So back from the trip to Gambia. I had a lot of time to think about some stuff. Besides this, i’ve been lucky to be included in a group for Old Town larp which will motivate me to do more with my creative side.
So I set a few goals for myself between now and somewhere the upcoming year.
1. Design and make a cool post apoc costume which fits inside the theme of the group. I have never done such a thing. In honesty, my larp costumes are a bit boring and bland, even though last year I did put some little extra details on it. Upside is that it fits very well and i’m able to move very freely in it. So this really is a challenge and the bar is set pretty high.
Deadline: july 2018
2. Get my body to a level of fitness i’m content with. I’m almost there, just the last few bits. I’m proud of my abs (though they’re hidden behind the inheritance of having been big) and my biceps. Most of the time i feel fit and strong, though at other times my body just hurts more than i like. I will have to get my sweet tooth under control and probably set up a routine for myself to dance and do some excersizes more at home, as my work already provides me with quite a lot of walking and lifing (which got me to the level of fitness i’m at right now).
deadline: July 2018 (because I want to be able to have a costume which also reveals more than i’m used to.)
3. Get my astrophysics certificates. During the trip in Gambia i was only able to read scientific articles and read in the essay book of Stephen Hawking i brought with me and it just made me eager for more knowledge and get going with the next lessons of the course. I want to finish all 4 certificates, than look at other possibilities.
Deadline: jan 1st 2019
I can do this.
Sometimes, it takes quite some time to come to a realisation about yourself. One of the first signs in this one i had in Berlin, where we did an excersize about touching and trust before a larp. Shaking hands went fine. Touching shoulders was fine. Some touched my lower arms. It came to a point where i became so uncomfortable i asked the one i was doing the excersize with to stop (which he immediately did). The next step was a hug and weirdly enough i had a lot less trouble with that.
Cue the “me too” meme on the internet about women and sexual intimidation, haressement and assault. It was spoken about in a larp group as well and the topic of larpers and hugs was spoken about. I don’t mind hugging my friends. Even better, i really like hugging my friends because i don’t see them often and a lot of the time i miss them when our normal lives take so much of our time.
Than there’s the people you hardly or don’t know. For some time it felt like you also had to hug them too, because that was normal. Larpers are social people so they give eachother a hug.
It made me feel more and more uncomfortable, as it felt like for me total strangers, or vague aquaintences thought it was normal to hug me. It even felt like they expected me to give them a hug and it just generally made me feel bad.
In that larp group and right here is actually the first time i talked about this and i feel quite relieved.
The whole “me too” movement has made me think extra about concent, which is very important and which i will implement even more in my life in relations to others.
Yesterday I had an interesting experience. I’ll be traveling soon to Africa and I need some extra vaccinations. My parents were going to take care of that with their doctor but I have the feeling the underestimated the inflexibility of my flexible work regarding trying to fix an appointment. So the travel date was getting closer and closer and still no appointment.
Another week filled up where i wouldn’t be able to get the shots anymore and I started to panic. I just had one day that i could actually use to contact the doctor and make my appointment for next week. I couldn’t reach my parents to let them know, but decided to proceed and get my own appointment anyway, as there would be the risk that i wouldn’t be able to get one at all in time.
So i called the doc and they would call me back before a certain hour. They didn’t. I understand that this was the most busy day of the week and all the reasons but my stress levels went absolutely through the roof. Half hour after the designated time i gave them a call, completely stressed out and close to tears. I tried to remain as calm as possible and explained the situation. The assistant understood and i was able to set my appointment. I felt so utterly relieved after that.
I understand my parents wanted to arrange stuff but it just didn’t work for me. Stuff that is this important i need to take care of myself, or it turned out I will get seriously stressed when I have the feeling time is passing by and nothing is happening and deadlines are approaching and there’s a risk of stuff going seriously wrong. Pro-active works for me. It makes me feel a lot less stressed even though I’m not always happy that I have to be the one to arrange things.
I guess there will come a time when I will be able to let this go a bit more but for now this need to be in control is quite big.
Overall everything is going quite well. No more welfare, finances are well under control, i’m doing some nice things with friends, i started the astrophysics course and got over the bump of “omg i can or can’t do this”.
So what happends on a bad day?
Most of the time, I do manage to get -some- things done. Some cleaning, getting some groceries, doing some homework, take care of some administration or something. But I don’t really feel like going out of the house other than for a quick grocery run.
The most shitty part is that even though i manage to do these things, which is more than i used to be able to do on a bad day, i feel totally useless. What i do manage to do just isn’t good enough for me and often i feel very alone in my struggle. I look at the list i have on facebook or skype but i don’t want to bother people with my negativity. On days like that i’m seriously dreading the winter, which will often just bring more of those bad days than the summer does.
I get through them eventually, even though it feels like walking through sucking mud in which your legs dissapear up to your knees. Sometimes i look at the time and see it’s only 7 pm and think: crap this early still? i would prefer to go to bed because i’m really done with this day and it just needs to be over, bring on a new day!
Many people know about being afraid to fail. But what if you’re afraid to succeed? (or even more fun, have both).
So how does that work?
Well you do something and you notice you can do this. But if you manage to really pull it off, it will mean that people will have new expectations for you and next time you’ll have to be on par to meet those or even better surpass at those too. Que the stress.
I notice i am doing this yet again, in two instances even. I tried the test questions of the EDX course i’m doing and it didn’t go too bad. It went better than expected even. So now i can do the real homework test, right? Nope, i notice i have been looking for all kinds of excuses to not do them. Because if i manage to do those and succeed, it means that people will expect me to take on even more difficult stuff of which i’m really not sure i can do it.
Which is absolutely not true, this is my head screaming this at me.
Same with trying to get down to 79 kilos. The moment i get to 80 something Mister Sabotage sets in and i have tons of candy so i will not reach my goal weight. This is so tiresome. At least now i -know- that i’m doing this but breaking this circle is extremely hard.
After putting it off for a few hours (omg i have to clean, i have to clean my cats, i have to dye my hair) I started on the first practice questions of my homework. I expected it to be horrible. I never had this kind of physics at school and though the examples did make sense in a way, it’s different when you have to make those equations yourselfs.
So i got ready to haul through it in the long run.
It was indeed quite complicated, but I noticed that i can actually do this. Sure i have trouble with knowing which equations are for what, but that was to be expected. Filling them in and actually solving them was a lot more easy than i anticipated. I have the feeling i can actually do this, that this is not some ultimately crazy idea that i could finish this course.
Part of me is still going “WTF brain, you actually get this? whoa!” and than the giggling starts.
So what is it that i did yesterday?
Calculate distance, flux (redshift) and radius of stars and galaxies.
How awesome is that!
For a long time the Universe has been a great interest of mine. It started when I was a small kid and my parents had one of those big books that come with the encyclopedia. It was about the earth and the solar system and I loved it. The next one was about mysteries and planets and UFO’s.
Than for a long time I didn’t do anything with it, until I found an interest again in atheist groups and watched youtube movies about the big bang and evolution theory.
I always loved Carl Sagan and read the most popular book of Stephen Hawking. I followed the work of Brian Cox, Neil Degrasse Tyson and Lawerence Krauss (I even named one of my cats after the latter: Krausje).
I have t-shirts with 100% recycled stardust on it. I took up the plan to go visit CERN next year.
It took a nice long conversation with a friend at a bar to finally pull me over a threshold that I had put up for myself. Insecureties if I would be able to do it. Could I pull it off?
So I enrolled in a course of Astrophysics of the Australian National University (by the website EDX <3 ) And it's awesome! The hard part is the math and the physics. I graduated math in highschool but only had 2 years of physics and it's almost 30 years ago. The symbols and numbers and making my head spin and are the real challenge here. I'm hitting the first homework part now and i'm terrified. My head keeps screaming "i can't do this it's too long ago, there's so many numbers and symbols and it's all garglethingy aaaaahhhhh!" So i take a deep breath and start at the beginning, and again.. and again.. and again.. until all those funny symbols and numbers start to make sense. In the mean time i feel like crying but i keep telling myself that i can do this, because you know, I can! Fuck you little voice in my head!
I don’t have a drivers license so I don’t have a car. This means i’m very reliant on my bike. I bought it when I moved here from Rotterdam and it has served me well so far, until a few months ago. The axl in the hind wheel (is that proper english? no idea) sort of gave out. I looked stuff up on youtube and took it appart. Cleaned it, put it together. It lasted about 2 weeks, than broke down again. I took appart the axl of my “spare bike” (as in spare parts, the front fork had broken some time ago). Cleaned it, replaced stuff, serviced it (with grease and all) and it was okay. Better than okay really, it ran smoothly for the first time in ages.
Until I noticed the hind wheel is wobbling so I tightened it up. And now it’s already wobbling again.
Tomorrow I’m going back to work after the holidays and part of me is just terrified that my bike will break down on my way there and that i’ll have to walk and be late. So today i have to fix it and part of me is terrified that i’ll break it even further. So either sollution (do something or do nothing) is making me anxious and it’s just stupid.
I looked it up, i know exactly what i need to do to fix this wobbling thing and i have the tools to do so. Still I’m anxious but I try to not get angry at me for feeling like that, because that will only make it worse and will make sure i will not fix my bike today.
Sometimes i really… really hate my head.
When the days become shorter again, my emotional well-being is being challenged more and more. I feel like everything is costing me so much more extra energy to do. Lately I have noticed that even during the summer I have more “off days” than I used to. Days where I have the feeling the ground is made up of sucking mud in which I sink to my knees and than try to walk forwards, trying to do the stuff I want or need to do in a day.
When the weather is nice in the summer, it helps me to try and pull myself out of such a mood or at least still get some stuff done, but if there’s rain or the weather is just really dreary it gets harder and harder. I notice stuff in my house not getting done beyond the basics, which is feed myself and feed my cats. Bags from weekends away are still in my hallway, not yet unpacked. Laundry is not being done.
The more I have the feeling that I should be doing all that stuff, the more energy it seems to take. It’s amusing to notice that part of me is longing for the faster paced life when my work starts again next week.
I was talking to a colleage the other day. Talking about age and how that matters. We agreed that even though we both don’t feel old, we wouldn’t want to be young at this current time.
Imagine you missed the 80’s. Seriously. That’s a time period I wouldn’t have wanted to miss and the awesome and wrong and cool and bad and sweet music.