solitary_summer: (spiral)
my post-holiday zen lasted for about three days... )


solitary_summer: (tulpen)
Epiphany while walking to the store to get groceries, write more.

I've been guilt-tripping myself most of last week for spending so much of my free time staying home watching & writing about TW, but going out today and actually feeling good, and having some new ideas what I might do with photography (be a bit more spontaneous, mostly) I realised that on some level I'd needed that. I don't know why, but there have always been these two distinct parts of my brain, the artistic/visual/emotional and the intellectual/verbal/analysing part, and the problem throughout university was that I just couldn't ignore either of them, much as I wanted to. I tend to believe the artistic side is more me in a sense, and something that would be harder and more painful to give up, but what I realised is that the other part is not just something I enjoy doing, but something that is necessary to me too. Verbalising, thinking through things; it does help me to sort myself out. Maybe I need to learn to connect both sides better instead of seeing them as opposites between which I have to (and can't) decide? Be more aware of them, even if I go through phases where one of them is more dominant than the other?

Write. Not necessarily always, because there are times when I can be perfectly content with who I am without analysing everything and anything, but when in depression, write, write, write. Even if you don't feel like it. About tv shows, if you can't write about yourself, doesn't matter. Write.

[A big Thank You goes to [livejournal.com profile] carose59. :) I really should listen to the people on my friendslist more often.]
solitary_summer: (Default)
That sleep-attack-after-coming-home-and-fixing-myself-something-to-eat-and reading-maybe-ten-pages thing? Is apparently becoming a habit. Then got up, blearily, and watched DW The Voyage Of The Damned, which was maybe not perfect, but better IMO than the reviews on amazon suggested, with some lovely touching moments.

Went to see The Lion in Winter (play, not movie version) yesterday with some people from work because M.'s in Berlin and I got her ticket. I hesitate to compare it to the movie version because I haven't seen that in probably ten years or more, so maybe wouldn't like it as much now as I remember liking it, but it has left a strong impression and this version seemed a bit... bland in comparison; lifeless. They tried to superficially modernise it a bit by transferring it into a contemporary world of finance, making it all about shares, holdings and CEOs, which IMO just didn't have such an impact and sounded a bit forced at times. I'm perfectly aware that these days there's probably more power in finance/economy than in actual politics, but it somehow failed to convey the brutal power struggle and dysfunctional family politics adequately. Frankly, I've seen that done with more conviction on Smallville. If one was already spoiled for familiar with the plot, this version simply added nothing new or exciting, but generally lacked passion and failed to touch, and the applause was appropriately polite, even and very brief.



Also got & read John Barrowman's autobiography this week, which was better than I thought it'd be. Oops, sorry. Did I just type that? But while I fangirl as much as the next fangirl, I've stopped buying celebrity biographies a while ago and honestly didn't have too high expectations about the autobiography of someone only just turned 40, dictated into an iPod in between a very busy work schedule. But it has a very personal voice and they (I've no idea if it was John, Carole, or both of them) found an interesting structure, jumping back and forth a bit, going on tangents, etc., so it was never boring; chatty, full of anecdotes (some of which one has heard in interviews over the years, but a lot that were new at least to me, too) and often quite funny, although maybe I should say at this point that JB's sense of humour doesn't really converge with mine, which is very typically Viennese: dark, macabre and morbid. And while it's not the most profound thing ever written, it's not shallow: sincerely emotional, and serious and passionate when dealing with subjects that demand seriousness and passion. And John's energy and enthusiasm are infective even in print.

Oh, and look at the preface: To be honest, here's what I really hope - that by arranging the book in this way, you'll feel as if you and I are lounging in our pyjamas on the couch in my Cardiff living room, sharing a bottle of champagne or a pot of tea, with music on in the background, having a blether and laugh about my life so far.

*g* How's that for seducing your readers?


On a personal note, what really struck me reading this is that of all the authors, artists, musicians, etc. that I've fangirled have made more than a passing impression on my life, JB is by a long, long, - long: *cough* ex-NIN-fan *cough* - way the most positive, most balanced and apparently genuinely happiest person.

cut for getting a bit personal )


solitary_summer: (Default)





I really don't like Sundays. )


Also, on a less whiny note,

a few more thoughts about the Dumbledore outing. )


And I really must grab DH back from my mother and re-read it now. :)


solitary_summer: (Default)




Marie-Louise von Motesiczky exhibition, another thing to strike off the to do list. Liked it.

Liked it?

And that's another strange thing I've been noticing lately - I don't know if it's because I've been moving away from academia for a while now and am losing the knack of being able to dissect everything mentally & verbally, or if I've found a different way of looking at and enjoying art that simply doesn't fit into the mental categories I used to have, but I've entirely lost the ability to verbalise my appreciation, even in my head. I can stand in front of almost every painting/work of art (withing a certain range, still, but the range is so much wider than it used to be) and, if I let myself, almost fall into it, because there's this power and energy in most good art, regardless of style or subject, but I can't explain it beyond that, at least not in a remotely adequate fashion. Books are still easier, but to translate mediums in my head like this seems impossible.




Sister and boyfriend have found another, more happily willing godmother candidate, which I guess is the best solution for everyone involved, except now that makes me irrationally sad and a bit jealous. Er, no, i don't pretend I'm making sense here, even in my own head.

solitary_summer: (Default)
I rarely have nightmares (that I remember); what I usually have are anxiety dreams and the kind of dreams that, when snatches of them come back to me under the shower I realise should have been nightmares, but never really felt frightening at the time. Tonight I actually managed to scream myself awake, or at least I dreamt I was screaming when I woke up. It's hard to articulate or convey what was so frightening, perhaps the part that it was so normal and realistic? As far as I remember, which is very little except the waking up part, I was at home, sleeping, and a woman was bending over me. I can't remember if she even did anything that was particularly threatening or looked that way. After that I slept with the light on, badly, and woke up before the alarm went off, despite having only gone to sleep at 2 am. Made it through work surprisingly well, but was yawning and unfocused during Spanish class, and having missed the lesson before the Easter holidays due to nin-nostalgia and doing all the catching-up on Wednesday, when I'd had three weeks for it didn't help either.

::smacks lazy self::


Lots of strange, very vivid dreams lately.


Also, three months to make it out of the post-Christmas winter depression. Three months. That's a quarter of a year feeling less than myself; more, if you add December where I generally don't have the time to feel much of anything, except exhausted. Starting to see the therapist (and I still kind of resent even typing this, avoiding the phrase 'my therapist' like the plague; hate how it makes me feel damaged and needy and dependent, even when a more rational part of my brain argues it should not. It's a step towards getting a grip on my life and if anything I should feel proud to have taken it. And, god. Now I'm starting to sound like a self-help book.) probably helped things along, too, not to mention spring and sunshine... But yes, definitely feeling better, more balanced and positive, even more open and communicative recently.


Something I realised during/after the last therapy hour is that I can ride out my emotional ups and downs - or, going back a few years, could really, really wallow in the downs, having effectively lost sight of anything else; insofar the riding out and knowing that things will eventually change is already an improvement - but I can't do things X or Y 'to cheer myself up'. [Consumerism? All the stuff (not that much, because I've learned that lesson a while back) that I've never worn, never used, never watched, never looked at again are the things I bought when I was feeling unhappy or unbalanced.] There has to be a spark already somewhere within me, at least a slight need to make me want to do something, plan something, listen to music, read a book, watch a dvd, go out. Look at the world in a certain way. Without that, it always leads to even more frustration - I can force myself to go through with things out of a sense of duty/obligation (as in, you can't sit at home all the time), but it doesn't result in happiness or enjoyment. And I can't consciously create that spark. The only thing I can think of is trying to create a personality, a more positive environment where that spark is more likely to appear/burn a little brighter?


It's a strange thing to realise, because I used to think of myself as a very rational person.
solitary_summer: (Default)

It's this time of the year again...

(pt. 1, which mostly struck me after the belly-dancing lesson last week)

I really don't want to be this person any longer who is always so self-conscious and bound by fears. Afraid to possibly look or act ridiculous, of not doing things right and not being good enough, and (as a consequence) not being liked, afraid of not being always in control to the point where I'll almost desperately try to avoid situations I can't control, relationships where I would risk myself emotionally... It's not that I've been unaware of this tendency in myself before, but I never realised so forcibly how much this is ruining my life, and I'm so tired of that. I want to learn to let myself go at least a little, but I don't know how. I don't even know where to begin.




(pt. 2, which occurred to during a cleaning-, dusting-, & tidying-spree in preparation for [livejournal.com profile] soavezefiretto's visit)

Stuff, stuff, stuff; too much of it. So many things that are remainders of the past. Why do I cling to these things so much, why is it so hard to part with them? Is it that my life is so poor that I'm afraid that if I let go of the debris of my past there'll be nothing left? I tend to mock people who define themselves over material status symbols, designer clothing, etc., but in a way all that clutter defines me, and part of me needs it for that. If I threw out everything but what I am now... I'd be left with some books, some cds and dvds, my digital camera, my computer. Some of the more recently acquired art books would remain, but the shelves full of archaeology books would have to go.

This apartment isn't even who I am, it's ghosts from five years or more ago, a pretence I can't let go of.

Bowie records, Soft Cell records, random Eighties stuff I haven't listened to since I moved the records here five years ago. Marilyn Manson CDs, NIN bootlegs. Tapes with musical recordings from the The Crush era. Stones and shells and two big boxes full of diss stuff on top of my wardrobe. Hippie skirts and blouses from more than a decade ago within. Books about Achaemenid history still on my desk, partly because there is no room on the shelves, partly to keep up (for myself more than anyone else) the pretence that I might actually work with them again. Other history book on court art I bought for comparison when I started to work in the books-shop and still pretended I was going to write a diss, and have never actually even read. All those ceramic sculptures, when I haven't even touched clay in four years. An almost dried-up bottle of green ink and I don't even remember the last time I used my fountain pen.


Ghosts from a brighter time.


I don't even know who I am, now. The reason why I've written so little recently is that there is nothing write-worthy. No adventures, no epiphanies, no inner development except for the worse. I've always maintained it was important that one should be able to define oneself in a positive way rather than by what one dislikes, but right now, this seems impossible, and this, too, scares me.


How is it possible that I seem to know less about herself as time passes, rather than more? That I get more and more insecure about myself as time passes?
solitary_summer: (Default)

Last week we had 20+ degrees, today winter has caught up with us with a vengeance, temperatures barely above freezing point, icy wind, first snow-flakes; winter coat and scarf, and perhaps I should turn on the heat at home, because I'm wearing three sweaters and huddled into a blanket...

I've taken today and tomorrow off, which makes five free days in a row, the last real breathing space before the Christmas rush, but so far I haven't done much worth reporting. Slept, wasted time on the internet, read (a little), practiced belly dance moves yesterday (with the help of a book and a DVD I bought, which helped clarify the moves a lot; I already practiced with Ch. on Monday since the lesson was canceled due to Herbstferien or some such newfangled thing, and I'm definitely feeling more secure and comfortable -- to the point where I'm actually considering buying a jingly hip scarf. Or not.).

Today I spent two hours with my sister (by now very eager to go home, which she'll do tomorrow) in the hospital, and it's amazing how much more alert the Little Mouse (she's seriously too tiny at the moment for a name like Larissa, and I won't be the first to shorten it to Lara, although I'm pretty sure I will at some point) is now. Tuesday it was sleep, or drink, or wah!, big scary new world (eyes shut, hands over ears), today she was much more awake and looking around, trying out what one can stuff into one's mouth (corner of the blanket; five fingers), and let her aunt stroke and tickle her while her mother was having horrible hospital lunch, and right, I'll stop boring everyone to tears with baby news.... ::cough::


Napped in the afternoon after i came home for a couple of hours, twice, woke up a little disorientated as a result, but still yawning...


***


eh. cut for excessive navel gazing that shouldn't be done in public anyway  )
solitary_summer: (Default)

Another day spent wasting time not doing much of anything worthwhile, after I was thwarted in my attempt to take sunrise photos, for which I especially got up at some un-Sunday-ly hour, by a persistent fog. ::sigh::


Downloaded gizmo and am now not only IMable, but also (although that took me a while to figure out) able to make voice posts, so that you all could (theoretically) hear my funny voice, stuttering English and German accent. Hm... We'll see.

[This isn't a sponsored feature, right? I can keep this, right?! Not that I suppose I'm going to use it all that often, or (probably) at all, but I am quite easily corruptible with shiny new features, after all.]


Speaking of corruption, met with Rikki, had tea (I could kill for coffee sometimes. Or a glass of wine...), talked, and saw The Devil Wears Prada, because she likes Meryl Streep, but it left us both very dissatisfied. IMO the whole movie was predictably moralistic, but at the same time rather wishy-washy, over-careful not to be too harsh and offend anyone in the fashion industry, and dear god, by what insane standards could Anne Hathaway ever be called fat? Or anything less than beautiful? None of the characters roused any sympathy, and the only emotion the movie evoked, beside a general sense of faintly disgusted blahishness was vague annoyance. For this girl, who wouldn't even consider a job that would oblige her to wear high heels and just cannot understand that anyone would squee over a handbag, that world was just very, very foreign.



I've been (am) thinking about some things, why my life is how it is, always solitary, among other things, this kind of vaguely depressing thoughts, but am hesitant (or, more likely, afraid) to post any conclusions, or even to form them in my own mind. I feel stuck and paralysed in so many ways, unable to move forward. In fact, I feel like I've been retreating/deteriorating since spring.

Perhaps if I forced myself to write more regularly, it'd become easier again...
solitary_summer: (spiral)

It's one of these spells when I don't much feel like writing -- lj-entries specifically. Maybe it's laziness. But somehow, this time it feels as if the reason for the lack of motivation to update is that I might actually have become a little calmer and more secure in myself, no longer afraid that my life, or any 'progress' (mentally, emotionally) made will immediately become insubstantial and slip away from me, unless I record every tiniest step.


I never really realised (and probably wouldn't have cared, because not caring was a good thing) to what an extent I did it, but I think I must have shut myself down so completely at one point that it takes time and effort to expand again, to open up to emotions, positive emotions, especially considering that I've never been the most open person in any respect. It's almost like I'm very slowly learning to feel a wider spectrum of emotions again, to feel more fully, to see a world I've been blind to (made myself blind to, haven't dared look at) for a very long time. Learn that I can be a person, not just some object or puppet, more or less helplessly flung around, only reacting, but never acting; that I can have influence over my own life, that if I chose to I can determine how I see the world, and how I see myself in relation to it, positive or negative. And maybe enjoying looking at art as intensely as I do at the moment is a step upward, forward, and perhaps I should complain less, when there are good things in my life, but instead realise that changes, if they are to be true changes, and not just rebellions where you're flying blindly from one thing and often end up in a very similar place only decked out somewhat differently, take time.


And then I look at my pictures which are always ... Not exactly cold, not exactly lifeless, not exactly sterile, but very close to either; almost empty of life, the static, quiet moments, incongruously picked in places often bustling with people, and wonder what they say about me.




Watched Serenity earlier this evening, and is it just me or are all the characters ever so slightly off compared to their Firefly counterparts? It isn't so much noticeable with the 'minor' characters, except that they seem somehow less, less interesting, less well-rounded, less lovable. If I only knew movie!Zoe, Wash, Kaylee, Jayne, Simon and Inara, these people would not particularly interest me and I certainly wouldn't have fallen in love like I did. Super!Buffy River I can accept if I must, but Mal ... It's not as if he isn't messed up in the series, but in the movie there's an even harder edge to his character, occasionally bordering on the faintly unpleasant. Now, there's very little JW hasn't been able to convince me of, given enough time and build-up, but the jump is a little too sudden, like moving from the AtS S1 to the end of S3, cutting out all the intermediate character development. Generally speaking, the humour is lacking, and a certain warmth that balanced the brutality and general gruesomeness of the Firefly-verse. Instead we have redemptive heroism and Mal exchanging platitudes about how love keeps the ship flying with River ... In my opinion JW tells his stories better when he has more time at his disposal and can focus on the character's development rather than the plot's -- he isn't a bad story-teller by a long way, but they are certainly his greatest strength and (again, IMO) more often than not the driving force behind his plot developments and twists.


::sigh:: So much for not updating. Also, ::adds picture, because she can::



solitary_summer: (schlosser: birds)

I've become so very lazy, or is it distracted by... what exactly? I have a hard time remembering what it is I'm actually wasting my time on these days. It isn't even DVDs. Crappy books, random internet activities, and it's truly amazing how much time you can waste on youtube. A new summer livejournal layout which I'm still not so sure I actually like, but what exactly did I do yesterday except shop for groceries and go jogging? Sad. I'm having an incredibly hard time to concentrate on writing anything at all. I really do hope I'll become a little more focused again once I'm 100% healthy.

This dates back from Madrid, mostly written there, somewhat edited for (attempted) coherency.

Looking at art; learning to. (Learning to look at life, too?)

cut for excessive rambling )
solitary_summer: (creatrix (© clive barker))

Ouch. Ouch. Sore throat. I sort of hoped I was wrong about it yesterday evening, but apparently not. I don't want to be sick now, with a three day weekend approaching.. ::whine::


My body doesn't usually do this kind of thing, but for once I'm almost tempted to believe that this might be a reaction to the emotional/psychological turmoil of the last two days. I came out of this weekend so happy, satisfied at having roused myself to accomplish something; the contrast made the usual work day a lot bleaker, more mind-numbingly tedious and generally intolerable than I usually feel it is.

At one point I caught myself thinking, and this is what I've become, this is what I was telling myself to learn to be content with? This isn't who I am, this tired, resigned person, standing there eight hours a day, smiling at customers, then escaping home to the fantasy worlds of dvds and books. This isn't me.

[Yes, I'm perfectly aware how utterly, pathetically clicheed that sounds, written down. It felt different, rather more genuine and important.]

Maybe I'm regressing, or having some pre-midlife crisis, or maybe it's spring in the air that makes me itchy and dissatisfied, not wanting to be responsible and mature and realistic and whatnot. Or maybe I had a moment of clarity there.

Yesterday was hell, at least the greater part of the day. Caught between wanting to scream and wanting to cry, rage and claustrophobia, minutes ticking by infinitely slowly.


It comes down to this, I think. I have buried this so deep inside I almost lost it, maybe made myself forget it, but I am only truly happy creating something. That has always come first, the academic aspect of my life came later, and while even in retrospect I don't really regret it, because it has shaped my personality in ways I wouldn't want to miss, the conflict has always been there - I'm assuming a couple of years ago I just became tired of the eternal, futile struggle that got me nowhere.

Giving up the diss... I guess it hurt my self-respect in some ways, but it made me feel like a failure mostly in respect of other people's expectations. My professor's, and, I assume, implicitly my parents', even if they never said anything. Giving up ceramics, any aspirations/pretentions to art, to creating anything, is the real festering wound, something that has a deeper impact on my personality, is linked to it more closely, although I can't quite figure out in what way exactly, or am not any closer to finding a solution and escaping the incapacitating fears and the mental deadlock I've reasoned myself into.

The greatest part of whatever satisfaction I derive from work at the moment is connected to all the major flaws in my personality; my sense of wanting to please people, my inherent perfectionism: it's a safe, more or less controllable environment; there is only so much I can do wrong there, after all.


The problem is, what to do about it now. Whether I'll find the strength and will to do something about it. How to find the person I used to be and who (I hope) still exists somewhere, more than just a lingering echo. During the last two or three years I've so talked myself out of believing I'm able to create, that there's anything within me worth expressing at all, I'm not sure at all I'll be able to (go back? go forward?) and be that person again.

I may dull my mind, myself, enough to make what I do now tolerable again; I could probably even find some kind of balance, perhaps peace. Isn't Buddhism all about not wanting things, because wanting is the cause of pain?


But still. This is who I am. Some things, apparently, do not change.

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