Thursday, 16 June 2016

I might be Pompeii

Hey. Long time.

I'm alive and kicking. Mostly in my sleep. I kick around a lot when I'm asleep.

My then-boyfriend left me. Some time ago. When I recalled this lovely new development to the psychiatrist, she seemed bothered by my lack of emotion. "I didn't grieve my father for seven years," I said, mainly to shut her up. I should have told her of the morning when I marched in front of my form teacher and informed her calmly that I hadn't done my homework because my grandmother had died the previous day. She was bothered as well, and I now realize how deeply fucked up I was, even as a child. Even before the larger part of awful things that have happened to me were yet to pass. And the Shrink thinks therapy will make me all better.

Sometimes I wonder about the Shrink. She's a new one that I acquired after the previous genius tried to put me on TCAs (aka those that you see patients drool after in movies set in the 1950s). Her optimism is, not to put a too fine point in it, staggering. "But you're so young, I don't think we can say it's chronic yet," she pronounced last time. I felt like telling her that one of my very first memories is obsessing whether a strange man I had glared at over the zebra crossing would be mad at me. I felt like calling her stupid, to be honest, but that would be of no use and I'd have to find a new shrink again. I'm not saying she's not qualified or that I'm a particular expert at my own monsters, but boy, is she optimistic. She'd do well as a guidance counsellor - "I know you flunked the second grade twice, but let's make you a neurosurgeon anyway!"

Anyway. I'm writing my Master's thesis. To say that it's going badly is an understatement. I really want to complete it, though, because I don't think I have the strength to withhold the clerical mayhem should I fail, get kicked out and have to enroll again. My brain is killing me as it is. I'm tired all of the time. I don't even have the energy to see the guy I'm seeing (I think he might flip if I called him my boyfriend, even though he doesn't read this, and even though I'd love to), and that's killing me as well. It's good to be seeing someone, though. Especially this particular person. Even as every time I fall in love I remember the quote that's on the picture, one of the best metaphors for affection I've ever read. The point is that once you're feeling that you can't make yourself get too worked up about it.

I'm in such a bad place that, all being equal, every day I make count matters. Every day I get out of bed and write, even paltry four pages in nine hours, like today.

I'd like to write a post about things that help me in the everyday business of not disappearing a dark tunnel, but I'm too tired now.

Make every day count.


Tuesday, 19 January 2016

that day we saw the shopping trolley in the river

I don't know if it's been made evident on this blog or if it was my previous one, but...anyway, I love old industrial buildings. If I weren't bogged down by the goblins in my head all the time, I might spend some days looking for them. They're amazing to photograph. Luckily for me, my boyfriend lives in an as-yet-not-gentrified area, and he took me to see some of the dilapidated but still functioning factory buildings during the weekend. It was great. 

People in this town have a habit of stealing shopping trolleys and leaving them in the weirdest places. I know a building that's right across a supermarket that's got a trolley right in the front yard, and nobody seems to be too bothered about it. I was a bit confused about this particular one, as it's quite a way from any shop big enough to be using those. I think the people who live under the bridge the photo was shot from were using it before it got too cold for them to be there. I wonder where they're now. 

Friday, 1 January 2016

a look back on 2015

I am so low on energy that I'm reluctant to write, but since 2015 was a year when I actually did something, it seems like a shame not to. It's also a good way to organize my thoughts about the past year.

2015 was difficult. Sometime after my arrival in the UK my brain decided that it would be good fun to start a depression episode, which has not ended since. Despite that fact, and thanks to lots of generous people and lucky circumstances, I got to experience interesting, beautiful things, something I am very grateful for.

In the past year (in chronological order),

  1. I went to the UK for my semester abroad. The months I spent in Bristol were challenging, but my fellow students and the city itself made this a truly great experience. I found the majority of British people to be lovely and kind, and I liked the way of life and the general atmosphere of Bristol, which is way more pleasant and warm than the atmosphere in the Czech Republic where I normally live. I have tried to internalize the kindness and politeness and to bring it back with me, which has not been entirely successful, but the fact that life can be lived more pleasantly only by changing one's attitude to it has stayed with me, and it's a great reference point that I can always look back on. 
  2. I called a suicide hotline. I had a breakdown in February, and called the Samaritans. I would recommend this to anyone if they find themselves in similar circumstances. Judging by the lady who I spoke to, the Samaritans are very efficient and very well trained to help you cope with a difficult situation. 
  3. I went vegan. Initially I started to do Veganuary, but it didn't last because I was still learning my way around UK shopping and the change was too overwhelming. However, as I learned more about the ways people exploit animals and how deeply entrenched the acceptance of others' suffering for our gratification is, I decided to go fully vegan in March, and I haven't looked back. After some time I realized that I had actually always wanted to live like this, only I didn't have the reference frame. Despite general preconceptions about veganism, it is actually quite easy to be vegan, both back in UK and here. Being vegan has been good to my generally crappy mental state, as I no longer have to practice cognitive dissonance between loving and respecting animals, and participating in their exploitation (there are exceptions of course - my cat eats meat, and I take medications that may have been tested, which are essential to my functioning).
  4. I met my boyfriend. When I came back home in July, I made an Internet dating profile, and got very lucky. I only went on one first date. We've been together since, and I infinitely prefer being in a relationship to being single. He's a lovely person. Being with me is no picnic, but we're making it work. 
  5. I discovered I have PTSD. It dawned on me after my friend made a comment about "definitely not thinking about [an instance of sexual assault] two years later," which I had absolutely no understanding for. I had even less understanding for her saying that I am "enforcing my victim narrative by bringing it up." And then I watched Jessica Jones and got the frame of reference for PTSD. Like with everything, you have to know it exists before you can understand that you're experiencing it (for example, as a teenager I didn't know I was queer because I didn't know that non-heterosexual orientations existed). I'm not dealing with this very well. I still have flashbacks. Seeing aggressive drunk people makes me hyperventilate and cry. Watching stuff like Jessica Jones or The Girl in the Book makes me want to throw up. 
  6. I made a colouring book, and re-discovered my love of drawing. I am now committed to learning how to draw people and animals, so that I can express myself better visually. 
These are all I can think of right now. I might be adding to the list later on. I'd love to do a post on each of these, but I'm currently working on managing to do my work while I feel the need to sleep most of the time, so that's probably not happening.

Monday, 28 December 2015

film log: Christmas

Since I find myself unable to write anything coherent, I have decided to reinstate the weekly film log in hopes that maybe somewhere there are people who could find it useful or even a matter of interest.

I have been watching a lot of films lately. Since I tend to choose films through Wikipedia dives into actors' filmographies, I often watch a lot of films with the same actor. This week I started with Alicia Vikander, but I couldn't bring myself to watch
The Danish Girl, so I only watched A Royal Affair, and then switched to Mads Mikkelsen for a harrowing peek onto contemporary Danish film.

I have also finally seen
Die Hard. It's not my kind of film. 

Brooklyn (2015). Everyone knows Saoirse Ronan is a terrific actress. The awesome thing about this movie is that the rest of the cast is just as great. 10/10

Anguish (2015). Very slow horror. It's a debut, so it's understandably a bit all over the place. Wouldn't watch it again, but it's worth seeing. 7/10

Die Hard (1988). "I don't understand how people watch this film every year," I said to my boyfriend after we watched Die Hard. "I know," he responded. "I only watch it every other year." -/-

Spotlight (2015). I don't know what it is with stories about news operations that kills even the most interesting topics. In this case the subject is child abuse in the Catholic church. And the film is boring. It starts off interesting threads and then fails to follow up. It's a shame, really. 5/10

Dark Water (2005). Remake of a 2002 Japanese film. I'd have to see the original to be sure, but this film feels and looks like an absolute waste of time. 3/10

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone
Winter's Bone (2010). Though the denouement feels a little too much, this is a great film throughout. Mostly because of Jennifer Lawrence. She carries the whole thing. The child actors playing her siblings are also excellent. 9/10

Oranges and Sunshine (2011). Very well done dramatization of the work of Margaret Humphreys, the former social worker from Nottingham who took upon herself the exposing of the horrible child-deportation schemes of the UK and its former colonies, and the reuniting of the deported children with their families. 10/10

Boy Meets Girl (2015). This film is very organic/ mimetic/ lifelike etc. That's not doing its cohesiveness any favours, but it really makes you connect with the characters. Since I'm not transgender, I don't know about its representative value, but from an outsider point of view I'd say casting Michelle Hendley was a great choice. 9/10

A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære, 2012). I don't know Danish history, so I have no idea how plausible this film was. Nevertheless, it's a wonderfully shot movie with amazing actors in all parts. 10/10

Alicia Vikander in A Royal Affair

Suffragette (2015). This film has everything. A good thing to watch after is the British series Call the Midwife, so that you can see how little East End seems to have had changed from 1912 (the year this film is set) to the 1950s, though. Women had the vote then, but they were still very much being denied. 10/10

The Hunt (Jagten, 2012). At the beginning of the film, before the madness starts, the main character goes into the forest and shoots a deer. And you can really see the perverse logic, the absurd double standard of it: the deer come in a herd; they're beautiful; they graze, minding their own business. And then a human comes along and just shoots them. They have no chance to fight back. Is that fair? No, it's not. And neither is it fair that a nursery-age child's nonsense talk is immediately elaborated on and believed as gospel, while an innocent man's life is turned into misery. Among other things, his dog is murdered. It upsets his son greatly, and it's supposed to upset the audience as well. And yet it's the same son that gleefully accepts a shooting rifle a year later, about to "become a man" by murdering sentient beings that stand no chance against a rifle. Anyway. Decent movie. 7/10

Infinitely Polar Bear (2014). Okay. I get that this is supposed to be a comedy. I'm not bipolar, so I'm not 100% sure on how that works, but I've seen bipolar people, and I'm sorry to say, Cam would have to be fantastically lucky to pull off taking care of his daughters alone, especially on no meds and self-prescribed beer. What he was right about is the feeling that the mentally ill are like guinea pigs for pharma companies - and it's very sad that the film is supposed to be set in the 1970s (?) and that's still true today. I take five medications a day, and I'm still not very high-functioning. I'm more like not-getting-kicked-out-of-uni functioning, and even that just barely. I'm not sure whether this film represents an optimistic-yet-plausible view of living with mental illness (Amelia is supposed to be the director when she was young), or whether it's just plain delusional and about to rain pain on all people who suffer from this lovely condition and are not this capable. Personally I don't buy it, but it's a nice movie. 6/10

Harry Price, Ghost Hunter (2015). Uneven, not atmospheric enough, but entertaining. The main problem for me was the main character - if your protagonist can be summed up with the word "meh", use a different actor. 5/10

And that's it for last week's films. As today is Monday, I suppose the next film log will go up next Monday, unless I forget or change my mind (both are very likely). 

Got any suggestions for me? Do you think Harry Price wasn't meh? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

poem in lieu of childhood streets

i used to be fairly interested
in psychopaths
before i met you
i found them fascinating
i found them improbable
and a little bit tragic

these days
i stare out of my window a lot
write shit poems
and hate to be naked
with anyone


© the clueless pixie

Monday, 23 November 2015

a note on trigger warnings

CW: sexual abuse, suicidal thoughts

Some time ago I was sexually assaulted. There's no point dressing it down. It happened.

He didn't rape me. He did, however, lay his whole weight on me so that I couldn't breathe, and whispered, "I won't rape you" like he was doing me some kind of a tremendous favour. He kept me pinned and when I escaped the bed, exhausted, after hours of this, he mocked me for "feeling sorry for myself." He then made me promise that if he sees me in his house again, he's free to fuck me.

Funnily enough, I'm still not over it. Even funnier, I've been told recently that my inability to wash off this scum experience is due to my dwelling on it. Dwelling on something that, as it apparently seems to outsiders, exists merely in the past and can be forgotten by sheer power of will. On "enforcing my victim narrative." I shouldn't do that. Because reality is what you make it. I should just stop giving it undue attention and move on with my life.

Well, you know, I've tried that.

But guess what: it doesn't exist in the past. And reality is what you make it only when you can make it not contain something this vile. So it comes up, much like vomit, whenever a similar situation is presented. I was watching Jessica Jones earlier this evening, and sure enough, it made sure that I still remember, by the ice-cold stone that dropped into my stomach the second Kilgrave made an entrance. That weight in my gut, that's not me dredging up shitty memories for the sake of feeling sorry for myself. Because I'm not a fuckwit.

Telling me that I'm enforcing the memory by merely remembering it and the remembering feeling shitty (yes, my English is atrocious in this sentence, let's move on) is like telling me that my previously twice twisted ankle or my formerly broken finger hurt sometimes because I'm enforcing the narrative of my damaged bones. Just like me still feeling sick whenever I remember that particular era of my life (I didn't say it happened once), my bones hurt involuntarily and I can't tell myself they don't and I can't stop them by force of will. Telling me I'm somehow enabling my past to damage my present by merely acknowledging what happened sounds and feels just about equally moronic.

Let's talk about trigger warnings for a minute. Do you think, like some people seem to, that trigger warnings are a product of an overly PC culture? That they're enforced by "SJWs" who have nothing better to do than introduce bullshit measures on content? Well maybe that's because you've never experienced how certain texts and media can trigger (yes, that's where it comes from) a feeling of intense self-hatred and/or plain old hatred, or enforce already existing suicidal ideation, i.e. those fun moments when you debate just which mode of topping yourself would be the best for the clean-up crew.

I've done everything I can to make it go away. I'm still doing everything I can. But this kind of thing is what makes for a nice, plump plot point in most TV and films. And I'm not going to shelter myself from culture just because I got myself into a situation in which a grade-A jerk could exercise some of his perverted tendencies on me. But I resent the implication that it's me who's making it come up. I resent the stupid notion that, somehow, I can pack it into a neat little bundle and send it down the sewers. It's not an event that I enjoy having happened and cropping up every now and then. I didn't watch Nightcrawler because it had car crashes in it, and my father died in a car crash. Now, common sense would tell you that that's a way more major thing than a couple crappy nights that were partially my fault (as in, I was there). And common sense would be wrong about that. I didn't watch the film, but I could have, and it wouldn't make me sick for hours afterwards. Not because I personally view this as a lesser trauma, but because my brain happens to work that way.

Not mentioning that, by the fucking way, I kind of need to remember the gist of it, because (as you might have figured by now), I'm kind of an idiot. This has happened to me repeatedly because I didn't learn, and I need it to not happen again.

I expect that eventually, with meditation and mindfulness and what have you, I'll have less of a reaction to various triggers. But so far I don't. And I'm not happy about that. But the next time you're telling someone to just not dwell on it, maybe remember this little article, and stop being obtuse.


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

it's memories that I'm stealing

If I ever do off myself, your name will definitely appear in the credits.

This is something I said.

Today I was sitting on a sofa while my favourite band played and my boyfriend (not the recipient of the previous sentiment) was running his soft, warm hand down my back.

And Effy said, this is me happy.

Skins, property of Channel 4
I was happy.

And still, I wanted to die. I was thinking of my corpse waiting for my mum in the bed, about my cat running around, yowling. And I thought, this is not fair to you. To any of you.

At the same time, you have to run the blade diagonally.

Diagon Alley.

On the way home I counted the lives I'd ruin/seriously damage on my way under ground. And the math was coming through distinctly in the disfavour of dying.

My shrink says I should have myself committed. I told her that I didn't have the time. I told her they wouldn't let me keep a cat in the hospital. I told her I could manage the rest of my Master's.

It occurred to me, however, that I might not survive it, which is another matter entirely.

And the band played Tom Waits.

An entire love has lived and died inside this song.

I cried and ruined my make-up. The band wrapped up and my boyfriend took me to the bus stop. I came home and wrote this post.

There are no platitudes I wish to dispense at the end of it, but it feels like a place for platitudes. They don't really help when you're actually ill, you know, but what else is there?

You just fight. You persevere. You honour those who make your life worth living for. You sleep and wake up, and wade through to another possibly shitty day.

We all have hope. 

Remember that.