivation shifts so often I don't know how to keep up with it without spreading myself too thin. One day I want to do AI and set up an extremely detailed plan on how to accomplish that. The next day I want to do 200kg deadlift and shift all my focus on how to accomplish that. The week after I'm pissed at myself for not keeping up with the plan I made last month on how to be good at drawing. And these are things I genuinely want to do and learn and fill my life with; things that come back around again and again, so I feel like I really should give them my time and dedication.
  6. I've become less creative, expressive and passionate than I used to be, without it being a change I actually wanted to happen. I used to be really insecure about internal shit: my feelings and morals and values, which I'm not anymore. But now I'm insecure about external things: my place in society, how I present myself, how I contribute, if I'm being too loud or ~over-sharing~ (I hate that term), which didn't worry me earlier at all. I miss my sass and walking barefoot and talking to strangers, at the same time those things aren't necessarily what comes naturally to me or what I want now.

I don't have a punchline to this or a solution. At a glance, it looks like a huge shitpile of cases where I just need to train my thoughts and recognise the negative stuff I'm telling myself. But I still don't feel it. I don't really feel like it's always that negative either. As I said about lowering the bar, I honestly don't think it will do me any good or make me feel better in the long term. One of the things that Sam mentioned in her video that really hit home was that she feels like she's being realistic – about what she wants to do and how and how fast. Maybe it's being too hard on yourself, but every alternative just feels like taking a poor and easy way out.

So that's my contribution to the "my biggest flaw" challenge (it's not a challenge). And I .. hope being aware of it is a good start for doing something about it. And thank you to Sam for opening up and starting this train of thought. Conversations about The Difficult Stuff is important.