a letter never sent

Dear …,

I am writing a story. I am writing the story you owe me, because I have given up on you ever paying your debt.

While there might have been times when a story could be bought or commanded, those times are past now; in any case, this particular one could only ever be given freely. When we last met, you named this debt as your own and gave me a promise – freely! – to tell it, but you never did. I have not even heard of you since, in fact.

So I decided to write it intstead of you. It will be different from all the other stories I have written, for it has to be more profane and prosaic than any of them to be credible. In all probability, it will not be beautiful, either.

Still, I will write it, and the writing will be the easier part. For after that, I will have to believe it. Just as the Son, who had, under expert instructions, dreamt his wings, and then had to forget the time he had lived without, I will have to believe this story to be true, as if you had truly told me.

I will probably lose whatever confidence I still have in you in the process, as well as any goodwill that’s left. I am well aware you could not care less about it. If I do my job properly, neither will I, by the end.

Nevertheless, I wish you all the best.

I aways have an excuse

for not having written for more than the promised one week.
You know, my best friend was here last week, for a full week, so I truly had better things to do. It may seem perplexing that after a 10-day visit with my best friend I don’t even have some good stories to tell, but we have a rather long tradition of just spending good time together without having anything specific in mind (to the point of accompanying the other running errands), as well as of staying at home with a cup of hot chocolate and world-saving talks instead of going out and burning the town.
Never you mind I don’t have cocoa at home this time.
Or the fact that we did go out, on a Thursday, no less, dancing salsa. It was an altogether decent night out, in any meaning of this word, but it just felt so good. Really, why stay at home all the time in the name of protecting my health when it makes me so depressed?

That being a good lesson, I continued in that spirit this week. I stayed nicely at home the first two days, then went to an absoutely chatartic concert of Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino on Wednesday, watch this video if you can, and to a poetry reading night (of a group I just recently joined) yesterday.

I need to sleep.

But still…

Running in circles

Last year, on New Year’s morn, even while walking home from the party I knew I’d be ill. What I did not know was that I’d have practically constant sinusitis for 3 months straight and would have to be operated at the end. This year started in a similar manner, so at the second round I visited a specialist, who happens to be very thorough – aside from the one-week cure for my most evident symptoms and some rest at home he put me under medication for 3 months and regularly orders me back for controls. He even sent me to have a CT examintaion to see if I need yet another operation.

To say I dislike being under medication is quite the understatement. No-one likes is, I guess, but I know some who are indifferent if they need it to get better, people who, for instance, regularly take painkillers for headaches and so on. I’m not: I’m all for natural treatments and will not take a pill unless I don’t have another option. This time, having learnt from last year, I realise I don’t.

But there’s something else, and that’s what makes me write all this, even though sharing these details on the web does make me squirm a bit. I also realise that all the chronic and recurring issues I have are much more closely connected to my lifestyle choices, notably my eating and sleeping habits and stress levels. And there I’m puzzled.

It’s one thing I tend to do too much, which in turn leads me to sleep too little and not care about what I eat. Then, if I force myself to slow down, I become restless, and if I set myself rules about food and sleep and whatnot, I get stressed from it. When stressed, I tend to overeat, mostly sweets – with which I’m surely not alone, but which would be the single most important thing to stop –, as well as stay up late, even when I slow down my projects, just reading things I’ve read a hundred times already. Exhausted, I dope myself with coffee and stress out even more, and it all turns into a rather vicious circle I don’t know where to get hold of. At times it takes me several days, even weeks to get hold of myself, then I restart, shifting my focus one way or another in hopes of better results, which may come, but only in quantity (of time), never in quality. (This is why I compare everything to my life in Genova: that was the only exception, ever.)

I’m not asking for advice, however  much it may seem at first. So please don’t give any, I won’t keep them anyway. But I’d love to hear about your own struggles and solutions, if you’d share.

The Big Slowdown

another depressive post – you’ve been warned

Even aside of environmental concerns, I have to admit that as much as I used to love flying, I don’t enjoy it that much anymore. Takeoff and landing are especially harsh on me, as is the simple unnaturality of the speed. At times, I don’t even look out the window.
So I was none too happy to board not one, but two planes to go to Germany  (and then two again, to come back) for a weekend to visit with friends, however much I enjoyed my time with them. I also realised that one really has to have a certain rhythm to life to label a weekend spent in a household with a three-year-old “calm” – even if the kid is someone else’s child. It was a rhythm over even my usual pace
– and it came, of course, to a crashing halt just a couple of days later, when I fell ill with sinusitis (again). Considering that last year, when despite the illness I could not (would not?) slow down, I ended up having sinusitis for three months straight and then had to be operated, I don’t seem to have a choice. So in the ten days I spent home, I did some serious thinking, called off the dance competition I had signed up to and another show (here’s why I rarely if ever write about plans and future),  and decided to cancel any regular evening programs, this means mostly the French conversation table and Toastmasters, except for my weekly dance classes for an indeterminate time, as well as my early morning practice routine. (Yes, I also wonder: until when?)
Boring or not, I need balance.
Still working on it.

Last Saturday

something inexplicable happened.  Now that I’m in the middle of a flat-hunt (one of the most stressful things ever, truly),  that the days are getting ever darker and work more and more difficult, I’ve let go of the stress and the doubts, as well as all the rules I set up to maintain a semblance of balance and could not keep at all. And I feel light, lighter than ever since the first few weeks after having arrived – before that, I don’t even remember, probably in Genoa, to which I still compare: where’s the difference between what becomes home and what does not? -, and balanced, and confident, and happy.
Not euphoric,
not uncomplicated.
For I read news from home and from elsewhere and worry. For I slowly but steadily drift away from my former life, and at time find myself in a bubble I honestly detest.
For it’s been only a couple of days, and it all might only be for these sunny days, knowing how fine-tuned I am to the weather (which is a truly unfortunate thing, really, but more so in Belgium).
But I still fel good, feel at home in myself, if not in the city,
as I slowly grow into myself, into what I could be.
It’s been half a year today.

balance is boring

This was my weekly challenge, the task I set myself last Sunday – under the after-effects of Gentse feesten as I was: to have a balanced week. This may sound either easy or not very clear, so here are the approximate rules:

  1. Eat well. That’s actually two rules: a) don’t eat crap, b) don’t eat anything in a way only crap is worth eating.
  2. Sleep decent hours (7 per day at least)
  3. Exercise.
  4. Limit screen time: don’t waste life on the web.
  5. Be productive: tick off one thing from the list per day.
  6. Do something important and/or interesting every day.

The results? well…. Sunday, though otherwise not overly enjoyable, was perfect in terms of the above; Monday was cool. The cracks started to appear on Tuesday in the form of some chocolate or so; on Wednesday I overslept and had to shorten my morning routine of yoga&dance, and after work did just about nothing but surf on the net. Thursday I overslept even more (will not mention what I ate), only did the yoga part, but also had to do some other things in the morning, so I was quite very late from work, but went to a French conversation event in the evening. On Friday I could hardly get up at all, but went out with my colleagues to see a film. And to eat fish&chips (it was good, so no comment).

All in all I couldn’t quite keep to my rules. I did sleep decent hours, but honestly, I feel that if I am more rested that’s more due to the weekend’s two-figure sleep than whatever I tried to do during the week. I ate a lot of things I should rather have avoided; it’s Sunday and I still have a good couple of items on my list. I went out 3 nights out of 5, and the remaining two I was restless as hell.

I felt distant, muted and not quite myself.

If my standard over-active and chaotic lifestyle regularly gets me sick, and this calmer and more balaced one feels forced and makes me restless, then what am I to do?

Any advice?*