Nightmares

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I’m wandering aimlessly through a maze of cold, grey stone. Each wall like the next, indistinguishable from eachother. Every time I look back on the path I’ve just taken, the roads blur and duplicate. I cannot turn back and I don’t know what lies ahead of me. I rush on despite of my uncertainty. Because I know that there is something following behind, urging me to retreat from what I haven’t seen before, back down the road that is under the control of this being who is morphing and twisting all that I think I am sure about. All in the hope of returning to the place I have just come from. I decide to take a chance on the unknown. I run into a clearing. The labyrinthine walls around me blur and warp before fading to black. I sink down sobbing in relief at the abscence of that unknown entity. I am alone.

But not for long.

There is a presence. A bag of drowned kittens poured in my lap, one still barely holding onto life. It nudges its brothers in turn then climbs onto my outstretched hand. It’s so tiny and helpless, puddles forming around its velvet paws. It mewls in mourning and confusion, a sickening gurgle. All of its muscles relax and its body folds in on itself. The wet slap of its fur  on my hand seems absurdly loud, almost obscene. The sound too final for such a fluid and ever-changing delusion. It dissolves and slips through my fingers, like sand. I am alone again.

I am transported once more. The car is rolling down the hill. I’ve been behind this wheel a hundred times, I know just what to do. But the place where I feel safe is rushing away from me, along with the passing seconds which seem more important than ever in this imagined place. Something is preventing me from pulling the handbrake. I keep rolling and all I can do is steer. Maybe if I could start the engine up and drive it back to where the car started, everything would be okay. Because all I know about what is happening is that I want to be back where I was, but I am hurtling away and I am not in control. I turn the key and the car jolts once, twice then shudders and shatters into a million pieces. I am falling. Crashing through the surface of the water that seems to belong in the place of the usual tarmac road. I take a breath. Then my brain realises that I shouldn’t be able to. I am filling my lungs with the liquid, satisfyingly denser than air, my lungs feeling fuller than they ever have. But water does not belong in place of a road. I was not born to breath fluid. So I sink. Down into darkness. And all that bothers me is that the weight of the water in my lungs is so terribly comfortable. I shouldn’t feel so alive when, in reality, I am drowning. All light goes out. My eyes snap open and I am gasping. The air burning my lungs and feeling so irritatingly thin. Yet, I am alive. And disappointed.

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This is quite brilliant. It’s be a good present for an uncle or godfather.

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By The Fancy

Posted by @pedrosalma

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Sisterhood of the Travelling Journalthing

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One thing about me is that I love getting things in the post. So, this year, I vowed to gain a pen-pal. I found the most amazing and creative solution.

M’collegue, Jemma, and I have recently started something called the ‘Journalthing’. It is just your ordinary, A5, hardback notebook, sent by post from one of us to the other, adding a new entry each time. There’s no real theme or rules when it comes to the Journalthing, we just write, draw and compose a few pages of our thoughts then return to sender, so to speak.

We shall adorn it’s plain, purple cover over time, and the additions to the inside cover shown below can give some indication as to how it will turn out.

inside_cover

Jemma's handiwork on the left, and my own on the right.
Jemma is the boudacious blonde and I am the green-haired goddess in both instances.

So far the Journathing has featured:

From myself

-a typewritten note

-a Streetwalker!Cathal centrefold

-a rendition of JohnJacobJingleHeimerSmith

-and quotes

From Jemma

-a proclamation of love to me

-a claim that she is a lizard [in caps]

-a poem about Tribbles

-and a picture of AdventureTime!Matt and his Expensive Cardigan.

Along with other

 

From what I see, this venture can only go very well, especially seeing as we are planning to spend time in both London and Austria together this summer. There shall be future updates as to the progress of, and additions to, the Journalthing.

Nos da~

So, I thought I’d write a blog about what I’ve gotten up to lately, rather than ranting.

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Well, maybe I’ll rant later. I’ve been reading some scintillating stuff. However, I digress. What I’ve been getting up to lately is mostly woolcrafts. Crochet and knitting, really. I decided to teach myself crochet last Tuesday night, and it turns out that I’m actually rather good at it.

Granny Squares

Here’s some crochet I’ve done in the last hour. These granny squares are the start of a blanket for myself, made of wool I found in an old suitcase in our attic.

I found about 20 balls of this wool in the case and just had to start making a scarf out of it. I especially love the blue metallic thread running through it. I put this down beside the squares I crocheted earlier and went off to make some tea, but when I came back I was like ‘LIGHTBULB’ and made the blanket a whole lot more difficult for myself.

I’ve also been working on this Slytherin scarf for a while now. It has been absolute TORTURE. It seemed everything went wrong that could have with this. I added wayyy too many stitches. Welllllll….. that’s a lie, actually. I meant to put that many on. I wanted a long thick scarf. Just didn’t think of the effort involved. Especially seeing as I used 5mm needles, when I could have used much thicker ones with this wool, making it much faster. Then, I miscounted the lines of green between the grey stripes and ended up having to undo about 20 lines and wasting a load of wool then running out of wool 1/5th of the way through cos I wasted so much making it so small-knit, so wide and fixing a mistake nobody would notice. But I would notice. It would genuinely bother me every time I see it/put it on.

That is all I have for this evening. This has been a blog in which I showed off my stuff for no reason and had a mini-rant even though I said I wouldn’t. But I digress.

Remember, keep calm and distract the mothers of the young women you’re corrupting with talk of knitting.

Ciao ciao, all!

Just so we’re all clear, this is Basic Neuroscience 101, so please make sure you’re in the right class.

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I have found recently, something that REALLY bugs me is when people try to have the whole “We only use 10% of our brains” conversation. It just gets on my nerves. Mostly because people usually don’t have a CLUE what they’re going on about.

Okay, firstly. We only CONSCIOUSLY use 10% of our brains. By this, I mean we think, our eyes to follow that pretty girl as she walks down the corridor, we lift that cup, we talk, we laugh, we chew, we swallow, we brush our hair back, we get our phone out of our pocket, we lower and heighten our voice, we give our body basic commands. And that’s exactly what they are. Basic.

It’s like telling someone that you want them to make you a certain dress, or typing a word into Google and hitting ‘enter’. There is so much more behind fulfilling these basic commands that we don’t consciously think about. There is a process which has to be followed. What is behind watching that pretty girl walk down the corridor? Our heart pulses faster, our pupils dilate, our brain gives of a burst of endorphins and dopamine, the muscles in our eyes move to keep her in our view. And lifting a cup? Our optics and muscles work together, our brains calculating how far away the cup is, how much force is needed to hold it and pick it up, where the cup is in relation to our hand and our mouth, how fast we can move without spilling it, where best to hold the cup so as not to overturn it, which muscles to contract and relax and with what amount of tension. All these neurons firing off at lightning speed, making these decisions in a matter of milliseconds, all to carry out the basic task of lifting a cup.

The same with taking our phone out of our pocket and brushing hair back. Such complicated equations and judgements worked out at high speeds, just to do these things we take for granted. Even chewing and swallowing, things of habit, rely on a complicated system of muscles and tendons. Talking and laughing? Our brain decides what to say, forms thoughts into words, only a few of the billions we all know, chooses the right language, the right tense, the right verb, takes into account the social environment and expected etiquette, applies the right tone, the right platitudes, the right quotes from the millions of references filed away in our memory, processes the reply and begins all over again.

That’s not even taking into account the physical side of hearing, the sound waves becoming vibrations in the inner ear and being translated and understood, not just the words, but the tone, the possible references, translations from other languages. You react physically, heart beats faster, fist connects with a table or wall or jaw, arms are wrapped around someone’s body, a gasp is drawn, a breath is held, a laugh escapes, eyes widen, narrow, blink rate increases, tears well, voice is raised or lowered, you get angry, sad, happy, nostalgic, regretful, violent, jealous, shocked. Then the brain prepares it’s reply and sends the information to the lungs and air is pushed out through vocal cords in a specific pattern to form something understood as speech which travels through the air at whatever pitch or volume is needed. All of this, along with a million billion other processes happening throughout the body that we don’t even consciously think about.

Ever step out of the way of a ball flying towards you on pure instinct, before you even register it? Or jump at a sound before realising that it’s just the wind? Or pull your hand back from a hot cup before you even realise that it’s burned you? That’s your subconscious alerting you to danger as quickly as possible. Your eyes, or ears, or nerves sense this danger and avoid it, before you can be hurt. Because your subconscious brain tries to avoid it as quickly as it can, it often prioritises by getting the hell out of there before telling the conscious bit what is going on. It may be mere milliseconds saved by doing this, but they could be crucial. People often think of this instinct as a “sixth sense”, and think about the potential that could be unlocked by gaining conscious control over that other 90% of our brains. Which brings me onto my next point.

There are trillions of reactions happening every second in our bodies. It’s repairing itself, growing, maintaining, digesting, absorbing, excreting, extracting, converting, producing, heating, cooling, reacting chemicals, pulling air in by contracting and relaxing muscles, extracting oxygen and excreting carbon dioxide, pushing the air back out, sending the oxygen around the body in the blood, through an intricate and complex network of veins, to the heart which pumps it around the arteries which travel to the brain and organs and the stomach, where food is being digested, carrying energy and minerals extracted from the food we eat, needed to keep this whole process running smoothly and at full speed, firing electrical impulses around the nerves and back, sending the commands needed to carry out all these things. And that’s just what’s happening when you’re sleeping.

Can you imagine having to consciously think about beating your heart, or breathing, or working the muscles in your arm in the right order just to raise it? Not to mention all manner of biological, chemical and physical reactions and processes going on in the meantime. The majority of people have trouble blinking properly if they think about it too hard. I am open to the idea that with the other 90% in your conscious control, you could be a superhuman, and all kinds of things would be possible, like changing the structure of your body, or healing quickly, or reclaiming old memories, or having an organic super computer in your head. We work out complicated equations every minute without thinking about it. If you tried to do them on paper, you couldn’t. I would LOVE to harness that potential, I really would. But the most likely outcome is that you would simply shut down. The image of it in my head is something along the lines of the brain melting and oozing out of the persons ears, which is a lot more creative, but probably not what would happen. They’ll just collapse or do something equally as boring.

Seeing as most of the people who start on this line of conversation with me don’t know what they’re talking about, and I really don’t like wasting my time explaining things to lost causes, my argument tends to be “Yeah, the reason that we only use 10% of our brains is because we use that bit to think stupid, inane, selfish thoughts, and the rest of it is too busy making our body work”. Maybe it’ll be possible in the future, when we have mechanical and computerised implants to control all the processes that the elusive 90% of our brains has to work so hard at in the present day. Like having your body’s driver software on an external hardrive. Then all that brainpower can be freed up, only to be filled with stupid, inane, selfish thoughts so that we can think those stupid, inane selfish things, quicker and in greater volumes, all while deciding what’s for dinner, working out the distance of that star from the earth, and watching 4 shows simultaneously on Holovision. Right now, it’s not viable. They’ve only recently developed technology designed to assist in the everyday functions of the body and it is nowhere NEAR sophisticated enough to replace the brain. Not to mention the bible-bashers, rosary-rattlers and tree huggers who cling to their ethics and their holier-than-thou platitudes, their commandments and their accusations, dragging back scientific advances by decades. But mankind is always finding new ways to make life easier for itself, so it’s only a matter of time. Pity I probably won’t be alive to see it. Unless they manage to transcend the death barrier first, that is.

Insomnia.

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Couldn’t think about something to blog about, but really wanted to write, so I decided to pick something that piss got on my nerves today.

A lot of people don’t realise how serious and unavoidable insomnia is. A lot of people confuse it with sleepless nights because of nerves, or sleep deprivation because of some kind of distraction such as the internet or reading a book. Other people have qualms about it, saying that people should sleep during the night-time and get up in the morning and that they could sleep if they just lay in bed and relaxed and counted sheep and didn’t drink caffeine after 6pm. This is absolute bullsh codswallop in my opinion.

Whenever I go through a bout of insomnia, I can be awake for 2-5 days with no sleep whatsoever. The first 2 days are fine, but then the tiredness starts to set in. I become like a zombie, unfocused and with less than my normal brainpower. I lose any will to concentrate, or listen to people’s’ problems, and even walking becomes a huge physical effort. This can last up to 2 days. Then, I either crash and sleep for 12 hours straight, or I become almost manic with hyper energy. I am on edge and easily irritated. This lasts anywhere between 1 and 2 days. By this point I’m like an elastic band, stretched to my limit.

But, like the clichéd metaphorical elastic band, I’ll have to snap back or I’ll break. I go into shut down. I can be going for a jog, or reading, or on my laptop and I’ll suddenly feel very heavy. My eyes will be hard to keep open and there’s no way you’d be able to hold my attention. I’d just have to lie down and I’d be gone to sleep in a second.

People say ‘If you’re tired, just go to bed and try to sleep.’ I usually reply with ‘I’ll try.’ but, to be honest, I just wanna punch them in the face. They have absolutely no idea what it’s like. I will feel tired and think ‘I may actually sleep tonight.’ so I get into bed with a book and read for a while. I turn out the light when my eyes start to sting, and get comfortable. I lie there thinking about a million things at once. I get lost in thought, then suddenly jerk back to being aware. I will sometimes even jolt, like somebody had frightened me.

When I settle myself down again by just refusing to pay attention to any of the ideas or thoughts that are lining up for me to examine. I focus on the darkness, and on sleeping, and on the type of thing that I’d like to dream about. But not entertaining what my brain wants to deal with has its side effects. I’ll start getting this niggling sense of paranoia. It gets stronger and stronger. The covers become too tight around my neck, and too loose around my feet. The bed is too lumpy, or it’s trying to swallow me up. I have an insatiable itch in my foot, or my scalp, or my back.

If I’m listening to music, I have to turn it off so that I can listen for sounds that I might or might not have heard. I squeeze my eyes shut, but want to check if there’s anybody in the room with me. I feel a slight breeze on my face, like somebody’s breath, and I know it’s just my imagination, but I want to open my eyes to see if anyone is there to comfort myself, but I don’t want to in case there IS somebody there. I feel both claustrophobia and vertigo steeped in poisonous paranoia and left to steep in the darkness. The fears that I never experience otherwise. I’m fine with heights and tight cramped spaces.

It is not like night terrors or nightmares, I’ve had them both too. This is just my body telling me that I’m not getting any sleep. All of my irrational childhood fears come back, the most basic urge to flee, to get up and stop lying vulnerable and asleep. I’m too busy thinking at a million miles an hour for that.

I snap my eyes open after about 2 minutes deliberation, and realise there is nothing there. I’ve gotten a shot of adrenalin for my trouble, and sleep is impossible now. I could try again, but my thoughts are racing even faster than before, and my body refuses to relax. I shut my eyes and the paranoia starts to eat away at that little corner again. So I give in to my brains need to process everything right here, right now. I’ll go on the internet, or read a book, of watch some tv, all in an effort to tire my brain out. Doesn’t work all that often, but I live in hope.

My doctor seems to think that I inflicted it upon myself with my erratic sleeping pattern, and that it’s psychosomatic. She doesn’t even think insomnia is real. I’d love to hear her say that if she spent years worth of sleepless nights battling it out with her basic instinctual fears, trying to get her brain to shut up for a half a fuc freaking hour so that she can have a nap.

I don’t lose sleep by staying up on the internet, or reading, or watching tv or star-gazing all night. I all do these things because I’m wasting my time by trying to sleep. People need to understand this, and stop rebuking me for not putting myself through mental torture because of the always-unsuccessful endeavour of trying to get some shut-eye. I really want to sleep, but I really/actually/literally/physically cant.

Update on Why A Taxi’s progress

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Sooooo, it’s been about 2 months since Why A Taxi first became an actual legit plan. It was slow to start, but over the past 2 weeks I seem to have made some serious progress on the getting-stuff-sorted front.

I’ve set up a page on Etsy and done some research into similar products as the ones I hope to sell, comparing prices and quality and so on. I’ve been shopping around for fabrics and other supplies and looked into the possibility of buying wholesale. Plenty of the places I got in contact with shunned me right off the bat, because I wasn’t VAT registered, and so didn’t take me seriously. I also contacted shops about deals in bulk buying, but they were rude and pretty much looked me up and down when I asked as if to say ‘Yeah, like we’d take YOU seriously’.

I finally checked out Woollen Mills in Dublin and sent an email enquiring about VAT registration and whether it was a requirement for buying wholesale and all that jazz and this one called Valerie Roche, as in the Roches that own the place, sent back a really nice email saying that she understood that a lot of new businesses are not VAT registered for the first year or so, and that some online shops don’t need to register at all, because they are so small. She gave me her number and said I should call to set up a meeting in their warehouse, so that we can discuss whether it’s viable for me to buy wholesale and talk about pricing.

This was the best news I’d gotten in a week. I immediately told Jemma, of course, then panicked a bit about the meeting. I knew that if I didn’t look like I was a legit customer then she’d treat me like the rest of the people I’d talked to before. So I’ll have to put on my grown-up clothes and look all professional with an organiser and lists and samples and all that jazz. Jem is obvs coming along cos I would probably have a panic attack and leg it if she didn’t. I really hope that I can pull it off and make a good impression cos wholesale would save me a FORTUNE, meaning that I can sell products cheaper, but still make an amazing profit.

Soooo, I’m in the process of getting my shit together and getting my head in the right place to actually make important decisions. I have my little workshop half set-up in the top floor of my garage, I’m heading to the Woollen Mills shop in Dublin this week to get samples and such, and I’m making some more samples of products that will be up for sale. So, at this rate, I should be up and running by the start of January, taking orders and shipping out.

Just need to get onto the bank about a credit card, and sort out my social welfare payments and I’ll be all set. Getting my sleeping pattern back in order too, setting myself a schedule for work, and actually putting some order to my life. It’s a well-overdue overhaul, so I’m really gonna stick to it. There shall be more updates soon.

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