Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Limits

Lately I find myself backing away from opportunities, or shutting myself off from people because I'm tired, and I feel like a failure, and I'm afraid I won't be able to cope. I'm afraid that going to university was one gigantic mistake that I will spend my life paying for and ultimately regretting, because I failed to get through it or I ended up scraping a pass or something. I'm afraid of throwing myself back into singing again, as well, because it has brought me down so many times in the past. I'm scared of saying yes to things because of the implications of it: other people will rely on me. What if I let them down? I've certainly done so in the past.

All of this is problematic, of course, because what kind of life is that? How limited am I really? And exactly how much should I limit myself?

Should I sit around and wait for the next wave of depression to hit me and take me down? Should I stay in this "neutral" zone for the rest of my life in a desperate attempt to keep myself from any kind of mood episode? Because so far, this has done me no good at all. The medication has flattened everything out, and for a while it was a relief to feel nothing, but now? Now I've realised how much it sucks to be empty. I actually kind of miss the darkness and despair because at least then I felt SOMETHING. There was a driving force inside of me, however horrible it was. It made me force myself to do stuff that needed doing, regardless of how crappy the outcome was going to be. I didn't care about grades, not really, because I didn't think I deserved anything good anyway. The voice inside was usually saying something like, "Write your essay, you stupid worthless piece of crap. Just write it. WRITE IT. YOU SUCK. NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU JUST GET IT DONE AND GO BACK TO YOUR NORMAL LEVEL OF SUCK YOU TWAT." No, not an actual voice, but it seemed real to me all the same. The voice of depression can be very loud, especially because it grows out of very deep-rooted beliefs about yourself. You start seeing yourself as awful, and then that feeling grows and grows until it takes up all the space in your life, having pushed out every last shred of light you ever had in you.

I know that depression is a horrible place. I know that I do not want to go back there. I know I need to keep myself balanced. But where should I draw the line? Should I always be scared of taking risks? Should I always worry about putting myself out there? And will I ever feel like an actual person again? Will I ever feel like living?

I don't know, but I don't like this dullness. I don't like feeling hollow. I don't like drawing a circle around myself and refusing to step outside of it. I know I am limited, and I am trying to come to terms with that, but should I let limits rule my life? Do I need to walk on eggshells around depression to avoid being attacked by it again? Why does the thought of falling down again scare me so much?

It's like that Natasha Bedingfield song: "If I don't get up, then I can't fall down." I love that song, because it speaks to a part of me that I've been trying so hard to hide, not just from other people but from myself as well.


This woman is a true inspiration, and this album, Strip Me, got me through some hard times. A beautiful musician with a lot of important things to say. When people like her open their mouths, we should all listen. So Natasha: I'm listening. I will try to get up, even if I might fall back down. It's all part of life, after all. Every single asswiping aspect of it.

Welcome to life. Come on in. Take a seat.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sad weirdo reporting for duty

I keep clenching my jaw, which is making my face hurt and has now turned into a migraine. I've been trying to relax my facial muscles, but they just start straining again on their own, and I don't know what to do about it. Things have kind of sucked lately, and it is beginning to take its toll I suppose. I'm struggling financially because student funding decided that I need to prove to them that I still need them to fund me, which is obviously necessary because there IS that pill that can cure my bipolar disorder, I've just been neglecting to take it. I enjoy being mentally ill, it's a total blast, and the icing on the awesome cake is not being able to afford anything, including medication and therapy. That's really great, I love life.

In addition to that glorious fun fest, my phone has started to die on me. It now takes about 24 hours for it to charge to a full battery, and even then it doesn't last very long. I also have to leave it in various weird positions because otherwise the charger will disconnect, and I have to constantly watch it to make sure it's still charging. Crappy phone, no money, having to prove that my permanent mental illness is STILL permanent… the fun never ends.

I have been re-watching Switched at Birth from the beginning just to escape my own thoughts for a while. It is such a beautifully written show, and it has a brilliant cast and a nice mix of characters. Some get on your nerves, others are instant favourites. Obviously, Kathryn is the one I love the most, just because she is such a gorgeous creature (also, mad girl crush on Lea Thompson), but I also adore Regina and Bay. John can be irritating with his pushiness, but he always comes around eventually which I guess is the main thing, and he is a good dad.

Even Angelo starts to grow on you, eventually. Character growth is satisfying to watch. It is, however, incredibly frustrating when it goes in the opposite direction. Nikki, for example, starts out as this really sweet girl who seems pretty cool, and then she turns all preachy on Toby's ass as the second season plays out. I LOVE Toby, and I did not like what he turned into with Nikki around. She was self-righteous and annoying in so many ways. I was glad when she moved to Peru for good, and I totally have a crush on the British girl he's been hooking up with in the most recent episodes. I can't wait to see how that develops when the next season begins.

Why is television so great? Movies are great and all, but they are usually over in about two hours, so you don't get to know the characters very well. With TV, you do. You get to really connect with the characters, and you start to care about them. Some people might say, "It's just a TV show, you know?", as if I don't actually know that. I don't watch TV to be reminded of reality. I watch TV to escape into an alternative universe. I mean, why does anyone watch TV? Or a movie? Why do people read books? We connect emotionally with these things because they are created that way. That is their purpose. If they don't make us feel like the characters and their lives matter, what is the point? Why spend time on something you don't actually believe in?

When I watch a TV show, I do so because I am emotionally invested. Of course I like to be intellectually stimulated as well, and I can't get into a show unless it is well written, but a good script needs emotional hooks. People need something to root for. Something to become invested in. If you don't believe what you are watching, you can't escape your own reality and submerge into the fictional reality of the show, and that is a really sad thought.

So I hold on to the world of fiction. It has always been my friend. Does that sound beyond sad? Yes, absolutely. Do I care? Nope. I will take my weirdo-badge and wear it with pride.

Love,
A Norwegian Girl in London

Sunday, 26 October 2014

I love music

Music is life. It allows us to connect to our emotions, whether it's a particularly beautiful harmony or a uniquely gorgeous voice, or just something as simple as an inspiring cadence at the end of the chorus. Sometimes music can touch us in ways we can't explain. It's like a language of its own, and it speaks to us. It starts a dialogue with our emotions, whether it is to raise our spirits or to help us heal, and most of us listen to music on a daily basis whether it's sporadically listening to the radio in the car or taking our iPod for a walk.

However, people are extremely musically deprived, because there is so much music out there, just waiting to be discovered. So even though no one ever reads this blog, I am making it my mission to make people aware of all the great music they are missing out on. I will put the spotlight on a lot of Scandinavian music, but I will also write posts about artists from other parts of the world.

I listen to a variety of stuff from several different genres. I like a bit of everything, with a few exceptions: I am not a big fan of heavy metal, or anything that involves actual screaming (or screeching, really), and I cannot stomach rap that is basically all about bitches, "niggas" and gold chains. I'm cool with pretty much everything else.

To kick off this mission, I will start with Australian musician Betty Who. This hugely talented singer-songwriter released her first full-length studio album earlier this month, and it is an impressive collection of catchy songs as well as songs that are more calm and mellow, and touching without becoming clich├ęd. It is a pop record, but it is far from generic.

My favourite track, "High Society", is a song about dreaming of the easy life, but it doesn't overdo it, and it has the uplifting message that the "easy life" is attainable because it's about finding the right person. Like many of the songs on this album, it fuses different eras of pop music, particularly 80s pop with the electronic influences of today's music, and it sounds like she's been inspired by Cyndi Lauper, among others.



This track just makes me want to get up and dance around, and it never fails to lift my spirit.

For an example of a low-key, mellow song, "Missing You" has a nice beat and a tenderness to it that makes it very interesting melodically.



One of the things I like about Betty Who is how real she seems. She wants her music to be accessible; she doesn't want to be like Lana Del Rey, for example, who puts on this "persona" that leaves people wondering what is true and what isn't. She told Time magazine that she doesn't want her listeners to feel like they "don't get it". Personally, I applaud this statement, and not just because I find Lana Del Rey unspeakably irritating. There is something so refreshing about someone who doesn't take themselves so seriously - someone who isn't pretentious in the slightest, and yet manages to create unique and intelligent music.

Yes, her career was given a push with a viral video of a gay couple getting engaged using "Somebody Loves You" (isn't that fantastic?), but it was highly deserved, and though "Somebody Loves You" is a very enthralling song, there are other tracks on the album that deserve just as much attention.




Finishing off this fantastic record is the hauntingly beautiful "California Rain". With its serene piano chords and quiet synth waves running constantly throughout, this song shows us a completely different side of Betty Who.



I haven't even scratched the surface yet, there is so much music out there that I want to talk about, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

Love,
A Norwegian Girl in London