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.

Song of the day (Sunday)

Billy Joel – Vienna

That song is stuck in my head for weeks now

Slow down you crazy child nanana nanana hey hey (…) when will you realise, Vienna waits for you

Just a part of the song is stuck, as you can see. When I heard “Vienna” in a Netflix show, I thought I heard Elton John. Maybe because I saw “Rocketman” just a few days earlier. Well, it turned out, the song was not from the Rocketman, but from the Pianoman. Man man man…

For the life of me, I can’t remember the show. My guess would be “The Politician,” but I can’t be sure.

Enjoy your Sunday

Thank you for seeing me.

PS: Somehow, it is important for me to be seen these last days. I need connection. I don’t want to fade from your memory. I don’t want to be forgotten. There you have it – one of my biggest fears: being forgettable and not good enough.

Cathy

PPS: oops… There was the wrong song in the first upload of this post, no one noticed, right?!

Crazy Wednesday Evening Randomness

I miss intimacy and someone who cares. I wonder why it is so hard for me to say this and for others to see? I am an open book, after all.

When my son told me about that friend taking his own life by throwing himself off a bridge, I was struggling. No, I was not affected by the loss of that child, I didn’t know the boy or his family, and yet, it got to me. It is part of my condition. I suffer internally when bad things happen.

It scares me. It scares me because sometimes I wonder if I could delete myself as easily as my Facebook account. I have lost track of how many times I deactivated that site. This time, I am going for deletion. There is nothing and no one who keeps me there, which is a lie – on my part. There are exactly three people who make me want to continue using Messenger. But, I am tired. I am tired of feeling ignored or neglected or abandoned. Even if I am not – it is my subjective emotion. People close to me, those who pay attention know that I have been raised in a way that I was ignored a lot. Affection was withheld. So now, when my mind suggests that people are treating me in a similar manner, I shut down. A wall comes up. I become nearly obsessive; at the same time, I become angry. Do I really deserve that?

The answer is NO. And you who are my friends don’t deserve it either. I am selfish, bordering on narcissistic. And I am in very bad shape right now. I push people away, and I don’t want to participate in anything. I can’t deal with anyone asking for attention. I need to be my own centre of attention.

I have been triggered. For a little over a week (October 6th), I have been struggling with self-harming behaviour. I haven’t done anything. I even consciously drank less alcohol and ate less crap than I usually do. But I am scared that it will happen.

Isn’t it pathetic?! I can’t be alone, but I don’t want anybody near me right now.

Nothing makes sense, least of all me – least of all mental illness.
Thoughts in circles. Not here nor there.

I was in training today (about speech development in small children). When I drove there, I wondered about mental illness. It is everywhere these days. It is a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing for me because finally, I came to realise that I am not alone. Many people feel as intensely as I do. Joy and sorrow. I have been struggling with depression since I was a teenager. Maybe even before. This illness was always a part of me, and for all I knew, I was insane. No one was as sad as me. No one was as moody as me. No one hurt themselves to feel… The internet took a lot of the shame and guilt I carried around and gave it an explanation and a reason. Of course, now I read about mental health and illness, and I am turning into a hypochondriac mess. Am I manic? Am I bipolar? I should have it checked out. When I spoke to a doctor about how I feel (not even two years ago), she said to me that I should take Vitamin D and that the winter would soon be over. I never mentioned it again. Although she prescribed me something to lighten the mood. It still didn’t feel right. To me, it felt as if I was not taken seriously. Not nice.

I need intimacy. A hug. A cuddle. Someone who runs his hand through my hair while my head listens to his heartbeat, and tells me that it will be okay.

Presence is not enough right now.

Cathy

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PS: I saw Joker tonight. No spoilers…

I hope my death makes more cents than my life. ~ Arthur Fleck

musings

Even in the darkest moments is a ray of light. Often we let it slip through the cracks of our minds because we are too caught up in our thoughts and too comfortable in our routines and daily patterns. But if we see the light, find the strength to grab it and the courage to hold on to it, life will change. It is hard, though, and I am often failing too.
It’s the small things that affect us the most. A word in a sentence that makes us snap at a good friend. A song on the radio that makes us dance. An unexpected text message that makes us smile. A voice message that lets our hearts race.
Life is a string of choices, decisions, and lessons. Life is filled with feelings and emotions; there is no logic – we cannot (and we must not) understand everything that happens. Sometimes we get hurt. More often, we are not. The expected pain is worse than what we are actually experiencing in the end.

Still, we chose to focus on our sadness and hurt too many hours of the days, and it keeps the light and happiness from our hearts and minds. If our energy were spent showing kindness, compassion, and empathy instead of taking every word, every view personally, it would mean a huge step forward in our emotional development.
Oh, I am guilty of negativity too. I wallow in it all too often. I feel neglected, abandoned, for no other reason than my mind suggesting that I am not good enough or lovable anyway. I ask for a kind of attention that others are not willing to give consistently, which pushes me in a vicious circle of evil thoughts. The thing is, I support and listen to people unconditionally and without judgment, why the f*** can’t I feel the same kind of support in return? Could it be that I am simply not able to understand the love or affection of others? Am I emotionally inept?

I read this on the almighty, all-knowing internet a while ago:

The reason why I am jealous is that my biggest fear is to be easily replaceable.

I don’t know who wrote it. It was an RT on Twitter that I wrote down in one of my notebooks (around October 2015), but it sums a big part of myself up. It’s part of my truth. I am afraid to be forgettable, to be replaceable. I want to be unique – and yet I want to be able to vanish in a crowd without being noticed.

I am a weird person. Full of mood swings. Overly emotional at times. Impulsive. Still, all those things don’t overrule my qualities. I care. I worry, and I want other’s happiness more than my own.

I know that I have a hard time finding my balance because I am not taking enough care of myself, my mental health, and my needs. To speak up when I feel neglected (even if it blows up in my face) would be to admit that I am demanding and damaged. It scares me. I don’t want to bother other people with my shit, and I don’t want to appear obsessive when I sent daily messages to the people who matter most to me. It would be important to allow myself to be and to realise that it is not selfish but healthy. I am slowly breaking out of my old patterns, and I am actively working on becoming and staying a better version of myself. But it is so damn hard.

Again, every choice I make along the way might not be the most popular or the one you would have made, but I don’t believe in regrets. Things that are set to happen will happen. In their own time. In their own right.
That said, right now, I feel the rays of light gently caressing my skin, and I plan on holding on – the winter will be long and cold as it is.

I am grateful for everyone who is with me on that journey. I apologize to everyone I hurt or will hurt in the process. Know that it’s not you, it’s me. (As cliché as it sounds).
I hope that you can find the light too, if you haven’t already. You are worth it. Because you are one of a kind. Valuable. Loveable. And this earth needs you. You matter, and I care. (More than I allow myself to show.)

xx
Cathy

Too hot to keep cool

I am clueless. Very often. What is happening?

And what the hell will happen to humanity if we keep going on like this?

The answer is: I don’t know. (Quote from one of my favourite movies: Reality Bites, I need to watch it again soon)

Fucking hell… I am speechless when I see the megalomaniac people, the egocentric ones, the selfish ones. Hate seems to be more valued than love, negativity is praised and “cool”, while positivity is weak and spiritual hippie crap. On the other side, being frail is accepted, flaws are welcome. Mental health issues are en vogue and everywhere and almost worn as a badge, as well as negated and diminished in the same conversation.

The world is full of complexities and opposites, and I am clueless about how to navigate them and about what will happen to us in these times of turmoil.

We will all go down. Fuck me… No one gets out of here alive.

But I am realizing more and more that serenity helps us get past any obstacles.

Most things are in our head, and reacting negatively makes everything worse instead of better. But positivity is so scarce these days, and, I, for one, have not learnt and experienced a lot of positivity in my formative years.

My mind is all over the place. And I am clueless. I often am. How can we sit back and watch as the world turns itself to dust?

What are you doing to make a change?

Me? I watch what I consume, recycle all my waste, take care of the environment, reduce the use of plastic… And, I work at a nursery where I try to educate the kids and share my values.

I also share my liberal values with my kids. I have discussions with them, explaining why I do the things in my own special way.

Yes, I am odd, but I am unique, and no matter how low my self-esteem can be, I also know that my presence enriches the life of everyone who is invited to walk on a part of their journey next to me.

It is too hot to keep cool…

Cathy

One of those nights…

My last nights have been bad. I had nightmares, almost every night. Completely out of the blue and in no relation at all with my life. Most times, the nightmares are about my kids or my mom. And I reached a point where I prefer not to sleep at all out of fear to have a nightmare again. But, to be honest, no sleep is not an option either… It makes me even moodier than I usually am. But hey… The kids think that I am easy-going these days. That’s something, isn’t it?

I am spending my nights differently… Taking selfies and putting one million filters on them. (Or only two: vignette and b/w)

PhotoEditor_20190511_232336659.jpg

Reading stories on the mighty internet, or reading books; watching movie after movie; playing stupid games on my phone… Whatever kills time.

Tonight’s movie:

Fear

Released in 1996 and directed by James Foley. Awesome thriller with Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon and many other known faces. A love that turns into an obsession… One of those movies I have seen too many times. And also one of the first times that I got in touch with the music of Bush.

Seeing that the film is 23 years old, it is charmingly outdated too

Good night…

Milestone

Dear reader,

As you know, I am pretty hard on myself all the time. I am not very nice to myself. But, you are. You never hold it against me. You are never pressuring me to write more poetry again. You never tell me to stop whining. And I thank you for that. This blog is my safe haven. And yet, I censor my posts all the time. Not too sure why though. It is what it is. I feel safe to ramble here and to let my mind wander. This is where reality and fiction merge; which means that a lot of what you can read here is fiction. A lot is reality. Which is which will never be known. Or maybe it is easy to identify, once you get to know me.

A milestone is in reach for me. Two hundred ninety-nine (299!) amazing people are following this blog — peanuts for some, mind-blowing for me. I am just a no one in this world really, and yet you all mean the world to me.

I am not obsessed with stats (anymore), but I see you see me. And I thank you. I appreciate it a lot.

I intend to keep going with the flow and write whatever wants to be written.

Again, thank you

You matter. Remember that. You matter.

Cathy

#tbt what a difference 17 years make

This is an old picture of me. I like it quite a bit. In a time without photoshop or filters, I looked like this when the sun was about to go to sleep and the first half of the bottle of wine was empty, lol

There are not many pictures of me as a young woman; here I was 19. (My husband took the photo in 2002)

I was in Brittany with my husband, my sister, and three German guys whose lack of knowledge of the French language made for a couple of running gags that are still existing 17 years later. My sister married one of the guys and ran off with him. She never came back home again. (Well, she did, but only about a handful of times in all these years…)

The woman on this picture is not the same woman I am today. And that is good. Physically, I stayed the same height, just a little wider – more to love?! Emotionally, I am a different person.

Writing these sentences is quite trying. I am not my best friend and focusing on nice things to say about myself is hard. I wrote a lot that put me down but erased all the negativity again.

The woman on the picture is a strong one. She achieved every goal without any emotional support. In fact, she was often told that she was stupid and not good enough for anything at all. A lot of my emotional damage comes from this time and the years before that. Caring for my mom as a child was challenging, but I was naive and didn’t know it any other way. It became a burden when I was a teenager. I believe that if I had been treated with more love and care from my family, a lot of my mental issues would not exist. Maybe that is a bold statement. Maybe I was born this way. Maybe I was born with a predisposition… I don’t know.

But yeah, this woman on that picture, that version of myself had a goal in life. And I achieved it. And despite everything (and the mental health…) I became a successful woman. And I did it all without any help from my family. Granted, I often wonder why no one was ever there for me in times of need, why did I have to fight alone; but in the end, it doesn’t matter. Because I got shit done. It would have been easy to find excuses, drop out of school and do nothing – but that was not how I was wired. And so, I got my driving license, I got my professional degree from a university of applied sciences, I have a family with loving children (and they are loved and supported unconditionally) and I was told often enough that I would never become a good mom when I was pregnant with my first child… No matter what I did and no matter how many successes I had to celebrate, my family always found something negative to say about it, and I was always a failure for them.

But what can we do? We all fight battles and we all have a past. I am not trying to belittle mine, but my own experiences aren’t better or worse than yours. The only difference is that they are mine…

Below is a picture of me with my two angels. They didn’t want to let me go to work so they decided to pin me down to the bed by climbing on top of me.

What a difference 17 years make!

The lost stories…

Sometimes I wish there was something in my head to record and store thoughts and ideas for later use. (A brain maybe?!) For instance, I was brushing my teeth, and I had a vision of a first scene for a novel. I formulated sentences and all. When I spat the toothpaste out and rinsed my mouth, I took my phone to write it down, but my mind was blank. It happened before, and it will happen again, I know. But I wonder if I will forget the next bestseller this way.

It was something like this…

He closed the door with the heel of his foot and took off his mask. He shuffled a few steps to the fridge, took out a can of beer and made his way to the couch. It had seen better days; he had too. With a sigh and a groan he fell down and closed his eyes, assessing his body after today’s job. One of his ribs hurt, his left eye was swollen, and his feet hurt. He bent over to take off the tight boots and let them fall down on the floor. He wiggled his toes; freedom. His cape got stuck when he sat back again. Cursing, he got rid of the piece of cloth. He tried to throw it across the room to his boots, but it refused to fly. Just his luck. He was tired of his job, and it dawned on him – it was time to retire as a superhero. After two decades of saving humans from their own stupidity and not once facing an evil counterpart, it was time to stop. Being a superhero was annoying, but what else was he supposed to do?

There was a knock at his door; he didn’t get up. He had earned a couple of hours of rest. But the slip of paper being pushed under his door spiked his curiosity. It was an odd thing to happen. Mysterious.

(…)

Does this happen to you too? Do you imagine a story but before you can write it down, it has faded from your memory? I call them lost stories. 🙂

Have a great Sunday and an amazing new week.

Cathy