Sunday, January 29, 2017

Insecurity

After a long halt, the roller coaster whirs back into action. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we apologize for the delay," sounds the voice and then disappears.

The other day, I tried to explain to someone that even the rich, the famous, the beautiful and the intelligent (and what have you) get insecure sometimes. But getting the idea of a beautiful, elegant woman worrying about her looks or of that successful, intelligent businessman thinking he isn't good enough or the successful and talented actor/musician struggling to understand why others like what they do because all they can see are their faults.. across to this person was a struggle. There I was, trying to make a rock float when all it could do was sink.

Why do we find it so hard to believe that the people we admire look up to someone, too? That they, too, struggle with their crafts and sometimes can't believe their luck? "No one's noticed that I'm not quite as good as everyone thinks I am yet!" It  is this serious case of the impostor syndrome many of us experience in our chosen fields.. We didn't spend our entire lives being told that we are amazing. We were doubted and challenged. We worked our asses off to get to where we are now but it isn't always a bed of roses. But there have always been people have told us to give up on our dreams because it's too difficult, too rough and because we're not good enough. I can't stress enough how much doubt goes into making each piece of art and then daring to let the world see. "What if they don't like it? What if they hate it? What if it's not good enough? What if I'm not good enough?" The running commentary inside the head of even the most talented is like that inside the head of any normal person ever. Hell, the talented are normal people, too, we just like to think of them as somehow more fortunate than us and then we keep reiterating that to them; They are not allowed to complain because look at all of what they have.

But how do you explain all of this? How do you tell a student who felt they had to and still have to work harder than some of the other students in their class in order to get those straight A's that the ones they perceive as having it easy might work just as hard? How do you tell the intelligent student who thinks they are stupid that actually, they're just as intelligent as everyone else and that some of these things are difficult for all of us? How do you make that student realize that the one who always seems to know the right answer is just as scared to raise his/her hand as the student themselves is? How do you explain to that person who looks into the mirror every morning and sees nothing that they like that the people they think look good probably feel that way too?

The people we admire cannot let us into their heads but if they could, I am positive we would all realize just how similar we are. We all have our own problems, our own thoughts.. It is never silent anywhere because we are all constantly thinking and, especially in a school environment (or at that club or the bar or that common meeting place or the restaurant), often worrying about our perceived inferiority. Because what if the others notice that I am not as smart/talented/beautiful/fun/witty/interesting/etc. as they thought I am... would they still like me?

Here's to trying to stop comparing ourselves to others,
Stella

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hatred v Caring

Ladies and gentlemen, we're pulling in for an emergency stop to hear a special announcement from our host..

I spent most of today trying to get in touch with all of my friends in Belgium. That was no small feat. I needed to know that they were okay. Some had already updated their social media accounts to let us know just that, others had no idea what was going on and some still haven't gotten back to me. And amidst all this I still needed to go to university, make it through a productive day and pretend I was fine. It's not just my friends I'm worried about; They were simply the ones I could do something for. I could show I cared enough to make sure they were okay and to offer support. I live thousands of kilometers away and that's the way we're used to conducting our friendships but it's days like this that I wish I could be there for them more than I'm able to. I offered to be the  ear that listens, asked about their families, their friends.. helped them not panic and to reach out and find out what was going on with those they loved. None of them were hurt but that doesn't stop me from thinking of the lives that were lost today and the ones wounded, perhaps even ruined. I'm refusing to give fear space and instead concentrating on what matters to me: helping others.

I urge you to not give fear and hatred space in your heart. Yes, people were violated today. Yes, people died. But we cannot turn back the clock and make them alive again. We cannot turn back the clock and undo the damage that has been done. Right now we can do more by caring enough to do something - be it supporting those affected by finding the evacuated places to stay overnight, comforting those who lost someone today or by simply expressing our support - than we can by hating a group of people just because someone in that group might have been a bad apple; that's like hating all of your own because one of them happened to be a murderer. It is not our job as individual people to judge others nor is it our job to catch those who orchestrated this madness; That's up to the authorities. It's not really even our job to help but we should do so regardless because we're all stronger together. After all... What good does hatred accomplish?

We shall proceed as normal on our ride; Please keep your hand and feet inside the cart at all times. 


My deepest condolences to those affected; I wish there was more I could do to help!
- Stella


The Past, the Present and the Future

What, you again? 

I recently realised that I rarely talk about the past. My past, I mean. It's always the now or tomorrow, six weeks from now, seven months from now, in five years time.. but never eight years ago. I can go back a year or two, I can even say "in Upper Secondary School" but there are times of my life (long stretches of time) that I just don't speak of. Part of me thinks it's because I don't like looking back on the hard and the unfair. I don't like thinking of times when I was hurting and felt like there was no one and no where for me in this world. Those times, though probably a part of every kid's life, were hard for me and I found myself at the bottom of the cold, dark, lonely pit with no friends to speak of. I was a somewhat lonely and very angry teenager. Not angry at anything specific, just angry. At the world, at humanity, at the cruelty of humankind and my fellow students. I had decided that I didn't need friends. In fact, I had decided that I needed no one so long as I reached my goals and got to where I wanted to be. Obviously, that was not the healthiest choice of my life nor was it the smartest. And it didn't stick.

Today I am a very different person though somewhat a sum of what I have been through. Trust does not come easily to me but my love of the written word has helped me on my way to becoming a real adult. Somewhat real, anyway! I kind of feel like a child pretending to be an adult. I pay the bills and work hard for everything I want. I have to make those tough choices on what I can and cannot afford.. But I still feel like a fraud! I find myself sitting in my apartment wondering if a real adult would be making this choice to buy this book at this very moment. And then I realise that I shouldn't be wondering such things considering that I live on my own now and it's my money to spend the way I see fit. But then I do the same whenever I don't feel like cooking or eating vegetables; Would a real, proper adult think this way? No! Adjusting to my new life situation, needless to say, is kind of difficult for me.. but I intend to flourish regardless of that. Currently, I am spending a lot of my time studying different kinds of features of the English languages from the grammatical to the linguistic as well as reading literature from different eras attempting to understand the context and the meaning of said literature. This might all sound trivial or silly to you but I quite enjoy all of it.

In the (not so distant) future I hope to excel in an interview so that I will be allowed to study pedagogy and one day be allowed to teach. I worry about my future, just like anyone else. Will I be happy? Will I do the things I always wanted to do? Will I ever stop feeling like a fraud when it comes to adulthood? Will I have a family? Will I be a good teacher? Will I be a teacher at all!? And these questions, I know, have no answers that I could grasp in my moments today as I cannot see the future. But perhaps one day, I will be able to look back on my worries of today and smile at how silly they were.

Anyway.. Have a pleasant week,
Stella

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Living

Ahoy, traveler, back so soon?

Sometimes I think I've stopped truly living. I look forward to where I am going in life, and I don't appreciate the little moments in life. The little moments that make life precious. I don't get that thrill of adrenaline, of truly living in the moments anymore. I used to, when I was younger, when I would climb the trees and run in the forests, when I would look for adventure behind every tree, every turn, every strand of grass.. I was happy. I was adventurous. I was full of life. Happiness was the sun on my skin, the words on paper, the ink in my hands, the scent of cookies in our house, the grass beneath my feet, the rushing of the river, the closing of my eyes while floating in the water and letting the waves carry me... Happiness was a piece of chocolate in my mouth, a fresh strawberry in the Summer. Happiness was every little moment that didn't bring tears to my eyes, that wasn't horrible.. But even in those little moments, those sad, terrifying, horrible moments? I lived. I truly felt something. I truly, honestly felt the feeling. The tears. The anger. The fear. I felt them with every cell in my body and every bit of my being. The only times I feel like that these days are with a book in my hand, with music in my ears, with a pen in my hands, with a guitar to play or with love. It's almost like I am afraid to live, afraid to love, afraid to feel.. Afraid to hope.

I forget to be thankful for what I have. There are these amazing people in my life and they want to spend time with me, some of them love me, some of them think I am fun, others think I am smart... These people appreciate me for who I am, for the things I can do, and the things I am good at. And I love them; They are family, friends, and love. And they are the people I enjoy spending time with, the people I feel like myself with, the people I can have peace with.. And I'd like so many million other people on this Earth, I have a roof above my head and the basic necessities; I can even write this entry on this PC. I have loving parents, siblings to quarrel with, friends to talk to, an instrument to play... I have a lot to be grateful for.

Have a lively week,
Stella

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sleepless in..

Slightly surprised you've still the want to read any of this, traveler; Welcome back.

Sleepless in wherever the hell I am. The past month or so, I've been sleeping rather poorly (if at all). This is just one of the many nights I've woken up from a nightmare or a disturbing dream to either my own screams or the jolt of my brain going, "this isn't real, wake up." Waking up isn't the problem, not really.. The problem is that I can't stop thinking of the dream or being terrified. I can't stop thinking. Whatever it was that I dreamed flashes as pictures on my closed lids, and so I open my eyes to the darkness that surrounds me. And I don't know which is worse: Reliving the nightmare or staring blankly into the silence of the night, knowing there is no one I can wake up who would listen to a grown woman panicking over virtually nothing.

I've started avoiding going to sleep, and pretending to others that I am headed to bed so that I won't worry them. Logically, I know this is a bad course of action but I really have no other way out right now. I know it's all in my head. It's almost like it was when I was a kid; There are no monsters in the darkness barring those my imagination has created for me to see and to hear. Before you ask, yes, I've created a routine, a calming one. No, I don't drink tea or coffee or anything else that could possibly ruin my sleep for up to eight hours before going to bed. Yes, I make sure to have eaten but not too close to when I intend to go to bed. And yes, if I feel sleepy, I do head to bed and tend to fall asleep at that point but that doesn't guarantee a full night. I'm at my wits end.

When I do sleep a full night, I don't feel rested. I don't know why that is or what the logical explanation for it is. It could be me catching up on weeks of lack of sleep, or it could be poor quality of sleep. Gods if I know. I wake up feeling worse than I felt when I closed my eyes: Stiff, unrested, and with a headache. And most recently people have started noticing, and commenting on the fact that I don't look good. I'm pale. There are bags underneath my eyes. My eyes are red. I react emotionally to things that don't warrant an emotional reaction.

Anyway, I figured I'd just write since I've been lying up and not asleep for the past hour or so.. Hope you're sleeping better than I am!
Stella

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Life is a cruel mistress?

Welcome back, I guess 

Some days I think life is just a sick joke. We live and we die. Isn't that how it goes? It gets harder and harder to find joy in our days of waiting for death, 'cause that's' where we're all headed anyway.. We speak of tomorrow as a better place, a better time and often speak of yesterday as having been far better than today was. Why can't we be happy in the now? Why do always reach for a happiness somewhere in the distant future or distant past? Especially when we did not feel the happiness in that moment in the past! Why do we torture ourselves so?

Happiness is a goal, or is it? We are constantly grasping for something to make us happy; if only I had a better job, more money, a boyfriend, a husband... then I would be happy. Do we even know what happiness is if we think it consists of things instead of a feeling? Would we know happiness if we had it? What happened to life consisting of precious moments?


Sorrow is simply a part of life. That much I know. But sometimes it seems there is nothing else to life but sorrow. There are people I have lost who I grieve for every single day of my life. Not a day goes by without tears in my eyes, but they are tears I cannot share with others for most would not understand. It is almost as though I would be afraid that when the sorrow ends, I'll forget about them.. Though logically, I know that could never happen; I could never forget about them. Same for distress, it simply lingers with me day in and day out; I don't know if I wish to get rid off it or not!

Sorry about that and hope you are having a better week than I am.

Cheers, 
Stella

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sick and Tired

Ahoy, Traveler, your trips have been fine I trust?

Welcome back to the whirlwind, where I've spent the past week or so in turns lying in bed hoping this illness would simply end and the other half up and about thinking it had ended. I've been told both that I look and sound really bad and that I don't really look ill at all; Neither statement (given the circumstances) could be placed as the truth of what is and was going on with me. It's just a flu with a nasty cough and high fever, really.

It's a weird little thing, really, getting sick! And I assure you, it is nowhere near as simple as we seem to think it is. Sometimes people look fine on the surface when they're truly suffering immensely and other times they look like they're dying when they've only got a cough. It's kind of funny, because we then in turn THINK we can see from others when they're truly not okay even though we've been taught throughout our lives to not to judge just based on the outside - Seriously what's up with that!

There are invisible illnesses, which I'm sure just based on the name anyone would understand to be a real illness that can't be seen on the outside. There are many of them but the long list includes for instance migraines, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome; In short, they aren't anything to laugh at nor is there any use in denying their existence and the very real complications and dangers they posses. But regardless of the realness of these things, most people suffering from them have received disbelief from their family, friends and coworkers in the most insulting forms: They've been told the illness is all in their head ( = crazy) or someone's said behind their back that they just really needed a vacation ( = lying) or attention, and perhaps if they are unable to work, someone's called them a society bum or something along those lines ( = lazy, non-contributing, not worth my time). But it's not all in their heads nor are they lying, they'd probably give anything to live a normal life where they needed to lie to get some time off work but as it is they get time off and the time off isn't pleasant and is spent suffering, or they've been forced out of work completely due to the severeness of their illness. They don't need judgement on top of what they're already suffering.

Sorry for the slight ranty quality of this post, hope you have a wonderful week!

Stella