After the night comes a new morning.

It’s close to midnight. I just took out the trash from the kitchen to put it in the bins outside. I intended to get ready for bed soon. But I got held up.

It is quiet outside, and cold. Freezing. The air smells like snow, and the wind is picking up. There were storm warnings on the news, but everything was calm until now. The trees are waving in the wind; it is the only sound I can make out—just the wind jostling the trees.

These days, I don’t like going outside during the day. I go for walks at night, when I am sure not to cross anyone. When I am in the garden, I go inside when I hear the neighbour’s voices. And, honestly, I am content in my bubble. I wonder if I am slowly turning into an agoraphobic person.

I don’t miss people. I don’t miss socialising because I get my fix of people online, without having to face them or having to speak to them – and let’s not forget, I (37) have three kids (15, 11, 9) and a husband (42) at home.

What gets to me most is that I am never alone. There is not a moment when I can be completely alone without anyone around. We are living in a house, with three floors. But it is quite open, and some walls are still bare. If you are watching a movie on floor 3, you can hear the dialogue on floor 1. (Same with phone calls and all that).***

Always having someone close, that’s draining for me. And I am living with people who I actually like. Still, it gets suffocating.

So here I am, leaning against the front door’s frame, feeling the cold wind on my face, breathing. Breathing in. Breathing out. Smiling. Breathing in. Breathing out.

For now, I am okay—ups and downs; the usual. I am busy writing; for work, for me, for others… I am listening to lots of music, old and new. I am even discovering new skills in the kitchen – and I was already quite talented there…

Another three weeks of lockdown are ahead of us in Luxembourg. Covid-19 cases are still on the rise, and people are dying every day from complications associated with the virus. Three more weeks of homeschooling and being mindful and grateful. I am a lucky woman. Nothing will ever be the same.

It’s after midnight, and I close the front door. Rain is beginning to fall. The trees are still dancing in the wind, casting shadows under orange streetlights.

Tomorrow is a new day, and we are still here, still sane and safe and healthy.

Goodnight.

*** you enter the house on floor three. There is a small open space used as an office (by my husband, Patrick), a bathroom with a bathtub, and two bedrooms. The master bedroom and my son’s room. Going down to floor two. Here we have my daughters’ bedrooms, a bathroom with a shower, a technical room, and my book/CD shelves are here too. Going down to floor one. Here is an open space living room, dining area, and kitchen with access to the patio and the garden. There is also a half bath and something we call basement (with the washing machine, dryer, freezer, many tools…) Our house is rather small, even if it sounds big. It gets cramped to live here as a family of 5. We are living on 139m2 (which equals 1500 sq ft). There is no garage, no attic, no basement. I love our home, though. We had this house built for us and moved in December 2017. It’s the first house that feels like a real home. I will grow old here. And that’s a happy thought.

What if things were different? (stream of consciousness)

March 2017

In 2017, my exhaustion was already visible in my eyes. The depression that accompanied me for the last years was just beginning. I had no idea then how much worse it would be. I just knew something was very off, but I had no idea how to keep myself afloat.

Sometimes, I wonder if my mental struggles began because I had to start to work. The timing is uncanny. Don’t get me wrong; I love my job. I love working at a nursery and teaching the babies and toddlers new things. I love seeing their evolution and helping them to accomplish new milestones.

But

Since I started working in late 2016, I stopped writing fiction. Since I started working, I am sick more often. Since I started working, I had migraines more often (twice monthly until I started acupuncture). Since I started working, my mental health began to decline. Maybe it is just a coincidence. But what if it is not? What if I would be happier (and saner) being at home, taking care of the house and the kids, and spending my time writing?

I love getting up in the morning and going to work. I love how fast time flies, and I even love the “rush hour” when the kids eat (or we feed the little ones) and before they take their nap. I am working part-time. I could have the best of both worlds. But my work is exhausting. I am not only playing with kids. I am constantly observing them, writing reports, planning new activities to stimulate their mental and physical development. And of course, the planned activities need to be carried out too…

I have been home again (on paid sick leave) for the last week. I can almost feel how I am getting calmer and how my mood takes a boost. I am still in a lot of pain, and after my injection a week ago, I was ordered to rest and do nothing. Or not much. And it makes me feel good. Or better. I need this time-out to care for myself. I neglected myself for far too long.

And of course, my emotions are on a rollercoaster. I feel guilty for being happier at home alone (and in pain) than being at work. They manage well without me. Just like the last time, one colleague got in touch; I am not missed. And that bugs me; I have to say. My work is good, but clearly not as good that it makes people miss me. Maybe it’s because even at work, I keep to myself? I don’t know. With my injured shoulder, I am not much use at work anyway. (And due to varying pain-levels, I am not reliable right now either.)

Now, these last weeks, I started writing again. I am also working on changing our family diet: fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, no alcohol, but many more vegetables and protein, and lots of ginger-flavoured water and green tea. The kids are not happy, but the change is visible. Not on the scale, but we have more energy, and stupid as it may sound, our skins look better too. It’s the little things.

As you can see, I had a lot of time to think. Rest assured, I don’t regret anything. Everything happens for a reason. I needed to get a job because one income didn’t pay the bills of a family with three kids. Easy as that. Writing doesn’t pay the bills, working at a nursery does. At what cost, though? Is my physical decay (melodramatic Cathy) due to my mental struggles?

Did I recently explain that I don’t believe in regrets? Well, for me it is true.

Regrets make us live in the past, and the past often makes us miserable. Either because we were hurt or because we are longing for the happier times that we think we remember. Every choice I made, every decision I took brought me to the place where I am now. And even when I am depressed and melancholy, I believe that I am learning from this experience. I sound like a lunatic. I firmly believe this. I also think that people step into our life for a reason, and we are learning from all of them: the good and the bad. I don’t ever hate anyone. In fact, I am always trying my best to see every side of a story. The funny thing is, when we interact with someone, we exchange parts of ourself for parts of them, and like that, we will forever be a part of each other. (Obviously, I am alluding to people who are close to us for a part of the journey… Although strangers can change our lives too – I am dropping that train of thought for now. I am turning in circles, and my head hurts, lol)

Sometimes we have to let people go. And it is hard because selfishly, we want to keep them in our life. They make us feel good, and we choose to ignore how much they are suffering. And again, I could never be angry with someone who needs to protect themselves. I understand it. And I accept it. That doesn’t mean that it will not make me sad. After all, I am a very sensitive and emotional woman. Compassionate too. I struggle with people leaving my life, though. The more they mean to me, the harder it is to let them go. That’s the same for everyone, right? I can’t deal with rejection very well. It makes me feel wrong and unlikable. It unleashes a myriad of negative emotions inside of me. No matter what happens and why friendships end or evolve in different directions, I always blame myself. I am not good enough, not beautiful enough, not engaged enough, not intelligent enough, not funny enough, not serious enough, not sexy enough – I am simply not enough.

I would never change the past. Again: no regrets. I would not even change my childhood or adolescence, where I was emotionally abused and neglected. Because without it, I would not be who I am. And I am unique with all my flaws and shortcomings.

I am weird. Sorry. I am in a weird mood.

Tbt photo

I was actually trying to find a picture of me when I was pregnant; I mean, I have three kids, how hard can it be? Very hard! I found exactly three photos, and in only one you can actually see my belly – but that picture is blurry.

The idea for this post came from the many pregnant women in my life right now. Four of my friends are pregnant. And they will all give birth between November and December. There is my colleague at work, my neighbour, my sister-in-law, and an old friend from school. Try as I might, I cannot really remember my pregnancies. I mean, I do, yet I don’t. When your life and body are turned upside down for almost a year, and after that, you are sleep-deprived and suffering from breastfeeding dementia, I think it encourages memory loss.

The picture I shared was taken 12 days after my son’s birth. I was a couple of weeks shy of my 22nd birthday.

I love that picture. It’s very serene and peaceful, filled with love; protective too. That little guy on the picture is 14 years old and tall and handsome. He is an amazing human being who does his thing, never following any trends or pressures. I admire him. I want to be like that too. But I am an attention seeker, and I need to be validated all the time. Funnily enough, the only thing that I am very sure of is my parenting skills. I am sure that I am messing up all the time, but those three little people who grew from me and within me, are the best I ever created.

I want them to be fearless and kind and grateful. I want them to be considerate and never sell themselves short. At the same time, I want them to be modest. I want my kids to be good-hearted and tolerant. I want them to be open-minded and accepting of things and people that are different. I want them to be curious and thirsty with lust to learn and to live. Above all, I want them to know that whenever they fail, they are loved, and their mom – their parents, are there to consolidate them and help to resolve any issue that might arise. So far… I think we are on the right track.

When I feel down or bad, when depression devours me, then I talk to my kids, hug them, or just watch them, and I am reminded that I am needed, that I am not here in vain. I have a purpose.

This is all rambling just to say: I love my children. I love my family. I cannot for the life of me, imagine to be without them. They make me whole.

My husband plays a big part in this too. We have been a couple for almost 20 years now. Mind you; I am 36 – I know, I know, I am bragging, but I am allowed to do that here on my blog. I would never trade my husband for another man. He is handsome, intelligent, makes me laugh, doesn’t judge, and even after all these years, we are still talking – about everything. There are no secrets, no lies – everything is out in the open. Sometimes, we say things and grow silent because we don’t know how to react. We tend to ignore those elephants and keep living our peaceful lives. Once in a while, I am afraid that these things come back to bite us in the ass, but in the end – we are a strong couple. And we are this strong and weird and odd and unconventional because it is us.

My husband is the love of my life. So very different from me, but I don’t care. He is the most amazing man, and I want to grow old and fat with him. I want to make mistakes and cry and laugh and forgive. So far, I did all of it, and he never ran. Try finding a gem like that!

This turned out to be a stream of consciousness-y post.

Time to say goodnight.

I hope you all find someone to love, to have, and to hold.

*hugs*

Et le temps court…

My bed is empty. My mind is full. I am tired, fighting a headache. Lying in the dark, I am listening to the rain. The window is open, and I feel the breeze on my skin. I know I should be asleep, it would ease the headache and maybe prevent the bad mood I am sure I will suffer in the morning. But I can’t fall asleep. I had troubles letting go the last few nights — dreams; not a nightmare, just unsettling dreams.

I have so many things to say and to share, and yet, they don’t matter, and so I keep them to myself.

There are times when I share most everything on my mind. I let my fingers write, and my mind think, and I just float on that wave that jumps from one thought to the next. I can’t seem to do that right now. (Although I am doing it) It just feels like stealing your time and attention. I know that you give it freely or else you wouldn’t be here, but my mind is trying to tell me that no one cares and that I don’t matter?

Why am I sabotaging myself this much? After all, I am an okay person. Ordinary, but okay.

I ordered new music today (her name is Calla – animal choir). And I watched two movies (untamed heart and pump up the volume) with my favourite actor (Christian Slater). I also listened to music by Coastlands (postrock from Oregon/USA), burnt down an incense stick (sandalwood) and ate pizza (prosciutto). I read a couple of pages in my book (the I undiscovered gyrl by Allison Burnett)…

Who cares?! I want you to care, to be honest, because I want you to care about me. But again, who cares about this narcissistic vanity.

Do you dream about specific colours? I am used to having dreams that repeat themselves. They used to be in a green hue. Like a green veil or fog in front of my eyes… Nowadays that fog or veil is blue, but the images I see – the pictures in my dream are still the same.

Maybe the breeze and the rain will let me fall asleep eventually anyway… Who knows?

The title of this post is French and could be translated to “the time keeps running”

*hugs*

Cathy

Un-asleep

2:45 am. I can’t sleep. I woke up from a dream – not a nightmare, but unsettling too. I keep trying to recall my dream, but it is gone – lost in the corners of my mind. I just know that I was wrong about something. I did the worst one can do when unable to sleep; I took my phone and checked notifications. I was on Twitter and on a whim, I unfollowed a couple of accounts, the one of my former favourite band too – turns out they are a bunch of pretentious bellends. It took me almost 20 years to see it. I still appreciate their music; it was the soundtrack of my life, and yet… I really don’t like the people they became. Or is it me?

Am I drifting away from the person I used to be? I feel empty and overflowing. Sad and happy. Tired and wide awake.

How did that happen? When did everything change?

In a little more than 2 hours my alarm will go off, and I need to go to work. Early shift. I like that – if only it started later, lol.

Birds are beginning to chirp outside (the window is open); my husband is snoring next to me, and my mind is thinking too loud.

Throwback – I’ll never stop giving up

*stream of consciousness*

I sit, and I wait. Sitting and waiting. And I hope that no one will ask what I am waiting for. I would answer “Life”, and they would quote John Lennon “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. And they wouldn’t even know that it’s not a simple quote but that this sentence is a line of lyrics from a song he wrote for his beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy Julian. And I would bite my tongue because information like that is plenty in my brain. It’s just – no one cares about it. And that’s why I keep sitting and waiting. For life to happen. And to understand it. But that is not entirely true. Because from my place, I have a nice view. I observe and analyse, and I keep to myself. The things I know, are not the things I need to share. But on the other hand, all the half-truths and snippets of misinformation I know, are not the ones others want to hear. It’s a circle. And if I don’t find the right corner to get off, I will stumble, and my clumsy attempt to catch myself will end with me lying face down enduring the spiral, the slipstream that brought this upon me. Upwards or downwards? Which way does it go? Maybe just sideways? Either way, I will end up puking on the floor and emptying what little is inside me. All of it, until the heaving is dry and the acrid smell of bile chases everyone away. Everyone left the building. Including me. I need to pay attention to the little things. Hold on tight to the pillars of this meagre existence, to keep myself from stumbling. And while I am doing just that, all these unfiltered thoughts are rushing down onto the screen.

I put the cigarette to my lips and inhale. No filter. Rolled with my own shaky hands. Because – yes, why? Because it is edgy. Cool people roll their cigarettes themselves. It’s all pretending anyway. Oh yes, I’m a great pretender. Who gives a crap about my cigarettes and my thoughts. But I keep writing. Someday, the romantic voice inside of my head suggests, someone will read the mix of weirdness and eclecticism my brain produces. They will beg me to publish a book – a memoir – a biography of this writer and all will be good. At least, I have dreams. The other possibility, far more probable, is that the words stay unread. I will die in a stuffy room with overflowing ashtrays and too many empty bottles.
Maybe a cat or two. Sheets of papers with the start of the next big novel is strewn across the floor and the bed — music loud and on repeat. And in the centre of it all; me. Picture me like Jimi Hendrix, suffocated on my own vomit. A rock star death. Don’t be alarmed, though. I am not a rock star. I don’t play the guitar well enough and all in all, I am just a coward who never did any drugs. On second thought, aren’t most rock stars ridden with anxiety? Isn’t that why they turn to alcohol and drugs and whatnot? Always on the hunt for the next high? But one day your brain (and your soul too), are just too used to the girls screaming your name and the papers printing your photographs, your name in the headlines. And while you pretend to crave your privacy, the thought of being left alone and forgotten scares you to death. And so you power on, with some chemical help, because you couldn’t do all the shows and interviews and all that other crap that comes with being famous, without it. I don’t envy these people at all — not one bit.

And so I stare out onto the lake. The sky is grey; the water is too. And I wait for the next idea to come up. A real writer wouldn’t wait. They would write. Or am I wrong and a real writer would draw charts and write every idea down? Being organised? Where’s the fun in that? So – no labelling my ideas. Just sitting. Waiting. Staring. Smoking. And while I am doing that, the music plays softly in the background. It’s not loud enough to drown out the voices that keep telling me that I am a waste of talent. I can still hear them judging me and how I spend the days. For them, I am doing nothing. For me, I am savouring the moment. It’s as a friend told me once: We need time to understand who we are before someone else comes along and makes us into the version they want us to be. So maybe – just maybe, my answer to the question “What are you waiting for”, would not be “Life”, but maybe the truer answer would be “To understand”. I guess the reaction would be close to the same. They would urge me to get up and do something.

But, if they don’t see it, does that really mean that I am not doing anything? Because in my mind, eccentric as it may be, I am doing a whole lot. I am not giving up.

###

Author’s Note:

Written in March 2016.

I haven’t had a cigarette this year… And, I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think that the last paragraph in this piece of writing is the most important thing I have ever written. Whenever I encounter people who are struggling with their mental health, whenever I am struggling myself, I remember these words. I am not giving up, even if people are not seeing that I am fighting.

101 things I dislike

Throwback to 2016 when I wrote this list. It’s been a long time, and I updated it somewhat — not a lot.

Can you relate?

Without fear of being judged (read: with near panic like fear of being judged) I will try to come up with 101 things I don’t like.

1. The colour orange

2. Flying

3. The cold weather

4. Snow

5. Chocolate

6. Ketchup

7. Christmas songs and decorations in November

8. Waiting

9. Being ordered around

10. People who don’t say thank you

11. Rude people

12. Unanswered questions

13. Lemon

14. birds

15. Feathers

16. The sound of my alarm clock

17. Being tickled

18. Being taken for granted

19. Negative people

20. Emotional vampires

21. Instruments that are out of tune

22. Cocky people

23. Jealousy

24. Drivers not setting the turn signal

25. Wondering if my English is good enough and if others understand what I am trying to say

26. Doubting myself

27. People who make lots of noise when they are eating (!! Important one)

28. Fruit

29. Killing animals – even flies

30. Not being taken seriously

31. People who aren’t getting the job done right

32. Belching

33. The smell of vomit

34. Touching door handles in public spaces

35. Not seeing anything at a concert

36. Payment declined – for no reason

37. Forgetting my pin code

38. Water touching my ears (anything touching my ears)

39. Swimming

40. Crowds

41. Ignorance

42. The smell of cold smoke

43. Sprite or any sweet beverage

44. Anything bitter

45. Having a stuffed nose

46. Being surprised

47. Offering presents

48. Shopping for clothes

49. Animals

50. Meat

51. Saying goodbye

52. Deadlines

53. Gory horror movies

54. Going to church

55. Thinking about negative things

56. Mess left by the kids after eating nuts or grains

57. Jazz

58. Musicals

59. Long fingernails

60. Not having enough sleep

61. Chanel no 5

62. Visiting a home for disabled people

63. The sound of chalk on a blackboard

64. Expensive rents or mortgages

65. Working in a garden

66. Sketching, drawing, painting

67. Pens that aren’t working

68. Coffee with sugar

69. My double chin

70. Milk

71. Hairy feet

72. Star wars

73. Harry Potter

74. Lord of the rings

75. The way eyes itch from allergies

76. Almonds and nuts

77. Bread (with the exception of French baguette)

78. No toilet paper when I am on the loo

79. Autocorrect

80. Forgetting to save my work when I just wrote 500+ words

81. 0 likes on stories or poems I thought turned out great; 21 likes on mediocre poems or stories

82. Questions with obvious answers

83. Gossip

84. Talking bad behind someone’s back

85. Losing track of people who once were an important part of my life

86. Wasting time (mine and the time of others too)

87. Forgetting things

88. Broken promises

89. Being unable to speak straight sentences lately (stuttering, not finding the right words)

90. Dentists

91. Being late (me or people being late)

92. Being intense

93. Migraines

94. Fishing for more things I dislike

95. No network or wifi

96. Social media knows everything about us (bye bye Facebook)

97. Being watched while crying

98. Being stared at

99. Not knowing how other people are seeing me

100. Oranges

101. That I found 100 things I dislike…

Are you surprised? Why? Now, what do you think?

stream of unedited consciousness

Today is tomorrow, agree?

I was wondering, most of my friends these days are real but online. The ones who are most important are the ones I have never pulled into my arms. What if I passed away? What if they did?

I am not suicidal, but I am thinking about accidents or things like that.

Those who follow this blog more closely might have read the name Jamie before.

Jamie was the most fantastic man. His birthday was two days ago, he would have turned 36. He passed away in 2015 from Leukemia. Jamie was my best friend. I only knew him virtually, but he was my best friend indeed. We shared everything. I trusted him, and I believe that he trusted me too. He made me a better person. I like that he keeps popping up in my thoughts almost daily. Music reminds me of him, but also other random things we talked about. When he passed away, it was a mutual friend who told me. That friend was informed by his husband. (No typo. Jamie was gay.) Although I consider Jamie my best friend, I did not know his husband. I remember when Marcus told me about Jamie’s passing. I cried for hours that day. And I felt jealous that Jamie’s husband had not gotten in touch with me personally.

Thinking back at all of this, and thinking about my current situation, I wonder how my friends would be informed. If they would be informed at all. After all, I am not on Facebook anymore. Not having Facebook feels like being alien or invisible. But at least in case of emergency or something similar, everyone would know.

I don’t want to vanish. And one of the worst thoughts for me is to be forgotten. I try to touch people… with my writing, but also with my entire daily behaviour. If I succeed, that is not for me to judge.

I just know that I am as real as I can be. Which can be intense and overwhelming for the people who are close to me.

Compared to other blogs, this one is not frequented at all. A handful of people keep checking in daily. (I see you, and I know who you are. Thank you!!) Also, ever since I have the ‘buy’-button on the blog, I haven’t sold one copy of my book. That’s okay though… I am just curious to know how it works, lol.

One thought after the other. One foot in front of the other.

Mood is still calm and serene. I should be devasted, but I am free instead. And I miss Jamie so so much.

I must confess…

…that my loneliness/is killing me now/

Sorry… Britney wanted to sing along.

So… My confession.

Yesterday I listened to many records, and I even wrote about it. It felt so good. I still feel the ripples of the music I heard reverberating in my soul.

But… As much as I praised vinyl, I don’t own many records. They are very expensive, and I made a rule to just invest in vinyl that is special to me.

As for CDs… I own close to 2000 of them now. Of course, they don’t look as good (or special or edgy) on pictures than vinyl does.

I wondered today: who cares? No one does. I mean… If music affects me and you can’t relate to that, then it doesn’t matter on which devices I am listening. Plain and simple, no?

Music is my daily companion. And once in a while, like yesterday, I get the chance to immerse myself in. I hadn’t done that in such a long time, and these hours were precious. Priceless, really. As you probably noticed, I shared poems afterwards. Inspired by the music.

When I was a child, I had a walkman. I found an old radio with chipped plastic corners. Later, I got a stereo (when I was 9). Music was by safe haven ever since I was a child. Lyrics touched me. Made me feel strong. Made me feel weak. Made me cry. Made me laugh. I feel strongly when I listen to music. And I am well aware that most people cannot relate. But it is a part of who I am.

I am not a particularly huge fan of this band or that. I think I’ve grown out of that. But there is one band – Anathema – which I listened to since I was 15. Twenty years. I fall back onto them again and again because their music is like a soundtrack of my life. Their lyrics touched me and still do. It gives me strength. It makes me weak. I saw them three times. Last time was last November, and shortly after their gig, I wrote a post on this very blog. Something personal. (Link to when you click on “post“).

I don’t have many passions in my life. Music is one. (Listening, and I can sing okay.) Writing is the other passion. And often I am not sure if I am any good at it. I believe that I am. But that one (1) star on Goodreads makes me worry. Am I overestimating myself and my skills?

I have a friend who keeps telling me that if I invested in advertisement for my book Unquiet Minds, I could find worldwide fame. I don’t want that. I just want a couple more people to let me know that I touched them. Maybe it is all pretense. Maybe it is all just a pile of shit.

Words are falling out of my fingers, and I cannot stop them. One thought after the next.

Randomness.

By the way… I went to the movies today. I saw a Luxembourgish movie. Superjhemp retörns. Other superheroes are young and handsome and skilled. We have Superjhemp, an average middle-aged man who is working a dull day job. He is soft around the middle and gets his superpower from cheese (Kachkéis – cancoillotte) and beer. He flies with both hands in his pockets and has a fable to fly through closed windows. Overall, he is very Luxembourgish. As so often, this movie was adapted from the comics with the same name. And it was hilarious. I doubt though that non-Luxembourgers will find it funny. But it was.

Ok… So… This escalated quickly. All just to say, that I am an impostor and that I only own (+/-) 30 vinyls.

Thank you for allowing me this space to ramble.

Vote for my book. And buy it. If you want a signed copy, we can make that happen too. Get in touch: catherine.micqu@gmail.com

Thank you.

Cathy

Let this new week begin. 💜