From now on, I’m going to post once a week (I’ve got WordPress added to my action list!). About my life, because that’s how this blog started: as a diary. By going back to the basics, I’m hoping to learn more about myself – and the world I live in.
Be careful what you wish for, lest it comes true!
• Aesop •
Last week I visited a museum with my middle sister. There was an exposition from Dalí, which I looked forward to, and of Eva Jospin’s work, which I knew nothing of.
Me and my sister concluded that Dalí must have had a very… dark childhood.
There were none of his famous paintings, but tons of his early drawings. You could tell it was Dalí’s, but honestly… I didn’t get them.
Hopelessly staring at drawings that didn’t tell me a story, I started to feel I am simply too stupid for art.
As you probably know from a previous post of mine (About Manifesting And More), I am interested in and experimenting with the Law of Attraction and something that is called manifesting: ask the Universe for something, and it will provide (in a nutshell).
It’s been a while. I know I shouldn’t have kept you waiting, but I’m here now.
Who am I kidding? I know I cannot fool you, Life! But even if those words aren’t mine, they seem appropriate to open this long overdue letter.
Plans, Life. Plans!
Let’s talk about them.
How come I have tons of them, but hardly ever one seems to lead to accomplishment?
Is this the reason why my head is full? That I experience problems falling asleep?
Are they the reason I wake up at 5:19 am every morning?
Is my insomnia better at realising plans than my conscious self?!
If only it was up to my head, Life, you’d look completely different for me.
Although I wonder if that’s a good thing…
Plans are nothing, planning is everything
Dwight D. Eisenhower
For instance, take the Dutch weather lately, (which has been exactly what we always complain about: cold and wet).
I have never used my winter jacket for as long as I have this year, and the weather’s only picked up since a day or two…
What I mean is: if us humans, or at the very least us Dutchies, could plan the weather, we’d never see another droplet of rain. Our farm fields would go to waste, all the water we’re so proud of conquering would dry up and we’d be even more miserable than we imagine we are right now.
You poorly combine with making plans, Life. Because you always seem to give me something else to deal with first, before doing what I feel I must to accomplish what I want.
Be it frustration or surprise, perhaps it’s not all that bad when you don’t give me what I want.
Because in the end, you always give me what I need. And that is, albeit unplanned, more valuable.
So thank you.
For being mine the way you are.
The origin of the opening words:
How do you go about planning your life? Does it work for you? Let me know in a comment ↓
“The art of simplicity is a puzzle of complexity” – Douglas Horton
You know you have changed as a person when you’ve passed a life test with flying colours. A test that, years ago, you’d never have succeeded in finishing, for the simple fact that there was (literally) a piece missing.
Are you ready for a little paradox?
Over the Christmas holidays, me and my mother took it upon us to finish a puzzle of 1,000 pieces. Don’t ask me why, because neither one of us is into jigsaws, yet we thought this would be a fun challenge.
We started on Christmas Eve and a few weeks later (we didn’t work on it every day), this was the end result:
It feels like I spent hours looking for that missing piece, but I failed to find it. It could be anywhere or nowhere at all (maybe it wasn’t even in the box to begin with, who knows?). In reality, though, I’d given up my search in about ten minutes.
The absence of this one meagre puzzle piece would have felt like a thorn in my old self’s eye and I wouldn’t have been able to step over it for days, weeks maybe. Perhaps I’d never have been able to really accept the frustrating fact that one lousy piece was missing – a failure, even if 999 pieces are in place, the annoyance of that one piece missing would instantaneously destroy any feelings of success.
The new me sighed it off after a mere few minutes and carried on with her life. There’s more important things to worry about, I thought.
That’s your paradox right there: that one piece missing from the jigsaw is also a lost piece I’ve found in my personality. I’ve grown.
That silly we’ll-never-do-that-again* puzzle might be unfinishable, I am working on my own personal completion, one piece at a time.
How have your holidays been? Any pieces you’ve added to your own puzzle?
*My mum’s birthday is coming up and as a surprise gift I’ve ordered a custom made jigsaw, another astonishing 1,000 pieces, of her grandchildren. I’m afraid we’ll actually do it all again, but I hope this time we won’t be missing any bits
PS: I am slowly coming back to life and I’ve put “WP” in my journal. That’s code for “I hope to make time this week to read up on all if your blogs” (finally)!
“Don’t be shy about asking for help. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it only means you’re wise” – Unknown
Before I write anything else, I want to wish everyone a very belated yet earnest
I know it’s well overdue, but I’ve been told it’s allowed until at least the beginning of Spring, so… I’m not too late, surely? 😉
Anyway, I’ve been quiet, as always, because I’ve been doing all sorts of things, as always, apart from sleeping (as from November).
That’s a small lie: my sleeping has improved. A “good night” now varies between 5-7 hours of sleep and sometimes I even get that without any “help” such as a sleeping pill or melatonin. So even if I still find myself exhausted throughout various moments of the day, my insomnia is slowly (very slowly) decreasing.
In my last post I wrote about seeing a coach-like person… Well, that was a joke! Haha, it still makes me laugh out loud, thinking back to it all :’)
After interviewing me for about 20 minutes he declared I was “severely traumatised” and needed to find myself a “trauma psychologist, not a regular one, one that specialises in traumas.”
When I asked him what my trauma was, exactly, since I honestly didn’t know (still don’t), he told me that’s something I have to figure out with the trauma psychologist.
Whut? If you start talking like that, don’t we all suddenly need to see a “trauma psychologist”? How does this make sense? I don’t see it, but okay, I can shrug it off.
The coach-like person then proceeded by assuring me that him and me, we could work on boosting my low self-esteem.
I think that was the moment my jaw literally dropped. I must have looked at him with a more than just puzzling look on my face, because he reacted surprised by my, well, surprise.
I told him there was nothing wrong with my self-esteem. Sure, it’s been super low for super long, but I’ve also been building it up for quite a while, thank you very much, and I didn’t see the point in focussing on that right now. I mean, I have other priorities, such as, I don’t know, SLEEPING?
So, after 25 minutes of what was supposed to be a 30 minute session, my coach-like person rolled his chair back, threw his hands up and screeched: “Then WHY are you here!?”
I know that was the moment I lost my respect for him as a coach. I mean, I know I don’t actually have clients right now so this man’s got one over me, but… If somebody shows up for coaching, I make sure to let them tell me why they’re sitting in my office, not vice versa.
Anyway, when in doubt what to do, mimic what you see. So I, in turn, threw my hands up at him and shouted: “Finally you ask! I have barely slept for 4 weeks and I think it’s due to stress. I mean, all kinds of things fill my head and at night I lie awake.”
His advice? (You can giggle, it’s okay. I do it, too.)
His professional advice to me after telling him I lie awake at night was: “Don’t.”
When I asked him how he didn’t actually burst into song, yet he did pressure me to just “let it go.”
Honestly! I could do his job! And so much better!
Against all better reasoning I made a follow-up appointment for 3 weeks later. Sometime during those weeks I talked to a good friend of mine who asked me why I didn’t look into my old psychologist? The one that helped me get through my depression 12 years ago. Maybe she was still around and could help me? Surely it was worth looking her up?
So I did.
And guess what?
I found her! 😀 And she still works as a psychologist! Very close by, too!
I’ve contacted her and she’s got a waiting list for about 6 weeks, which sounds long but is far better than the 5 months a lot of other mental helpers have. So in a few weeks she’ll contact me and I’m curious to hear what she has to say, although I am convinced it’s going to be much better and way more helpful than “let it go.”
But, since I am not too good to teach anyone a lesson, including myself, I decided to go to the second appointment with the coach-like person anyway, just to… well, “show him in what state my self-esteem really was.”
When he asked me how I’d experienced our first session, I asked him if I could be frank (nobody ever says no to that, do they?). I told him I’d found it very useless, and that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at his advice to “not lie awake.”
He denied having said that.
Here’s a funny little intermezzo: every time somebody’s ever insulted me in the past and I confronted them with it, they either ended up denying it or blaming it all on me.
Normally I just leave it at that, but not this time. I told the “coach” I have a fantastic memory and an auditive one at that, and that he did say that, literally.
The crimson colour that appeared on his cheeks ran all the way down his neck.
People, that was by far the best momentI had in 2020! 😀 Eureka for standing up for myself, while keeping my cool (and icy glare).
The man sitting opposite of me started to mumble that maybe I was better of with a psychologist. I told him I agreed. He started explaining how to get a referral letter from my GP. I told him I already knew. He grasped his computer mouse and started googling some psychologists he knew. I told him I had already found one.
We stared at each other for a while and I remember thinking There is nothing this man can teach me.
Don’t get me wrong: I think he was kind and nice. He just wasn’t the right person to help me.
But… that’s where I’m at right now. Proud of myself (and boy did I sleep that night!), with a healthy self-esteem as proof of what I did in that man’s office, awaiting my time to meet up with my old psychologist.
12 years is a long time and she didn’t remember me, which I think is logical. But I have a good feeling about this.
Maybe everything that went wrong in 2020 only did so, so I could set it right in 2021.
2021 is going to be one heck of a year, I can sense it. But I am adamant to make that a positive thing!
How have you all been doing? I hope you’re all well! Stay safe and sane, people 🙂
“Insomnia is a vertiginous lucidity that can convert paradise itself into a place of torture” – Emil Cioran
Well, that writing challenge sure was over sooner than I thought… It’s been put on my list of things to do one day, yet I suppose we all know that’s code for probably never.
And I’m not even sorry about it.
For the past 29 days I have not really been sorry about anything. Like not working on my business – not sorry.
Neglecting my appearance – not sorry.
Not working out – not even going to try and be sorry about this one.
The thing is: I have insomnia. Don’t ask me what keeps me up at night, please, because I don’t know. I know it’s more than 1 thing, or else I’d be able to answer that question.
I know the English equivalent is about a camel and a straw, but in Dutch we say “it’s the droplet that makes the bucket spill”.
I feel as if I am the bucket, and I was doing okay, then all of a sudden all these small, seemingly irrelevant little things happened all at once and now I’m spilling over as if it’s the only thing I’m left knowing how to do.
Things as my eldest sister turning evil and trying to feed me cherry pie. Like, really? I’ve hated cherries all my life, never even as much as eaten half a one, and you dare ask me if I’m sure I “don’t want just a small piece?” – talk about crap acting, too. She “did not get anything else as a treat for her 41st”, because she “assumed everyone would enjoy the cherry pie.” Imagine the whole family munching away and me sitting there with nothing.
And no, it’s not the cake. I couldn’t care less. It’s being excluded that hurt. Deliberately excluded. So there was that.
Then there was a series of happenings involving a series of ex-classmates. One of them started her own business, and even if she’s doing something completely different than me, she got double the Facebook likes in one week than I’ve managed to collect in two years. It makes me feel as if everyone sees it, you know, The Secret To Running A Successful Business, but me. I’m definitely missing something here, and it’s more than Facebook likes (which is funny, because I hate Facebook and normally don’t care too much for likes of any kind, anywhere. It’s just the thought of me doing something wrong and not knowing what).
About a month ago I’m driving my car and what do I see when about to hit a roundabout? A giant blown-up face of another ex-classmate who’s running for a local government office position (I don’t even know where to begin trying to explain this, so just picture a massive head on a poster and a terrible slogan to accompany it). It scared me. Not just the face (he is actually younger than me yet looks about 10 years older!), but the fact that he’s the main face of a big political local party and I am… where in my life, exactly?
Then my birthday comes along and I am not even allowed to take revenge on Evil Sister, because I live with my parents and, well, they just love to see their grandchildren munch away at home-made apple pie. So there you have it: my own sister treats me like sh*t, won’t talk about what’s bothering her and instead decides to go full passive aggressive on my butt, and I cannot even strike back because of her children. It’s like they’re her shield to avert attacks from outside. Yuck.
It feels as if I am still the doormat I have been trying so hard not to be. “Take the punches, but don’t ever think of hitting back or else I’ll keep the kids away from mom and dad and it will be your fault” – that’s what I hear, in my head. It’s quite possibly not entirely fair, but Evil Sister has once said: “Maybe I shouldn’t come home for a year and then they’ll respect me more, too” (referring to our other sister’s one-year disappearance act), so I am not keen on proving my theory either right or wrong…
And of course, my business is doing sh*t as well, and no, it’s not just COVID, it’s me! I have no *** idea what I am doing, and even if I am convinced I am a super coach (I actually really do believe I am great at coaching!), I lack in the Getting Clients department.
What also doesn’t help is that the person I hired to teach me all that jazz, a) has postponed the programme I enrolled in due to personal matters and b) possibly doesn’t understand me.
I am not like other people. You say things as social media following and I don’t get excited, I shiver. And what the heck would I do with email addresses if people were to sign up for my blog or website!? Why should I pester anyone with “special offers” when I’m really more into attracting people who already know they want a coach?
I’ve had coaching clients in the past. None of them signed up for any list, downloaded any free email clickbait or decided they should follow my persona because I am “so cool”.
I reckon it worked fine for all of us, really, but now all I hear is how building a list of emails is a must to be a self-employed coach (or anything else).
Al I am trying to say is that I don’t get it, the whole entrepeneuring-thing. To me, following what everyone else does because it works feels… fake. If there’s only one way of becoming a successful self-employed coach, wouldn’t that mean we’re all essentially doing (and being) the same? The same motives, the same techniques, the same methods, the same websites, the same stories, all over and over. Endlessly repeated like we’re The A-Team reruns on TV. How can you stand out when you’re only ever copying others?
There has got to be a different way, surely? But… I haven’t found it yet and so far it’s kept me from having had any clients in 2020. So, do I relent or do I keep fighting?
Anyway, to sum it all up: my life feels like a joke. And it’s a feeling that’s been simmering in the background, but has come to a boil due to all these separate events that quickly followed one another.
Have I mentioned yet that what keeps me up at night is my head spinning? As if I can’t turn it off, no matter how tired I am (and I am tired!! So, so tired!). My heart often beats so loud it’s as if it’s trying to come out of my chest, and every time I am about to fall asleep, I am immediately jerked back to sleeplessness by a panic attack or two, that increase in waves and force as the night lingers on.
My doctor (who is finally retiring!! BEST NEWS OF 2020!!) prescribed me highly-addictive sleeping pills that work – sometimes. Sometimes they don’t.
At least they’ve given me a goal for 2021: detoxing.
December 3rd is my date with – irony inserted here – a GP-linked coach.
In five days I am going to talk about my issues with a man who has the job I want.
Who knows, maybe he can give me a hint or two.
This post is growing much longer than I’d imagined… Perhaps I have more on my mind than I thought, after all – and this is just the tip of the iceberg, really.
Anyway, that’s why I’ve been even more silent than I normally am: I don’t sleep. I am exhausted all day long, yet when it is time to close my eyes and drift off, all I do is panic.
And I wish I could say I am not sorry about that, but I am. Very much.
I refuse to give up, though. So what if I am different and it’s hitting me harder than it’s ever done before? I’ve had a long walk and talk with a good friend yesterday, and it’s helped me clear some things up.
And then there’s this last song, of course. My personal anthem, if you will. I don’t give up. I don’t run. Not from panic attacks, not from Evil Sisters and surely not from really scary giant old-looking men’s heads on posters (although when encountered in real life, I’d definitely run!).
You don’t get me down. I know, you keep me up.
But you also give me plenty of time to overthink my strategy.
Luctor et emergo.
I struggle and overcome – again and again and again. And again.
Here’s to everyone suffering from anxiety, stress, insomnia or all of the above:
We might not sleep. But we don’t run away from our problems, either.