Category Archives: Journey

What a year 2019 has been!

This has been one heck of a year, for a lot of reasons. Very few things went as planned, but over all it has been a very giving and interesting year. I want to sum up some major plot points in my life, and reflect on it slightly. This may end up much longer than I intended, but here goes!

January through March

The beginning of the year was kind of hectic, I was still studying while very fatigued and I managed to hurt my arm just before an exam which made everything extra hard. I spent time with some of the other students who failed that same exam and we did our best to get through the re-exam. This hiccup meant I wasn’t getting my student loan in the beginning of the year, which was a bit painful. By a bit I mean very painful. Being without money caused a lot of internal, if not external, panic.

In early February, which was when that re-exam took place, my partner went home to the UK for Lunar New Year. I had completed my Bachelor’s paper the spring before, but needed one more course to complete the actual degree, I took those points during the fall. So, by now I had sent in to get my certificate and it arrived while my partner was away. It had happened, I had finished my degree!

When he came back to Sweden one of the first things he said to me was that he wanted us to move back to the UK. It was something we’d talked about a few times and decided against, until now (then). We had just found out that his sister was pregnant, which was also one of the reasons we decided to move. It’s very rewarding being around infants and small children in general, so this was a big draw for me.
Another one of the reasons for us not moving back to the UK was that I had not finished my degree yet, which was why we lived in Sweden to begin with. With me receiving my degree certificate, it meant that I was now done. Even though I was currently enrolled in studies for a lot of practical reasons (but that’s another post which may or may not happen).

In January / February I also worked on reviving the ForkTogether project with a few other people. We published a blog post about it, where we announced the new name, Florence, and got to work. This blog post will probably not talk much more about Florence, but it’s a project that’s very dear to my heart, and something I will keep working on in 2020, as well, and our latest update is here.

Overall my health was pretty bad at the beginning of the year, I had very low energy and I couldn’t really do much, walking anywhere left me exhausted unless I wore compression socks. Over Christmas, my mother had offered to buy me compression tights to make my life easier, but since I had been considering going to see a private doctor I, in turn, asked her if she would be willing to put that money towards helping me go see one, as a way to look for the underlying cause instead of just treating symptoms. She agreed. I don’t remember when I actually made the appointment, but I made it for April 9th, a day before my birthday. And it was in Gothenburg where my mom lives, so I planned to go see her as well.

I don’t remember much of what I did in March. I know I was studying this term as well, but I don’t remember what we did. I’m going to assume I was trying to study as much as possible, while planning for moving to the UK, and spending time with my partner before he went over there. The plan was that he’d leave early April.

April, and the beginning of change

April came, he left to the UK a week before my appointment and I went to my mom’s place. We went to the doctor together, who had scheduled two hours for me. I was finally getting checked out properly for the first time in probably 7 years. Yes, the care centers had done some small things to help, but a lot of the time they just let things slide and we had to start the process all over again, and most of 2018 I had just given up on the Swedish health care system.

My appointment was in the afternoon, so I had missed the slot for some of the blood tests, and they sent me home with a kit to bring to any lab at any clinic. However, this did not go nearly as smooth as I would’ve liked it to. I ended up having to go to two different places and none of them knew what to do with the kit. Turns out that the instructions got lost somewhere along the way, they were supposed to be inside. Eventually I got the blood drawn and I got to go back home and rest.

At the appointment my new doctor and rheumatologist had quickly diagnosed a few things which felt obvious, EDS (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), and a high possibility of Fibromyalgia, she suspected psoriasis but mainly in the nails. I was also given cortisone to rule out other rheumatic issues. The blood tests would later show that I also had hypothyroidism.

Towards the end of April I received medicine for hypothyroidism, Levothyroxine, and it started making a difference within 3 days. Which was when I noticed it by biking. Biking had been something that while it was easier on a lot of my other body parts, like knees, hips and neck, it still always felt like I was dying. Not because I couldn’t breath, but rather because I didn’t have energy in my muscles. That said, breathing was hard too, but more like a weight on my chest. I had never been able to fully put it into words, and most definitely thought that I had worn myself down so much that I couldn’t bike because I had 0 fitness. This was something which had stayed with me for 5 years, at varying degrees. Logically I should’ve known it wasn’t my fitness level, since in the beginning of this happening to me I was going to the swimming pool regularly. (I could go on a tangent here on how I most likely have POTS as well, as it’s common together with EDS, which was somewhat alleviated by the swimming pool because of the extra pressure it put on my body, remember me mentioning compression socks?) Going to the pool was the few moments I felt sane. When I stopped going was when my health started to deteriorate more, and with less swimming, and less relief it was harder to go back to swimming and get that relief. Most of this I did not connect the dots on until quite recently.

So, it was the end of April and I could bike without feeling like I was dying. Mind you this was just the first step in getting stronger, as it improved over time. I had two other benchmarks which really helped me realize what a difference it made, the 2nd one is completely lost to me right now, but the 3rd one was biking on the highest gear without problem (I had been biking in the lowest gear for the past 3 years, at least).

In April I had also gotten in touch with someone who needed a dog sitter, and as such I met Hamilton. He became a staple of my daily life, and also helped me with some of the benchmarks in my health. I was still sick when I had accepted this, because I felt like if I’m home all day every day, unable to do anything, I may as well do that and make a small amount of money.

May and meeting Hamilton

In May I was still trying to stay up with school, and study. However about halfway through the month I threw both hands up in the air and said “FUCK IT, I need to live, and I’m finally able to do so”. I came to the realization that I had been residing in Malmö for 8 years, but I hadn’t LIVED in Malmö during most of that time. Now was my chance.

Most people that know me know that I’m polyamorous, it’s not something I hide, but for the sake of this particular blog post, I am not going to chronicle what I got up to once I got some underlying issues treated, and got energy back, while my partner was in a different country for 5 months (which is how long we stayed apart). I will however say that I was quite lovely to feel my sex-drive return, and me just being kind of high on life and willing to go out there and meet new people. And for the love of everything that is holy: Do not read this as I only went out to meet new people to have sexscapades with.

Anyways, I made friends with some more polyfolx, and went to two meetups, one which I arranged (for women and trans folx). The first one, the pub meetup, I met up with an enby whom I become close friends with on Facebook first. We talked about lot of things we had in common. And slowly it turned out that we were both the same age, and born in the same city. We doubled checked the early background, but we had not crossed paths in our youth, however we could connect to childhood memories with each other because of the spaces we had occupied while not at the same time. We had even moved the same path to end up in Malmö, and it was just very serendipitous moment to connect with them.

Towards the end of May there was a Poetry Slam competition in Malmö, the Swedish Championship. I went to that event alone, for 2 of the days I mostly hovered, and the 3rd day I dared to speak with people a bit more.

One of the evenings I went and sat at the bar at the afterparty afterwards, and just relished in the feeling that I could sit in a crowded and loud bar and not get completely exhausted from it. So I sat there alone and wrote for a few hours before I decided to go home.

The poetry slam did inspire me poetry wise, which is to be expected. I wasn’t able to get a lot of the inspiration channeled into anything, probably because at this point in my life I was all over the place. I was just about recovering energy and able to experience life, and after doing one thing I was always ready to go on to the next thing.

The last evening I made another friend whom I’m definitely still staying connected with. Another serendipity, we only started talking the very last night, but seemed to get each other very well and understand certain ways that the other thought or experienced certain types of things. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like we both managed to share an experience with each other that the other understood well.

The mornings I spent with Hamilton, and the afternoons and evenings I spent at the Poetry Slam. While the dog may not be written about a lot, he became very important to me during these summer months. He kept me company and forced me to rest when I needed it to. He’d insist on me sitting on the sofa with him instead of the computer. So I’d often sit down with a movie or series and have his big head in my lap. He was with me about 2-3 times / week.

June, July—Diagnosis confirmed

Now we’re up to June, as the Poetry Slam ended just at the beginning of June, and the summer really began to hit us. Very warm days started to come on, and I realized that Malmö is a very underrated Beach City. Like it’s less than a 20min walk from the city center (or central station) to the beach, by the ocean! And I began swimming regularly, almost daily, even starting a group on Facebook just for women (and trans people) looking for other people to go swimming with.

Now, I want to reconnect to some of my medical stuff that I was going through. I was following up with my doctor in early June, and while the cortisone hadn’t really done much while I was still exhausted from not getting energy from eating, I later asked my doctor for another course of the cortisone. This time my pain levels went down significantly. Unfortunately, while I was on this cortisone course I caught a really nasty cold. I had gone swimming in the ocean, which probably wasn’t the best idea, but I was just so happy to finally be able to live, and I had trouble stopping myself.

This cold lasted for almost a whole month (there’s more details here, but I lost my voice for 1.5 weeks among other things, and it wasn’t just one cold, but rather one cold and then a bacterial infection, bla bla), from end of June to mid-July, by which I received a course of antibiotics from my doctor in Gothenburg. I had noticed that the infection made most of my pain go away. And she was like, “okay that confirms you have an auto-immune”, at this point I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis.

I got prescribed Etoricoxib to take down the inflammation and reduce the pain. I think I was lucky to get prescribed this immediately, it happened that way because I already knew that my stomach was too sensitive for long term Ibuprofen. And considering I had just about recovered my stomach after 5 years of suffering with issues, I did not want to screw it up again. It actually worked very well, even if I’d complain in the afternoon that the pain meds stopped working. But days I did not take it were a lot worse, which helped keep me humble. It was prescribed to be taken every day.

So, the antibiotics helped me, and I began feeling better quite soon. My mom had noticed major changes in how much energy I had, but was still often very worried. However, she had her own benchmarks to notice what was up. She’d reflected on that after I was out and about I was still able to go with her to the store. In the past I’d rarely even been able to be out and about while visiting.

This had marked my 3rd visit to my mom’s place since the first doctors appointment. And it was lovely that I had the kind of energy where I could just pack up my bag and head to her place on very short notice. And I could go visit a lot of my old friends.

End of July, Seeing Old Friends

Speaking of visiting friends, in mid-July after this appointment and antibiotics I went on a big trip to visit friends and family, because I wanted to take the opportunity before I moved to another country.

For this trip, as I didn’t know if I was getting better yet, I only booked one leg of the journey at the time. I started in Gothenburg, since I had been to see my doctor. And over the next 2-3 weeks I went through 5 cities: Kristinehamn, Västerås, Stockholm, Falun, Gothenburg again, before I returned to Malmö. I had originally planned to go through Uppsala as well, but those plans had to change unfortunately, lucky I didn’t book all tickets in advance.

Through these cities I was visiting a load of old friends, catching up, going to museums, attending my first 40th birthday party of one of my friends, visited my grandmother’s grave, strolled through Stockholm on the hottest day of the year (thus far at least), went swimming a lot, worked on my tiny netbook (which a friend helped me install an ssd drive and Linux to revive it slightly), I got to spend time with my family, both my mom and my dad (who live in different cities) and my sisters, their family and kids.

At this point I was doing (and had been for a while) so much every day or every few days, compared to before I got any medicine, that my sense of time was very skewed. I had gone from being able to do one thing a week, usually going to class, and then spending the rest of the week at home, and now I easily did 3-5 things in a day, and rested to keep my balance. The biggest difference when it came to resting was that it could be enough to just lay down for 30min, in order to ground myself, or watch an episode or two of a TV series, before I was recharged enough to head back out on more adventures.

August, packing to move

Finally back in Malmö, it was already August, and it finally hit me. I was moving, and soon. I had only 3 weeks left, and it was time to get a battle plan together, I still hadn’t really started to pack that much stuff. At the same time I needed to wind down from my trip.

I honestly do not know how I managed to get through the last push of packing, selling and moving. I was lucky with a few things, I got the bed sold for a decent price, and a friend was just moving back from Sweden after a few years abroad, so she came by and bought a lot of my stuff.

There were some hiccups with the moving company, who wanted to come after I needed to be out of the house, and some fun things like that. Which were incredibly stressful.

At the end of it I just got through it thanks to pure stubbornness. I cried through some of the last of it. But the very last night, I was with one of my new friends, and we had really good food and watched a movie together (at their place because I was staying there), and they helped me just wind down, now that it was all over.

September, visiting Prague

In the middle of moving I went to Prague for a week, before I went to the UK. I was in Prague for 2 conferences, first something called Rebooting the Web of Trust, and the other conference was ActivityPub. This week I got to spend with old and new friends, but none of whom I’d ever met before.

It was an interesting week, which I definitely should’ve written it’s own blog post about, as I’ve not actually done much reflecting on Rebooting the Web of Trust, yet. And we’ll get to in this blog post why I haven’t nearly written as much as I would’ve liked to this autumn.

I made two very good new friends, people whom before that week was even over felt like I’d known forever, and they seemed to feel the same thing. And the other people who I spent a lot of that week with definitely are closer to me now than they were before.

I think one of the biggest things for me this week was, balancing and recovering from the moving stuff, even if I was in the middle of it, and busy with these two events. I was definitely testing my boundaries, and stretching them, in a way which was definitely risky.

I was invited to come to Prague as a speaker for the ActivityPub Conference. And it was a great experience meeting everyone, as well as finishing off the week in Prague with all these people working on different things within the same space. I even wrote a really big blog post about it.

Entering the UK

I arrived after a really long week, and a long day, at the Manchester Airport. In Prague I had tried to get on the wrong plane because I was just completely drained, and then I started crying because… well I was completely drained and stressed out. Luckily I caught the right plane, and I was finally seeing my partner of 5 years, after being apart for 5 months.

When I first arrived I just slept, for a week probably. I was just so tired. I kept being tired, and even into October I wasn’t feeling better. And I began to worry that I had screwed up, that I had burnt myself out even more by doing all the things I did during the summer.

Lucky for me it turned out that I was on a too low dose on one of my medicines because me and my doctor had experimented with a lower dose, but because of the move we hadn’t followed up to see how it was going. It was one of my anti-depressants that had been on a lower dose for quite a while, and I believe that the additional stress just made it harder to recover without that extra crutch. Towards the end of October I upped the dose again, and started to feel better.

In October we also had family wedding celebrations to attend to, and we both had it close to where we live, as well as going to London for a weekend. This mostly took up most of October both time and energy wise.

November, December, cold season

Early November the entire family caught the flu. Me and my partner caught it worst, and were more or less strapped to bed for over a week each, and he took much longer to recover than I did.

In early December I caught another bout of a cold, and I slipped down the stairs, and was sick for about 3 weeks. During this period, I was so tired of being sick, but I wanted to not repeat the summer’s mistake, so I did my best to rest properly and get better.

Just before Christmas I was finally rid of my cold, and able to spend it with the family (my partner’s) here in the UK, instead of going home to Sweden like I had planned. And on Christmas day the entire family got hit with the Winter Stomach Flu. This lasted for about 3 days.

And this is literally where the year ended. The last 3 months of it I was very low energy, and sick most of the time, or drained due to too low medicine.

If any of you wondered where I went during those months, that’s pretty much the explanation, and it’s made some of my projects suffer, and me emotionally suffer as well. Because I’m happy about being here and meeting a bunch of my new and old friends here in the UK as well.

Hopefully 2020 will be a much better year, and we’ll see more of each other now.

wibbly wobbly timey wimey

What’s been on my mind lately is how much my sense of time has changed recently. By the mere fact that I’ve gone from doing maybe 1 social thing in a week, to doing between 2-3 in a day. Which makes one week feel like several weeks, because my mind has not adapted to this new sense of time yet, this new development, how much I actually do in which span of time. And the stupid thing is, and I call it stupid because it is frustrating and just like even though I’ve had this change which should be for the better, it’s not really, it feels like it’s causing a lot of problems, while it’s the opposite of the problem I previously had, now the problem is the other way than it previously was.

Let me just explain what the old problem was. While I’ve been sick for the past few years, I had a really bad sense of time, for a few reasons. One of the reasons was that I would dissociate for hours, not whole days, but whole chunks in a day, several days in a row, where I just kinda disappear. I’ve referred to this in the past as losing time, and I’ve been asked if I have DID, which I’ve explored, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the fit. But I’ve also explored other things, there’s this possibility that I’m on the spectrum. And what’s really spoken to me recently is ADHD, because it presents differently in women than in men, and this is why I can never stick to one story in one straight line, my mind kind of gets distracted and I end up somewhere else. That actually makes writing really hard sometimes, because I can’t focus in just one place, I have to keep going off track. [This whole post was recorded first, then edited into a functional text with some distractions removed, and some kept but crossed out].

(So sense of time, let’s go back, anchor. *sigh*) While I was sick, for the past 3 years, because before that I was going to school several times a week, and I would, I kind of knew how time was passing, with the help of going to school. Some of these incidents have been before I started studying, mostly because I was sick then too, but when I was studying it gave me a pretty clear structure, every year, or every term you’d have a new schedule which would help me be aware of where I was, and where things was in that time-frame. In the past three years, while I’ve been recovering from extreme fatigue, I have felt like something that happened a half a year ago, like 8 months, or further away, still felt like just a few weeks. So I could come back to someone to talk about that, like it was yesterday, like it was last week. For me I had finally gotten to a point where my mind had successfully processed this information, to be able to have the followup conversation. Like say, when something bad happens between two people, right, you want to come back and apologize for what you’ve done, or figure out if there’s something you can do to discuss it, etc., but when you do this after 6 months, when you both are supposed to have moved on, because it was supposedly fine, you end up kind of dragging up old things which would’ve been better left alone. Which is a problem.

This didn’t happen very often, but it happened a few times and caught my attention. However, because I was very low energy, it was kind of hard to talk about and it didn’t happen very often, because I wouldn’t actually have a lot of interactions with a lot of people. In the meantime I did realize that it was happening, and I made a mental note of it, and try to gauge it a bit differently.

Fastforward to May of 2019, previous month, because we’re now in June. I went from being able to do 1 thing a week, like I said earlier, to be able to do several things in one day without a problem.
Thanks to the medicine, Levothyroxine, Levaxin (svenska), which helped deal with my hypothyroidism, which actually gave me physical energy for my body (my muscles). And apparently, I have for the past 3 years, done such a good recovery for my mental health that as soon as this medicine kicked in, I was ready to roll out. Just get out there and live life, and do things and get things done, and yeah… I .. Here we are. So I did, and with that in the past, these events, even if I knew it’d only been one night, even if I knew I’d only slept for one night. I’d done 3-5 things, which should indicate that it’s already been weeks, right?

Do you understand what I’m saying here? Suddenly my brain, which I know there’s a lot of plasticity in the mind, which is like the most fascinating thing on this earth to me. (This and deep sea, ocean, I… Are seas and ocean the same thing? Deep sea cretures… Anyways. Minds. The focus.) The time. The experience of time has dilated, I’m experiencing time time a lot faster, right now, than everyone else, because I am used to one week being a certain span in activity but one week for someone else would in the past have been a year for me. That’s how the difference feels.

And it’s really hard to like, I know I’m not the only person in the world who’s experience time differently. I think we have a lot of misconceptions about how time is, it’s always going to be subjective. And when your brain is constantly doing something, or constantly unable to do something, you’ll experience, feel and notice and think about that time so much differently than someone else.

I wanna connect this, with something I’ve been calling me being Hyper social. Which is where I’ll go out and meet someone, It’s fine, I’ll go home I’m a bit tired, and within a few hours I’ll be ready to go out again. I have always viewed myself as an introvert, so I’m so fucking confused right now, I know I still need to recharge alone. Get things down on paper is something I’m trying to use as a process right now. (Anyways I dunno, back to time, fuck if I know.)

Anyways, My sense of time is so screwed. I want to write something beautiful about it, maybe a poem, to get the nuances of what’s going on, and I want to write a poem about it. And how everything is just different, and how it’s impossible to show someone how it feels and explain, and like “hi friend, I’m sorry I’m spamming you”. I’ve ended up in a position where I’m spamming my friends almost 24/7 because it feels like it’s been a week, two weeks, 3 weeks, I’m talking with them again and again. I’m not asking “what did you do today” 50 times, but I keep having a normal conversation, like I would with my close friends, just send a message. “What are you up to? I’m doing x y z, bla bla bla, do you wanna do something?” but then when you’ve asked someone if they wanna do something, like 3 times within 5 days. And then you realize two days later, that it hadn’t even been a week. And this person had given you the clearest indication that they are not a very social person. They did not want to be very social, you could keep talking and maybe see each other once in a while, maybe once every two weeks, but that was it. And here you are having asked them if they wanted to do something, 3 times, within just a few days and talking a lot and just being like suggesting different things and like “but why is this person like withdrawing from me, I don’t understand, do you think I’m trying to be friends with you?” YES, because you asked 3 times in 5 days if they wanted to do something, when for you it felt like weeks had passed, and it had only not even been a week. When that Friday rolled around and I was like when I realized that it’d been so fucking long, I don’t fucking know.

Can I summarize this? Well, it’s a bit wibbly wobbly timey wimey right now. And I hope you can appreciate that. I still want to make a poem for it, but we’ll figure that stuff out later.


This poem was not sponsored by my patrons, but it could be in the future. If you would like me to be able to write more of them, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there, $2 will hopefully eventually start sending poetry straight into your inbox! (it’s a process)
Alternatively, check out my support page for more info.

It took 7 days

Before we get started here is some background information. I have finally been starting to get diagnosed, with the help of a private rheumatologist. This has yielded not only answers, that I have hEDS, fibromyalgia, and hypothyroidism, but also some relief thanks to medication (for the thyroid in particular). It’s that relief that I want to talk about today.


Today was that day. It wasn’t the 3rd day, where I finally had something tangible to compare how I was feeling to. Nor the 4th day where I again marveled at the idea that I could go through a day and do things without being too tired. Definitely not the 5th day, where this newfound energy allowed me to even consider the possibility to have an active social life again. And absolutely not the 6th day, where I was starting to get really excited about meeting new people.

No, it took 7 days, 4 if you account for the fact that it took 3 days for anything to happen in the first place.

It took 7 days for my body to play catch-up, with my new-found energy, which I will have you know, that I have not been pushing boundaries with.

It took 7 days, for my body to tell me FUCK YOU. Because I did small things like two machines of laundry, went out and sat in the sun for an hour with a new friend.

It took 7 days, for my body to completely reject the idea that having an energetic life again would be possible.

It took 7 days, for me to be reminded how precious this energy that’s returned to me is, and how well I need to take care of my body to continue living a life.

It took 7 days, for me to write a real blog post about a health update, as it required me to get hit back down on my ass.

It took 7 days, and even with the pain in every joint in my hand and fingers, I needed to share this experience with you.

It took 7 days, 4 days if you account for the first 3 days where I didn’t notice anything yet, for me to realize that having more energy isn’t necessarily a blessing.

It took 7 days, to be reminded that I have not been blessed with a miracle.

It took 7 days, for me to know that I am about to meet an entirely new life, and that I’ve merely just begun this journey.


This poem was not sponsored by my patrons, but it could be in the future. If you would like me to be able to write more of them, feel free to head over my patreon and check out the tiers there, $2 will hopefully eventually start sending poetry straight into your inbox! (it’s a process)
Alternatively, check out my support page for more info.

Mental health: Losing Time

I have lost a lot of time, both in the distant and more recent past.

I lost 3 years of my early 20s, as I got sick towards the end of my 19th year. I lost most of the year I turned 30, because I was in full time sickleave and I couldn’t speak or think properly for 6 months.

Since the first time, I’ve been occasionally better, I even worked for a while (a year, part time) and spent 4 years studying.

But I’ve also lost days, weeks and months at the time because my mind just shuts down. It’s a protective measure to keep me as healthy as possible, but it’s also exhausting. It’s exhausting because any time I think I have an ounce of energy I try to do those things I want to do, and my mind responds with shutting down.

It may seem like I’m here and active and social, but I also zone out and never really know what day or date it is. This is hazardous when trying to take medication to keep you balanced, trying to get your life back into order, or studying.

It affects my studying a lot as a week will have passed since we received our assignment to do in two weeks, which means that I will have to try and do it in half the time, which usually doesn’t work because my mind will shut down again if I try to push it.

Trying to work is a joke right now, that’s why I’m not trying, because I’d probably get really sick really fast. Yet there are projects which are close to my heart, and I like to get them going. Help them off the ground. But I can’t without it killing me, and I don’t want to feel like I’m dying again.

Yet here I am, feeling like I can’t go much further, and that the shut downs are getting worse. Now, everything up until this sentence was written a night when I was having a particularly bad PMS trip, and I’m not actually feeling like the shutdowns are getting a lot worse, they’re just not getting better.

I wanted to share with you all, so you can understand why it may seem like I disappear a lot, why I’m forgetful or don’t seem to have energy to plan anything. It’s also why I seem like I am a lot more talk than action. Losing time is one of the reason some actions don’t come to fruition for me, why some actions will take months or years.

This is why some projects can go very slow, because time kind of just fades away. However, this spring my goal is to be able to get a better grasp of the things I want to do, and make progress on them.

Thank you for reading.

Old Journals (for University)

Some courses have you keep journals, to examine your own thoughts and progress with the course. I think a lot more classes could benefit from doing things like that.

Today I found a 5 year old journal, from one of the first courses I took at University, which was Drama & Speech (but part of English Studies). What I want to do here today is share it in it’s entirety with you, as it was already digitized. Enjoy:

2013-09-03
First lesson. The goal of the lesson was how speech can improve with practice, but also daring to speak out loud. The first time you read a text it can be a bit uneasy, as you keep repeating it you get familiar with the text and get to know it. When you speak in front of a group or around people it’s very easy to get a bit quiet, especially at the end of the sentence.
We also got to try to open up our voices, with energetic exercises. It was interesting, even if the class as a whole still scares the shit out of me. Drama and public speaking has never been my strong suit, even if I still do the latter.
My weakness is definitely my own creative openness, I can be creative in my own time and alone but when around people with a set assignment and the premise of “Do this out loud right now” I really cramp up, and I just had to use my frustrations instead of a passion. I do however feel satisfied that I found an emotion to use. Something inside of me so I could take the first steps in this class to improve, and get through the class.
In a whole I feel the lesson helped me, even if just the slightest, to feel that I can speak in front of the group, my classmates without too much fear. For me this becomes a good first stepping stone to improving my future public speaking (I’ve held lectures and speeches in the past).
It could be very easy to attempt to avoid certain exercises because I would tell myself that I don’t need them. The lesson really helped me enhance the feeling that I will continue going in head first to these lessons to keep improving my speech capabilities.

2013-09-09
Today’s lesson was focused on breathing and trying to make sound come out of us. Focusing your breath, feeling where the sound came from and where it ended up. Which muscles do we use, and what difference does it make for how sound come out.
We received a vocal warm up exercise sheet which we should aim to do a few times a week.
In class today I almost started crying, I had to face fears about my voice that I never got help with confronting when I was younger. I used to be in various choirs, and on occasion they would tell us that we need to feel it in the stomach, I never did and no one ever helped me with it. The exercises and information we went through today definitely helped me face that fear, and was much more rewarding than any song teacher or choir I’ve ever been in. It strengthens me that I got to face this fear today, and it encourages me to keep working towards becoming a better public speaker.
I definitely still find a weakness in my own fears, but I see myself working through them each and every lesson we have.
My own ultimate goal is still to just generally become a better speaker, be able to talk so people can hear me, and hopefully listen. These lessons are definitely one step in the right direction, and it reminded me about a lot of other exercises that are generally good for body knowledge. Partly I need to work on more exercises like the warm ups, and feel “it” in my stomach, and partly I need to work to fight my own fears.

2013-09-16
Todays class had two big focuses. After having had a lecture, which covered a lot of breathing / vocal warm up as well as the rhetoric aspect of speech and to some extent drama, we continued with a few extra breathing exercises. The “elevator” breathing exercise had a huge focus on relaxing. For me most of these exercises come with a lot of tension, and fears. Most of it is irrational, I know that, and I have yet to figure out where all of it stems from, but each time I fight it I am getting a bit closer towards the answers that I need to develop further. The elevator made me relax my face (especially) so much that it caused both aches and nausea. This is due to that I’m always so tense so when I finally relax it makes me sick. In turn that makes it harder for me to actually engage in these types of exercises. I know that for the future these breathing exercises, even if I won’t use all of them, will come in handy. Similar to what I’m experiencing with all the years of different types of therapy, there’s lessons from all of it that I draw upon once in a while. The most important thing for me right now however is to get a lot more comfortable with it.
Before the breathing exercise we were shown a few exercises we can use to make it easier for us to memorize and work with our lines for the Dramatic reading. By using physical movement and activities together with reading the lines we’ll easier bind the lines of text into our head, rather than just walking back and forth, or worse sitting down in the sofa.
I do know that I will need all the help I can get with memorizing my lines, but right now I feel very confident that I will manage to remember them.

2013-09-23
Today we worked on emphasis as a means to learn a text. In this case we chose words referring to one or more people, or in some cases an important object to the story to emphasise. Using the technique we learned to dissect a text and figure out what we were actually saying. Who is this “they” referring to? The women we just talked about or the men? Were the living people referring to women as well, as was the remains after the men’s actions.
When speaking a part, or any text you need to know what you’re saying, not only learning the words.

2013-09-30
Speaking loudly and clearly, to be overheard while others next to you are also speaking. Grouped together with one other person having the to keep eye contact in order to make it easier to hear.
Articulation. Good deep breath.
We walked around in the room, all of us reading lines at the same time attempting to out speak the others, by being clear and articulate.
I learned that I’ve got a good base to build on, but I can definitely improve my articulation. I will do a worse job while I’m tired, exhausted or stressed. I’ll be out of breath before it starts under those circumstances.

2013-10-07
Rehearsal 1
This was the only rehearsal I made it to. It was a chance for us to perform the whole thing in front of someone, and be accountable for it. No messing around. This made all the difference. When it’s only the group working together a lot of giggling and silliness will occur, often more than once per run through of the play.
The weeks leading up to this I’ve been under a lot of stress, and I realized that the more stressed out I am the harder it is for me to remember my lines. Lines that had previously been fully in my head were now slowly falling away from memory. Luckily I could make the best out of having the play in my hands.

2013-10-21
The Performance
We finally reached the day of the performance. Even if I had yet to learn all the lines, due to a lot of stress, I figured out how to improve that area for the future. I ended up mostly rehearsing the lines during the sessions we had with the group, rather than reading them through over and over trying to repeat them without the paper at home, which was something I should have done to make them stick. I did do that in the beginning with Scene 10, and it stuck since then, those were the parts I knew the best. Even if it can sound obvious, it is something I learned and that I will have to keep reminding myself about.
Through the course I’ve learned that picking a piece of text apart, if you have the time, is a good tool. Figuring out what each piece is referring to, what it means and who it’s directed to. In this case you also got some space to play around with it, use the “Who Am I Speaking To” as a part of your performance.
I learned that getting outside of your comfort zone with a bit of drama can help you a lot in the future. Now I am less afraid, even if I will shake like a leaf, to take on and get up on a stage to talk in front of people or read something highly personal (like we ended up doing in the Personal Life Writing lecture later the same week as the performance).
When you pick apart a text there’s nuances you’ll find that might be missed otherwise. A piece of the text which is referring to the same object over and over, will get more meaning if you look over what it is trying to say. When it has more meaning to you it will be easier for you to express that meaning while reading it aloud. Much similar to the one line about “the point” read by S- B in my group.
Take the time to breath, I knew this since before and with the performance I got the time to re use it. If you plan your text properly you can of course use breathing and artistic pauses to help you get through your nervousness, or in my case you will just have to make due with what you got and add them in as you go and make it work.

As a whole this class has given me increased confidence in myself, and the fact that I can make myself heard if I need to thanks to some of the exercises. I know now how to prepare and plan for any presentation to make it more successful than in the past.
Thank you -.

Ages of Change

Dear friends who are 30 and over, what have you enjoyed about your current age? (30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc.)

For me my late 20s and early 30s were revolutionary. Simply because I lost the ability to speak, think, write and a lot of memories. My mind shut down and I had some catching up to do, with rest. I had to reboot so to speak.

I lost a lot of memories, mostly about arguments which were pointless. I gained perspective about what’s important to me. And because I’m not fully well yet, I’m still looking at life quite differently. I can’t put exact words to it, I will try though.

Losing memories meant that I wasn’t holding a lot of grudges anymore, and that liberated me entirely. I got a chance to restart with people who wanted to (mostly if they came to me, because I wouldn’t really remember). I could sometimes remember the events, but not the people involved. Which was… Strange, but I got through it.

I found solace in not holding grudges though, and I still forget a lot of stuff, which means if we have a fallout I’m likely to forget. The details at least, which also can be detrimental. I get that. But for my own mental health, it works. It helps me let go and move on. I get that’s not always possible for everyone…

I’ve also learnt that we have to take on our struggles and battles differently. Just because it works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for someone else. Yes, I do preach forgiveness a lot. Because it’s right for me, and liberating. I try to preach less though, since I know it’s not right for everyone, as I already said. Processing hurt, and struggles is going to be different for everyone, which is also something I’ve come to understand.

I’m only 3 years into my 30s, and even if it’s been a struggle it’s also been a hell of a ride, which I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Have you learnt something about yourself?

Did your life change somehow?


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Featured image: Change, by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 

A journey in writing and editing

This particular journey started about 9 years ago, when I began using the internet for activism, and eventually got my first Netbook.

Thinking about it it’s possible that it began even earlier when I was in my teens, hanging out on IRC and eventually learning to write scripts for mIRC. I began programming.

That interest stayed with me, while the interest to write had already been with me since I started to learn how to write. I kept a diary when I was 8 years old, and eventually I began writing more and more in it, always caring a diary with me in later grades in school.

Different communities provided diary functions, what I didn’t realize at the time was that this was basically blogging, and I did it a lot. Even when I had a physical notebook to write in by hand, I would also keep a public, to friends or everyone on the platform, diaries.

The first one was plain text, which eventually got some formatting options, and if you understood how to use them you were some kind of wizard. But I wanted to learn, play around and find my own esthetic.

But, the journey I’m more interesting in is from html text editors and CLI, and shunning WYSIWYG, to be now actually preferring to work with editors which help me along the way.

Basically it’s a mental health thing, an allocation of resources. Finding that I’m now incapable of running Linux which tbh even the best of visuals still rely heavily on the command line, and opting for windows “because it just works”.

Yes, I’ve run my own wp server. I’ve had two Ubuntu servers to play around with. One for media and one for internet stuff (the WordPress, as well as irc related stuff). And yes I’ve run Ubuntu on my Netbook. I’ve fixed broken windows installs with help of Linux, and used to write really noob guides for Linux when I got started with it because there wasn’t any that were on a low enough level to teach me the lingo etc.

I used to prefer plain text, and just focus on writing first and formatting later. I’d be able to crank out an idea without looking at it until later, sometimes already formatting in code format because of the editor.

Today I have been trying out the new Gutenberg editor with WordPress, and I’m finding it very rewarding to use, for me in the place I’m at right now. What I mean is, because of various brain fog and other difficulties it helps me to be able to just view the visual and find the correct button.

So I went from this to only running Windows or Osx (because we have two MacBooks in the household), not launching my own servers or self hosting in other ways. And writing in editors which help me along.

My journey had taught me that wysiwyg editors etc. serve a purpose, and help those who need it. Currently for me, with CFS/me it’s just too much mental overhead to set up my own server, learn a new platform to work with, instead of just picking something I already know.

On that note though I’m currently trying to baby step when I want to try new things, and there’s progress being made, but we can talk about that another day. Being able to choose what I do where, gives me a lot more space to learn new things, and energy to write more blog posts. I feel like we’re on to something here.


This post had been updated from its first draft to add in a few more paragraphs.

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