Journal Entry 2: river

I really do love the water. Sometimes I just feel like I need an escape. There’s nothing better than dunking my warm body into the icy cold water. I love watching my hair drift, weightless, tangled and messy. Throughout my stay in Hungary, the Danube was there. I visited both Budapest and Vác and the Danube flowed through both. Growing up my house had a river running through it and I would love the sound of gushing water, not only was it captivating to listen to but it was also the source of life. One of the best memories I have with my father is when we’d go fishing together. He would catch the fish and my mum would cook it up on the frying pan.

I am like my father. No matter how hard I try to fight it, I am his daughter. Maybe it’s just encoded into my DNA. I’m hot-headed and aggressive, passionate yet also irrational too. I remember the day my dad taught me to ride a bike without training wheels. I remember asking him not to let go, but when I got halfway down our driveway I looked back and he wasn’t there. Perhaps this is just another fact of life, our parents won’t always decide to stay with us in this journey.

I want to live by the river. I want to get away because I’m not built for the city. We could start a whole new life together. Maybe you’d get sick of me. Maybe it is all just genetic. My father worked his entire adult life in the city until he finally recoiled back into nature. Maybe you will be like me. Like him.

In Vác, there was a beautiful clearing and I remember sitting on a rock watching a father teach his son how to kayak. It was autumn and the leaves were turning yellow. I walked in the town by the river with a rock wall to lean on occasionally so I could absorb the beauty of Hungary and I would hear the crunch of autumn leaves on the ground beneath my feet. This is how I know you’d be just like me, going out of your way to stomp on autumn leaves. This world is scary but it’s also beautiful and magnificent. There’s beauty in the small moments, the everyday moments, the mundane. There’s beauty in a father teaching his son how to kayak, there’s beauty in a father teaching his daughter to ride a bike.

I’ll close my eyes and imagine we are both there together. One day.

Life update: postgrad, work & new family member

Most of my friends know that I absolutely love studying. I’m hoping to graduate in July this year from my undergraduate arts degree. It’s honestly been the best yet most tumultuous period of my life. I feel like I’ve poured all my energy into this degree just to get the opportunity to do an honours degree to finally realise it may not be exactly what I want. Although I already have a research proposal in mind, I am not sure if pursing an honours degree is what I want. For years I’ve been writing my own journalistic pieces on another blog to express myself and my thoughts. I never even considered pursing a Masters of Journalism until recently. I’ve considered a postgraduate law degree (Juris doctor), for which I’ve already received a conditional offer. Throughout my degree, I’ve dipped into subjects which intersect with law and journalism so it’s certainly an area of interest. I’ve considered changing sectors completely, invested time and money into doing so, just to realise it’s also not what I want. To be consumed by indecision is exhausting.

I’ve been applying for jobs to give myself a feeling of security in case pursing further studies is something I don’t want, or, in the event I just want a break from studying. It’s been an interesting yet challenging process. I think a lot of what happens in university doesn’t necessarily help to prepare you for ‘adulting.’


For the first time since the pandemic, I have started to feel kind of normal. I’ve been working out consistently and I’m now in my third week of this newfound motivation to go to the gym. I’ve been keeping a food journal to help keep myself accountable and engage in much more meaningful conversations with my dietician. I’ve been going to the gym 4 times a week, with the aims of increasing it to 5-6 days out of the week. Life seems to be getting in the way of this goal. I’ve been preparing for exams, whilst trying to adapt to having a new and much larger dog in the house. With all this change happening in my life, I do feel a little bit of sadness too. I genuinely feel like I’m waving goodbye to another version of myself. I’m trying to let go of all the trauma which has unfolded over the course of my time at university. Four and a half years which have encompassed times which were fun and full of excitement, as well as periods which were traumatic and also extremely sad or depressing. Most importantly, I finally can let go of this journey and move onto the next chapter.


I’ve been having sessions with my therapist which have helped me to finally unravel the deep-rooted nature of childhood trauma and neglect. I’ve been so worried about turning out like my parents and have completely overlooked dissecting their behaviours in order to modify my own and address my own toxic traits. I feel heard and I’m thankful to be able to access therapy and to have a safe space to talk about my feelings.


I can’t lie, sometimes I just want a hug. I can’t tell you what it is about this change and movement that makes me feel a little bit lonely. I suppose that’s what makes all of this so beautiful. For the first time I realise I’ve got to step into this alone. No one can decide for me, I’m an adult. This truly is my life and I have all the autonomy and agency that I’ve wished for. My decisions are solely my own to make. Whether I go back and do another degree or I don’t, it’s my life and my choice. I’ve asked for opinions from my friends and family but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because the only opinion that matters is my own.


On a final note, I would like to thank every single person who got me here. I want to thank those closest to me who nursed me back to good health when I was sick. I won’t forget the endless nights where they stayed up, brought me heat packs or Nesquik and milo. I will not forget how they helped me to walk or dress while I was in severe pain after tough and grueling surgeries. Thank you for showing me empathy and kindness when I needed it the most.

Hiatus

September 2018 (taken by me)

Trigger warning: mention of suicide and self-harm

In New Zealand, I went to the Skyline in Queenstown. There are some views which are breathtaking. I feel the same way about the Euromast tower in Rotterdam.


My first baby would’ve been born in September 2018.


Photo by Pratik Gupta on Pexels.com

I felt like I couldn’t live without you for so many years. I still feel that way sometimes. It’s depression pulling me back in, devouring me.


There’s a certain level of dissociation that happens with grief. At least in my own experience, sometimes dissociating means to survive. Sometimes dealing with the reality is too painful, so painful that feelings of suicide and self-harm bubble up to the surface. I’ve struggled for years with undiagnosed depression. I was depressed and didn’t know it. I thought my degree saved my life, it gave me purpose. In reality, it helped me to dissociate from uncomfortable feelings. Feelings of grief, regret, guilt, anger, inadequacy and sadness. These feelings popped up so many times over the years in various ways. I suppose I am constantly reminded of the pain.


I still believe in heaven. Although I no longer consider myself to be Catholic, the concept of heaven puts me at ease. The innocent surely go to heaven. Those who haven’t committed sins. Maybe heaven and hell don’t exist. Maybe it’s reincarnation instead.

If heaven exists though, then God must exist. I battle with this. If God exists then why does he let people suffer. Sometimes good people suffer for no reason. People who contribute to society, people deemed as morally good in His eyes still experience pain.


Blood pouring like red wine.


I’m late.


Escapism. Loneliness. Isolation.


I’ve decided to take a hiatus.

Clean slate.

black snow

Photo by Irina Kraskova on Pexels.com

When we open ourselves up to others, we inherently make ourselves vulnerable. We open ourselves up to the possible criticisms of others, the stigma surrounding our actions, or at times, blatant abuse. I don’t really talk personally to many friends about the intricacies of my everyday life as a result. I keep most things to myself. Accepting that my mind is not impenetrable to the criticisms of others is something I’m getting used to. I actively seek to protect my own mental health. I give away bread crumbs now. Not many of my close friends really read this blog, in fact I’m not really sure anyone does. It’s why sometimes I can be cryptic or allusive in the way I write.

I’m frustrated and lonely. I have never felt this alone in my life. I’m confused and scared. I want to be grateful for this life and in so many ways I am. I am lucky and I know it. Sometimes I feel this incompleteness within myself.


Love is weird. Love is amazing and tragic. We hold on too tight and it can be suffocating. Sometimes we don’t care enough and then we neglect the person we love most. It’s a balancing act. I think there’s an element where I prefer to distance myself, it’s easier to let go if you never fully invested into someone to begin with. It’s harder to let go when you envision a future. It’s harder to let go when that future becomes tangible. The possibility of moving in, getting married or starting a family are all a lot harder to let go of when it all becomes tangible. No longer just hopes and dreams, but something that could come to fruition. I don’t think in actuality we ever let go of our trauma, we just learn to live with it. It’s like a shard of glass in the body, you don’t ever really get rid of it, you just learn to live with the pain.


The world is changing and so is my body. It’s all so scary. Perhaps because the world really isn’t ‘getting better.’ The world has been experiencing a chronic cold for the past century. However, I don’t think the term ‘cold’ quite really conveys the gravity of what’s been happening. From the Holocaust, Korean War, Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Rwanda, 9/11, Iraq War, Syrian Civil War and now the Ukraine Invasion, as well as a whole bunch of natural disasters like hurricane Sandy, the Tonga Tsunami or flash flooding in Yemen, needless to say our world is a sh*t show. Nothing is normal. It’s like the world keeps fracturing itself, maybe even purposefully. There have been no attempts to heal the wounds of the past.


rambling

Detachment

I don’t quite understand how we can detach as humans. I’ve been reading a book about codependency which suggests that codependents need to detach and let go. I feel like it just goes against natural human psychology.

I guess I get it, I’ve wanted and needed to control everything I possibly can in my life since my hospitalisation last year. I crave control. I need it. It makes me feel safe and secure in an unpredictable world. I take my daily medications, rarely missing my vitamins in order to ensure I’m doing everything I can to help my body.

I think my desire to control everything predates my hospitalisation though. It’s intertwined with the need for security and stability considering I have a fractured relationship with my father. This has led to a series of bad relationships where I feel like I can’t trust any man. I’ve stayed in toxic relationships which were both physically and mentally abusive because it’s all I’ve ever known. Despite wanting to leave many times, I remain stuck in bad relationships because of my inability to detach.

What I don’t understand is how we can detach. I don’t understand how I’ve detached. How could I detach from something within my own body. How could I detach from my own blood. How could I force myself to stop loving when it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. How could I detach from my own baby.

I feel like letting go means losing a part of myself.


Sex

I hate sex. Sex that is devoid of love and passion. I’ve had so much sex that it genuinely doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.

Making love is so vastly different from sex. Although the physical act within itself is the same, the emotional commitment is so much more different, in my opinion at least. Making love requires vulnerability. It means you’ve got to let down all your walls and show another your insecurities. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to have sex with the lights off because I’ve been insecure. I think this insecurity only comes with sex. In loving relationships, I don’t think I’ve felt insecure about my body.

I think sex and making love is difficult when you’ve had unplanned pregnancies in the past. Every sexual encounter that I’ve had since is riddled with fear and anxiety. I can’t be present or in the moment. This fear has been inside for so long I don’t know how to live without it.

I understand the need for sex with no emotional attachments or commitments. Sometimes we just need release without all the other drama.

Sex without love is just that, sex.


Knots

My stomach is in knots. I’ve spent the past hour feeling nauseous. I just want to sleep but I’m not exactly sure what’s keeping me up. Everything is changing.

I feel nervous, like I’ve got a big presentation tomorrow or an exam. I don’t know why I feel this way. I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat.

I want comfort. To be held, to be kissed and told it’ll work itself out, life will be okay. But that’s a lie, the uncomfortable truth is sometimes things aren’t okay.

I’m not okay.

midnight madness

I can’t write anymore. I know something has changed. My mind can’t contain these ideas, yet I can’t quite put it all into words. I feel stifled. I’m tired. I get 9 hours of sleep and I’m still tired.

I don’t think it’s all because of depression. Maybe it’s because of how I view the world now. I can feel myself slipping and I just want to sleep. I’m angry all the time, and despite projecting it onto others, I’m mainly angry at myself. I haven’t felt this angry for awhile. I want to slice into myself, like my body has become a different kind of canvas instead of a piece of paper. Blood mixing with water.

I want to go on a long drive and never look back. I only want to bring the books which have saved me in so many ways. I want to create a new life, somewhere away from here. I wanna be by the ocean, to feel the sand beneath my feet every morning. I wanna sip on tea and read books completely undisturbed by the sound of cars honking or the tram line running. I want to know what it’s like to feel complete. Why am I never satisfied? Maybe I’ll never be happy.

I try to look for the silver lining. I’m so lucky and I know I take it for granted.. I can’t help but feel lonely all the time. Lonely when I’m not alone. That’s a different kind of isolation I suppose. I wanna love and know what it’s like to be loved. I don’t want things to feel temporary. Every guy is just a different train stop now. When will I reach the end of the line?

Is the idea of self-love just a myth? I’ve been searching for it forever and I still can’t find it. Oh well

This world is utter madness. We all treat each other like we are disposable, replaceable. Maybe we are, I like to think we aren’t.

I’ll go to a place where the weather is cold and icy. I wanna see the snow fall for the first time, Christmas in winter maybe. A new life. I’ll eat cake, have my tea and read books. Until I wake up, it’ll be bliss.

A lonely paradise

I often have this internal dialogue with myself. On books or papers I’ve read. My head is like a lonely paradise. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk, I just want to think. It’s so hard to convey what I think to people.

Now I’ve truly begun to understand the need to filter my own thoughts. Sometimes I fail but I don’t really care, the principle is still there.

I feel like because I don’t have friends with chronic illness, life gets a bit lonely in that sense. Not many people around me understand the pain I’m in. Although it’s not as bad as it used to be, I suspect my pain levels are slowly rising again. I don’t believe it’s due to inactivity however, I attribute it to the worsening of my conditions which will naturally get more painful with time.

I’ve finally started to question myself through a feminist lens. Am I truly a feminist if I exist within the patriarchy and still don’t challenge it? Why do I still put up with blatant sexism? Surely then I was never a feminist but am only becoming enlightened now. When the female body has been oppressed and controlled at the hands of men for centuries, it makes you question your own position in society. Not only economically but, culturally and socially too.

It is a paradise but a lonely one. It is only me and myself talking. She’s smart and bright. The drive within is still there but withers day-by-day. I love her because she is me.

I used to think I was corrupt and so was my body but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. This body is mine and no one else touches it unless I want them too. I’m not in a headlock by some savage white man, quite literally the epitome of violence inflicted by the patriarchy. Nor am I controlled and coerced my another minority seeking ‘freedom’ from the constraints of fatherhood. Fuck the patriarchy.

It’s a lonely paradise in here but I love it.