10 Journal Prompt Questions and Answers

I know that it’s 2am and I’ve just posted something, but I can’t sleep and all these musing posts are getting to be too much for even me, so here are some answers to some questions.

Questions taken from https://pageflutter.com/52-self-discovery-prompts/

1. What is your favourite physical characteristic (face or body)? Describe a time you felt proud of that feature. 

I am riddled with insecurity, so literally the only part of my body that I’ve never felt insecure about at some point is my eyes. As I’ve mentioned before, I have heterochromia, so my eyes are two different colours. It’s quite fun because it’s not immediately obvious, but if I spend enough time with somebody they’ll eventually notice, and point it out to me as if I wasn’t aware of it already.

2. What physical characteristics are you most self-conscious about? How could you make peace with those?

DON’T GET ME STARTED. There’s too many to choose from. I suppose the most long lasting one is my nose, because it’s big and bent, but my biggest ones as of today are probably my chin and my bad posture. I suppose I make peace with it by reminding myself that if I was beautiful, I might go my whole life never knowing if people really like me, or if they just like my face. But because I’m kind of plain, it means that there’s something for people to look past, and so their feelings are probably truer.

3. What is your greatest strength? Describe a time this strength served you well. 

My resilience, and my inability to give up. It served me well this academic year, because it got me through all my many exams and commitments in (just about) one piece, without having to stop doing any of my extracurricular things.

4. What is your greatest weakness? Describe a time this weakness held you back.

Obviously I have quite a few, but the one that probably holds me back the most is my tendency to self hatred and self deprecation. It’s pretty hard to function in life when you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re not good enough, and fundamentally unloveable.

5. Describe a time you felt especially valued and loved.

When Clover gave me a handmade Christmas card and told me all the reasons that she enjoys being my friend. She gave it to me at a time when I’d never really experienced love like that before, and it really stuck with me.

6. Finish this sentence: “I can’t stand it when other people…” Examine those character flaws. Do you also possess them? Be honest. 

I can’t stand it when other people are unwilling to listen to another person’s point of view. I possess this to an extent: often if somebody does something that hurts me, I get caught up in my feelings of anger and self-righteousness for a while. But I can proudly say that I nearly always reflect on this a bit later, and try to act in the best way I can.

7. Today is your first day at your dream job. You’re so excited you can barely contain yourself. When you arrive at work, you take a minute to look around and appreciate the moment. You can’t believe you actually got this job. Where are you? Why do you value this job so much?

I’m in a huge music hall, maybe the Royal Albert. I’m one of the cellists in a massive orchestra, and tonight we’re going to play to a full audience, and I’m going to play beautifully. Maybe I’m even playing my own composition. I don’t know why I value this job so much. I doubt it’ll ever be my reality; I don’t make enough time to practise, and I started learning a bit late. But you never know. Maybe one day I’ll make it.

8. Name a book that spoke to you on a personal level. Why?

Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda. It described a lot of feelings surrounding coming out that I’d experienced myself, and I didn’t realise that they were normal feelings. Like feeling uncomfortable coming out to people you know will accept you, because they’ll view you differently now.

9. If you had a theme song, what would it be?

That horrible drum song from Hannibal: Mason’s song. It’s truly disturbing. I’m kind of joking, but there’s a certain clumsiness and ridiculousness about it that I feel fits me quite well.

10. Name an animal whose characteristics you admire. Are you in any way like that animal?

I admire a cat’s ability to sleep a lot and not give a single damn about what you think of them. I definitely care about what people think of me, but I’ve embraced being thought of as weird and awkward now, so I guess that’s a start.

There are 42 more questions for me to answer, but I think I’m finally ready for some sleep. I’ll save them for another day.

Love, Violet

 

 

 

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Can You Carry the Weight of Mortality?

In the past few months, I’ve gone from writing maybe one diary entry a month, to almost daily. I just want to write, and write, and write. I want to blog too, but somehow my thoughts never quite fit into a single, coherent post. So here I present to you, an incoherent post.

I’m a fan of Aurora, and I was very excited when her new album came out. All of these new songs for me to listen to! And yet, while I love them all, every time I sit down to listen to them, I end up repeating one over and over. Apple Tree. It was actually one of my least favourites when I first heard it, because it’s quite different to her usual style. But then after listening to it a few more times, the words leeched into my soul. As is typical of Aurora, she managed to capture my exact thoughts and emotions through lyrics and music. Something I can’t even articulate myself. I can’t process it into words. But I’ll have a go at it anyway.

Throughout my life, I have a constant feeling of dissatisfaction with where I am. Obviously sometimes it’s because of the old mental health issues, but even when I’m mentally okay, there’s something not quite right. I always feel the urge to be starting on some project, but I can’t figure out what the project is. All I know that it’s huge, and time consuming, and non-existent. My life is spent searching for this mythical project. When I was little, I would start “secret clubs” and make up languages, and invisible friends. I tried to create my own little society. As I grew older, it took the form more of smaller creative projects, like knitting a jumper, or writing a story. But they never lasted long enough, and they weren’t substantial enough to satisfy me. Somehow I needed something to ground myself, because I felt too much like I was floating, not attached to the real world.

Digging my feet into the ground like an apple tree,

Wanting to live with a purpose.

It’s only recently that I realised this legendary project would never exist. I’ve been looking for one singular purpose in my life, and the project was a way for me to ignore the fact that there isn’t one. Sure, I can enjoy life and create my own meaning and purposes, but I wasn’t brought into this world for a specific purpose that I need to carry out. And somehow, that’s really hard for me to accept, even though I’ve known it logically ever since I could reason.

So, now I’m floating forever, and a bit lost. What am I meant to do with myself, if all of this is meaningless anyway? How am I supposed be happy? Am I ever going to be truly content with my life? Honestly: probably not.

I’ve had a lot of time to do a lot of thinking. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing that will give me any sense of fulfilment is improving the world for other people. To help those who are living in poverty, and those who are suffering more than I’ll ever be able to imagine. To stop climate change before it wipes us all out and breaks down society as we know it. To stand up against animal cruelty and torture, and to care about the suffering that they go through too.

There’s just one problem. I’m one person. One fairly tall, but still not super large person. How can one little, insignificant person, make any significant difference? What’s the point in even trying, when the suffering is never going to end? What’s the point, when no matter what life they live on Earth, everyone will one day be dead in the ground and all of this will be for nothing?

And how can I continue being kind and wanting the best for everyone, when there’s some truly horrible, cruel people in the world? When there’s people who will never change, either because they refuse, or they just can’t? Where am I meant to find my hope?

You’ve seen where the knife is, its dark location.

I suppose the first thing I need to do is to remind myself that, if everyone says that they won’t make a difference, then no difference will be made. If I refuse to do anything, because that’s what everyone else around me is doing, then I won’t change and they won’t change, and I’m contributing to the problem that I wish wasn’t there. And then I can remind myself that some of the biggest differences have been made both by singular people, and then by movements behind them. Look at Rosa Parks; look at Greta Thunberg. What if they had done nothing? What if they had thought the same things that I did? One person can spark change. And even if they don’t end all suffering, they end the suffering of some. Even if it’s just one person. Imagine if somebody had the power to end your suffering, but chose not to because they won’t also be able to end someone else’s. What logic is that?

Let her save the world, she is just a girl

Let him save them all, he is just a boy.

We need to stop stopping ourselves. From striving for change, just because it’s going to be hard, and just because it’s going to take a lot of work. We should all be idealists, we should think about the world that could be instead of the world that exists. That is how I will find my purpose.

As for the fact that we’ll all be dead one day anyway. It’s still true, and it still bothers me. It still weighs on my mind almost constantly that one day, all of the experiences and sensations I’m having right now will be gone. And there will be nothing. But I’m here right now. And I suppose all that I can do for now is try to forget that one day I won’t be.

Can you carry the weight of mortality?

Love, Violet

 

Relearning Who I Am

It’s been a busy few months: but now I’ve finally got through my first year of university, and the first year of my music A-Level. Finally I have free time again, and finally my mental health has improved. Now my mind is free to think about other things. And because I’m that kind of person, I am now spending all my time brooding over my existence.

It’s super cliche, I know. So many people, myself included, throw around the term ‘existential crisis’ so much that it’s lost all meaning. But it’s a real thing. I’d forgotten what it was like. The other day I freaked out to Marta about the fact that aliens, almost beyond doubt, exist. That there are other worlds out there that I’ll never learn about, never see how they work. Do they have the whole peace thing figured out? I wonder what that would look like. Today it was a bit closer to home. I was thinking about the fact that I’m thinking, and then that led me to think about the fact that there could be someone out there just like me, who thinks all the same thoughts as me and has all the same beliefs. And with seven billion people on our Earth, odds are I’ll never meet them. It’s strange to think that all my friends I love so much are probably not even the best match out there for me, just the best ones that are in close proximity. Does that mean we’re always settling?

(Sidenote: that doesn’t mean I’d ever trade them. My friends mean the world to me.)

I have a whole lot of other unanswered questions. Maybe some of them will have an answer some day, but most of them probably won’t. How can I ever truly like humans, when they’re capable of such evil? Will I ever be able to overlook people’s flaws fully, or will I forever feel just that tiny bit uncomfortable because of them? I’ve always wanted to just be able to see the best in everyone, but as I get older I find it harder and harder to do so. Now it’s more about realising that people are people, and that if I can’t forgive them and love them anyway, how am I ever going to be able to love myself? Me, an extremely flawed human. A bit cheesy again, but what’s my purpose in life? I don’t believe in fate or assigned purposes or anything like that, but what would I be happiest doing? Because right now, I haven’t got a clue. And the certainty that some people have about what they want scares me.

Then there’s the whole climate thing. I’ve been researching as much as I can recently, and things are bad. Like, bad bad. Scientists have predicted that if we don’t reduce the increasing global temperature to below a 3 degree increase, the water levels will rise to the extent that 1 in 10 people will need to relocate. Society won’t be able to cope with those numbers; it will, to an extent, collapse. I may lose the privileged life that I’ve come to take for granted as given: one where I don’t have to fear for my safety, and for my life. It’s both terrifying and shaming. Shaming that I’m so scared of losing something that some people don’t even have now. People are dying, and it’s taken the threat of that happening to me to get me out of my seat.

So I guess I’m going to be dedicating my life to saving as many people, and living beings, as possible. I’ve gone vegan, but that’s not nearly enough. I’m going to become an activist: I’m going to spread the message that we all need to act now, before it’s too late. We need to save the planet before there’s nothing else to save. And it goes further than that. I’m not going to be able to stop even if the government changes it’s laws, even if we get on top of the climate disaster. Because people will still be suffering, and people will still be dying, and it’s not something that’s ever going to end.

I feel like I knew myself a lot better when I was a child. I was in touch with my creativity: I created story after story, in my head and out loud, and I didn’t care if it was bad or stupid. How I spent my day wasn’t dictated by how much people would judge me for what I was doing. That’s probably why I was always an outsider at school, or part of it at least: I wasn’t willing to conform just so that people would like me. I miss that about myself. It’s something that I’ve aspired towards for a long time, and at one point it just came so easily to me. Now I live in such fear of being judged. I act as if it’s the worst possible thing somebody could do with me.

Anyway, I have three months of much less work and much more free time to look forward to, so I suppose I have plenty of time to figure all of this out. I hope that a lot of you reading this post will be able to relate to it. One of the nicest things about posting my thoughts on here is realising that I’m not alone with them.

Love, Violet

Which Me is Me?

This is a question which has been on my mind for years and years. It’s one that most of you, if not all, can relate to. The phenomenon of changing yourself depending on who you’re around. One you for your family, another for your friends. Another one altogether when you’re alone. I don’t know about you, but for a long time it’s made me feel inauthentic. How can anyone like me for me, when there are a hundred different me’s out there in the world, a new one ready to evolve for each new person I meet?

Obviously everyone does this. I’m not special for it. But – and I may be wrong – I think I do it more than the average person. The reason I think this is because everyone else I talk to seems to have a distinct personality, and from what I’ve seen it doesn’t change a huge amount around people who aren’t me. But me? I’m flipping switches this way and that. Around Iris, I hurl insults and swear like a sailor. Around my sisters, I make weird noises and put on stupid voices, and speak to them in words that barely make sense. Around Nina, I’m smiley and positive and ready to share whatever comes to mind. The question is, which one of them is the real me?

The answer: I don’t know.

And that puts an obstacle in the theory that I’m just shallow. I want to show my authentic self to people, but how can I when I don’t know what it is? I suppose the obvious answer would be that the most “me” me is the one that exists when nobody else is looking: the me in my mind. Which I guess means that this blog is the closest representation of the real me that other people can see: it’s just a stream of my consciousness as it comes. But it’s still not quite the me in my head, because it’s restricted to words, and I’ve always been bad at putting thoughts into words. In my head everything makes perfect sense; but as soon as I have to convey it to the outside world, something goes wrong, and I can’t quite do it. Pretty ironic that I have a blog.

But anyway, there’s still more obstacles to that theory. In my mind, I’m rarely sarcastic, because there’s nobody to be sarcastic to. Why would I bother with any wit or sarcasm when my thoughts are just constantly going through my head in an unfiltered stream? I don’t make many jokes either: again, there’s nobody to receive them. So does that make my real self humourless? Obviously not. I love to laugh. Most people do. And I would consider my sarcastic humour a significant part of my personality. Again, that doesn’t come through here either.

When I really get down to thinking about it, I don’t feel like any of the me’s I present to my close family or friends are fake. Even to strangers, I don’t always feel like I’m necessarily faking it. So maybe there is no “real me”: maybe I am all those me’s at once. Maybe I’m a moody, clingy bitch, and also a sweet, caring friend who just wants the best for everyone. Maybe I have a gross, crass side, and a responsible, mature side. Maybe it’s stupid of me to even be confused about all this, and maybe it’s obvious to everyone else that that’s just how people work.

So maybe each different person brings out a slightly different side of me, and if I piece all those different sides together then I’ll finally figure out who I am. Maybe that’s why I have such an urge to meet and connect with new people, despite being a socially awkward and generally introverted person. Maybe I’m starting too many sentences with maybe.

I’ve realised that I am both a loner and a people person, and now I need to find a balance. When I was in school, I leant too far into the loner side, and ended up with no close friends who I could talk to or relate too, because I was too far inside my own mind. Now I’m almost leaning too far in the other direction: I have a lot of close friends who mean the world to me, and who I would never want to leave. But I’ve almost become too dependent on having them around. When I don’t talk to anyone for a while, I become lonely and feel like nobody likes me. But at the same time, I’m taking ages to respond to messages because I’m overwhelmed with the task of keeping in touch with all these people, and keeping to myself. I’ve kind of lost my loner self, but I think I need that part of me to function.

I’ve gone off topic a bit. I’m not even sure what the topic was to begin with. My mind is muddled, and I’m trying to make sense of it all. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Love, Violet

Down, Down, and Down Again

I suppose I should have admitted that months ago that this unhappiness isn’t going to go away. Maybe not in the near future, maybe not ever. It’s hard to tell when you’ll recover from the truth.

Somehow it’s easier to be sad than to try and get better. Working towards happiness makes me feel worse than just staying sad, because it reminds me of all the reasons I shouldn’t be happy. It’s easier to stay in bed all day and watch mindless TV, as if I’m physically sick and it’s not my brain that’s wrong.

Except I can’t even do that. I say that I don’t care, but really that’s a lie. I’m scared to fall behind. Scared to miss an appointment or quit my job, or not talk to my friends for more than a day. I say that I’m going to take a break from the world, and then I’m on time to every single lesson, hand in every piece of homework on time. I doubt anybody knows that I don’t want to be here.

It’s not going to get better. Or maybe it will. Maybe one day I’ll be able to forget that I’m worthless, and that when I’m gone, the world will keep on going as if I was never there at all.

Right now, though, I’m fully aware.

Violet

A Slightly More Positive Post

I just had a look through my post history, and since about September of last year my posts have been mostly about negative and sad things. That makes sense, since September was the time that my mental health took an almighty downhill turn, and I still haven’t fully recovered. But it isn’t all bad, so I thought I’d update you all on the slightly better aspects of my life.

Firstly, I am nowhere near as unhappy as I was at the end of last year. It’s a bit up and down, but in general I’m doing okay. I wouldn’t consider myself depressed, and I have a lot of issues with self worth, but again nowhere near as bad. Most of my thoughts throughout the days are not negative ones. I don’t want to disappear, or hurt myself, or anything like that.

My physical health is gradually improving. Last week I had the flu, and it was absolutely terrible, but before that I had been up and about every day, and I’ve been cooking most of my own meals. I had an appointment last week for disability benefits, and to be honest it probably helped my case that I was feeling extremely ill that week. But I’m learning to cope with myself. I’m figuring out ways to make sure that I eat enough, and I’ve even been going swimming when I can, to get some exercise in. I’ve figured that having a wheelchair I can push myself would be really useful, because it would mean that I can leave the house independently even when I’m not feeling well enough to walk, so if my benefits get approved that’s the first thing that I’ll be spending them on.

Also: I’ve gone vegetarian! I haven’t eaten meat since January, and I’m reducing the amount of dairy I eat too. I’ve been wanting to go vegetarian since I was a young child, but I never felt that I was able to because of my eating problems, and because my parents controlled most of what I ate and weren’t down for it. Now, though, I cook most of the meals, and I’m finally in a place where I can make that change. Also, all of the recent discussion around the environment has helped to kickstart my decision.

I’m doing well academically. I did my Grade 4 guitar exam a couple of weeks ago, and I’m pretty confident that I passed. At the moment, I’m hoping to take my Grade 7 cello next term, if I can get my shit together in time for it. I’m almost at the end of my first year of university, and so far the lowest mark I’ve got in an assignment is 88%, so I’m not worried about that either. A Level music is a bit difficult to keep on top of, but so far I’m doing a decent job of it, and I’m paying attention in lessons as well as I can. My job’s going well too: I’m finally making more money than I’m spending, meaning that I can set some aside for the future. I’ve finally organised driving lessons for myself, after two years of putting it off. I can’t say that I’m a natural at driving, and I can’t say that I haven’t nearly killed my instructor and myself a couple of times, but I’m getting there. To be honest, I can’t wait to get my license and have it over and done with.

Although I am feeling a bit strained by some of them, in general my friendships are going well too. I’m managing to maintain all of them, even despite the inclination to just hide away from the rest of the world. The only person I haven’t been talking to as much as I’d like is Clover, who’s off at university several hours away. I miss her a lot, but we have plans to meet up next time she’s home, which I’m excited for.

So, there you go. Despite my many many posts about how miserable I am, my life isn’t actually completely awful. Yesterday, I went out at around 6pm to tutor somebody, and it was light outside. After months of darkness in the early evening, just being outside in the daylight was enough to put a smile on my face, and make me think that maybe life isn’t so bad after all.

Love, Violet

Where Do I Go From Here?

Sometimes I get amazed at the fact that I can still feel like I’m alone. I spend my life surrounded by people: my family, my friends, people I work with and people I’ve just met. I’ve made so many new friends, close ones. I’ve never had people I’m happier with than the ones in my life right now. But I’m still lonely.

Whenever I get drunk, I start crying and tell anyone who will listen how much I hate myself. When I wake up the next day, I’m confused. Because where did that come from? I’m not clinically depressed. I don’t have any mental illnesses that I’m aware of. As far as I know, I don’t even hate myself anymore.

Except that’s not true. I realised it’s not true when I caught myself for the millionth time watching the people around me connect, and interact, so fluently as if they were speaking a language that I couldn’t. It’s like my German: I can follow a conversation and understand what’s being said, but as soon as someone turns to me the words just don’t form. That’s how I’ve felt all my life. It’s why it took me so long to ever make a friend that I actually felt connected with. It’s why I take all my feelings and bottle them up, and then when I finally let them out it’s in a way that makes me hurt myself.

The last time I got drunk, I texted someone that I was a horrible person and she should probably hate me. I don’t even remember sending that text, because to be honest when I woke up the next morning half of the night was wiped from my memory. But I saw her that day, and she told me that it was concerning if that’s actually how I feel. I told her that it isn’t, and I don’t know why I keep saying that when I’m drunk. Turns out that was a lie, although not intentional.

Basically what I’m trying to say here is this: I still do very much hate myself. It’s something that I’ve been working on for a long time, and it’s probably better, or at least less internalised, than it once was. Sometimes I do actually manage to value myself, and feel impressed by what I am and what I’ve achieved. And then comes the wave of memories of the worst times of my life, when people turned out to value me much less than I’d realised. And it’s crippling. It’s heavy, and it hurts. And I feel alone. It reminds me that, no matter what I do, it’s just not going to be enough to make people care about me, because there’s something wrong with me. I don’t work the way most people do.

This realisation came yesterday, I think. I was volunteering with a bunch of people, and while I worked I silently listened as the rest of them chatted easily to each other. I listened to them discuss the most mundane, everyday things, and I marvelled at it. How did they just think of things to say? How did they keep a conversation flowing without awkward moments when neither of them knew what to do with themselves? Why can everyone do that but me? Somebody brought her baby in to meet everyone that day, and I realised how jealous I was of her. Not because I particularly want a baby right this second, but because I’ve realised that I just don’t see a future like that for myself. I don’t see myself finding someone who I love and who loves me, I don’t see myself getting married, or having kids. I see myself alone.

I don’t want to be alone. There’s nothing I want more than to have what everyone else has. But there’s something wrong with me, and I can’t see it happening. Even these blog posts are hard to put into words, and they’re just my thoughts coming straight out of my mind and into the computer.

I hate myself. I don’t know how to stop hating myself, and I don’t know how to cope with the fact that I do. I don’t know how to keep going.

Love, Violet