Fear and Self-loathing

“Pay close attention to the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness.”
—Byron Katie


Have you ever let your fear eat away at what you want most in life? I have.

This past week has left me in shambles, Dear Reader. Fear and self doubt that I was barely even aware of took up position in my life and started eating away at whatever I put within their reach. Instead of taking a step back, looking at what was going on and communicating in the right way, I retreated into myself and without knowing it I was guided by the beasts who reside in me

I suffer occasionally from anxiety-attacks brought on by situations that remind me of past hurts. Before I have a chance to evaluate the situation, my brain conjures up the negative emotions from the past and throws me head first into a fight-or-flight reaction. Often, it is weak enough that I can contain it outwardly, but not before a bit of damage is done. This time, I wasn’t nearly so lucky. This time, I went full-on into panic and lost touch with reality.

The result wasn’t pretty.

Now I’m dealing with the aftermath, and the damage that was done to my best and dearest friend. All I can do now is hope that the damage isn’t irreparable. I still have hope that things will turn out well, because I am determined to work for it, but that hope is clutched tightly in the jaws of my fear.

Fear is a hungry beast. It will consume us in a heartbeat if we let it.

And we can’t let it do that.

Fear only has power over us if we let it. It has no basis in the present and at best it is only an educated guess at something that might happen. We need to recognize that and take away the power it has over us. Instead of worrying we should do something constructive – face our fear, recognize it, put a muzzle on it and let it work for us instead of against us. We fear something because it can negatively affect that which is important to us, so instead of focusing on the fear itself maybe we should focus on whatever stands in front of it. Fear points us to the valuable things in our life and gives us the opportunity to invest in them.

Now I will focus on that which means the most to me. I won’t let fear rule me any more – will you?

I just pray that it isn’t too late…



A Secret Told…

”Art is confession; art is the secret told. But art is not only the desire to tell one’s secret; it is the desire to tell it and hide it at the same time.”
—Thornton Wilder

…and here it is, Dear Reader, my secret told and hidden:

The Fall - TalDThe Fall

It’s just a quick sketch; a sloppy doodle.

Yet it holds among its scribbled lines and smudges the entirety of my being at this present time – several layers of meaning and significance – my soul laid bare on paper and screen for all to see and few to understand. But that’s okay.

 During my little mini-vacation from on here last week I had a few personal revelations.

I came face to face with things inside myself and I have since begun to sort through and deal with things in my past and in my present so that I can more accurately plan for the future. Now, if only that was at easy to do as it is to type…but change is rarely easy. Not even when it is sorely needed.

My artistic ambitions for this year and this blog still stand, though.

I will keep making an effort to stick to the word count, image production, and professional goals that I made a month ago – even when it is hard. And it is.

But enough about my personal struggles!

The falling angel above will hopefully mark the transition from the personal to the professional sphere on this page. I’m sure some personal issues will appear – the page is about me, after all – but with a bit of effort I will hopefully be able to provide more interesting topics as well.


So, until next week – take care, Dear Reader!

Cups and Companions

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two people.”


Friendships – where would we be without them?

Dear Reader, I am writing this not from my usual desk but from the house of a good friend – one who has featured here on my page several times. Lately, there’s been a lot going on with me and even more going on with those close to me. Things are changing. Without going into specifics, so far this year there have been transitions, deaths, relocations, family issues, misunderstandings and breakdowns going on all around me. This week, it all kind of caught up with me and I crashed.

So here I am, having been offered shelter and care at a friend’s for a few days.

Staying with her has been a most welcome break from my normal routine – life has slowed down and I’m getting more done, focusing. Most of all it has just been good having company and being cared for. It does feel a bit strange, though. Usually I’m the one taking care of others, not being taken care of, but it’s nice being on the other side of it.

Friends are so much more than just support when we are down, though.

They are company and kinship and belonging, an extended family making life into something worth living. You can get by with only a few close friends, of course – sometimes just one well-chosen friend may be more valuable than scores of more superficial acquaintances.

Friendship is one of the most valuable things you can have. Treasure it.


Photo & Tattoos by Ninni Norrmosse


“Everybody needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside someone else.”
—Richard Siken


There comes a time in most of our lives when we have to rebuild ourselves.

Regaining stability and finding secure footing after our foundations have been torn apart, flooded and ruined isn’t an easy process.  We spend all our lives patching and building new platforms on top of the old broken ones, but sooner or later everything comes crashing down like a house of cards and we find ourselves half-buried in the rubble. Once free and on the path to healing and recovery we start sifting through the debris for salvageable pieces of us and our lives, realizing that there is no easy fix this time around.

We need to start over.

So we clear the rubble down to the still intact lower levels and try to use only the strongest stones for our new foundations. There might be a place for the smaller, more fragile pieces we have gathered later on, but putting them in now will only undermine everything. Build too fast, use the wrong pieces, or try to patch things together by including the pieces of someone else and it will all just break apart again. Sooner or later.

I’ve been trying to rebuild for a couple of years now.

However, I’ve been so blinded by the task at hand that I’ve used all the wrong materials and ignored the blueprints, only to tear the walls down again when they won’t hold up. And lately I have kept myself so busy with other things that I’ve almost entirely neglected the most important project – myself.

But I’m getting there.

The world around us has a tendency to supply most of the things we need (if not all) if we only keep our eyes and minds open to it and are willing to put in the work. These past few days I’ve come across people, writings and resources which not only inspire me to get back on track, but come with the added bonus of new ideas on how to build myself up.

All too often we incorporate other people and other people’s wishes into the foundations of the life we build for ourselves, instead of first making a strong and durable foundation in the person we are, on our own.

Darkness and Doubt

”Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”
—C.G. Jung

Darkness, self-doubt, self-loathing.

It’s been a rough week as far as that goes, and I’ve been feeling old and useless, unwanted and incompetent – despite a fair amount of evidence to the contrary. Rarely has my social life been as rich, rarely have I seen more appreciation for my art, rarely have I felt this loved. Yet my self-doubt and self-loathing are as strong as they’ve ever been.

A few days ago, while describing my current darkness to a friend, I started saying that I felt alone and unwanted, then stopped myself. Over the weekend I had gone to three social gatherings and met up with four friends in addition, having to turn down several invitations. I met several old friends and many new acquaintances and had a pretty good time – not spending more than about three hours by myself between Thursday evening and Sunday night – and yet I labelled myself as having been ‘alone’ and ‘unappreciated’.

It just goes to show that mental happiness isn’t really very connected to outer factors. Inside one’s own head, the demons can roam free and make even the greatest accomplishments insignificant – or even turn them against you.

I’m lucky to have friends I can really talk to – people who are there for me whenever I need them to. In fact, much more than I need them to, because I seldom ask. Some of them have battled depression and self-loathed themselves, and now all too well what it’s about. Compared to some of the people I know and confide in, my troubles pale into nothing.

That doesn’t matter, though.

When the black dog comes pawing through one’s mind, no rational comparison helps.

Logically, I know I’m quite fortunate – I’m loved, wanted and appreciated. Emotionally, that’s not how I feel though. I’ll get through it – I always do. My success rate at getting through the bad days is 100% – and that’s pretty damn good. I’ll get through the next few ones as well, one step at a time.

So, to those of you out there struggling with similar feelings  I have just one thing to say:

Talk to someone. Try to find someone who understands, and remember: you’ve gotten through everything life has thrown at you so far.

You can get through this!


  • Read – The Bell Jar; Sylvia Plath
  • Watch – The Fisher King; Terry Gilliam
  • Listen – Tomorrow Comes A Day Too Soon; Flogging Molly

Into Darkness…

“The more suffering that I go through, the greater character I’ll have. “
Mindy McCready


I crashed – big time.

After weeks of inadequate sleep – induced by heat waves, back problems, thunder storms, alcohol and exploring some of the darker tunnels of my mind – my body finally gave up. Coming home yesterday I took a nap on the couch and woke up with a headache. Figuring dehydration and sleep deprivation, I drank a fair amount of water, made some food and settled back on the couch to doze off to the first season of my favorite show. I barely managed to finish my meal before the headache escalated to migraine levels, cold sweat broke out on my brow and nausea kicked in. An hour or two and multiple rushed trips from the couch to the bathroom floor and back, I drifted off.

For the first few hours, sleep was interrupted by feverish dreams and threats of having to run to the toilet again, as well as the 30 second loop of dvd menu soundbite. I regained coherency long enough to mute the tv, move the wet towel from my face to the table and pull some blankets over my still shivering-but-sweating body, then I passed out.

Seven or so hours later the alarms in my bedroom roused me from sleep. Stumbling in there and turning them off, I passed out on the bed instead and slept heavily for another three hours.

Today I feel rested but weak – my insides too big for my body, my brain not quite wanting to cooperate.

I have managed a bit of thinking between yesterday and today though, and I found what I was looking for in the recesses of my mind: the splinter that has been poking at me for eighteen months now. I still have no place to put it down, therefore I will create that place. This will be a difficult process Dear Reader, so please bear with me – I will spend a lot of time in this darkness. I’m far from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but I am fairly certain I know the way back out. I have 113 days. I’ll get there.

Now, I have work to do.

Never again…

“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.”
F Scott Fitzgerald

SummerSkyA friend of mine nearly lost ten days worth of writing this week when his computer crashed and took the latest back-up with it. In the end his work was saved by extracting the hard drive, but the computer was beyond rescue.

If you’ve payed attention on here you may know that I am all too familiar with that deepest circle of digital hell into which malfunctioning computers can bring us. I wasn’t as lucky as my friend. Not only was my computer beyond rescue, it took the entire back up drive with it. Over three hundred poems, thirty short stories, the first draft of a novel and several works-in-progress had been turned into unintelligible strings of random letters, symbols and numbers – the occasional recognizable word thrown in for good measure. As if to remind me of what I’d lost. To add insult to injury I then lost a notebook containing eight short story manuscripts.

I was devastated.

For years after that I did not write any prose or poetry worth mentioning. At best I managed repetitive journal-like entries, character descriptions, and snippets of story ideas. I knew I had most of the poetry and a lot of the short stories in my notebooks, at various stages of completion. It would be easy to just open the books and turn them into finished works again. But I waited.

Slowly I began writing again, jotting down first drafts in long hand and noting down story ideas and even some outlines, but I refrained from typing them into the computer. Years passed – some of what I had written was lost as notebooks disappeared or were damaged – and I starting typing again. Saving things. Completing things. Eventually I decided to make use of all the material I had left from before ‘The Tragedy’. That’s when I came face to face with the magnitude of the lie I had been telling myself.

563078_10151583411406147_91892759_nYou see, Dear Reader, what I had recalled as near-complete drafts were barely outlines, what I had thought to be finished stories turned out to be a few hundred words at most, what my memory told me were detailed story ideas often ran no more than a sentence or two. A lot of what I found didn’t even make sense anymore, and some of it was written in a hand I barely recognized now – words, sentences, pages I could only guess at interpreting. A complete outline that I knew was in one of my more recent notebooks was nowhere to be found.

I have spent the past year and a half meticulously going through all of these pages to hunt down the broken, unfinished, stillborn stories hidden within. I’ve marked where everything is, sorted through it all and made decisions on what to salvage and what to leave behind. Only the prose, mind you – I won’t even think about touching the poetry. It’s been painful and I have learned my lesson.

These days I keep between three and seven copies of everything I store digitally: one copy on the stationary computer, one on the laptop, one on a usb stick I carry with me almost everywhere. Each month I also back everything up to an external drive which remains isolated from my other systems when I don’t use it, and anything i finish also ends up in my web mail and other cloud services. Some of it even goes on the removable memory card in my phone. Never again will lose all of my work in one fell swoop.

Never again.