Memory lane

Today, I saw that an old post from November 2017 was read a couple of times – today. I am not one who looks at the stats all day long, but I noticed this because it is a special post to me. (That said, I usually take a moment in June to reflect on the first half of the year on the blog… Expect a post about that soon)

I remember that particular post from November very well. I remember exactly when I wrote it and why. I know what happened before and what happened after.

https://wp.me/p2ZT5k-392

It’s quite painful to read all of these words again. They were at the beginning of a dark and depressive phase in my life and I am not completely out of the woods yet. I have been fighting and struggling for three years.

Recently, I discovered that I am actually a mediocre writer at best. I keep repeating the same words and phrases; I keep replaying the same scenes and moments. And my writing became dull. Unimportant. Irrelevant.

There are many many amazing writers out there. There are musicians who write lyrics so powerful that they make the listener tear up.

I am not one of them. Not anymore.

Not anymore.

I am sorry.

I lost my most important muse and stopped listening to the music that makes me feel. It is as if I am overwhelmed all the time, yet numb too. It is as if I am censoring myself and hiding behind the mask of the person I am expected to be.

I am exhausted. I haven’t slept properly in four days. And I can’t do it anymore.

imho

Classic books or movies or music is imho often overrated. Maybe I am not clever (smart) enough, maybe I am too young, maybe I am too numb and saturated with books and movies and music.

But I too can appreciate some classics. Tonight, The Graduate was on TV. Not overrated or dull at all. Yesterday, there was a documentary about Joan Baez – the verdict is still out. Her lyrics are good, and I like the political edge and her engagement, but her voice – not my cup of tea.

Then again, I am not a critic. Never was. Even when I post music, I am biased. I will only share music that I like. I gave no knowledge other than knowing what I like and appreciating this or that technique or genre more than an other.

I scheduled a post that will be published in about two hours… 🙂

Until then, goodnight.

xx

Thoughts of the day while enduring the Hobbit on TV

I miss work. Not the colleagues, but the kids and the work itself. Right now, I am on leave because of my own kids. They have a two week spring break, but after that, they will need to be homeschooled again until May 4th. (At the earliest.) My boss sent out emails to every employee this morning to plan ahead and organise out next weeks; To think about projects and write down activities. As I am working part-time (20hours/week) at a nursery, I was required to write 20 new activities. I did it all in 4 hours, and thinking about it and the development of each child made me miss them even more. Later this morning, I received an email stating that everyone being on leave to be with their kids did not have to do this. Well, I was too fast, it was too late. 20 activities had been written down.

And while I am missing the nursery, the toddlers and babies, I am also happy to be home. I am developing some kind of phobia. I don’t want to see anyone; it makes me uncomfortable. And I can’t do video chats. It makes me even more uncomfortable. Once every week, I need to make a video conference with my two co-workers. It makes me nervous, and I hate seeing myself on the screen. I was offered an opportunity to video chat with Nate Maingard (musician and modern troubadour), I had to decline – with a heavy heart. But at this time, I can’t step out of my comfort zone for a stranger when I can’t even video chat with my sisters.

Before our confinement, I flat out refused to do these video chats. Now, I have to make concessions too. Ah, I am rambling again.

All to say… I want everything to go back to normal, but the thought of leaving the house scares me shitless.

How about you?

PS: since March 13th, I had three calls from my mom; before that, I didn’t have any news in 6 months…

PPS: the title of this post was promising, and it was followed by nothingness. Sorry.

Old wounds weigh heavier than newer ones.

This Corona thing is different for all of us. I admit I am coping well enough. I feel lonely but also relieved that I don’t have to deal with as many people daily. I am most happy at home or in my garden. I am not trying to improve or learn something new. I am just being a mom and taking care of the house. I neglected that a bit in the past, but now that we are at home all the time, I want our home to be clean and tidy.

I am lonely, however. I am online a lot, more than I already was before the lockdown. And at one point, I became obsessed with news about the progression of COVID-19 in Luxembourg.

I noticed something with my husband yesterday: we kiss when one of us leaves the house or comes home. Now that we are both home, the physical contact is reduced to a bare minimum. I mentioned it, and as so often, it was countered with a joke. You see, we laugh a lot, a big part of us is banter and calling the other out on their bullshit. We never fight, and it is all in good nature, but the intimacy, the physicality is missing.

But I also need to admit that I have many times when I don’t want to be touched when I don’t like the feel of skin against mine. I flinch away. From my kids too. I try to apologise, and lately, I began telling my kids when it is okay to touch and hug and when it is not. It makes it harder for everyone around me to know and understand that I need those hugs. They keep me together some times.

When I was a child, I was not hugged, not touched, and I was never told that someone was proud of me or that I did something right. I was ignored, insulted, and ridiculed. I remember a big hug from my grandmother when I was seven, and she told me that a girl from my class had died in a car crash. She had been run over by a drunk driver. I remember a couple of slaps, but what I remember most is the cold shoulder—not being heard or looked at. Not having a voice or being allowed to use that voice.

I was a timid and taciturn child. I was not really bullied but singled out for being the only kid with Italian roots and divorced parents. Add to that that the kids from school didn’t understand why my mom was in a wheelchair. I didn’t understand it myself, but since it was my normal; I didn’t know it any other way.

My childhood and the emotional abuse I endured left deeper wounds and scars than anything else ever will. It is the reason for all these self-esteem issues. For the depression too. In my head is this voice that tells me that I am not loveable and that I don’t deserve anything good happening to me. I don’t trust people and don’t confide in them. My mind is constantly working, but no one even knows the half of it.

When I was a teenager, I craves affection and attention. And so I began flirting with many boys and men. I just wanted to be loved and appreciated. And I was never short of boys who were willing to flirt. I had boyfriends and received love letters. My first time having sex was me being abused. After that, I took my distance from men and boys. It took a couple of years before I let anyone physically close again – he became my husband.

I am a sexual woman. I like flirting, and I love writing my more smuttier one-shots. Heck, People are checking this blog for those posts alone.

I am starving for affection more days than not. And I want to be good enough, loveable enough. I want to be funny enough. Interesting enough. Clever enough. Sexy enough. I want to be enough. But there is this barrier in my head. I don’t know when I will attain this “enough”. Enough is never enough. I need to feel love from other people to feel love for myself—a vicious circle, bound to leave me with a couple of new bruises. But I can take it. I can channel that kind of pain and pour it into my poetry and writing. I may not be the most amazing person, but my writing is often decent.

I am thinking a lot tonight. I was watching Gone with the Wind (1939) tonight and after that, I can’t quite seem to find sleep. It is 1:30am.

And with my thoughts going in circles and me thinking about my grandmother tonight, I realised that my emotional wounds, the one’s from my childhood and teenage years are heavier on my mind and soul than physical wounds ever were.

Writing this reminded me of Robert’s blog post. Pain is relative. Pain is not relative. Emotional pain is relative. Physical pain is not.

Cathy: April 7th, 2020

On that pic, you see me with no make-up and my favourite t-shirt. (Pink Floyd). There is a beer mix in the back, and – get your head out of the gutter – that phallic shaped thing with the colourful bubbles is a Galileo thermometer.

I often wish that I was a normal 37-year-old woman. But how does a normal woman my age behave? I am a bit crazy around my kids too. Often, I am dancing or singing or wearing a plastic crown. I write about music – a new review is in the making. I ramble about unimportant things. But if these things and themes and subjects matter to me, then they aren’t unimportant, right?

I just hope that my kids will be less damaged than I am. They know my moods. They don’t fully understand them yet, but they are tuned in to my manic moments and to my depressive episodes too. I try keeping them out of it all. Not to wear a mask or to lie to them, but to stop them from worrying.

In this Corona times, I am less alone, yet lonelier than ever. I am coping quite well for now, and I hope I will manage these next three weeks of lockdown too.

I hope you are okay and safe.

Cathy

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.

Done

I am feeling… Weird. I finished the second draft and the 100th revision of my novel.

I should be happy, and I am. But I feel empty too. I spent a lot of time with the characters in this book. And what if I am not done? What if I should change this or that? What if I am driving myself crazy?

The very first draft of this story was written in 2014. I have been toying with these characters since then. I let them go for a while, and I picked them up again. I worked on the story, and I let it go again. But I always knew that the story is good and the characters are too. And now, after a week of intensive editing and rewriting, there is nothing left to do. I checked and revised, read the story, but there is nothing I could and would change right now.

I have an ISBN for a print version… All I need to do now is loading it up to Amazon. But I wonder… Is now the time to publish a romance novel about a same-sex couple? And before you ask, yes, there is a niche, and yes, stories like these are read.

I feel insecure about this book, to be honest. It is different than publishing poetry.

But overall, I am happy.

I did it. I finished my novel. 😁

draft_20200318

And as I am lying in my bed, I am listening to the world. It is quiet outside. There’s a plane taking off. My neighbors are doing the opposite of social distancing (again). A dog is barking somewhere, and I can hear other animals and insects. Nature is waking up. Not only animals are back, but allergies are also beginning – I am sneezing a lot, but once I take antihistamines I am better.

What will happen to us? I am honest, I am afraid to catch the virus, yet I am not. I am not at risk right now; I was not in touch with other people in a week – apart from the ones I am living with, and yet. If statistics say that 70% of the Luxembourgish population will be infected with COVID-19, then I will surely have it too, sooner or later.

I believe that it is good that we are forced to slow down. It is good for me and my mental health. At the same time, I am not sure how I will cope if this goes on for longer. I am just not sure how it will affect my mind. And there is no way of knowing. I was in a good place for most of the past week, with today being an exception. I woke up in a bad mood, and it didn’t really improve during the day. Sure, I got a lot done, and I had fun chats with online friends, but something irked me. And I have a suspicion what it was: there is no room in my house where I can be alone and on my own – apart from the bathrooms. Our home is not large, but it is not small either, and yet, I cannot go somewhere and close the door to be alone. The constant presence, the usual noises, the chatter, it is exhausting. Even if it comes from people I love. And I love my kids with all my heart. They are amazing in this situation, and I am grateful that they are at an age where we can discuss things, and they understand.

With the weather being nice, the girls are in our garden a lot. But even when they are outside, they get in to get this or that (cardigans, shoes, toys…); I am never on my own. It’s hard for me. There is no moment during the day when I can stop thinking and rest. I need to be attentive and responsible at all times. And it gives me migraines. I wish I were kidding, but I am not.

In a typical week, when the girls aren’t homeschooled, when my son goes to high school, and my husband drives to work, I sleep a lot. I sleep in on Mondays and Thursdays because those are the days when I only start working at noon (or later). I take long baths, and I allow myself to be lazy. There is no harm done because I am alone at home, and no one sees me.

During this almost complete lockdown, the kids have schedules and homework – all three of them, my husband works from home, and I am partly supervising the kids, partly editing my novel (10 more pages to go on the second draft), and I promised to get things done for work. I get up every day at 7:30 (I know that it is late, but as I said, I have the luxury of sleeping in many days). I have breakfast with the girls every day, and I turn my laptop on by 9 am. I am trying to be focussed for an hour; the girls are supposed to do the same. At 10 am, we take a break and go outside. There, we do a bit of yoga and other exercises. I want the kids to move and take deep breaths on their 15minute break. After that, we go back inside, hydrate, and get back to work…

I am embarrassed to say this, but the muscles in my legs are so sore, I have trouble climbing stairs. Why? Because we did 20 squats yesterday. It seems I did them right. And we all know that I am really out of shape and overweight. But, I am working on it—little by little.

Times are filled with uncertainty. No one knows what will happen and how this pandemic will keep dictating our lives. Maybe that is the hardest part. We just don’t know.

Stay home. Stay safe…

(This post should he called whining on a high level)

8:02

Every day, for years, I take a look at my watch (or any other available clock) at 8:02. In the morning, in the evening. It is very weird. Even more so because I am born on February 8th, and we write dates in this format: 08.02.1983

If I only knew what this means… Is it coincidence or a sign? Every single day!

It’s 8:06 now. It took me 3 minutes to write this post. 😂🙈

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.