On disappearing acts (an explanation of sorts)

Ten months ago I changed my phone number, disabled my Facebook account and put a block on a bunch of emails that could come into my gmail and yahoo accounts. I disconnected my Skype user name and put all of my IM accounts on "invisible". I then let about 6 people know what I was doing and gave them my new number. This all coincided with the weekend that the Hurricane Irene was supposed to hit New York City.
I didn't need to explain why to the people closest to me at the time, they understood what I was doing, knowing full well that once I had made my decision I wasn't going to change my mind. For the rest... They either understood it or didn't, and that was that. I know full well that I hurt some people, people who cared about me, and were actually worried about me, but there was honestly not much else I could do about it. Actually rephrase, there was not much else I wanted to do about it.

Selfish? Completely.

That doesn't mean I don't feel guilty about it. I lost some very close friends through it, people I really cared about, who had mostly been there for me over the six years I had been in New York. Some, surprisingly, didn't skip a beat and just continued to stay in touch, others reached out once and then never again, and others never contacted me again, even when I re-enabled my Facebook account. I don't blame them - I don't know for sure how I would have reacted if someone close to me had decided to disappear in the same manner. However, I will not blame myself for what I did either. I do blame myself for letting it get so bad that I felt that the only way out was to disappear for a while, but that is just a lesson learned. Sometimes a radical change is what is needed to get back on track, and although I caused some damage, I also saved myself from causing even more damage.

I don't even know if I am going to post this entry yet. It may stay stuck in my drafts forever, or it may fall into oblivion amidst other posts. I just feel, after 10 months, some need for an explanation on my part, although I still continue to believe that it was the best move I could have made for my own sanity. I'm not very good with confrontation (although I am getting better), but I'm not good with telling people how I feel either - it's easier to listen than to hope someone is listening to you. From there, it's also easier to hear than be heard, especially when you don't have a very loud voice.

Seven years ago I moved to New York City for a job I thought I needed to take, hoping that one day I would be able to move nearer to my family in California. I fell in love with New York, and decided to do my best at the job, in order to be able to stay and make a life for myself in the city. Some days I loved my job, some days I hated it, some days I was indifferent. Until the stress started to take it's toll. For anyone who has worked in account management in a service-providing firm in this city you know the deal: late nights, early mornings, 80+ hour weeks and constant emails and phone calls, even when you are on vacation. Couple that with someone who loves the nightlife, then you have a pretty immediate problem: alcohol. I blamed the work stress to be my cause of drinking excessively, and then when I stopped drinking, I just dove deeper into my job. For some reason I needed to make it work, and "No" was never an option. A new project on top of the many I already had? No problem. Conference call on Sunday night at midnight because the website had to go live that night? No problem. Working on cost estimates during my vacation because no one else could do it? Um... No problem. I'm not blaming anyone on this - I could have just refused to pick up the phone, and/or just said NO. I didn't.

Ten years ago all I wanted to do was finish university and write for a living. Nine years later I found myself in a job I had begun to despise and a life I didn't want anymore. I went to California for 10 days last summer and rediscovered my passion for writing. When I went back to work I felt like I was walking in a thick haze of doom, and the only thing that would actually revive me during the day was writing on here. So that's how I got through my days: wrote on my blog and bullshitted my way through conference calls at work. Every morning I would wake up feeling the dread that hadn't dissipated with a short night's sleep, and my subway rides to work would consist of me dreaming up elaborate plans on how one could die without much pain to get out of a prison I had created for myself and/or other dreams moving back to England or France where I could work without a visa, although that would mean leaving my life behind in NYC. Then came the earthquake and the impending hurricane that was bearing down on us. On the Friday before the hurricane was supposed to hit I was asked to work on something over the weekend. I was already about 50 hours of work behind, and something just snapped. While tears were falling on the notepad in front of me I just decided to leave. I wouldn't be coming back on Monday. Done. I didn't care that I didn't have another job, or that I didn't have a green card, or that I didn't have any savings. That was it. I couldn't set another foot in that office again. Enough was enough. I had tried to leave so many times, but I couldn't do it. In my mind this was the only way.

On the Saturday I opened my email at home for the last time, created a "coverage" chart with all of my projects and saved it to my remote desktop. On the Sunday I wrote an email to my boss explaining that I wouldn't be coming back, had a friend review it and edit it, and saved it in my drafts. Then I moved on to the disappearing part: I changed my phone number, disabled my Facebook account, blocked any emails coming into my gmail account, and sent the email to my boss, attaching the coverage chart. There is only one reason for my disappearing act: I didn't want anyone to try to change my mind, because I knew that they would. By blocking all forms of communication I was avoiding any confrontation, and avoiding any type of explanation on my part. My mind was made up. I woke up on the Monday morning to a beautiful blue sky and for the first time in what felt like months I could breathe freely. I know there were other, more mature and professional, ways of doing this, but in my head at the time there was no other way. And you know... I think subconsciously I wanted to create some kind of dramatic exit, just to make a point, although I don't even know if there really was a point left to be made. I don't do drama very well, but when I do, I guess it's on the bigger scale of things.

Going off the grid for a while was the best thing I could have done for my own personal mental health. Not just from a leaving work perspective, but also from a more general in-the-life of Jade point of view. It helped me start to focus on my writing again, and forced me to start looking at actually living my life, rather than just going through the motions. I realised that I was able to survive without a permanent salary, and that I was capable of starting over again, and finding out what I really wanted to do here, in this city. I'll never regret doing what I did, but I do still feel guilty about it.  

I guess I just want to throw an apology out there to anyone I may have hurt in the process. I know who you are, and you know who you are. It may or may not matter anymore, but it does matter to me. I would not recommend such a radical change to many people, but I felt at the the time that it was the only way I was actually going to be able to get out of my own personal hell and move forward with my life. And that's the last I am going to write about this - in the end this is my own forum for self-expression, to be read or unread by others, and I suspect this is just another form of selfishness on my part, because I needed to get it off my chest for once and for all. Being completely, 100% selfish is not always a bad thing - sometimes you just have to be that way. Sorry.

Ramblings: Siblings

I've been terribly lazy about writing all week, blaming the fact that I am tired on my complete lack of concentration. It's not like I am lacking in inspiration - I actually have a lot of it at the moment - I just can't seem to sit down and just write for a few hours. I need to refocus my attention on what I need to accomplish over the next three months. This novel is never going to get written otherwise, and if I want to move on to something else I need to at least finish the first draft.

For some stupid reason I always seem to get inspired about certain topics when I'm in the shower. Not exactly the best place to immediately write things down so that you don't forget them, so I find myself repeating them over and over again until I have finished washing my hair and can jump out and write notes on some random paper/magazine/bog roll that is hanging around. Anyway, the other day I was thinking about brothers and sisters and family and everything those words entail in my life, and in the lives of those that I love, and was inspired to write something. Sometimes it's just so much easier to express yourself with written words rather than spoken words (in my opinion anyway - I tend to be quite crap at expressing myself at the best of times).

Remember that time when you and your little sister shared a room when you were kids and were always dancing and singing to Elvis Presley and fighting about who was going to marry him (never mind that he was already dead and had been for quite a few years)? That time when you thought your sister was a doll so you proceeded to go and try to pull her head off while she was sleeping, just like you did with all your other dolls ( I WAS 2 at the time, so cannot be blamed for thinking my sister was just a big doll)? Or that time when you got home from school to find your little brother had finally been born and was sleeping peacefully in his cot? Not that he remained peaceful for long - he the fantastic ability of screaming the house down whenever he needed to. What about that time when you and your sister walked into an empty bar, and your sister went up to the DJ and asked him to play Bauhaus because it was your "happy music"? Yes, he did play Bauhaus and Siouxsie for that matter, and we all ended up going to Yaffa Cafe for breakfast and I put Tabasco on my sister's eggs for a laugh while she was snogging one of the guys somewhere else in the restaurant. What about all those times you and your brother would have drunken conversations at 4am your time and 1am his time? Actually, I think that's more like one-sided drunken conversations, because I doubt he had been drinking most of the time.What about the time you went on a road trip from Sacramento to Santa Cruz with your sister, and just as you were driving into the town Dead Skin Mask started playing and you both ended up doing crazy air drum and air guitar moves while shouting along to the song to the amusement of the people walking down the street? Or that time when you went on a roadtrip to Bodega Bay and made your brother run/roll down the sand hill multiple times so you could get a good photo?

There are so many memories, good, bad, funny, interesting and just plain weird. I've lived pretty far away from my siblings for a long time now, but we text/talk/write/comment on each others posts every day. My brother is the only person up until now who has read all of the 123 pages I have currently written of my novel and took the time to write his comments down and send them to me. We've all been through so much shit together, even not speaking to each other for a while, but it always ends in hugs and tears and more hugs and tears. I tell my sister everything and know when she's not doing well, even if she hasn't told me how she is feeling. Whenever I feel the slightest bit lonely (and it is possible to feel that way in this city, even if there are always things to do and people to see), I know that I'll always be surrounded by my sister and my brother, however far away they are. I'll be in California for 2 weeks in June, and I know that we will have a million laughs, probably fight a few times, complain to each other about each other and create more memories that I will probably end up writing about over the next few years. Then I will be back here in NYC, and they will be over there in Sacramento and we will continue to count on each other forever, even when we fuck up and hurt each other.

Ahhh... I was just thinking back to that rave we went to back in the 90's, when we drove for hours and finally found it around 5am, then got kicked out by the police at Noon, only to drive all the way back to Grenoble in the boiling heat... And when I decided that one NYE that it would be a wonderful idea to drink a bottle of Baileys followed by a bottle of white wine followed by a bottle of cider and my sister tried to cover for me when my mum called from the party she was at because I was puking my guts up...Every time I think of a story ten others follow suite.

I don't even know why I am even writing this... I guess I miss my siblings more than usual at the moment and just know what a blessing it is that they exist in my life. I get that protective older sister feeling (even though I feel like they spend most of their time trying to protect me from getting hurt by everything) and want to be there to make sure they are always happy. Sometimes I fantasise about living nearer them in California, but I know that NYC is my home now and I would miss this place too much. I wouldn't miss the winters or my family so much, but I know I would miss my home too much.


Maybe I will just go and call both of them right now.

Ramblings: Airport notes

I always have a notebook or a journal on me, as sometimes I am inspired to write or doodle in the most random places. I always worry that I will forget what is passing through my mind, so I just scribble it down, sometimes to be forgotten until I come across it again, sometimes the scribbles become a story or an essay. Last Monday I was sitting at Heathrow airport, waiting for my gate to be announced when I noticed a man looking at a PowerPoint presentation on his laptop, and another women typing feverishly on her computer. I pulled out my notebook and wrote the following piece. Interesting or not, I do not know, but I felt like posting it on here.

I used to pretend to be a business woman. "Pretend" being the accurate word because I just didn't fit the profile, and never felt comfortable in it. My "suits" never looked 100% comfortable unless I was wearing flip flops or Converse, and had rolled up the shirt sleeves. On business trips I would walk around the airport barefoot totter along in my 4 inch heels that I deemed necessary for a client meeting. I've never been able to wear "sensible" heels anyway, in my world it's either gorgeous 4 inch heels or biker boots (mainly the latter these days). At airports I would sit on the floor, nearest the closest electricity outlet, typing away frantically, responding to the 100+ emails I had received during my 60 minute flight. My desk always looked like a bomb had gone off somewhere near: papers everywhere, dust piling up on little dolls and knickknacks I had inherited from colleagues who were long gone, pictures and postcards stuck on the walls and a little headset that I had stopped trying to use because it kept echoing in my ear.
That said, I was pretty good at my job. Sometimes pretty brilliant. Sometimes I failed in a nice, big exploding splash, but I often succeeded, most often without much of a word, except a thanks from my client (and undying love from some of them). For six whole years I would walk into that elevator on the ground floor and whizz up to the 40th floor, my stomach falling to my knees, not because of gravity, because of dread. Dread that I would be found out for being an imposter.
Every day I would get my coffee from the same mobile coffee vendor, my lunch from the same two or three salad bar/sandwich/soup places, nab my cigarette breaks whenever I could between client calls. I would go home after work and guess what I would do? Check my email, work some more and dream (nightmare) about something I had forgotten (or not forgotten for the most part).
For six years I felt like I was playing a part, trying a role out in a play that I didn't really understand or like that much. may have played it well, sometimes too well. I kept my own personality and tried to mold it into a business woman persona.
I used to pretend to be a business woman until I got tired of pretending. In the end we only have one life and it really is up to ourselves to make it into something that we can be proud of and happy with. That may not always be something that you find immediately but there's no harm in trying everything until you do. Just don't spend your life pretending, it's not worth it.
Maybe I should become an actress...

The long 10 year wait...

In March 2003 I entered the US on the usual visa waiver progamme thing, up to 3 months stay in the US, no right to work etc. This was after I had requested a 6 month tourist visa in London so that I could actually stay longer with my family and it was refused. Bear in mind, I had been to the US twice that year and had stayed for 3 months at a time… I was taken to the side office at Immigration in SFO, held there for over an hour without being able to contact anyone, yelled at, and then told that this was the last time I would be granted entrance into the US for at least a year, and if I tried again within that period of time I would be deported.

Nice.

My mother and sister moved to California in 2000, and thanks to my mother’s job got their green cards pretty much straight away. So did my little brother, even though he moved there later. But I happened to be 22, and therefore not legally a child anymore, and therefore not eligible to get my green card like my sister and brother. So my mother applied for one for me, and we waited.

And waited. I finished my MA in France in 2002 and decided I didn’t want to live there anymore. But I didn’t want to live in England either. So travelled back and forth to California, getting more and more depressed and using more and more of my mother’s money in flight tickets and living expenses, seeing as I couldn’t work. I went to Israel for a little over a year. I went back to California, still waiting. I applied for Canadian citizenship, on the off-chance that if I got it it would be easier to get a working visa in the US. Thanks to the small fact that my dad happened to be born in Canada and lived there for a few years of his life and never gave up his Canadian citizenship, I was granted with a nice blue Canadian passport myself. This was in 2004.

I was at a loss of where to go. I didn’t want to go back to France because it was so hard to get a job there (and I didn’t feel like going back to school). I couldn’t stay in the US. I couldn’t go back to Israel. I didn’t have enough money to go back off into the world and travel around hopelessly looking for something that didn’t really exist. So I went to London. I lived there for ten months, and apart from the fact that I lived with the loveliest people and actually started being responsible and had a full-time office job, they were the most depressing months of my life. London is not a good place for someone who is fighting heartbreak (never, ever fall in love with a Colombian boy, EVER), and who just doesn’t want to be there. I love London as a city. I love walking around, discovering little places that you would never find if you didn’t explore, going to the free museums, the leaves falling in the autumn, the special days in spring when you can feel summer coming. But London just depressed me. I didn’t know anyone, I was too shy and depressed to actually go out and meet people. I didn’t earn enough to spend it by going out. I didn’t even earn enough to be able to spend every weekend with my family in Rutland, and I just wanted to be in California. I didn’t even have a plan after California – I just wanted to BE THERE.

Then a light appeared in the form of a job offer in NYC in the spring of 2005. I’d never been to New York, but it couldn’t be any worse than London, and it was the US! My work visa was a little too temporary (year-long TN visa on my Canadian passport, renewable every year through my company). So I moved to NYC with two suitcases and nothing else. I worked hard, made some wonderful friends who have become my family, partied hard, stopped partying hard, went through a terrible depression, worked even harder, suffered through visa renewal stress every year, worked harder, felt trapped, wanted to leave. I fell into a life of thinking that I had to work at my job because that was the only reason why I could stay in the US, but in the end I just began to despise my life, myself and everything I had always stood for. Six years in NYC and all I wanted was out, to be someone else, somewhere else. Until I had my Biometrics appointment, and another light appeared right in front of me. And it dawned on me that I wasn’t in a prison, that I could find myself and the life I wanted again… So I left my job, and fell back in love with my life again. And got my green card 4 months later. In the mail, just like that. No official ceremony or celebration. Ten years of stress, heartbreak, crying, depression, travels, new experiences and happiness for the freedom and right to live and work in the country that I haven’t really left in the past 7 years.

I could write a novel about the last ten years. I don’t regret much, because I ended up experiencing things I never would have experienced if I hadn’t had to go through this, but if I had to do it all over again I would just go with the easier option of getting married. ­­I just kind of needed to write this all down, get it out of my system and maybe put it aside as another idea for a novel. Sometime in the future.

(Oh, and as a side-note: it just annoys Immigration officials even more if you burst into tears when they are yelling at you. I know from experience. Try to keep it together, especially if you are prone to burst into tears at any given moment in your life, like me).

Oblivion?

It was too hard to get out of bed today. I knew that the moment I stepped out from under the covers I was going to have to deal with life again, and I just wished, for one bloody day, that I didn’t have to deal with it. Just one day, world, just one day of peace and quiet and silence. A day away from life, where I can disappear for a time, be it into some oblivious sleep, some faraway country or just some dream world I concocted when I was a child.

I first learned what the word “oblivion” meant during my first week at Lycee Stendhal back in the 90’s. My English teacher, Mr Finn, had the words “oblivion” and its antonym (it could have been “consciousness” but I really can’t remember anymore) stuck up on one of his pinboards that were hanging on the wall. It attracted my attention, and when I finally had enough courage to ask him what it meant, I decided that it had to be used in my first book. I think I may have told Mr Finn that, and I hope that somewhere, somehow, he will see this and remember too, although he unfortunately isn’t here with us anymore. In any case, oblivion is one of my favourite words, and for a manic-depressive, also the word that will always be the best explanation of what we want to fall into during those times when we fall down, down, down.

What is oblivion to you? To me it is just somewhere where none of all this that we have to live with and deal with every day exists, and where we don’t have to remember or listen to anything or anyone, and when we come back from it, well, we won’t even remember that it existed anyway. Kind of like the characters in an episode of Lost. You don’t remember the island or anything that happened on it once you are away from it. But once you are there you are away. Maybe I just have a rosy vision of what oblivion really means, maybe it means just gone away for good, unaware of anything, in a catatonic state? I prefer my view. Oblivion is a soft, down-filled bed that I can sink into, like a fluffy white cloud on a sunny day in spring.

Merriam-Webster defines oblivion as being one of the following: “the fact or condition of forgetting or having forgotten; especially : the condition of being oblivious” or “the condition or state of being forgotten or unknown”. I still prefer my definition, it’s just more… Poetic maybe? In any case, this week I just want a day of what see as oblivion, and although I know that it won’t happen, it doesn’t hurt to dream.

Ted Hughes & renewed inspiration

"But for me successful writing has usually been a case of having found good conditions for real, effortless concentration." – Ted Hughes

I read this Ted Hughes quote on Twitter this morning and it immediately inspired me to actually write something today. I haven't been inspired this past week, too many ideas, too many thoughts, too many personal things that make me want to throw and kick things. Coupled with the dreaded grey haze that sometimes creeps up at all the wrong moments. I think I chopped through it, or at least watered it down for a while, so I am just typing while I still have all of these interesting beginnings of thoughts going around my head, before I give up again for the day.
I love Ted Hughes. I actually grew to love Ted Hughes while I was writing my thesis on Sylvia Plath. While reading, dissecting and literally nearly living her journals and letters and poetry for nearly a year, and digging myself into an abyss of self-loathing and depression, reading Ted Hughes helped me climb out and reach upwards again. While Plath will now always symbolise to me how dangerous a dark mind and pure talent can be, Hughes will always be the rationaliser, the one who turns the table around to prove that poetry can also be uplifting and empowering.
Basically, that you don't have to be dark and depressive to be an amazing poet (although it can often help). Words need to be strung together to create meaning, but it takes talent to actually create strings and strings of words which open doors and close them at the same time, depending on how you interpret the flow. But I think the main lesson I learnt from both Plath and Hughes is that you can have amazing talent, but if you don't use it then there is no point in having it at all. Everything takes hard work, nothing just happens. I suppose that lesson goes for us all.

So it seems that yet again, Ted Hughes has provided the soft push in the back that I needed to move along. I needed it, just a little jab, to tell me that I can actually complete what I have been wanting to complete for the past 20 years. I feel that by finally deciding to write this novel that I have wanted to write for years I am finally actually going to complete something that I will be really proud of. It's going to be both catharsis and outpouring, and I don't know how I will come out of it on the other side, but I think that's just a game of wait and see.

I don't know if the novel will be finished by the end of the month, but it will definitely be done by the end of the year (first draft). Positive reinforcement and energy would be wonderful, thanks <3.

From September, by Ted Hughes:
"It is midsummer: the leaves hang big and still:
Behind the eye a star,
Under the silk of the wrist a sea, tell
Time is nowhere."

Ted Hughes on thinking:

How to be selfish

A few days ago someone very close to me told me to start being more selfish. The problem is, I don’t know where to start. How does one become selfish? How does one actually define a selfish person and how does one differentiate a selfish person from an unselfish person?

Oxford Dictionary: selfish: /ˈselfiSH/ (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others ; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

There you go. So a selfish person is someone who acts based on his or her own agenda, without any real consideration for others. Don’t we all do that at some point in time? Do what WE want to do without really thinking about how it may affect others? I mean, I did that a few months ago. Walked out of the job that I had been doing for over 6 years without really considering how it could affect the people I worked with, the company as a whole, and then also the people who may depend on me to financially pay my share (roommate for example). Pure act of selfishness, no? One that I did because my own mental and physical health demanded it, something I did because I wanted to. To be brutally honest, it did me the world of good. I finally felt happy and free again, after years of feeling that I was doing what was right in the eyes of everyone else, but that felt completely wrong to me.

So maybe I am on the right path? I don’t know, when I was going through the above I felt terrible. Terribly guilty about the way I had done it and about not being able to explain myself properly. I was very conflicted, on one side I felt so happy to be away from what I felt had become a prison, on the other I felt awful. I DID actually think for a long time how it would affect everyone around me and decided that it was better off for everyone that I did it, in the long run. It wasn’t a rash decision, but something that I could no longer hide from. But I did choose myself over everyone else. Woohoo, an act of selfishness!

So what next? I think my main problem is that I tend to let everyone take too much of me, so much that I feel exhausted. I try so hard to remember everything, and do pretty well at it, until I forget the most important thing and then upset someone because I didn’t remember. I know I get upset when people forget important things in my life, but that’s mainly my own fault as I never talk about them. But I feel terrible when I forget important things in YOUR life. Like just today I didn’t contact one of my closest friends to wish her good luck on the purchase of her new home. I hadn’t forgotten it was today, and I was going to call her later, and have been a little wrapped up in some personal things I don’t feel like talking about. But my friend was upset because I hadn’t been in touch to just wish her good luck, and she was right to be. I now feel terrible, and will feel terrible about it for days. But at the same time, I ask myself, if I actually never gave a shit about anything, no one would be disappointed because they wouldn’t expect me to remember anyway. So where do you draw the line? When do you stop trying to make everyone happy and start just concentrating on your own happiness? What if your happiness depends on other people being happy around you? I suppose that’s the real definition of being unselfish. Or maybe just unselfish is a synonym for being appreciated but walked over whenever necessary? Or maybe, just maybe, I am analyzing this all a little too much and I should stop feeling bad about things and get on with my life.

I think we are all selfish in some form or another, some are just more than others. I have just come to my own conclusion that I am not really that willing to change anymore, so, so be it. And if you have had the patience, or whatever you want to call it, to read through these 700+ words you can now listen to this beautiful song by my darling love Tim Buckley, because he (his music) makes me happy.


Those deaths we celebrate – food for thought

While reading the below remember that I am not pretending to have the answers to any questions. All I want is for people to start questioning things more than blindly accepting them.

So, when are we allowed to celebrate a death? When are we allowed to be happy about the death of someone we actually have never met? What allows us to rejoice, watch gruesome videos online, when normally we would weep, or, most often, not care. Why does the death of certain people touch the world, when ongoing death and starvation in third world countries takes a back seat.

In the beginning of May this year, US Special Ops stormed into a house in Pakistan and shot Osama Bin Laden dead, and many of us around the world rejoiced. There was no doubt that this person was one of the main masterminds of the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, and the head of one of the biggest terrorist organizations in the world. The world is now a better place, no? Would it have been possible to have caught him alive, and tried him in front of a judge and jury? There was no doubt he was guilty. He was Number 1 on the “Most Wanted” list. Dead or alive… He probably would not have even wanted to be taken alive. I’m not even going to try to go into his mind, or that of the guys who went in there and killed him. He was taken out, pure and simple. A small act of violence to venge the death of thousands. A celebration around the world that the head of a despicable organization was chopped off, but as we all know, if you remove one, there are many more ready to pop up and do the dirty. We just got rid of the face of 9/11. Some may say that it took long enough, but “we” finally did it. I do think the whole death at sea part was a little strange, but who am I to question this? Then again, for all we know, the guy could have been captured alive, stuck in some bunker in some far off country, while people try to make him talk by any means possible (which I honestly doubt he will do, he probably has the willpower that Jean Moulin did when he faced Klaus Barbie). Or his body could really be at the bottom of the ocean, bones picked dry by fish and other hungry sea predators. Not that we will ever know, right?

This week Muammar Gaddafi was killed. We all knew this was going to happen at some point, he said he was going to fight until the bitter end, and again, I don’t think he really would have wanted to be taken alive either. First of all I doubt the “rebels” were going to treat him with kid gloves, and second of all, I doubt any of his former allies (hello US, Italy…) would really have wanted him alive. It could have been a little embarrassing, you know, going through some of the secret actions that had been kept secret for so long. Every country has its secrets, some just remain buried forever.

I’m happy for the Libyan people. They were ruled for 42 years by a cruel dictatorship and are now going to have to learn how to live as a free country. I’m happy that they are now going to have the chance to actually choose their own government. I don’t envy them however, because they are now going to have to fight off plies from their “allies” who all want a piece of the Libyan oil pie. In any case, we know Gaddafi was captured. We’ve all seen the videos, and he had such a memorable face that it would have been difficult to mistake him for someone else. The autopsy revealed today that he died of a bullet to the head. Where that bullet came from, no one will ever know, all we know is that he is dead and gone. So we celebrate his death all over the world, and hope for a better future, for the Libyans at least.

So, back to my original question: when can we celebrate a death? What makes it allright to rejoice over the death of someone we never even knew, instead of crying about it? Yes, the fundamental bases are there: we rejoice over the death of someone who caused harm, death, pain and grief. I myself am happy that Bin Laden and Gaddafi are dead (at least I hope they are), but I just wish people would question themselves about everything before blindly believing everything they are told. Instead of just rejoicing over the death of a dictator by posting about it in your Facebook status, why don’t you read about what kind of atrocities he committed to merit such a death? Why not take a few minutes to go back 42 years and read about how he came into power, about how certain countries courted him and then turned their backs on him, the love/hate relationship he had with certain secret services, how his name was attached to the Lockerbie bombing, and how he treated his people during his time in power. Yes, it’s totally OK to rejoice in the deaths of despicable human beings (as long as we know they are really guilty), but at least know why you are rejoicing before you do.

If you don’t bother to question anything you are just accepting the world we live in. And I can’t rejoice in that.

(On a lighter note, I think someone should count how many different spellings of Gaddafi there are and decide which one is the correct one).

Why I write...

A while ago I made a conscious decision to only write about things that I actually like, appreciate and love, as well as voice my own personal opinions, fears, thoughts and emotions. This spot is not a place for me to review or bash anything I don’t really care about. If I don’t like a band, a book or a movie, I probably just won’t talk about it, not on here in any case. There are a few times when I have provided a negative review on something, and felt bad about it for days. So I’m leaving that for others. I will, however, not hesitate to voice my opinions on what I feel and see around me. On politics and world events and on human beings. Basically, I am not going to bash what you create, but I may ask you to think a little deeper into things, and questions your ideals (if you happen to have any). And you may not agree with me, and that’s cool too. I enjoy a good old debate where I try to prove myself right!

Support is sometimes found in the strangest of places, and not found in those places that you automatically thought that it would be found. Strange how life moves in mysterious ways: hills where you thought the terrain would be smooth, smooth sailing over rough waters and all that. I don't expect much, but even then you get disappointed by those you thought would never disappoint you, and at the same time are pleasantly surprised by the solidarity and encouragement of others who were always there, but not as close to you. All of a sudden you touch someone in a way that you didn't know you could touch someone, but the person you thought that would understand doesn't even acknowledge your presence. So what do you do? Force those who don't seem to care less to listen to you? Or just let it lie, move on and accept the fact that some people are just too caught up in their own hazy bubble to bother to see a little further.

I just don’t think my voice is loud enough and never has been. That’s why I started writing in the first place, as I can’t compete with the loudness of another person’s voice. I am constantly talked over, so there is no point in trying to force an issue when your soft voice just falls off the edge of everyone else’s much louder voices. And, honestly, if you really want to listen to what I have to say, then you can bloody well listen to me. Writing helps me voice opinions and thoughts and feelings that would otherwise go unheard. You can sweep this under the carpet too if you like, but in the end it may touch the heart of someone else, like me, and that is the main point.

It’s funny, but often I wake up, and say to myself that I dislike people immensely, and then I kick myself for trying to lie. I don’t dislike people and I don’t hate people. I love people. I love the way people talk, communicate, react, write, live, create… I do hate the way people mistrust, hurt, steal, and destroy, but in the end I still believe in the inherent good that resides in a percentage of the world population. Call me an idealist and I will agree with you. Nothing wrong with believing in something and hoping that one day there will be changes in this world. Changes that we can help make if we make our voices heard. Never think that you are just one person amidst many, and that you will never be able to make a difference. You will. You just need to believe in yourself… And I know how hard that is, I lose confidence in myself at least once an hour (and have amazing friends who prod me back into place whenever I need it). And I DO need it. I just won’t tell you that I do, well because, I am just too self-conscious and shy to. I’ll just get upset at your lack of attention to what I am doing, or saying, and will rant about it, but won’t actually ask you why you don’t give a shit, because I already know the answer: you don’t give a shit.

But someone else most likely does, and that is the reason I write. First of all I get what I want to say out there, and second of all, there is at least one other person in the world who is going to read what I write, and hopefully be inspired too. That’s the whole point in the end, be inspired to inspire others. So, in the end, I am heard… Maybe not by those I wanted to hear me, but by someone else who maybe needed to a little more. That makes it all worthwhile.

Today my first real article got accepted for publication. Nothing really special, but it’s a start and it feels like an accomplishment.

That awkward feeling of being alone when surround

It's been over 2 and a half years, and most of the time it doesn't get to me. You know, you are in your comfort zone, you go to the places where you feel at home, the triggers that pushed you to have a drink are long gone, and you feel that you are past all those issues that you had to run away from before. Your friends drink around you and it doesn't bother you. I mean there is always a cab two steps from the bar to take you home once everyone starts to annoy you, right? I even work in a bar now, and never think about doing a shot, or having a drink after work. It doesn't even cross my mind. I serve people drinks, talk to them, have fun, listen to good music and go home after work.
I've honestly found that this last year has been easy to deal with without alcohol and cigarettes, even during the worst moments at my old job.

And then you get caught unawares. All of a sudden you are outside of that comfort zone that you created, away from the cabs that can take you home, and the bar stool you always sit on and literally hide behind. That happened to me last night. I spent the whole weekend having an amazing time, with my close friends, seeing some absolutely wonderful live acts, feeling inspired and just really happy. It was during the final party, the last DJ set at Asbury Lanes, and everyone was happy and getting drunk and I felt so strange. All of a sudden I had a crazy urge to down a huge glass of vodka and smoke a cigarette. I'm not talking about a slight wish that I could have a drink, I mean a full-on I want to be as drunk as everyone else now because otherwise I am never going to feel like I am OK standing here. Everything felt totally surreal, like I had been pulled from one dimension to another without warning, and had this intense feeling of not belonging, even though I was surrounded by people I love. I just wanted to disappear into the crowd of dancing people and dance like crazy. I wish I had, I would have been happier. But I couldn't, I just stood there feeling awkward, and then took it out on one of my closest friends because he felt like having a drink.

I suppose I just need to remember that it's OK to be awkward, and it's OK to say that you feel awkward, but also that it's OK to not care about feeling awkward too. The only reason I felt awkward was because I felt like I was different, the odd one out. No one else noticed, everyone was too busy having fun. And I feel bad because I never wanted any of my friends to feel bad about drinking in front of me, because it's my own choice to not drink anymore, not anyone else's choice. And there is no need for me to make anyone else feel bad, just because I feel bad myself. But, I honestly also believe I am way too hard on myself at times... It's tough.

Now I am back home again, and everything is back to normal again. I feel lucky that I have such wonderful and supportive friends, and such a great life.

Now time for some serious ATP and other writing, just needed to get that off my chest first.