Letter about writing and learning to put myself first

20th of June 2020

To whoever reads this.

I started my wring project. I have a friend help me. So I am not alone in it and I love that. I have to do my writing of cause. But she will help me set deadline and eventually contribute with her skills. My first deadline was Thursday, I had to start a brainstorm. And the first real writing deadline is three pages for tomorrow. I’ve known about this deadline for a week and didn’t start till late this evening. And then I wrote seven pages. I work so much better under pressure. So having a friend help me with deadlines is amazing.

What is also amazing is that she loves my ideas and always meets them with excitement and that she wants to join in. I am still so happy and surprised that someone thinks my ideas are cool and worth acting on. I always thought so, but always felt like other either shot me down or politely told me it was fine and that I should do that if I wanted to. No one ever grabbed my ideas and got excited with me before. And sometimes if I don’t talk to her for a while my insecurity comes back, but then I remember that she wouldn’t lie about being on board, and I get so happy again. I’ve needed a friend like this who jumps on my ideas and makes me feel like they could be brilliant.

I’ve been a little surprised at how hard it’s been sitting down and writing. Not the putting one word after another, that is the easy part. But starting the computer, opening word and sitting down and start the writing, is so hard. I love the writing. And right not the writing doesn’t have to be good or great. This writing project will actually be edited and corrected and taken really seriously. I just have to put the words down, one after another. And I wanted to and have been so excited about it. I just have zero self discipline at the moment.

While I was writing everything felt like it sucked. Nothing worked the way it did in my mind, the entire idea felt stupid and I suddenly didn’t know what to do with it. But I have a deadline. My friend is on board. And I can’t edit an empty page. A bad page can be edited and corrected and rewritten. But en empty page is worthless. So I wrote it anyway. And that is a big victory. And now I am writing this, hoping I’ll be done before midnight, but the clock is against me.

I didn’t read a book this week. I wasn’t sure what to start. But more than that I didn’t want to take my mind of the new project. I’ll have to start reading soon though. The project and my thoughts about it won’t go away. I know that. I think it just felt very fragile, in part because I hadn’t started. But I have now. maybe I can find a short children’s book I can read tomorrow. I have a few of those on my to read list.

A called the other day. She sounded like herself. I felt so reassured by that. And she was so nice about me having all kinds of feeling about her not being there for a long time. She knows I understand and told me it’s ok that I feel feelings about it anyway. That was nice. I hope this means she might have room for me again soon, but I am also ok with giving her more time and not expecting more than she can give.

Lastly I was challenged on setting boundaries this week. So much in fact. A stranger put me on the spot about helping a friend whose mother just died. I wanted to help, but couldn’t. But when I am asked I never know how to say no. I felt like I had nothing to give, and thought the thing that was asked for wasn’t unreasonable, the way I was asked was. And even though what was asked for was reasonable and I wanted to help, I didn’t have that to give. It took everything to call my friend the next day and tell her I had changed my mind. But she was nice about it and I know I was more true to myself. I also felt like a terrible person for failing my friend in this time. But she has been nice about it and doesn’t seem hurt.
The thing that made me say no, was realising that by saying yes I was inviting to a closeness I didn’t actually want. This friend is the nicest person I know, but I don’t feel like being that close with her. I already feel like she wants more from me than I have to give and though I realise I am her closest friend, she isn’t someone I could ever be closer with. I just don’t feel whatever it is I need to feel in order to feel comfortable enough with someone.
I’ve struggled a lot with guild about that. Wondering if it was wrong of me to be friends with someone where we want different things. But I was reminded that every friendship is a negotiation of what closeness both parties are comfortable with. And I did the right thing by being honest about what I had to give and what I didn’t. It was still hard and I still felt like a bad person. It also felt good to allow myself to listen to what I need. Something I still struggle a lot with, when someone else is in need. This was a good first step.

That will be all for today. I just wrote seven pages for something else before I wrote this. I am empty of words to write right now. But I hope there are new words next week.

Thank you for your time.


Letter about unexpectedly caring about someone I no longer like and an update on my bullet journal

14th of June 2020

Dear no one in particular

I might take a break from writing these letters. There is a new writing project that I am hoping to start soon. For now I still find myself postponing it for no real reason. But if I start that project I might put this one on hold in the mean time. I’ve been thinking next week for a while, but now there are other things next week and I can see how that would be an excuse to postpone it again. I’m hoping to talk to a friend about making deadlines so I’ll have to get started. I suppose when the time comes I’ll be ready to share what this new project is about here, but I’m not sure it feels right to do the work of sharing when I am technically sharing it with no one. But for the first time in years I am excited about a piece of writing that I have a head of me. I’m looking forward to exploring what this could become.
I also feel a little weird spending energy trying to write something here when I don’t know what to say and when I want to write something completely different.

I’ve been doing really well with the bullet journal I started in March. I didn’t really thing it would work for me. But I decided I could try it for two months and if it wasn’t a disaster I would give it three. Not I just started the 4th month, and I am writing in it every day. I can’t remember the last thing I did this consistently. I’ve actually written in it every day for more than three month. I can’t remember my medication every day for a month. I keep forgetting my sleeping pills and suddenly it’s 2 am and I wonder why I’m having trouble sleeping until I remember that I forgot my medication. That actually happens all the time. I can’t get two meals a day consistently (and two meals a day is when things work well for me). I have no structure, no routines, nothing. I was expecting the whole bullet journal thing to fail. I didn’t set out to fail and I didn’t want it to fail, but I knew myself well enough to expect it to fail. So I am more than a little surprised realise I have used my bullet journal consistently every day since the 1st of March. And it was easy trying it out because I only committed myself to three months and I was so open to it failing. Maybe I should try that approach some more.

Mostly I just write down my tasks for the day, small things. Like empting the dishwasher or taking the trash down. I write down the phone calls of the day so I can remember that I actually talked to people and who I’ve been in contact with, and I actually think it has helped me stay sane these months of being home with nothing to do. I think I would have felt like nothing happened and like I was useless and did nothing all this time. But my bullet journal tells me I did things every day, big things and small things. It reminds me that though I couldn’t see my friends I talked to them and wrote with them, and I am less alone than I feel.

I’ve made spreads about things I could do during lock down and things my friends and I plan to do when it’s over. I track my migraines and tensions headaches and realise they coincide a lot with stress and overstimulation, which isn’t really a surprise but it’s nice to know for sure. And I’ve reminded myself of all the creative things I’ve been trying out and getting better at during this time.
I want to learn how to make a chainmaille dragon, and though I don’t have all the materials I spend the materials I do have practising the skills I need to make the dragon once I buy the materials.
I practiced some origami which I really wanted to learn more of. Though I am not yet good enough to try out the more complicated stuff.
I experimented with black out poetry, which was really hard and also really fun, and something totally new for me.
My mom just gave me some materials so I could try out paper marbling and I have done a little.
I managed to get excited about the idea of improving my handwriting (which is just aweful), but got a little stuck when I realised how much dedication and concentration it will take, but I haven’t given up, I’m looking for ways to stay motivated and get enough structure on my days to stick with it.
I also started writing all my recipes (from my grandmother and my mother and a few of my own) in this really beautiful notebook that I bought specifically for that purpose a long time ago. But with my poor handwriting it takes a long time and I can’t write more than one or two in a day before my concentration fails.
I’ve been baking a lot. It’s one of the ways I cope with things being difficult.
I bought myself a kintsugi set so I could try out this amazing art form that have fascinated me for years. It was a lot harder than I thought. But I am encouraged by the fact that I did it anyway. I wasn’t afraid to just try it out and try to learn the thing I wanted to learn.
And of course I have been reading and reading and reading.
Most of these things would just have disappeared from my mind when it was over. But with the bullet journal I can see which days I did what and suddenly these months of not working and not seeing friends seems less empty and not at all wasted. It’s been a long time since I could say that about any period of my life. And if I had known in advance about the lock down I probably wouldn’t have started the bullet journal and thought it was a waste of time. I never imagined it would be such a useful tool for me. The next goal is to keep it going for the rest of the year, and then for as long as I helps me.

I’ve also helped several people around me starting their own bullet journals. Most of them because they heard how excited I was about mine. But also because they like all the creative things people do with their bullet journals online and they wanted to try it out. I am not artistic or creative in that way. I cannot draw and I am so ok with that I have no desire to even try it out, and though I love all the beautiful bullet journals I see online and look forward to seeing what my friends come up with, I mostly just want mine to be a practical tool. Though part of what I love about bullet journaling is that it can be both at the same time. Because I can’t draw at all I have now fallen in love with sticker. It’s an amazing way to make my bullet journal fun and colourful and they work in both a regular bullet journal and in a black out bullet journal which I am also considering trying out at some point. Another good thing about this is that I’ll need several each year so I don’t have to commit to white or black pages for more than 3-4 months at a time, before I can just try something new. Though I very quickly realised I’ll end up spending money on quality notebooks, good pens and maybe some stickers so I will have some expensed from this. But I believe it’s worth it, and I did start out with a random notebook I had lying around and whatever pens I already had to make sure it would work for me before I started buying things for it.

I’m stuck between books right now. Unsure what to read next. On one hand there is so much I want to read. On the other I keep looking at my book shelves for something to catch my interest, but nothing does. I should start Sherlock Holmes soon. It’s on the list and on the shelves, and it’s a big hardback that won’t be easy to take with me if I get back to work in a month or two. So reading it while I am home would be good. The hitchhikers guide to the universe is also one of this year’s must reads. So I am not lacking ideas. There are too many great books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet, and it’s amazing to see them being marked as read on the list. The library also just opened up again, so I am no longer limited to my own shelves of books.

Someone who I used to consider a friend completed his education this week. I know very little about it, I haven’t spoken to him in 5 years. I don’t really miss him. He and I were very close back then and losing my friendship to him was very painful. He meant a lot to me. I spend a lot of this time angry and hurt. The angry part took me by surprise. I am not very good with anger. I don’t feel angry enough. But I did when he hurt me. It was the first time I really set a boundary and stuck with it. He crossed a line. A lot of lines actually, but this was the one that made me say stop. I had thought he would listen and hear me. He asked me to set boundaries a lot. Be he couldn’t handle it when I finally did. And we lost each other.
I’m very good friends with his wife though. Which puts all three of us in an awkward position from time to time, mostly her I suppose. I was really open with her and told her I would completely understand if she didn’t want to spend time together because of my fall out with him. I was friends with him first. But she was so cool and sure that she wanted to keep me in her life and I am so grateful for that.
So I heard about him finishing his education. He struggled a lot during the 5 years I knew him. Dropped out of the school where we met each other. Lost jobs and almost gave up on the next education. It was a big part of the person I knew back then. I haven’t talked to him or wanted to talk to him in the years since I closed the door between us, so I was so surprised when I felt so moved by knowing he has accomplished this goal. His wife has told me of his growth, of how he has changed in these years. But nothing she said really made an impact for me. Maybe because she also tells me of the ways he hasn’t changed or tells me of things that remind me of the person who couldn’t respect me. I don’t know if I’ll ever truly believe he has changed, I don’t think I could ever like the person he is again, I don’t know how to forgive him for what happened between us. (Some days I am not sure how to forgive myself either). But knowing he is achieving this goal of finishing this education, I felt a wave of gratitude and happiness for him. For the first time in a long time I feel like I know he is ok and the part of me that loved him, the part of me that hurt so much letting him go, the part of me that wanted nothing more than to help him and save him, is so relived and happy. Because the person I knew him as could never have accomplished this. He can only do this because he is in a much better place. Because he has support and love and he is ok. There was a time (maybe there still is sometimes) when I was sad I couldn’t be there and help him and support him and love him and see who he grows into.

There are still days I am angry (though a lot fewer than there were), he hurt me a lot and some days I am still hurting (not all the hurting is his fault, but enough of it is, and I can also admit I am not blameless). Some days the painful history is the only history I remember, and none of the good memories are untainted by the bad ones. But I want him to be ok. I want him to be better. I want him to be loved and supported and in a good place. And I don’t think I really knew how much I wanted that for him till I heard about this. I hope he never hurt anyone like he hurt me, but I also believe he hurt me because he was hurting. And I am still sad I didn’t know how to help relieve him of that pain.
I believe he was in a lot of pain. But so was I and there was only so much I could do, and I decided not to break myself for him. The best decision I have ever made, because I learned to respect myself again. And the price I paid for that was so much higher than I had anticipated, if I had known that I might never have done it. He was the most important person in my life, I loved him so much. Saying stop took everything I had. And when I realised I was willing to lose him to not lose myself, to not break myself I gained so much strength and confidence and self respect. Things I’ll never sacrifice again for anyone. But what a price I paid. And maybe that is the part I have a hard time forgiving him for. Not what he did to push me there, but that he couldn’t see that what I was doing was growing and becoming the person he asked me to be, and that I had to lose him to gain that. I know I was the one who walked away in the end. But I felt like he walked away when I told him no and I felt like I would never be able to trust him if he didn’t acknowledge that no. and he couldn’t do that, so I couldn’t stay.
I feel like I got sidetracked. That was a long way of saying that despite my anger and hurt and hard feelings, I am so grateful he is ok. I want him to be ok. I am happy for him. Something I didn’t know if I would ever be able to feel around him ever again. I walked away so angry and so hurt. But I also felt like I let him down by not helping him. I felt so ashamed that I failed a being his friend when he was in pain. And I had to shut anything that wasn’t anger out. I didn’t know I still cared, didn’t know I still wanted good things for him, I didn’t know I was still worried about him. I was so worried about him. And I am grateful to know he is ok.

I think that was all for today. These letters never really take me where I expect. At the moment I am very happy that I kept writing and I think it’s good that I keep trying. And this too is one of those things I try and almost expect to fail at. That really seems to be the way to go at the moment. Trying things out without being too invested in the outcome.
When it comes to writing this I don’t know if anyone is out there. I don’t know if I am as alone in it as I feel. But if anyone is out there I am happy you are there. Thank you for giving me your time and attention, the most precious things you have to offer.


Letter about technology, loneliness and not being ready to share

5th of May 2020

Dear whoever reads this

I miss A. I miss my friend of cause and wonder if there will ever be a time in her life where there is room for me. And a part of me is insecure enough to wonder if she’ll want mere there when that time comes. These aren’t exactly fair thoughts and I do my best to keep them at bay. What ever happens to my friendship with A I hope she is OK, I hope she finds love for herself and realise she is as amazing as I know her to be. I wish her all the best, and hope I am allowed a sting of sadness if that doesn’t involve me. That sadness will not take any of my good wishes away.

When I write I miss her now I guess I selfishly miss her in this writing process. It feels so lonely. Like so many other things in my life. I feel more vulnerable than I would have felt if we were doing this together, if this were a way for us to share things. Instead I am fighting to keep myself writing and struggling to share my life and thoughts.

The internet scares me. I have seen glimpses of the hate and harassment that happens there. And I do not want to put myself at the mercy of that. Not ever. And that is why I chose not to have a comment section. Why the email connected to this account isn’t my regular one. Even when no one is reading along, even though I do nothing for this blog to find an audience, I am so aware of the public nature of this. Nothing here is private. Nothing online is really private.

These months of no work, of not seeing friends, of being isolated, has shown me just how much I do not want any part of my life to happen online. I do not want communities online or friendships that exist primarily online. I guess I knew this before the pandemic, but this has shown me how much I feel that. How much even now when I have been locked away from the few friends I have, I do not want or try to search for meaningful connections through the very amazing technological tools at my disposal. I am so fortunate that I live in a time when all this is available too me, and yet I so often shy away from it. Nothing about social media feels social to me. It just seems stressful and like a source of too much information I do not know what to do with. Like an ocean of small talk and surface level interactions that I try to avoid at all times. And the addictive nature of apps, the way they are designed to keep any attention they can get for as long as they can get, doesn’t work for me. I find myself scrolling through feeds but getting nothing out of it, yet unable to turn the thing off.

I am so amazed that I have so much knowledge at my fingertips at all times. I can learn almost anything I want from the smart phone in my pocket. That is a gift. It is wonderful. I can take pictures and send it to a friend far away in a heartbeat and share what happens in my life with them. But I have found I learn better with a teacher, when I can ask questions and be corrected. I feel more connected when I am in the same room with a friend and I can feel their energy and feel what happens when their energy meets my energy, and I can’t do that through a phone.
I find phone calls less stressful than video calls. And though I can see the other person with video it just feels like more is demanded of me, more attention, with nothing added for me to want to give that extra. I see something similar with my nephew. He is five. And when I call he loses interest in talking to me very quickly, whether I call in the phone or with video. I’m not there. In the room with him. So I am not really real to him. He forgets I am there and that he is talking to me, because it’s just a voice or an image on a screen. So he walks away or just does other things. His parents tell him to focus, but I feel like he is being so honest. And when I visit he is so present with me, so there, so Here. And that forces me to be Here as well. And I love that. The way he asks me to be in the moment with him, and the way there is nothing more precious I could give him than my time and attention. And that the time I have with him will always be limited and that makes it so easy to choose to be in present in that time. He grows so quickly, and so does his little sister. I feel like if I am not careful the time when they are kids and want me to play and want to share those moments with me will disappear in a flash and before I know it they’ll be grown and I could spend the rest of my life wondering why I missed these precious moments with them. I still wonder a little too much if they’ll like me later. But he likes me now, and my niece is still too little to have an opinion, but she will soon enough. My autism and my weird and my being me is things I am proud of and that I wouldn’t change for anything. But I do wonder what these kids will think of it when they begin to see it and maybe understand it. I keep thinking they’ll either love it or hate it, and whichever it is I’ll take it when it comes. But it’s on my mind.

There have been so many things lately I have been thinking of writing or sharing here. This week a big thing happened that I might have written about if A had been a part of this. I would have trusted her to read it and be here with me in it. I would have known she was there and that she was being her own kind of vulnerable with me too. And I wouldn’t have been alone. So sharing those things wouldn’t have been so hard. Because I would be sharing them with a friend. If I write or share it now I am just giving it away to the internet, to no one. And though I am so fine being vulnerable and sharing so much of myself, I have been working on understanding I am allowed to keep things private. They are not secret, but private. Something I felt like I never had a right to. Too much blame when the therapists couldn’t fix me, it was always my fault, because I hadn’t cooperated or been honest enough. So I learned to tell them everything from such a young age, and nothing was ever private or secret or mine. And now I am beginning to claim things as mine and be more careful what is shared. But I also know when I started this blog, these letters that was supposed to be for A, that if she had been here, if she was writing back, I would have wanted to share so much more. And a part of me is sad that I have these things I am not ready to share, when I also struggle so much to find anything to write every single week.
I’m not going to push myself to share. But a part of me hopes I can share it some day. I think it’ll have value. It does to me and I believe it’ll have value to others if I can give it away. For now it’s mine. And that feels kind of nice too.

Lastly an update on my reading. I just started book 28 today. I am completely off any kind of schedule. I’ve read a few short children’s books that I could read in a few hours or less. And maybe they shouldn’t could as haven read a book, but I have decided it my reading and my books and they are books and they count. Especially since I read them to keep up with reading and because I have been meaning to read them for ages but haven’t till now. And I am ahead of schedule which was one book a week. So even though my reading died completely for 2 weeks about a month ago the small children’s books got me back to reading. And in the past week I have read the new Hunger Games prequel and the first two Hunger Games book. I just started Mockingjay today. So I’ve been reading constantly. The trilogy is a reread and they are great to return to. I do worry a little that I will get stuck unsure what to read next, but reading a series really did make it easier for a while. I’ll try to decide on something before I finish reading Mockingjay.

I keep thinking I should start writing in advance and take time for editing and stuff like that. But it doesn’t feel realistic yet. I hope that’s ok with whoever is out there reading. For nor just writing this to no one and posting it to not let myself down is challenge enough,

If anyone is reading then thank you. Thank you for your time.


P.S. Got distracted before I posted, and almost decided against sharing just this. I am not ready to leave the text for a day and return to it to edit, if I hope to post anything. So I think for now unedited is the way to go. But I do hope to change that.