Friday struggles

 Happy Friyay!

Or, if you’re in any way like me: Happy-oh-my-gosh-the-sleep-deprivation-from-the-entire-week-has-now-really-come-back-to-bite-me-in-the-ass day! People who go out and party on Friday nights: nothin’ but respect for y’all. Honestly, I am exhausted. A whole week’s worth of tiredness catches up with me on Friday and when I get home tonight, I will draw a hot bath and then chill the f*ck out. Because that is all my brain will allow me to do. And that brings me to the stuff that keeps me upright on a Friday.

  • I distinguish between Friday Lotte and Monday Lotte. See, Friday Lotte is very tired. She’s exhausted, actually. She tried going to bed even earlier during the week, but constantly tossing and turning and waking up in the middle of the night on many consecutive nights has negated that effort. And Friday Lotte wants nothing more but a few more hours of blissful sleep. Alas! Just because it’s Friday, it doesn’t mean there is no more work to be done!
    But here’s where Friday Lotte shows her cunning: see, there are things on her to-do-list at work that… Well… Can wait until Monday, right? Especially when it’s getting to be close to like, 3 or 4pm on a Friday: any emails that still come in can easily be picked up by Monday Lotte. She’s got tons of energy! Why bother poor old Friday Lotte with that? That’s just cruel and unusual punishment, I daresay! Sure, Monday Lotte really can’t stand Friday Lotte for being such a slacker. But it’s Friday and I don’t care yo. Wake me up when it’s time to go home.
  • Another weird thing I do – and it tends to happen more often on Fridays, though any sleep-deprived day will do – is… Forget what I am doing. Like seriously: it will be early morning and I’m in the bathroom. I’ve just washed my face and the toothbrush is right there. All I need to do is see the difference between my face wash tube and my toothpaste tube. And yet… Sometimes I fail. And I notice that “this toothpaste tastes odd yo?!”. Always a sad moment. A sad lapse in judgment. Thankfully, I have started getting better at this one.
    However, lately a new development has been creeping up. It goes something like this: I’ll be brushing my teeth – with actual toothpaste, thank goodness! – in the bathroom. And then… Somehow I’m doing the rinse-and-spit-bit in the kitchen sink? Like I’ll be leaning over the kitchen sink going “wait, this looks like it’s aluminum, instead of a nice white sink in the bathroom? How on earth did I get here?! When did my body decide to start walking around the flat?!” It’s not a massive issue to be honest, but disorienting as f*ck, let me tell ya. Those precious minutes between starting in the bathroom and ending up in the kitchen are GONE. I may have solved world peace in those minutes and I wouldn’t be able to take credit for it – I just wouldn’t even remember doing it. Which is so sad really.

  • The war in my head is also a weird thing, but probably recognisable to many. Like this morning: my alarm goes off, yet I can feel my eyelids being glued shut. Somehow I manage to turn off my alarm – half blind – and then it’s this shit:
    “Come on Lotte, one more day! You can do this! It’s Friday for crying out loud! Just get out of bed, get to work early and then you can leave early too! Such a win-win situation, don’t make this harder on yourself, ok? Please? Come on… No, don’t turn around. I really wish you wouldn’t fluff the pillow under your head like that. No, come one, it’s extra comfy this way – and it makes it extra hard to pull away too! F*ck you’re such a masochist. Can you maybe not go back into the dream you were having?!
    Yes, I know it was weird. Like a very weird dream. It made zero sense at all. You were at the house from the woman who used to babysit you when you were 3 years old, and her daughters were there and you were telling people about your banana oat cookies. Your banana oat cookies of all things?! Like it was a religion of some sort. Something people needed to “believe in”. Say what?! But the group who was surrounding you like you were some kind of guru, they didn’t want to believe you. So your sister got involved to get your family members there, because they were already converted to your banana oat cookies and your dad was talking about how the banana oat cookies “were special and made such a difference and…”  – DAMNIT stop going back to dreaming! You need to WAKE UP! Oh you are such an idiot! You have been in this bed for 40 minutes. 40 MINUTES since your alarm went off! There’s no way of getting to work early now. No early day for you, no sir. Masochist. That is what you are. Why on earth did you decide to get a mattress from John Lewis? Memory foam, like really, was that necessary? And a down mattress topper. You have made this into the perfect prison. Your bed is heaven and you are a fool. A lazy, sleepy fool.
    [pause]
    Aaaallright. That’s it. Getting up now. You amazing. You go girl. You a friggin’ QUEEN.”
  • Enjoying the quiet on public transport and doing literally nothing, is one of my favourites on Friday. Normally, on my morning commute, I’ll be checking emails, reading the newspaper or a book, listening to music or a podcast, watching Late Night shows with Stephen Colbert on Youtube… Tons of stuff, like seriously. My route takes me pretty much overground instead of underground, so I tend to never lose my 4G. And with 10 gigs a month to enjoy, I am connected at all times!
    And then Friday hits. And my mind goes blank. It’s just struggling to hold on to dear life and making it to work – which I am now officially late for, due to the weird dreaming and the fluffing up of the pillow and yeah… I knew that was going to happen, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying more time in my bed unfortunately.
    So here I am, running to catch the Overground train to Highbury and Islington – if I miss this one, I will be even more late than what can be considered “just a few minutes late” – and I’m pushing my legs to do things I really have no way of justifying – my poor, listless body. So exhausted and now pushed to do more than just walk around like a zombie? Mean mean mean.
    Anyways, I’m on the Overground now and I am simply enjoying the stare. No music. No reading material. No nothing. And because it’s London, nobody tends to be talking in the morning. It’s odd when someone over the age of 5 is making any sounds. Just being on the phone is frowned upon by all (silent) passengers. The morning is for your inside voice only, preferably even no voice at all. I am telling you: it is bliss. Just purely letting my mind STOP. I love it. Just quiet. That’s what a Friday morning calls for.
    One morning, my flatmate was on the bus with a woman whose kid was talking. I’m not even sure the kid was talking loudly, it was just talking, you know? Such a no-go. But then the mom apparently started shushing the child, explaining in a whisper that “this was a quiet bus, so hush and don’t talk until we get off, okay?”. That’s good parenting, let me tell ya.

So that’s it. A quick recap of my Friday struggles. I mean, I’m probably just weird. But something tells me…

I am not the only one – amiright?

The curse and blessing that is YOLO

Decisions. For some reason people around the world struggle with them. I do too. They’re like blank pages we feel like we need to conquer. But how to get those first words onto the page? How to know they are the right words? Decisions very much feel like that. You toss and you turn and you hope that when you do decide, it will be the right decision.

“Yes, he is the guy you will be able to spend your life with, happily ever after.”
“No, that is not the right place for you to move to, far removed from what brings you joy.”
“Perhaps, maybe this job opportunity is the right one, but how to know for sure…?”

If any of this sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve all been there before.

The problem is that making decisions is hard. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how wise you might be, they’re always hard. Because the uncertainty of making the wrong move is a fearful task. More so even in this world than a world of years ago. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed by the opportunities screaming at my generation to get noticed, to be our roads less travelled by our ancestors. Growing up in today’s day and age is a privilege, if nothing else. But let’s face it, in a way, things were “easier” way back when.

I use that term loosely, “easy”, as I don’t want you to mistake it for “better”. What I am aiming for is that, once upon a time, you were born and depending on which family you came from, which gender you were etc., life was almost “pre-decided” for you. It may not have suited you perhaps, but in a way, you knew what to do. You knew how far you could go and what limitations life held. While I’d never want to go back to a world like that, I do confess it sounds appealing in a “Gosh-how-amazing-would-it-be-to-not-have-to-make-such-important-life-altering-decisions-all-the-time.” I mean, hell, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this?

In my opinion, a lot of people make choices nowadays out of fear for going into the golden years with too many regrets. It’s what my generation, the #YOLO-generation is all about: You Only Live Once. And that belief, that fear that you only live once, well it means that you have to carpe the hell out of that diem, doesn’t it? It means you can’t let any kind of chance of greatness go to waste, or you’ll be the fool who let it all slip through his/her fingers. There’s pressure behind making decisions now, not just because life is no longer “pre-decided” and you actually control your own fate (for which I’m sure you’ll all say with me: Halleluja!) but if you make the wrong one, you’re not living up to your YOLO-potential. Shame on you!

Let’s be honest: I have felt that pressure massively as well. Who doesn’t? But the absence of said pressure can have negative consequences too, I feel. Say you find yourself in a life you didn’t specifically ask for, you never really wanted, never truly dreamed of in the way that you’re experiencing it, yet… You can see it being stable, presenting you with a future where you know what to expect. Finally, the pressure is off! And you can rest a little easier. You can breathe more carefree, even as the days, weeks and months pass by and you have to admit to yourself, that while you’re not unhappy, you’re not exactly happy either. The relief of knowing what’s coming next keeps you tied to your present state.

As this is my first day where I am truly no longer employed, the pressure is back on in a major way. While it’s an added weight to carry, in a way I welcome it back with open arms. Finally I have the power to make decisions again! Who’d-a-thunk I’d be glad to feel that stress?! Ha, I genuinely am though. To be honest, I always had the power to make my own decisions – of course I did. But my carefree state made me unwilling to change. Now though, I’m ready for something different. So with that in mind, I’ve made two decisions:

  1. I am starting an online copywriting course at the College of Media & Publishing. I’ve always loved writing and I’ve got a solid background in marketing, it’ll be awesome to truly combine the two and see how I do. I have the time nowadays anyways, so why not? Sitting at home day after day just doesn’t interest me – now that I have the opportunity, I want to make the most of it and learn about something that interests me greatly!
  2. This Saturday I’m attending a Creative Writing course at the Faber Academy in London. Not sure what to expect from it, I’ve only been told to “bring my favourite novel”. But I’m definitely so looking forward to it! This course to me is not about learning per se, like the CMP online course is. It’s not about helping me look for the next opportunity in my life… This one just tugs at my heartstrings. This one… Is just for me. :-) And I can’t wait!

I’ll keep you updated on how it all pans out. In the meantime, I’d just like to stimulate each and every one of you to never lose that pressure. Never lose that feeling where life has no more different stories to offer you, because everything is simply going full steam ahead towards the predictable end. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: life is unpredictable. And that can be such an amazing thing to experience! I’d hate for you to lose that excitement, to lose that joyous buoyant feeling of being deliciously alive. Stop being content if you’re not, not truly anyways. Change it. You have the power to make that decision. I encourage you to do so.

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From: Invictus, by William Ernest Henley (1888)

The professional

My dearest reader,

I apologise for the horrendous absence you have endured. You must have been feeling abandoned, lonely and discarded like a used paper towel by my prolonged non-writing here. I wish I could ease your suffering somehow – reimburse you for the pain you’ve had to withstand. But I’m afraid I have no proper excuse for my behaviour. So let me make amends by grovelling appropriately and letting you back into my most inner circle of thoughts.

[…]

Did you like that? Was that professional?

These days I’m all about finding the balance of being professional and remaining true to my personality. And damn, that’s hard. To a lot of you, it’s so easy: you just don’t say anything weird, nor something that could be construed as an insult, nor the first thought that pops into your head – unless you just never think in bizarre ways, in which case that last one isn’t for you. And to be fair, that does sound easy, even to me. However, for those of you who’ve met me and spent more than half an hour with me, I’m sure you know that does not sound like me.

I wish I was innately professional like that. I wish I had a filter that would make all my jibber-jabber come out as perfectly polished English. I wish the cultural barriers – even though it’s only a trip across the pond – were not as big as they clearly are. I wish that I was as poised as my British counterparts. I wish that people wouldn’t find my behaviour weird, or inappropriate sometimes. I wish that I could fit in without pulling a muscle. I wish that it was easy.

But then again… I don’t wish my family had raised me differently – and in my family, yeah, we are ALL like that. [And yes, you are free to think about our family reunions at this time, with a bunch of people who are all hilarious, quite loud, think in funky ways and see the world like a jigsaw puzzle they don’t know the final image of – and they’re okay with that.] Also, I don’t wish that I didn’t value honesty above everything – public perception be damned. And I don’t wish that I was like everyone else: more reserved, difficult to read, an enigma to be deciphered.

I’m okay being an open book. Feel free to flip through the pages, read into my mind, wonder at the jibber-jabber you’ll undoubtedly encounter. I invite you as a passenger on the journey that is my life. Feel free to write your name in the passenger registry. Or if that’s too open for you, I’m sure you can be a stowaway somewhere below decks, hidden where I can’t see – I won’t mind. Don’t worry about propriety and what it all means, but just keep reading, word after word, page after page. There’s nothing on here I feel uncomfortable sharing. Perhaps you’ll think it’s all bizarre and a waste of your time. Perhaps you cannot fathom why any one person would do this, have an open window into his/her mind like that. Perhaps you’ll just have a laugh. Perhaps you’ll recognise my voice and enjoy spending time with me. Perhaps there’ll be a thing or two to open your eyes and make you look at the world differently, however insignificant or small that may be. And maybe, maybe, you will want to stay tuned to catch a (hopefully) happy ending.

However, being this open – I can only do that here. And of course, in my personal relationships. At work though, different rules apply. And I can’t say it doesn’t bother me that at work it feels like a part I have to hide, of sorts. Not really hide, just… Be careful who I show it to. Because it’s not really something I can change: my open/for-all-to-know thinking was like this when I was 5, it was like this when I was in my teens, I’m sure it will stay with me for a long time to come. But it’s about channelling it properly. And I guess that makes sense. Even to me. And there’s no shame in admitting you’re still learning. =)

But I suppose the main take-away from this is… That you can take the girl out of Belgium, but you can’t take the Belgian out of the girl! So Happy National Holiday my sweet fellow countrymen! I miss you loads and look forward to coming back: the 10th of August I’ll be arriving and staying for about 2 weeks…

See you soon, dear reader.

P.S. While writing, I was totally enjoying this beat. And you know what they say… Sharing is caring: