Archives for December 2007
This is a rant. I might be writing things that are biased and unfair and, well, not nice. Just so you know.
To be precise, I’m not really angry. I’m pissed. That sentiment from the beginning of my NaNo is mine (Just scroll down to the quote.) If I were to act on my feelings right now (which I won’t) I would yell at everyone to leave the house, punch innocent bystanders in the nose and then blow it up. The house I mean. And then just walk away without looking back.
I’m pissed because,
- every time I want to complain to somebody about something it ends up with them being jealous at me because my life is better than theirs.
- all the people who live around me have dogs that bark. One of them is so loud that often my students will stop playing in mid-piece because they’re startled by the noise. This dog barks at everything that moves. On day it went on and on from 7 am to 11 pm. No, I’m not kidding.
- there are thousands of cars driving by our house every day and every single one of them is driven as if it were in a formula 1 race. You can feel the anger and frustration of every single person in every single car everywhere in my house.
- all the people around me are running around like headless chickens because of Christmas. You can feel the vibrations everywhere.
- my mother-in-law is one of those people. If you sit in our kitchen for a while you start feeling that you are sitting inside a pinball machine. With her being the ball.
- I spend the whole day carrying things from one part of the house to the other.
- there is dust accumulating everywhere.
- our basement is humid and moldy and two of the walls upstairs and I don’t know what to do about it short of renovating half the house.
- I’m sick of positive thinking and my own new age-mentality. Really.
- I don’t want to try and change myself and my behavior. I have worked at this so hard and I don’t want anymore.
- nobody else around me seems to be working on themselves anyway. All of the older generation in my family are acting totally unconscious and mindless. So why should I try to be different?
- I always have to explain my life. I can’t just sit down and do the thing I do, I always have to explain it. And then the other people make me feel weird.
- I’m supposed to make small talk in such huge amounts. I didn’t ask you to talk with me. Leave me alone.
- there are so many new blog posts accumulating in my feed reader every day. I love you all and I want to leave thoughtful and nice comments but I don’t feel like it.
- after avoiding the news for years now this whole social justice thing makes me care about AIDS-orphans in Africa and the Iraq war, and homeless people in California.
- the fact that there is so much suffering in the world makes me even more angry than the fact that I have to think about it.
- I have to do things I hate to make my child happy.
- just when I wanted to concentrate more on music I got a cold again and can’t sing.
- when I can’t sing I can’t play either. (I’m weird that way.)
- everybody tells me that this is the best time of the year.
- I have gained 4 kilos and felt fat even before that.
- I’m cold all the time.
- I have to listen to mangled and hacked Christmas songs every single day. Since the beginning of November.
- in order to make enough money I seem to have to teach even students that have no talent or dedication whatsoever.
- I’m not allowed to tell anybody just to fuck off and leave me alone.
- I have to be sensible all the time.
- all of the governments and especially the US one are screwing up this conference on Bali again.
- the headlines in the newspapers are all about how cars will get more expensive and how we have to take care of the car industry. Because that’s so much more important than the planet.
- I have committed to a lifestyle that’s a bit greener and so I have to spent twenty minutes every week to separate and hang up little squares of cloth that were used to wipe my butt. Or nose.
- I have to feel guilty every time I stand in the shower and let the hot water run over me longer than necessary. Or even take a bath.
- I can’t afford a new piano.
- even if I had a new piano the only people playing it would be my students. Most of them hacking at it so that I would get the feeling the piano sounds like crap.
- I have to get up in the morning.
- I have to be a grown-up.
- I can’t spend the whole day finishing my hanami-stole.
- there are aluminium wires in our house that are a fire-hazard.
- my kitchen is as ugly as the day that my husband’s grandmother installed a beige-brown fake tiles PVC floor because my mother-in-laws dishwasher broke and there was water everywhere. Sometime in the seventies.
- my son is messy and often lazy.
- my son talks more than any human possibly can, me included.
- my husband’s angry too.
- every time I tell somebody that I am a music teacher they tell me how they did or did not learn the piano as a child.
- every time I knit in public somebody tells me that they once knit a scarf too.
- I have to do housework. At all.
- I don’t have a cook, cleaning woman or gardener. (But I’m sure that if I had those I’d be annoyed that there were all these people around all day.)
- I haven’t slept enough for years.
- I get so much advice I didn’t ask for.
- I had to talk with my mother-in-law about the “bratwurst” she gets us for Christmas dinner four times already. Because, you know, there has to be this special sausage like the one she had back in “Schlesien” (Silesia) which is now part of Poland. And the woman who used to make them here stopped because she was like 90 years old or so. So now there is the quest of finding the perfect ersatz bratwurst. And there have to be red and white ones. And I ordered both types but less of the red one and then she had to ask me back because she said, my husband doesn’t like the red ones, only he does like them, only not as much as the white ones, and so she will be off to the big city today to get them. She already got the train ticket of her friend, only she has to bring it back immediately afterwards, and then we will get the sausages. Only if the red ones are only available with caraway we don’t want any. This, by the way, has been only one of the million things I had to talk with my mother-in-law about. Every single organizational detail requires like three “meetings”.
- I have to wrap and send off Christmas presents to my parents.
- I have to wrap the Christmas presents for my son. Oh, wait, I don’t have to. I guess he’ll get his presents unwrapped this year.
- every single thing I do feels like it’s not enough.
- I’m forty now and still don’t know what I want to do with my life.
- I still have Lia’s manuscript sitting on my desk and haven’t written anything about it to her. And it’s an excellent manuscript.
- I wanted to make one handmade, sewn Christmas present and there is no way I’ll do that before the New Year.
- everybody tells me that it will be getting more quiet soon but I seriously doubt it.
- every time I enter the woods they are full of people walking their dogs without leashes. And then when I freeze because I’m afraid of dogs they tell me their dogs won’t “do anything”. People, it would be nice to keep your dogs a little closer. Because, seriously, I’m afraid. And because I’m afraid I do act weird around dogs. Which makes the dogs act weird too. And well, I can see that your dogs are not exactly well-trained when you have to whistle and yell for them twenty times before they decide to maybe come back to you.
- I have to buy all of the groceries for next week today. With my son in tow.
- there are so many stupid people in the world. And they all seem to want to talk with me.
- every time my mother offers to help me with something ends up with me thanking her for her work and doing everything that was really important myself.
- there are people who need a suitcase bigger than themselves for a weekend getaway.
- there are relatives who always come and visit just the week before Christmas.
- there are people who are afraid of doing things like baking a cake from scratch, with yeast, or knitting cables or fair isle. It isn’t rocket science, you know. And if you don’t want to do things like that and knit garter stitch forever? Well, fine by me, just don’t make me feel bad because you’re jealous that I can do all of the above. I had to learn how to knit cables and fair isle out of a book too. It’s not like I was born with those abilities.
- there are such a lot of women out there who are intimidated by anything they deem “technical”, like a screwdriver for example, and I always seem to end up helping them.
- people keep telling you the same things over and over again, like “You have to enjoy the first year with your baby, it goes by so fast!” Well, maybe for some people but for me if it had lasted only a bit longer I maybe would have strangled my son.
- people keep telling me how nice and patient I am when all I want to do is punch them. Only I’m too well-behaved to do anything but smile.
- after years of thinking that basically all other people were as busy as me I found that, no, they aren’t. So, please, waste your own time. Not mine.
- everybody tells you to just leave the housework for now. Well, I left it for a couple of years now, and sadly, it hasn’t gone and done itself. And still, the house feels better when it’s tidy and clean.
- I tried to get back on track by re-subscribing to flylady again, and then I couldn’t stand all the e-mail. I didn’t do anything different and so, I have to confess, the e-mails didn’t do the housework.
- there is no place you can buy addi knitting needles where I live. (For years and years every knitting magazine I read told me to use addi turbos. But you couldn’t get them. I was really curious about them and ordered some on-line from about as far away as you can get while still being in Germany. Those needles are great.)
- every single yarn shop in a radius of 40 kilometers around my house has exactly the same selection of yarn. Novelty yarn and lots of acrylic. Blah.
- my son woke me up at 3 in the morning saying, “Mama, my ear hurts.” Which means that at that instant my whole next week exploded in my face.
- I spent the whole morning tending to the hurting ear so that I couldn’t take a shower or rest before an extremely long day of teaching.
- instead of doing all remaining errands today and take a little nap afterwards I will have to do the errands tomorrow when every single person in the whole town will be out grocery shopping.
- I never seem to find clothes that fit.
- the deodorant I use leaves white stains on all my tees that don’t come out in the wash despite saying “pure”, and “invisible”.
- things like that deodorant really saying “pure” and “invisible” instead of “rein” and “unsichtbar”. Or an ad for a “Cashmere Schal”. People, we’re in Germany, please say “Kaschmirschal” or even “Kaschmir-Schal”. Otherwise I’d go with “cashmere scarf”.
End of rant for now. I totally reserve the right to come back and add to it later. So now you can get back to your cookie baking and singing of “jingle bells” or whatever. I’ll sit in my misanthropist corner for a while to cool off. Or maybe not cool off but learn a way to tell the people who are pissing me off that they are doing so without yelling at them. I’ll of course be back as my usual pseudo-social-self in time to promote the just post baby shower thing.
Thanks for your patience.
I have found out why I have been all escapism lately. Why I have gained so much weight again, and haven’t been able to stop myself from doing things that make me feel bad:
Before I tell you why let me answer Julie’s comment on my escape-post. Because right now I have like a gazillion unwritten blog posts in my head and if I don’t write some of them they’ll just go sour and remain unwritten forever. (See, I can’t even properly rant. I’m so conditioned that I don’t have the right to be angry, that girls have to be nice and mellow that I can’t even follow my anger for two minutes in a row.)
So, well, Julie asked why escapism is a bad thing for me. She said that she needs what she calls “cave time”, time on her own on a regular basis and that it is okay to be someone who isn’t always outgoing and cheerful. I’m the first one to nod in agreement to this. I too need massive amounts of what I call me-time, time to read, time to knit, time to think, solitary walks, time for music. Frankly, most of the things that are dear to my heart and that are nurturing my soul are things better done alone. Sometimes I wonder why I’m living with a family. Then I remember how I actually felt when I spent all my time alone and then I remember. So, the thing that’s not good about my escapism isn’t that I’m retreating, spending time alone, and not moving and shaking the world. The problem is that I do it in a way that holds no joy.
If I retreat like that, spiraling down into numbness I do things that ordinarily bring me joy in a way that acts almost like punishment. Take, for example, food which is my favorite way of self-medication. Usually food brings pleasure and nurtures you. It’s sensual and enjoyable. Eating a bit of chocolate can elevate your mood, it’s delicious and can make you happy. Eating half a pound of chocolate after a big meal when you already were stuffed full doesn’t make you feel good. You don’t really taste it anymore. You put it in your mouth mindlessly, reaching for the next piece while the one in your mouth is barely swallowed. You feel the pull not to stop. So you don’t stop. You feel bloated and uncomfortable and full and heavy. But you eat on. Chocolate is a good thing so more chocolate must be better, right? You stuff and chew, and every once in a while you realize what you’re doing but you can’t bring yourself to stop because you’re feeling so bad that you have earned yourself a little treat. And at the same time you feel like pig and pigs don’t deserve better. And since you are misbehaving anyway you can just go on because now it’s all the same anyway.
I know this sounds crazy to anybody who hasn’t got an eating disorder or other addiction but the thing that you love and crave becomes the thing that you punish yourself with at the same time.
Not only does this sound crazy but it is crazy, so you might ask, “Why then, are you doing this?” Because there is reasoning behind this. It took me ages to see that. And, not to forget, the help of Geneen Roth and her fabulous books on compulsive overeating. Because this whole circle, the wanting, and the not giving in, and then giving in, and then eating a bit for pleasure, and then going on to eat, and then not stopping, and then feeling bad, and then vowing never to do it again, and then starting over again two hours later or so, has a purpose. It numbs the pain. It numbs the feelings, it takes your mind off your anger, and hurt, and pain, and whatever unpleasant emotions you are feeling.
And in my case mostly this seems to be about anger and aggression. You know that women aren’t allowed to be angry, don’t you? And since my life really is nearly perfect, being angry would be hubris, wouldn’t it? And, well, if you just eat enough and think about the nice things, and drink a beer or two, and go about your day, your anger surely will vanish, won’t it?
Well, I can tell you something, it doesn’t vanish because i ignore it. It doesn’t change because I let my husband be the angry one who rants and shakes his fists at the world and I’m sitting besides him wearing a benign smile.
And I know that this is the season to be jolly, and peaceful and nice but I’m sick of pretending that everything is well.
And since this has been long enough for now I’ll type up my, ahem, little list of all the things that I am angry about in the next post. Because, you know, sometimes you have to live your misanthropist side too.
Sorry, I’m not in a good blogging place these days. That Isn’t because I don’t have anything to blog about, or because I tried to escape so much, but because there is all this pesky life coming between my blogging and me. My son will be turning five tomorrow, which means cake and presents for breakfast, then bringing wiener and pretzels to kindergarten. Also the kindergarten Christmas party is on the same day, in the afternoon. Which means bringing spring rolls, guitars, and husband to kindergarten in the afternoon. Only to dash back early so my husband can teach yet more students. And then, on Tuesday, I have the – shudder – birthday party for my son’s friends. A pirate-themed birthday party. Merely shopping, and wrapping, and decorating for Christmas pales next to this.
So, I have wanted to write about a lot of things, and I have wanted not to leave you with that last post for so long, well, it hasn’t happened.
A few days ago Joanna tagged me with a “seven things about me” meme. There are the following rules:
Link to your tagger, and also post these rules on your blog.
Share 7 facts about yourself (random or weird) on your blog.
Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.
Well, usually I do follow rules but don’t you find it awkward to see someone tagging you in your comments? Say, you’re writing a post about something not that happy and shiny and somebody has to leave a comment like, “How sad, and by the way, you’re tagged.” Um. But first, 7 random things:
- I have been so afraid of turning people away by turning this into a knitting blog that I haven’t written about anything I have finished since September or so. Though I have taken pictures. By that I probably have turned people away who have found my blog through ravelry. (Ravelry is a site where people who knit or crochet hang out and share their patterns, knitting progress and such.)
- I just signed up for my first knit-a-long. Like about a thousand other people in the world I will be knitting a lace stole from January to March. Each week we will be receiving the next part of the pattern. So we don’t know how it will look like in the end. I already decided to make this as a present for somebody.
- I have made three attempts at doing the “my man”-meme I lifted of flutter’s blog. But I just can’t seem to get myself to do it. The whole thing consists of about a hundred questions like “Who’s the smarter one?” “Who is singing better?” I didn’t know that marriage was supposed to be about one being better than the other. The “Who is smarter?”-question has had me thinking for weeks now.
- I just realized that the thing I really need for the holidays is a very classy and elegant turtleneck sweater. Maybe with a matching cardigan. Made out of wool. Thick wool would be even better. Because I do have festive clothes, only it’s too cold for all of them.
- I’m always cold. Right now as I’m typing this I am wearing: long johns, jeans, two pairs of socks (one woolen and one not), felt slippers, an undershirt, a tee, a merino turtleneck and a fleece jacket. Sometimes I take off clothes when I have to leave the house. Because outside I’m not sitting around all the time. I even own fingerless woolen gloves for teaching. Indoors teaching. (And it shows 20 degrees Celsius in here.)
- When I went to the hairdresser last week (of course I went after the celebratory NaNoWriMo-dinner, my timing is good like that) I realized that it had been almost half a year since the last time. Suddenly I knew why somehow my hair hadn’t been to my liking lately. The problem hadn’t been to make the time to go to the appointment, the problem had been to make the phone call…
- This year I skipped the Advent decorations almost completely. I bought an Advent wreath which sits on our kitchen table and that’s it. Since I have more younger students again I have been playing Christmas songs since the beginning of November. Daily. Like “Jingle Bells”. (“F sharp. – No, F sharp. – That’s G sharp. Play F sharp. – No, F sharp! And now C sharp in your left hand.” Somehow I just don’t feel like singing them under the Christmas tree anymore.
So, a really interesting bunch of facts, isn’t it? Or not. You know I still have a cake to bake that I will carve into something resembling a pirate ship, and practice “smoke on the water” and “silent night” on the guitar.
In my head there is a really beautiful birthday letter to my son, and an answer to Julie’s comment on my last post. And I went to a real rock concert last week. I saw the “Pretty Things”.
So all that is left now is to tag 7 people. Argh. That is a lot of bloggers. Who might be a bit busy these days too. Well, I’ll do it anyways and anyone who wants to do it on top of them, go ahead.
I spent the last weeks or months or so in one of my favorite old pastimes: escapism. My whole life felt meh, not bad, not good, just grey and boring. Not depressingly so, only I had this feeling that I wanted to do nothing but stay in bed, read, watch TV, knit, and do nothing. I have been used to periods like this for my whole life I think. I retreat into myself, escape into books, or the internet, or lately knitting again, into food. I try to flee from life. Not entirely but numbing everything. I’m very experienced in this, I can turn almost everything into a mans of escape, a means of shutting out feeling and awareness. Only I had thought I was past this by now. Only I had thought I knew how to be happy and mindful by now.
Well, I still don’t know. And, as always, I felt what I was doing and couldn’t bring myself to stop. Like when I was still in the grip of compulsive overeating. And I didn’t want to admit it or to write or talk about it, I just wanted it to go away. Now. Without me having to do anything. As a result of all this, the house looks like a disaster area, I found that I literally hadn’t mopped the floors in about half a year, I gained 4 kilos back of the 14 I lost over the past three years ever so slowly. And in a way I didn’t care. My poor husband stood beside me, not able to intervene in any way, as I told myself that today would be the day I’d go to bed on time over and over again.
By now I have given up on the sleep-issue. I don’t think it will happen that I sleep enough in this decade. For every night where I get enough sleep there are at least four or five where it isn’t enough and by now my mind is suffering tremendously.
This doesn’t feel like depression by the way it just feels like the familiar kind of life that I have lived for decades. This giving up, thinking, “I won’t change, no matter how hard I try.” and then fleeing into a book, a computer game, sleep deprivation, alcohol, the internet, whatever. Shutting out my family, not asking for help. Because I know what to do when I feel like this. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Of course I’m writing about it now because I feel like I’m starting to dig my way out of it again. Last week I forced myself to clean the house, I started tidying my room, exercising, and taking showers more often. Like healing from the outside in. Because that has been one of my major mistakes in past years, I waited to feel right to change anything. Nowadays I know that I just have to be gentle but firm with myself. “I know you don’t feel like it but you only get to surf the internet after you have done the dishes!” “So what if you hadn’t had time to work out. Take a shower now. – Yes, you will get wet. I don’t care.”
This all started after I gave up the illusion of having a plan for my life as a whole. After I told myself just to acknowledge what is and see where it would lead me. Promptly my inner teenager pouted her lips, shouted, “Life sucks! Leave me alone!” slammed the door and refused to come out of her room again.
Well, she’s still in there. But slowly I’m opening the door, dusting the surfaces of her cluttered room, and bringing the vacuum in.
Seems like I have to accept that becoming mindful doesn’t come easy to me and at times feels very, very uncomfortable. But then the old ways aren’t working. They never were. Stuffing yourself with food doesn’t make the feelings go away. Submerging yourself in stories only works for a short amount of time. In the end you have to live your real life the way it is.
And mine’s not a bad life at all. That’s one of the weirder things about this. My life is almost perfect as it is. But the dissonance between “almost” and “perfect” drives me crazy every single day.
And while I’m writing this I hesitate again because I know that you will be worrying about me. That you will get the impression that I need help. And really, I don’t. That’s part of the problem, I have to change my behavior myself. Unfortunately nobody else can do this for me. That would be great by the way since my dear husband is much better than me at changing behavior. If he could change my behavior for me I would never again find myself sitting in the kitchen wondering who on earth just took a bag of chips and put them all in my mouth.
On the other hand I really don’t like to be told what to do. So I have to be the one who has to get a grip on my life. And maybe it’s good to write about it since I often convey the impression of super-woman with my stories of novels written and housework done and bags sewn, songs written and elephants knit. And I know that I want to read about the up- and downsides of your lives as well. So, please don’t worry, I’m on my way up again.
Oh, and by the way, the elephant only lacks a second ear and eyes. I’ll post a picture as soon as it is finished.
Welcome to this month’s just post roundtable where we all share links of posts about social justice. Each month I contribute my feeble six or so links and think, “This month the list will be really short.”, and each month you all take part and the list is long and rich and wonderful.
For an introduction this month I’d like to point you to a post by Frau Kaltmamsell titled something like, “Being a woman is bad for income and career“. Though written in German it might be interesting for those of you who can’t read that, too, because she points us to a study in Harvard Business Review about “Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership” (and a book of the same name). It says in short that the metaphor of women hitting the glass ceiling has outlived its usefulness because gender bias hinders women’s careers from beginning to end. Still. I find this very sad and not at all surprising. The difference in wages between women and men in Germany, by the way, is bigger than in most other industrial cultures. Because we have these spectacular benefits when having children, for example we can leave work for up to two years or so with a guarantee to have our old job back afterwards. (I#m really not up to date on this because they change it on a yearly basis.)
So, to all the women out there who think that we don’t need feminism anymore because we are all so totally equal I say, “Stop kidding yourselves.” And with this not so very uplifting news get yourselves a nice beverage, sit down and visit all the beautiful posts our fellow bloggers have written the past month.
aimee with Where does your Candidate stand on Healthcare
azahar with Thought for the day
Beck with Welcome to The Macho World
BipolarLawyerCook with Your own best advocate
bon with Other Pictures
Chani with Blog Blast for Peace: If not now, when? Passing through the Gates, Horse Manure, and Gays in the Military
The Cool Mom Picks’ Safe Toy Guide
Denguy with Bad Plastic, Bad Bad and ‘Tis the Season
Devra at DC Metro Moms with What About the other 9 months?
Erin with It’s That Time Again
I am the master evil genius with What does need look like?
Jangari with Toilet culture, Exodus, and Four Corners on the Intervention
JCK at Motherscribe with We are all connected, we cannot be ourselves without community
jen with Power to the people who need it most, Tradition, Choosing and doing and going
jen at MOMocrats with Power to the People (who need it most)
jessi with Donorschooseorg–helping teachers across the country
Julie at Using My Words with Blog blast for Peace, Does the abstinence message for drug use work?, Let’s Get it On: Abstinence only sex education is risky and ineffective, Does putting the arts at risk put kids at risk too? and Inconvenient Truth: A Transcript of my testimony to the EPA at the NESHAP Public Hearing
Kayleigh at Another Working Mom with I’m Dreaming of a… and Holidaze
Kevin at Life has Taught Us with Your signature does make a difference
Kyla with Healthcare is a bitch
Laura with A more important PSA
lori with Thoughts for the day
Mad with SOS? You can’t be serious
Mad Organica with Tell Your Girls to Call for the Ball
Madame M. with Plan: Freezing butts, Stargazing and Retail (couples) therapy
Mary G with Charity begins at home
Mel from Actual Unretouched Photo with The Homeless
Pundit Mom with Do Republican Candidates Care About Women Voters?, You Know This Would All Be Different if Men Could Breastfeed and A Promise to American Women
Roy with Intersection of racisim, sexism and commerce
Sin with Seasonal Angst Disorder, Part 1
Suzanne Reisman on blogher with For a Good Time, Call a Feminist (Not that You’d Know This From the Media), No Smart Woman Left Behind and What’s Bugging Women?
Thordora with Murders are Not Monsters; they’re men
TIV with Post-traumatic stress disorder and ripples of trauma
Wayfarer Scientista with The Spilling of Oil
Thanks to all who provided the links:
And please go over to Mad (who did most of the work this month), Jen (who is back from traveling), and Hel (who has been a bit busy these past weeks). Each of them writes their own introduction to this list, and they are well worth reading too. I hope you enjoy the links and come back to participate next time when the just post roundtable will turn one year old.