Friendship

Valentine

He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.”
Sherman Alexie

TTHappy Valentine’s Day, Dear Reader!

I hope you have someone to celebrate the day with, be it a friend, lover, spouse or perhaps a new interest.
Valentine’s day can be full of pressure and expectation, but it doesn’t have to be that way – we can celebrate our love for each other with just a short message of appreciation.
Two years ago I was single and not really dating anyone, so instead I wrote a Valentine’s letter each to three friends who had meant a lot to me during the past year, telling them how much I appreciated having them in my life and how they had improved things for me.

Today I encourage all of you out there to write to a friend or loved one and tell them what they mean to you.

One of those friends has since become so much more to me.
What started out as a deep and intimate platonic friendship slowly grew to something more, and since about a month we are living together.
Every twist and turn along the way has strengthened our bond, and I can not even imagine a future without her in my life.
She means the world to me, and I fall in love all over again every time I see her smile.

I choose her, always – moment after moment, day after day.

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I Love You, T-!


Full Circle

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”
— Victor Hugo

 TheSquirrel

Six months ago today, I started on a personal journey.

The ride since then has been wild and shaky and bumpy, but now things seems to have settled and I am back where I started – only stronger, wiser and better than ever before.

I have come full circle.

The track is laid out before me and I am sure of where I am going – both personally and professionally – for the first time in years.

Now the next stretch of this journey awaits.

Things will likely stay hectic and wild and bumpy. They always do, in life – nothing ever goes according to plan. But this time around at least there is a map of sorts to follow.

All of the major crossroads are behind me, for now.

That’s not to say the journey ahead is fully mapped out by any means – there will be choices and uncertainties, surprises and conundrums. But this train is going places! I’m back on track, full of motivation, stoking the engine.

‘Til the wheels come off, babe!

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Fear and Self-loathing

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

Maze

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…

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God Hates Us All

“A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.”
—C. G. Jung

RedemptionDear Reader, what a week…

I’ve done no less than four drawings/sketches, partied twice, lost a tooth, started a new story and I managed to hurt a very dear friend of mine. I’ve spent a week in pain – first from a bad tooth ache, and now from having had said tooth pulled.

Things could’ve been smoother.

But, at least my creativity is back – even if I’ve only managed to produce pretty rough things so far. The story seed has potential, though – a tale of friendship, love, youth and life’s disappointments and pleasures. Or something to that effect, we’ll see when I get it all down.

My recommendations this week are all works of art that hold special meaning to me – things which highlight the complexity of life and do not hesitate to show both the beauty and the ugliness of life.

Life is never all bad or all good.

Even at our very best or our very worst, there’s still something present in our lives that tries to balance things out. Maybe not much, but there’s always something. All we can do is cling to he good while we tackle the bad, and hope that we come out on top.

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Cups and Companions

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

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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.

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Photo & Tattoos by Ninni Norrmosse


Happiness and Holidays

“One woman can make you fly like an eagle, another can give you the strength of a lion, but only one in the cycle of life can fill your heart with wonder and the wisdom that you have known a singular joy.”
Deputy Hawk

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“If I didn’t love you so much I’d probably let myself fall in love with you.”

Those words were told to me by one of my closest friends earlier this week, and it is just about the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me. It made me genuinely happy, because I feel the exact same way about her – she’s amazing, and I feel very lucky to have her in my life.

My week has been filled with small joys – little surprises and blessings among the every day grime and grind – and as of writing this I feel more content and at ease than I have in a long time. I do not normally care much for the holiday season – I don’t celebrate much at all and last year I did absolutely nothing over christmas beyond the traditional family dinner and a visit with my aforementioned friend at her work place. This year, however, I have no less than seven outings planned in as many days. It feels a bit daunting, but at least I’m off from my day job until well after new years’.

My apologies, Dear Reader, for neglecting the blog during this week – truth be told I have had the time and I’ve sat several times attempting to write, unsuccessfully. This time of year I always exist in a sort of limbo, you see, caught as I am between the end of my birth year and the start of the next calendar year. For me, December is a month of contemplation and transition. I put my life on hold, in a way – waiting for the holidays and the solstice to pass.

It slows me down.


In honour of the season, my recommendations for this week are all connected to friends or relatives of mine:

 

Happy Birthday

Thirty nine years ago, a boy and a girl were born half a world apart – today, only one of them gets to celebrate.

The boy – me – I’m still here.

The girl – Mindy McCready – lived to be 37.
I cannot really begin to describe what she came to mean to me over the years, so I won’t even try. ‘Quite a lot’ doesn’t really cut it, but it will have to suffice. I only really got to know her a bit and sadly we never had the chance to meet, but even so the loss of her hit me hard.

So, Dear Reader, I celebrate this day in her memory.

Happy Birthday…

Mindy McCready

To say that Mindy led a stormy, troubled life is a bit of an understatement. She moved to Nashville at the age of 18, having promised her mother that if she didn’t make it within a year she would go to college. Exactly 51 weeks later she signed her first record deal. Her debut album Ten Thousand Angels came out in 1996 and went gold in six months, and as the video of the title song reached CMT Europe she appeared on my radar. Over the next few years she released two more albums, but dwindling sales led to Mindy being dropped by her label. It took three years for her to sign with a new company and release her fourth album, Mindy McCready, again to poor sales. Once again she found herself without a label.

Her life took a sharp turn for the worse, and she didn’t release any new material for six years. The song I’m Still Here was released as a download on Mindy’s official website, signaling a return to strength and the upcoming album of the same title. It would be her last.

Her career was back on track, the album sold well, and her life seemed to be turning around for the better again. She was busy being a mother and working on a new record with her boyfriend David Wilson. But on January 13th 2013 Mindy found her soul mate on the porch of their Arkansas home, dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Five weeks to the day after his death, she followed him.


– Listen –
I’ll See You Yesterday; Mindy McCready


( photo by unknown )