Tag Archives: introspection

This is a catharsis post. Rants ahoy

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Let me preface this by saying that I genuinely love my job. I love the travelling, the fast pace, the strange customers, even the weird cravings you get around hour nine of the flight. That being said, there certain parts of it that my anxiety-ridden self loathes like the Grinch loathes Christmas….
Specifically the increased automation of certain parts of the operation. Call me an old-soul but there are many times when the phrase “just press the button and let the machine do it” is not as reassuring as some people might think. I’m the kind of person who (had I be born a couple of decades earlier) would be fixing the TV with a mallet. Bottom line, I don’t trust machines. And machines don’t like me either. Files mysteriously disappearing and reappearing in random folders, gadgets sorting out because I looked them wrong, if it’s any type of computer it comes to my hands for the sole purpose of dying.  I’m not going to discuss here what electronic device is currently antagonising me but suffice to say I’m not at fault and this whole problem wouldn’t exist if I had interacted with a being made out of organic carbon instead of plastic and microchips.

But here’s the thing. I’m paranoid. I have backup plans for my backup plans because I know I get anxious when things spiral out of my control. But for all I wish I either had all the responsibility or none at all, I have to acknowledge (to others if not myself) that when I am running on two hours of sleep, caffeine fumes and the hope of a bed I cannot be expected to perform my best. It’s the reality of the job and I say that as someone who permanently ruined her sleep schedule when she was sixteen.

I suppose the first sacrificial victim of having a large company is personal contact. And by personal contact I don’t mean feedback forms (the subject of another rant eventually, but not now. One cause of sleeplessness at a time). Automation is all well and good but does not account for the human factor. And dear gods, this would be so much easier to rant about if I didn’t feel the need to keep it as vague as possible. I swear, the next job I happen upon (once the paperwork chasing that is disturbingly inherent in being cabin crew becomes to much for me) will have a lot less forms. Screw salary raises and benefits, I’m hardly likely to settle down anyway (that is not a dare PTB, I do want a family in the somewhat near future). I just want a job that pays my bills and doesn’t drive me to insomnia, drink and/or anxiety attacks. But I suppose that is too much to ask for all things considered.

Sometimes I wonder if my life would be easier if I could actually talk about my problems. For someone whose main strength during academia was writing, it can be remarkably hard at times to find the correct words. There are concepts I only know in one language (which might not be the language I’m using in the discourse I’m having). There are concepts I perceive in the relative safety of my mind as feelings and colours and shapes, with not corresponding words that I can find, especially in such a difficult conversation. And it is difficult. I’m aware enough of my self and my mental state to know that poking that particular hornets’ nest, while therapeutic and something I should probably do at some point, would not be pleasant for anyone involved. Too much compartmentalising and shoving things in the Narnia-sized broom closet that is my subconscious. And even as a child I preferred listening because a. human interactions are stressful and confusing, b. 95% of the people I meet/spend time with I would not care whether I saw again or not so why bother, c. my temper is too violent to risk igniting since hitting someone over the head with my leatherback Divina Comedia is sadly not socially acceptable. What this all boils down to is an underlying sentiment of “I’ve observed that references to this subject are met with frustration and/or indifference so trying to communication my perception of it, based on personal experience or not, will be likely not met favourably”. Or, more laconically, “you guys ain’t listening so why bother”? And yes, that includes trying to talk it through with someone and then them dismissing your perception/opinion/stance are non-valid because it doesn’t fitting with perception of the subject. Oh yeah. That happened. Repeatedly. From people I didn’t expect it from. Fun times. Not.

On a slight tangent, I was having a discussion earlier about diversity and PC culture and whether or not it is meaningful or limiting at this point. I hardly belong to a marginalised group so I felt it would be hypocritical to preach from a proverbial soapbox on the subject. But personally, I feel it’s about removing stigma and misconception. It’s just both can be so deeply embedded that that they are considered normal. But here’s the thing. I would very much like to wear shorts or miniskirts when I go out. So why is it that the same people who with one breath encourage me to do so because I’m apparently at the proper age for it, warm me off doing it with the next breath because “it’s not safe” or so that I can avoid catcalls. And for the matter I have nothing against a guy complimenting me on the street (in fact I am very flattered, but for the love of all you hold holy, leave it at that). What I am against is guys honking at me or whistling from the cars or ogling on the street like they got dropped off to the 21st century from the Victorian times by a very inconsiderable time-traveller. It’s not flattering, it’s not sincere and it is certainly doing nothing to cool off the hotter heads of the feminism vs sexism debate (and I include reverse sexism on that too, it’s just I’ve never had a woman make to make some of the comments I’ve heard from men). Or I would like not to have to think and hesitate about going to the doctor to verify something I suspect because having it in my medical history might affect my chances of employment, or because my symptoms are not “loud” enough to be considered legitimate. For the record I would very much like to be able to make a phone call without having to prepare myself for it in advance or have a conversation with a coworker and not obsessively dissect it afterwards for everything I may have done wrong because have I mentioned how hard it is to talk to someone when you suck at reading body language? And no, I very much do not believe in the idea that best intentions are communicated somehow.

I’m gonna cut this off rather abruptly but it’s getting late and I am famished. At least my head feels a little emtier right now so hopefully I’ll be able to sleep properly (and promptly) tonight.

Midnight light

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Before the shadowed mirror

She stood, backlit in soft glow

From a single lamp on the left,

The dancing flame softening

The lines of a sleepless,

Merry night – For it had been indeed!

 

She stood, caught in the dregs

Of midnight magic fading,

Holding proudly, the visage

Of a Roman empress in colour

And style, but in dress more humble,

Wrapped in the softened glow of the everyday.

 

She fancied she saw held,

In the silver disk before her,

Caught as she was betwixt,

Divine and mundane,

That then she was more beautiful

Belonging to a Raphaelite painting.

 

Too delicate, she felt herself,

For harsh reality’s harsh sunlight.

She shied away, covered the glass,

Such fancies fade away with time.

Things that university taught me

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I finally truly hit that uni is almost over. And I say almost because I still have my thesis to obsess about, so expect a lot more gushing/groaning on that department. Thinking back however, there’s a few things I’d like to share that I think will stay with me for a long time:

  1. Most of the stuff you learnt after year 6 is irrelevant. Unless you do Creative Writing. In which case everything is relevant.
  2. Movie/TV references are the currency.
  3. There is no such thing as optional reading.
  4. Laundry doesn’t get lost. It multiplies in your absence.
  5. Walking distances are proportional to your bank account.
  6. The faster you learn to cook, the faster you become popular.
  7. Hand-written notes rule!
  8. Opinions don’t matter. Everyone will do their thing regardless.
  9. Online shopping (window or not) can be addictive.
  10. The walls are always less soundproof than you think.
  11. You will feel decades older than the first years. And you will find yourself quoting your grandmother.
  12. Supernatural has gifs for everything.
  13. Scented candles always help.
  14. Any day is pancake day (and any time for the matter).
  15. Having fancy-dress costumes is more important than having practical clothes.
  16. You will run out of pain killers the day before you need them.
  17. Illnesses can be postponed through sheer will-power.
  18. Embrace the geek.
  19. Learn to saw. Tights are expensive when you buy them every second week.
  20. Weather and temperature have no relation to outfit choices.
  21. It is perfectly acceptable to go to the supermarket in your pyjamas.
  22. You will develop as seventh sense tuned to find the nearest chocolate. Also an eighth one for coffee.
  23. Fairy lights are an essential decoration.
  24. So are skull-shaped candle holders. (I have diverse interests…sue me!)
  25. Carrying around a creepily questionable book and openly reading it in public will -hopefully- repel any unwanted social interactions.
  26. Morpheus is the most important god ever worshipped.
  27. Your music tastes will inevitably shift to things your teenage self would cringe at.
  28. Disney is still awesome!
  29. There’s never enough money.
  30. There’s never enough time.

There’s more, but if I kept going we’d be here till Kingdom Come. One day, many years from now, when I’ll be a mostly-functional adult, I will write the full thing. Then print it out and use it to wallpaper my house. Just because I can. I did mention that I’ll be mostly functional, didn’t I? 😉

Tea with Molly Bloom

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One of the greatest lies anyone will ever tell you is that following your dreams is the way to go. I don’t mean you shouldn’t. In fact you should, and if you actually make it to your personal pot of gold at the end of your rainbow more the power to you! The problem is that when someone tells you to follow your dream, they usually mean what they think is your dream. It’s not even because they think they know better (ok, there’s always the occasional asshole that thinks so and will not hesitate to tell you). Most of the time they genially have you’re best interest at hand. They truly, wish for you to be as happy and safe and secure as possible. So you pluck up the courage and confess what your secret labour of love is. And with a snap of your fingers, the light of encouragement fades a little, their smile becomes a little forced.

 

Because you told them your dream and it’s not something easy, or –what’s that other expression career advisors like to throw around? – marketable, or even the kind of thing that you talk about at family reunions and can easily attach the word “successful” to. So you begin to compromise, because you care about them and the last thing you want is to make them worry. Alright, you say, it’s a bit out there, and of course I will look for something that pays the bills first but, you know, as a hobby? On the side? And if it ends up being the main thing I do, then great! But I’m not going to be heart-broken if it doesn’t work out. Except you will be. And you will become bitter and sad. Because while you work that in-between job you’ll realise that when you get home tired, and there’s nothing prepared to eat and you still need to do the laundry, there’s no time or energy left to do what you like. Of course some people find both these so elusive things. Me? I know myself well enough to know that once inertia has settled it won’t matter how much I love that hobby. The very idea of moving from whatever flat surface I’m lying in will be too much to consider. And no, the advice “force yourself to do it and eventually the mood will come” is about as stupid as advising someone with a broken leg to work on their marathon time.

 

Or you will choose to fly in the face of adverse winds, do the improbable degree, dare to apply to jobs that tickle your interest. And with every non-answer or negative answer to your applications you’ll get more disappointed, more convinced at your uselessness. Don’t get me wrong, dear reader. While this may apply to you, it is also (mostly) a letter to myself. So where was I? Oh, yes, my sparkling, glitter-sprinkled future. Or rather how easily “I’ll chase my dream job, I don’t care what it takes” became “I just need someone to trust me enough to give me a job so that I don’t have to look at the end of my degree as the start of a free-fall without a parachute”. Less than four years to reach that conclusion and I’m not even twenty-five. And it’s harder when people believe in your dreams (or their idea of them) more than you do. How do you explain that you care more about a steady source of income, even if it doesn’t relate to what your degree says it’s about?

 

How do you make the older generations understand that even a cinema ticket or a night out for drinks have become so loaded with guilt (because you’ll see what’s left in your current account and it’s always so much less than you thought it’d be and never mind that you have a savings account these are savings they’re for emergency you shouldn’t touch them and you thought you had finally figured out budgeting but you didn’t because no one has shown you how ever and suddenly the idea of living off crackers milk and apples sounds appealing) that you cannot even consider it seriously? How do you explain the sensation of never being good enough, even though you try as much as your mind will let you, because when you have it already weighting on you that in the end it won’t really matter because someone more qualified will always be there to make you look worse? How do you explain the tears that aren’t really triggered by anything in particular, at least nothing apparently serious, but you’ve been holding it for so long that even something as little as a broken light is enough to have you curled up with your pillow and sobbing like someone just died?

 

How do you communicate the crippling fear that hits you every time the phone rings and you have to speak to someone or, even worse, when you need to be the one to make the call? How do you translate the constant feeling that people around you just tolerate your presence, that even when they seek you out they don’t much care about what you need to say? How do you get over the feeling that those feelings are confirmed because you tell them something and then two days later they text you like what you said didn’t even register? (Apparently “I’ll be sleeping at the library this week, I have work to do” has the response –before the week is over- “Come over tonight, we’ll have fun” No, actually we won’t. I’ll be tired and just want to get home but I haven’t yet found out the proper way of explaining that just because we seem to be having fun together I actually want the company. Because most of the time I don’t.) How do you illustrate the internalised panic attack you have at any given professional, semi-professional, or potentially-professional scenario because all this is running through your head and you don’t know what is expected of you because you cannot understand the rules of the game but just this once you want to play because you hope that if you won even once (no matter how small the victory) then maybe next time it’d be easier?

 

How do you give up something as small as living in a place you know you’d be happy in because it’s small and therefore jobs there are even harder to find? For how long can you stop yourself from screaming at them, telling them that you don’t want to be this messed up, you don’t want the voices or the fears or the nightmares or the feeling of being a failure but you can’t help it? Not when you cannot remember the last time anything that comes with the word “finances” attached to it came without any stress or frustration. Not when everyone went out and did things while you stayed inside and watched movies because you were tired of how loud everything out there had become. Not when you feel too young for everything expected of you and at the same time too old for it all.

 

Not when the few times you manage to open up to anyone and explain why you are angry and don’t want company you feel even more horrible afterwards because everyone has their own problems to deal with and who are you to hoist upon them your own or because you’ve done everything short of screaming “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and they offer company. The whole “no means no” concept is not a joke and does not only apply to the dating scenario. There’s precious few people whose presence I can tolerate for any length of time and a friendly smile does not immediately mean that I want to be around you. Just because what is inside my head is dark and horrible and most of the time yields a particularly sharp scythe doesn’t mean that I will instantly act like a bitch. I am Slytherin enough to understand that social interactions (not hanging out, that’s different) have their uses. And damn my madness even with all this (or maybe because of it) I want to help other people feel happy. If stitching a smile on my face and swearing everything is peachy is the way to do it, well lies have been said for worse reasons. Besides, the line “I’m never ok” sounds overdramatic when spoken aloud, don’t you think?

One that makes you larger, one that makes you small

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Rest on my table by my bed

In your brightly coloured dress;

Signs of were and is and might still be

All piled together in white and pink.

I may acknowledge but I resent

I want what it was and what it wasn’t.

These days I can’t seem to make

My own mind amidst the contradictions.

It’s not your fault-

Or maybe it is- I know not.

So I keep staring.

-awkward wave-

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Um…hey everyone. I’m back. Um…not sure how long I’ll be able to keep the three-a-week schedule this time, but I’ll try. I mean, my load is a little lighter this semester, so I should be fine? We’ll see. At least I’m no longer in constant panic/too tired to function mode. Sure I’m not much better, but small steps, right?

At any case I have a few ideas on what to post here for the next few weeks  so it’s not like there’s going to be zero content-just rambles. (Or more accurately, I have the ideas but whether they will spawn an avalanche of text or barely a post each is up for debate. After my most recent essay marathon just looking at a keyboard blocks my willingness to type…) But on the subject of rambles and generally stream-of-consciousness posts, there’s definitely going to be more of those. Mostly because I’ve been recently told that dammit I need to talk to somebody before I explode (again. Long story.) and since anyone who has ever met me in person can attest to the fact that my ability to communicate verbally leaves much to be desired (partially because my default mode is “people have their own shit to deal with, I don’t need to add”), I’ll just have to get it out on (virtual) paper. No, I’m not going to go all Dear Diary to you. Just rant every now and then here so that I can continue to fool people in real life into thinking I’m a calm and collected adult. Usually. Hopefully. If there is literature involved. I’m not building a good case, am I?

While I’m writing this post, I’m also trying to sync my account on Bloglovin with zero success. According to them, my blog does not exist. Since I have 2+ years worth of posts that say otherwise, I will respectfully disagree. And according to Google and WordPress Support I’m not the only one with this problem. Unfortunately, the few solutions that don’t go along the “follow the instructions on the bloglovin website” line involve coding, htmls and other scary things that I only recognise as things to stay away from. Considering the love-hate relationship I have with all things computer, if I tried my hand on coding I’d break the internet. And I happen to like a lot of people online so I wouldn’t do this to them…. I don’t know… If anyone reads this and can give me idiot-proof instructions on how to deal with the problem, I will love you forever!

But Lia, you might say, your blog is tiny (and hardly active lately). Maybe bloglovin just couldn’t find you in the tangle mess of the interwebs. Yes, thank you snarky voice in my head and/or comment section. As a matter of fact I thought of that. And so I went of the main search bar of the site and looked myself up. And I did not exist. What did exist was a handy add-a-blog button which I used. And I still can’t find me. I don’t know, maybe it takes a few hours for the thing to go through? I’ll probably check again tomorrow, see if the gods of internet have decided to show mercy. Or call my, by far more, tech-savy brother. And the problem is not my RSS feed because I checked it and it’s valid. So there!

But isn’t this a great metaphor for my life currently? I have all these plans, all these good intentions (Hell has paved a whole new lane thanks to me…), all the willingness to work for my (largely unspecific) dreams and all I ask for is a chance. And a damn guidebook because gods now I’m taking shots in the dark here and hoping the bullets will not come back to be. Yes, I know I’m neither the first not the last to be in this position and you know what? NO! I’m not going to grin, nod and accept that as an answer. I will happily acknowledge that this yet another part of the whole growing up charade but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to sit here and accept that just because my age group doesn’t (mostly) have a frigging clue on where they are going, we cannot have any help. Screw being independent! If I want somebody to take me by the hand and show me the ropes then maybe I should have one.

Universities like to wax poetic on their student support schemes and career development plans and what have you and while I applaud the initiative, I can’t help feeling I’m not the only one finishing their degree and not knowing where to find a paycheck. I chose an undergraduate and postgraduate degree on a subject I love because even as an eighteen-year-old I knew myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t make it long in a career path I was indifferent to (even if it meant a certain job). So here I am with an English degree under my belt and one on the making and next to zero tangible job experience because let me tell you (and I’m not joking now), literature is mentally exhausting. You know all those things you read and wonder, “How do they do that?” I’ll tell you how: hours pouring other people’s work on top of your own writing and world building and scenario exploring. Even my silly little fanfics have an insane amount of backstage work. For every scene or line committed to paper there’s three variants rejected or altered or even saved for future reference. If you want to write good, you need to know everything there is to know about the world you’re playing with, and the same goes to analysing someone else’s work. When I’ve spent seven hours at the library doing background reading on top of my coursework, I don’t have the mental fortitude (or the energy really, library marathons mean less cooking time means less of a chance to eat properly on a regular basis) to go out job hunting. Still, I would GLADLY scrounge the energy to pull a shift or five if someone. would. just. give. me. a. chance. When even the simplest retail job demands experience (even in-university or placements that supposedly are there to help us gain experience) and you know for a fact that you only have to show a measly CV and a shy smile…well, you sorta know your chances are next to nil. Of course they will prefer the experienced person because, come on! Who can be bothered with showing the ropes to a newbie?

I used to joke with some of my friends that when we all inevitably fail to find jobs we should just open a coffee shop together. If I had the capital, that would be my Plan A. As it is, what I do have is a very uncertain future, the understanding that my passions lie on the oft-marginalised Humanities and a terrible case of panic. There are things you cannot study for, cannot possibly prepare for and really would it be so hard if someone, just once, bothered to tell us when we are little that it’s ok to not know what you’re doing, it’s no shame to want to study what you love just because you want to learn more, not in order to get a job. I wish I could be paid to read, write and talk about mythology and the sagas and the Arthurian stories and medieval romances and poetry and all those things that most disregard as useless or irrelevant without even realising how much they have affected the “modern” way of thinking. I wish I could just find a job so that I didn’t lose sleep over how I’m going to support myself from the summer on. I wish it would be more than nominally accepted that not everyone works on the same speed and the fact that I didn’t feel ready to dive right in the job market when I was twenty doesn’t mean that I’m lazy or out of touch with reality or immature or whatever it is that employers think they skim through a two-page CV with little in terms of references and plenty in terms of hopeful willingness to help. I wish….I wish…I wish….

Most of all I wish someone would give me a chance.

That time again

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It’s the end of an era, they tell us,

The start of an age. Again.

End, end, end; start, start, start.

Nobody thinks of the middles.

Time cannot be divided

To symmetrical shapes

Cut off the fabric of Life.

Eras do not sleep quietly,

They follow you through,

They are called…memories.

And change is no paper clip,

Hastily keeping two pieces together.

It is part of a continuum, part of a whole.

Great thoughts these, comforting even!

Then why does graduation

Still sound scary?