Self-destructive Habits and Gerald

IMG_4238I found a cat on my doorstep, trying desperately to get indoors. As I am horrifically allergic to cats (as in eyes waters, sneezing, rash, asthma and eventually death) I obviously could not allow him inside. However, my destructive impulses did take the opportunity to override my sensibilities and rub the cat lovingly all over my face.

I also included my family in my joyous because I felt they needed to know the joy I was experiencing in that very moment. My Mother, sadly, did not revel in the happy, kitty loving moment with me. She was more concerned about my physical well being. Bless her.

 

For your entertainment I have decided to include the text conversation below.

Having a love of animals should not be considered a self destructive habit but apparently in my case it is. I have been put in the hospital twice due to an asthmatic reaction to a pet of the adorable variety. However I have a theory that my body will eventually come to terms with my fluffy habit if I just continually expose it to all the animals – starting with Gerald. Why does that sound dirty?IMG_4234

Anyways, Gerald provided me with love and cuddles for about 5 minutes before he got antsy and tried to get away. But that 5 minute cuddle fed my soul for days. Really, cuddling animals could be an addictive habit I’m sure.
Hopefully I will run into Gerald again soon for more love I’ll keep my asthma pump at the ready just incase.

I’m not entirely sure what this post is about, but that’s what you get for writing late at night when you’re half asleep and on pain killers because you kicked a man’s elbow…

…I’ll save that story for another time.

My Attention Light is Blinking

Sometimes I will send annoying texts, repetitively poke someone (in a non-sexual manner) or just generally behave in an annoying and obnoxious manner. Sometimes I just simply but my head into the person like a dog wanting love. When any of these things happen it is because my attention light is blinking.This is an actual system that has somehow gradually developed with my friends and family. I can just tell them now that my attention light is blinking and that I require love and affection. I can be quite a needy person… when I’m not busy being completely aloof.I always justify my need for attention by explaining that I have Attention Deficit Disorder and so really, by receiving attention from others they’re really just helping me with my deficit…

These days, attention seeking has negative connotations. If we seek too much attention we’re called “attention whores”. If a Facebook post is overtly emotional we say the person is just looking for attention like it’s a bad thing. Or the one I hate the most… how self-harming is a cry for attention, which in a sense can sometimes be true but it is too often said in a way that trivializes the persons actions.

I know I’m not the only person who has had these thoughts, I’m pretty sure I read a blog on this very subject not too long ago (and to whoever blog’s it is I apologise, I couldn’t find the article again to reference it). But I whole heartedly agree that asking for attention should not be considered a bad thing. We all need attention and we should all be willing to give our attention to others. Sometime’s all a person needs is to feel noticed, and if a person feels the need to hurt themselves in order to be noticed… I’d say they’re entitled to ask for some attention.

Don’t be afraid to ask for attention when you need it, and don’t be stingey with your attention when you see someone else crying out for it. Let’s all be a little bit more giving, and a little bit more loving.

Kumbaya, Namaste, Gesundheit etc…

(but seriously, it’s nice to be nice)

Motivational-ish quote of the day

I just came from watching The Secret Life of Pets with my mother. Which was an interesting experience since there were a lot of other kids there with their parents as well. Only difference was the children were about 20 years younger than me. Still, I’m young at heart. Besides, nothing cheers me up more than animated anthropomorphised animals going on wacky adventures.

I also got a massive metal bucket full of sweet ‘n salty popcorn which was awesome, and I’m going to keep it as my future sick bucket… because I get sick more often than I eat popcorn and every household needs a decent sick bucket.

Anyways, I digress. My point is that there was a poignant moment in the movie where Max is swimming for his little doggie life towards a life saver and Duke is cheering him on by saying. (This may be paraphrased as I don’t remember the quote exactly):

“Keep going! You’re doing great! Well, not really… But you’re not drowning so that’s something!”

And there, right in that small moment… contained the perfect metaphor for struggling with an illness, mental or otherwise. Because half the battle is keeping your head above water.

So When you’re being hard on yourself because you haven’t got much done that day, or that week… or that month. Just remember: You’re not drowning… so that’s something.

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My amazing popcorn bucket that’s soon to be my sick bucket. Everyone needs a good sick bucket.

 

Mindfulness makes me cry

 

My therapist has been insistent that I try mindfulness. Now I’m no stranger to meditation, it’s something I’ve practised many times. I like to think its something I was quite good at… but lately this is not the case. My shrink suggested this app called Headspace, which gives guided mindfulness meditation exercises. It’s actually a pretty neat little app and I’m sure it works great… if only I could get through a session without crying 5 minutes in.

“You cry?” she ask’s with genuine bewilderment.
I nod.
“Well then you can’t be genuinely in the moment, you shouldn’t be thinking of anything.”
“I’m not! Other than breathing and “the feel of the floor against the soles of my feet” I reply, maybe a little on the defensive side…
“Well, um, obviously you have some deep-seated emotions you need to work through”
I slow blink at her, I know this, this is one of the very reasons I go to therapy.

This woman is not instilling me with much confidence.
I think the issue with mindfulness is the fact that it brings you into the present moment, and I am presently sad. That’s kinda what depression does, being a day dreamer has always been my escape. I find being present in the moment and myself exhausting and somewhat… well, depressing.
I think, instead of mindfulness I will try Mindlessness. This article in The Guardian explains that “Mindlessness operates on the basis that your mind and body already know how to take care of themselves.” It goes on to say that “To be truly mindless, you need to rely on a combination of snap judgments, uninformed intuition and absent-minded daydreaming. All the things I’m best at, in fact.” Which honestly sounds much more my steam at the moment. In fact, I would say I already have mindlessness down to an art form.
However for the sake of my dear shrink I will give the mindfulness the old college try. Perhaps I can get to a point where I don’t start sobbing uncontrollably to guided meditations… I’d take that as a win.
On second thought, maybe there is some benefit to just engaging with sobbing for no apparent reason… I call it Sadfulness meditation. I could hold classes in sobbing, wailing and generalised despair, they always say misery loves company.
I may just start my own movement…

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The Waiting Place

Limbo, no mans land, the place between where you were and where you’re going. I’m at the pit stop of life.

A year after graduating, no job, and waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted to do my MFA. And if I haven’t?  Then what? Do I have a plan? No. I can’t seem to plan further than the day ahead of me and even that’s optimistic sometimes. I can worry about my future no problem, I worry about when I have kids, about the future job I don’t have, and other issues that are actually yet to exist. Worrying is much easier than planning, I’m a most efficient worrier of the past, present and future. If I could get paid for worrying then I’d be the most overly concerned millionaire in existence. As it is, you don’t generally get paid to be a professional worrier… I’m tempted to say scientists that worry about climate change are professional worrierers (that’s the correct plural right?)  but I also like to think they do research and solutioning (also known as problem-solving)  in-between their worrying. Philosophers are great worrierers, but again I don’t think anyone paid them much either. Please let me know if there are any other professional worriers that have slipped my mind.
Anyway, I digress. My point (I think) is that I am currently in the waiting place, which if you read Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss then you’ll know it’s quite a useless place.

“… for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.”

 – Oh, the places you’ll go by Dr Seuss

I hate waiting. It’s such an uncertain state of being. It’s nothing but anticipation, just waiting to react. I feel like, while I’m in this state of waiting I should be doing something productive. However, the waiting act seems to have played havoc with my anxiety, the lack of structure and stability that the waiting has brought upon me has equally fucked with my ADD. The anxiety, confusion, self-doubt and general low self-esteem has just led to a perfect mind storm of emotional hell. I am, as my shrink puts it, in crisis. I feel as though I have been slowly climbing to the peak of the worlds highest anxiety-coaster (which is like a rollercoaster but with more dread) and from the very top, plummeted down into the pits of despair. Worst. Ride. Ever.

Now I’m back at therapy, back on medication. Although this is new and exciting medication that doesn’t allow me to drink any alcohol, makes me feel phenomenally ill and dizzy, but that should calm down after a week. Suddenly, I don’t mind waiting. I’m quite grateful that my life is on pause. I don’t feel too much pressure get better quickly. I can take this time to look after myself, learn to love myself again. Interestingly enough, this crisis has reignited my desire to write after months of writers block. So there’s a sliver lining.

So I’ll wait for a bit, because when the waiting is done… Oh, the Places I’ll Go!!

Fuck Proof Reading

Fuck proof reading. Anyone who reads my blog (so mostly no one… except my mother… hi mom) knows that if I publish one post a year its a lot. There is good reason for this. Proof reading. I don’t do it. I hate doing it. However I feel like the laws of society/english (and my own perfectionism) dictate that I publish work that is grammatically pristine and with punctuation in all the right places. Honestly the pressure is just far too. It crushes my creative little soul… to the extent where it just stops creating… and that’s just sad. And when I realise that hardly anyone (sparing my mother… hi mom) reads my blogs I wonder why I should care so much. In fact… if anyone does seriously care about my grammar enough to trouble them, they are more than welcome to correct my work in the comments section. Saves me the trouble of doing it… seriously… that would be pretty awesome if anyone was up to the task.
However, if you are happy to read my writing in its raw, authentic, spewing of consciousness form then you’re in luck because from now on that’s pretty much what you’ll be receiving.
Fact of the matter is I have been creating far too little, spending far too much time in my own head and sharing my writing with only my many stray notebooks at home. Really it seems only right to share my most intimate thoughts with the entirety of the internet… really it’s what the internet was made for.

So… yeah, take that grammar nazis!
FURTHERMORE! I have also decided to remove the filter my writing. From now on, anything goes. All of the writing. All of the ideas go on this blog. It is my promise to myself, I will no longer let anxious, perfectionist Nicci get in the way with creative, word spewing Nicci, and if others don’t like what I have to say then they don’t have to read it.

God. I’m such a badass.

 

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In other news… there’s a Mango on my head.

The time I fisted a turkey.

Since we’re so close to Valentine’s day I thought this would be the perfect time to recount my Christmas Holidays.

In the Christmas of 2012 I was worried about the Christmas spirit. Usually it’s thriving through our house with merry songs and childlike excitement, but this year… it had to work.
My Brother is the embodiment of Christmas Spirit and this was the first year he couldn’t make it to Hong Kong to be with the family: this upset me more than he must ever know.
*Sidenote: I just sent him a text asking him how many days until Christmas, I got an immediate response of 317 days, 2 hours, 15 minutes and 05 seconds. That’s how much he loves Christmas.

Now there’s something about Hong Kong, although it is an amazing place to be and everyone should jump at the chance to live or visit there… it gets traditional Christmas a little off, of course my image of traditional Christmas is Christian, Western and consumerist. They do have the consumerism side down though. On top of things my Mom wasn’t feeling all to well, which meant all in all Christmas was looking less Christmassy than usual. I decided that I would remedy this by being in the kitchen all the time.

This is the tale of my Christmas adventure: filled with deformed gingerbread men, a turkey that didn’t need fisting and the near loss of my sanity.

The Baking

I felt like I was holding the spirit of Christmas.
I felt like I was holding the spirit of Christmas.

So I began with the baking. My Mom always made the most amazing mince pies, better than any I’ve ever tasted anywhere else, and I was desperate to learn her ways. I found my own gingerbread man recipe as I thought it would be a cheerful accompaniment.

I like to get very involved with my baking...
I like to get very involved with my baking…

As you can see I was throwing myself head first into the task (hence the flour all over my face).

My mother taught me her traditional mince pies recipe. The gingerbread men were all my doing.
My mother taught me her traditional mince pies recipe. The gingerbread men were all my doing.

As you can see the mince pies and gingerbread men were a great success! Although there were a few casualties…

A moment for our fallen, but tasty, gingerman
A moment for our fallen, but tasty, gingerman

Some of the ginger men came out a little broken and disfigured. I worked it in.

The preparation process

As I know nothing of cooking traditional Christmas meals I turned to Nigella Lawson for inspiration. I chose her partially because her recipes sounded divine, and partially because I secretly hoped to look like her when cooking (or all the time).

This image may offend sensitive viewers.
This image may offend sensitive viewers.

I don’t think I really pulled it off: this is me fisting the turkey.

The gammon simmering in apple and cranberry juice and the turkey in brine... it's a beautiful thing.
The gammon simmering in apple and cranberry juice and the turkey in brine… it’s a beautiful thing.

After molesting the turkey it was time to soak it in Christmas and brine. Honestly, any smell you associate with Christmas went into this mix (sparing the old Christmas tree and ornament smell). I also had a gammon bubbling away in juices which made a very tasty, succulent gammon that was not salty at all.

Christmas Day

The turkey was basically the size of our tiny often, trying to guide that baby in without burning my hands was one the toughest things I've ever had to do.
The turkey was basically the size of our tiny often, trying to guide that baby in without burning my hands was one the toughest things I’ve ever had to do.

Come Christmas morning I was beginning to feel a little nervous about this task I had taken on. I still had all the trimmings to make and only a half the day to do it all as the guests were arriving for lunch. Yes, that’s right. My family invited guests for Christmas dinner and I had never cooked even a chicken before. (Actually I had cooked a chicken once but I forgot it in the oven, it was more like a small piece of charcoal than chicken by that point.)

From this point on there are no photos of me in the kitchen because I nearly killed every person that wanted to walk into the kitchen. It is a tiny kitchen and I had all four hobs on the go and I was desperately waiting for the oven to free up so I could stick the potatoes and parsnips in. I forgot to make the gravy the day before… or even that morning, I only remembered the gravy halfway through everything else. So then I thought I might have to just walk into the lounge and kill everyone then and there to spare them from the gravy-less dinner.
I over boiled the potatoes and then drowned them in too much goose fat and couldn’t understand why they weren’t browning.
I then sat on the floor and nearly burst into tears. Instead I manned up, walked out of the kitchen and very politely dragged the other two woman in the house to the kitchen to save my Christmas ass… funny enough the turkey was just fine though.
My Mon’s best friend was thankfully native to the land of traditional dinners and worked like a magically whirlwind around my kitchen fixing the gravy, the potatoes and even warming up the plates so people would have hot food. Amazing.

Which is how we got to this point…

I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I needed medicating.
I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I needed medicating.

I immediately asked for a refill after I downed the glass… I now realise that I would have been far more relaxed and productive if I just drank my way through the whole cooking process.
That’s my Father laughing at me by the way. Although that could also be his pride face… He was very proud of my accomplishment.
These are my test subjects A.K.A guests (and Mom).

*no peoples were harmed in the testing of this meal
*no peoples were harmed in the testing of this meal

And this is the final result of all my hardships!

Proof is in the pudding
Proof is in the pudding

I present to you: Traditional Christmas Turkey stuffed with citrus, cranberry and cornbread stuffing (I even baked the cornbread myself) and Cranberry glazed gammon with a side of chestnut and allspice Brussels sprouts, ‘roast’ potatoes and honey parsnips. WITH GRAVY!
I am pleased to say it was a very tasty success and we feasted on left overs for the rest of the week.

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas Kitchen Tale and I hope that you all have a very wonderful Valentine’s day.

Today has been an interesting one

So my lecturer is South African, she is the only other South African that I know of in my uni. She isn’t just South African, she is a patriotic South African, not that I’m not…. but she really is!

So I have been waiting quietly, in the back of the room. Waiting. Today it happened, we were talking about AIDS and rape in South Africa (cheerful) and she was laying down some info.”Who knows how many official languages South Africa has? Nicole, don’t answer that.” No one guessed. “Nicole, what’s the answer?” Dear Lord my heart leapt into my throat, if I get this wrong I will never be able to look this woman in the face again!”Um… 11?” I meekly reply. Thank God I was right. To be fair it has been seven years since I lived in the country and I was no expert when I lived there.

Sadly, it didn’t end there. Before I knew it she was asking me to back up an argument on something I knew nothing about. I started speaking but she cut me off… I’m guessing she didn’t like what I had to say.

Anyway, the point is that I KNEW IT! I’ve been waiting at the back of the class waiting for her to call me on my South African-ism, I knew she would put me on the spot. Test my loyalty.
Well I’m going to knock her socks off! I’m going to read, watch, eat and breathe South Africa (whatever that means). So the the next time she calls me out I’m going to know more than she does… I’ll even know the rugby and cricket scores. Then we’ll see who knows their country more. *Evil giggle*

On a different note. I got punched in the crotch today. It was an experience.
I’m going to have to work on my defence in kick boxing.

That’s all folks.

I’ll leave you with a picture I took of some swans in a lovely alignment.

I caught them practising their choreography.
I caught them practising their choreography.

MY ADD RANT

This is a bit off topic from my travel blog but I just needed to write something somewhere and since my ADD is the culprit for my lack of productivity with this blog (and everything else) it seemed appropriate to just write it here.

This is rant started developing in my head when I was trying to concentrate on doing my work for uni. I’m staring at the screen trying as hard as I can to process the complex and wordy sentences into meaning in my head and it just wasn’t happening. Instead I’m literally imagining a fly buzzing around inside my empty head while an intense feeling of anger and frustration starts to eat its way through my chest like acid until I’m ready to scream, punch and cry. So I did… it’s a good things pillows don’t have feelings. Now I’m here, divulging all my feelings on ADD to my internet audience. This would probably be a good time to explain that I have Inattentive Attention Deficit Disorder, which basically means I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes it very difficult for me to concentrate and leads me to day dream a lot. Now usually by this point in the explanation (when I’m telling someone in person) I get told that they think they have ADD too! Because they daydream and sometimes can’t concentrate. Now fair play it is possible that they may have ADD. But I’m going to lay down some statistics on here (courtesy of webMD).
Now would also be a good time to point out that Inattentive ADD is a form of ADHD which is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (I’m not hyperactive).
Anyway. The STATS!

ADULT ADHD STATISTICS

  • ADHD afflicts approximately 3% to 10% of school-aged children and an estimated 60% of those will maintain the disorder into adulthood.
  • Prevalence rates for ADHD in adults are not as well determined as rates for children, but fall in the 4% to 5% range.
  • ADHD affects males at higher rate than females in childhood, but this ratio seems to even out by adulthood.

From this, I can assume that the likelihood of every person that has ever said to me that they may have ADD is pretty slim. This pisses me off so much because I really don’t think that people understand the pain in the ass ADD is. It’s not an excuse for not getting my work in time or for anything else.

I am incredibly anxious

I easily get sensory overload (which is why I don’t like clubbing, another thing people don’t understand.)

Through the years I have come to hate myself for my inability to concentrate.

I often feel like I simply can’t cope with life. I’m constantly forgetting to do things or forgetting my things in random places.

I am socially awkward

I have some serious mood swings

I can easily become depressed

I have a low tolerance for frustration

I have low self-esteem

and it is quite likely that I will struggle with employment in the future.

On the plus side I am more creative than most, however most of the time I struggle to convey the creative ideas in my head which is just frustrating.

But yeah, all of these things that I struggle with are part and parcel with my ADD… and I haven’t even listed them all.

I have needed YEARS of occupational and psychological therapy to help me, I take medication and often require extra tutoring. I am also pretty damn sure that if my ADD wasn’t diagnosed when it was I would have flunked school. If it wasn’t for my Mother’s constant support and determination to help me. I don’t know where I would be now, but it certainly wouldn’t be university.
Having said that, going to Uni and living alone feels like an impossible task. I sometimes spend weekends not going out. I don’t want to interact with other people, I don’t want to go shopping for food, I don’t want to do anything. I’ll actually go hungry to avoid going out. I won’t even go outside my room in case I have to try and have a conversation with my flatmates.

Another thing that gets on my tits is when people think that I’m using my ADD as an excuse, I’ll use it as an explanation for my disorganisation, my social awkwardness or anything that I know specifically relates to my ADD. I do this so people can understand that when I fuck up it’s not on purpose. That I’m not just being lazy and making up excuses. However when I do I get told that I must stop making excuses for myself and man up… So I’ll just man up and NOT HAVE ADD ANYMORE! If that were possible I would have done so already.

I am so tired of feeling incompetent and I am so tired of every other person thinking that they have ADD just because they day-dream now and then. For me it has been a constant struggle throughout my life.

Next time you meet someone with a form of ADHD, whatever you do, do not jump to the assumption that you have ADHD because you share a couple of symptoms… it’s not cool.
Also… don’t ask us if you can try our medication… that’s just fucked up.

Rant over…. and no, I’m not proof reading this.

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“Everybody knows a little place like Kokomo.” – The Beach Boys.

Everyone should know this song, and the feel good vibes it sends through you. However you’ve never truly understood the meaning of the song until you’ve lived it. I have been fortunate enough to know several places that give you that ‘Kokomo’ feeling.

Today I’ll be talking about my latest paradise destination. Koh Samui is a little island in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s about 25 km at its widest point. There’s a single 51 km road that circles most the island, connecting the lowland areas as the centre of the island has an almost uninhabitable jungle mountain, Khao Pom, peaking at 635 m.

Coming into land you’ll see a sparkling turquoise sea and lush green islands dotted around the water. It’s the kind of view that makes you want to jump out of the plane there and then so you can splash into beautiful world beneath you. (I recommend you resist this urge until after you land.)

When you land you’re welcomed by an airport that looks more like a resort than a hotel. So you get that holiday vibe as soon as your feet touch the ground! You also become aware that this place is different. This place is special.

If you usually hate airports than Samui airport will bring a welcome change, it’s a small privately owned airport that has few incoming and outgoing flights so there’s never masses of people running about or long lines to passport control. It’s more like a giant wardrobe, and Koh Samui is a tropical Narnia. (If you remove the ice queens, talking lions and such.)

Walking away from the cute little airport and we’re greeted by the driver that the hotel has sent us. This seems common here, there were queues of hotel cars and mini buses waiting to pick up the waiting tourists. The alternative is to take a tuk tuk, taxi, or for the adventurous – the motorbike taxi.

Almost everyone in Koh Samui gets around by motorbike or scooter, they’re also readily hired to tourists… although that doesn’t always end well for the tourist. (frequent accidents occur from silly shenanigans involving drunken tourists and motorbikes.) On my way to the resort I saw a whole love scene unfold in front of me as a young man tries to court a girl riding on the back of a motorbike. He pulls up next her, smiling. She giggles bashfully and waves him away but he persists, convincing her to meet him tonight for a drink. Then our drive honks his horn to remind them that this is the open road, not a dating service… They ignored us completely.

Such is Love. Such is Koh Samui.

More about Koh Samui in my next post.