Long time, no see

Yes, I do remember this blog. Just if you thought I didn’t. I’ve just been very, very busy. Busy being pregnant, yei! Week 34 starting today, August 12 is the due date… Six weeks to go. So I’m busy, busy, busy… I moved to a bigger apartment last week, now I’m trying to fix it up before my Little One arrives.

Bought some new drapes yesterday. Funny, how putting them up makes home feel so much more like… home.

gardinerI bought them on sale from Indiska. I like them. They got birds and flowers and.. stuff. Lots of green. Green is my favorite color. So… I like them.

Anyways, this is what’s been keeping me busy and away from blogging. Preparing to be a mommy, nesting too, I guess. I don’t know, maybe I’ll be writing more often again, but then it’s probably be mostly baby-related stuff… ‘Cause that’s what’s on my mind mostly these days.

(Oh, I haven’t forgotten all about my writing though. Making slow progress, but progress nevertheless. Got the outline of “my book” ready, now I just gotta fill in the details…)

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She needed a hero…

… so she became one.

I read that on Pinterest.

Life is pretty fucked up, you know. It kicks you, when you’re down. If you try to get up, it kicks you even harder. There is no giving up though. Times are tough, but there is no other way than forward.

I’ve been through some rough times, and especially this last year and a half, I’ve been told how strong I am, how it is marvelous that I haven’t given up. That I continue. That I take a deep breath, lift my head high and just continue.

I’m wondering what the darn option would be?

If I just give up, there is not going to come “a knight in shining armor” to save my sorry ass. As a teenager I tried praying A LOT. It  didn’t help either. The only thing that actually helps, is taking that damned deep breath, count to ten/a hundred/a thousand and then straighten your back, bite your teeth together and go on.

I wish there were some “magic solution”, but there isn’t.

If you need someone to save you, SAVE YOURSELF.

No one is going to do it for you.

At the end of the day, at least you can say to yourself, I DID IT.

And then do it all over again, the next day.

Love is a tribble!

Tribble. You know those cute fluffy balls of fur from star trek that multiply if you give ’em even the tiniest bit of affection? Well, love is like that. It is not like a jar holding 10 units of love, and when you give it all away you are left with nothing. The more you love, the more love you have.

That being said, I’ve had one of my crazy epiphanies again and decided to make you all happy by sharing it. (Yeah, I’m the greatest!)

I’ve been feeling kinda down this last week or so. Hurt and lonely and pretty much like a hedgehog – all those pointy sharp thingies pointing outwards protecting me. Keeping everyone at bay. Scared to death to get hurt ones again. Everyone is always leaving me, better stay alone and so on. You know the deal. So, I took a shower. A long one. I don’t know why, but I usually relax and get my thoughts straightened out the best in the shower. I guess I am not the best at conserving water though, since I tend to really loose track of time when I’m there in my own little shower world…

Anyway, I felt absolutely terrible, thinking about how my ex hurt me, feeling even more terrible because I should not feel terrible about that anymore – I mean we broke up over a year ago! Talk about sad and idiotic to still be upset about it! I have a tendency to over-analyze my feelings and to rationalize them instead of just feeling. Then when I try to feel what I feel, I tend to get all upset and anxious and really, really self-judging if what I feel do not coincide with what I think I should feel.

So, being upset with my ex a year after we broke up, is not acceptable – according to my self-judging critic. I might be allowed to still be a little angry and hurt, but not to the cause the level of anxiety I have been feeling this last week.

Thinking back though, I realized that when I do get to this level of anxiety, it is usually due to some unresolved issue. Due to something that is so hard for me to accept, that I cannot even think it. I also know from experience, that once I get myself to dig that thing up, allow myself to think it, then I realize that it wasn’t that big of a deal really. It just went against what I had rationalized that I should feel. I tend to forget; feelings seldom listen to reason. To get this block dissolved and whatever feelings I have buried up in the open, I need to put my inner critic on pause though. That is tricky. Sadly, it usually means I have to go through days of anxiety before I am so exhausted I just can’t take it anymore. Then I take a long, warm shower and then it might manage to force me to relax and then my inner critic might finally be silent for a while.

So, after first spending some time feeling what I rationalized I should feel (angry, hurt etc) , I got so tired I just wanted to give up. Not like dying, but like never feeling anything again. So I just did. I just stopped myself. Then I realized that once again it is my conflicted feelings that causes me to lock up and feel all hurt.

Yes, I do feel hurt. Especially because my ex said that she never felt I let her come close. She also said she felt like I just waited for her to leave, that I never expected our relationship to last. That is not true. I’ve never let anyone as close as I let her. She was also the first one ever that I actually expected to stay, no matter what. When I finally broke up with her, I still expected us to get back together, because in my mind back then, that was how it should be. That she felt that I felt and thought the complete opposite, that hurt me deeply.

I am also angry at her, because she did not speak up. A relationship cannot work if you do not talk to each other. She said, she had never been able to talk to me. Well, I had difficulties talking too, but at least I tried. I am angry with her for not even trying – she told me afterwards she gave up even trying already in the beginning of our relationship – something I have had difficulties to accept. If I had known that, we would never have lasted as long as we did. A relationship cannot work, if you do not even try to communicate.

So I rationalized that it is okay that I feel hurt and angry, but also that since it’s been a year, I should have been able to accept it and let it go by know. What confused me even more is that I think I have. I get a little irritated and at times I’d just like her to answer the question “Why?” as in why did she stay with me? How on earth did she ever imagine that our relationship would work on those premises? And most of all, if she did not know how to talk to me, that meant she did not let me close to her, so should that not explain why she felt I did not let her close to me? A relationship between two people requires that both people work to make it work, after all.

So, I have this rational feeling that I did feel, but they are starting to fade away, but for some reason I cling to them. I cling to them as a defense shield. I realized, that they are safer for me, that facing what I actually feel. At the same time, clinging to anger and hurt makes me miserable.

Then, somehow, a thought came to me. I do not know from where, I was starting to get so tired at feeling anything, and at think about feelings. So this crazy thought came to me, asking me that if she was so horrible, why was I with her? Well, because I loved her and because she actually ain’t that horrible. She’s actually quite nice. Kinda slow in her actions, and I had a real hard time getting her humor, but other than that she is a really lovely person. She’s kinda “the girl next door”. And she’s an excellent cook. Great at hugging. She has a great deal of patience, which a person wanting to be in my life really needs.

So, what happened to this love? I then find myself asking myself. The critic in me tried to stop myself, coming with arguments like “she lied to me by not telling me she could not talk to me and thus making our entire relationship a lie” and so on. My inner critic did not have enough strength anymore though, so I continued to think about love, and loving my ex.

That was when I put the thought out there, in my head. I finally thought the words. I still love my ex. I am angry and hurt and I love her. At first, I wanted to scream. I mean, that is pathetic, my inner critic told me. It did have even less strength now then. So now that I had taken the lid away, opened the lock, and realized what the conflicting emotion was, it all came out and I realized it was not conflicting.

You see, I have been genuinely happy for my ex, when she found a new girlfriend last winter. Which I have explained with being so angry with her that I don’t care if someone else “has” her. It is not that though, I realized. I am happy for her, because I love her, and I want her to be happy. I hope this new person makes her happy. I did not, and to be frank, she did not make me happy either. Love is not always enough. It should be, but it is not. We were and are so different. I love her, she makes me angry, and she did make me at times more miserable than happy. It took me until now to realize that and confess it though. Someone you love should not be able to make you miserable. I was though. I felt I had to change all the time. She always held me back. I know I can be impulsive, and it is good for me to think before acting, something she thought me, but there is a time when you spend too much time thinking before acting. I spent quite a lot time feeling chained down.

I guess she felt I made her life loose control and get all chaotic though. I run from place to place, so to speak, from her point of view. Not realizing that from my point of view we were crawling  through mud.

So, we made each other unhappy. The two of us together, is not a good thing. I love her, I want her to be happy. I also love myself, and I want to be happy too. I can’t see us together AND happy, so we need to be in other relationships. If she is happy with her new girlfriend, I am happy for her, because I love her. As for me? Like I said, love is a tribble. That I love her, does not mean I cannot love anyone else. As a matter of fact, the more I love, the more love I have to give others.

I love my friends too. I don’t think they know how much. I love my cats. I love my mom and brother. I love a lot. That does not mean there are not room in my heart for loving more people. Or that the love I am capable of feeling for them would in any way be diminished by me also loving others.

Love feeds on love.

I love my ex. I hope she is happy. I love myself and now that I got that lock away, I feel content again. I have a lot going for me. For the first time in my life, I have this last year been trying to figure out what I want with my life. I focus on me. It has been hard, I am kinda lost, but this summer have been incredible. I have not felt this good for years. I have a lot of plans and projects, all of them that helps me feel complete.

I do not have a romantic relationship, but I have friends. And who knows? Maybe I’ll meet someone, someday. That is not the focus of my life though. I have never wanted a clingy and needy relationship – that was one good thing with my ex; she always gave me space. She was not clingy. In my point of view, a good relationship is when both are content with being alone, having their own life and do not need the other one, BUT they chose to be with the other one because they WANT TO (not need to) and the relationship gives both that extra in life that you can live without, but you’d rather not.

Love feeds on love.

And PS. With “love” I do NOT mean “want to have sex with”! Sex and love have surprisingly little to do with each other.

What is Love?

… Baby, don’t hurt me…

Is there any question asked as often as ”What is Love”? Most of us spend all our lives trying to figure it out. We try to find it, often without knowing exactly what it is; what we are looking for. Still, we continue the search. If one finds it, can s/he then tell us, what it is? If s/he could, then the answer would have been known for millenniums by now.

There are a massive amount of books written on the subject. Romantic love, love for family, love for friends. Broken hearts, hope that won’t die, tears of happiness. They are all connected to love.

They met under the bridge, her eyes shone as bright as the stars. As their lips touched for the first time, she knew – this was it. She had finally found it: Love. It was hers.

As she watched her lover leave, she went numb inside. There goes my love. There goes my life, my happiness, my reason to be. She raged and cried and her heart broke in a zillion pieces. How could this happen?

She stood once again under the bridge where they had met that day a couple of years ago. There were no tears in her eyes no more. She felt nothing. An icy wind was blowing, but she did not care. Love is not for me, she thought. There is no such thing as love! She looked at the spot where she had once stood, naïve and hopeful, dreaming of the future. Contempt for herself filled her heart. Love is for fools!

How will the story continue? Will she harden her heart, never to go look for love again? Will she meet someone who’ll break through the barriers she’s built? There are many stories about both endings and of some others too. The versions seem to be unending.

What is Love?

Why do we need it? Why do we want it? Why, if it is so essential for our well being, have we not figured it out centuries ago? Why is it not something we all have?

Why might we lose it, if we find it? Does that mean we never had it in the first place, or did it just…? Go away? Disappear? Change?
Love is not something tangible. We cannot say “THIS is what love is.” Even if we have love, we cannot tell another what love will be for them.

Why does love then hurt? Love hurts when we lose it, love hurts when we do not have it, love hurts when we see it but cannot reach it. Sometimes love even hurts when we have it.

At times it seems like love is the same as hurting.

Even if love hurts us, we keep looking for it though. We dream of it, we want it, we feel like we are not complete without it. Even if we shut the door to love, somehow it still seems to affect us. Without love, we become hard and cold and unfeeling. All the other emotions seem to be connected to love, somehow.

Love for parents, love for a child, sibling and so on, they are, many times, taken for granted. Even when you fight, family is still family. Loving family is a duty to many. Love for family can be twisted in many ways. Love for family, or the absence of it, can twist you in ways no one even wants to imagine. Love for family can be deadly – but so can all kinds of love.

Love between friends seems to be the safest one. You are not born with friends, as you are with family. Instead, you choose them, and they choose you. It is often based on common interests, a feeling of togetherness. Sometimes you can be apart from your friends for a long time, but when you see them it feels like it was only  yesterday since the last time. When a friend you love is happy, you are happy for them even if you otherwise are feeling sad. When they cry, you want to do everything to make it better. It is like the love for family, but as for a member of your family that you have chosen, not one you were born with.

Romantic love seems to be the most desperate of them all. It seems to be the one we spend most our time looking for. When talking about love, most seem to think of romantic love. Some seem to mix romantic love with passion and sex. Romantic love seems to be the hardest one to figure out.

If you are hurt by romantic love, you might shut it out, but be okay if you still got love for family, friends and/or for the world in general.

Buddhists talk about giving up love. Love is wanting. Wanting invites suffering. Love is thus suffering. Instead of loving, you should be accepting of everything as it is. You should be content. Stop wanting.

“Wanting”. Wanting seems to be essential for romantic love. You want it. You need it. Sometimes you feel that you cannot live without it. If you do not have it, you think about getting it. You try to figure it out. What is wrong with you, you might wonder if you have not found it. I want it. I want it, I need it, and I must have it.

I had it. I lost it. What is there now to live for? What did I do wrong?

I have it. Will I now treat it right? Am I sure I have it? What if I only think I have it, but actually I do not have it? How do I know that what I have is love?

Love. Why is it so hard to give it up without becoming all hard and dead inside? If we should stop loving to be happy, why then is it so hard to do just that? Why do not more people do it? Or do they do it?

I find no answers, I find only questions.

CAN you give up love, without giving up compassion, empathy, kindness?

Instead of giving up love, should we not embrace love? Instead of desperately looking for that one person to love, should we not strive to love everyone? Let love into our hearts, not shut it out? Give in to love.

Love causes suffering because we want to have what we love. Should we not instead just accept that we can also love without the need of owning what we love?

Maybe it is not love that is the problem; maybe it is the desire to claim what we love that causes the suffering and hurt and damage?

When does love hurt us? – When it leaves us, when we do not have it, when we just keep looking for it without seeming to find it anywhere.

What if instead of looking for it, we would strive to be it? Be Love. If you love everyone, if you love everything, if you just let yourself feel the love that is everywhere, it can never leave you. If you accept love without claiming it, you cannot lose it. Like a flower that withers and die when you pluck it, but continues to grow and live its life to the fullest when just left as it is, love can be enjoyed.

Why do we want to claim love then?

Why do we want love to be ours, and ours alone? Is it the basic need for procreation? Is it a need to be seen as special, if only by this one other person? If everyone loves everyone, are we afraid to disappear in the crowd? Are we afraid to be lonely in the middle of love and happiness? Are we afraid of not being noticed? Are we afraid of being forgotten?

Just do it!

I’ve read quite a lot of Buddhist literature lately. Some thoughts I find interesting and some even causes AHA-moments. Others, not so much. Still others, require some time to pass, before I form an opinion or own thought about the subject.

In one book, there was this story about an old monk, doing something and others asking why not let one of the novice’s do it. He answered that if he does not do it, who will. Well, the novice, it was assumed, I guess.

Then there were some thoughts about how everyone is replaceable, but things need to be done, so you should do it.

This is a thought I find familiar. I often feel that I am useless. The few things I do, important or not, could just as well be done by someone else. Some would probably even do them better.

What I realized – to some it might be obvious, but to me it was not – was that if I and everyone else just go around thinking someone else can do this just as well, and do nothing about anything, then we end up with a whole lot of things undone! No one takes out the trash, washes the clothes, talks to a friend in need, hugs a lonely person.

Yes, someone else might be able to do all this just as well or better, but… Is it really right of anyone to assume someone else WILL do this? To assume that if I do NOT do something – like listen to the elderly woman in the bus talking about her cats – and instead assume someone else will do it – do I not put a lot of pressure on this someone? Do I not just force responsibility on others, taking none on myself?

So, the point being: yes, someone else COULD probably do what you do. Assuming they WILL DO it, is where the danger lies. Take responsibility, do not pass it forward. If something needs to be done, no matter how small – just Do It!

Painting the Palette

Have you ever noticed that when painting, the mixing palette usually end up looking better than the canvas? Or is it just me, who has that kind of a problem?

So, I finally got some painting done today. I used oil paints. I have not painted for a long, long time. Up in Oulu, in the beginning of this year, before I went back to Hell, was the previous time.

I did some zazen again today. I did not get an anxiety attack, as I did yesterday. I guess it is because I just could not manage emptying my brain today. And when sitting, I suddenly was all itchy. My nose, my leg, my ear and so on. I guess that even if I did not fear zazen and a repeat from yesterday on a conscious level, my defense were up and working for full power anyways – probably due to orders from my subconscious. I will try again tomorrow.

About this chaos. To put it short, My Love is now My Ex. The way she treated me at the end of our relationship, is something I just cannot understand, and I have trouble accepting that I probably will have to learn to live with not understanding. Finally, in July, I had had enough. I left her, because I could not let her treat me as she did anymore.

I am getting my center back. The good thing with having been through hell before is that when you get kicked down there again, you know your way back up.

Just a thought

I’m watching the Walking Dead. Season 1, episode 6. There was a big, burning explosion and people were running from it, or just giving up and let it take them.

For a moment, I thought, I’d just like to give up fighting. Let the big explosion take me. End the chaos that is my life nowadays. Just give in.

Then I realized, that the moments when I feel better, when everything is okay, are the ones when I’m not fighting. Who am I fighting anyways? Or what?

Life?

Am I fighting life?

Am I THAT stupid?

When I give up fighting, when I just take life as it is – chaos and all – that is when I have my good days.

So I realized, giving up does not have to mean dying, losing, weakness or anything at all. Giving up fighting myself, fighting my life and the circumstances of it… That is what I SHOULD do. I should just go with it.

I should stop being rigid and stiff. I should bend instead of waiting for the moment when I break.

This is actually no news to me. I just seem to have to learn it again and again all the time. Hopefully, I will be able to keep it in mind better now that I have written it down.

Some say TV-series, movies and the like only give birth to violence and mindlessness. I disagree. Many times when I watch a “stupid show”, it gives me insights and ideas. It might just be a little detail, something the character says or whatever, but without it, I would probably not have had the thought I had.

Nothing is stupid and useless. It only is, if you let it be so.

Zazen

It’s been a long time. A lot has happened. I’m not going to go into that now though.

For many years, Buddhism is the religion I have felt most close to. As I have read up on the subject more, I have realized that it is Zen Buddhism in particular that I find fulfilling.

Zazen is in the center of Zen Buddhism. It is explained as “just sitting”. Sounds easy, right? You just sit there, looking into a wall. I fill my days doing a little of this, a little of that, so one would think it would be easy to take five minutes of to just sit. Five in the beginning, more later. Well, today was my first day doing zazen.

I had two main worries:
1. I have aches and pains and thus have a hard time sitting still, so this worried me.
2. If managing to sit still, how to think of nothing?

To my surprise, neither was the main problem, when doing zazen. I managed to sit quite well, with the help of three small pillows for support. I even managed somewhat to calm my thoughts.

The BIG problem was something else. When I just sat, let the thoughts go and come and thought of pretty much nothing, my feelings got the chance to take control! When not forcing my brain and body to be busy, busy, busy, I got a major anxiety attack!

I have not been feeling well, things have been VERY chaotic in my life since I wrote the last time. I thought I was feeling okay now though. I did not realize, how much anxiety was held back by my busy head, planning and controlling.

I did not even come to think of the possibility. I had thought of emotions yes, I have been trying to for a long time to accept them, feel them, and then let them go. I figured that if they come when doing zazen, i would do just that. I did try to, but I was so overwhelmed! I did not realize I still had so many feelings! So much anxiety inside me. Such a severe sense of worry.

I did not get any thoughts to say what made me feel like this, ’cause as I said, I actually managed to just let my thoughts go and not pay them any attention… I just got the feelings…

I put my phone on alarm everyday at 4 p.m. It says “Zazen” at that time. Today, with a lot of effort, I managed to sit in zazen for approximately five minutes. I got a severe panic attack. Lets see, how it goes tomorrow.

Realizations

As I am here in Oulu, I am slowly coming to the realization that I really, truly want to be an artist. I want to write, paint and do hand crafted arts. Who would pay me for that though?

Society is said to work the way that you just try to get a job to pay the bills and then on your free time you do all those things that you want to do. I am wondering though. Who really does that? Who has the strength to work all day and then actually try to better themselves at writing, painting and so on? Put into that a kid or two, and your day is like:

“get up, kids to kindergarten/school, get to work, work, get the kids, get home, maybe go buy groceries, try to get the kids to do their homework, actually spend some time with your kids, get kids to bed and then finally have some free time and spend it lying on the sofa watching TV until you crawl into bed”

I do not have any human kids, only furry kids, but still, that is the picture I have gotten that it is like. Weekends then are full with kid stuff and trying to gather some strength for the next week..

Even without kids, when I have had one full day of schooling, when I come home I am too tired to paint or write. I watch some dvd:s and knit… maybe read something. But I have no time to be really creative. Weekends go by as I try to gather strength. Time to actually be creative has been two times during the time I’ve been here. Actually got two paintings done. A little writing too.

Had this great idea I wanted to write, but when I got home from the course I was so tired and had other things to take care of first, and when I finally got the time to sit down in front of the computer, I had forgotten it.

Who would pay me to be an artist, and at the same time a stay at home mommy if me and My Love ever have kids..?

Mistakes

I’ve enjoyed Oulu this far, or at least I have enjoyed the course. The topic of last week was to look at environmental issues from the business point of view, something that was new to me. I thought I would find it boring, but it really was not. I liked it very much, and would have liked to know more about the subject. This week there are no classes, so I am just sitting in my lil attic room. I have to write a short paper on the topic of last week. I am writing about the clothing company H&M. I have done the background research, but the paper is not about the background of H&M and their sustainability, the paper should be about my conclusions. I held a oral presentation of the background of the issue last week, so the teacher already know about that and now she only wants my opinion on the issue.

About the oral presentation. I must say, for the first time I feel good about how it went. Usually I have been so nervous, and I have had a hard time speaking in front of people, but this time it went very well. Maybe because the course is held in English, and I was the only one able to relax as I held my presentation. Everyone else was always pausing to look for the right English word to use. I just kept on talking, not caring if I used all the right words. I have found that is the best way to learn languages, at least for me. Just keep on going, if you make a mistake and say something ridiculous and everyone laughs at you… Well, then you have at least put a smile on someones face!

The fear of making mistakes is a fear that can keep a person back in many aspects of life, not only when getting used to speak in a different language. Learning comes from making mistakes and then learning from it, making room for new mistakes and learning from them, always moving forward. Denying mistakes is one of the worst things you can do, because then you can’t learn from them. Being afraid of making mistakes leads to inaction, and then you do not learn anything either.