Being my own miracle

Stress

I’ve been feeling very anxious lately – thoughts of impending doom and gloom strike me at all times of the day. It is irrational and unfounded and yet I can’t shake it off – sometimes life is just too much. I need a vacation badly but we have at least three weeks to go to Christmas when things will finally (and hopefully) slow down.

Stress is an interesting phenomenon. It was supposed to keep us alert so we could run to safety in the face of great dangers – starvation, hungry beasts trying to eat us, the cold. Today, all of these dangers have been successfully removed from most of our lives and yet our bodies continue to operate as they were genetically set up to do. It is so irrational and stupid to get your hurt pumping and palms sweating at the fear of missing your train in the morning. The next one is just 15 minutes later and nobody ever got eaten by a beast for being 15 minutes late. And so the rational self and the irrational self are constantly in battle.

Big picture, focus on the bigger picture, Natalcho. There are very few things in life that deserve the kind of panic state that I fall into. Health is really all that matters – everything else, my rational self tells me, is silly. I know, in my bones I know, that the things I worry about today are meaningless in the grand tapestry of my life. I will forget and will feel stupid in the future thinking back to these moments today when everything feels so exaggerated, every problem is the biggest problem ever.

So how to fight off stress – truthfully, it seems that denial works best for me once again. This week for example I felt so stressed on Thursday and Friday night that the only thing that seemed worth doing was sitting at home and feeling sorry for myself. Thankfully, we have met some wonderful people in Zurich who fill our nights with fun. And so despite my enormous need to feel like a victim we went to a dance show on Thursday night. We didn’t dance, we sat in the audience and yet music filled my heart with happiness and denial set in. Instead of focusing on my crap day I started fantasising about Saturday morning when I would get up and devote the entire day to learning the Thriller dance (this has been my plan for the last 300 Saturdays – I should really do this one day). My heart relaxed and anxiety let go of my tortured brain. A similar thing occurred on Friday night – I came home with such a strong belief in my impending failure (whatever that means…the irrational self never seems to go into the details of failure because she seems to know that thinking about the details takes failure apart and turns it into “meh, big deal if that happens, couldn’t care less”). Bugi hugged me tight for a good hour and then we went to a roller disco party. And let me tell you – a room full of people dressed like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, roller skates, good amounts of vodka and Thriller – best stress buster ever. By the end of that night I forgot all about my worries and sunk into a big fluffy rose cloud where I was the queen, Ombelico del Mondo.

I am tired, haven’t slept enough but my mind is preoccupied with good things and I have no time to worry. Worrying is such a waste of time but sometimes it is difficult to refocus, to find the bigger picture. And then Bugi hugs me, takes me by the hand and takes me to an 80s disco heaven. And all is good with the world.

Jump Jump Jump

 

I did something really strange back in June which in my opinion proved without a doubt that I am impulsive, a little crazy and very very cool*. Bugi and I were sitting at home one bright Saturday morning in early June, having coffee and browsing mindlessly the internet. I was preoccupied in a quest to find a fun activity we could do to celebrate our birthdays in mid June. We had just gone canyoning and I had liked the thrill and the adrenaline.

 

Me: You know what would be a really fun thing to do for our birthdays? Skydiving!

 

Bugi: Mmmhmm.

 

So I signed us up for a skydiving jump.

 

And then quickly fell into full blown panic as I started googling skydiving and finding numerous blog posts that all started with “I wanted to do this for 30 years but I was always afraid. And today is the day when I fulfil my dream”.

 

What the hell is wrong with me? Apparently other people take a moment, or several years, to prepare mentally before they jump out of an airplane. Me – I was sort of bored over coffee one morning and decided that skydiving would be the perfect way to break that boredom.

 

Bugi was a bit stunned when I told him that I had actually signed us up. Then he promptly forbid me to google any more skydiving accounts (at that stage I was jumping up and down with a wide grin on my face that could only mean one thing – I was terrified).

 

My coping mechanism in life has always been avoidance. It is not denial really but more a stubborn refusal to think about anything that stresses me out, makes me think uncomfortable or sad. Life is just easier this way. Out of sight – out of mind. Apparently, Bugi had resorted to the same technique and so we quickly established that there will be no conversations about the impending skydive. We would just go and do it.

 

Truthfully, I didn’t think about it at all.

 

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That morning I woke up, got dressed and looked and felt completely and totally relaxed. Except, I decided to take a few self portraits for my parents in case I didn’t come back:)

 

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Ahem, this is my face for “Why am I making my life more complicated than it needs to be?”

 

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S@!T! Is this really happening today?

 

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The aforementioned grin. I was anxious but also not anxious at all. I was aware that I was doing something significant and dangerous but only because I had read online that I was doing something significant and dangerous. Emotionally, I was just excited for the free fall.

 

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I am sure that everyone in Germany heard my scream that day as I fell from the sky (4,000 metres to be precise). And it was fantastic and glorious and over way too soon.

 

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This was not my last skydive – I know that much.

 

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YOU CAN GO HARD OR YOU CAN GO HOME

 

*Calling yourself cool makes you very very cool indeed.

 

Writer’s blockade

Friends,

 

I’ve been battling a bad case of a writer’s block these past few weeks. Daily I have the best intentions to sit down and write something funny and witty and positively unforgettable. I brainstorm blog posts all day long, string together hilarious jokes that make me smirk (my jokes usually work at least on me). I come back home, get a glass of wine, sit down by the fireplace, open my laptop … and nothing. My mind goes blank and nothing seems worth writing about. I was on such a roll a couple of months ago posting daily and running a long “Post Topics” list on my phone. Now, it all seems a bit pointless.

 

It would be easy, I think, if I had a focus for this space, if I had a passion for one particular thing that inspired me to write daily. But I don’t. This is how I’ve always been – mediocre at most things, good enough to fake it. Every couple of weeks I go crazy over something (I re-read all of Alain de Botton’s books for example in the space of seven crazed days this summer) and then just like that – it’s gone. I love cooking and I still spend most of my free time in the kitchen but I find the task of recording recipes so dull (I think I’ll continue posting recipes though from time to time simply because my mom is still reading and she simply must try some of the good stuff I’m experimenting with!) I could write about politics but I don’t feel like arguing with the internets about every single word I write. Tomatoes Rock was supposed to be a positive space. I could write about lovey dovey stuff but I am afraid Bugi will evict me – we are just not the lovey dovey kind of people and I feel like by putting something online it immediately acquires a strong cheesy taste. Some things are just meant to stay behind closed doors…or you know, out in a plaza on a coffee table in Italy  (I am talking about playing chess people!)

 

I feel the urge to write but I simply can’t find the right topics…

 

The logical thing would be for me to quit the blog, make it private and forget it ever existed. But I need writing in my life, even if all I end up writing about are lentils (fascinating topic!) I just feel more like myself when I write. I’ve also grown very fond of some of the people I’ve “met” through this little website and I don’t want to lose this connection. It is all too easy for me to get sucked up in a routine – my life is already 99% scheduled and accounted for. This little space allows me to sit down and think and process topics that I can’t necessarily bring up during brunch (from mortality to why I love love love Patrick Stewart…although Mr Stewart is certainly a brunch worthy topic I think).

 

There was a reason why I decided to dedicate more time to writing and I put it all out there in my second ever blog post:

 

I stare through the veins of my day, through the arteries of my life.
What lead me here is no longer in me and with it,
Is gone the calm meaningless existence I once enjoyed so much.

 

My soul, finally liberated, from the chains of endless sitcom reruns,
Blabbers like a raving lunatic escaped from prison.
And I finally understand I was locked away for all these years, crushed by popular culture.

 

I can never return to the time when I did not write or think or paused.
I could never go back to the old me, the one with the fake blank smile.

 

So despite the fact that Tomatoes Rock has no agenda, no theme and it can certainly be viewed as the biggest waste of time that ever entered my life (and your life for that matter), I think I’m gonna stick with it. Like they said in my writing course that I took a million years ago in London – write daily, write on the subway, write even if you only have 5 minutes, write constantly and about everything. Write write write and if it makes you feel good, then your writing really doesn’t have to have a higher purpose. It just is.

 

I write for myself.

 

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