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.